Burma The Change Coming

The ongoing process for democracy-

Around 200 monks from several monasteries in Pakokku staged a walking protest at 8.30 this morning, according to a monk who participated in the march. The monk said that the protest was a continuation of last month’s demonstrations as he said the monks’ demands have still not been met. “Our demands are for lower commodity prices, national reconciliation and the immediate release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners,” the monk explained.

“We are not afraid of getting arrested or being tortured. We are doing this for Sasana,” he said.

The monks reportedly notified the authorities in advance, telling them that if a pro-government demonstration was taking place then the monks should also be allowed to hold their protest. The monk said there would be more and larger demonstrations in the future. “We did not have much time to organise the protest as we did not actually plan for it, so there weren’t a lot of monks. But there will be bigger and more organized protests soon,” he said. The monk said that civilian bystanders supported the protest but were afraid to express this openly. “We would like to urge people not to be afraid since we are doing this for good future of our country,” he said.

And exiled monks have formed an alliance to raise international awareness of Burma’s situation and lobby international governments. Yesterday Human Rights Watch released a report saying the Junta press gangs children into military service, this is not really news if you are informed on the situation but it was useful to keep Burma in the news. Teenagers have long been snatched/beguiled/conned and brutalised into becoming agents of state repressive apparatus & aggression…and that also happens in Burma, ahem. UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari is due back in Burma on Saturday, the generals wanting to grease as many palms and return to a false facade of calm for the ASEAN meeting in November. So the envoy’s presence and this latest protest are key signifiers of a continuing struggle that must be recognised and supported. The military is looking to divide and weaken the opposition while recruiting militias-

Residents of Mingalar Taung Nyunt township, Rangoon, have claimed that local police have been conducting military training for township residents and offering rewards to those who attend. Police sergeants from the township police have reportedly delivered basic military training to around 120 local people. They also claimed that police promised to give a reward of 3000 kyat a day to the participants, and that most of those who took part were poor or unemployed young people motivated by the reward.

Via Ko Htike a four hour debate in the UK parliament addresses Burma-

British Members of Parliament called for an investigation into crimes against humanity in Burma and increased aid to the Burmese people during a four-hour debate on the current crisis held in the House of Commons last night. MPs, human rights campaigners and members of the Burmese exiled community held a vigil in Parliament Square during the debate.

In the historic debate, MPs called for the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to visit Burma and urged the British Government to investigate crimes against humanity and bring a case against Burma’s military regime to the International Criminal Court.

The Secretary of State for International Development, Douglas Alexander MP, announced plans to double British aid to Burma from £8.8 million this year to £18 million by 2010. His announcement follows criticism that the Department for International Development (DfID) failed to act on key recommendations from the House of Commons International Development Committee in July. The Committee had called for British aid to be quadrupled by 2013, and for funding for cross-border aid to internally displaced people and support for pro-democracy and human rights projects.

The Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell MP, who travelled with Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) to the Thai-Burmese border and visited Rangoon earlier this year, told the House of Commons: “I am surprised and rather disappointed that the Government have not accepted in full the recommendations of the [Committee’s] excellent report. Indeed, they have rejected the most important ones…We agree entirely with the Committee’s recommendation. If we are in government after the next election, we will implement that proposal in full and immediately.”

Well that’s good to hear, but it is tory in opposition so I won’t get all shocked & shit if/when that promise is broken and the govt. has still not accepted the full recommendations and little mention is made of oil and arms. So some progress, still a way to go Gordon. A word to the Thai govt. wouldn’t go amiss, they are staging raids on immigrants, criminalising refugees from Burma. Internally guilt by association causes a whole rubber plantation’s staff detained by criminal state sanctioned volunteer police gangs-

A resident of Inntakaw township, Bago, where the rubber plantation is located, told DVB that plantation owner Aung Gyi and his workers were arrested by a volunteer police force led by chief Hla Moe Aung, who set up an interrogation camp in the plantation after his group arrested Htay Kywe.

“The plantation owner and his workers were arrested and are now being interrogated by Hla Moe Aung and his group. They are questioning people who live in the area as well,” said an Inntakaw resident, speaking on condition of anonymity. “They demand liquor and livestock from the neighbourhood. They have stolen and sold everything in the plantation as well.” According to unconfirmed sources, Hla Moe Aung was given a 2.5 million kyat reward by Burma police chief Khin Yee for the arrest of Htay Kywe.

And in oil rich Arakan state the lockdown continues-

The junta authorities of Arakan State have  ordered the administration of northern Arakan on October 29 to check family lists, tighten security on the border and watch the movement of monks, said a local in Maungdaw… Burma’s Border Security Force (Nasaka) has also been asked to check anyone leaving their village or entering with or without permission, he added.

TOC (Tactical Operation Command) also told the administration to check villages twice or thrice a month. If anyone stays without permission or overstays with permission, he will be punished according to the law. The authorities ordered the Village Peace and Development Council (VPDC) not to permit anyone to stay in the villages for more than three days, said a member of the VPDC.

According to a villager, VPDC gives permission to villagers to go to another village for only three days. If anyone does not come back within the time frame, he will be fined by the authorities.

So, the Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC) and Head Quarters (HQS) of Burma’s border security forces (Nasaka) has ordered the administration to watch the movement of monks and to arrest monks if they see new faces in northern Arakan. The authorities have information that monks involved in the recent uprising are trying to cross the Burma-Bangladesh border and were coming from outside northern Arakan.

War Nation

Sadly it is not just the leaders who believe the empire has a divine right to rule

  • 52% – would support a U.S. military strike to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon
  • Republicans, however, are much more likely to be supportive of a strike (71%), than Democrats (41%) or independents (44%)
  • 29% said the U.S. should not attack Iran, and 20% were unsure.
  • The view that Iran should not be attacked by the U.S. is strongest among Democrats (37%) and independents, but fewer than half as many Republicans (15%) feel the same. But Republicans are also more likely to be uncertain on the issue (28%).

At Neo Resistance you can compare Iran against the Pakistan, Israel & our current BFF Saudi Arabia. Iran spends the least on the military and has the lowest public debt, go see the graphs from the CIA world factbook yourself. (h/t Rawstory)

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Top 25 Censored Stories

The US project censored has made their list for 2008 (I know it isn’t 08 but everyone seems to do this , like mags that have their December issues out now, silly) anyways, here they are carefully counted up like a groovy hit parade of non-trivial news, I have taken each story and put in a brief excerpt, full details and citations at the link here

  1. No Habeas Corpus for “Any Person”– While it is true that some parts of the MCA target non-citizens, other sections clearly apply to US citizens as well, putting citizens inside the same tribunal system with non-citizen residents and foreigners.
  2. Bush Moves Toward Martial Law– The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007, which was quietly signed by Bush on October 17, 2006, the very same day that he signed the Military Commissions Act, allows the president to station military troops anywhere in the United States and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to “suppress public disorder.”
  3. AFRICOM: US Military Control of Africa’s Resources–  The most significant and growing challenge to US dominance in Africa is China. White House announced the formation of the US African Command (AFRICOM), a new unified Pentagon command center in Africa, to be established by September 2008. This military penetration of Africa is being presented as a humanitarian guard in the Global War on Terror. The real objective is, however, the procurement and control of Africa’s oil and its global delivery systems.  
  4. Frenzy of Increasingly Destructive Trade Agreements– The Oxfam report, “Signing Away the Future,” reveals that the US and European Union (EU) are vigorously pursuing increasingly destructive regional and bilateral trade and investment agreements outside the auspices of the WTO. These agreements are requiring enormous irreversible concessions from developing countries, while offering almost nothing in return.
  5. Human Traffic Builds US Embassy in Iraq– The enduring monument to US liberation and democracy in Iraq will be the most expensive and heavily fortified embassy in the world—and is being built by a Kuwait contractor repeatedly accused of using forced labor trafficked from South Asia under US contracts.
  6. Operation FALCON Raids– Under the code name Operation FALCON (Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally) three federally coordinated mass arrests occurred between April 2005 and October 2006. In an unprecedented move, more than 30,000 “fugitives” were arrested in the largest dragnets in the nation’s history.
  7. Behind Blackwater Inc.– The company that most embodies the privatization of the military industrial complex—a primary part of the Project for a New American Century and the neoconservative revolution is the private security firm Blackwater. Blackwater is the most powerful mercenary firm in the world, with 20,000 soldiers, the world’s largest private military base, a fleet of twenty aircraft, including helicopter gunships, and a private intelligence division. The firm is also manufacturing its own surveillance blimps and target systems.
  8. KIA: The US Neoliberal Invasion of India– Farmers’ cooperatives in India are defending the nation’s food security and the future of Indian farmers against the neoliberal invasion of genetically modified (GM) seed. As many as 28,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide over the last decade as a result of debt incurred from failed GM crops and competition with subsidized US crops
  9. Privatization of America’s Infrastructure– We will soon be paying Wall Street investors, Australian bankers, and Spanish contractors for the privilege of driving on American roads, as more than twenty states have enacted legislation allowing public-private partnerships to build and run highways. Investment firms including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and the Carlyle Group are approaching state politicians with advice to sell off public highway and transportation infrastructure.
  10. Vulture Funds Threaten Poor Nations’ Debt Relief- In one recent case, the poverty-stricken nation of Zambia was negotiating with Romania to reduce a $40 million debt still owed from a 1979 loan to buy Romanian tractors. In 1999, Romania had agreed to liquidate the entire loan for $3 million. Zambia planned to use the debt cancellation to invest in much-needed nurses, teachers, and basic infrastructure. Just before the deal was finalized however, investors at the England-based vulture fund Donegal International convinced the Romanian government to sell them the loan for just under $4 million—not much more than Zambia had offered. Donegal then turned around and sued Zambia (where the average wage is barely a dollar a day) for the full $40 million.
  11. The Scam of “Reconstruction” in Afghanistan– Action Aid reveals that much of the US tax money earmarked to rebuild Afghanistan actually ends up going no further than the pockets of wealthy US corporations. “Phantom aid” that never shows up in the recipient country is a scam in which paychecks for overpriced, and often incompetent, American “experts” under contract to USAID go directly from the Agency to American bank accounts. Additionally, 70 percent of the aid that does make it to a recipient country is carefully “tied” to the donor nation, requiring that the recipient use the donated money to buy products and services from the donor country, often at drastically inflated prices.
  12. Another Massacre in Haiti by UN Troops– Eyewitness testimony confirms indiscriminate killings by UN forces in Haiti’s Cité Soleil community on December 22, 2006, reportedly as collective punishment against the community for a massive demonstration of Lavalas supporters in which about ten thousand people rallied for the return of President Aristide in clear condemnation of the foreign military occupation of their country. According to residents, UN forces attacked their neighborhood in the early morning, killing more than thirty people, including women and children. Footage taken by Haiti Information Project (HIP) videographers shows unarmed civilians dying as they tell of extensive gunfire from UN peacekeeping forces (MINUSTAH).
  13. Immigrant Roundups to Gain Cheap Labor for US Corporate Giants– The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) flooded Mexico with cheap subsidized US agricultural products that displaced millions of Mexican farmers. Between 2000 and 2005, Mexico lost 900,000 rural jobs and 700,000 industrial jobs, resulting in deep unemployment throughout the country. Desperate poverty has forced millions of Mexican workers north in order to feed their families. In the wake of 9/11, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) has conducted workplace and home invasions across the country in an attempt to round up “illegal” immigrants. ICE justifies these raids under the rubric of keeping our homeland safe and preventing terrorism. However the real goal of these actions is to disrupt the immigrant work force in the US and replace it with a tightly regulated non-union guest-worker program. This policy is endorsed by companies seeking permanent low-wage workers through a lobby group called Essential Worker Immigrations Coalition (EWIC). EWIC’s fifty-two members include the US Chamber of Commerce, Wal-Mart, Marriott, Tyson Foods, American Meat Institute, California Landscape Contractors Association, and the Association of Builders and Contractors.  
  14. Impunity for US War Criminals– A provision mysteriously tucked into the Military Commission Act (MCA) just before it passed through Congress and was signed by President Bush on October 17, 2006 (see story #1), redefines torture, removing the harshest, most controversial techniques from the definition of war crimes, and exempts the perpetrators—both interrogators and their bosses—from prosecution for such offences dating back to November 1997. Author Jeff Stein asks, “Who slipped language into the MCA that would further exempt torturers from prosecution?” The White House denies any involvement or knowledge regarding the insertion of such language, leaving the origin of adjustments to this significant part of the MCA a mystery.
  15. Toxic Exposure Can Be Transmitted to Future Generations on a “Second Genetic Code”– Research suggests that, contrary to previous belief, our behavior and our environmental conditions may program sections of our children’s DNA. New evidence about how genes interact with the environment suggests that many industrial chemicals may be more ominously dangerous than previously thought. It is increasingly clear that the effects of toxic exposure may be passed on through generations, in ways that are still not fully understood.
  16. No Hard Evidence Connecting Bin Laden to 9/11–  Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI responded, “The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Osama bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11.” Tomb continued, “Bin Laden has not been formally charged in connection to 9/11.”
  17. Drinking Water Contaminated by Military and Corporations– Water is essential to life, contributing to blood circulation, digestion, metabolism, brain activity, and muscle movements. Yet reliably pure water is growing scarce, even in the United States. Despite the federal government’s avowed commitment “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters,”1 corporations, municipalities, and the US military pollute our waters—often with little or no accountability.
  18. Mexico’s Stolen Election– Overwhelming evidence reveals massive fraud in the 2006 Mexican presidential election between “president-elect” Felipe Calderón of the conservative PAN party and Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the more liberal PRD. In an election riddled with “arithmetic mistakes,” a partial recount uncovered evidence of abundant stuffing and stealing of ballots that favored the PAN victory. Meanwhile, US interests were significantly invested in the outcome of Mexico’s election. Though neither candidate had any choice but to cooperate with the US agenda, important differences existed around energy policy, specifically with regard to foreign privatization of Mexican oil and gas reserves. 
  19. People’s Movement Challenges Neoliberal Agenda– The US Free Trade model is meeting increasingly successful resistance as people’s movements around the world build powerful alternatives to neoliberal exploitation. This is particularly evident in Latin America, where massive opposition to US economic domination has demanded that populist leaders and parties take control of national governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua, and Uruguay.
  20. Terror Act Against Animal Activists– The term “terrorism” has been dangerously expanded to include acts that interfere, or promote interference, with the operations of animal enterprises. The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), signed into law on November 27, 2006, broadens punishment present under the Animal Enterprises Protection Act (AEPA) of 1992.
  21. US Seeks WTO Immunity for Illegal Farm Payments–  On July 24, 2006, after nearly five years of global trade negotiations, talks at the meetings of the World Trade Organization collapsed—perhaps permanently, say some economic analysts. In January of 2007, trade ministers from the United States, the European Union, Brazil, India, Japan, and Australia said they remained hopelessly stalemated, mostly on the contentious issue of farm trade. Of utmost importance to the Bush Administration was that the US receive immunity from lawsuits by poor countries before Bush’s special “fast track” trade negotiating powers expired at the end of June, 2007.  
  22. North Invades Mexico– Author Mike Davis points out that, in a “reality stood on its head,” few people—at least outside Mexico—have bothered to notice that while all the nannies, cooks, maids, and gardeners have been heading north to tend the luxury lifestyles of irate republicans, the Gringo masses have been rushing south to enjoy glorious budget retirements and affordable second homes in Mexico. The number of North Americans living in Mexico has soared from 200,000 to 1 million (one-quarter of all US expatriates) in the past decade. 
  23. Feinstein’s Conflict of Interest in Iraq– Dianne Feinstein—the ninth wealthiest member of congress—has been beset by monumental ethical conflicts of interest. As a member of the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee (MILCON) from 2001 to the end of 2005, Senator Feinstein voted for appropriations worth billions of dollars to her husband’s firms.
  24. Media Misquotes Threat From Iran’s President– Across the world a media story has spread that Iran’s President Ahmadinejad has threatened to destroy Israel, by saying that, “Israel must be wiped off the map.” Contrary to general belief, this statement was actually a misinterpretation. However, it was the Islamic Republic News Service in Iran that first mistranslated the quote. Iran’s Foreign Minister attempted to clarify the statement, but the quote ended up having a life of its own in the corporate media. Amid heated wrangling over Iran’s nuclear program and the threat of preemptive strikes by the US, the quote has been continually used to reinforce the idea that Iran is being run by extremists seeking the total destruction of Israel. So what did Ahmadinejad actually say? To quote his exact words in Farsi:“Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad.”
    Rezhim-e is the word “regime,” pronounced just like the English word with an extra “eh” sound at the end. Ahmadinejad did not refer to Israel the country or Israel the landmass, but the Israeli regime. This is a vastly significant distinction, as one cannot wipe a regime off the map. Ahmadinejad did not even refer to Israel by name, he instead used the specific phrase “rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods” (regime occupying Jerusalem). A similar statement by Ahmadinejad in December 2006, “As the Soviet Union disappeared, the Zionist regime will also vanish and humanity will be liberated,” has also been misinterpreted. 
  25. Who Will Profit from Native Energy?– Energy on Native American land is becoming big business. According to the Indigenous Environmental Network, 35 percent of the fossil fuel resources in the US are within Indian country. The Department of the Interior estimates that Indian lands hold undiscovered reserves of almost 54 billion tons of coal, 38 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 5.4 billion barrels of oil. Tribal lands also contain enormous amounts of alternative energy. The questions to be answered now are: what sort of energy will Indian lands produce, who will make that decision, and who will end up benefiting from the production?

War Criminology: Denial

This part is on C&L

At the Pentagon, Garlasco was chief of high value targeting at the start of the Iraq war. He told 60 Minutes his team was authorized to kill a set number of civilians around high-value targets — targets like Saddam Hussein and his leadership.

“Our number was 30. So, for example, Saddam Hussein. If you’re gonna kill up to 29 people in a strike against Saddam Hussein, that’s not a problem,” Garlasco explains. “But once you hit that number 30, we actually had to go to either President Bush, or Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.”

Garlasco says, before the invasion of Iraq, he recommended 50 air strikes aimed at high-value targets — Iraqi officials.But he says none of the targets on the list were actually killed. Instead, he says, “a couple of hundred civilians at least” were killed.

But the a few lines down in the transcript from ’60 minutes’ a corporate tv news show-

Of course the Taliban are killing civilians too, targeting them deliberately. By contrast, 60 Minutes watched American airmen calculate how to minimize civilian casualties with the choice of timing, weapon, and direction of attack.

They still live in denial, proportionality, minimize and woohoo they do all this with a teevee news crew there, ah bless. Utterly delusional, if you know an action will kill civilians and you proceed with it you are deliberately killing them. The legal wriggle room here is ‘targeting’, which I think is not only a lie but ethically irrelevant once the process becomes routine and repeated. It is also a plain war crime. It is also terrorism. Why do you think they are keeping doing it? It is planned, strategised and with malice aforethought. And it did not begin in Iraq, in fact as soon as someone figured you could drop explosives from them new fangled planes it began, 8 seconds later the first lie about targeting only the bad guys was written. But this is a step forward into barbarity, now killing tens of civilians to possibly get one enemy (an enemy because he resists your invading forces) is the low level of propaganda ruse needed. That is a cowardly tyranny that can not easily be forgiven, except millions of patriots don’t even think they are doing anything wrong, that old one.

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Iran & Syria- No Nukes You War Pimps

Mohamed ElBaradei: “But have we seen having the nuclear material that can be readily used into a weapon? No. Have we seen an active weaponization program? No. So there is a concern, but there is also time to clarify these concerns.”

Stressing that there is no evidence of Syria pursuing a nuclear programme, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog has flayed Israel for taking “the law into their own hands” with a raid on Damascus last month. Mohamed Elbaradei said he was “very distressed” about the Syrian bombing because “we have not received information about any nuclear-related activities, clandestine nuclear-related activities in Syria.” 

Compare ElBaradei to the Bush crime family, peddling the bullshit misinterpretation of Ahmadinejad’s speech, oh yeah and erm, he is not the supreme leader of Iran, I know pretending he is helps war pimps but let’s keep reminding the world of the fallacy of that projection. In other words two lies in one line from Bush, such is the level of deceit of the war pimp –

“We’ve got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel,” Bush said, responding to Russia’s stated cautioning against military action targeting Tehran’s suspected atomic program. “So I’ve told people that, if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon,” said Bush.

“I think the president is dead right,” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on CBS when asked about the “World War III” comment. “I think the president is justified in trying to wake up the world, wake up Russia, wake up the European nations. “We need to be more aggressive, we don’t need to talk softly, we need to act boldly,” Graham continued.

Or, from over a year ago-

US President George W Bush has referred to the “war on terror” as “World War III” during a television interview.Mr Bush told the CNBC television network the revolt of passengers on the hijacked flight 93 on September 11, 2001, was the “first counter-attack to World War III”.

He said he agreed with the description by David Beamer, whose son Todd died in the crash, in a Wall Street Journal commentary last month the act was “our first successful counter-attack in our homeland in this new global war – World War III”.

There’s only one mob consistently talking about WWIII and they talk about it as their response to countries not submitting to their will. And now the bad and good news- this shows appalling death hangs on a very few people’s shoulders (h/t Blairwatch), which also means only a few people need to stopped or changed to stop the war pimping. One thing that would help is for those war criminals to be prosecuted, it would give pause to the next bunch of potential killers, if we do not manage to do that, they may get their harvest of blood. And yes, I will be wearing a t-shirt with ‘I Told You So’ written on it as the world ends. Hey, you get lemons you make lemonade…

Burma Strange

The junta has hushed up a bird flu outbreak-

The military government’s censorship board in Burma has banned some media from publishing news about a new bird flu outbreak which was confirmed on October 20, according to a journalist who requested anonymity.

A journalist in Rangoon told The Irrawaddy on Monday that the junta’s Press Scrutiny and Registration Board censored a story reporting information about a confirmed H5N1 bird flu outbreak on a farm in Thanatpin Township in Pegu Division, about 80 km north of Rangoon. The story would have been distributed on Monday.

The latest H5N1 bird flu outbreak was reported to the OIE-World Organization for Animals on October 24 by the regime’s Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department, according to the OIE Web site. The report was submitted by Maung Maung Nyunt, the director general of the LBVD.

The OIE Web site said tests by the Rangoon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed on October 20 that the fowl died of the H5N1 virus. The Burmese report sent to the OIE said the bird flu outbreak killed 400 chickens and ducks. The authorities reportedly killed 33,459 fowl to try to contain the virus. A local resident contacted by The Irrawaddy said the owners of the fowl were not compensated.

And is also receiving help from the Thai authorities to suppress exile groups-

A Burmese exile media organization in Bangkok has dropped its Web site news service “temporarily,” amid reports of a crackdown on such operations on Thai territory that carry material critical of Burma’s junta.

The reports surfaced last week and caused other exile media groups in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Mae Sot to lower their profile. There were warnings of possible raids by Thai police and immigration authorities.

A source at the Democratic Voice of Burma said the DVB’s office in Chiang Mai was still operating but was taking a low profile. Myint Wai, of the Bangkok-based Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that his group is also vigilant in view of the reports of a possible crackdown. The TACDB’s operations are mainly focused on Burmese migrant workers, many of whom have no legal documents. 

And while 73 people have been freed from Insein prison many are still in the system and one activist in hiding has turned up dead. Taiwan is going to support the Burmese democracy movement with a task force based at their representative office in Thailand, which should please China no end…

A report (but unsubstantiated) that the junta is little effected by Bush’s much trumpeted sanctions-

The Burmese American citizens, in a letter to the US embassy in Rangoon, with a copy to the US State Department, mentioned names of several Burma’s ruling generals and their business associates including tycoon Tayza, of possessing visas or living in the US and undertaking financial transactions.

The group, which cannot be contacted, in the letter sent on October 28 said, several family members of the ruling generals and their associates are living in the US and are helping the generals transfer money for businesses through their bank accounts. Besides, a few generals are stated to have visited the US despite a ban on travel imposed on them, said the group. “The fact is that they all had visas issued by the US embassy in Rangoon ,” the group said in the letter.

Meanwhile, an email message, supposedly from Htet Tayza, son of Burmese business tycoon Tayza, doing the rounds among the Burmese community in exile, said the US sanctions against Burma and particularly on the ruling generals and their associate has had little impact on them as they control the economy of Burma.

While the authenticity of the email message cannot be proved, Htet Tayza in the message said, “US bans us? Lol we are still cool in Singapore. We’re sitting on the whole Burmese GDP (Gross Domestic Product). We’ve got timber, gems and gas to be sold to countries like Singapore, China, India and Russia.”

However, business tycoon Tayza, Burmese junta head Snr. General Than Shwe’s right-hand man, was forced to suspend his Air Bagan flights to Singapore as insurers stopped dealing with the company following the US and European Union’s extension of sanctions on the Burmese generals as a response to the brutal crackdown on monk-led peaceful demonstrations in September.

And now we fall further down the rabbit hole, in steps the American Enterprise Institute, like a vampire saying what a pretty neck you have-

Burma’s Saffron Revolution: How should the world respond?” was hosted by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on the 16th of October.

I don’t think I have ever used ‘saffron revolution’, it is clearly a branding, a hijack whose antecedence we find in the Ukraine, Belarus and Serbia etc. as well as being inaccurate (the robes are dark red!) it is the cover for the realpolitik manoeuvering of the empire. One can support the fight for people power and freedom in Burma without buying into the ‘saffron revolution’ brand empire, whose record on human rights and real freedom brings frying pans and fires to mind.

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Royal Blackmail

I’m not really concerned with the antics of inbred privilege so I don’t know exactly which royal it is in this picture I have that shows them doing lines off a rent boy’s cock. If you want a copy just leave 5 grand in the usual place. Good to see our courts and media were so discreet, I’m sure if it was a footballer or some other non-royal celebrity they would have kept it quiet the entire case and over a month afterwards…Oh Britain, when the royals say jump we still ask ‘how high?’

PS. How boring it really is a minor royal.

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Peak Oil Was So Last Year


according to a study by the Energy Watch Group (EWG) in Berlin, Germany. It reported this week that world oil production peaked in 2006 – far earlier than expected.

Energy Watch Group is a Germany-based group of independent scientists and energy experts who this month released a report that includes nearly 100 pages of exhaustive technical analysis of every oil producing field in the world and every known and proven reserve.

the EWG study relies more on actual oil production data which, it says, are more reliable than estimates of reserves still in the ground. The group says official industry estimates put global reserves at about 1.255 gigabarrels – equivalent to 42 years’ supply at current consumption rates. But it thinks the figure is only about two thirds of that.

British energy economist David Fleming: “Anticipated supply shortages could lead easily to disturbing scenes of mass unrest as witnessed in Burma this month. For government, industry and the wider public, just muddling through is not an option any more as this situation could spin out of control and turn into a complete meltdown of society.”

Mr Schindler comes to a similar conclusion. “The world is at the beginning of a structural change of its economic system. This change will be triggered by declining fossil fuel supplies and will influence almost all aspects of our daily life.”

Jeremy Leggett, one of Britain’s leading environmentalists and the author of Half Gone, a book about “peak oil” – defined as the moment when maximum production is reached, said that both the UK government and the energy industry were in “institutionalised denial” and that action should have been taken sooner.

“When I was an adviser to government, I proposed that we set up a taskforce to look at how fast the UK could mobilise alternative energy technologies in extremis, come the peak,” he said. “Other industry advisers supported that. But the government prefers to sleep on without even doing a contingency study. For those of us who know that premature peak oil is a clear and present danger, it is impossible to understand such complacency.”

The smart money is moving into Thunderdome fight training schools, presided over by robot Dick Cheney in a chain-mail cocktail dress, mmmm.

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Correlli Barnett Lays The Smackdown On Britannia

So, at an 80th birthday celebratory seminar the historian lays out some home truths on our not so ‘Great’ Britain, bring the noise-

“Politicians, civil servants and military chiefs remained mental prisoners of Britain’s past as a world and imperial power,”

Discussing why the elite retain such nostalgic delusions, he said: “In my belief the elite remained prisoners of their indoctrination at public school and Oxbridge. There they had been programmed to be house prefects to the world. But given Britain’s postwar problems, these Victorian or Edwardian reflexes were simply obsolete mental kit overdue for scrapping.”

He argued in his address: “Such exaggeration has remained the besetting sin of British total strategy right up to the present day and also remained a sure recipe for a discordance between military commitments and financial resources. At the present time, the British army and its air support are just too small to fight simultaneous large-scale guerrilla wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan,” Mr Barnett added.

“In other words, a case of true overstretch. It is why our commitment in Iraq is being gradually cut back – simply to enable us to concentrate our limited strength on Afghanistan.”

He castigated the prime minister who took Britain to war over Suez in 1956, Anthony Eden. “He could no more imagine Britain giving up her inheritance as a great power because she was hard-up than, for a similar reason, having to exchange his Savile Row suits for ready-made reach-me-downs… In Eden’s view, ‘our world-wide commitments are inescapable.’ Gordon Brown and David Cameron would probably say the same today. Tony Blair certainly did.”

Of course the assembled elite hrumph and ignore him and the BBC report sides with the military expansionist delusions as post-Hutton normal. I remember two things said about change or revolution in Britain- John le Carré said it would be necessary to abolish the public school system (here ‘public schools’ actually mean expensive private elite schools full of chinless idiots), Billy Bragg said it would be necessary to close all the pubs for a while, beer being our opium of the masses. I second both. Mark Steel wrote a fantastic piece about watching a cricket game hosted at a private school which had its own zoo, you heard me-

Every time someone repeats how there’s no point in referring to antiquated tribal notions of class, they should be forced to visit the Whitgift private school in Croydon, where I went last week to see Surrey play Kent at cricket. To start with, how likely is it that a comprehensive school would have the facilities to put on a professional sports match? So kids in an inner city school would say: “I got in bear trouble man, for disturbing Roger Federer you get me. I tripped him during his semi-final against Rafael Nadal up against the wall of the science block init.”

So I knew this school had a few bob, but what I didn’t realise until I walked round the grounds was it had its own zoo. Which is worth repeating. It had its own fucking zoo. There are peacocks, flamingoes, some sort of rare Central American duck, and two wallabies. Presumably at some stage the school governors complained “It occurs to us that our aim of ultimate excellence in all fields cannot be pursued in the absence of a wallaby.” Read the rest of this entry »

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John Pilger: Burma

Two versions- Anti-war or Grauniad-

When did Brown or Blair ever use their platforms at the CBI and in the City of London to name and shame those British companies that make money on the back of the Burmese people? When did a British prime minister call for the EU to plug the loopholes of arms supply to Burma. The reason ought to be obvious. The British government is itself one of the world’s leading arms suppliers. Next week, the dictator of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, whose tyranny gorges itself on British arms, will receive a state visit. On Thursday the Brown government approved Washington’s latest fabricated prelude to a criminal attack on Iran – as if the horrors of Iraq and Afghanistan were not enough for the “liberal” lionhearts in Downing Street and Whitehall.

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Saturday Idiot Fever

So…if the insurgents in Iraq are fighting massive battles with the few ‘Al Qaeda’ where does that leave the invaders? Because the lie about fighting terrorism is hard to maintain when the same forces fighting you are fighting terrorist groups, maybe it would be more accurate to say the Iraq resistance is fighting terrorists, whether they be US, mercenary, UK or AQ. After all the Whitehouse is attempting to prove it really is a fantastically huge liar this time with the Q changed to N.

Something about this smells-

A man has been killed trying to cross the M25 close to the Dartford Tunnel. Police officers were already at the scene when the person ran across the carriageway and was hit by a van at about 0500 BST on Saturday

And there is not a single utterance from this verminous cretin’s mouth that is worthy of even a nanosecond of attention. He gets paid hundreds of pounds an hour to lie for British state death squads (nothing like murdering a man then sliming his reputation afterwards to avoid justice) and I get fuck all for pointing the shit out, ho hum. Although a US state operative has grown a pair even as Gitmo and the Pentagon use organised crime methods of extortion to prosper in their War of Terror-

…lawyers investigating the case of a Sudanese hospital administrator, Adel Hamad, who has been held for five years, came across a “stunning” sworn statement from a member of the military panel. The officer they interviewed was so frightened of retaliation from the military that they would not allow their name to be used in the statement, nor to reveal whether the person was a man or woman.

Meanwhile in genocide news we hear the familiar refrain of just doing my job, now with added art dealer cachet-

“I’m just a photographer; I don’t know anything,” he said he told the newly arrived prisoners as he removed their blindfolds and adjusted the angles of their heads. But he knew, as they did not, that every one of them would be killed. He became the chief of six photographers at Tuol Sleng, where at least 14,000 people were tortured to death or sent to killing fields. Only a half dozen inmates were known to have survived…some of his portraits, carefully posed and lighted, have found their way into art galleries in the United States.

And the fascist BJP are beginning to be exposed-

India’s largest opposition party has dismissed claims that its government in the state of Gujarat encouraged the killing of nearly 2,500 Muslims in March 2002. An undercover reporter from Tehelka spent six months filming Hindu activists and BJP members, using a hidden camera. Arvind Pandya, a Gujarat government counsel, was recorded saying that Mr Modi’s “blood was boiling” when he first heard of the blaze and that the minister said he “would have burst bombs” in a Muslim area of the city of Ahmedabad. Haresh Bhatt, from a hardline Hindu group affiliated to the BJP, was filmed saying: “He had given us three days to do whatever we could. He said he would not give us time after that, he said this openly.”

In some way this also says something about how bullies don’t interfere with each others activities, a shared distaste for the world’s victims and the lizard brain belief of the natural right of the strong to molest the weak.

And in danger of falling further into tabloid territory– 1. What are a 6 & 7 year old doing being left to play unsupervised to get killed on a motorway. 2. the stupidity and sentimental pornography causing further danger by placing commemorations on the motorway suggests we are not dealing with the sharpest tools in the box. That’s mean and uncharitable, so let’s learn from the mistake and move on.

To abortion (absolutely no danger of controversy there…) the (sometimes too smug) Bad Science does root out some questions about the christian scientists figures for premature survival rates-

Prof Wyatt replied: “The denominator was all babies born alive in the labour ward in the hospital at UCL [University College London].” This, as later became clear, turned out not to be true. Then he was asked to send the reference for the claim. He did so. It was merely an abstract for an academic conference

What happened to that ‘Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness’ commandment thingy? Hmmm. And circling back to the Q to N war pimps, this is about how the neocon/AIPAC/Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week (talk about projection) loons love the MEK who are not terrorists when they attack the the targets the pimps want them too. However I think it is way too generous to continue using the term ‘islamophobe’ or ‘conservative’ for the likes of Pipes & Horowitz- they are racists, they are bigots, they are bloodthirsty warmongering criminals. So in the words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta- Go Fuck Yourself You Fucking Fuck. Foul mouth on that woman.

Ce’st Magnifique!

American and European rights groups filed a legal complaint in France accusing former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of responsibility for torture in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay. The complaint was filed with the Paris prosecutor’s office as Rumsfeld arrived in France for a visit,

Fuck Yeah!

Friday! Fergie: Glamorous

What? Ok the whole song/video is a risible hymn to consumerism and the American Dream Nightmare (and one line claiming money isn’t important while everything else yells it is does not convince) it sort of follows on from the last post. As a cultural artifact it tells you something about a decadent empire whose luxuries are reliant on the subjugation & slaughter of millions yet still pumps out fantastical fantasies of corporate wealth. Fantasises that are eulogised in pop, the performers are encouraged to see this wealth as a paradise (at least they do something to earn it rather than inherit or steal it) but the drug ravaged zombies you see in celebrity mags tell another story. Like the small mention of money not being important there is some allusion to knowing this is all ephemeral nonsense but you have to dig through layers of pornographically fetishised opulence for that meaning. Although the visual storyline of the video is less capitalist-tastic when rotated on music channels what you mostly see is executive jets and shiny things, so if this is a sneaky refutation of decadent consumer values its context is robbing it of that. It’s sort of like the pop video incarnation of Bratz dolls and yes, I have had to watch the Bratz movie, sigh.

But…if you spend any time with children (and particularly tweeny nieces) this kind of stuff- the Disney Channelfication of existence- seeps into your mind and out of all the crap I have to admit I enjoy this slice of idiotic pop. Its redeeming features are a lush production, hilarious rap interludes and a catchiness I like rather than find annoying. So to summarise- shame on me it’s rubbish, but I don’t care let’s dance and be silly. Who said this blog wasn’t G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S!

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Instant Asshole: Just Add Money


People huh? I mean if you match common sense to wealth it looks like many people are shit over the limit with a twenty in their hand-

His younger brother, Jefri, whom the Sultan introduced to polo, has for decades been one the world’s most notorious playboys…He once owned a 50-metre yacht called Tits, replete with tenders named Nipple 1 and Nipple 2.

…the 61-year-old Sultan spent £7.3m and £6.59m on two house supervisors, and £5.86m on each one of his five public relations officials, named Janet, Prall, Shelly, Vicky, and Yoya. He also spent £1.26m on a badminton coach and £1.25m on masseuses and acupuncturists, as well as £48,859 on the guards for his exotic bird cages.

But won’t someone think of the supermodels? London fashion week has to ensure their good health yet violent eating disorder enabling emetics are even now being considered for the marketplace-

Tony Blair has signed a deal to write his memoirs of life in Downing Street,…Mr Blair has strong ties with Random House: its UK wing is headed by Gail Rebuck, who is married to Mr Blair’s close ally and former pollster Lord Gould. Both the publisher and Mr Blair’s spokesman refused to disclose his fee. But publishing experts suggested the deal was worth as much as £5m. The single volume memoir will be published under the Hutchinson imprint in the UK.

Oddly though he was the only Prime Minister (Gordon Brown and two former PM’s – Baroness Thatcher & Sir John Major- Sir? Baroness? Give me fucking strength, can’t wait for Grand Poobah Wizard Duke Oberlieutenant Blair) missing from the unveiling of a Lloyd George statue-

Harold Pinter, along with the campaigning journalist John Pilger and former UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Iraq Denis Halliday, had crticised the decision to honour Lloyd George – the Welshman who served as Prime Minister from 1916 to 1922 – because he had ordered British troops to bomb Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran and Iraq during the First World War.

Lloyd George’s record of selling honours to boost party funds, which led to the introduction of the 1925 Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act, may also have made some people at the unveiling in Parliament Square feel uncomfortable. That legislation led to the abortive “cash for honours” investigation of Tony Blair and his aides.

Oh, still it’s not like they took bribes from arms dealers…oh-

A Labour peer has admitted taking money to introduce an arms company lobbyist to the government minister in charge of weapons purchases.

But it’s not like the representatives of the people are a wealthy elite whose privileged financial position insulates them from the real life concerns of us people (yeah, no points for guessing what’s coming next, not an entirely subtle comedic conceit is it?)-

The total payments of £87,622,957 in 2006-07 were in addition to the £60,675 annual salary received by MPs, bringing the average cost to the taxpayer of a member of the House of Commons to almost £200,000. Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, who was paid £157,076. He and his wife, Yvette Cooper, the Housing minister, claimed between them more than £307,000, including a combined £32,000 for the London home they share. They have been accused of breaking the spirit of the rules by using allowances to buy property in the capital.

And of course that’s just what we pay them, not their total income including directorships, consulting etc. y’know- bribes. Thing is, even crooks aren’t bothering anymore, it’s more profitable to use the capitalist system as it now operates than buck it with old school mafia shit-

The Mafia, memorably described as “bigger than U.S. Steel” by mob financier Meyer Lansky, is more of an illicit mom-and-pop operation in the new millennium…Things are so bad that mob scion John A. “Junior” Gotti chose to quit the mob while serving five years in prison rather than return to his spot atop the Gambino family.

Still it’s not like a vicious system of capital based filters is stopping people from attaining their potential-

If you are wondering which university is the cheapest in the United Kingdom, you now have your answer. It is Bradford University in Yorkshire, where students pay an average of only £40.51 a week for rent, according to a cost-of-living index survey published exclusively in The Independent today. The most expensive is the Royal Academy of Music in London, on Marylebone Road, a stone’s throw from Madame Tussaud’s, where accommodation costs a staggering £147.07 weekly.

Well over three times the weekly rent, should keep those northern types out of the lovely rich peoples places in the south, after all if you educate clever people they’ll stop worshiping, aspiring and realise rich people aren’t like us, they are way, way bigger assholes and then pull down the whole sorry corrupt mess. Or…they’ll just watch Pop/X/Big/Dancing/Factor/Idol and find paying to vote on who gets to be exploited by corporations the most satisfies their atrophying desire for self determination. One of the two…

As One Door Closes…

Mercenaries will lose their license to kill in Iraq-

The Iraqi government plans to submit a draft law to parliament soon to bring foreign private security contractors under Iraqi jurisdiction and end their immunity from prosecution, an Iraqi official said on Wednesday. The legislation follows a number of deadly shootings involving foreign security guards, most controversially a Sept. 16 incident in which guards employed by U.S. firm Blackwater killed 17 people.

But why dwell on the past when you can pimp up new wars-

The United States on Thursday escalated tensions over Iran’s nuclear drive and alleged backing for terrorism with a raft of new sanctions against the Islamic republic’s military and banks. Iran denounced the unilateral sanctions as illegal and “doomed to failure” and Russia sounded a note of concern. But US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Washington was well within its rights. “We’re taking additional actions to defend our interests and our citizens, and to help our friends to secure their countries,” she told reporters.

We’ve all seen the picture of Rice ignoring her crimes and from that post by Naj is this linked article-

Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni met today (Tuesday, 23 October 2007) with Mr Gela Bezhuashvili, foreign minister of the Republic of Georgia. During the discussion, FM Livni stressed the problematic view Israel has of the ongoing dialogues between Georgia and Iran.

With regard to the negotiations with the Palestinians, FM Livni told the Georgian FM that “it must be clearly understood that any agreement with the Palestinians must be conditional upon the implementation of Palestinian commitments to the war against terror”.

TWAT is really just a brand name for the old game, a set of conditions to subservience that must be met, a code of hegemony that unless submitted to you will be designated ‘enemy’ & ‘terrorist’, bombed, tortured, treated as sub-human until you obey the overseer empire’s (and its familiars) diktats. That is what the rhetoric on Iran is about, though luckily it does provide an easy test for identifying morons- if mention of Iran makes them worry/talk/write/run think-tank seminars/appear on news programs /host radio shows about being attacked with nuclear weapons and thus ‘we’ must strike first… they are a moron. You don’t need to thank me for this useful cretin divining service, just doing my job keeping the world safe from witless buffoons.