Thursday, March 31, 2011

I didn't know that -
The rebel’s military leader is a long time CIA asset, Khalifa Hifter. Before returning to Benghazi last week, Hifter spent two decades in Northern Virginia, a five minute drive from CIA headquarters.

I did know that -
Under King Idris, Libya was also host to American and British military bases. With 4,600 Yanks, Wheelus air base was even dubbed "Little America by the Mediterranean."

Their radio station played good music too.
I am concerned that the military action in Libya could result in Britain being dragged into a prolonged conflict like the Iraq war

Agree: 71 per cent
Don't know: 5 per cent
Disagree: 24 per cent
Welcome to Britain Mousa Kousa. You may have been a torturer, a facilitator of terrorism, but that's all in the past (two weeks ago, in fact). Now you're a democrat, a defender of freedom.
How are you going to play it, Moose? You're going to have to talk to the CIA, and they'll want you to confirm that Libya was guilty of the Lockerbie bombing. But that's as good as saying that you planned the atrocity. Deny Libya's and your guilt and you'll probably be cut loose, no anonymity, no round-the-clock bodyguards. Confirm it, and what? You'll be surprised how forgiving our rulers can be. No doubt a script is being prepared for you that will point the finger at Libyan intelligence while showing you to be free of all blame. Perhaps, like Kurt Waldheim in the Balkans, you were on sick leave at the time.
The British government has stated that you do not have immunity for past offenses. Don't worry about that, nobody takes any notice of British government statements, They're just intended to give the press something to print now that now that news gathering is unfashionable.
Here's my advice, though an old stager like you won't really need any. Give them Gadhafi and his offspring; movements, location of bunkers, etc. But first tell them that they can't trust the contenders, Abd-al-Jawal, Tarhuni, Mesmari (Sarkozy's boy). Promise them that if they ease you into the top spot the steady flow of cheap oil is guaranteed.
Home and dry.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fabio Capello claims he only needs 100 words of English to manage the England team - or 25 in Rooney's case.
I think he's made a mistake, so I'm suggesting some useful phrases for communicating with his players.

i) "I've lost count, how many scheduled dope tests have you forgotten to turn up for?"

ii) "This is the phone number of a good lawyer. He's defended a lot of rape cases."

iii) "I think the lad should be given another chance. A custodial sentence would be major setback at this stage in his career."

iv) "You dirty, disgusting pervert, she's young enough to be your daughter."

v) "You dirty, disgusting pervert, she's old enough to be your granny."

vi) "I've told you before, no cocaine/whores/accountants/brokers/ in the dressing room."

v) "When I said I need you to score I didn't mean ring your dealer."

vi) "Give me that phone. Did I hear you say ten thou on England to lose?"

Another tip - don't take English lessons from Ron Atkinson.
"The Metropolitan Police detained 201 people on Saturday, as they battled break-away factions of activists targeting shops in London's West End. A total of 149 have been charged in connection with the protests – 138 of them (94 per cent) face criminal charges of aggravated trespass at the high-end store, with only 11 charged for the more violent protests elsewhere in the capital, including serious disturbances in the West End during which police were pelted with ammonia-filled lightbulbs."
(Todays 'Independent')

UKUncut's peaceful occupiers of Fortnum and Mason were assured by cops inside the store that, if they left in an orderly fashion, they would not be stopped or questioned by police outside. On exiting the store they were grabbed, arrested and charged. Some were pepper-sprayed, some assaulted.

Fortnum and Mason lost £80,000 on the day as a result of the peaceful occupation.
STS Bulletin no. 35

"The United States should not - and cannot - intervene every time there is a crisis somewhere in the world ..."
(Baruch Obama)


"OK, Israel, carry on with the ethnic cleansing."

Alternative translation -

"No oil, no crisis, no intervention."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Two items from today's news -
1. The Libyan rebels have taken the main oil towns, Adjabiya, etc.
2. NATO is taking over policing the no-fly zone.

Job done - eh, Dave?
Now we know why it took so long to get an agreement on the NATO takeover.
ORGANIZED RAGE: Video: NHS; Andrew Lansley, take the rap.

No rap fan I, and I couldn't understand the first minute or so, but the message overcomes the medium.

Some information on MC Nxt Gen and his lyrics(?) here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

STS Bulletin no. 34

"Imposing a no fly zone over Libya"

translates as

Bombing Tripoli.

I'm trying to get a grip on what's going on in Libya. Unfortunately everybody involved is lying; the "coalition", the Gadhafi gang, the insurgents. The British media are spinning like Mevlevi dervishes. Nothing credible can be gleaned from the BBC's 24 hour news service. The one truthful statement coming out of the media and independent observers is that nobody knows who the insurgents are - what organisations are leading, guiding, manipulating them.
One independent journalist claimed this morning that British special forces are fighting beside the insurgents. Everyone seems to be agreed that land forces will be sent in eventually, leading some to wonder when, once installed, they will ever withdraw.
This adventure was undertaken, according to mealy-mouthed politicians, to prevent the slaughter of innocent civilians, but their tactic of dropping bombs on cities doesn't sit well with their declared aims. That "dirty little three-letter word" (George Galloway) keeps coming to mind, and some sceptics allege that the need to protect British and other investments in Libya's oil industry is a leading motive for Cameron's war.
The aim behind the bombing of Tripoli is either to smoke Gadhafi, or to demoralise the population to the extent that they will decide that taking on the dictator and his troops is no more dangerous that waiting to become collateral damage.
I get the impression that the size of Gadhafi's support among the Libyan population has been underestimated by western observers. Add to that the mix of monarchists, Sanusiyya and former Gadhafi yes-men, who present themselves as the opposition, there doesn't seem much to choose between the factions.

When I was doing part of my army time in Libya in the late fifties, the country was, not to mince words, a shithole. It was ruled by a British protegé who had been installed as king. The economy seemed to depend mainly on a British and US military presence, providing menial jobs for the lower orders, and - I assume - featherbedding His Majesty, and the in-crowd. The only national product to be seen was dates. Middling businesses seemed in the main to be in the hands of Italian colons, who had been shipped over by Mussolini in the days of his new Roman Empire. The native population might be street pedlars or stallholders.
Later, in the 1960s oil was discovered and the oil-slickers moved in. Any profits going to the Libyans went straight to HM who shared it with a chosen few. Until 1969 when the army decided enough was enough. Enter Mu'ammar Gadhafi, future bogeyman of the West. The oil profits began to be used for social purposes, healthcare, housing, etc. The people were now better off than they'd ever been. The British, the Yanks and the Italians were served eviction orders.
It couldn't last. Gadhafi began to see himself as a Messiah, and began to spread the word beyond his country's borders, mainly by means of firearms and explosives. The West began its futile attempts to undermine him; bungled assassinations, etc., fuelling his paranoia.
So here we are. The beast must die. The oil flow must be under the control of a more amenable thug.
Personally, I suspect that some of Gadhafi's hard core support must come from the older folks who remember the tyrant who kept them in poverty, and prefer the tyrant who brought some improvement to their lives. Whichever tyrant the Western invaders impose won't be any more liberal than the Sanusi or the false Messiah.

I still believe that Gadhafi was fitted up for the Lockerbie bomb. That the guilty party was Iran who contracted the job out to Jibril's mercenaries; revenge for the Iranian airbus atrocity . But the White House and the CIA wanted Gadhafi's head on a plate, so the evidence was manufactured to suit. More here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Control oil and you control nations. Control food and you control the people."
(Henry Kissinger, Nobel laureate, mad bomber, and control freak)

Monday, March 21, 2011

From Peace News Log -

How to Fill In Your Census Form without Lockheed Martin Profiting (long version)

How to Fill In Your Census Form Without Lockheed Martin Profiting (short version)

I particularly like the term "fill in". What a change to read the British expression. I thought our people had forgotten it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thinking about the religious affiliation question on the census form -
Maybe I should subscribe to the late George Carlin's Joe Pesci worship, certainly an exclusive cult.
Looks like David "Dave" cameron is going to get his mini-war after all.
When are the local elections that were going to be a disaster for the coalition of cuts?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda."

Oh dear! This is going to make a lot of useful idiots redundant. Maybe they can get work with the Israeli hasbara machine until the Pentagon decides to share the software the USA's most favoured parasite.
Today is Saint Patrick's Day, so a little bit of Celtic Twilight, or Irish Mist.

Some years ago - 51 to be precise - I was in a pub where a well-oiled customer was trying to sing a song. It was in Irish and he clearly didn't know the song as he was repeating the same few lines.
After he gave up he turned to me and asked me if I understood what he was singing. I said no, except that it was about somebody called John O'Dwyer. "Seán O'Dwyer", he corrected me. I thought, "OK pal, same thing in my book".
I often wondered after this, who was Seán O'Dwyer, and why was he worth a song. Then, maybe fifteen years later, reading a little book by Frank O'Connor, I came across a poem which he'd translated from the Irish and which he called "Lament for the Woodlands".
The last lines of the first verse were -

"But now the woods are falling
We must go over the water -
Seán O'Dwyer of the valley
Your pleasure is no more."

and there I had it.

So who was this Seán O'Dwyer? No-one of import, as far as I could gather from Frank O'Connor's version. Some dispossessed landowner who, sometime in the 18th century, decided to skulk around his lost lands sponging off his former tenants instead of going "over the water" and into exile. It is clear that in better times his only interest was in his own diversions; hunting, "sporting and playing".
But that's not what the poem is really about, much more is being alluded to; the broken Treaty of Limerick, the flight of the "Wild Geese", the extirpation of the Catholic and Jacobite Irish, the denudation of the land for timber. It is a snapshot, in a few verses, of a time (a nadir?) in Ireland's history, though only, perhaps, from the viewpoint of a particular caste.

Over time I've gathered more information about the original poem/song, which is called in Irish "Seán Ó Duibhir an Ghleanna". One W.J.Fitzpatrick claimed that the author of the poem was a Redemptorist priest named Albert Barry*. The time in which the poem is set seems not to have been established beyond doubt. Some opinions place it in the aftermath of 1691, when English carpetbaggers descended on Ireland seizing the estates of the Jacobite soldiery, in contravention of the guarantees of the Treaty of Limerick. Others place it during the Cromwellian plantations, when "undertakers" and "adventurers"** descended on Ireland bearing titles to the best remaining land in the hands of the "mere Irish".
The latter period is the more likely, as it was then that the forests came to be exploited commercially.

Here is Frank O'Connor's English version of the poem.
Here is the Irish
original with further information and additional verses.
Here is a sung version.

*An 18th century Gael named Albert? Perhaps the Irish Ailbhe was Englished Alby, and some modern commentator thought it short for Albert, though Fitzpatrick would surely have known better.

** "Undertakers" were Englishmen who purchased title to Irish lands. Sometimes they sold the land on to others who were called "adventurers".

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

ORGANIZED RAGE: Joe Higgins, newly elected socialist TD,(MP) savag...

Quick, buy this man off. Stuff his mouth with gold.
The TUC protest on 26 March against the Tory cuts needs to be huge – here are just 26 reasons to join it

1. 162,000 council job cuts

The proposed council job losses total currently stands at 162,718.
As you read this it will have gone up even further.
The job cuts include more than 7,000 jobs in Birmingham alone. The funding cuts hit poor areas much harder than rich ones. Deprived areas such as Hackney, Knowsley, Doncaster and South Tyneside have been hit with the maximum funding cut.
Meanwhile leafy Windsor, Richmond and Buckinghamshire all get cuts of less than 1 percent.
And this massacre is just part of the half a million job cuts the Tories plan to make across the public sector

2. The rich are getting richer

The wealth of the 1,000 richest people in Britain stands at a record £336 billion, according to the Sunday Times rich list.
It went up by an incredible £77 billion last year.
Why not tax that instead of cutting jobs and services?

3. Tax dodges of the wealthy

The rich already avoid or evade £120 billion a year of tax, according to the PCS civil service workers’ union.
Companies such as Vodafone and Topshop use legal tax dodges to get out of paying their way

4. Bosses’ obscene and growing pay

The bosses of the FTSE 100 top companies paid themselves an average of £4.9 million last year.
Bart Becht of Reckitt Benckiser, Britain’s highest paid chief executive, pocketed £92.6 million—more than 3,000 workers at the firm put together

5. Billions spent on killing

The war in Afghanistan costs Britain £4.5 billion a year.
And if we scrapped all the Trident nuclear missiles, that would save another £97 billion over the next 20 years

6. Making war on the poor

The Tories are forcing unemployed people into unpaid work. And they have brought in harsh testing for disability benefits.
Private contractor Atos has declared people with severe disabilities as “fit to work”, which has thrown them off badly-needed benefits

7. Fight to save our nurseries

In Manchester, the cuts mean the council is closing every SureStart nursery unless “volunteers” can be found to run them.
This could soon happen everywhere

8. ‘Social cleansing’ of the cities

Slashing housing benefit will shunt almost a million of the poorest households out to the furthest corners of our towns and cities

9. Cabinet full of millionaires

Transport minister Philip Hammond sits on a £9 million fortune. Chancellor George “Gideon” Osborne (left) has £4.3 million—and is dodging inheritance tax. David Cameron has £3.2 million. Lib Dem Nick Clegg is worth more than £1 million. They’re not “all in it together” with us

10. Losing our libraries

The Tories are closing more than 450 libraries.
Local branch libraries and rural libraries will be hardest hit. Sixty closed last year

11. Health service is in crisis

The government says it is handing the NHS over to be “run by doctors”. But the truth is that it is handing it over to private firms that only want to make a fast buck.
The will pave the way for full privatisation of the health service.
So-called “GP consortia” will be given control of the NHS budget.
But busy GPs will not have time to run the service—that job will end up in the hands of the private sector. From there the privateers will be in a position to start taking over whole parts of the service—profit not need will dominate the NHS.
Thousands of jobs are already going every week.
At the Heart of England NHS Trust, in the West Midlands, for example, 1,600 jobs are to go — that’s one in five of the workforce

12. Michael Gove

All the talk about parents and community groups running schools is a Trojan horse for handing over control of education to business groups and privateers

13. Royal Mail privatisation

Not even Margaret Thatcher dared to sell Royal Mail—but the coalition has private mail firms lined up to take it over.
Leading bidder TNT closed all its own post offices in the Netherlands two years ago

14. Selling off our trees

Outrage and mass marches against the Tories’ plan to privatise all Britain’s forest seems to have made them back off for now.
But that they wanted to do it shows nothing is safe—and they’re still planning to cut jobs at the Forestry Commission

15. Bankers’ bunged huge bonuses

While we suffer, good times are here again for the bankers — not that they ever went away.
On 15 February, the day Barclays announced its £6 billion profits, the firm’s traders were splashing their bonus cash on champagne.
A Porsche dealership said its most expensive cars were selling out because of bonus season, while posh wine merchant Berry Bros and Rudd said there had been a run on its £5,000-a-case Chateau Latour wines.
Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond pocketed a bonus of at least £9 million. He has an estimated fortune of £95 million.
We bailed out the bankers to the tune of £130 billion. That’s the money they’re now claiming is “profit”. The banks are still there—we should take our cash back

16. High prices, low pay

As the RPI inflation measure hits 5.1%, the VAT tax rise starts to bite and interest rate rises loom on the horizon, everything is getting more expensive.
Most workers’ pay is frozen

17. Health and safety cuts kill

The Tories’ plan to deal with 50,000 work-related deaths a year, according to TUC figures, is to slash the number of health and safety inspections

18. Pensions slashed

Up to five million public sector workers will work for longer and pay more in contributions, and end up with lower pensions at the end of it.
The government is already playing the trick of changing the rate they increase at from RPI inflation measure to the lower CPI rate.
This means the average public sector worker will see the amount paid into their pension fall from £7,250 a year to just £4,750.
But the government has even worse plans lined up. Its pensions review is also looking at raising workers’ contribution rates—effectively a pay cut.
And the pension age is rising more quickly to 66. If you’re male and under 40, you’ll have to work until you’re at least 68

19. A million on scrapheap

Youth unemployment stands at one in five—the highest since records began.
And the majority of those without a job have never had one

20. Education for the rich

Many rely on the £30-a-week Education Maintenance Allowance to go to college—but the coalition has scrapped it.
And if you want to go on to university, it’ll mean running up massive debts to pay the £9,000 a year fees

21. Youth centres shut

More than 3,000 youth workers are set to lose their jobs as nearly every project working with 13-18 year olds is at risk

22. Students and workers united

26 March will be a chance to bring together hundreds of thousands of students, trade unionists and others against the Tory government’s attacks

23. Plans to ban strikes

The Tories are threatening to make the already draconian anti-union laws even harsher by requiring minimum turnouts before strike ballots are valid—and to make it legal to sack anyone on the spot who has been employed for less than two years

24. They’re trying to divide us

David Cameron’s speech saying “multiculturalism has failed” was a blatant attempt to get us to turn our anger away from the Tories and make us turn on each other. We can’t let him get away with it

25. Cuts discriminate

Services dedicated to women, LGBT people, black and Asian people and people with disabilities have been some of the first to go in the cuts. These groups also make up a higher proportion of workers in the public sector, and so are more likely to lose their jobs

26. A chance to turn the tide

Imagine being there with your workmates on a monster demonstration of hundreds of thousands. The next day people won’t feel like they’re fighting the cuts alone—they’ll see they are part of a mass movement that can win

Monday, March 14, 2011

I've just learned of the death, on Saturday, of Joe Morello. Joe's solo on the Brubeck Quartet's "Take Five" is about the only drum solo I can tolerate. It is a true solo and part of the overall theme, whereas most solos by jazz drummers are a sideshow, an intrusive piece of showing off, that should be discouraged by discerning bandleaders.
Joe was 82, a good run, particularly for a jazzman of his era.
More here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nick Clegg has promised that the National Health Service will not be privatised.
Goodbye NHS.

"Reforming the NHS is like turning around an oil tanker, but turning around an oil tanker is even harder if you are taking it apart at the same time."
(John Pugh, Post-Liberal MP)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A letter from political prisoner Salah Hammouri.

Friday, March 11, 2011

My posting of the call to make Dudeism a recognised religion via this year's census doesn't mean I'm going to label myself a member of the Church of the Latter Day Dude. If I complete the form I'll declare myself some kind of heathen, or perhaps a Spinozist.
In fact I'm torn between boycotting the process and collaborating to avoid a £1,000 fine. The fact that the 2011 census is to be conducted by the armsmongers Lockheed Martin is a cause for concern. This from the Guardian -
Lockheed Martin – which does 80% of its work for the US defence department – assists more than two dozen American government agencies and is involved in surveillance and data processing for the CIA and FBI. It has controversially provided private contract interrogators to the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. All US-based companies are subject to the Patriot Act, which allows the US government to have access to any data in the company's possession. Campaigners have warned this could give the US government access to detailed and personal data on the UK's entire population.

The principled stand is non-cooperation, but can I afford to be principled?
"Erst kommt das Fressen
Dann kommt die moral."
(Bertholt Brecht)

"How can a poor man stand such times and live?"
(Alfred Reed, via Ry Cooder)

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

"There are all manner of new religions being put on the UK census. On the 2001 Census we had 'Jedi' become a recognised religion. There is a group to have 'Heavy Metal' formerly recognised as a religion.
"Our aim should be to get 'Dudeism' formally recognised on our Census. An ancient philosophy that preaches non-preachiness, practices as little as possible, and above all, uh…lost my train of thought there. Anyway, if you’d like to find peace on earth and goodwill, man, we’ll help you get started. Right after a little nap."

International solidarity - "think globally, act locally".

Monday, March 07, 2011

New to me (no.12)


The bad old days will end: The Edgelands.: "There is nothing us psychogeographers like more than a nice bit of marginal land. Of course, when we are out and about with our lovers and m..."

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Why did those SAS (or SBS?) "diplomats" sneak into Libya by the back door? Because the Libyans know that the West's interest in their country doesn't go beyond the production and export of its oil. They didn't want to speak to any freedom fighters, I reckon that they wanted to go straight to the top, to Abd-al-Jalil. I've already suggested that they are looking for a murdering gangster they can do business with. Abd-al-Jalil was one of Gadhafi's inner circle, so no doubt Western intelligence gatherers have a nice thick file on his misdeeds that they can use to bring him onside.

Why is Cameron leading the charge on Libya, followed by no one as it happens?
I was thinking, as their domestic policies make them as hated as Thatcher was during the early eighties, the Cameronians will be looking for a Falklands war of their own to get us all to rally round the flag that the right-wing media will wave enthusiastically.
A little Cameronian war doesn't seem likely, but a bit of sabre-rattling doesn't go amiss. "We were up for it, but the Yanks and the Europeans chickened out."
At this point it's worth mentioning a reader's letter in yesterday's Guardian. The writer pointed out the the 'Falklands effect' was a fallacy. The pro-Thatcher vote fell after the Falklands adventure, but her pachydermatous skin was saved by 'Doctor Death' Owen and his misleadingly named 'Social Democrats', who split the anti-Thatcher vote.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Barnsley Central Byelection

As the revising officer for the above constituency I declare that the seat was taken by the "None of the Above Party", which was backed by almost two-thirds of the electorate (63.5%).
The British Nazi Party's share of the vote fell to less than half of its General Election result, but rose as a percentage of votes cast, owing to the establishment's refusal to recognise None of the Above Party (to its peril).
The pro-BNP votes tell us that there are 1,463 electors in Barnsley Central who don't object to the killing off of the disabled and the chronically ill.
As for the Post-Liberal Party, well it's members (such as remain) can go back to their constituencies and prepare for annihilation.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

"Rupert Murdoch's controversial bid to take full control of BSkyB was boosted today when the Government backed proposals to spin off Sky News as part of any deal.
"The Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was minded to wave through the takeover by News Corporation after the media giant offered to make the channel into a separate independent company and subsidise it for a decade."

That's Jeremy Hunt of rhyming slang fame.

Onward and upward, Mr. Murdoch, the BBC will soon be in your grasp.
A petition -

"We believe that the hugely unpopular Health and Social Care BIll may do lasting damage to the NHS, leading to inequality between areas, reduced public accountability, poorer levels of patient care and less value for money. The changes are also likely to strain the NHS budget, at a time when cuts are already being made.

"We urge you to listen to your constituents and the increasing number of healthcare professionals and charities. Please vote against the Bill at its third reading in the House of Commons."

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Sarkozy: I propose a no fly zone over Libya, and economic sanctions.
Cameron: Ridiculous idea; overreaction.
Obama: I propose a no fly zone over Libya, and economic sanctions.
Cameron: Cracking idea, let's do it!