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.”