Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"All civilian deaths are to be condemned, but since Israel is their principal practitioner, Euro-American cant serves only to expose those who utter it. Overwhelmingly, the boot of murder is on the other foot, ruthlessly stamped into Palestine by a modern army equipped with jets, tanks and missiles in the longest-armed oppression of modern history." (Tariq Ali)

A good article by Comrade Tariq, though he soft-pedals a little too much on Hamas for my taste. I suppose anybody would look good when compared to the mass-murderers of Mount Zion.

I will also copy the words of Dr. Schlomo Schmeltzmann quoted by one commentator -
"In my childhood I have suffered fear, hunger and humiliation when I passed through the Warsaw Ghetto, through the labor camps, to Buchenwald. Today, as a citizen of Israel, I cannot accept the systematic destruction of cities, towns and refugee camps. I cannot accept the technocratic cruelty if the bombing...I hear familiar sounds today...I hear "dirty Arabs' and I remember 'dirty Jews'. I hear about 'closed areas' and I remember ghettos and camps. I hear 'two legged beasts' and I remember 'Untermenschen' ('subhumans')...Too many things in Israel remind me of too many things..."

"Voilà, voilà, ça recommence" ... (Rachid Taha)
"Obama has made no public comment on the strikes, which Israel launched on Saturday. Aides have repeatedly said he is monitoring the situation and continues to receive intelligence briefings but that there is only one U.S. president at a time."

While the above is true Obama has sent one of his errand boys, one Axelrod, to remind the media of what he said before the campaign for the presidency. This was basically - go ahead Israel, kill more Palestinians.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Terrorists start young in Gaza; the youngest of these little girls was four years old. I'm sure the hero who ended their short lives will receive a medal.

"I wish to bathe in the blood of Palestinian babies." (Condoleezzaa Riice)
Did she say that, or have I got the quote slightly wrong?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

"Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas."
(Haaretz, via Angry Arab)
Eighteen months ago a wise man wrote -
"Now the Palestinian people have a government vilified by western governments and media. Hamas are 'terrorists', so anything that happens to the Palestinians now is of their own doing. Let slip the dogs of war. The world's third most powerful military state feels threatened by its sickly Islamic neighbour. The Hamas fighters will be easily defeated, unlike the better armed Lebanese Hizbullahi fighters. Then the massacres can begin, and we in the West can stand by and watch with a clear conscience."
No, wait a minute, it wasn't a wise man, it was me. The US/Israeli game plan was that obvious. My conclusion is - the Palestinian people have been sentenced to death by Washington. They are to be snuffed out. "La question arménienne n'existe plus", said the Turk. A similar fate awaits the Palestinians; first Gaza, then the West Bank, then the Israeli Arabs. It may take some time, but it's achievable. Who will prevent it? The UN? The EU? The Arab League?
There will be hand-wringing, but the FINAL SOLUTION is in the interest of all the world powers.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

What is to be done to stop these savages? As long as the most powerful state in the world continues to bankroll the genocide, it will continue unabated.
Where, I wonder, is Peace Envoy Blair today? Let me guess, halfway up some billionaire's arse.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sad to hear of the death of Harold Pinter, our most important playwright. When I first saw Donald Pleasance in "The Caretaker", I heard people I'd been listening to for years - dossers, drifters, misfits. Pinter got it down, nailed it. I thought "This bloke's met the same people I've met". Had anyone done it before? I don't know, but Pinter's was the first that I heard doing it, That made him brilliant in my eyes, and ears.
I listened to the BBC report on his death last night. After talking about his work the reporter got on to his politics, the phrase "champagne socialism" was used. His anti-war, pro-human rights stance was treated as some sort of mental aberration that detracted from his work and somehow diminished his stature. It causes one to wonder if BBC reporters and commentators are required by the conditions of their contracts to belittle anyone whose political position is too far to the left (which, for the BBC, need not be far).
If someone like Pinter can go from relative poverty to achieve fame and fortune through a talent that brings pleasure, and perhaps, enlightenment to others, and then use an influential voice deliver a progressive message, that is no bad thing. Break out the champagne, comrades. But continue to speak for the the disadvantaged, the disenfranchised, the imprisoned, the tortured; and bollocks to the begrudgers the BBC.
The general thrust these days is: "Oh come on, it's all in the past, nobody's interested any more, it didn't work, that's all, everyone knows what the Americans are like, but stop being naive, this is the world, there's nothing to be done about it and anyway, fuck it, who cares?" Sure, as they say, sure. But let me put it this way – the dead are still looking at us, steadily, waiting for us to acknowledge our part in their murder.
(Harold Pinter)

Goodbye too to Eartha Kitt, who told Lyndon Johnson what she thought of his South-East Asian war, and found herself out of work in her native land for four years. What did Orson Welles call her, the sexiest woman alive? Something like that.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Speaking to reporters in Downing Street, the prime minister said: "What I have learned from this byelection is that people are prepared to support governments that will help people through the downturn and offer real help to people."

"However, a briefing paper obtained by the Mail on Sunday said the government was looking at plans to abolish some of the £500m in interest free loans from the social fund handed out to more than 1 million benefit claimants each year.
"The document suggested that, in future, some of the loans would be made through credit unions, which charge interest rates of up to 26.8%."
"Why don’t 90 percent of the abuses of power we look at on this site get covered by the national media?" Asks a reader of the linked (US) report. Simple, the mainstream media have power and they abuse it. "Power without responsibility, the prerogative of the harlot", as some hypocrite who could have curbed that power once said.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"At the age of 15, Davy Graham was filmed playing an incredibly complex guitar arrangement of Cry Me a River," says McTell, looking at his copy of Graham's debut album. "All of us guitarists - Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Jimmy Page, myself - owe it all to this wonderful musician. For my 19th birthday, a friend of mine bought me a copy of Anji and I was the first person on my block to learn to play it. That was my big achievement. But Davy never runs out of ideas, and there has not been anyone who has come close. He was on the same level as Miles Davis and all of the jazz guys, and the rest of us couldn't really pretend to understand what he was doing."
I was looking for an article on Davy to link to when I came across these words of Ralph McTell's. I didn't find the article, so I'll just copy out this story from a clipping. The article is by Will Hodgkinson who called Davy "gracious but eccentric".
"A trip to a nearby pub ended in disaster, when hearing Roll With It by Oasis on the pub stereo induced a panic attack in Graham. We returned to his flat, and for the rest of the evening he stood in the middle of his bedroom and played the mandolin with his eyes closed, smiling in beatific concentration."
Quite understandable really.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I've just learned of the death, yesterday, of the great Davy Graham. One of the giants of British music, on whose shoulders others stood in order to see further. I've seen and heard him on TV, in films and on the net; I have most of his recorded output, but I never saw him live. Now I never will. This is sad news for me, and, I'm sure, for many others.
The Guardian (per Ben Myers) has collected the video clips which are on the internet, and published them in one place. I've linked to them.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Muntadhar az-Zaydi - good idea, poor execution. Or was "the dog" too nimble for him? As someone has pointed out, Bush got plenty of practice in dodging the draft.
I hope the poor fellow gets out alive, but I fear the worst. Bush's request for clemency is one that the Iraqi puppets will feel able to ignore.
He is a journalist, let's hope his colleagues show some solidarity.
There's one born every minute, goes the saying - and any one of them would qualify to run a British bank.
"Cupidity plus stupidity", whose definition was that?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Should have joined the Euro.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Re yesterday's comment that the assassins of Jean Charles de Menezes would soon be promoted - it turns out that the officer who gave the order to kill has already been promoted.
Why is it that a police officer who kills is guaranteed promotion?

Friday, December 12, 2008

The two Doncaster lawyers have been struck off by the Law Society for ripping off sick miners. Now they're out of work and will have to survive on the £150 million they stole from their clients. Sorry, did I say stole? My mistake, they didn't steal anything, it seems. So they won't be paying anything back.
They took advantage of their position to exploit the working class - that's capitalism, folks, nothing wrong with that.
All this reminds me of the VENDSIDE scam; a firm set up by officers of the scab union UDM to cheat sick miners out of their compensation money. Whatever happened to those thieving, belly-crawling parasites? Nothing, I suppose. After all they did sterling work in their day for the boss class and its agent, the Thatcher government.
Interestingly Beresfords and Vendside/UDM were in cahoots at one time.
Now it can be told. The coroner at the Menezes inquest tried to clear the court of the public and the press while he addressed the jury. The public refused to leave (God bless 'em!). The coroner placed a gagging order on the media, preventing them from reporting such unusual occurrences as the defence team's boycott of his summation.
All his machinations were in vain, the jury returned a verdict he didn't want, but not, unfortunately the one that the one they would have returned had he not forbidden it.
The Home Secretary has issued a statement sympathising with the police in their inability to do the job properly.
I predict that the killers will be soon be promoted.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Speaking to reporters in Downing Street, the prime minister said: "What I have learned from this byelection is that people are prepared to support governments that will help people through the downturn and offer real help to people."

That was then, this is now -
"James Purnell was accused of introducing a version of the American 'workfare' today after he published plans to ensure that most benefit claimants are preparing for employment.
"The work and pensions secretary said that under the proposals in his white paper on welfare reform 'virtually everyone' claiming benefits would have to do something in return for their money."
"Chris Grayling, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said that, while the Tories were supportive of the plans, they were almost identical to their own ideas, published in January."
"The minister also criticised the treatment of some customers forced to pay higher charges because they use pre-payment meters or who can only be served by a single supplier, warning that the government would take action to stamp out unfair charging."
Oh yes, It's going to happen one day.
I bought some stamps, second class, yesterday. What did I get? A special Christmas print depicting transvestites, ugly men dragged up as ugly women. What is it about men dressed as women that people find comical? And what is it about this exercise in bad taste that the Post Office deems aesthetically pleasing?
I'm at a loss.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

March 19, 2008
I will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. We can responsibly remove 1 to 2 combat brigades each month. If we start with the number of brigades we have in Iraq today, we can remove all of them [in] 16 months. After this redeployment, we will leave enough troops in Iraq to guard our embassy and diplomats, and a counter-terrorism force to strike al Qaeda if it forms a base that the Iraqis cannot destroy.

December 7, 2008 (Meet the Press)
We are going to maintain a large enough force in the region to assure that our civilian troops--or our, our, our civilian personnel and our, our embassies are protected, to make sure that we can ferret out any remaining terrorist activity in the region, in cooperation with the Iraqi government, that we are providing training and logistical support, maintaining the integrity of Iraq as necessary. And, you know, I--one of the things that I'll be doing is evaluating what kind of number's required to meet those very limited goals.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Henry Kissinger, mass murderer, sponsor of terrorists, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has given his seal of approval to Obama's security appointments.
I suppose "change" could have meant bombing different countries.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A school in Chesterfield is closing down its library and sacking the librarian. The school is to become a "virtual learning environment". Is that virtual as opposed to real? I expect we'll soon hear a statement from the department that used to be "of education" that students, who used to be pupils, are to be reclassified as customers. It's all about choice, you see.
It seems that books are no longer "cool", to use a middle class expression. Schools all over the country are closing down their libraries and joining the Microsoft dependant multitudes. Soon their student-customers will be able to work towards qualifications in text messaging,video gaming, and operating a till.
De Menezes coroner rules out unlawful killing verdict (today's Guardian)

Who could have predicted that? Not me, my money was on him recommending an open verdict, but he's gone further and said he wants "lawful killing". Cheeky bleeder!

Monday, December 01, 2008

One leader of the Bajrang Dal (a paramilitary Hindu right-wing group) described his own role with pride: "There was this pregnant woman, I slit her open. ...They shouldn't even be allowed to breed. I say that even today. Whoever they are, women, children, whoever, nothing to be done with them but cut them down. Thrash them, slash them, burn the bastards. ... The idea is, don't keep them alive at all; after that, everything is ours." ... All of this is terrorism, but most of it doesn't reach the world's front pages. When it does make it into newspapers outside India, the word "terrorism" is rarely used. The result is a perception, in India and abroad, that Muslims are the bad guys in every incident of terrorist violence.

(via Yasmin and Molly's blog)
More than 2000 Muslims were massacred in Gujarat in 2002 - poor people, native people, and no Europeans. Hovels were ransacked and destroyed, hotels, airports and railway stations were untouched. So not such a big story then?
When I first heard reports of the Battle of Mumbai I thought, "This is Muslim payback for 2002", but not so according to the Indian authorities. So what is the truth? We're not going to get that from the Indian authorities, or the Pakistani government, or for that matter from the British or US intelligence apparatus.
Is there a "Deccan Mujahidin"? Were the terrorists trained and equipped in Pakistan? Could the attentat have been executed without local support and intelligence? The Indians appear to be peddling that line. Could just ten gunmen have caused such mayhem and held out against armed police and military for so long?
The British media were selling a line that this outrage was directed at westerners, and that people holding British and US passports were being singled out. The casualty figures don't support this claim - 188 dead, of whom 28 were foreigners, one being British. It appears from these figures that no particular group was targeted; that this was the kind of atrocity favoured by fascists (stategy of tension) and religious terrorists. That is, there was no goal beyond maximum human casualties and maximum destruction of property; in other words terrorism in its purest form.

Addendum: I forgot to mention that governments sometimes use this form of terrorism in order to make their populations less resistant to their arrogation of excessive powers, and suppression of civil rights. An external agent is always blamed.
I also forgot to acknowledge the linked article by Professor Martha Nussbaum.
There is some unconfirmed information on the terrorists on wikipedia under the title "Deccan Mujahidin.