Friday! Fry & Laurie- Sexual Intercourse

“It’s very hard for you to believe isn’t it? It’s very hard for you to believe, that there are still some of us who can bring a child into this world without recourse to cannabis & government handouts!”

Pigs At The Trough

In a hurried and emotive statement after London’s markets had closed, Barclays attempted to calm fears that it faces a cash crisis. Rumours had circulated all day that Barclays was forced to go to the Bank of England after the central bank said it had lent £1.6bn at its penal rate of 6.75%. It is thought that Barclays borrowed the entire amount.

Hmm 6.75 % that’s the ‘penal rate’ which makes the rate to us poor schlubs what exactly? Capital punishment? Meanwhile besuited scumfucks aren’t getting as much swill as they’d like-

Major private equity buyouts have ground to a halt because of a backlog of “a year’s worth” of debt financing that banks must sell to other investors before they can start funding new deals, industry sources said. “There is a $100bn (49.7bn) pipeline of deals [in Europe] that needs to be sold…”

A syndicate of lenders led by Deutsche Bank has been unable to get rid of any of the £9bn it put up to finance KKR’s takeover of Alliance Boots, despite much of it being at a discount. Barclays and Mizuho, the lead banks on the £6.1 merger of the AA and Saga, have also been stuck with the loans from that deal.

Do you want to know what causes recessions? Greed. That answer also applies to executive pay, so how much did your wages go up this year? Was it 37%?-

Only a handful of top companies in continental Europe and the US are led by UK executives, despite claims that high levels of boardroom pay are essential to prevent a management brain drain. The Guardian/RTF survey of executive remuneration revealed this week that average pay for directors at Britain’s top companies rose 37% last year, with chief executives making on average £2.875m. Supporters of such high levels of pay say that British talent would migrate overseas if the price wasn’t right at home.

Analysis of Germany’s Dax 30, the Dow Jones industrial average and the companies that make up the Euronext 100 – in France, Portugal, Holland and Belgium – reveals less than half a dozen are run by UK chief executives.

So what happens when we begin to win some victories against big corporations? Yep that’s right they connive with the govt. to put the claims to court and until the case is decided (can you say- litigation and endless appeals) no more payouts-

While the test case is going on, claims will be suspended, except in genuine cases of financial hardship.

At the end of this orgy of greed the crash that’s coming will mean less income for the govt. and what do you think our conservative govt. will cut? After all we all know social programs and health services only make the labour market less…malleable.

There is a graph hidden somewhere in Europe of which Church of the Free Market disciples will never speak, it is a fabled document as blasphemous to them as the Necronomicon, it shows that with generous social spending and universal education/healthcare, the crashes of the boom and bust capitalist con game are smoothed out and become less severe. People suffer much less, however the trade off is the booms are not as great… are you getting the picture? Anything that bogart’s their greed high is attacked even though it would lift millions out of poverty, poor health and substandard education

The recent turmoil in financial markets could cost the Exchequer as much as £10bn per year in lost revenues. Research by Credit Suisse based on past market downturns suggests that a 10 per cent fall in real share prices “might eventually be associated with a 7. 5 per cent fall in business investment and a 2.5 per cent fall in consumer spending. The larger part of the impact on business investment comes through over a two to three year period. It takes longer in the case of consumer spending”. This would equate to about 2 per cent of GDP, a significant hit, with an implied reduction of around the same magnitude in Government revenues, or approximately £10bn per year by the end of the timescale.

They make their mess, jump ship with their booty and the Church of the Free Market corrupted governments do not hold them to account and instead the most vulnerable suffer. Can’t wait to hear the next spate of benefit scroungers and single mother speeches given by both our conservative pro-market parties. Always makes a recession go with such a swing, because y’know it’s someone surviving on £60 a week that’s wrecking our economy, innit?

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Cheney PR Offensive For Attack On Iran Launching In September

From Juan Cole’s blog

Barnett Rubin relays a message from a well-connected friend in Washington on the Cheney Administration’s plans to roll out a military confrontation with Iran in September. He writes at the Global Affairs blog:

” My friend had spoken to someone in one of the leading neo-conservative institutions. He summarized what he was told this way:

They [the source’s institution] have “instructions” (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don’t think they’ll ever get majority support for this–they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is “plenty.”

Of course I cannot verify this report. But besides all the other pieces of information about this circulating, I heard last week from a former U.S. government contractor. According to this friend, someone in the Department of Defense called, asking for cost estimates for a model for reconstruction in Asia. The former contractor finally concluded that the model was intended for Iran.”

Earlier, McClatchy reported on Aug. 9 that Cheney has been urging bombing of Iranian trails to Iraq. This position struck me as eerily reminiscent of Nixon-Kissinger’s treatment of Cambodia (which is what really caused the Khmer Rouge horrors, not, as Bush said the other day, US withdrawal from Vietnam; we dropped enormous amounts of ordnance on that country and severely disrupted it).

It perhaps has already begun, remember the Iranians arrested and blindfolded in Baghdad who were actually engineers & energy ministry officials there as guests of the Iraq govt.

prior to the Iranians’ arrest, U.S. soldiers were aware that the hotel where the Iranians were staying had proof that the Iranians were in Iraq at the invitation of Iraq’s Energy Ministry. 

They were sat eating dinner at their hotel when US forces with corporate media camera crews busted in and arrested them, they were released the next day footage of Iranians being arrested in Iraq achieved. The lie had been shouted, the retraction the next day whispered and Iran insulted and provoked and slow of thinking domestic viewers have -Iran are baddies- imprinted on their lizard brains. Mission accomplished.

Guess Who’s Been Editing Their Wiki Page, Can You Say SOA/WHINSEC?

Oh yeah, I have to admit I did a trace myself but the traffic demands on the scanner stalled it. But fear not SOA Watch caught the Fort Benning pixies at their naughty work (from SOAW email bulletin)-

A new scanning program has revealed that Wikipedia entries on the School of the Americas, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHINSEC) have been edited from an IP address from Fort Benning to omit all references to human rights abuses connected to the school.

The IP address used was Any IP address that begins with 150.226 belongs to Fort Benning. That IP address has the name of, which is via the Directorate of Information Management at Fort Benning.

The program also revealed that an entry about Fort Benning was altered to delete all mention of SOA Watch. Graduates of the School of the Americas have a documented track record of using the skills they were taught at the SOA/WHINSEC against union organizers, social justice activists, faith leaders and everyone who speaks out for social change and the rights of the poor. 

And in good news-

Chile’s Supreme Court has upheld the life sentence handed down to a former general for his part in the murder of 12 opponents of Augusto Pinochet.

Hugo Salas Wenzel, a graduate of the School of the Americas was the head of the National Information Center, the intelligence service, which carried out the killings. He is the first senior member of Augusto Pinochet’s military government to be given a life sentence for human rights abuses committed between 1973 and 1990.

The 1973 coup and its bloody aftermath were largely the work of SOA graduates. The Spanish lawyers who presented the charges that resulted in Pinochet’s 1998 arrest also requested the indictment of 30 other high-ranking officials of the Chilean dictatorship. Ten of those are SOA graduates. Although Pinochet himself was not an SOA graduate, his influence is clearly held in high esteem. In 1991, visitors could view a note from Pinochet, and a ceremonial sword donated by him, on display in the office of the SOA commandant. 

New Orleans-Ethnic Cleansing: Hell No We Ain’t Alright

Courtesy of MISTER Chuck D. free mp3 download is here (Oh yeah, don’t say I never give you nothing). So get down to that and remember blame Bush all you like but keep on target- racism, privatisation, conservatism. Here, there and everywhere is deadly. The same partisan hacks who made fortunes contracting in Iraq are doing the same on the gulf coast, party connected, corrupt corporate disaster capitalists.

Burma Action Day Friday

A Europe-wide day of action focussing on Portugal as EU President will take place on Friday 31st August. Members of the European Burma Network, the European coalition of organisations campaigning on Burma, will be organising a variety of actions, including protests at embassies, letter writing campaigns and emailing Portuguese embassies. At least 11 countries will be taking part, including UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Czech Republic, Ireland, Denmark, Austria, Poland and Norway.

In London there will be a protest at the Portuguese Embassy, 12noon-1pm, 11 Belgrave Sq, SW1X 8PP. Nearest tube Hyde Park Corner.

The day of action is in response to the failure of the European Union to take any concrete action in response to the Burmese military regime’s crackdown on peaceful protestors in Burma. To date the only step taken by the EU has been to issue a statement of concern. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Right to Memory and to Truth

The BBC report (h/t Rafael) on the publication of the official record of atrocities performed by the right wing military dictatorship of Brazil. Good on them, except, they don’t mention it was right wing (ok so people assume that perhaps, but what about those not so savvy?) but … well you can read the article at the bottom of this list of School of the America Graduates who staffed the repressive forces. See strangely the BBC forgot to mention America’s role in Brazil’s right wing military dictatorship, how ironic for a report on a document entitled ‘The Right to Memory and to Truth’ sarcastic, moi? (oh and a corruption scandal hogs the news about Brazil so this story got reported in single figures while the administration’s corruption problems becomes the story in the mainstream sphere)-

Bismarck Baracuhy Amancio Ramalho, 1967, Military Intelligence, Phase II
Repressive Forces: According to the Brazilian human rights group
Tortura Nunca Mais, he is linked to the repressive forces that existed
in Brazil in the 1960’s and 70’s. (Tortura Nunca Mais)

Mauro Baptista Lobo, 1967, Counterintelligence
Repressive Forces: According to the Brazilian human rights group
Tortura Nunca Mais, he is linked to the repressive forces that existed
in Brazil in the 1960’s and 70’s. (Tortura Nunca Mais)
Read the rest of this entry »

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What Are They Gonna Do? Put Them In Prison?

Thousands of prison officers are defying a High Court injunction and refusing to end their national strike over a pay dispute.

The surprise walkout by members of the Prison Officers’ Association (POA) in England and Wales began at 0700 BST.The action came after it pulled out of a no-strike agreement with government.

Officers in Bristol, Canterbury and Long Lartin returned to work in the afternoon, but other POA members said they would stay out for 24 hours.

Frolix put it nicely-

The Government’s message is all too clear: work harder, in deteriorating conditions, while we year on year cut your pay but try to withdraw your labour and we’ll force you back to work using the courts.

And this is supposed to be a Labour government? 

And as he also says prison officers are less sympathetic than nurses, but they are agents of the implied violence of the state, if the govt. cannot control them it loses some authority, some legitimacy. Which drives authoritarians nuts especially with their newly minted Ministry of Justice, MiniJust won’t be pleased. It also shows the inherent conservatism of the Blair project, the restrictions on the prison officers labour rights started with the Tories and NuLab continued them while spinning that it hadn’t-

In the event of the POA giving notice to terminate the legally enforceable collective agreement in circumstances where further agreement was not possible, the Secretary of State would seek during the 12-month period of notice of withdrawal from the agreement to reapply Section 127 through primary legislation.

the prison officers have full union rights on condition that they don’t use them!  How wonderfully New Labour.


Abu Ghraib Omerta

The only US officer tried over the abuse at Baghdad’s infamous Abu Ghraib jail was Tuesday found guilty of disobeying an order, but acquitted on three other charges.

Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jordan, 51, is the only US officer charged in the abuse scandal which emerged in 2004 when photographs of naked Iraqi prisoners being tormented by grinning US troops circulated around the world.

Jordan now faces up to five years in jail for the disobeying an order not to discuss the scandal with other people, when he sent two emails about it to a colleague in the spring of 2004. But he was acquitted of mistreating prisoners and dereliction of duty.

The decision by the jury of a general and nine colonels came at the end of a court martial at the Fort Meade military base just north of Washington.

The Bush crime family squashes another rat. Another great day for All American Torture.

War Pigs, War Pimps

So Cheney has won the ‘mind’ of Bush-

In his speech to the American Legion, Mr Bush hit back, accusing Iran’s Revolutionary Guards of funding and arming insurgents in Iraq.

And he said Iran’s leaders could not avoid some responsibility for attacks on coalition troops and Iraqi civilians.”I have authorised our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities,” he said. In a wide-ranging speech, Mr Bush also tackled the issue of Iran’s nuclear ambition – which Tehran insists is solely to provide power, but the US believes may be used to develop weapons.

Something just happened, the empire has shifted a gear and a detailed study has now been released assessing the US dispostion, basically go read it in full at Raw Story but some excerpts-

The study concludes that the US has made military preparations to destroy Iran’s WMD, nuclear energy, regime, armed forces, state apparatus and economic infrastructure within days if not hours of President George W. Bush giving the order. The US is not publicising the scale of these preparations to deter Iran, tending to make confrontation more likely. 

The attitude of the UK is uncertain, with the Brown government and public opinion opposed psychologically to more war, yet, were Brown to support an attack he would probably carry a vote in Parliament. The UK is adamant that Iran must not acquire the bomb. Read the rest of this entry »

Blackwater Buying Ground Attack Aircraft

Security company Blackwater U.S.A. is buying Super Tucano light combat aircraft from the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer. These five ton, single engine, single seat aircraft are built for pilot training, but also perform quite well for counter-insurgency work. Brazil. The Super Tucano is basically a prop driven trainer that is equipped for combat missions. The aircraft can carry up to 1.5 tons of weapons, including 12.7mm machine-guns, bombs and missiles. The aircraft cruises at about 500 kilometers an hour and can stay in the air for about 6.5 hours per sortie. One of the options is a FLIR (infrared radar that produces a photo realistic video image in any weather) and a fire control system for bombing. Colombia is using the Super Tucanos for counter-insurgency work… The bubble canopy provides excellent visibility. This, coupled with its slow speed (versus jets), makes it an excellent ground attack aircraft. Blackwater already has a force of armed helicopters in Iraq, and apparently wants something a little faster, and more heavily armed, to fulfill its security contracts overseas. (h/t Wonkette)

Oh good, a huge mercenary army allied to American right wing christianists is building its air force.

Eric Prince is … currently in his late 30s, but at the time of founding Blackwater in 1996 he was believed to be the wealthiest person that had ever enlisted in the U.S. Navy SEALs… Eric Prince came from a very conservative evangelical Christian family in the state of Michigan. His father was a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps businessman who started a very successful auto parts manufacturing business called Prince Manufacturing. And what the company was best known for was inventing the now ubiquitous lighted sun visor. Any time you’re in your car and you pull down that visor and it lights up, that’s Eric Prince’s family that invented that.

Island Life: Bollywood Ahoy!

A Bollywood star has set up home in Dolgellau and hopes to make north Wales a location for productions. Mayur Verma, 43, known as Raj, has moved to the town with his wife and two children and his mother, who is an established writer and film director.
“It’s a great location and it would certainly help to improve the tourist industry here because Asians love to visit the places they see in the films. When they see the hero singing a song at a certain location, they would want to have their picture taken on that spot, that’s the sort of following Bollywood has.”

Well ok it’s on the mainland and pretty far south, but he’s still in Gwynedd, that’s North Wales! Hey we’ve already had Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, Angeline Jolie & Demi Moore filming here (and of course Wales was India in ‘Carry on Up the Khyber’-and China in Tomb Raider 2, we’re so versatile!), honestly you can’t move most days for movie stars. I was down the hardware store and there was Johnny Depp pricing up the MDF sheets (he only does Tuesdays and every other Thursday- alternates with Penelope Cruz- y’know filming commitments). Check the movie map here.

And of course the village.

I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. I am not a number, I am a free man!

Ps. And watch out for the escaped buzzard.

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Shock Horror-NOT. Brown Does The Poodle

Gordon Brown has ruled out setting a timetable for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, saying they still have “an important job to do”. The prime minister said in a letter to Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell the military still had “clear obligations to discharge”.He insisted setting a timetable would undermine those efforts.

Gee, is there a single part of his crap that isn’t a verbatim GOP talking point to defend the occupation? (No). And the Soldier boy is spinning from the same hymn sheet-

The head of the Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, echoed Mr Brown’s comments in a speech in June which has only just been made public.

Gen Dannatt said British troops must prepare for a “generation of conflict” and continue to work for “some form of success” in Iraq.

Which all seems a tad at odds with-

Senior military commanders have told the Government that Britain can achieve “nothing more” in south-east Iraq, and that the 5,500 British troops still deployed there should move towards withdrawal without further delay.

So bottom line, the Whitehouse has spoken, to be nice they offered Brown some recycled talking points and left him to explain all the jolly good reasons why we should remain and hope no on notices the military commanders said-we’re done, time to leave. The grifters continue to play us. Iraq will be split into provinces ruled by US military bases, they’ve already done most of the ethnic cleansing.

The War On Democracy Continues- Oaxaca, Mexico

American proxy regime using fascist police and torture in Mexico: The tactics & techniques used by the police/paramilitaries reported here are straight out of SOA/WHINSEC manuals. One thing you can do is get people to watch John Pilger’s War On Democracy, lay down some righteous truth on those living in corporate media darkness-

 The events of Atenco, Oaxaca, Chiapas are clearly not aberrations. They all involve the considered, premeditated, and continued use of municipal, state, and federal forces and institutions to illegally, and with apparent total impunity, trample the human rights of both Mexicans and foreigners alike, including those of international human rights observers and media representatives like the four Spanish citizens abducted by police in Oaxaca, like Valentina Palma, Cristina Valls, and María Sostres similarly abducted then deported from Atenco, like Brad Will murdered in Oaxaca while trying to get word out to the rest of the world about what was happening then, and is still happening today, right now, in Mexico – gross, systematic, federally- and seemingly internationally-sanctioned, human rights abuses – and this from the country occupying the chair of the United Nations Human Rights Council. 

Take the four Spanish citizens snatched off the street in Oaxaca a couple of weeks of ago. Laia Serra (human rights lawyer), Ramón Sesén (professor), Nuria Morelló (anthropologist) and Ariadna Nieto (journalist) were walking with a Mexican friend in the historic centre of Oaxaca at 9.30pm on 5th August when they were surrounded by police, thrown up against a wall, then forced into a pick-up truck. They were taken to what appeared to them to be military or police quarters “…where people were dressed in blue and green uniforms. When they took us out of the truck they covered our heads and dragged us to a wall where we were forced to kneel down while they took away our back packs, fanny packs, documentation, and money.” After being robbed, they were variously photographed, interrogated, threatened, beaten, sexually assaulted, forced to do “humiliating acts” and terrorized – but they were not informed of what offences they were accused of or why they had been detained ie, they were subjected to what now appears to be standard Mexican police procedure – violent arbitrary detention. THEN they were taken to a police station, processed (but not permitted to make a phone call or contact their Consulate), and appeared before a judge who informed them that they had been caught without identification – she was completely uninterested in the fact that the police who took their bags had it all, and ordered their transfer to an immigration detention centre in Mexico City, pending deportation. From there they managed to contact the Spanish Consulate, and were finally released on 13 August, when Mexican authorities admitted they were in the country legally, and there was no justification for their deportation. Of course it is pure coincidence that both Laia and Ramón were involved in the 5th International Civil Commission for the Observation of Human Rights, which in February presented a damning report detailing human rights abuses in Oaxaca, and all four had attended the Zapatista International Encuentro in Chiapas the previous week…

The good thing about being a foreigner who is illegally detained, robbed, beaten, sexually assaulted, threatened, tortured and terrorised in Mexico is that afterwards you can jump on a plane and go home, pretty sure that your house will still be there when you arrive back. The option for indigenous Mexicans is somewhat more limited, as the people of Montes Azules in San Manuel municipality found out this week. About the only jumping they got to choose was from the helicopters that, like some fifth-rate video game, police used to round the community up like cattle then forced them aboard to transfer them to the municipal capital, while staff from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources destroyed their houses and pastures.

Keeping the home fires burning seems to be the order of the day, as I discovered 1-14 August while human rights observing in another San Manuel Zapatista Autonomous community, Emiliano Zapata. Local paramilitary group OPDICC are suspected of setting fire to neighbouring land two days after our arrival, but a well-timed torrential rainfall put it out within a few hours. A couple of days later they set another, which burnt overnight but was also rained out (see photo – brown areas are fire- burnt). Obviously unsatisfied with these efforts, and perhaps in honour of the meeting of the San Manuel Municipal Council attended by members from throughout the entire region, Saturday 11th saw an even bigger fire at the end of our valley, blocking the only road out for several hours. (h/t The Unapologetic Mexican)

Yeah That’ll Show ’em, Let Them Resign

Torturemada Alberto ‘Fredo’ Gonzales has been allowed to resign, like Rove going this is to better handle an upcoming legal issue which by them being out of the Whitehouse can now be better covered-up. Precisely what it is one can speculate (and salary hacks will, endlessly), it also might be something far worse and hitherto unknown which can now be kept concealed. In other words, there really is nothing to celebrate (well a bit, haha torture scum, enjoy spending more time with your family who if they are even remotely sane all fucking hate you) and in fact how pathetic it is when a war criminal (and enthusiastic enabler of Bush’s Texacutioneer reign) gets to resign on his own time rather than be hunted down, tried and locked up until he breathes his last behind bars? (still if he’s sent to the same joint as his bosses it’ll put new meaning into ‘taking Dick in the shower’)

 When he was counsel to the Texacutioner, then-Texas Gov. George Bush, Gonzales reviewed every execution before his boss signed off on the order, and he never found a single reason–not sleeping lawyers, not claims of innocence, not the barbarism of lethal injection–to delay sending men and women to their deaths.

ALBERTO GONZALES justified the use of torture against detainees in the U.S. government’s “war on terror.” Now, the attorney general is ready to claim new powers in putting prisoners to death in U.S. jails–again, in the name of the “war on terror.”

Gonzales’ Justice Department is preparing to implement another poisonous provision quietly slipped into last year’s reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act that gives the attorney general the power to shorten the time that death row prisoners have to appeal convictions in federal courts.

Note he has gone, not any policy, nor this new hard line on the death sentence. Corporate news encourages the cult of personality/celebrity so focus becomes the man not the institution he serves, which suits the rulers only too well. Like the X-wing pilot said- Stay on target.