17 Years After Aung San Suu Kyi Won The Election Burmese Military Still In Charge

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Click pic to go to the Burma Campaign. To see all posts on Burma click here.

Pro-democracy activists rallied in the Burmese capital, Rangoon, to mark the 17th anniversary of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party’s victory in national polls.
Some 200 members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) gathered to shout slogans and call for Ms Suu Kyi’s release from house arrest.

The rally came on the day her latest detention period was due to expire. But on Friday Burma’s military junta extended it by another year, drawing swift international condemnation.

Ms Suu Kyi, 61, has spent 11 of the last 18 years in detention. In 1990 her NLD won national elections, but these were annulled by the army and she was never allowed to take power. Her latest period of house arrest began in May 2003.

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MOD Discreetly Sanctions Torture

Is it just me or is this holiday weekend being used to dump and awful lot of ‘bad news’, MOD caught in a lie about their sanctioning of torture on the ground in Iraq-

The court martial into the death of Iraqi hotel worker Baha Mousa, who died after sustaining 93 separate injuries, heard evidence that senior British officers in Iraq sanctioned the ‘conditioning’ of prisoners, which included the use of hooding and forcing detainees to stand for hours in stressful positions. The MoD, however, told the joint committee during its recent inquiry into the UK’s compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture that the use of hooding and stress positioning for the purpose of interrogation has been prohibited since 1972.

The Committee has now written to the Defence Secretary, Des Browne, seeking an explanation. The move threatens to become a major embarrassment for the MoD, potentially pitting the department against international human rights laws.

‘The Government should now accept our recommendation that the provisions of the torture convention should apply to all of our armed forces’ actions,’ Andrew Dismore, the committee’s chairman, said. ‘It should ensure that our troops are suitably trained to equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to comply fully with our international obligations.’

Leanne MacMillan, director of policy and external affairs at the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, welcomed the decision to seek answers from the MoD. ‘It is quite clear that assurances given to parliament by the then Prime Minister Edward Heath in March 1972 have not been honoured,’ MacMillan said.

‘He stated quite unequivocally in the House of Commons that conditioning techniques such as hooding, stress positions, sleep deprivation, the withholding of food and drink, and bombardment with loud noise would not be used by Britain’s armed forces unless sanctioned in advance by parliament. It is quite clear, however, both from the court martial, and from what the Medical Foundation has learnt from former army interrogators, that the techniques have continued to be used.’

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that such techniques are inhuman and degrading. More recently, the United Nations Committee Against Torture said that they amounted to torture.

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War Business Is Booming

QinetiQ is supposedly the UK’s military boffin corporation, so obviously it has George ‘Slam Dunk’ Tenet former CIA yes man on the board and the Carlyle group has a big interest. Yay! war is global capitalism 51st state -tastic!

QinetiQ, the Government’s former military research labs, unveils its annual earnings on Thursday. The company, which has spent heavily on acquisitions of smaller firms in America to increase its foothold in the world’s largest arms market, is expected to report £95.4m in pre-tax profits on turnover of up to £1.175bn, both of which would be tidy improvements on the previous year’s performance. The group’s growth is being driven by strong sales of gadgets such as the Talon bomb-disposal robot, which has become a favourite of the US military for its operations in the Middle East. The company sold its 1,000th to the American armed forces at the turn of the year. With the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq showing no end in sight, and the recent appointment to the board of George Tenet, the former director of the CIA, analysts are bullish on the group’s future.

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Overview Of Iranian Detention Tensions

Not a bad article by Edmund Blair for Reuters-

Some see the detentions as part of muscle-flexing by hardliners in the establishment opposed to rapprochement with Washington ahead of rare U.S.-Iranian talks on Iraq on Monday.
A few thousand Iranian-Americans live in Iran but precise numbers are difficult to obtain in a country where there has been no U.S. mission since Washington cut ties in 1980, when students held 52 Americans hostage in the embassy for 444 days.
The two sides have traded barbs since then. The United States is often denounced as “the Great Satan” by Iran, which Washington in turn brands as part of an “axis of evil”.
But the Iranian public often comes across to the visitor as less anti-American than that of many Middle Eastern countries.
When planes slammed into New York’s World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, ordinary Iranians held an impromptu vigil in Tehran, a show of solidarity not repeated in the Arab world.
In part this is because many Iranians have relatives in the United States, home to the biggest Iranian community outside Iran, estimated at 500,000 or more. Los Angeles is dubbed by some ‘Tehrangeles’ because of its large Iranian population.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has revived some of the anti-American spirit that gripped the nation after the 1979 Islamic revolution toppled the U.S.-backed shah. He regularly attacks U.S. “arrogance” in his speeches.
Yet, like the peeling paint on a Tehran sign reading ‘Down, Down, USA’, such slogans are sometimes said without conviction.
At a rally two years ago, outside the former U.S. embassy, a youth burning the Stars and Stripes was asked by Reuters if he wanted to go to the United States. Without missing a beat, he replied: “I would love to. It is the country of technology.”

Politically, foreign policy aims often coincide. Iran was happy to see Saddam Hussein deposed in 2003, even if by U.S. forces, because the Iraqi leader waged a war against the Islamic Republic in the 1980s. Shi’ite Muslim Iran also welcomed the fall in 2001 of Afghanistan’s Sunni Muslim Taliban.
But both governments seem focused on their differences.
Some analysts link the detention of Iranian-Americans to the arrest of five Iranians in Iraq by U.S. forces, although Tehran rejects links to other issues. Iran says the five are diplomats but Washington says they were backing militants.
“If the five Iranians in prison in Iraq were released, maybe Esfandiari would be freed,” said analyst Hamidreza Jalaiepour.
Yet others see the detentions as a broader warning to intellectuals and potential critics of Iran’s clerical system.

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Set Tasers To Laziness

Because they are non lethal, they get used more, because they stop all dissenting discussion they are used more, because you are mentally ill you are gonna get tasered (and the UK police are all gonna have them soon if the govt get their way, woo-fucking-hoo)-

Since officers started carrying Tasers in December 2004, nearly 130 people known or suspected to be mentally ill were shocked by officers responding to calls, according to a Houston Chronicle review of more than 1,000 incidents involving the stun gun.

The department also had its first Taser-related death recently that involved a mentally ill man, the newspaper reported Sunday.

Often, police knew they were responding to calls involving people with mental health issues but rarely called officers who are specially trained to deal with the mentally ill, according to police records.

“Using a Taser is easy,” said Arlene Kelly, who became an outspoken advocate for the mentally ill after her daughter was shot and killed by a Houston police officer in 1999. “There’s no waiting. There’s no need to be patient with someone who may not understand orders. The Taser has represented a step backward in how police deal with the mentally ill.”

The newspaper found that most of the mentally ill people shocked by police were not armed and fewer than one in four were later convicted of a crime.

One case involved a 63-year-old man who needed a metal walker to move around. Another involved Carol Ann Vickery, a 49-year-old woman with a history of bipolar disorder who disrupted a local convenience store. When police arrived, she picked up a can of soda as if to throw it. Police responded with three 50,000-volt shocks from a Taser.

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Iran Blogapalooza: Cold War Blues

So because of a cold war campaign by the Empire the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) which doesn’t need much of an excuse to get overtly oppressive is going into full scare mode and the fear of arrest among many is growing. Such is the human cost of the Empire’s games of supremacy and the demagoguery of Ahmadinejad. First Naj at Neo Resistance

why would it (IRI) be arresting American-Iranian scholars with no track record of aggression toward IRI, or no neo-conservative related controversy tied to their name?

Omid Me’marian answers, and because I agree with his points, I translate excerpts [I left out a couple of paragraphs of rhetorics]:

These individuals, although live abroad, but are considered the national pride of the Iranian diaspora. And now, they are confined under various charges laid on them by the security officials. The dug up evidences on these individuals do not reflect the journalistic genius of the “toopkhaneh” paper [ I think this refers to Keyhan?], rather the availability of the documents to the public. However, the evidence are read with paranoia and are twisted with disinformation. And this shows how empty handed the accusers, and how innocent the accused are. Because, considering the web sites of these individuals, and their publications reveal that the false accusations against them resemble inventions.

[…] such usual spreading of lies aims to both frighten the Iranian diaspora whose heart beats for Iran, and also to send a warning message to those who might aim to use such individuals towards their own [political] goals, unaware that with such “accidental” or ‘false” arrests, they are shooting themselves in the foot. [here the author is pointing the finger to the hardliner papers that are putting wood in the fire.]

This is not the first time that the [right-wing] security-organizational-journalistic ring undertakes such projects. Similar instances have occurred several times in the past years and it is possible to predict the outcome. I expect that as I am writing these notes, some of the wisemen of the conservative camp are scolding their hardliners for such impulsive actions; while on the other hand the hardliners are promising the prisoners that they will be free to go if they make a little confession.

Therefore, the stories of arrets, charges of espionage, leaking the interrogations in the headlines of the hardline papers, censorship of the news, refusal to allow access to legal counsel, perpetual lying, fear mongering in sectors of the society and throwing in names that are the objective of the future “intelligence-project”, forced confessions and then release without court appearance [remember the British soldiers?] but with a hefty bail, is an old and repeated story, without any intelligence or humanitarian outcome.

Any Iranian citizen likes the intelligence officers to be among the elite. Both qualified and smart, and capable of providing safety and security with minimal expense and maximum cooperation of the citizens, which will lead to trust and satisfaction. But in the most optimistic assessments, the intelligence officers have raised so many false flags that one wonders why they are occupying such posts [makes me think of the CIA and the FBI and Saddam’s WMD!]. The picture that these people project of Iran resembles the anti-human right picture that the American war-mongers portray of Iran.

Naj’s conclusion (and I hope she is right) is this-

In addition to being a fear-mongering device, this is a smoke-screen because Monday is a sensitive day. Some in Iran, like many in Washington, do not want Iran to sit at a table with the US! Thus, it is important for the government to appear tough on America’s possible intervention in internal affairs of Iran. Of course, the Americans are not making it easy for these people, by publicly calling for “destabilizing action inside Iran”.
Nonetheless, everyone will be freed unharmed!

This is just an excerpt, go to the Neo Resistance for the full post. Then over to View From Iran and Esther post a heart rending entry-

Keivan is on the phone with a friend: “The Iranian government needs no excuse to arrest people. They say that the money from foreign governments is bringing activists into danger. But the truth is that they do not need an excuse to close down ngos and arrest activists.”

Well… it is a distressing time in Iran. The past few months have been the worst time for me in Iran. It was the first time in our almost four years there that we saw life in Iran the way that people outside the country sometimes imagine it: as repressive and oppressive. The night before we left for vacation we had kebab in a teahouse north of Tehran. When we left, we ran into a huge roadblock manned by fresh-faced religious police who all looked about 16 years old. They stopped every car looking for alcohol and infringements on morality. People we know have been arrested. Others have heard rumors of their own impending arrest. (These people are not even activists!)

Again there is more so please go to View From Iran to read the full post, part of the Blogapalooza is to get people to read these blogs and explore their links and blogroll. Alternatively, you could just be spoon fed whatever our govts want you to hear, whatever huh?

Jadi at inside Iran finishes with a slightly happier post of some small resistance-

In Iran there is a semi-secret-police group called HERASAT. Literally it means “guarding/protection” and its logical function should be protecting (guarding) the entrances of the organizations, universities, offices and … (kind of doorkeeper).This “HERASAT” – in the recent decade – has morphed from a doorkeeper to a secret police.

They are scary, “big” people who can order the head of the university to throw out a student, they can introduce you to the secret police and the intelligence services, they can ask anybody to go to their office to be asked questions, they can arrest “bad hijab” people and they even can investigate and regulate professors interviews and travels!As you can imagine, this people are becoming more and more powerful and “important”. Nowadays they have their own office in all the universities and many many compaies. They check you in the Airport in Theaters and practically everywhere.

Oh.. Let me return back to the story! These people also have an office in our university and in the previous week protests against all the problem our government is making for us, they confronted students a lot and even attacked to the students and broke the windows and……a student had attached a Sign to this HERASATs office. It reads “HERASATs office is closed by students because of committing VIOLENCE”.

Beyond The Sus Law- Show Me Your Papers

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So the other shoe drops, this is what the absconding control order subjects newsfelch was to help usher in, we already have a returned sus law now Reid is basically taking us to- Show me your papers-

The government is considering giving police officers across the UK “stop and question” powers under new anti-terror laws, says the Home Office. The proposal, allowing police to ask people about their identity and movement, is among measures being considered by Home Secretary John Reid.

The measure is so far used only in Northern Ireland. Police elsewhere have to have “reasonable suspicion” a crime has been committed before they can stop people.

Anyone who refuses to co-operate could be charged with obstructing the police and fined up to £5,000, according to the Sunday Times. A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We are considering a range of measures for the Bill and ‘stop and question’ is one of them.”

You see this is what was always the actual implication of ID cards, once we have them then- Hey why not be asked to show them, and if you don’t, well what have you got to hide? And of course the law to back that power up (otherwise having the cards would be pointless, the circular logic feedbacks the reasoning thus the law is required), police allowed to ask anyone at anytime to produce papers of identification and if you do not? Bang! You’ve got a record, your DNA will be recorded and you get to pay the state a lovely big wodge of cash. The clocks are striking 13.

I got a letter from the government
The other day
I opened and read it
It said they were suckers