30.12.05

defence contractors 'for forced prostitution and labor'

he he he



Bush elected president of Iraq

In a vast outpouring of gratitude to the man they call "Our Great Savior From The West," the people of Iraq flooded the polls during yesterday's first free elections, voting overwhelmingly for President George W. Bush as their first democratically elected leader.

UN 'deeply shocked' by violence in Egypt

"They are primarily protesting living conditions"

prob grateful to be beaten to death by the muthafuckin' police then?

28.12.05

the bank of justice is bankrupt

Noam Chomsky: However, it is as clear as a bell that the US, and Britain behind it, are doing everything they can to prevent a sovereign, more or less democratic Iraq. And they are being dragged into it step by step. Now there's a good reason why the US cannot tolerate a sovereign, more or less democratic Iraq. We're not allowed to talk about it because there's a party line. The party line we have to rigidly adhere to says you're not allowed to talk about the reasons for invading Iraq. We're supposed to believe that the US would've invaded Iraq if it was an island in the Indian Ocean and its main exports were pickles and lettuce. This is what we're supposed to believe. Now the truth of the matter, obvious to anyone not committed to the party line, is that Iraq has huge oil resources, maybe the second in the world, mostly untapped, that it's right in the middle of the main energy-producing region of the world and that taking control of Iraq will strengthen enormously the US's control over the major energy resources of the world. It will, in fact, give the US critical leverage over its competitors, Europe and Asia, that's Zbigniew Brzezsinski's [President Carter's national Security Adviser] accurate observation. That's the reason. Now suppose that Iraq were to become sovereign and democratic, what would happen?
[....]
The victory of the non-violent resistance in Iraq, which compelled the occupying forces to allow elections, that's a major victory. That's one of the major triumphs of non-violent resistance that I know of. It wasn't the insurgents that did it - the US doesn't care about violence, they have more violence. What it can't control is non-violence and the non-violent movements in Iraq, partially with Sistani as a kind of figurehead, but it's much broader than that, it compelled the occupying forces to allow elections and some limited, very limited degree of sovereignty. And yet we should be trying to help them in these endeavours. [....] But they're going to have to be fighting Britain and the US tooth and nail all the way. The question is what Westerners will do about it. Will we be on the side of the occupying forces, which are trying to prevent democracy and sovereignty? Or will we be on the side of the Iraqi people, who want democracy and sovereignty?
[....]
An invading army has no right whatsoever, none. It has responsibilities. Its primary responsibility is to act in a way that the population of the country demands. They are to keep to the will of the population. They don't have any right to stay there because they want to. Well as far as we know, and there's fair amount of information. The Iraqi population wants the occupying forces to leave. As I mentioned, as shown by the last British Ministry of Defence poll, one percent think the occupying forces are contributing to security; most of them think they're increasing insecurity. So yes, they should be withdrawing, as the population wants them to, instead of trying desperately to set up a client regime with military forces that they can control. That's what's happening.
[....]
Suppose that the parliament, instead of being an elite force, dominating the population, suppose the parliament represents popular will, say the popular will of 80 percent of Iraqis who want the occupying forces to withdraw, according to the British Ministry of Defence. Suppose that happens? Well then the occupying forces should immediately initiate withdrawal and leave it to the Iraqis. Now there's a good reason why Washington and London are not contemplating that. It has nothing to do with the fate of the Iraqis, quite the contrary. Just think for a minute. What would an independent Iraq be likely to do, an independent, more or less democratic Iraq? Think. I mean if you're going to have a Shi'ite majority. Therefore the Shi'ites will have a lot of influence in policy, probably a dominant influence. The Shi'ite population in the south, which is where most of the oil is, would much prefer warm relations to Iran over hostile relations to Iran. Furthermore they are very close relations already, the Badr brigade, which is the militia that mostly controls the south, was trained in Iran. The clerics have long-standing relations with Iran; the Ayatollah Sistani actually grew up there. Chances are pretty strong, they'll move towards a some sort of a loose Shi'ite alliance, with Iraq and Iran. Furthermore right across the border in Saudi Arabia, there's a substantial Shi'ite population, which has been bitterly oppressed by the US-backed tyranny in Saudi Arabia, the fundamentalist tyranny. Any move towards independence in Iraq is likely to increase the efforts to gain a degree of autonomy and justice. That happens to be where most of Saudi Arabia's oil is. So you can see not far in the future a loose Shi'ite alliance controlling most of the world's oil, independent of the US. Furthermore, it is beginning to turn toward the East. Iran has pretty much given up on Western Europe, it assumes that Western Europe is too cowardly to act independently of the US, well it has options. It can turn to the East. China can't be intimidated. That's why the US is so frightened of China. It cannot be intimidated. In fact, they're already establishing relations with Iran and in fact even with Saudi Arabia, both military and economic. There is an Asian energy security grid based on Asia and Russia but bringing in India, Korea and others. If Iran moves in that direction, having abandoned any hope in Europe, it can become the lynchpin of the Asian energy security grid. [....] In fact it might even happen in Saudi Arabia. From the point of view of Washington planners, that is the ultimate nightmare.
[....]
That is why they're fighting tooth and nail to prevent democracy and sovereignty in Iraq. The Iraqi people have resisted and it's a very impressive resistance. I'm not talking about insurgency. I'm talking about popular, non-violent resistance under bitter conditions. There's a labour movement forming, which is a very important one. The US insists on keeping Saddam's bitter anti-labour laws, but the labour movement doesn't like it. Their activists are being killed. Nobody knows by whom, maybe by insurgents, maybe by former Baathists, maybe by somebody else. But they're working. There's the basis of a popular democracy being developed there, much to the horror of the occupying forces, but it's going on and it could have very long term consequences in their national affairs, which is why Bush and Blair have so desperately been trying to prevent democracy and any form of sovereignty and have been forced to back off step by step. This is also going on with the economic arrangements. The US moved in and immediately tried to open up the economy to foreign take-over by imposing outrageous and in fact illegal laws for privatisation. You know, Iraqis don't want that, they want to take control of their own economy and resources. There's a battle going on about that.
[....]
The violence in Iraq is a serious problem for the Iraqis and I tend to agree with, apparently the majority of Iraqis, that it's the occupation forces that are stimulating the violence. The fact that an insurgency even developed in Iraq is astonishing. I mean it's an amazing fact that the US has had more trouble controlling Iraq than the Germans had in controlling occupied Europe.
[....]
Well, in Iraq none of these circumstances prevailed, there was no outside support for the resistance. The little support that has arisen, and it is very slight, is mostly engendered by the invasion. But there's no outside support. The country had been devastated by sanctions. The US was coming in with enormous resources to rebuild it and they have turned it into a total catastrophe. It's one of the worst military catastrophes in history. You look at figures for something like, say malnutrition; malnutrition is way up since the US took over, that's unbelievable. It's one of the few wars that can't be reported, not because reporters are cowards, but because it's too dangerous.

26.12.05

armed and dangerous

On the night of 31 March 2005 a group of men, some masked and hooded, drove through Rio de Janeiro's Baixada Fluminense district. They fired at random as they went, sometimes stopping and getting out of their cars to execute victims at close range. Fourteen-year-old schoolboy Douglas Brasil de Paula was playing pinball when he was shot dead; Elizabeth Soares de Oliveira was killed while she worked in her husband's bar; João da Costa Magalhães was sitting on the doorstep of his house when the gunmen fired on him; Rafael da Silva Couto, a 17-year-old, was gunned down as he cycled along the Via Dutra.

By 11pm 29 people lay dead. Ten police officers and one former police officer have been implicated in the murders, in what appears to be the result of a violent turf war. "The Baixada," explained a police colonel to the Brazilian newspaper O Dia, "has medieval qualities. The local aristocracy wants to wall off its enclaves, using the police as its exclusive protection force."

This was the worst massacre in Rio de Janeiro’s history, but it was not a new or isolated phenomenon. For the millions of Brazilians who live in favelas (shanty towns), violence is an inescapable part of daily life.

CIA Chief Admits To Torture After Six-Hour Beating, Electrocution

An internal CIA investigation into the possible use of illegal and inhumane interrogation techniques produced a confession from CIA director Porter Goss Monday, with the aid of waterboarding, food and light deprivation, and the application of wire hangers hooked to a car battery to the testicles. "I did it. We did it. We all did it. The president knew. The president did it. Please, God, please stop,"

23.12.05

he he he

xmas is off!!!

hoffmann's 100th bday symposium



incl a party on jan 13th :-D

good deed a day-

An Italian court has issued Europe-wide arrest warrants for 22 suspected CIA agents accused of helping to kidnap a Muslim cleric in Milan in 2003.

The suspects are accused of abducting Osama Mustafa Hassan, also known as Abu Omar, without Italian permission, and flying him to Egypt for interrogation (read: torture).

The new warrants allow for the suspects' detention anywhere in the 25-nation EU, a prosecutor said.

The authorities had already issued arrest orders within Italy.

Correspondents say the case has soured relations between Washington and Rome.

arrest an "intelligence" yank!

20.12.05

full of miss worlds..

Venezuela has given the world's biggest oil company, ExxonMobil, until the end of this year to enter a joint venture with the state.

Failure to do so will almost certainly result in Exxon losing its oil field concessions in the country. Venezuela's socialist government has now signed new agreements with almost all foreign petroleum companies.

After months of pressure from left- wing leader Hugo Chavez most foreign oil firms working there have caved in. They have agreed to hand over a controlling stake of their oil interests to the Venezuelan state.

This means that Venezuela, which has the world's largest petroleum reserves, now calls the shots in what the foreign guests can and cannot do.

..and blessed with a spine! what a country. watch this space for next week's cia instigated coup d'etat :-)

either the gringos really are estupido..

US President George W Bush's popularity appears to have received a significant boost from last week's Iraq elections.

High voter turnout in Iraq and growing public confidence in Mr Bush's handling of national security and the economy led to the rise, the poll suggests.

or theyve started fixing their opinion polls as well as their elections now ;-)

17.12.05

Uncyclopedia, the content-free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.

"God is possibly the best known fictional entity on Earth after the Beatles."

"I really didn't think you could do it Sparky, but I digress. You sunk my battleship!" ~ Oscar Wilde

fuck the police

14.12.05

how dangerous to be an idiot

specimen no 1

specimen no. 2

"sucked in wogs u all ran like a fucking girls, We showed you were the dominant race and we reclaimed Cronulla, AUSSIE PRIDE, good on ya shire boyz"

also note the "i'm not racist" assertions.

isn't australia that american proxy that sticks asylum seekers into prisons and refuses to fund schools that don't post a national flag on their grounds?

9.12.05

gringo love

44-year-old passenger ran out of the door of the airplane after he boarded the plane in Miami, but was intercepted by the marshals before reaching the jetway and told to get on the ground. According to Air Marshal Service spokesman Dave Adams, the passenger did so, but then reached for a bag, at which point a marshal fired two or three shots and killed the passenger. The passengers recall that they heard up to six shots. No bomb was found when authorities searched the airplane.

bulky jacket, dark skin, jumping across ticket barrier, screaming "heil osama! heil hitler!"

7.12.05

insurgency CSIS

A report by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, which is now a year old, but is one of the only attempts to statistically analyse the nature of the Iraqi insurgency: findings are discussed here.

The report concludes that attacks on civilians account for 4.1% of 'insurgent' activity, which is statistically close to the estimated percentage of the insurgency made up of "foreign fighters": can one reasonably suspect then, that the non-Iraqi insurgents are responsible for these terrorist attacks, but the genuine Iraqi resistance overwhelmingly focuses its attacks on calition forces?

28.11.05

a comparatively affordable joke

Mary Margaret Graham, the deputy director for national intelligence collection and a 27-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, revealed the annual budget for U.S. intelligence: $44 billion. The apparent slip occurred during a talk Graham was giving at a San Antonio conference on Oct. 31. The disclosure of the number, reported in the Nov. 14th issue of U.S. News and World Report, marked the first time the figure has been revealed since 1998, when the figure was almost half its current figure, at $26.7 billion.

27.11.05

for someone else's eyes only?

European Foreign Ministers this week vetoed planned publication of the report - which also warns that rapid expansion of Jewish settlements in and around East Jerusalem, along with use of the separation barrier to isolate East Jerusalem from the West Bank, "risk radicalising the hitherto relatively quiescent Palestinian population of East Jerusalem".

23.11.05

clearly, they're jealous of our freedom



Britain has warned media organizations they are breaking the law if they publish details of a leaked document said to show U.S. President George W. Bush wanted to bomb Arabic television station Al Jazeera.

laugh or cry?

UK gags paper over Aljazeera memo

16.11.05

What's that white powder?

White Phosphorous. WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE. We fired "shake and bake" missions at the insurgents, using WP and HE to take them out.


Field Artillery magazine, on American tactics used in taking Fallujah, published in March, whilst accusations came out at the beggining of this month from an Italian T.V. station that the chemical weapon had been used, the State department was still denying it had been used as a weapon.

'Burned bodies, burned women, burned children; white phosphorous kills indescriminately....when it makes contact with skin, then its absolutely irreversible damage, burning flesh to the bone'
-ex U.S. servicemen, Jeff Engelhart's eyewitness account of the effects of White phosphorous deployed in Falluja

8.11.05

if you didn't like Iraq'n'Roll, you're gonna hate Iran Maiden

"Iraq started to trade oil in euros in 1999. Four years later Iran did the same and may soon be joined by others. Such a move would mean consuming nations having to swap some of their dollars for euros to be able to buy or sell oil, leading to a freefall in the value of the dollar. The US economy is already knackered and is only propped up by rabid consumption. The US is the most debt-ridden nation on earth – owing $3,500,000,000,000 to various creditors (and we thought our bar tab was bad!). China, meanwhile, holds the second largest reserves of dollars in the world which means they could wreak havoc on the US economy by selling greenbacks. Similair tactics against currencies have been well used as an economic weapon by the US, not just against upstart third world countries but also against the UK during the Suez Crisis in 1956."

SchNEWS does Iran

31.10.05



"You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."
'Would it help people if I went to Montana and lived on a mountain?'

an interview with chomsky in today's guardian

24.10.05

20.10.05

why culture if you are blessed with bigmacs

The United States stood in opposition to almost every member nation of the United Nations in a vote here late Monday over a convention intended to protect linguistic diversity and minority cultures from the negative impacts of globalization.

19.10.05

intelligent design trial ;-)

Professor backs "intelligent design" in testimony

...

Behe, however, argues that evolution cannot fully explain the biological complexities of life, suggesting the work of an intelligent force.

The intelligent-design concept does not name the designer, although Behe, a Roman Catholic, testified he personally believes it to be God.

"I conclude that based on theological and philosophical and historical factors," he said.

making shit up?

the yanks are so funny

10.10.05

Dylan and God speak



Oh my name it is nothin'
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I's taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that land that I live in
Has God on its side.

Oh the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh the country was young
With God on its side.

Oh the Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
I's made to memorize
With guns in their hands
And God on their side.

Oh the First World War, boys
It closed out its fate
The reason for fighting
I never got straight
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don't count the dead
When God's on your side.

When the Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now too
Have God on their side.

I've learned to hate Russians
All through my whole life
If another war starts
It's them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side.

But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we're forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God's on your side.

In a many dark hour
I've been thinkin' about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can't think for you
You'll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side.

So now as I'm leavin'
I'm weary as Hell
The confusion I'm feelin'
Ain't no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God's on our side
He'll stop the next war.

6.10.05

katrina

'Two months before Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, the Inspector General of the
Department of Homeland Security warned FEMA that its systems for managing the personnel
and equipment dispatched to disaster sites were inadequate. According to the report, FEMA's
information management systems were overwhelmed by the four hurricanes that struck Florida
in 2004. Instead of committing to remedy the problems that the report identified, FEMA
Director Michael Brown disputed nearly all its findings. Mr. Brown claimed that FEMA systems
were “highly performing” and “well managed.”'

article here

World Intellectual Property Organization

We still make law as though it were just a deal brokered between industry groups. [..] What matters is making the big boys happy.

comparison of inglan enclosure act- ownership of land- and development of intellectual property.

from here

5.10.05

Just a little bit of history repeating

Read this from the New York Times in 1966 or 67 ... substitute the word "Vietnam" for the word "Iraq" and the word "Vietcong" for the words "Iraqi Insurgency" or "Al Qaeda terrorists" ...



... and compare with current discoure of trying to introduce democracy against a background of 'evil terrorists'.

"It is indeed the first real evidence that President Bush's grand design of
toppling a dictator and forcing a democracy into the heart of the Middle
East could work." (Urban, Newsnight, BBC2, April 12, 2005)

The BBC's director of news, Helen Boaden:

"The Iraqi elections are the first democratic elections in Iraq for 50
years - acknowledged as a democratic opportunity. We know that the Americans
and the British want the elections to be free and fair - but of course we
don't yet know if that will be the case - especially bearing in mind
security." (Forwarded to Media Lens, January 21, 2005)

Adam Curtis, World Deputy Editor, BBC News Interactive:

"while the Bush administration very probably has motives other than the promotion of democracy in Iraq, it has certainly gone to considerable lengths to try to establish a framework for elections." (e-mail to media lens contributor)

4.10.05

migration as protest

Placing American Emigration to Canada in Context

By Audrey Kobayashi, Queen's University and Brian Ray, University of Ottawa

January 1, 2005

In the twenty-four hours following George W. Bush's victory in the American presidential election on November 2, 2004, the Canadian government's Department of Citizenship and Immigration website received 115,016 "hits," six times the average daily number, and double the previous record.

There followed a flurry of media speculation over the prospect of disgruntled American voters leaving their country to settle in Canada or other destinations, including Spain, Mexico, or New Zealand.

Coverage in newspapers, magazines, and personal websites ranged from thoughtful pieces featuring interviews with individuals who have already emigrated, to editorials examining the relationship between emigration and loyalty, to spoof articles poking fun at Canada and at American "liberals." Included among the prospective emigrants in these articles were anti-war protestors, disaffected Democrats, and gays and lesbians seeking a place where same-sex marriages are recognized.

The speed with which websites mounted information—both serious and satirical — indicates that such information had been prepared in advance. At least one Canadian immigration lawyer immediately announced plans to hold seminars for potential emigrants in major American cities. And blog sites swiftly distributed cartoons, joke maps—such as one showing the "blue" states seceding to Canada — and even advertisements for bumper stickers.

The list of public policy issues cited by emigration proponents includes Canada's greater rights for same-sex partners, opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq, a universal health care system, tight gun control laws, the legal use of medical marijuana, and Canada's ratification of the international environmental agreement, the Kyoto Protocol. But the two issues that seem most likely to encourage people to leave the US are the United States' role in the Iraq War and federal and state governments' legal measures to limit marriage to heterosexual couples.

...continues...

the obedience experiment

you've probably heard of this, might be worth adding to our library...

"...I will cite one final variation of the experiment that depicts a dilemma that is more common in everyday life. The subject was not ordered to pull the lever that shocked the victim, but merely to perform a subsidiary task (administering the word-pair test) while another person administered the shock. In this situation, thirty-seven of forty adults continued to the highest level of the shock generator. Predictably, they excused their behavior by saying that the responsibility belonged to the man who actually pulled the switch. This may illustrate a dangerously typical arrangement in a complex society: it is easy to ignore responsibility when one is only an intermediate link in a chain of actions.

The problem of obedience is not wholly psychological. The form and shape of society and the way it is developing have much to do with it. There was a time, perhaps, when people were able to give a fully human response to any situation because they were fully absorbed in it as human beings. But as soon as there was a division of labor things changed. Beyond a certain point, the breaking up of society into people carrying out narrow and very special jobs takes away from the human quality of work and life. A person does not get to see the whole situation but only a small part of it, and is thus unable to act without some kind of overall direction. He yields to authority but in doing so is alienated from his own actions.

Even Eichmann was sickened when he toured the concentration camps, but he had only to sit at a desk and shuffle papers. At the same time the man in the camp who actually dropped Cyclon-b into the gas chambers was able to justify his behavior on the ground that he was only following orders from above. Thus there is a fragmentation of the total human act; no one is confronted with the consequences of his decision to carry out the evil act. The person who assumes responsibility has evaporated. Perhaps this is the most common characteristic of socially organized evil in modern society.

Stanley Milgram "The Perils of Obedience"

More Milgram

3.10.05

"porno-war" and 'The Ugly American'



The "ugly American" is schizophrenic Imad Khadduri, Free Iraq, October 2, 2005

This introspection is dedicated to those remaining Americans who ask "Why do they hate us?".

In 1958, two Americans wrote a book "The Ugly American" renowned for its slashing exposé of American arrogance, incompetence, and corruption in Southeast Asia. Vietnam's bloody orgy proved their point.

A year ago, a previous posting on this site fleetingly mentioned "The schizophrenia of the “American Way of Life”: Preach peace and democracy but rooted in genocide and violence on a subliminal level".

Not being a psychiatrist, the definition of schizophrenia is (according to gurunet)
- A situation or condition that results from the coexistence of disparate or antagonistic qualities, identities, or activities: the national schizophrenia that results from carrying out an unpopular war.
- Any of a group of psychotic disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, delusions, and hallucinations, and accompanied in varying degrees by other emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances.

Recent events have highlighted this schizophrenic behavior in the American psyche, be it the response to hurricane Katrina, the finally to be released 'more' Abu Ghraib pictures and videos. testaments of American soldiers who tortured prisoners, among other indicators.

...interesting article at above link...

It's the economy, stupid - It's the stupid economy

Risk of rebuilding New Orleans in deluge of debt
By Clyde Prestowitz in the FT September 28 2005 19:41

""In the wake of President George W. Bush’s recent speech in New Orleans, I have been wondering if anyone has asked the Chinese how they feel about his decision to spend “whatever it costs” to rebuild the city. After all, they are the ones who will have to pay for it."


"The cost of rebuilding is estimated at more than $200bn (€167bn) but the White House insists it will not increase taxes. That means the entire cost will be added to the $350bn federal budget deficit, driving it close to $600bn. This deficit is financed by selling US Treasury bonds to investors looking for a fair and safe return on their savings.""

"The nation’s overall savings rate is negative and the deficit is funded by foreigners. In fact, more than 75 per cent is financed by foreign central banks, among which the People’s Bank of China will soon pass the Bank of Japan as the biggest lender."

"In 2004, according to the Bank for International Settlements, central banks funded 75 per cent of the US current account deficit. This year, the PBoC alone is likely to cover nearly 40 per cent of it."

"These banks now hold so many dollars ($800bn for the PBoC and close to $850bn for the BoJ), that any fall in its value would cause large capital losses on their own balance sheets."

"Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chief, has predicted a 75 per cent chance of a global financial crisis within five years."

continues...

During Wolfowitches' evidence to the Senate committee on foreign affairs, he said that "we will conquer the world either by consent or conquest".

Was currency [Euro vs US$] one of the reasons for the war? There definitely seems to be some kind of cold war going on, which I don't pretend to understand, with oil, China, Iran and the euro/dollar choice... If China and some axis of oilville countries switch to euros will that have disasterous consequences for the US? Does their massive debt make them or China more vulnerable to economic meltdown?

The US are also apparently furious that Malaysia and China have 'de-pegged'. The US economy is basically bankrupt, it is being propped up by a daily overdraft from the rest of the world, especially China, and Bush now dares not criticise them for human rights violations.

Will the US ever be able to service these huge ammounts? let alone pay off the capital. Everything and everyone in the US is owned by private banks.
They'll have to have a WWIII for the private banks to create more money and profit.

(this last bit is based on posting by 'Ekk' on the medialens message board which is a constant source of interesting stories

2.10.05

The Murder Of Hunter S. Thompson

What do we make of all this?



Webb, a Pullitzer prize winning journalist, exposed CIA drug trafficking operations in a series of books and reports for the San Jose Mercury News.

Credible sources who were close to Gary Webb have stated that he was receiving death threats, being regularly followed, and that he was concerned about strange individuals who were seen on multiple occasions breaking into and leaving his house before his apparent 'suicide' on Friday December 10th 2004.

Hunter Thompson was working on WTC collapse story before mysterious sudden death, warned he'd be 'suicided'

Was Hunter S. Thompson Suicided?

Hunter Thompson friend confirms journalist was on to White House callboy story

Hunter S. Thompson Suicide Story Changes

Hunter S. Thompson thought 9/11 an inside job

Thompson's Suicide Fuels Conspiracy Buzz

Elite Sex Slave Rings: The Gannon-Thompson Connection

27.9.05

Grmany, Iraq, Kafka and the Law

German court declares Iraq war violated international law, By Justus Leicht, 27 September 2005

Just a few weeks ago, a highly significant judicial decision was handed down by the German Federal Administrative Court but barely mentioned in the German media. With careful reasoning, the judges ruled that the assault launched by the United States and its allies against Iraq was a clear war of aggression that violated international law.

Further, they meticulously demonstrated that the German government, in contrast to its public protestations, had assisted in the aggression against Iraq without having any legal right to do so. Although the decision was made three months ago, the judgement and its legal arguments have only just been made available in written form, comprising more than 130 pages.

continues at link above... very interesting

26.9.05

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-dissidents



Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-dissidents from Reporters Without Borders

Blogs get people excited. Or else they disturb and worry them. Some people distrust them. Others see them as the vanguard of a new information revolution. Because they allow and encourage ordinary people to speak up, they’re tremendous tools of freedom of expression.

Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure. Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest.

Reporters Without Borders has produced this handbook to help them, with handy tips and technical advice on how to to remain anonymous and to get round censorship, by choosing the most suitable method for each situation. It also explains how to set up and make the most of a blog, to publicise it (getting it picked up efficiently by search-engines) and to establish its credibility through observing basic ethical and journalistic principles.

25.9.05

Labour Party Corporate Fest in Brighton

So Long and Thanks for All the Oil

British troops will start a major withdrawal from Iraq next May under detailed plans on military disengagement to be published next month

exeunt

How Corporations Cashed in on Katrina

"After every national tragedy, large corporations move to cash in. They arrange for no-competitive bid contracts so that their cronyism can get them large government contracts awarded with few safeguards to prevent waste, fraud and abuse"

22.9.05

Jona’s Quick Capsule Review: Piece of Shit

A Bit on Bertie Russell

An admirer of Russell’s later works (and embarrassingly unfamiliar with his stuff on logic) I picked up a copy of a biography in a Delhi bookstore the other day called “Bertrand Russell: 1921-70 The Ghost of Madness v. 2” by Ray Monk. After reading the first 150 pages, I really had to the throw the ‘piece of shit’ away. The back cover had such accolades as “Monk’s Russell is, in its seriousness, its intelligence and sheer narrative drive, one of the outstanding biographies of our time” etc. but after reading only the first chapter was the loaded bias of the author evident: a young fascist philosophy lecturer at Southampton university, in love, it appears, with the young Russell, constantly eulogising the charming suave aristocratic philosopher – ‘the greatest in his field since Aristotle’ – that he was in his 20’s, but unashamedly critical and dismissive of his later character: the social activist.

I found the author’s tactless disdain for his political views made the biography unreadable. From the first chapter's loaded title 'Fallen Angel' (others include ‘The Guevarist Years’) he goes on to diminish all of Russell's non-philosophically related excursions - as if he has committed some unforgivable heresy by daring to think outside abstract analytic philosophy; real concerns, such as social justice, education etc. don't seem to count. From the starting date of the biography at 1921 he characterises Russell as having lost his way, his work output in journalism and politics unoriginal and stylistically second rate.

Let us grant that the literary calibre of Russell’s writing in his later years (which is consistently belittled by Monk) is a matter of conjecture, but monk grossly misses the point: Russell wasn’t trying to write a fucking sonnet, stylish rhetoric is neither here nor there in political discourse, but it’s a criticism that subtly betrays Monk’s academic snobbery: the higher the syllable count the better (cf. nc's suspisions of 'dialects' in 'understanding power') – and you can’t say his work was unreadable… it's a while since i've read him, but i remember it as pretty damn good - kept me reading at pace, which is more than I can say for a lot of "serious" modern political philosophers (nozik or rawls)... clear and without mincing words, Russell’s books reached out to an audience that traditionally had little interaction with intellectual circles.

As far as originality is concerned, a lot of Russell’s later work that I’ve encountered seem to be précis of other peoples ideas, digestible introductions, or simple statements of opinion, inspired by authors from lau tzu to bakunin. how original he was i'm not qualified to say - but originality is not always a defining predicate of quality - to be politically effective or meaningful you don't need to say something original or destroy someone else’s ideas (unless you're trying to carve out a career), as is often the case in academic philosophy; the author seems to confuses this with lack of success.

Russell is one of the few intellectuals that I know of to have come down from his ivory tower, to bridge the gap and take the responsibility that his position as an intellectual endows… an example that is increasingly rare in 21st century intellectual communities: abstracted from social concerns, serving institutions rather than questioning them and alienating dissidents that don't conform to pre-established world perspectives. His sacrifice courage and commitment to social change is completely overlooked by Monk, even if he doesn’t share the same political colour. His works have lucidly introduced me to ideas that I guess have changed and sculpted my world perspective and certainly led me to inquire deeper into issues they concern (esp. Roads to Freedom). Monk, however rather sides with the opinion of his pre-1921 socialite friends, ‘Bertie’s become such a bore…” (the biography is littered with quotes to that effect) as if such opinions had any self-edifying, truth preserving logical structure.
gettin it

maybe there is a god after all.. punishing the yanks..

20.9.05

"Ich will die Freiheit zurück, die ich vor 20 Jahren gegen die Macht getauscht habe"
Chris Morris interview after 'The Day Today' was launched

"The way 'The Day Today' worked was the gap between how stupid it is, and how seriously it's said. It's that Leslie Nielsen effect. But it's ultimately frustrating, performing an elaborate burlesque for people to laugh at and say 'My my, how closely it resembles the real thing', then carry on as usual. Nobody's ever shamed out of their job. You increasingly think direct action is the only way"

19.9.05

Natos secret armies and terrorism

At a time when experts are debating whether NATO is suited to deal with the global “war on terror”, new research suggests that the alliance’s own secret history has links to terrorism.

By Daniele Ganser for ISN Security Watch (15/12/04)

Editor’s Note: This report written by Daniele Ganser is based on excerpts from his newly released book, “NATO’s Secret Armies. Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe”, released this week by Frank Cass in London. The book describes NATO’s clandestine operations during the Cold War. The research was prompted by a story that made world headlines in 1990 but quickly disappeared, ensuring that even today, NATO’s secret armies remain just that - secret. Until now, a full investigation of NATO’s secret armies had not been carried out - a task that Ganser has taken on single-handedly and quite successfully.



In Italy, on 3 August 1990, then-prime minister Giulio Andreotti confirmed the existence of a secret army code-named “Gladio” - the Latin word for “sword” - within the state. His testimony before the Senate subcommittee investigating terrorism in Italy sent shockwaves through the Italian parliament and the public, as speculation arose that the secret army had possibly manipulated Italian politics through acts of terrorism. Andreotti revealed that the secret Gladio army had been hidden within the Defense Ministry as a subsection of the military secret service, SISMI. General Vito Miceli, a former director of the Italian military secret service, could hardly believe that Andreotti had lifted the secret, and protested: "I have gone to prison because I did not want to reveal the existence of this super secret organization. And now Andreotti comes along and tells it to parliament!" According to a document compiled by the Italian military secret service in 1959, the secret armies had a two-fold strategic purpose: firstly, to operate as a so-called “stay-behind” group in the case of a Soviet invasion and to carry out a guerrilla war in occupied territories; secondly, to carry out domestic operations in case of “emergency situations”. The military secret services’ perceptions of what constituted an “emergency” was well defined in Cold War Italy and focused on the increasing strength of the Italian Communist and the Socialist parties, both of which were tasked with weakening NATO “from within”. Felice Casson, an Italian judge who during his investigations into right-wing terrorism had first discovered the secret Gladio army and had forced Andreotti to take a stand, found that the secret army had linked up with right-wing terrorists in order to confront “emergency situations”. The terrorists, supplied by the secret army, carried out bomb attacks in public places, blamed them on the Italian left, and were thereafter protected from prosecution by the military secret service. "You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game,” right-wing terrorist Vincezo Vinciguerra explained the so-called “strategy of tension” to Casson. “The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security. This is the political logic that lies behind all the massacres and the bombings which remain unpunished, because the state cannot convict itself or declare itself responsible for what happened."

continues

17.9.05

Radical plan to stop Muslim extremism

A royal commission to the government suggesting initiatives to combat Islamic extremism - a task force set up 'to help prevent British Muslims turning to terrorism'.

unlike the entirety of government policy toward the events of 7/7 and similar, at least some of the wider systemic factors are taken into account - rather than the 'uncaused cause' official line - institutional racism, alienation and an unprecedented history of exploitation and aggressive foreign policy are cited as possible factors.

As far as solutions? It makes no suggestion of changing foreign or domestic attitudes, rather laughably suggests that teaching 'citizenship' may alleviate such animosity...turn them into whiteys and they'll forget the dark venal history of bloodshed we've imparted to them over the last few decades...

12.9.05

hijacked?!

a dramatic evangelical turn @ http://www.benjizeitlyn.blogpot.com/ :

"AN INCREDIBLE TESTIMONY PROVING THE BIBLE IS TRUE, PLUS A COMMENTARY ON THE NEAR FUTURE ARE JUST AHEAD ON THIS HOME PAGE. PLEASE READ IT! GOD LOVES YOU. JESUS STANDS AT THE DOOR OF YOUR HEART, KNOCKING. IF YOU WILL OPEN THE DOOR, HE WILL COME IN. THOSE THAT BELIEVE THEY ARE SAVED—BUT LIVE IN DISOBEDIENCE AND REBELLION TO THE BIBLE, REFUSING TO DO THE WILL OF GOD—DECEIVE THEMSELVES..."

10.9.05



caption reads: from the life of a socialist;

God Outdoes Terrorists Yet Again

Louisiana National Guard Offers Help By Phone From Iraq

BAGHDAD—The 4,000 Louisiana National Guardsmen stationed in Iraq, representing over a third of the state's troops, called home this week to find out what, if any, help they could offer Katrina survivors from overseas. "The soldiers wanted to know if they could call 911 for anyone, or perhaps send some water via FedEx," said Louisiana National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Pete Schneider.

8.9.05

Babylon: What a joke?

A U.N. report yet again indicating the failings of neo-liberal economics;
'Noting that the US has a worse infant mortality rate than Malaysia, the report says: "Some countries that spend substantially less than the United States have healthier populations. US public health indicators are marred by deep inequalities linked to income, health insurance coverage, race ethnicity, geography and - critically - access to care."':
The 'Empire' is about violence and power, egalitarianism is gone......

6.9.05

labour movement



""The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy."

Bush cartoon - Steve Bell

4.9.05

Private Eye is the best paper in Britain


spot the difference

spot the difference

brazilian

terrorist

phil... hope this calms you down

2.9.05

Fuck the police- Cops Looting New Orleans

Some officers joined in taking whatever they could, including one New Orleans cop who loaded a shopping cart with a compact computer and a 27-inchn flat-screen television. Officers claimed there was nothing they could do to contain the anarchy, saying their radio communications have broken down and they had no direction from commanders.

“We don’t have enough cops to stop it,” an officer said. “A mass riot would break out if you tried.”

30.8.05

"A Renunciation Of The Dollar Is Worse Than An Iranian Nuclear Attack"

How can anyone get any work done with such interesting news out there?

Very interesting stuff from The Prudent Investor blog

Tuesday, August 23, 2005, Iranian Oil Bourse Could Kill The US Dollar

Can the Iranian Oil Bourse become the catalyst for a significant blow to the position of worldwide power the US Dollar enjoys? Manifold supply fears have driven the price of crude oil nearwards its recent highs of $67.10 which are also only a notch below historical records in real dollar terms. With the world facing a daily bill of roughly $5.5 billion for crude oil at current price levels it becomes apparent that sellers and purchasers of the black gold are looking into all ways that could lead to a financial improvement on their respective side.
While the worldwide bottleneck of inadequate refining facilities and partly dramatic declines in production - for example in the North Sea - are two factors that cannot be eliminated in the short term there is one area left which could result in smiling faces of oil producers and (most) buyers likewise. Non US dollar thinkers are the victim of a transaction cost in the oil trade. The necessary conversion of local currencies into greenbacks can be considered a hidden tax, charged and enjoyed by the banking sector.
Until now oil is solely priced, traded and paid for in the greenback on both markets in London and New York. The Treasury Inflow Capital data from mid-2005 show that OPEC members have parked only a skimpy $120 billion in direct dollar holdings which are almost equally split between equities and debt paper. This is a clear indication that oil producers are investing their windfalls elsewhere. The yield spread between US and EU debt papers in favor of the EU is clearly another hint where the petrodollars might flow after conversion.
The Iranian Oil Bourse (IOB) will become a factor that could unsettle the dollar's dominant position.
Especially in the case of Iran it does not make sense to accept dollars only for its much desired commodity. Being seen as a hostile country by the USA for the intention to build its own nuclear reactors one wonders whether the new IOB will not try to attract other buyers than Americans who are particularly unwelcome in that corner of the globe. Iran has recently announced that the new oil exchange will start up its computers in early 2006.

continue at the link above...

Lockerbie evidence planted by the CIA

From the Scotsman ... might be interested jesse

A FORMER Scottish police chief has given lawyers a signed statement claiming that key evidence in the Lockerbie bombing trial was fabricated.

The retired officer - of assistant chief constable rank or higher - has testified that the CIA planted the tiny fragment of circuit board crucial in convicting a Libyan for the 1989 mass murder of 270 people.

The police chief, whose identity has not yet been revealed, gave the statement to lawyers representing Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, currently serving a life sentence in Greenock Prison.

The evidence will form a crucial part of Megrahi's attempt to have a retrial ordered by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC). The claims pose a potentially devastating threat to the reputation of the entire Scottish legal system.

The officer, who was a member of the Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland, is supporting earlier claims by a former CIA agent that his bosses "wrote the script" to incriminate Libya.

Last night, George Esson, who was Chief Constable of Dumfries and Galloway when Megrahi was indicted for mass murder, confirmed he was aware of the development.

But Esson, who retired in 1994, questioned the officer's motives. He said: "Any police officer who believed they had knowledge of any element of fabrication in any criminal case would have a duty to act on that. Failure to do so would call into question their integrity, and I can't help but question their motive for raising the matter now."

Other important questions remain unanswered, such as how the officer learned of the alleged conspiracy and whether he was directly involved in the inquiry. But sources close to Megrahi's legal team believe they may have finally discovered the evidence that could demolish the case against him.

An insider told Scotland on Sunday that the retired officer approached them after Megrahi's appeal - before a bench of five Scottish judges - was dismissed in 2002.

The insider said: "He said he believed he had crucial information. A meeting was set up and he gave a statement that supported the long-standing rumours that the key piece of evidence, a fragment of circuit board from a timing device that implicated Libya, had been planted by US agents.

"Asked why he had not come forward before, he admitted he'd been wary of breaking ranks, afraid of being vilified.

"He also said that at the time he became aware of the matter, no one really believed there would ever be a trial. When it did come about, he believed both accused would be acquitted. When Megrahi was convicted, he told himself he'd be cleared at appeal."

The source added: "When that also failed, he explained he felt he had to come forward.

"He has confirmed that parts of the case were fabricated and that evidence was planted. At first he requested anonymity, but has backed down and will be identified if and when the case returns to the appeal court."

The vital evidence that linked the bombing of Pan Am 103 to Megrahi was a tiny fragment of circuit board which investigators found in a wooded area many miles from Lockerbie months after the atrocity.

The fragment was later identified by the FBI's Thomas Thurman as being part of a sophisticated timer device used to detonate explosives, and manufactured by the Swiss firm Mebo, which supplied it only to Libya and the East German Stasi.

At one time, Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence agent, was such a regular visitor to Mebo that he had his own office in the firm's headquarters.

The fragment of circuit board therefore enabled Libya - and Megrahi - to be placed at the heart of the investigation. However, Thurman was later unmasked as a fraud who had given false evidence in American murder trials, and it emerged that he had little in the way of scientific qualifications.

Then, in 2003, a retired CIA officer gave a statement to Megrahi's lawyers in which he alleged evidence had been planted.

The decision of a former Scottish police chief to back this claim could add enormous weight to what has previously been dismissed as a wild conspiracy theory. It has long been rumoured the fragment was planted to implicate Libya for political reasons.

The first suspects in the case were the Syrian-led Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC), a terror group backed by Iranian cash. But the first Gulf War altered diplomatic relations with Middle East nations, and Libya became the pariah state.

Following the trial, legal observers from around the world, including senior United Nations officials, expressed disquiet about the verdict and the conduct of the proceedings at Camp Zeist, Holland. Those doubts were first fuelled when internal documents emerged from the offices of the US Defence Intelligence Agency. Dated 1994, more than two years after the Libyans were identified to the world as the bombers, they still described the PFLP-GC as the Lockerbie bombers.

A source close to Megrahi's defence said: "Britain and the US were telling the world it was Libya, but in their private communications they acknowledged that they knew it was the PFLP-GC.

"The case is starting to unravel largely because when they wrote the script, they never expected to have to act it out. Nobody expected agreement for a trial to be reached, but it was, and in preparing a manufactured case, mistakes were made."

Dr Jim Swire, who has publicly expressed his belief in Megrahi's innocence, said it was quite right that all relevant information now be put to the SCCRC.

Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed in the atrocity, said last night: "I am aware that there have been doubts about how some of the evidence in the case came to be presented in court.

"It is in all our interests that areas of doubt are thoroughly examined."

A spokeswoman for the Crown Office said: "As this case is currently being examined by the SCCRC, it would be inappropriate to comment."

No one from the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland was available to comment.

28.8.05

20.8.05

For this they have made a holocaust in the desert sands


Yes, it's once more into the breach with Halliburton, the gargantuan government contractor that still pays Cheney, its former CEO, enormous annual sums in "deferred compensation" and stock options - even while, as "the most powerful vice president in American history," he presides over a White House war council that has steered more than $10 billion in no-bid Iraqi war contracts back to his corporate paymaster. This is rainmaking of monsoon proportions. Indeed, the company's military servicing wing, KBR, announced a second-quarter profit spike of 284 percent last week - a feast of blood and gravy that will send Cheney's stock options soaring into the stratosphere...

Chris Floyd's blog Empire Burlesque

"one death out of 57"

"Sir Ian urges context on Menezes

Sir Ian Blair has urged the public not to let the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes overshadow the deaths of 52 victims of the London bombers."

it says: "the police took responsibility". where? to take responsibility seems to be a nice turn of phrase that has no bearing to reality whatsoever. quite to the contrary.

blair continues his lame attempt to justify a murder in cold blood, exploiting the deaths of 52 bomb victims to somehow account for this fatal accident. but as we know, de menezes was only implicated in the london bombings by way of a severe fuckup on behalf of blair's hired killers. he has nothing to do with the 52 victims that were bombed, it's not "one death out of 57".

this "context" which blair refers to, is the same cataclysmic and clearly wrong "context" that led to this fatal farce in the first place. the notion of "context" ecclipses any responsibility that an acting subject may have, elevating the whole occurrence into the realm of fate, a determinist view on a chain of events that was inevitable given the war on terror.

bullshit officer.

17.8.05

tragic irony - Christian refugees

Christian refugees are fleeing persecution in newly "democratic" Iraq. They have been subject to increasing violence, kidnapping and church burning since the end of Saddam's Ba'athist regime.

The majority of them are fleeing to Syria, which now has an estimated 700,000 refugees from Iraq, 20% of them Christians. Ba'athist Syria, under criticism from the US (see below) is a relatively safe haven for these refugees, who join Sunnis from Falluja and refugees from other parts of Iraq.

Syria is refusing them permission to work, driving many to desperate measures such as prostitution.

We await comments on this issue from those good Christians Tony Blair and George Bush... So far western governments are refusing to allow Christians refugee status, claiming that Iraq is now a safe country.

Apparently this is part of a process called Lakotization according to the blog "tdaxp" which has a tastefull photo with the caption, "the whore of Babylon". They translate the strange word as: "a type of network disintegration that can be used to destroy pre-modern networks eg: To destroy an enemy whose strength is his families, you must destroy his families. This is happening in Iraq, which is good news. Earlier I blogged about how we have turned Fallujah into an open air prison. Now we are going to the next stage, and destroying the families of the Fallujin.".
It makes more sense if you read the post on tdaxp

strange stuff... but that's the christian spirit for you...

14.8.05

Khajurao 10th Century Temple Art:

interesting...

ex MI6 agent Alastair Crooke interviewed on Al Jazeera:

read this and then see how Cohen totally misunderstands the terminology (Islamism, Islamist) he so confidently told me was the 'accepted term'...

"You make a distinction between the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hizb Allah, and al-Qaida or al-Qaida related-groups, that are more global in their actions?

I think there is a big difference between the two, in that what you have is Hamas, Hizb Allah, Jammat Islamiya, Muslim Brotherhood and these groups.

They may be seen on the one hand through the optic of using resistance or violence, in support of their objectives, but these groups all favour elections, they look for reform, they're looking for constitutional change in their society, and that is an important difference between these groups and some of the other Salafi, Takfiri, extreme radical groups who are looking for polarisation.

So what does al-Qaida want?

Well, I'm afraid I'm one of those people in the West that thinks this title, al-Qaida, has become so overused and used so widely, that I mean that's it's impossible any longer to say.

I don't think there is that organisational structure that is so often presented in the West, but I think it is quite clear the main objective is the removal of Western armies from Muslim lands and an ability to create a just society in Muslim lands. But their methodology is very different.

This is to oversimplify it, but it has some objectives which were evident in 1998 [the year Osama bin Laden declared a fatwa calling on his followers to kill American nationals and allies of the US, and the year of the East Africa embassy bombings] which was about polarisation and radicalisation and a short circuiting of the route to an Islamic society by an act of "shock and awe" that would radicalise the ummah [global Muslim community] and bring about an instant change.

But for many Muslims and many groups - including the Islamists - they would say it has alienated much of the ummah by the type and nature of the violence that has been used to radicalise the situation. And also some would say that it has made the conditions for Muslims worse off because of "the war on terror".
And certainly, some groups might point to the situation of the Palestinians as an example and say it has greatly deteriorated. So what have these acts achieved?

11.8.05

Correspondence with Nick Cohen

The haloscan thing was starting to annoy me, it's only really suited to short comments. Anyway, Nick Cohen has been replying to my e-mails. I have posted the entire correspondence on the Medialens Letters Forum

8.8.05

"The liberals who say I have deserted the left should ask themselves where they stand on Islamism"

Cohen in the Observer

oh dear...

'I'm sure that any halfway competent political philosopher could rip the assumptions of modern middle-class left-wingery apart'

but he doesn't... just brings out the same tired arguments that are reworked endlessly by pro-war rightwing comentators. bland asumptions levelled at a vague and perenial left that i've yet to meet...




5.8.05

Do try this at home:



http://www.freewayblogger.com/

Banksy Bombs Palestine:



http://www.banksy.co.uk

"Rumsfeld, you lied to us!"

Rumsfeld says Syria 'not behaving in wise manner'

His speech was interrupted at one point by a woman who stood up and shouted: "Rumsfeld, you lied to us!"

Rumsfeld paused during his remarks but made no mention of the incident as the woman was hustled from the room by hotel security. Several minutes later, as the defense secretary was departing, a man who had been sitting in an area reserved for reporters strode forward and yelled: "Mr. Rumsfeld, military families think you're lying to them!"

4.8.05

A letter to my Mp: the London attacks


Dear Mr. David Lepper,
During he past weeks the British people have been subjected to a modicum, an almost incomparable, yet telling quantity, of fear that ourPrime minister has subjected upon the Iraqi people. Although two wrongs will never make a right, these actions represent or demonstrate the effect that our taxes and armed forces have upon the citizens of Iraq. Although our prime minister may have made irreparable damage in Iraq it is now evident that British citizens, not only ones who sign up to beTrained killers, but ordinary peaceful folk, now feel the effect of his disgusting actions. As my representative in parliament, I would please ask you to petition the necessary powers to give the police the new measures they crave to tackle the causes of terrorism at its heart; illegal, spurious wars in which tens of thousands are killed of which Mr. Blair must surely be a prime suspect. The unceasing curtailment of liberties and the 'war on terror' have thus far not been successful in preventing terrorism. It is vital thus to look rationally at how are plight can be changed.
I write this fully aware of your mixed response to the conflict in question but feel that we have a moral obligation to make those responsible, at the highest level, for the tragedies of these last few years pay, in whatever way possible, for their crimes.
Yours sincerely,
Joe Z

(no resonse received, the police, since time of writing have grabbed the powers they crave by the balls and demonstrated them on some Brazilian chap: arbritary underground murder)

Will update when the bastard gets round to replying!

seven minutes to midnight

there are still more than 20k warheads on this planet and the doomsday clock has been moving closer to midnight again:

"Little progress is made on global nuclear disarmament. The United States rejects a series of arms control treaties and announces it will withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Terrorists seek to acquire and use nuclear and biological weapons."

why are we not worried anymore? the threat is as plausible as it was 20 years ago.

3.8.05

how rich are you?

'One of them made cuts in my penis. I was in agony'

Benyam Mohammed travelled from London to Afghanistan in July 2001, but after September 11 he fled to Pakistan. He was arrested at Karachi airport on April 10 2002, and describes being flown by a US government plane to a prison in Morocco. These are extracts from his diary.

"As far as I know, it's just to degrade you. So when you leave here, you'll have these scars and you'll never forget. So you'll always fear doing anything but what the US wants."

31.7.05

Since the invasion began, 1,785 American soldiers have died in Iraq, 348 of them since the 31 January elections. About 5,500 US troops have gone absent without leave since the beginning of operations in 2003.

A letter to the editor of the observer...

A letter to the editor of the observer...

Nick Cohen's recent article "Long live Grammars" included a bit at the end entitled "beating your head against a wall of hate" that wouldn't have been out of place in the Sun or Daily Mail. I was shocked to read it today, I have read a lot of Nick Cohen's articles and his book "Cruel Britannia" and have generally found them to be excellent.

When he cites Mohamed Naseem, the chairman of the Birmingham central Mosque, saying he wasn't sure if the Islamist atrocities were Islamist, as evidence that we are "up against totalitarianism" he alienates almost every Muslim in the world who renounce terrorism and do not consider it "Islamic" or "Islamist" in any way apart from the fact that these deranged people claim to be doing it in the name of Islam. Do we judge Christianity by David Koresh? No. You cannot allow your paper to encourage the idea that Islam is somehow inherently related to terror.

The other comments Cohen quoted, where Mr. Naseem states that he is not sure if Al Qaeda exist, as the main source of information is the CIA, which is not an entirely trustworthy source of information. This is really beyond doubt. Or is at worst, the product of a well founded lack of faith in the government (lies over WMD and Iraq), the intelligence services (very poor information, secretiveness), and the mainstream media (for failure to properly expose all the lies and deceit). It is a sad lack of trust, but it is not, unfortunately, unfounded. How Cohen is so sure of the information he has got, I do not know, unless of course he trusts entirely the information we get from our government and security services, in which case I am shocked by his naivety.

Using the fact that Mr Naseem donated money to George Galloway who "saluted the murderer of thousands of Muslims" to prove Mr. Naseen's totalitarian credentials is a really cheap shot too. Mr. Naseem's donation to Galloway is another sad reflection of our political system. Galloway is seen as someone who speaks out against Islamophobia, so it is not surprising that Muslims who feel unduly persecuted for their faith support him. Many politicians 'salute' or congratulate murderers of hundreds of thousands of Muslims or others, hey does it matter if the murdered are Muslims or not? What about Tony Blair and George Bush? Is everyone who salutes them, either out of genuine respect or for political expediency or protocol a ‘totalitarian’?

Having labeled anyone who is skeptical about the official version of the London bombings, the honesty of the CIA, or the Islamic credentials of the bombers as ‘totalitarian’. Cohen goes on to say that “the totalitarian mind needs conspiracies”, well what we have going on in London now is certainly some kind of conspiracy, someone is planting bombs on our underground and killing innocent people, who is behind it all and why they are doing it are shrouded in mystery. Nobody “needs” this kind of conspiracy, (apart from journalists of course) and nobody appreciates being labeled as a totalitarian or extremist or loony for daring to question the established version of events.

Nick Cohen should be ashamed of himself, first for this hate inspiring article and secondly for his blanket criticism of anyone who tries to question what we are being told, or the trustworthiness of official intelligence sources, who we are all aware, are economical with the truth at best. We are genuinely beating out head against a wall of hate and Nick Cohen is rapidly becoming a brick in that wall.

Yours, Benjamin Zeitlyn

Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit,
Sattar Bhaban, 4th Floor, 3/3E, Bijoynagar, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh

Beating your head against a wall of hate

"Oh dear. The worthy attempts by Birmingham City Council and the West Midlands Police to be multi-cultural and inclusive were rewarded last week with complete contempt. The city fathers realised it was time to give-up when Mohammad Naseem, chairman of Birmingham's Central Mosque, didn't just blame the Islamist atrocities on Tony Blair, but announced that he wasn't sure if the Islamist atrocities were Islamist atrocities.

'Where is the evidence that four youths whose pictures were caught on CCTV camera were the perpetrators?' he asked. 'How did we reject the possibility they were just innocent victims of this terrible happening?' Like the producers of the BBC's The Power of Nightmares, he wasn't at all sure al-Qaeda existed. 'The only information about this organisation is coming from the CIA. Now, the CIA is not known for telling the truth.' All he was certain of was that the murders were being used an excuse for 'Muslim bashing'.

His outburst is yet another sign that what we are up against is totalitarianism. Naseem has given thousands of pounds to Respect - the party which encapsulates the delirium on the liberal-left by combining Marxism-Leninism with religious fundamentalism. More telling than his willingness to back George Galloway, a politician who 'saluted' the murderer of hundreds of thousands of Muslims, was his refusal to admit the obvious.

The totalitarian mind needs conspiracies. If you believe that the working class, the Aryan race or the faithful are the true inheritors of the earth, you can't accept contradictory evidence. Crimes and defeats have to be the results of plots by the bourgeoisie, Jews, infidels, Freemasons, MI5 or the CIA. Admit doubt and the dogma crumbles. Our future security depends on how widespread totalitarian instincts have become. All I know is that my colleagues who talk to MI5 say it is getting virtually no cooperation.
"

30.7.05

oh dear (via). very embarrassing. or as it puts it:

"Making use of the time-dishonoured rhetoric so beloved of anti-intellectual columnists (a tautology, to be sure), namely, "I know this stuff so you don't have to", Liddle meanders his way through a lazy stream of putrid unthought, with the sole purpose of making himself look like someone who is clever enough to know what "dialectical materialism" is, and, even more "intelligently", how to dismiss it."

Let’s have Marxist Love Island
Rod Liddle

Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together, please, for Mr Karl Marx, the sage of Trier, who has scooped the top prize in Radio 4’s exciting competition, Who’s the Bestest Philosopher Ever, Ever, Ever? Step this way, Karl, and collect from Lord Bragg your prize — a fabulous, all-expenses-paid trip through time to visit the Soviet gulags, Mao’s fabulous Cultural Revolution, Pol Pot’s wacky Year Zero, three days in a Düsseldorf basement with Ulrike Meinhof fiddling about with gelignite — and ending with the complete and utter defeat of every philosophical, political and economic idea to which you owe your reputation.

The trip is called — guess what? — the Historical Inevitability Tour. Pack your bags, dude.

I don’t know how much can be read into Karl’s momentous victory; there may well be, as the recently deceased French thinker Jacques Derrida would have put it, a multiplicity of meanings. Or it might be that Marx is the only philosopher most British people have heard of.

Karl once foresaw a time when the working classes would spend their many hours of leisure happily reading Plato, but he had not envisaged the competing attractions of, say, watching Rebecca Loos offer manual relief to a pig on Five’s The Farm.

If the Brits were given a choice between debating the complex issues raised in Henri Bergson’s Duration and Simultaneity and watching Midsomer Murders, my guess is that John Nettles would beat the plucky French challenger every time.

Nor do our home-grown philosophers, with maybe the exception of Hume, really punch their weight in the international arena: they pass the ball around nicely, but they lack that killer punch in the penalty area and are sometimes suspect at the back.

British philosophers tend to fall into two equally alienating and hostile camps. On the one hand there are those who are not entirely certain what a table is. And then there’s a whole bunch of rather forbidding Scottish people, stereotypically terribly worried about money, who have spent too many interminable Saturday evenings, friendless, in the granite and drizzle of Aberdeen or Leith.

I suspect that the rest of us, despite the unwelcome presence of Ikea on the edge of many of our teeming conurbations, are perfectly content with our understanding of what is meant by the word “table”, those bloody flatpacks notwithstanding.

In fact, it may be that Karl Marx won this daft competition because he is not, actually, a philosopher at all. In so far as the reputation of his work remains, or has been rehabilitated (by Lord Desai, among others), it is as a flawed economic critique of global capitalism. The abstract stuff of Marx, the bits he nicked from Feuerbach and Hegel and Vico — that is, the philosophy — we are no longer familiar with, or no longer credit to him.

And, of course, he was himself famously disparaging about the nature of philosophical discourse — in an agreeably British way: philosophers have debated the nature of the world, he said, “the point, however, is to change it”.

This Anglophile impatience with esoteric abstract debate may well have endeared him to the Radio 4 audience rather more than that bothersome business about dialectical materialism. Even the most intellectual of us have tended to weary of continental — and especially Gallic — pontificating: remember George Orwell once called Jean-Paul Sartre a “bag of wind”.

Philosophy, for us Brits, is nothing more than the airy-fairy, unwanted middle bit of that famous Oxbridge degree course, PPE — something a little wet sandwiched between the laudable pragmatism of politics and economics.

Radio 4, though, you have to say, has done its best to engage the intellectual sensibilities of its audience through that tried-and-tested tabloid formula: the top 10. We await with interest a tie-in CD — Now That’s What I Call Manichean Dualism! — and the TV spin-off, Celebrity Marxist Love Island, wherein Desai, George Galloway and the Manic Street Preachers vie for the attentions of Abi Titmuss, nationalise the top 100 companies and win a Fiat Punto.

I should be so snide. Six years ago I ran a competition on the Today programme for listeners to vote on who was the greatest Briton of the millennium. If I remember rightly, it ended up neck and neck between Churchill and Shakespeare. The Bard won.

It is our predilection for these interminable lists that defines us these days — and this is, you might argue, a philosophy all of its own. A sense of order and a sense of place are more important to us than musing about whether or not a “table” exists as a “table” regardless of what use we might put it to.

Just as we now know, through popular vote, that Only Fools and Horses is a better television comedy than Are You Being Served?, we also now have it confirmed that Karl Marx is almost twice as good as Wittgenstein. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it, all you boring logical positivists.

28.7.05

btw - but this time without adorno's material. after all, who wants to bother mr. reemtsma [1] with his property dealings [1] on behalf of the Hamburg Foundation for the Advancement of Science and Culture?

the irony lies in the fact, that reemtsma's first reading of the dialectic of enlightenment will have been through a raubkopie. but this somehow seems legitimate, since the first querido edition of 1944 wasn't readily available and, incidentally, wasn't "intellectually owned" by any of his affiliations:

[taz]: Ist das nicht hart? In den Siebzigern kursierten Adorno- Raubdrucke en masse.

[JPR]: Das war übrigens eine andere Situation. Die "Dialektik der Aufklärung" von Horkheimer/Adorno gab es lange Zeit nicht im Handel und kaum in Bibliotheken. Da konnte einer argumentieren, dass man anders den Text nicht würde lesen können. In dem Fall des Internetpiraten ging es aber um Schriften, die überall zu haben sind. Der "Jargon der Eigentlichkeit" und die "Dialektik der Aufklärung", die zu den illegalen Internetkopien gehörten, gibt es seit Jahrzehnten als Taschenbücher und Paperbacks. Auch alles andere ist zu haben.

shame on the academy.

26.7.05

A swastika painted on a US flag flashes across the screen. Out of sight a voice proclaims: "Let's recover our memory and history from the claws of the Empire ..." The voice is replaced by anti-imperialist chants and metallic sounds, then the screen goes dark.

Welcome to Telesur, Latin America's answer to CNN and the BBC World Service.

Telesur: A Counter-Hegemonic Project to Compete with CNN and Univisión

25.7.05

Tony Blair has spent more than £1,800 of taxpayers' money on make-up and make-up artists over the past six years.

The figures were disclosed in a parliamentary written answer last Thursday - the final day before MPs and peers broke for their summer holiday.

It revealed that between 1999-2000 and 2004-05, Downing Street paid out £1,050.22 on cosmetics for the Prime Minister's media appearances. No figures were available before that date.

In the past two years, No 10 spent a further £791.20 on make-up artists to make him look his best.

By comparison, the average British woman spends £195 a year on make-up and skin care.

23.7.05

REMEMBERING HERBERT MARCUSE


interesting, with some excellent links esp. video Herbert's Hippopotamus

22.7.05



NINETEEN EIGHTY BORE - Crass

who needs lobotomy when we've got the itv
who needs ect when there's good old bbc?
switch on the set, light up the screen
fantasise and dream about what you might have been
who needs controlling when they've got the cathode ray
they've got your f*****g soul, now they'll fuse your brains away
mindless f*****g morons sit before the set
being fed the mindless rubbish they deserve to get
can't switch off big brother, they've lost all will to act
lost in drab confusion, was it fiction, was it fact?
another plastic bullet stuns another irish child
but no-one's really bothered, no, the telly keeps them mild
they've lost all sense of feeling to the every hungry glow
drained of any substance by the vicious telly blow
no longer know what's real or ain't, slowly going blind
they stare into the goggle box while the world goes by,
behind the angels are on t.v. tonight, grey puke f*****g shit
they army occupy ireland, but the boot will never fit
was it coronation street? or was it londonderry?
oh it doesn't f*****g matter, paul daniels'll keep us merry
yes, i've heard of bobby sands, wasn't it emmerdale farm?
yes, that's right, he was kicked by a cow i hope it didn't do him no harm
and wasn't the holocaust terrible, good thing it wasn't for real
of course i've heard of h-block, it's the baccy with man appeal
deeper and deeper and deeper, layer upon layer
illusion, confusion, is there anyone left who can care?
yes, the abbey national cares for you nat west, and securicor
well brings out the branston bren-guns let's spice it up some more
the sweeney are cruising brixton, created another belfast
and j.r.'s advising thatcher on lighting, make up and cast
a thousand camera lenses point at the people's pain
as millions of mindless morons watch the action replay again
action replay again softly, softly, into your life, you're held in it's brilliant glow
softly, softly, feeding itself on the you you'll never know
you're life's reduced to nothing, but an empty media game
big brother ain't watching you mate, you're f*****g watching him

14.7.05

Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper reported an unconfirmed incident of police shooting a bomber outside the HSBC tower.

Canadian Brendan Spinks, who works on the 18th floor of the tower, said he saw a "massive rush of policemen" outside the building after London was rocked by the bombings.

13.7.05

An article I wrote on The Rise of Islamic Radicalism Among British Bangladeshis has been published (totally unbeknownst to me) by the Journal of Peace Studies, published by the International Centre for Peace Studies

The Journal is not available on line, but you can see the article on my articles page

10.7.05

This strange Israeli story that i posted on my blog about yesterday wont go away...

If we take the original leaker at his (or her) word, Netanyahu was told "minutes before" the first explosion. However, even if we believe Minister Shalom’s account, it still points to a weird anomaly: It took a full hour for the rest of London to find out that they were under attack, and yet Netanyahu was privy to this well before anyone else – including Prime Minister Tony Blair.

and yet more bizarre ... "coincedences"

A consultancy agency with government and police connections was running an exercise for an unnamed company that revolved around the London Underground being bombed at the exact same times and locations as happened in real life on the morning of July 7th.
On a BBC Radio 5 interview that aired on the evening of the 7th, the host interviewed Peter Power, Managing Director of Visor Consultants, which bills itself as a 'crisis management' advice company, better known to you and I as a PR firm.
Peter Power was a former Scotland Yard official, working at one time with the Anti Terrorist Branch.
Power told the host that at the exact same time that the London bombings were taking place, his company was running a 1,000 person strong exercise which drilled the London Underground being bombed at the exact same locations, at the exact same times, as happened in real life.

transcript