Marine Lance Cpl. Gregory T. Buckley, 21, of Oceanside, N.Y., died Aug. 10 in Garmsir, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force. There is an incredibly disturbing story in the New York Times this week where soldiers have reported being told by American officials to ignore the rape and abuse of Afghan boys at a base by Afghan officers so not to interfere with a cultural practice. The boys were brought to the base to be raped as part of what Afghans call bacha bazi, literally “boy play.” Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father that he would lay on his bunk at night and listen to the screaming of the boys as they were sexually abused by Afghan officers. Buckley went to his superiors and was allegedly told not to interfere. Buckley was later
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In the year 628, Muhammad, now ruling in Medina, signed the ten-year Treaty of Hudaybiyyah with his long-time enemies, the tribal confederacy of Quraysh, who ruled Mecca. Twenty-two months later, under the pretext that a clan from a tribe allied with the Quraysh had squabbled with a tribe allied to the Muslims, Muhammad broke the treaty and attacked Mecca, conquering it. It is as certain as day follows night, that the Iranian regime will find a pretext to break the deal. Already, on September 3, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamene’i made it clear that he would back out of the deal if sanctions were not completely removed at once.
The Iranian regime not only despises democracy; it considers all Western law, including international law, invalid.
Can we trust MPs to police themselves? The Commons Committee on Standards, composed mostly of MPs, decided on Thursday to clear Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind over a “cash for access” revealed by the Telegraph, and now some of its members have expressed major doubts about the rules.
This comes after our reporters, working with Channel Four’s Dispatches programme, found that both Parliamentarians were offering to use their positions on behalf of a fictitious Chinese company in return for payments of at least £5,000 per day. Despite this, Parliament’s Standards Commissioner Kathryn Hudson found that “there was no breach of the rules on paid lobbying” after accepting assurances from Sir Malcolm and Mr Straw that they were speaking “off the cuff” and were not intending to back up their words in meetings with actual actions. The Standards Committee in turn issued a thinly-veiled threat to journalists not to carry out such investigations in future, promising to “consider further the role of the press in furthering … understanding and detecting wrongdoing.”
Can the public trust a regime where MPs are effectively marking their own homework? They now need a sensible outside watchdog. “The sorry tale of Sir Malcolm and Mr Straw and the standards committee’s shameful response prove beyond doubt that MPs cannot be trusted to regulate themselves over lobbying,” we say.
“Obviously the system is flawed…the House of Commons is incapable of regulating itself.” Martin Bell
If At First You Don’t Secede…
David Cameron today marked the first anniversary of the Scottish independence referendum by urging Nicola Sturgeon to “move on” and stop obsessing about breaking up the UK. This comes as Alex Salmond boasted to the Independent that the pro-independence side “would win” if there was another referendum. “One feels for the Prime Minister: he has enough battles to fight,” Fraser Nelson writes in today’s paper. “But the battle for Scotland is still very much one of them.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will get “nowhere near power”, David Cameron has claimed. Michael Deacon was struck by the Prime Minister’s “thumpingly frank” remarks, which did not mention Corbyn by name. “The Tory plan is…to make Mr Corbyn and the entire Labour party synonymous, so that Mr Corbyn’s successors will be damaged by him too,” he adds.
This comes as members of the Privy Council have warned Jeremy Corbyn that he will “embarrass” the Queen if he fails to kneel when he joins next month. Owen Paterson told Chris Hope: “He should grow up or go back to the back benches and play around like some sort of bearded activist.” Dan Hodges sympathises with Corbyn, writing: “Let’s not force him to his knees…let him keep his self-respect.”
Jean-Claude Juncker has denied any role in designing the corporate tax system of Luxembourg, a country he governed for two decades, which is said to have helped multinational companies cut billions from their tax bills.
McDonnell Sorry After IRA Ire
John McDonnell, Labour’s shadow chancellor, has been forced to apologise “from the bottom of his heart” for saying the IRA should be honoured but faced criticism for attempting to “justify” his remarks by saving they helped to save lives.
Labour MP Jess Phillips has apologised after telling Diane Abbott to “f**k off” during a heated row about a lack of women in the top shadow cabinet jobs. Asked by HuffPostUK’s Owen Bennett (no relation) what Ms Abbott did after her blunt request, she replied: “She f**ked off”.
I Came, I Saw, iPlayered
The BBC should ensure that people are able to use the iPlayer when they travel abroad, John Whittingdale has said.
The head of MI5 has launched an unprecedented attack on social media companies, saying they have a “responsibility” to pass on intelligence of potential terrorism, Tom Whitehead has more.