Paddington Gitmo

They want 42 days detention without charge, what that means is six weeks of interrogation, here is what they did in just 12 days to one woman, it might seem familiar-

When Farrah arrived at Paddington Green, her clothes were taken from her. Suffering from diarrhoea, she was in constant pain. She described the basic washing and hygiene facilities in detention. “There was no toilet roll and only paper towels for body drying. I wasn’t even allowed to comb my hair.”

Exercise consisted of walking around in a circle in a small yard behind the station for five minutes while officers held guard dogs in each corner. Farrah said: “I was frightened of the dogs so rather than getting any exercise, I just found these exercise periods really frightening.”

She became unwell, suffering from diabetes, and a doctor was called on numerous occasions. He confirmed that an existing condition had been exacerbated by the stress of her arrest and detention.

She was not allowed to speak with her family for four days. Eight days had passed before the police disclosed the reason she was being held.

Farrah claimed the guards were constantly rude and aggressive when dealing with her. She was effectively held in solitary confinement and not allowed to communicate with or pass another prisoner when being taken to and from her cell between questioning. After four days, she was permitted to make a telephone call to her parents. They speak English but she was told to make sure she spoke in English and not in “your language”.

After 12 days of 24-hour detention in a cell and repeated questioning in a room with no natural light, Farrah was released without charge. No explanation was given and no apology made. She had no way of travelling home and was not offered assistance; her solicitor organised a taxi. She said she felt “tired, shocked and exhausted”, and had thought she was never going to get out. Her clothes were never returned.

After release, Farrah said she became increasingly paranoid, not wanting to leave the house alone. Her employers were understanding but the pressure of colleagues knowing what had happened to her, the increasing paranoia and her poor health forced her to quit her job. Friends and family stopped visiting, terrified they would become suspects by association.

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Sicko No More- 59% US Doctors For Universal Healthcare

Of more than 2,000 doctors surveyed, 59 percent said they support legislation to establish a national health insurance program, while 32 percent said they opposed it, researchers reported in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. The [previous] 2002 survey found that 49 percent of physicians supported national health insurance and 40 percent opposed it.

“As doctors, we find that our patients suffer because of increasing deductibles, co-payments, and restrictions on patient care,” said Dr. Ronald Ackermann, who worked on the study with Carroll. “More and more, physicians are turning to national health insurance as a solution to this problem.”

“Across the board, more physicians feel that our fragmented and for-profit insurance system is obstructing good patient care, and a majority now support national insurance as the remedy,” Ackermann said in a statement. 

Many other countries have national plans, including Britain, France and Canada, and several studies have shown the United States spends more per capita on health care, without achieving better results for patients. 

I believe socialised healthcare is the single simplest step, a seed to halt the bloody menace of America the Empire and instead build America a country that respects and looks after its citizens and is not hated the world over. It would move resources from war-making to human life. From that many other changes for the better could spring, a national works program creating the clinics and hospitals would also help deal with the recession caused by corporate greed. And would be a finer use of labour than killing people for their oil. At its heart it is choice- to nurture or to kill. It would be the first time an empire recognised its imminent demise and treated rolling back its forces in so many countries not as defeat but as the opportunity for rebirth as a country fulfilling the promises of its founding. Paying mind to what happened at home instead of taking the commonwealth, the human capital of its citizens and using it for an imperialism serving only the wealthy elite. So it would be an extraordinary thing to happen, the odds are against it, the institutions of rapacious capitalism that have infected every facet of American culture are perhaps insurmountable. The knee jerk attacks by some (and most of the media) on Michael Moore’s Sicko demonstrated base unthinking phobia to the idea of paying taxes to care for humans rather than to bomb them. Is the corporate elite and hardcore right wing bloc, although less than 50%, able to dominate the majority wishes of the people, is there even a candidate that represents them (and not the corporate lobbyists millions needed to run). Put it this way, should a minority of people be allowed to inflict on the majority a system where people are dying in order to increase corporate profits and enrich an elite of that minority?

HAL’s Feeling Old, Annoyances

Tedious Whine Warning!-
My 2001 vintage PowerMac was pretty state of the art then, now however, a tad slow. Which is to say some features on the web I cannot indulge in, some video players some websites, worse though is advertising that because of lush flash presentations or movie loops suck up all ones resources when all you want to do is read text. Ok so the ads support the site…but this is subtle digital divide, have an old machine and you are slowly being excluded from the full panoply of the web. The worst offenders are any promotional sites for bands or films (and myspace, shudder), not that I would visit them much anyway, but I avoid them now because of their hefty presentations. It’s also annoying how a lot of sites spread articles over 2 or more pages, not because they are long, but to get 2 page views and thus increase revenue and ok so the ads support the site and I’m not paying for it so can I really complain? I always look for view on single page or choose the printable option to avoid the multi page or ad nuisance. Yes I know there are plug ins to block ads but they take some resources and they are not perfect. I’m roughly on course to have enough to get a new mac within a year at which point I will laugh at all the losers with old slow machines now that I am in the shiny new fast machine elite, hahaha!!!

Except, the point remains, that advertising is a given but as it becomes more intricate it excludes users with older gear from accessing some sites, a slow evolution of a tiered, class stratified web. Not forgetting the vast majority of people don’t have any access at all, will they all suddenly get the very latest laptops then replace them each year? Websites are often designed with only the newest fastest machines in mind, so I suppose this is a design issue, should not one look to be inclusive as well as innovative? There is often a tension between the two in any technological medium, but for those of us who devour reams of text via the web we aren’t too bothered about shiny, flashy accoutrements and it would be a shame if those extravagances begin to rob people of access to worthwhile information presented in the the very boring yet somehow still relevant words-on-a-page format. Design wise I am continually reminded of the Simpsons episode where Homer builds his homepage and simply includes every annoying animation & sound from the web, as if current design theory is simply- and the kitchen sink, awesome! And to show what a huge hypocrite I am, here’s a youtube player that has Homer’s homepage!

Well youtube is ok, it isn’t too bad for slow loaderingly-ness or machine stutter syndrome (if I’m lucky). I suppose it is also because I am a very bad consumer (plus y’know I’m like poor-ish), I don’t buy shiny shit I see advertised (I also try to keep in mind- reduce, re-use, recycle). If I need something or can no longer quell the desire to have something I research then find the best ‘thing’ for the best price then wait, then try to resist, then give up and buy it. Gaudy intrusive ads if they do anything create resentment in me towards the thing/service advertised. I don’t like psychic trespassers or rampant sheeplike consumerism (I’ll resist adding the youtube clip of Bill Hicks giving sage advice to those working in marketing -so have a link instead- you know the one).

So in summation (& with counter argument helpfully included)- whiny old computer having loser complains he can’t keep up with the super duper interwebs. Boo-hoo-hoo, it’s called survival of the fittest/richest, deal with it!

Well whatever (God bless Thatcher’s/Reagan’s children!), but I really don’t think a swanky flash animation of trees makes a car anymore environmentally friendly or air travel any less of a privilege that is destroying the planet. However getting a new computer every so often is way cool and totally sound, ahem.

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War Pimp Of The Week- Michael Hayden

Yes come on down you Nazi scientist/Dick Cheney’s uglier little brother looking motherfucker, the Air Force General who heads the CIA Michael Hayden is this weeks War Pimp Supreme™.

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Yes this loyal and bloodthirsty Imperial General is taking no ‘enemy combatants’ with his ‘fear up’ appearance on teevee. First he sets those nationalist militarist hearts a pumping with his sexy uniform (the CIA symbolically now the fourth armed service, yet hey, no accountability, kerching!). Then he pours fourth his cloak & dagger ‘I don’t have to source any claim I make cos it’s like all secret ‘n’ shit, thou shalt not question me, why do you hate the troops/America/freedom so much. Believe my words of fearwar!’. And he hits all the main pimps du jour, take it away Mikey you bald pig eyed war criminal you-

The situation in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan where al-Qaida has established a safe haven presents a “clear and present danger” to the West.

Michael Hayden cited the belief by intelligence agencies that Osama bin Laden is hiding there in arguing that the U.S. has an interest in targeting the border region. If there were another terrorist attack against Americans, Hayden said, it would most certainly originate from that region

Hayden added that that those operatives “wouldn’t attract your attention if they were going through the customs line at Dulles (airport, outside Washington) with you when you’re coming back from overseas — who look Western.”

ZOMG!!!! They are amongst us, Pod People Turrists!!!!AAARRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!! Good job this vital intelligence hasn’t been blabbedy blabbed on nationwide TV thus alerting the turrists to change their plans! You don’t think he’s making this shit up to gain authority through fear do you? Pinko scum!

Scaredy ‘turrist’ paranoia and fear incitement while subtly justifying a police state- ✓Check. 

On Iraq, Hayden said it could be “years” before the central government might be able to function on its own without the aid of U.S. combat forces. Hayden said he would defer to the specific assessments of Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, top U.S. diplomat in Baghdad, who return to Washington next month to report to Congress.

Permanent occupation based on criteria from other hand picked Bush appointees, lucky no one in the media ever says ‘Imperialism’ ain’t it?- ✓Check! 

CIA chief Michael Hayden expressed his personal belief Sunday that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program, but also stood by the agency’s assessment that the program was suspended in 2003. “Personal belief, yes. It’s hard for me to explain. This is not court of law stuff,” the Central Intelligence Agency director said on NBC television.

Faith based approach to intelligence (or fraud as some filthy pinkos call it) to promote the next attack, its Q-2-N time! –✓Check!

Well in the fading months of the Bush regime he’s certainly set a high bar of achievement in pimping bloody imperialist aggression. I’ll warrant(less wiretapping!) he’ll be a tough one to beat although thankfully given the depth of hate, stupidity, arrogance and avarice among the imperial ruling class there’s never any shortage of contenders!

War is Peace! Goodnight!

NuLabour’s War On Women

Not wanting to be too antagonistic The Guardian/Observer has a good report on women and prison, they bury what really should be the lede 8 paragraphs down-

The female prison population almost doubled between 1997 and 2006, despite there being no corresponding rise in women committing more serious crimes. Nine out of 10 were convicted of non-violent offences. According to a 2003 report by the Prison Reform Trust, women who would previously have received community penalties are being imprisoned while those who would have been sent to prison are being given longer sentences. 

So tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime was in fact-

  • tough on crime- longer sentences.
  • the causes of crime- the person who committed the crime (see tough on crime).

I’m sure they didn’t mean to mislead people and make supporter sthink they would be looking at the socialogical roots of crime, like poverty, housing, education, income and opportunity disparity. NO, that would be fibbing. So NuLabour have locked more women up and for longer while the rich got richer and social mobility declined, really quiet an achievement for a right wing party, the tories must be seething with jealousy- shit, that’s what we wanted to do dammit!

  • 17 The number of women prisons in England
  • 4,248 The average number of women in prison in 2006, up from 1,560 in 1993
  • 37 The percentage of women in prison who have attempted suicide
  • 6 The percentage of women in the total prison population
  • 36 The percentage of women prisoners in 2004 convicted of drugs offences
  • 19 The percentage of women in prison who are foreign nationals – compared to about 12 per cent of males
  • 70 The percentage of women prisoners with mental health problems

Sadr Agrees A Cease Fire

Muqtada al-Sadr, an Iraqi Shia leader, has ordered his fighters to withdraw from the streets of several provinces, six days after Iraqi forces mounted a crackdown against Shia armed groups.

“We want the Iraqi people to stop this bloodshed and maintain Iraq’s independence and stability,” al-Sadr said in a statement released on Sunday. “For that we have decided to withdraw [al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army] from the streets of Basra and all other provinces.”

Al-Sadr’s nine-point plan, agreed with the Iraqi government, was issued by his headquarters in the city of Najaf and broadcast through loudspeakers on Shia mosques.

James Bays, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Baghdad, said: “The main elements are that Muqtada al-Sadr’s fighters should leave the streets … in return, apparently, they will not be pursued, the Iraqi government will not arrest any of them unless they have arrest warrants for them.

“The big question now is whether the Mahdi army fighters will obey this command because there are all sorts of factions and splinter groups in existence.” 

There is also a defence of the UK involvement-

Tom Holloway, British military spokesman for Iraq, told Al Jazeera that British forces in Basra had fired artillery rounds at people they had identified as opposition fighters.

“We’ve been firing in support of Iraqi ground forces. They’ve been in contact, they’ve requested support from the coalition and artillery on a couple of occasions has been deemed the most appropriate response.”

“We use our surveillance assets and conduct a collateral damage assessment. Obviously, once we’ve positively identified the target we make an assessment that we are able to attack it,” he said.

Holloway said that British involvement in the operation is “entirely in line with the agreements with the government of Iraq”, known as operational overwatch.

There’s just one thing here, artillery is in sense of the word a precision weapon. They always state they identified ‘turrists’ or bad guys or whatever, but the reality is shelling is awfully haphazard and in a built up area you will be raining death on a large area, civilians and fighters. Just because a spokesman said they aimed at ‘opposition fighters’ (citizens of the country you invaded) does not change the reality of artilleries widespread devastating effect. You can believe the Disneyland spokes people and think how splendid and sportsmanlike the war is when our chaps weigh in, but you sleep easy with civilians blood on your deluded hands.

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Somalia In Disneyland

With news that Ethiopian troops shelled a marketplace in Mogadishu-

(Reuters) – At least 11 people were killed in Mogadishu on Saturday when troops at the Villa Somalia presidential palace returned fire against Islamist insurgents who attacked it with mortar bombs, witnesses said.

President Abdullahi Yusuf was meeting Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin there at the time, an aide told Reuters, but no one in the hilltop compound was hurt.

Residents said Ethiopian soldiers guarding Yusuf then launched shells at Bakara Market in the city below, killing a number of people and wounding dozens more.

One notices in various reports that the consensus narrative on the current conflict has now emerged – Ethiopian forces came to the aid of the Somali government to fight Islamist militias – (not unlike the stories told to justify the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in Pravda- which was provoked by the US). No mention of US involvement in the invasion, or that humanitarian groups have said the invasion (sorry, ‘intervention’) has produced a far worse disaster than anything happening under the Islamic courts which actually was a period of relative calm. I chose the Reuters report because it does at least include these details-

The fighting, which killed 6,500 people last year in Mogadishu alone, has sharply worsened what aid workers warn is a fast deteriorating humanitarian disaster. More than 1 million Somalis are now internal refugees, and some 20,000 flee the capital every month. Most of them end up in areas suffering from the worst drought in years.

One story that got zero coverage (1 result on Google news as far as I can tell) was this yesterday-

A US military drone crashed in a Somali coastal area south of Mogadishu on Friday, a local government official and witnesses said.

“It’s a small unmanned American plane. It’s small and can be carried by three people,” said Mohamed Mohamoud Helmi, the government official in charge of security in the town of Merka.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.

“I saw the small plane, it’s about one metre and a half,” local president Mohamed Saddam said. “It has cameras on it and things like computer components.” – Sapa-AFP

Because that kind of story could cause one to ask what America is doing there and that could lead to discovering the Disneyland version of recent events is just that, a childish fantasy designed to keep the simple minded herds content. Otherwise known as the ‘War on Terror!!!!’

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