Was I Meant To Feel Something?

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I mean I’m sure the news media all had a lovely big day and everything, but what happened? Did anything change? I know we are meant to think it has. Brown replace Blair, Brown who voted all the same ways as Anthony, who sold us the Iraq lie too, who presided over a Labour govt that has overseen the continuing acceleration of social inequality. Who followed every conservative instinct for privatisation, who cosied up to the illegal unelected American junta while telling the brown people it turned into red mist- it was all to spread democracy and freedom. While cameras watch us in every street, office, shop and bar. And the police held down an unarmed man and vaporised his head with 9mm bullets at point blank range. Did I somehow miss Gordon’s unceasing fight to halt Blair’s authoritarian, empire submitting reign? And there is Anthony, raptured into the elite stratosphere. You see this country is sick of him he lied us into war, he raised money dishonestly, he covered up corruption to sell arms. And although we failed utterly to force him out, he did eventually go when he had his history and reputation making ten year reign under his belt.

Then what happened? He was immediately welcomed into a global elite, “Don’t worry Tony what the fuck do voters know? Let’s face it we keep them stupid and misinformed so how can we respect their views? Even if we wanted to. No, come into paradise, where we, the Titans, are no longer encumbered with democratic oversight, the salve of whining useless eaters. And you’ve paid your entry fee, the blood of innocents. Come and help push through our plan for the Palestinians, you’ll want to keep that blood of the innocents thing in mind quite a lot on this one.”

I mean if someone fucks off in disgrace then is immediately eulogised and rewarded it does tell you quite unambiguously- Hey people! You are worth shit, the criminal you find repulsive is just our kind of guy. Let’s face it when Alan Clarke perceptively and contemptuously called parliament ‘the democratic overheads’ he was voicing a weary condescension felt by our leaders for us. And now Blair has been elevated to that nirvana of global power broking (where until the end of your days you will always, always be surrounded by bodyguards and walls and guns. The honour guard of every hated King) because he demonstrated all the necessary skills- contempt for citizens and capacity to murder.

So I’m sorry, I know from all the media I am meant to feel something, but I don’t, it’s a new brand name on an old product. It’s the same old shit a different day. What is broken with our ‘democracy’ remains broken and what is poisonous, inhumane and corrupt in our global affairs remains so.

[And updating something I wrote a few months ago-
If I have a mere second of silence for every military death it would take 52 minutes, 7 seconds. If I throw in the mercenaries who knows? They ain’t tellin’.

But if I want to commenmorate the Iraqi figures it would take 167 hours. Almost seven days.

So by now and to make a rounded simple comparison, let’s say one hour for us and one week for our victims. That’s continuous, no sleeping allowed.]

Blair Welcomed To His New Job

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Did Someone Mention The War?

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On each breast, one of Poland’s governing Kaczynski twins is affixed — Prime Minister Jaroslaw is suckling on the left, President Lech has attached himself to the right. One of them is holding up the “victory” sign right in Merkel’s cleavage.
The image is on the cover of this week’s Wprost, a conservative Polish newsmagazine that has not shied away from firing barbs at Germany in the past. The headline reads: “Europe’s Step-Mother.” As current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency, Merkel, the magazine seems to be saying, is treating the rest of Europe like her step-children. And during last week’s EU summit in Brussels, the article inside makes clear, she has been particularly condescending to the Poles. The magazine writes of Germany’s “post-colonial reflexes” and says that six decades after the end of World War II, “the Germans still aren’t able to treat Poles like partners.”

Well that’s nice for the Poles, unfortunately we can’t put pictures of what Blair has been doing for George & Dick on public display. Apparently he winces if you say ‘spit roast’.

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Save Internet Radio From The US Govt!

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The Empire is trying with it’s corporate chums to silence internet radio by imposing prohibitive fees:

The future of Internet radio is in immediate danger. Royalty rates for webcasters have been drastically increased by a recent ruling and are due to go into effect on July 15 (retroactive to Jan 1, 2006!). To protest these rates and encourage the millions of net radio listeners to take action and contact their Congressional representatives, today is a national Day of Silence.  

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Iran Gas Rationing

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Straight from Jadi:

Yesterday they just announced that “Each car will have a 100 litre per month limitation and the prices are arises too. And if you are going to use more than your coupon, the price is 50 Euro cents per litre!” this means about 5 times more!!! People were mad. At first they went into the long ques to get petrol and after waiting hours and hours there, the riot started. Fire+Petrol+Angry people resulted to armed police and then guards standing in front of each pump!

I can not understand this government. They have to guard pumps, they have to use armed police against women, they have to use secret police against students and the prisons are full of dissidents; even dissident mullas. They should be ashamed. They can not kill everybody. They can not force anybody to believe what they believe.

One friend from a newspaper told me that they’ve got an order which says “you may nor write anything about oil prices or last nights uncalms in the newspapers”. But we have weblogs, we have internet and we have mobile phones. Here are some photos.

Click here for photos and the full post.

Campaign To Restore Habeas Corpus In The US Action Day

The two bills in question on restoring habeas are H.R. 1416 and S. 185.  Encourage your representatives not just to vote for these bills, but also to sign on as co-sponsors.  Details here.

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Goldsmith Deploys The Shaggy ‘It Wasn’t Me’ Defence On Torture Greenlight

Our attorney general who is one of the Blair rats jumping ship this week strenuously denies his role in approving torture of Iraqis who were not deemed covered by human rights laws (untermensch , I suppose), read his petulant denials here, or try the allegations here (and btw Rachel Quick helped in this, she got an OBE for smoothing the torture way, decent people say “of course all POW’s are to be treated within the Geneva conventions and with full human rights”, see how easy that was Rach? War Criminal OBE, has a ring to it I guess, the gals at the club will just die!):-

The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, is facing accusations that he told the Army its soldiers were not bound by the Human Rights Act when arresting, detaining and interrogating Iraqi prisoners.

Previously confidential emails, seen by The Independent, between London and British military head-quarters in Iraq soon after the start of the war suggest Lord Goldsmith’s advice was to adopt a “pragmatic” approach when handling prisoners and it was not necessary to follow the ” higher standards” of the protection of the Human Rights Act.

That, according to human rights lawyers, was tantamount to the Attorney General advising the military to ignore the Human Rights Act and to simply observe the Geneva Conventions. It was also contrary to advice given by the Army’s senior lawyer in Iraq, who urged higher standards to be met.

Last month, the first British soldier convicted of a war crime was jailed for a year and dismissed from the Army after being convicted of mistreating Iraqi civilians, including the hotel worker Baha Mousa, who died of his injuries at the hands of British soldiers. In 2005, three British soldiers were jailed by a court martial in Germany after “trophy” photographs emerged, showing Iraqi detainees being abused at an aid centre called Camp Bread Basket. There are about 60 more allegations of abuse being prepared for legal claims by rights groups.

Last week, Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights wrote to the Government to ask for an “explanation” about the evidence of torture in the Baha Mousa court martial.

Andrew Dismore MP, chair of the committee, said: “We have asked the Ministry of Defence to explain what appear to be stark inconsistencies in the evidence presented to our committee about the use of inhuman and degrading interrogation techniques prohibited as long ago as 1972.”

But emails sent just after the invasion indicate Lord Goldsmith’s belief that British soldiers in Iraq were not bound by the Human Rights Act. The documents also show a wide differing of opinion between him and Lieutenant-Colonel Nicholas Mercer, the Army’s most senior legal adviser on the ground, who wrote to say he felt “the ECHR would apply” to troops in Iraq.

On one occasion, Rachel Quick, the legal adviser to Permanent Joint Headquarters who had regularly sought and been given guidance from Lord Goldsmith on the treatment of Iraqi prisoners, wrote to Colonel Mercer giving her interpretation of the Attorney General’s advice. His view, she said, “was that the HRA was only intended to protect rights conferred by the Convention and must look to international law to determine the scope of those rights”.

Ms Quick went on say that the advice of the Attorney General, supported by Professor Christopher Greenwood [the barrister who advised Lord Goldsmith on the legality of the war], was that, in the circumstances, the HRA did not apply. “For your purposes,” she wrote, “I would suggest this means no requirement for you to provide guidance on the application of the HRA. I hope this is clear.”

Ms Quick, who in November 2003, was appointed OBE, added: “With regard to the detention of civilians – I will look at your documents in more detail and discuss with FCO, MoD legal advisers. Although my initial thoughts are you are trying to introduce UK procedures to a Geneva Convention IV context. Whilst this may be the perfect solution it may not be the pragmatic solution. Again we raised this issue with the AG and got a helpful steer on the procedures. I’ll aim to try to produce guidance, taking into account their advice on the detention of civilians.”

Such were the concerns of legal advisers on the ground over the Attorney General’s views that the MoD arranged for the senior legal adviser at the Foreign Office, Gavin Hood, to visit Permanent Joint Headquarters to settle any worries. Crucially, the emails make clear Lord Goldsmith’s legal opinion was not shared by Colonel Mercer, who contacted his superiors in London to ask for guidance after he had witnessed the hooding of 40 Iraqis at a British PoW camp in March. The men were all forced to kneel in the sun and had their hands cuffed behind their backs. Worried this could leave the soldiers vulnerable to prosecutions, he told the MoD that in his view soldiers should behave in accordance with the “higher standard” of the Human Rights Act.

But the response from the military’s Permanent Joint Headquarters in Qatar was that Lord Goldsmith had told the MoD the human rights law did not apply and soldiers should simply observe the Geneva Conventions.

When Colonel Mercer said he disagreed with the Government’s most senior law officer he was told that “perhaps you should put yourself up as the next Attorney General”. Colonel Mercer also asked for a British judge to be flown out to oversee the procedures for the detention of Iraqi prisoners, but this also was blocked at a high level.

Colonel Mercer’s interpretation of the law has since proved correct. Thirty months after he first raised his concerns during the Iraq conflict, the Court of Appeal ruled that British soldiers were bound by the Human Rights Act, which bans torture or degrading of prisoners.

The emails, part of court documents being prepared to support a judicial review in the High Court this year, reveal considerable disquiet among the military about the Attorney General’s advice.

The documents show that as early as March 2003, the International Committee of the Red Cross had begun investigating complaints of possible war crimes by British soldiers at the same PoW camp in south-east Iraq that had prompted Colonel Mercer’s original intervention. The Government was so worried about this that it flew out a political adviser from London to address the Red Cross’s concerns about hooding and other practices.