Saturday, August 30, 2008

Our refusal comes first and foremost as a protest of the separation, control, oppression and killing policy held by the state of Israel in the occupied territories, as we understand that this oppression, killing and routing of hatred will never lead us to peace, and they are all contradictory to the basic values a society that pretends to be democratic should have.

To read the full statement of these consciencious objectors click on the link to Molly and Yasmin's blog.
Forgotten History? Suppressed History?
A helpful reminder of the origins of the racist state of Croatia, whose leaders are keen on joining the EU. I recall when that sorry statelet came into being a British TV reporter speaking in reverential tones of "the flag of the ancient nation of Croatia".
The last thing any British news reporter needs is a historical context to a story.

'This summer Dinko Sakic, the 86-year-old former commander of Jasenovac, the notorious second world war concentration camp, was buried in his Ustashe uniform, the Croatian equivalent of the Nazis. After the war, Sakic emigrated to Argentina but returned after Croatian independence in 1991. He was welcomed back like a celebrity. In his interviews, Sakic repeated that he regretted nothing. What Sakic should have repented was that tens of thousands of inmates in Jasenovac were murdered under his command. He also personally executed two Jewish prisoners ... At his funeral a Dominican priest, Vjekoslav Lasic gave a speech in which he advised Croats to admire Sakic and to take him as an example.'

More on the history of our Croat allies here -

Friday, August 29, 2008

The BBC have been at it again, acting as messenger boy for the Repressive State Apparatus. A programme about al-Qa'ida was broadcast on behalf of MI5 and was a complete fabrication. The following is lifted from the Guardian Diary -

Interesting noises from the BBC following items on our front page and here in the diary telling how spooks keen to taint the al-Qaida brand spun a line to documentary makers, the better to reinforce the impression that the terrorists are in crisis. "We are pushing this material to UK media channels, eg, a BBC radio programme exposing tensions between AQ leadership and supporters," the experts wrote in a leaked document. We noted that a programme, Al-Qaida's Enemy Within, was broadcast on Radio 4 on August 7. It was repeated on the World Service on Wednesday. The BBC said there was no link between the Whitehall spinning and the programme as transmitted, though Nicola Meyrick, the executive editor of radio current affairs, now reveals on her blog that the reporter and producer "did have some contact" with the spooks while the programme was being made. However they did not meet them until the main batch of interviews had been completed, Meyrick insists. The spooks supplied her team with briefing materials, but she says they didn't use them. It was "a completely independent and impartial piece of journalism", she writes. And so we could conclude that the spooks were exaggerating. It's happened before, apparently.
"Shortly before midnight on August 7th Mr Saakashvili ordered a bomb barrage using Grad multiple-rocket launchers. This lasted through the night. Even his supporters agree that the use of indiscriminate Grad rockets, which killed civilians, was disproportionate and merciless. Mr Saakashvili said he was restoring “constitutional order”. But then so did Russia when it bombed Grozny in 1994. That Russia provoked Mr Saakashvili consistently is clear, but it is equally clear that Mr Saakashvili allowed himself to be provoked." (via Angry Arab)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Protesters at the Beijing Olympics, our media invariably referred to them as "human rights activists". They were no such thing, not the ones getting the oxygen of publicity on my telly anyway. They were supporters of Tibetan separatism, and "Free Tibet" was their only slogan. The billion plus Chinese suffering at the hands of the oligarchy were of no interest to those western tourists with attitude. The message conveyed to me was "Tibetans good, Chinese bad".
So who will be the next president of the USA - the black warmonger or the white warmonger? My money's still on the old white man.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Iraqi Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation (MoPDC) and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA), in separate reports, said that millions of Iraqi children are orphans, without shelter, or imprisoned in Iraqi and American controlled prisons. Recent statistics conducted by the MoPDC reveal that "the number of orphaned Iraqi children has reached 4-5 million and that there are some 500,000 street children."

A further study conducted for the UNDP by the Fafo Institute for Applied Social Science, found that "acute malnutrition among Iraqi children has almost doubled since the US invasion despite UN efforts." The study based on a survey of 22,000 Iraqi homes said that approximately 400,000 Iraqi children now suffer from malnutrition and said that acute malnutrition has increased to 7.7 percent since March 2003 for those aged between six months and five years.
Officials from Childhood Voices Association, a children's non-governmental organization, say that "there are 11,000 children addicted to drugs in Baghdad alone, that many girls aged 12 to 16 years old have been victims of rape, and that many girls aged 12 years and above have endured sexual harassment." The organization also quotes international reports stressing that "more than 1 million Iraqi children have entered the labor market with the increase in the rate of poverty (one third of Iraq's population live under the poverty line) and that they suffer violence and sexual abuse."

According to their report, 1.3 million children aged 8 to 16 years old, equal to 6.1% of the population, have become workers. It is also being reported that 1300 children are currently being held in detention centers and in government prisons."

Like the British and US media I'm too squeamish to show the images that accompany this piece, called "Destroying the Children of Iraq" at

Friday, August 22, 2008

The GCE results have been announced. The requisite hugging and squealing film clips have been shown on the TV news, and Lord Adonis is rubbing his hands. Several Hull schools have failed to meet his phoney result levels and he can look for privateers to take them over. If he gets his way they will become Macademies of Burger-flipping; or schools of snake juggling and speaking in tongues where the kids will be taught the five thousand year history of the universe.

A good role model for these new academies is getting some well deserved publicity today. This is the College of International Cooperation and Development, Winestead, East Yorkshire, where the students are taught street begging and recycling second-hand clothes (or rag-gathering, as we used to call it). Now the students are complaining about the curriculum, but as it's a private business it seems that the people who run the college and pocket the proceeds of their students' work experience are not breaking any rules.
That's the way to run a macademy - exploitation, exploitation, exploitation.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The drug cheat who shouldn't have been allowed to compete at the Olympics wins gold in her event. The BBC commentators are full of admiration for this women who has struggled against adversity to triumph. The adversity, remember, is her cheating, getting penalised, and enduring well deserved obloquy.
I wonder what the runners she beat to the gold think of it all.
As I said before, the best advice to young athletes is - do the drugs, don't do the tests, go to the Olympics.
Although I have not yet succumbed to the lure of reality television it is difficult to avoid the trailers the channels put on just before other programmes start. Thus I know that there are two elements essential to this form of entertainment-
i) someone has to break down and cry, and
ii)an inordinate amount of hugging is called for.
Soon there will be a clip show called, "100 Best Reality Show Sob Sessions", and another called "100 Best Reality Show Hugs".

I don't expect to see Christopher Brookmyre's Reality TV proposal commissioned -

Instead of a show that intrudes upon, patronises and humiliates "ordinary" people, I suggest one that intrudes upon, patronises and humiliates TV presenters and the executives behind these abominations; a show that takes apart their lives, foibles and failings and then helps them reconstruct themselves in a manner more acceptable to the prejudices of the programme's target demographic.

"This week, we'll be meeting Tabitha. She's a successful television presenter with her own production company, but she doesn't know which lap-dancing club her coke-addled boyfriend is currently favouring, and is still trying to prove her worth to a father who always seemed to love her older sister more. She recently spent more than she pays her char per annum to have her home 'spiritually cleansed', owns a wardrobe worth more than the average house and hasn't worn the wrong thing since her second-form end-of-term disco. Nonetheless, she wouldn't be able to tell you the name of the prime minister without Googling, and can't find her own £40,000 wet-room without her PA relaying directions via her BlackBerry. Tonight, we're going to help her calculate the true worth of her existence using our famous vacu-ometer. Then, after we've talked her down from the ledge, we'll have our regular consultant Deirdre on hand to give Tabitha some tips on building relationships with people whose affection won't be conditional upon her haircut."

The show is going to be called: So You Want to be a Bit Less of a Twunt.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"After all the usual sponsorship announcements and, United being United, the far-too-enthusiastic welcoming of corporate guests from Saudi Arabia ..."
Premier League football, what a spewsome affair! Beyond the hype, a cesspool.
Remember, America's present-day excesses are tomorrow's New Labour solutions.
In New York, the police department took control of school safety in 1998 under the Giuliani administration; by the 2005-06 school year, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union, the city employed 4,625 school safety agents and at least 200 armed officers, making the NYPD School Safety Division the 10th-biggest police force in the country—larger than those of Washington, DC, Detroit, Boston, or Las Vegas. "We are treating the kids like potential criminals," says Donna Lieberman of the NYCLU. In January, a five-year-old named Denis Rivera was handcuffed behind his back by an NYPD school safety officer for throwing a tantrum in his kindergarten class in Queens.

Monday, August 18, 2008

"There are no military installations in the city of Tskhinvali. In fact, there are no military targets at all. It is an industrial center consisting of lumber mills, manufacturing plants and residential areas. It is also the home to 30,000 South Ossetians. When Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili ordered the city to be bombed by warplanes and shelled by heavy artillery last Thursday, he knew that he would be killing hundreds of civilians in their homes and neighborhoods. But he ordered the bombing anyway."

Mike Whitney in Counterpunch.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ms. Julie Burchill has gone from atheist to "Christian tryer" ( My God she tries!) -

(by Alex Comfort)

Let them turn to the bottle
the Yogi and the rope
some of them go to Uncle Joe
some of them to the Pope -

One by one grown prosperous
of excellent intent
they set there names on the payroll
of God and Government;

one is turned evangelist,
another is turned knight:
let them go wherever they wish -
we will stay and fight.

I may come to the light at last
as others have come there;
I think they will not put my bones
in Moscow's Red Square:

I can turn both coat and mind
as well as any man -
I think they will not put my head
towards the Vatican.

All fierce beasts grow corpulent,
mature and come to hand.
Lions lie down with sheepskin wolves -
we will see them damned.
“Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century.”
George W. Bush. Seriously, that's what he said.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Some quotes I've heard or seen recently and need to record -

"The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists."
Ernest Hemingway. Gleaned from a comment on Molly and Yasmin's blog.

"While I tell you this quite happily, I will not
go on oath as to its accuracy."
Ian Duhig, "Sweet Things" (poem).

"capitalism is the devil's wet dream"
Ani DiFranco, "Serpentine" (poem).

"90% of sci-fi is shit, but then again, 90% of everything is shit."
Theodore Sturgeon, quoted in John Patterson's column in yesterday's Guardian, Film and Music.

"They're all a lot of jumped-up fascist bastards!"
Rab Nesbitt, the Sage of Govan, in a clip on the telly last night. The clip was from the eighties, and I think he was describing Thatcherite politicians, but I reckon it'll do for politicians in general.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Can't read or write? Never mind! have a few O-levels.
Education, education, education.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

According to Seumas Milne -
The CIA has in fact been closely involved in Georgia since the Soviet collapse. But under the Bush administration, Georgia has become a fully fledged US satellite. Georgia's forces are armed and trained by the US and Israel. It has the third-largest military contingent in Iraq - hence the US need to airlift 800 of them back to fight the Russians at the weekend. Saakashvili's links with the neoconservatives in Washington are particularly close: the lobbying firm headed by US Republican candidate John McCain's top foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, has been paid nearly $900,000 by the Georgian government since 2004.

But underlying the conflict of the past week has also been the Bush administration's wider, explicit determination to enforce US global hegemony and prevent any regional challenge, particularly from a resurgent Russia. That aim was first spelled out when Cheney was defence secretary under Bush's father, but its full impact has only been felt as Russia has begun to recover from the disintegration of the 1990s.

Behind Saakashvili, Bush, the World Bank and Ukraine, or Yulia-Timoshenkovia as it is soon to be called. So to say, as some do, that his days in power are numbered, is naive. Georgia, or Georgibushia, as it is soon to be called, knows better than to remove America's mouthpiece. Remember, Iraq was an ally of the US once.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Inflation is at 4.4% and rising. For some that figure is meaningless. Those who use up the bulk of their income on the basics; food (prices up 13%+), rent (zoom!), and fuel (whoosh!) are suffering from inflation of a much higher percentage. Most people don't believe government figures on inflation and cost of living anyway.
But help is at hand, Yvette Cooper says that the government is going to rectify things by cutting taxes. The poor are suffering so give the better off a handout. That's New Labour thinking. It's also Conservative thinking though they don't have to justify their discredited policies - tax cuts and more privatisation, same as New Labour - while the press are going for Big Business Brown and his motley milly band of top job jockeys.
Meanwhile the locusts are coming. My missus went shopping at Netto this morning and the place was crawling with middle class intruders snapping up the bargains. So we can expect that bastion of proletarian prudence to fall to the affluent and penny-pinching hordes. Is nowhere safe from these pushy people?

Mention of jockeys brings Alan Johnson PC to mind. He's keeping a very low profile in these days of backstabbing, rumour-mongering and insincere declarations of loyalty. Is he keeping aloof from this distasteful infighting? Or is he just waiting till the other contenders have sickened party members with their posturings and their ill-disguised treachery? Then he can offer his services as leader and claim the crown. My money's still on A.J.
Those Moroccans have been at it again, NOT kidnapping Aryan children. When are they going to live up to the stereotype the British media have created for them?

Monday, August 11, 2008

"We helped to trash Iraq, but we don't like it up us."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

"Col. Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor in Guantánamo, put the trial in a disturbing light. He testified that he was informed by his superiors that only guilty verdicts would be tolerated. He also said that he was told to bring high-profile cases quickly to help Republicans score a pre-election public relations coup."
From the New York Times, via Yasmin and Molly's Blog.

Salim Hamid Hamdan, having been sequestrated at the Guantanamo Gulag for five years, was put on trial and found guilty of being Usama Bin Ladin's driver. He was sentenced to five years and five months imprisonment.
I assumed that this sentence was passed because he was about to be released and might sue for false imprisonment. Having a guilty verdict against him would have forestalled that action.
However it seems I got it wrong. We are now informed that, on serving out his sentence, Hamdan will continue to be held as an enemy combatant. So Col. Davis's election connection seems to be the only reason for this farce.
Only in America - sorry! Only in not-America.
What is this fashion with TV interviewees? After replying to a question they hesitate for a second, then it's "... and yeah!" and off they go again. Or it's the alternative "... but yeah!" and away. Everybody's doing it, almost if it's required of them.
"Bush said that the Russian attacks on Georgia marked a 'dangerous escalation' of the crisis and urged Moscow to halt the bombing."

Bush, the man of peace, eh! You have to laugh. But those Russians, couldn't even be bothered to rustle up a dodgy dossier. Call yourself a statesman, Putin?

Friday, August 08, 2008

George Bush kept human rights high on the Olympic agenda today by calling for freedom of expression and religion just hours before he was to attend the opening ceremony.
(From today's 'Guardian')

"The abuse was horrendous, it was physical, as well as psychological. It was torture," Sharp said. "When you're locked up in such a place and treated so horrifically, they don't exactly give you a calendar, but she says it was a very long time, years for sure ... They [her captors] were Americans, there's no doubt about it."
While Sharp declined to give details of the alleged abuse, Siddiqui's sister, Fauzia, told a press conference yesterday in Islamabad that Siddiqui had been "raped repeatedly". Sharp said Siddiqui was not getting proper treatment for a bullet wound, which may have gone septic.
(From today's 'Guardian')

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Further thought on the "abducted child" soap opera -
Not long ago she was sighted in Morocco, land of swarthy non-Christian people. Every British racist knows that swarthy people can't keep their hands off fair-skinned women and children, so this was ideal tabloid fodder. Well, now the Belgian paedophiles and the swarthy circus folks (gipsies?) are in the frame, could the Moroccan government do a Robert Murat on behalf of its maligned citizenry, and sue a selection of British newspapers for damages and a grovelling apology?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Concerning the "abducted" child - you know, THE "abducted" child, the only one in the world:
isn't it strange that the abductors allowed their kidnap victim to wander around unguarded telling people she'd been kidnapped and the perpetrators were nearby?
Isn't it strange that the Dutch police didn't follow the sighting up and try to rescue this unfortunate, settling for passing the information on to the Portuguese police?
Doesn't it sound like pure fantasy?
Still it helps to keep the story going and to sell papers. Who, I wonder, shifts more newsprint, the long-dead Princess or the missing bairn?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

This evening on Radio 4 will be broadcast a programme I intend to miss. One David Aaronovitch is going to tell us what happened to the generation of '68, "the cream of his generation". Well he was 13 years old at the time and I was 29, so I may not be counted among the cream. According to this expert (translation: "know-all, mamzer") "most have become part of the establishment they rallied against". Most? Of all those tens of thousands? Here's one who became part of New Labour's underclass, and I imagine there are more like me than the sell-outs Aaronovitch "networks" and schmoozes with, and who he thinks are representative of the soixante-huitards.
The left has always been used by the greasy pole climbers, particularly the Labour Party ("left" being used very loosely here). "Shits that passed in the night", to borrow Albert Meltzer's phrase. I think of people like Prescott who posed as militants and waited to be bought off. People like Blair (once of CND) who joined the Labour Party when others were deserting it in droves, knowing how easy it would be to rise to the top and take it over, aided by the middle class Nomenklatura, Mandelson and his Machiavellian kind.
The first time I saw Aaronovitch he was fronting a TV book programme. He impressed me (adversely) by throwing a book he didn't like across the studio. An attention grabbing gimmick and a despicable act. I've loathed the man ever since. He speaks of himself as if he is a socialist, probably meaning that he votes Labour. This, he believes confers some validity on his constant criticism of anyone (so many) to the left of himself. He is a jackal in sheep's clothing, and he'll always find work at the BBC, along with Michael Gove, Bernard Ingham, Anne Leslie and Melanie Phillips.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Not everybody was a fan.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn represented the dubious moral claims of the protagonists during the Cold War, especially the American-led side. There is no doubt that Solzhenitsyn's literary greatness or genius was highly exaggerated, and the Nobel committee's decision is only one proof. This man who was lionized as a symbol of freedom was a fascist, through and through. If American knew more about him and his views they would think twice about honoring his memory. He hated everything about America and Americans, and complained about the music that Americans listened to. He argued that Americans unlike other people would not fight for an ideal. He was truly an obscurantist, anti-Semite, reactionary, traditionalist, misogynist, and a man living in the past--the medieval past. He volunteered in communist organizations early and not so early in his life, and then later would claim that he was a struggler against communist tyranny. In fact, he dreamed of writing a definitive history of the Bolshevik Revolution, before he decided to celebrate the pre-Bolshevik past. He defended the successor organization to the KGB, and would express the most reactionary views against progress and freedom. And the numbers he claimed about the communist past and the number of prisoners were simply invented by him.
"Angry Arab" (As'ad Abu Khalil)

Thatcher WAS a fan, though she couldn't pronounce his name. But then she was also a fan of Pinochet.
New to me: Globo-cop
Yesterday I used Phil Ochs' phrase "Cops of the World" to describe US foreign policy. Today I found a snappier term. Welcome to my vocabulary, "Globo-cop".

'Beyond our shores, America shoulders additional responsibilities on behalf of the world...' [US Defense Secretary, Robert Gates]

'This is truly mind-boggling. "On behalf of the world"??? When, pray, did "the world" ever ask the US to "shoulder" these responsibilities?

'Answer: Never.' [Helen Cobban]

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Saudi Arabia has issued a series of postage stamps honouring women. Angry Arab has noted that there is not one depicting a woman being stoned to death, but expects one soon.
Gary McKinnon will be extradited to the USA to be made an example of. The "cops of the world" may be stupid, but God help anyone who mocks them for it. "Your security is really crap"; no surprise there. Their system in toto, social, economic and political is crap, but rather than try to clear up their own mess they prefer to bring the rest of the world down to their level, where greed coupled with stupidity ensures chaos.
"The world's most dangerous hacker", come off it! American hyperbole! The most powerful war-making machine in human history is in danger from a bloke with a computer looking for UFOs. Still, when he's manacled, shackled and hobbled, and surrounded by overweight gunslingers he might begin to look like some mass-murderer. If the TV cameras get it right McKinnon could be America's next bogeyman.
If the British state was not so compromised by its role as junior partner in war crime we might be able to insist that the US improves its human rights record before we hand our citizens over to the US justice system. Unfortunately we have gone too far down the American road act so independently.
"Increasingly, more and more Americans are guarding more and more American prisoners for more and more years, and this amidst the lowest crime rate in decades." (Mumia Abu-Jamal on Death Row, USA). In Britain the government is to build three new prisons to hold ten thousand extra prisoners. These will, no doubt be managed by private security firms, American style. More and more Britons ... (etc.) Yes, locking people up is a flourishing business. Train now to be a screw because the alternative is to be a con.
I'd like to make a little prediction here. David Hanson, the minister currently responsible for building more and more prisons and privatising the service will one day have a well paid post on the board of a security firm that has lucrative contracts in our prison system.
All those photographs of Barry George in the papers; I was racking my brain trying to think who he reminded me of. Then it came to me - Ricky Gervais, but without the flab.

Addendum, August 4th: I saw Barry G. being interviwed on the news yesterday. He's put on a bit of weight, so the flab remark is redundant.