Friday, 29 February 2008
Aw, spare a thought for Britain's poor Prince Harry who, due to fears for his precious royal ass, is to be stopped from killing Afghanis in a country occupied in the interests of Capital. In its customarily nauseating way the ever-compliant UK media has been indulging in a surfeit of coverage over the last few days of how the secret of his derring-do's there was kept.
If nothing else, the entire episode well illustrates the deep chasm of separation that exists between the manufactured reality of bread and circuses upon which the mainstream media is entirely dependent for perpetuating its own bubble of unreality and that other, little-mentioned world of dis-empowerment in which most of us live. The world to which these, albeit highly-paid, newscasters have to return once their job of disseminating state propaganda is done for the day.
Prince Harry bravely killing the Enemy
Harry Windsor, or Cornet Wales as he is known in the British Army, is said to have killed 30 Afghanis during a suddenly-curtailed tour of duty. What a jolly brave chap! After all, it's young fellows like this who are going out there and doing all this on behalf of their country, brags the dullard Minister for War, Des Brown.
"On behalf of their country"? A nice little anodyne phrase to hide from the real world where the overwhelming majority of Brits remain staunchly opposed to their government's illegal killing spree in Iraq and Afghanistan. No matter how hard either the likes of the miserable Browns (both Gordon and Des) or the MSM try to force-feed us with their shit they will only find it spat back unappreciatively in their faces.
The truth is that in the eyes of international and UK law what the British Government is collectively guilty of are war crimes, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. And by giving her royal assent to an illegal attack on a peaceful country, HM the Queen also became a war criminal together with Emperor Hirohito of war-time Japan. And it was she, we discover, who unerringly guided her idiot grandson, Harry, into the ways of crime.
It's well known that the mentality of the whingeing Brit is to grumble endlessly and then to do nothing. But within these seething masses there are still a few who value above all the dictates of their conscience and common decency. And it is these who will finally prove to be the nemesis of the lying ministers, governments and the rest of the apparat on which Britain's totalitarian state depends.
Contemporary Britain is now in exactly the same place that the Soviet Union found itself forty years ago when the privileged ruling classes were having to defend their interests from the increasingly discontented masses. Every form of coercion and control was used. Yet few took seriously the propaganda that spewed out of the state's media. "Believe the opposite of what they tell you and you won't be far wrong" was the common wisdom of the times.
And now it is our turn in the West to experience another form of totalitarianism. This time, not in the sole interests of the state but also in those of their corporate capitalist masters. No matter, it is still totalitarianism pure and simple that's gaining momentum now as Big Brother greedily grabs out for more and more power to control us all.
The way in which the MSM has promoted the unpleasant story of a common serial-killer in Afghanistan as an example of bravery, patriotism and all things good should tell us just how awry things are going and the terrible sickness that afflicts England's green and pleasant land.
Top US Lawyer And UNICEF Data Reveal Afghan Genocide
Read it here
Former SAS soldier, Ben Griffin, gave this whistle-blower's speech at at an anti-war rally yesterday, just hours before the lying UK Govt brought a high court injunction to gag him from making any further revelations of its complicity in US torture war crimes.
With its roots in class elitism, British governments are the most secretive in the world. The reason is simple: it's because British governments are among the most incompetent in the world and don't like to admit it. Their slavish adherence to US foreign policy is hidden behind a pretence of independence.
As a result of which both the Queen and the UK Government became war criminals by supporting the Bush junta's aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq. But it didn't stop there. UK ministers continued to support unquestioningly every criminal action perpetrated by the US in those countries.
Now that someone has had the courage to blow the whistle UK ministers are sent scurrying into cover and the law is misused to conceal their traitorous lies, incompetence and criminality. Despite anything they will now say the truth is out:
The British government is a collective war criminal which is complicit in torture and genocide.
Thursday, 28 February 2008
"There is no issue more serious then the continued militarization of our country and our culture. We have seen this and exposed this from Uncovered to Iraq for Sale to Fox Attacks Iran.
But right now, we want to call attention to someone who not only embraces the song of war, he literally sings it!
The mainstream press is absorbed in the presidential race—the latest poll numbers, the in-fighting between Obama and Clinton—while we seek to expose the true story humming just beneath the surface (yes, this calls for some major puns in a matter very serious... sometimes satire can be the most effective way to reach people).
Let everyone see firsthand (with a little help from our composers) that the senator embraces war in a dangerous and irresponsible manner."
Get the mp3 for free at http://mccainsings.com
Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early
See more here
Wednesday, 27 February 2008
Former SAS soldier blows apart Govt denial of UK torture involvement.
Posted on Medialens by MikeD Email on February 27, 2008,
I have no idea which members of the press attended this conference but, from what I can see, there has been ZERO coverage...
Extracts from statement by Ben Griffin, ex-SAS soldier, press conference on 25 February 2008.
Our government would have us believe that our involvement in the process known as Extraordinary Rendition is limited to two occasions on which planes carrying detainees landed to refuel on the British Indian Ocean Territory, Diego Garcia.
The use of British Territory and airspace pales into insignificance in light of the fact that it has been British soldiers detaining the victims of Extraordinary Rendition in the first place. Since the invasion of Afghanistan in the autumn of 2001 UKSF has operated within a joint US/UK Task Force. This Task Force has been responsible for the detention of hundreds if not thousands of individuals in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Individuals detained by British soldiers within this Task force have ended up in Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, Bagram Theatre Internment Facility, Balad Special Forces Base, Camp Nama BIAP and Abu Ghraib Prison.
Early involvement of UKSF in the process of Extraordinary Rendition centres around operations carried out in Afghanistan in late 2001.
I have no doubt in my mind that non-combatants I personally detained were handed over to the Americans and subsequently tortured.
The joint US/UK Task Force has broken International Law, contravened The Geneva Conventions and disregarded the UN Convention Against Torture. British soldiers are intimately involved in the actions of this Task Force.
Ex-SAS soldier: 'Britain knew about US Torture'
Tuesday, 26 February 2008
Fox is not a credible news outlet and their deception needs to be stopped. Foxattacks.com will give you the information and tools you need to hit Fox where it hurts. The current video presents the erroneous and slanted stories Fox recently ran about Barack Obama. In response, Obama refused to appear on Fox.
Cardinal Bertone reiterates: blockade is unjust and ethically unacceptable
• CARDINAL Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of State of His Holiness Benedict XVI, reiterated in Havana the words of Pope John Paul II during his visit to Cuba in 1998, when he called the U.S. blockade against the island unjust and ethically unacceptable.
Monday, 25 February 2008
Great article on the bellicose China-bashing currently going on courtesy of the West's media-whores.
Sunday, 24 February 2008
Nader defends GOP cash --Candidate says he's keeping money 10 Jul 2004 Democratic National Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe and former presidential candidate Howard Dean called for Ralph Nader to return donations from key Republican boosters -- but the independent presidential candidate GOP troll insisted Friday he would not give in to what he called a Democratic "smear'' effort.
Nader, in what has become a public disagreement with his vice presidential candidate, Peter Camejo, strongly denied the recent windfall of donations from deep-pocketed Republicans was part of a GOP effort to wound Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. "These men are traditional Republican donors who want to see Bush kept in office," McAuliffe said in an interview Friday with The Chronicle. The Chronicle analysis also
showed that $23,000 of about $275,000 Nader had raised in $1,000 checks or more had come from Republicans who also contributed to the Bush-Cheney re-[s]election effort or other Republican Party committees.
Posted on Medialens by RMS on February 24, 2008
"There was a famous fight in Arizona that went on for years about Mount Graham, on which the federal government wanted to put a telescope. Indians said it was sacred. Greens said its slopes sheltered the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus grahamensis). In 1992, a couple of well-respected physicians, Robin Silver and Bob Witzeman, went to meet McCain at his office in Phoenix to discuss Mt. Graham. At the time of McCain's 1999 run the doctors told CounterPunch co-editor Jeffrey St Clair that at the mention of the words Mount Graham McCain erupted into a violent fit. ""He jumped up and down, screaming obscenities at us for at least 10 minutes.", Silver said. "He shook his fists as if he was going to slug us. It was as violent as almost any domestic abuse altercation."
Witzeman told Jeffrey that he left the meeting stunned: "I'm a lifelong environmentalist, but what really scares me about McCain is not his environmental policies, which are horrid, but his violent, irrational temper. I think McCain is so unbalanced that if Vladimir Putin told him something he didn't like he'd lose it, start beating his chest about having his finger on the nuclear trigger. Who knows where it would stop. To my mind, McCain's the most likely senator to start a nuclear war."
Full article here
Saturday, 23 February 2008
Farewell Comrade Fidel!
Morning Star, 22/2/08
George Galloway gives a personal look at the unique achievements of retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
"It was my good fortune to have been a friend of Fidel Castro for more than 20 years. I knew him in dark days and fine, when he enjoyed the military and economic protection of his alliance with the Eastern bloc. I was there when the lights went out with the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1980s and during the flowering of the new Latin American and greener socialism which has reached new heights in the alliance with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.
Fidel has straddled the last half-century as a colossus. Every media outfit in the world treated his retirement as the main story of the day.
Yet Cuba is a tiny island in the Caribbean which, before Castro, was an impoverished offshore haven for the US mafia where blacks faced apartheid, poor people died young and illiterate and children perished like flies in their infancy.
Today, Cuba is one of the coolest places on the planet.
It is a tourist destination for millions who come back wearing their T-shirts of Che Guevara and imbued with the spirit of the island. Cuba's children live longer than those born in Washington DC thanks to a health system, as was vividly showcased in Michael Moore's film Sicko, comparable with Scandinavia's and a good deal better than our own.
Illiteracy is non-existent thanks to a free education system with unprecedented numbers of graduates and PhDs. Cuba is the only Third World country of which that can be said.
Cuba harvests gold medals in the Olympic Games, leaving countries like our own trailing in its wake, and ordinary workers thrill to the ballet, opera and a music scene which positively throbs.
None of this could have happened without the revolution which, in turn, would never have succeeded without Fidel.
He is the most charismatic man I have ever met, an inspirational orator, an oracle of politics in the second half of the 20th century and a listener too.
Once, when I was with him, he dug out a map of Britain and asked me to point out where the distinctive long-haired Highland cows were to be found. When I couldn't tell him the annual tonnage of British steel, he looked at me as if to say: "What kind of MP are you?"
He was, above all else, an internationalist leader, as were his comrades. Che fought in Africa and was murdered in Bolivia.
Cuba played such a decisive role in the downfall of South African apartheid that, upon his release from prison, Nelson Mandela chose to visit Havana before anywhere else. Holding Fidel's hand aloft, Mandela declared: "See how far we slaves have come!"
Of course, the bordello owners and casino kings who left the island in 1959 have maintained a steady drum beat of hostility to Castro ever since. They want their dirty businesses back. And they have provided a base in Miami, just 90 miles from Cuba, for 50 years of subversion, invasion, blockade, failed assassination plots, terrorism and relentless propaganda.
One of the latest lies is the absurd claim that Fidel is a multimillionaire. In fact, he literally does not possess a single dollar.
Indeed, when this claim emerged in Forbes Magazine, he pledged on live television, with me sitting next to him, that, if anyone could show a single dollar in his hands, he would immediately tear off his insignia and retire in disgrace.
Equally false is the propaganda which claims that Cubans taking to the boats for Florida represent anything other than a small fraction of the country's population. If an airplane landed tonight in Easterhouse offering green cards for entry into the US, I daresay that it would fill
up rather rapidly.
Cuba decided long ago that anyone who wished to emigrate to the US could do so. It is the US which refused them visas, no doubt because they've got enough poor black people in the US already.
It's true that Cuba doesn't have elections like, say, those in Florida, where the younger brother ensures that the elder brother wins.
The losers are the very sections of the population which, in Cuba, have benefited the most from Fidel Castro. When I was last with Fidel a week or so before his serious illness, I asked what he thought about the new breed of Latin American left-wing leaders such as Chavez who have ousted the juntas.
He told me: "If I had died 10 years ago, I would have died sadly. Now that the red flag has been passed on to a new generation, I can go full of hope and trust in the future." Then he added with a chuckle: "The only way to get elected to office in Latin America nowadays is to profess friendship with Fidel Castro and total opposition to George W Bush."
Farewell, Fidel. You're a legend. We'll be really lucky if we look upon your like again."
Morning Star, 22/2/08
Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow George Galloway is the author of the Fidel Castro Handbook, which is published by MQ Publications priced £14.99. He writes a monthly column for the Morning Star.
Rory's Comment: Cuba does hold elections as the comments below from Medialens confirm. Below is a recent Channel 4 interview with Galloway by the idiot, Krishnan Guru-Murthy.
Unfortunately GG did not counter that buffoon Krishnan guru [on Channel 4] with the fact that there ARE elections in Cuba! Even the Cuban constitution was elected upon.
Just recently 11 million Cubans voted for their delegates to the Cuban assembly. It is a preposterous lie that there are no elections in Cuba. Anyone can be nominated as a delegate over the age of 16. Each nomenclature or district can nominate up to 8 candidates, all have to attend a meeting of the electorate and put their case for election. All candidates have their names and photos published and their CV.
The succesful candidates are elected to the local municipal council. The councils then after a process select their candidate for the NA, that candidate has to be elected by over 51% of the electorate.The NA selects a slate of candidates for the council of state (Cabinet). Those too have to be ratified by the electorate. The sworn in cabinet then elect the President.
Since 1975 Fidel has been elected President but he has had to be elected three times to get to that position. All elected candidates are subject to recall at anytime, only the members of the cabinet are in full time paid posts. (Equal to a skilled workers salary).
Even major policy decisions by the government can be influenced by voting (such as the trade Unions who have a lot of power in Cuba, trade unions by the way are free and independent from Government and communist party). I forgot to add The Communist party by law is not allowed to stand delegates or campaign for delegates.
Posted on Medialens by RMS on 20/2/2008
Friday, 22 February 2008
UK Troops accused of Executions and Torture in Iraq
UK troops accused of executions and torture in Iraq 22 Feb 2008 Lawyers for five Iraqis have accused British soldiers of mass executions and torture and called for a police investigation into an "atrocious episode" in British army history. Phil Shiner and Martyn Day produced statements on Friday from five men who say they were detained by British forces after a battle in southern Iraq in May 2004. The men, who were blindfolded and bound, said their captors repeatedly beat and abused them, including forcing them to strip naked. While detained, they said they heard the systematic torture and execution of up to 20 other prisoners.
Simon from We Are Change UK gets arrested for demonstrating within the SOCPA Zone in London.
The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (SOCPA) was introduced into the House of Commons on 24 November 2004 and was passed by Parliament and given Royal Assent in April 2005.
The Act is controversial primarily for an additional, entirely unrelated provision, which restricts the right to demonstrate within an exclusion zone of up to one kilometre from any point in Parliament Square. Demonstrators have to apply to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police six days in advance, or if this is not reasonably practicable then no less than 24 hours in advance. No equivalent provision is made for any other Parliament in the United Kingdom.
In October 2007, the Home Office published a public consultation document, Managing Protest Around Parliament , which 'takes another look at sections 132-138 (of SOCPA) and explores whether there is another way to address the situation that would both uphold the right to protest while also giving police the powers they need to keep the peace'. Campaigners are worried that this document contains new threats to freedom of assembly and the right to protest in that is suggests that there could be 'harmonisation of powers to manage marches and assemblies' throughout the UK.
Thursday, 21 February 2008
According to the conventional wisdom popularized by Thomas Friedman, countries can grow rich only by means of unfettered capitalism and pure free trade. In his controversial book, Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism, Ha-Joon Chang takes aim at this orthodoxy.
Combining irreverent wit with scholarly rigor, Chang shows that nations like the US that achieved their present wealth by means of economic nationalism now preach an entirely different set of policies to the developing world via the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization. Chang calls on us not only to re-evaluate the policies we promote to countries seeking to grow rich but also to become reacquainted with our own forgotten economic history.
Ha-Joon Chang has been described by one economist as "the most exciting thinker our profession has turned out in the past fifteen years." He teaches at Cambridge University, where he received his Master's degree and doctorate. A consultant for the Wold Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the UN and other international organizations, he was awarded the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought in 2005. His book Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective (2002), which received the Myrdal Prize, was acclaimed by the eminent MIT economist Charles Kindleberger as "a provocative critique of mainstream economists' sermons directed to developing countries."
Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism, by Ha-Joon Chang, appears to be causing a bit of a stir at the minute. I finished it yesterday. It’s a punchy and confrontational engagement with dominant neo-liberal economic doctrine. His style at times strikes one as an wittily ironic imitation of the Big Idea economist-commentator. Basically, the book shows how rich nations -the US, the UK, Japan- developed their economies via protectionist measures, and how the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO -the tools of rich nations- shaft the world’s poor countries by forcing them to conform to economic policies that prevent them from developing their own economies.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
How Realplayer Rips Us Off
Realplayer is one of the biggest traders on the Internet. Just about every PC owner has downloaded Realplayer in order to listen to music and watch videos. Yet, Realplayer is one of the biggest rip-off merchants on the Net.
I've seen various complaints from irate customers but can vouch for this one because it happened to me.
Eight months ago I purchased Realplayer Plus which enables one to download videos from the Net and then burn them onto a VCD disk using Roxio software. The process worked very well until suddenly a request flashed-up on my PC screen asking me to reaffirm the legal agreement I had made with Realplayer. I did so and then discovered that the Burner button would not move to Enable. It appeared to be locked.
This was unusual because until then the Burner button would move to Enabled a few seconds after choosing the Burn/Transfer option. Now it wouldn't. What appears to have happened is that on renewing the Terms of Contract the software was automatically altered on the Burner facility. Why would Realplayer do this? Firstly, to allow people to use the Burner as part of the free Realplayer. But this causes confusion among existing subscribers who, like me, think their Burner is no longer working and are misled into buying new software that they really don't need. That's what happened to me. What followed was an excruciatingly lengthy exchange with Realplayer's Technical Support people before the problems were solved, causing me a lot of time, expense and grief.
By then I had paid for and downloaded more Realplayer software thinking that my subscription had run out. Later I discovered that it hadn't and that I still had four months left. On discovering my mistake I alerted Realplayer, informing them that I had been misled into paying for unnecessary software. Within seconds of my having made the order, the charge for £19.99 was displayed on my bank account.
I was told by Realplayer that as soon as the funds had been credited to them they would cancel and process a refund. Just in case they had 'forgotten' I sent them an email reminder. Silence. Finally I got onto their Customer Support Live Chat and this was what followed:
Chris: Hello. Welcome to Real's Live Chat. How can I help you?
Rory: Hello Chris, this relates to Incident: 080218-002442, Refund Claim I was promised.
Rory: Please respond.
Chris: May I have time to look over on the incident?
Rory: Sure, basically I was promised a refund as I explained that I was misled by Realplayer into ordering unnecessary software (my current software was bought last 26 June) and I was told that once my payment of £19.99 had been credited to Realplayer it the order would be cancelled & I would be refunded. So I am requesting that now as the money has been paid in.
Rory: FYI, the Order# is 134225314 made on 18/02/08 for £19.99.
Rory: Waiting for your reply
Chris: Thank you for your time and patience.
Chris: I have gone ahead and verified your e-mail response, I found that your case has been escalated to our Level 2 e-mail team. You will receive a response as soon as possible.
Chris: Is there anything else that I can help you with today?
Chris: I'm listening. Please go ahead.
Rory: There's no need to escalate it now I've solved the Technical Support problem. It's simply a case of someone in Customer Support cancelling the order & refunding me.
Rory: I emailed a request for a refund at 13:52 our time. It is now 21.32. That's nearly 8 hours ago and it STILL hasn't been dealt with!
Rory: "You have now been paid by my bank so I request that you now refund the sum of £19.99 without delay. Many thanks. Rory Winter"
Rory: Sent nearly 8 hours ago at 13.52 hours GMT!
Chris: I'm really sorry for the inconvenience caused to you.
Rory: So am I. So can you please act now to do the necessary, ie cancel and refund?
[refuses claiming he 'doesn't have authority']
Rory: No, YOU can do it now. Don't rip me off or I'll publicise this across the Internet!
Chris: After escalation of your case we are not authorized to proceed further.
Rory: That's bullshit! My circumstances have changed & there's no need to escalate. Just do what I request now or put me onto yr Supervisor.
Chris: Please give me a couple of minutes.
Rory: Note: ALL this is being recorded & will be put on my blog under the title HOW REALPLAYER RIPS OFF ITS CUSTOMERS
Rory: Someone there will have the authority to finalize and honor this request. It's not a lot to ask for is it?
Rory: I wonder just how many folk have been deceived by RP in this way?
Rory: Anyway, if you guys refuse to deal with me honorably you will just be earning Realplayer some real bad publicity on the Net. So give me a break, huh?
Rory: Still waiting ...
Chris Has Disconnected
So much for the caring attitude of Realplayer's Customer Support.
It's more than likely that many others have been ripped-off by this company. Maybe it's time to take some form of legal action against Realplayer? Meantime, my advice is think carefully before you take a risk of being stung by Realplayer.
Realplayer's International Headquarters:
Real Networks Inc., 2601 Elliott Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121
Monday, 18 February 2008
Britain's War Criminals: the case to answer
Make War History exists to hold Britain's political, civil and military leaders to account for the genocide of the Iraqi people.
Despite giving firm and binding promises to the world that we would never wage war, never threaten or attack another country, never harm civilians, never kill members of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, never manufacture, possess or use indiscriminate weapons, settle all international disputes peacefully, respect human rights, uphold and enforce the rule of law and act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood and co-operation, Parliament, the British Government, the Queen and our armed forces have violated every one of these agreements and committed the world's worst crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and a crime against peace.
The invasion, occupation and destruction of Iraq and the massacre of the Iraqi people is the worst atrocity by a British Government in history and it must be ended now. Although the primary responsibility for the war and these heinous crimes lies with our political, civil and military leaders, every citizen and resident of Britain bears a share of the blame. Not only have we elected and re-elected politicians to their positions of power, accepted their lies and assurances, condoned and supported their decisions, but by continuing to pay our taxes we provided the government with the financial means to pay, train and arm the troops to murder maim and massacre thousands of totally innocent men, women and children. By aiding and abetting the horrific conduct of our leaders British citizens became accessories to genocide and a crime against humanity as well as complicit in a crime against peace, the world's worst criminal offence and the same crime for which Germany's leaders were convicted and hanged at Nuremburg in 1946.
Britain's political, civil and military leaders have been allowed to get away with their war crimes for too long; they must be stopped now before they murder and maim further innocent children. The time has come for the people of Britain and Europe to take a firm stand against Britain's Parliament and Government, remove these murderers from their positions of power, end the killing, recall the armed forces, expose the lies, uphold the international laws of war, prosecute war criminals, rejuvenate our system of government and regain our sense of humanity
The Death TollEvery time Big Ben tolls the hour let it act as a reminder of the thirty innocent men, women and children murdered by members of Parliament during the past hour. Over 1,000,000 Iraqis have been murdered by order of the British and American Governments since March 2003. Of these victims 300,000 were children. This is equivalent to a public execution of 30 innocent men, women and children every hour of every day for four years. In law this massacre of innocent Iraqis constitutes genocide.
Not one of the victims attacked Britain or our allies; not one had committed a crime or a capital offence; not one was allowed to argue their right to life in a court of law and not one was shown any mercy before being murdered by order of George Bush, Tony Blair, the Queen, Ministers, Parliament, Congress and the US and UK Governments. Whenever you hear Big Ben tolling the hour let it be a reminder of Britain's part in the massacre of innocent Iraqis and the destruction of the world's oldest civilisation. Let it provide an hourly reminder to Ministers and Members of both Houses of Parliament of their personal culpability for the genocide of the Iraqi people. Any one of them can force the government to halt its crimes at any time. That they fail to do so and continue to support the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq confirms their criminal intent.
Let the tolling of Big Ben remind the people of Britain that we gave binding undertakings to the world that we would never wage a war of aggression, never use armed force to threaten or attack another State, never kill or harm civilians, settle all international disputes peacefully, respect human rights, uphold and enforce the rule of law and act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood and co-operation.
Let it remind us that our elected representatives have violated every one of these solemn promises over the past four years and by waging a war of aggression have committed the world's worst crime, a crime against peace; the same crime for which Germany's leaders were convicted and hanged at Nuremburg in 1946.
Let the tolling of Big Ben remind us that the Prime Minister lied to Parliament and the nation over weapons of mass destruction, over UN Security Council authorisation and over the legality of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Let it remind us that nothing about the war with Iraq is legal and that the mass murder of innocent human beings is the worst crime known to mankind.
Take a stand for peace, justice and the rule of law
Let the tolling of Big Ben remind members of the armed forces that they have a legal duty to disobey illegal orders and that their participation in the wars with Iraq and Afghanistan and the murders of Iraqi and Afghani citizens constitutes the criminal offences of genocide and conduct ancillary to genocide under both domestic criminal [sections 51 and 52 of the International Criminal Court Act 2001] and international criminal law [Article 25 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court]
Let the tolling of Big Ben remind MPs and Peers that in taking their seats in Parliament they take on the duty to uphold and enforce the laws against war on behalf of the people of Britain. Let it remind them that the only time that war and the use of armed force is lawful is in defence of the state when it is under attack and by assenting to the use of cruise missiles, rockets, cluster bombs and depleted uranium shells against villages, towns and cities in Iraq they are personally responsible for the resultant deaths and injuries and personally responsible for explaining to the families of their victims why they had to die and what cause is so important that it overrides the right to life.
Let the tolling of Big Ben remind each of us that although our leaders bear the main responsibility for these crimes, as citizens of a democracy we share responsibility for the crimes of our government. Let it remind us that it is our taxes that make mass murder possible, that it is our money that pays for the weapons of mass destruction used to kill innocent children, and it is our funds that pay to train and equip our armed forces to take part in mass murder, genocide and crimes against humanity.
So whenever you hear Big Ben tolling the hour let it be a reminder of our moral and legal duty to take a stand for peace, justice and the rule of law. We are duty bound to stop repeating our leaders. lies, to stop supporting the armed forces who commit the crimes, to stop paying the taxes that pay for the murder of children, to withdraw co-operation from our Government and stop Parliament from supporting genocide of the Iraqi people.
Take a stand! Join the peace strike
i The General Treaty for the Renunciation of War 1928 [The Kellogg-Briand Pact].
ii The United Nations Charter 1945.
iii The Geneva Conventions 1948, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court 1998.
iv The Kellogg-Briand Pact 1928, the UN Charter 1945.
v The UN Charter 1945, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948.
vi The UN Charter 1945, the Rome Statute 1998.
vii The UN Charter 1945.
viii The Nuremburg Principles 1950.
ix Article 25 The Manual of Military Law.
from the MAKE WAR HISTORY website
Saturday, 16 February 2008
The Blair Government's War Crimes Police Investigation
A small, brave group of Members of the UK Parliament and anti-war resisters who after about 150 failed attempts in 44 separate jurisdictions have persuaded the London Metropolitan Police to conduct an investigation into allegations of War Crimes conducted by the then PM, Tony Blair, his Cabinet and the Government's Attorney General, Peter Goldsmith.
The Metropolitan Police is currently investigating 14 alleged crimes including genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and conduct ancillary to those under the UK's International Criminal Court Act of 2001, Sections 51 and 52 as well as crimes against peace and complicity in crimes against peace under the Nuremburg Principles, murder and incitement to murder under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity and war crimes under the Criminal Law Act of 1977.
The Police interviewed Chris Coverdale and the other complainants for over six-and-a-half hours. The investigation is currently ongoing. Further information is available at the Make War History website.
One of the key factors in bringing about this investigation was the fact that just before 911 the UK Government enacted the International Criminal Court Act of 2001 which has its basis in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 1998 and in the spirit of the International Treaty for the Renunciation of War, 1928. However utopian you may think this nevertheless the case is that under the 2001 Act those who incite war and the murder of innocent people are held to be war criminals. Clearly, both the Bush and Blair governments fell into that category when they illegally attacked peaceful countries. They broke their own respective genocide laws.
Moreover, according to the same 2001 law, all those who paid taxes to the criminal governments who conducted that aggression were themselves complicit in war crimes unless they had refused to pay such taxes and had taken an active part in resisting such wars. Millions of war criminals!
The five videos below record Chris Coverdale's initial complaint to the Metropolitan Police at its Belgravia Station and the Press Conference that followed at the House of Commons on 19 January 2008.
Chris Coverdale is calling for British citizens, Peace and Anti-War groups &c to now take similar action and to lodge similar complaints, using the same UK laws against these war criminals, at every Police station throughout the land. Many of us have waited for so long for justice to be done and for these evil men to answer for their crimes. At no previous time has a British government committed such a great crime against humanity as has the Blair/Brown government against Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the Australian, Dr Gideon Polya, the death toll in these two countries ever since Gulf War I is now over 8 million!
I would therefore appeal to all my British readers to consider taking their own action along these lines. I have downloaded and burned onto disk the above five videos which are useful to show audiences at local group meetings. If UK readers would like a copy of the disk they should send me an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, 15 February 2008
Thursday, 14 February 2008
This is What A Police State Looks Like
This is a breakdown of what happened in Seattle when the Police attacked the crowd with chemical weapons without provocation or reason. They use video footage from the Police cameras themselves to demonstrate the point that the Police indeed incite riots and ATTACK crowds for no reason.
Tuesday, 12 February 2008
• Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro responds to transnational oil company’s campaign
CARACAS, February 11. – Venezuela is ready, trained and strong enough “to confront any attack by the U.S. empire,” said Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro today, PL reports.
Maduro emphasized that the U.S. administration “has not desisted, nor will it desist, in its attempt to destabilize our country, to turn us back and convert us once again into a dependent oil colony.”
Speaking about the new campaign underway against the country, this time by the transnational Exxon Mobil, the minister indicated that it is all a result of Venezuela’s actions over the past several years to reassert the nation’s interests.
He said that as a result of the Bolivarian government’s efforts over the last nine years, “we have built a conscious people, alert, who are not letting themselves be intimidated and who can never be terrorized.”
As to reactions to the Exxon Mobil actions, he affirmed that the existence of two worlds is evident, “that of the opposition traitors” and the one that believes in dignity, sovereignty and independence, which will overcome any situation.
Maduro also emphasized the importance of the current process based on economic independence, which is different to that of previous years, when the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank used to arrive with a “prescription” that the government of the moment would promptly sign.
Translated by Granma International
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Our crimes in Iraq must not be forgotten
If the alliance was arrogant at the time of the invasion, it is even more so today
The people responsible for the war have, of course, moved on, and we must follow their fine example. Still they rise, praise be to them. Such self-belief, such resilience, no sign of weakness, no dribble of an apology. Awesome. Instead of being marched off to face war crimes tribunals they are forgiven their trespasses and rewarded generously.
The Catholic Church blesses and receives the deceiver (Mr Blair); fat banks and oil companies welcome them on boards (Jonathan Powell, Mr. Blair et al); they are called to make peace in the Middle East and lecture us on ethics ( Mr Blair and Mr Campbell) and invited in to the Cabinet (Jack Straw).
For some (still) enthusiastic warmongers – boys who never forgot the excitement of running around shooting their toy guns at strangers – the invasion and colonisation is the best thing ever. The "surge" has worked, they declare – our boys and American soldiers are not dying in the numbers they were, and look!, Iraqis are coming out to play, buy and sell, smoke their pipes in tranquillity, and thousands are returning from exile in Syria. Hip hip hooray. For we're the jolly good fellows.
In the US with the primaries going full blast, John McCain is anointed as the noble saviour, the man who promises to crush all those aliens out there who are plotting to kill the US of A. I attended the BBC Radio 4 Alistair Cooke Lecture delivered by McCain, and what I heard was a man who uses his terrible experiences in Vietnam to justify all future wars he wants his country to wage.
Bill and Hillary both actively and tacitly supported the invasion of Iraq and never once defended the UN route. These candidates are "liberals", we are told. Only in America. None of the above are exactly in the habit of mentioning the caged of Guantanamo or the anguish of Iraqis. Obama did fleetingly touch on these ugly American transgressions, but not for long, and not with intense moral purpose. At least the guy tried, and had the guts to vote against the invasion. The others still seem to believe fervently that the attacks on 9/11 outweigh all other acts of political violence.
If the alliance, its leaders and brass bands were imperiously arrogant when they went into Iraq, they are even more so today. Failure has given them no humility at all and completes the cycle of villainy. They lied and broke international law and appear to have no duty of care towards the innocent inhabitants of that blighted land.
Iraqi deaths are now calculated at around one million. According to international organisations monitoring migrations, Iraq is going through one of the largest and most serious humanitarian crises in the world, with population displacement within and from Iraq. Last November, cholera figures were the worst for 40 years, says an Iraqi health minister. Childhood diseases are rampant. There are relentless bombardments across the country, for reasons not given, on people unseen and labelled al-Qa'ida.
The current hand-wringing about British journalistic standards concentrates entirely on small, domestic matters. The real shame and scandal is that air attacks on Iraq go on and on and get hardly any serious coverage. In 2006, there were 229 such raids; in 2007 there were 1,447 raids (dead uncounted and unidentified). The ghastly, ruthless General David Petraeus says they have now reached a "sustainable level of violence". That is, at least, a truthful assessment and one that explains why we went into Iraq. If the allies allow Iraqi Sunnis, Shias and Kurds to carry on murdering each other day after day, not so many that it turns into a full-blown civil war, we can steal their oil and control the place.
Meanwhile, here Lord Guthrie, once Chief of Staff, and others of his ilk are furious with Gordon Brown for promising that the consent of Parliament will be sought before any future war is launched by the Government. These generals have become extraordinarily bullish after the lamentable collapse of all their strategies in Iraq – thereby fending off any accountability and reasonable interrogation as to why even Basra became disillusioned with our presence.
There are, thank God, people who keep alive truth and awaken our collective conscience. On Tuesday there is a public meeting in London (courtesy of the Stop the War Coalition) organised by Phil Shiner, public interest lawyer and an indefatigable campaigner for justice. For years he has tried to expose the brutality of some of our soldiers in Iraq who have committed heinous crimes against the populations and got away with it. At the meeting, which all good people should attend, Shiner will be talking about the British state and how it tolerates the torture, mutilations and killings of Iraqi civilians.
This Thursday the Jordanian Jamil el-Banna and Libyan Omar Deghayes go to court to argue against extradition to Spain to face charges of terrorism. These are the two men who were last year released from Guantanamo Bay, where they were caged and tortured for five years. Imagine the state of their minds and bodies, their fears of incarceration.
Here they were interrogated by our spooks and police officers, and released without charge. Yet Spain clamours for them and we will deliver them into yet another jurisdiction unless the lawyers can win the case. Helena Kennedy and Geoffrey Bindman have spoken up to defend these poor men; journalist Victoria Britten has investigated charges against them for four years and tells me she is absolutely sure they are innocent. Great Britain, Mr Brown? Tell me about it.
Just released too is the film Battle for Haditha by the exceptionally diligent director Nick Broomfield (I must remember him in my prayers). He has bravely brought to the screen an untold story of the war – the massacres of innocents by the allies in Hathida, a middle-class Sunni city where he says "couples would honeymoon on the Euphrates". Fallujah was similarly "punished". Both places at first supported the invasion and learnt to their cost that their saviours had dark intent and too many had lost their own humanity.
If Blair is elected President of the EU and either Clinton or McCain get the US presidency, the final insults will be added to the endless injury suffered by the Iraqis. They will know conclusively that there ain't no justice in the world. And some of them will turn to terrorism. And the peace we hope for will never come.
Friday, 8 February 2008
How the BBC helps manufacture Public Opinion
Question Time is a TV show on the BBC which purports to allow the public to ask a selected panel of 'experts' various questions of current political interest. In fact, Question Time is a classic example of the tyranny of the new managerial class chattering to itself while studiously ignoring the real issues.
Or as one perceptive critic observes, QT is nothing more than "an echo chamber for approved establishment views."
Despite being constantly pissed-off by its smug, self-gratifying tones I find myself compelled to watch it, always hoping that someone on its weekly panel might say something closely approximating the true state of affairs in British politics.
Invariably this turns out to be a punishing experience. Question Time's talking heads are deliberately chosen either to represent right-wing, establishment views or the kind of anodyne inanities meant to lull the audience back to sleep. Discussion is tightly controlled in order to reflect the values and attitudes of the British establishment's rulers. Radical attitudes are taboo. Week in week out various panels are chosen for their somnambulist nature. Socialists, dissidents and lefties need not apply.
Last night, for example, Afghanistan was discussed, Not one speaker had the intelligence or honesty to question what on earth NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) is doing occupying a country in Central Asia or whether its real purpose to be there was decided by geopolitics, to secure Gas and Oil reserves in that area. It was simply assumed that Britain was there in order to 'bring democracy' to the unruly Afghans, a regurgitation of the 'White Man's Burden', the Victorian rationale for unabashed imperialism.
No discussion of the actual colonialist, imperialist reality behind Britain's military aggression against Afghanistan or Iraq, no discussion of the several war crimes committed by Britain's leaders and Military in either country. Instead this rather bovine acceptance of the Big Lie that we invade countries and cause genocide in order to 'bring democracy' to uncivilized darkies who otherwise wouldn't know any better! Any objections from the audience were kept off. The question was dealt with, the audience were invited to go back to sleep.
This morning, I found the following comments on the Medialens which I feel are worth repeating here. They follow an ongoing debate on that site that in recent times Question Time has made a clear shift to the right:
The "general shift to the right" puts the cart before the horse. It might well be correct to some extent, but this analysis overlooks the role various media plays in the [re]reproduction, the sustaining and most importantly the cultivation of a right wing (or better perhaps to call it a regressive, pro establishment, pro capitalist) ideology.
Furthermore, that this uncritical (of the establishment) viewpoint and representation is normalised and seen as "centre ground". The BBC in particular play a crucial role in this ideological sleight of hand.
Question Time performs a particularly useful role for the establishment. It is representative of the mediated public sphere and as such narrows the discursive frame. Discourse both defines and limits what is speakable about particular subjects. By repetition, the Public Sphere comes to be Question Time. Or better: Politics in this country comes to be best described as "the workings of parliamentary democracy and the choices put forward during various election campaigns" this is then reproduced via media and none better suited to the task than the BBC and Question Time in particular.
What we loosely call democracy is actually nothing of the sort. We are in fact periodically consulted on the questions who will best administer the empire - this question is of course not overt. Neo Liberal market based capitalism is designed to ensure that most people struggle to financially survive, with the odd reported success story thrown in just to keep the "dreams" alive.
Most of us are occupied with all consuming labour in order to service our unpayable debt. Then up pops Question Time with the "Big Issues of the Day" but none of the issues discussed can actually solve our problems. However, if nobody speaks of them (in the mediated Public Sphere) then they do not exist, and the frames of debate narrow and the discourse is sustained.
Every 4 -5 years we make the choice between two incredibly similar branches of the technocratic class. This is how ideology, discourse and the Mediated Public Sphere works in western capitalist economies. QT is the finest example of discourse formation that I know of. The thing is: we need to engage with it as opposed to just switching off precisely because, through mediated and signifying practices, it sets the political, economic, socio-cultural, public debate agenda.
I agree, we in Britain should be engaging with the BBC about the manner in which TV licence-payers are being forced to finance what is nothing more than an organ of state propaganda. Why is there no movement, for example, to refuse paying the licence fee? Why allow these apparatchiks the luxury of continuing to fatten themselves on our money when they should have been kicked out of their jobs a long time ago?
Thursday, 7 February 2008
Stop Blair !
Petition against the nomination of Tony Blair as "President of the EuropeanUnion"
We, European citizens of all origins and of all political persuasions, wish to express our total opposition to the nomination of Tony Blair to the Presidency of the European Council.
The Treaty of Lisbon provides for the new post of President of the European Council, to be elected by the Council for a mandate, renewable once only, of two and a half years. Under the terms of the Treaty: "The President of the European Council shall chair it and drive forward its work" and "shall ensure the preparation and continuity of the work of the European Council". Further, "The President of the European Council shall, at his level and in that capacity, ensure the external representation of the Union on issues concerning its common foreign and security policy"¹.
The future President of the European Council will therefore have a key role in determining the policies of the European Union and its relations with the rest of the world. This first Council Presidency will also have a major symbolic weight for both citizens of the European Union and for the image of the Union in the rest of the world. In this perspective, we believe it is essential that the first president embodies the spirit and values of the European project.
For some time now, increasingly insistent news reports have made evident a wish, in some quarters, to see Tony Blair appointed the first President of the European Council. This appointment, were it to take place, would be in total contradiction with the values professed by the European project.
In violation of international law, Tony Blair committed his country to a war in Iraq that a large majority of European citizens opposed. This war has claimed hundreds of thousands of victims and displaced millions of refugees. It has been a major factor in today's profound destabilisation of the Middle East, and has weakened world security. In order to lead his country into war, Mr Blair made systematic use of fabricated evidence and the manipulation of information. His role in the Iraq war would weigh heavily on the image of the Union in the world, should he in fact be named its president.
The steps taken by Tony Blair's government, and his complicity with the Bush administration in the illegal programme of "extraordinary renditions", have led to an unprecedented decline in civil liberties. This is in contradiction with the terms of the European Convention of Human Rights, which is an integral part of the treaty.
The European Charter of Fundamental Rights formalises the founding values of the European project and is one of the pillars of the new treaty. Tony Blair fought its inclusion in the Treaty of Lisbon, and eventually managed to secure an exemption for the UK.
Rather than move European integration forward, the former British Prime Minister set a series of so-called red lines during the Lisbon negotiations², with the intent of blocking any progress in social issues and tax harmonisation, as well as common defence and foreign policy.
Furthermore, it seems unthinkable that the first President of the European Council should be the former head of a government that kept its country out of two key elements of the construction of Europe: the Schengen area of free movement of people and the Euro zone.
At a time when one of the priorities of the European institutions is to reconnect with its citizens, we believe it is essential that the President of the European Council should be a person with whom a majority of citizens can identify, rather than one rejected by a majority³. Therefore, we declare our total opposition to this nomination.
- Treaty of Lisbon, Article 1, point 16, inserting Article 9 B into the Treaty on European Union, points 5 and 6 (2007/C 306/17, 18) ↑
- Blair sets out EU treaty demands, BBC, June 2007 ↑
- Table 6 in FT/Harris poll, June 2007 ↑
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
Britain is slithering down the road towards a police state The pretence of oversight has been ripped aside by the Khan bugging affair: the security apparat has become a law unto itself
Wednesday February 6, 2008
The machine is out of control. Personal surveillance in Britain is so extensive that no democratic oversight is remotely plausible. Some 800 organisations, including the police, the revenue, local and central government, demanded (and almost always got) 253,000 intrusions on citizen privacy in the last recorded year, 2006. This is way beyond that of any other country in the free world.
The Sadiq Khan affair has killed stone dead the thesis, beloved of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, that any accretion of power to the state is sustainable because ministers are in control. Whether this applies to phone tapping, bugging devices, ID cards, NHS records, childcare computer systems, video surveillance or detention without trial, it is simply a lie. Nobody can control this torrent of intrusion. Nobody can oversee a burst dam.
Khan, an MP and government whip, was allegedly targeted by the police for having been a "civil rights lawyer" and thus a nuisance, though the recording of his meetings with a constituent in prison was supposedly directed at the inmate. Either way, the bugging destroyed the "Wilson doctrine", that MPs cannot be bugged. It appears that they can if ministers, or the police, so decide.
Security machismo claims that in the "age of terrorism", real men bug everyone and everything. The former flying squad chief and BBC dial-a-quote, John O'Connor, implied this week that it would be negligent of the police not to bug anyone they - repeat they - thought a threat. The Blair thesis that "9/11 changes everything" has been a green light to every security consultant, surveillance salesman and Labour minister wanting to flex his - or her- muscles in the tabloids.
Years ago a lawyer gave me unassailable evidence that a call with a client had been tapped by the police and handed to the prosecution. Such tapping allegedly required a personal warrant from the home secretary who, when tackled on the subject, flatly denied it could have happened without his approval, which he would never give in such a case. I checked back with a police chief, who roared with laughter. "The home secretary is absolutely right. He must authorise all taps sent to him for authorisation. But not, of course, the rest." Orwell's cuttlefish were squirting ink.
The grim reality of the past week alone is that it has seen a substantial section of the British establishment allowing itself to believe that private dealings between lawyer and client, and between MP and constituent, should no longer be considered immune from state surveillance. A cardinal principle of a free democracy is thus coolly abandoned. It is not a victory for national security. It is a victory for terrorism.
The monitoring organisation Privacy International now gives Britain the worst record in Europe for such intrusion, indeed the worst among the so-called democratic world and on a par with "endemic surveillance societies", such as Russia and Singapore. The Thames Valley policeman, Mark Kearney, who bugged Khan's conversation in Woodhill prison, claims to have protested that it was "unethical" but was overruled and placed under "significant pressure" from the Metropolitan police. He has since had to leave the force. The saga reads like a script from the film about East German espionage, The Lives of Others.
Britain's poor record is the result of government weakness towards the security apparat. Even among supposed liberals, the response is to demand not less surveillance but more oversight. David Davis, the Tory spokesman, said yesterday: "It's got to be controlled; it's got to be accountable." Civil rights champion Liberty wants "simpler and stronger surveillance laws, with warrants issued by judges, not policemen nor politicians".
People have been saying this for years. Britain has a Kafkaesque oversight bureaucracy ranking with the one it purports to oversee. Some six separate surveillance monitors trip over themselves. All operate in secret and appear to be one gigantic rubber stamp. The distinction drawn by the justice secretary, Jack Straw, between "intrusive" and "directed" bugging, illustrates the prevailing mumbo-jumbo. The chief surveillance monitor, Sir Christopher Rose, has been asked by Straw to investigate the Khan affair, which appears to be a failure by the chief surveillance monitor. Is this to be taken seriously?
When the council can bug you for fly-tipping, when prisons can record conversations with defence lawyers, when any potentially criminal act can justify electronic intrusion - and when ministers resort to the dictator's excuse, "The innocent need not fear" - warning bells should sound.
There is no "balance" to be struck between civil liberty and national security. Civil liberty is absolute, security its handmaid. Measures are needed to protect the public, but a firm line needs to be drawn round them. The line must accept a degree of risk, or a police state is just around the corner.
A quarter of a million surveillances in Britain are beyond all power of politicians or overseers to check. It is state paranoia, justified only by that catch-all, the "war on terror". In truth it is not countering terror, but promoting it. Mass surveillances one of the poisons that the terrorist seeks to inject into the veins of civil society.
It is clear the overseers have gone native. Even the "independent" security watchdog, Lord Carlile, has bought 42-day detention. More oversight will not cure surveillance but mask its spread. The extension from terrorism to benefit fraud, fly-tipping and trading standards demonstrates how the official mind flips to Stasi mode at the least excuse.
To claim that Britain is a police state insults those who are victims of real ones. But I have no doubt that feeble ministers are slithering down just this road, pushed by the security/industrial complex. It is not oversight that must be increased, but rather the categories and boundaries of surveillance that must be drastically curbed.
Of course there are people who want to explode bombs in Britain. Taxpayers spend a fortune trying to stop them. But how often must we remind ourselves that the bomber need not kill to achieve his end when we appease his yearning for the martyrdom of repression? The amount of surveillance in Britain is grotesque. It is a sign of the corruption of power, and nothing else.
____________________Rory's Comments: Jenkins is an apologist for the establishment so when people like him start ringing the alarm bells the rest of us can be sure that matters are very, very serious. He denies that we are already a police state but fails to tell us the difference between what he considers a police state and one in the making. There's no point in getting bogged down in semantics. Whether or not, in Jenkins' terms, Britain is already a police state or not we all agree that it is not very far from it.
How long before blogs like these are shut down for saying so? Not very long if the present downward momentum continues.