Shit I Did An Hour Ago To Get Column For The New York Times

Actually that’s not true, the turd demanded too much money so they went with the their back up option- William ‘this man is a war criminal, a racist inciter of genocide’ Kristol.

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Friday! Stina Nordenstam- Little Star

Last Friday of 2007 and amidst as much global turmoil as a year ago. What’s a blog to do?

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Security Forces Shooting To Kill In Pakistan

At least 32 people have been killed in violent protests and clashes across Pakistan after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the opposition politician and former prime minister, in Rawalpindi on Thursday. The army deployed 16,000 troops in areas of the southern province of Sindh, once a stronghold of Bhutto support. Paramilitary forces were also given permission to shoot on sight in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city whose streets were virtually deserted after a national strike was called by Bhutto supporters.

Also the death of Bhutto looks more suspicious, not shot or hit by shrapnel but a sunroof handle? (update: further ridiculed by PPP reps) Police withdrew minutes before the hit and repeatedly state security provided them with faulty electronic counter measures. Meanwhile an awful lot of people want to call it straight Al Qaeda because involvement by radicals in the ISI, government or Musharraf himself doesn’t look so war on terror friendly.

several associates of Bhutto have accused Musharraf himself of having a role. In an e-mail sent to a confidant in the US two months ago, Benazir Bhutto wrote that Musharraf should be held “responsible” if she was assassinated because his government did not do enough to provide for her security.

Whatever the whodunnit? the war of terror cold war-esque backing of tyrants as long as they served a geo-political purpose for the empire has once again been shown to be a profoundly stupid and failed policy. But then the greatest supporters of that are the same people in power now. Doomed to repeat etc.

The real opposition to Musharraf’s dictatorship and Bush’s war does not lie in these quarters. It is the civil rights movement that rose up across the country this year that offers the best political hope for the people of Pakistan.

But the empire has immediate needs and agendas not so conducive to democracy-

The U.S. military is now burning about 575,000 gallons of fuel per day in Afghanistan. And about 80 percent of that fuel is coming from refineries in Pakistan. Without the support of Musharraf and the Pakistani military, U.S. forces in Afghanistan would have only one fuel supply, and it would be coming via a precarious logistics line that extends more than 1,000 miles from northern Afghanistan all the way to refineries in Baku, Azerbaijan and Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan.

And if Musharraf can’t do the job, they won’t be looking to the actual democratic and liberal civil movement, because they are not slavishly obedient to American interests-

When Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte visited Pakistan last weekend, he met once with President Pervez Musharraf, for two hours. But before he left town, he held three meetings with a lesser-known figure: General Ashfaq Kiyani, the deputy army chief.

The attention paid to Kiyani has affirmed speculation here that he will soon be chosen as Musharraf’s successor as head of the army, and, as such, will be a vital ally for the Bush administration during a time of crisis.

Kiyani has working-class roots, having been raised in farming communities in the Punjab, sometimes called the country’s “martial belt” because many teenage boys from the province enter the military, lacking other economic opportunities. He was educated at the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Last word to Tariq Ali (via some great posts at The Fanonite)-

It is difficult to imagine any good coming out of this tragedy, but there is one possibility. Pakistan desperately needs a political party that can speak for the social needs of a bulk of the people. The People’s party founded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was built by the activists of the only popular mass movement the country has known: students, peasants and workers who fought for three months in 1968-69 to topple the country’s first military dictator. They saw it as their party, and that feeling persists in some parts of the country to this day, despite everything.

Benazir’s horrific death should give her colleagues pause for reflection. To be dependent on a person or a family may be necessary at certain times, but it is a structural weakness, not a strength for a political organisation. The People’s party needs to be refounded as a modern and democratic organisation, open to honest debate and discussion, defending social and human rights, uniting the many disparate groups and individuals in Pakistan desperate for any halfway decent alternative, and coming forward with concrete proposals to stabilise occupied and war-torn Afghanistan. This can and should be done. The Bhutto family should not be asked for any more sacrifices.

David Hicks Released Under Conditions

Former Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks will apologise to the Australian people when he is released from an Adelaide jail this weekend but still disputes any links to terrorism, his father said Friday. The so-called “Aussie Taliban” will walk free Saturday after a six-year incarceration that began in Afghanistan, continued for half a decade in Guantanamo Bay and ended at a maximum security jail in his hometown Adelaide.

Under the plea bargain, Hicks was allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence in Adelaide, but in return forfeited any right to appeal his conviction and agreed not to speak to the media for a year from his sentencing date.

Australia’s government has concedes that the gagging order may not be enforceable in Hicks’ home country, where he has not been convicted of any crime.

On release, Hicks will be subject to a form of control order obliging him to report to police three times a week and obey a curfew, among other restrictions.

Experience (particularly dealing with comments on me and Korova’s YouTube clip on David Hicks) has shown he is a lightning rod for obsessive rightists who see the world as- you’re either on our side and thus treated humanely, or you are an enemy undeserving of treatment as a human being. The war of terror has created a brand- ‘terrorists’ which when applied to a person immediately acts as a license for the hard of thinking to revert to unquestioning submission to the state and corporate propaganda, often unleashing violent sensual fantasies in these armchair fascists.

A psychologist suspects David will have many problems ahead dealing with what was done to him which will be exacerbated by the media frenzy-

“In some very restrictive regimes, and Guantánamo Bay will fall into that category, the environments are actually designed to break people down,” said Ogloff. “There’s no long term goal of rehabilitating people or having them return to the community. So the issues that the individual faces is, in fact, being broken into pieces and having to really be put back together.”

(Xposted at Mask Of Anarchy)

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Fly Asylum Airways!

First of all: Things you don’t want to hear Germans say-

A top member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives (Roland Koch) has said Germany has too many criminal young foreigners and that immigrants must stick to the rules of Germany’s “Christian-Occidental” culture, in remarks that echo the rhetoric of Germany’s far right. The Social Democrats and Green Party have accused him of cheap campaign rhetoric.

The Speigel Online article then goes on to tell this sorry tale-

Koch was responding to the brutal assault on a 76-year-old German man by two young men, one Greek and one Turkish, in Munich on December 20. The pensioner had asked them to stop smoking on a subway train, where smoking is prohibited.

They called him a “Shit German” and spat at him, then followed him out onto the platform and beat him up, kicking him in the head. He was taken to hospital with a fractured skull and internal bleeding in his brain but is now recovering. A number of people witnessed the attack but did not intervene.

The incident was filmed on security cameras and led to a nationwide outcry during Christmas, with calls for tougher sentencing for young offenders and the expulsion of foreign criminals. The 17-year-old Greek man and the 20-year-old Turk, who both live in Munich, have since been arrested and both have a long list of prior offences. The 20-year-old man is a Turkish citizen who was born in Munich while the Greek man immigrated to Germany six years ago.

Um…

  • Turkish citizen who was born in Munich– So that’s a German who emigrated to Turkey then?
  • long list of prior offences– So it’s not their obvious criminality that’s the problem, it’s their swarthy foreignocity, yeah right.
  • A number of people witnessed the attack but did not intervene– Um, so no condemnation approbation for these fine upstanding members of the community who did fuck all as two people kicked the shit out of an old man. Hmm, you don’t think the opportunistic politician’s racism is also conveniently deflecting attention from the bystander’s social timidity. Let’s say the problem is outside of us, the others, no blame here, oh no.

But we have our own creeping inhumanity to be proud of-

The denial of health services to failed asylum-seekers – including Aids treatment to prevent pregnant mothers passing the disease to their babies – has been attacked by politicians and medical experts ahead of a review which could see further cuts to their care. Currently asylum-seekers whose claims have been refused are only allowed free access to GPs and emergency care.

Now the authors of a joint Department of Health and Home Office review to be published in January are considering imposing further restrictions, which would mean only emergency health care is given. Since 2004, when vital Aids-combating antiretroviral (ARV) drugs were made part of a list of secondary treatment, many lives have been put at risk.

And then there is this, an Austrian (now there’s a rainbow nation, ahem) airline chummy with our state security dedicated to deporting asylum seekers called Asylum Airways-

A company specialising in removing failed asylum-seekers is to approach the Government with plans to use specially adapted aircraft to deport hundreds of “disruptive” refugees. Asylum Airways, run by an Austrian aviation consultant with ties to British security firms, will operate aircraft for European countries which do not wish to use established airlines for the forced removal of asylum-seekers.

The planes will have specially designed seats so that the “passengers” can be strapped down and restrained by guards. A deal could save the Government millions of pounds compared with the piecemeal contracts it has negotiated with dozens of airlines as well as reduce the number of aborted deportations. Hundreds of asylum-seeker removals have had to be aborted in the past two years because of what the Home Office describes as “disruptive behaviour”.

And in the past few months airlines have been criticised for carrying failed asylum-seekers, many of whom allege they have been physically and racially abused by private security guards paid to escort them.

Heinz Berger, who has set up the Asylum Airlines company and has worked with British companies providing security at British airports, says that he is still involved with the “bureaucracy” of the scheme but has identified Britain as a key market for his service.

Mr Berger said that Britain was on a list of countries with whom he was seeking to do business. He said there was “ongoing interest all over Europe” for an airline that will organise flights around Europe, picking up failed asylum-seekers from various countries and then flying them back to their home nations around Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

A special feature will be bespoke aircraft with padded rooms and restraining equipment.

Rendition is catching on. Once the cat is out of the bag, once the corruption is abroad in society it spreads, the straps, the hoods, the tasers, the ‘enhanced’ techniques. It really doesn’t take long from the invasion in cold blood, the propaganda, the normalisation of a new brutality. And always, always, we start in on the least liked groups, people defined by law as ‘illegal’ the security operatives can justify to themselves what they are doing and with each job they get a little better at ignoring the humanity in their targets and gradually their numbers grow, the ‘industry’ grows (often fed by brutalised veterans of those profitlicious wars) and they can be relied upon to do anything to anybody. So we either wake up and put a stop to it (and that very much includes stopping the imperial capitalist adventurism that turns peoples home states into blasted wastelands of tyrannies sorry, spreading freedom & democracy and winning hearts & minds) or it plays out as it always does, as history always does.

Why Am I Not Surprised?

Graham Dow, the Bishop of Carlisle, has come to public notice for suggesting that the recent floods were God’s judgement on a sinful nation, but not only is he not alone – perhaps just naive to speak so openly about it to a friendly journalist from the Sunday Telegraph – but they are not his weirdest views. An earlier book he wrote on demonic possession shows he believes devils enter up the anus (something Freudian here perhaps) and the signs of possession include wearing black, inappropriate laughter, inexplicable knowledge, Scottish ancestry or relatives who have been miners. You may laugh – inappropriately – but Dow used to be an Oxford college chaplain, indeed once prepared Tony Blair for confirmation, and has risen to be a diocesan bishop.

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Get Over Yourself

Reading around about Benazir Bhutto’s assassination you find a morass of theories and projection of propaganda and you also come across a lot of articles and reports that reference her killing (forgetting the other victims) before plunging into what they really want to talk about-what it means for America and the west-. Way to show some empathy scumbags, never mind the dead people whose country we have been fucking over with our great game intrigues, let’s talk about what it means for us. They’ll be time for that, but can we respond to this as fellow humans first and acknowledge some responsibility, there just seems a strain of that ‘the Iraqis have to stand on their own feet’ colonial exasperation at the mess that we in fact helped make.

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