Libyan war costs £38 million per week

The cost of the war in Libya is over £38 million a week, has already has topped £100 million after just two months, and is set to hit £1 billion by September. More here.

Justice for Stephen Lawrence

After 18 long years, the family and friends of Stephen Lawrence can now hope that a new trial will uncover who was responsible for his murder.

In the face of a terrible personal tragedy, his family fought for justice. Their campaign exposed a disastrous police investigation, and revealed just how much racism had infected the criminal justice system. But, as Sabby Dhalu from One Society Many Cultures explains, real reform is still needed to root out racism:

“Today’s decision would not have been possible, if not for the commitment of the family of Stephen Lawrence, who have had to overcome tragedy, heartbreak and institutional racism, and who are still pursuing justice which should be a basic human right

“The Lawrence family have had to contend with the racism both from Stephen’s murderers and from a police and criminal justice system that failed to appropriately investigate Stephen’s murder and pursue his killers.

“11 years ago the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry was a watershed moment for the anti-racist movement in Britain. It highlighted the depth of institutional racism in Britain’s criminal justice system, including the way the racial murder of a Black person was not treated with the same seriousness as other murders.

“However 11 years on, many of the recommendations in the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report have not been implemented. The proposals were deemed necessary to reduce the inequalities of the criminal justice system, so should all be implemented.

“One Society Many Cultures calls on the government to take action to ensure the Stephen Lawrence report recommendations are carried out in full. We hope that today’s announcement of a new trial will lead to justice. Our thoughts are with the family of Stephen Lawrence. “

Osama bin Laden mission agreed in secret 10 years ago by US and Pakistan

The deal was struck between Pervez Musharraf and George Bush in 2001 and renewed during the 'transition to democracy' – a six-month period from February 2008 when Musharraf was still president but a civilian government had been elected.

The US and Pakistan struck a secret deal almost a decade ago permitting a US operation against Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil similar to last week's raid that killed the al-Qaida leader, the Guardian has learned.

George on bin Laden's death

"I despise Osama Bin Laden, the mediaeval obscurantist savage. The difference is I have always despised him, even when Britain and America were giving him weapons money diplomatic and political support."

 That speech which won me the parliamentary debater of the year award was given on the recall of the commons after 9/11. Younger readers may be unaware that the Osama Bin Laden killed yesterday was once a key member of the western coalition fighting the Russians in Afghanistan. In fact one of the Rambo movies carried a dedication at it’s end saluting the “freedom fighters” he recruited and led.

It turns out that he was living a surprisingly comfortable life in a million dollar home near Islamabad where yesterday he met his end. As he had lived, by the sword, so he perished and could have had no complaints at being gunned down by Americans having inspired the slaughter of so many of them.

But though rejoicing is inevitable as always we must be careful what we wish.

If as is reported Bin Laden hadn’t even a phone line or Internet connection in his palace it’s clear that he long ago ceased to have hands on control of the network which virally proliferated around the world in his name. That this fanatic movement will continue, perhaps revitalised by his killing, is surely obvious.

And of course the swamp of bitterness and hatred out of which he and his followers mutated and climbed becomes ever deeper and more bloody. A swamp sewn by the same western powers with whom he was once in league. A swamp watered by double standards and injustice. By blanket support for the crimes committed against the Palestinian people for over sixty years. By endless occupation and bombardment of Muslim countries by western forces. And by the propping up by us of virtually every dictator who rules in the Muslim world from one end to the other.

“If our problems could only be solved by zapping this bearded turbaned Mephistopholese we would be lucky indeed,” I told my parliamentary audience a decade ago.

Zapped he now is in an operation, as reported, of which Rambo would have been proud.

But when we leave the cinematic glow of the killing of public enemy number one we will find I suspect that many more are emerging from the swamp.

George Galloway condemns NATO's murder of innocent children in Libya

George Galloway this morning expressed his outrage at the NATO air attack which killed Gaddafi's youngest son, Saif Al Arab, and three of Gaddafi's grandchildren in a Tripoli suburb.

"This was a cold-blooded targeted attack on a residential house in the suburbs of Tripoli," said George Galloway who is campaigning in Glasgow for election to the Scottish Parliament. "It beggars belief that this was not a deliberate attempt to assassinate Gaddafi, in the full knowledge that innocent children would be killed in the process. This is a total breach of UN resolution 1973 which authorised action to protect civilians - not kill them.

"NATO sorties are now being used to commit war crimes. Both nationally and internationally the cry must go up for NATO's military actions to be halted immediately and a ceasefire declared. And David Cameron must answer straight, not fudge as he has been doing all day, whether attacking so-called command and control facilities allows the deliberate targeting of Gadaffi and his family, with no regard whatever to the innocent men, women and children who are incinerated as a consequence."