Looking Forward To Winter?

So Centrica (the owner of British Gas -or BG Group-, which before the 80’s er, we owned) raises prices 35% then announces profits of £992m for the first half of 2008. Which part of corporatism don’t people understand? Are they still clinging to ‘efficiencies of the private sector’ like they will cling to their blankets as they shiver this winter? Except…the ones who actually benefited from privatisation are not hard up for their fuel bills, (that’s a clue). So this winter the class war will be in royal hypothermic blue. Thank God there’s a visionary leader in the wings who offers something different, ouch I broke my sarcasm bone.

Petition Against State Funeral For Thatcher

I think the No. 10 petitions are a waste of time, having signed many and had nothing but bullshit brush offs from the government, but for the embarrassment value this is fun, via Stroppyblog– sign a petition against Thatcher having a state funeral (and it is estimated the cost of this will be £3million -USD $6mill and this is a Labour government assenting to this), an honour she is wholly undeserving of and the last time one was granted to an ex PM was for Winston Churchill and he saw us through WWII so that’s understandable, but Thatcher? She destroyed unions, whole industries, privatised our utilities which has left our infrastructure in a much worse state, she openly supported Pinochet and pushed though homophobic and discriminatory legislation against LGBTQ people. She was against sanctions on apartheid South Africa and caused massive homelessness among 16-18 years olds (and others) by stopping their entitlement to welfare, and many other terrible and predictable right wing extremist hate filled crap, feel free to add in comments. In short- imagine Dick Cheney in a dress but twice as spiteful. Sign here.

Police Win Appeal To NOT Pursue Criminals

It makes sense when the crooks are BAE and the House of Saud and cops are the Serious Fraud Office, so the case seems to be finally done, the government, BAE and the House of Saud get away with it-

The Serious Fraud Office won its Law Lords appeal today against a court ruling that it acted unlawfully in halting a corruption inquiry into a lucrative arms deal between Saudi Arabia and BAE Systems.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) took the case to the House of Lords after the High Court upheld a legal challenge brought by anti-corruption campaign groups.

Jonathan Sumption QC, for the SFO, told five Law Lords at a hearing this month that its director made a “legal and appropriate” decision to stop the inquiry in late 2006 after receiving threats from the Saudi Arabian government to withhold cooperation on critical issues of anti-terrorism.

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) along with the campaign group Corner House Research won permission last year for a judicial review into the SFO’s decision to drop the case.

CAAT spokesman Symon Hill said the case had eroded the public’s trust in BAE and the Government. Speaking outside the House of Lords, he said: “Today I’m sorry to say the Law Lords have ruled in favour of the Government’s appeal and against the decision of the High Court, which was in our favour. However, in the judgment they have handed down, the Law Lords have failed to answer most of the points we raised or that the High Court raised when it ruled in our favour. We feel we may have lost legally but we’ve certainly won politically. Throughout the last few months and the last couple of years, we have been overwhelmed by support by people in all walks of life.

George Orwell Starts a Blog

via Boing Boing, The Orwell Prize peeps are using WordPress free (wordpress.com) to publish his diaries-

From 9th August 2008, you will be able to gather your own impression of Orwell’s face from reading his most strongly individual piece of writing: his diaries. The Orwell Prize is delighted to announce that, to mark the 70th anniversary of the diaries, each diary entry will be published on this blog exactly seventy years after it was written

RSS ahoy!

Posted in Culture(!), Miscellaneous. Tags: . Comments Off on George Orwell Starts a Blog

Apply Here For An MA in Blog Reading

Yes for only a grand (USD $2,000) I will make up and print a totally legit looking certificate, the only qualification being if you’re dumb enough to send the money, you’re qualified! (although the real money is in actually having a real university doing real courses in bullshit for profit, y’know like the LSE, ahem.).

Hundreds of people working in the military, government and education are on a list of almost 10,000 people who spent $7.3 million buying phony and counterfeit high school and college degrees from a Spokane diploma mill.

The complete list of buyers, which the U.S. Department of Justice has refused to release to the public, has been obtained by The Spokesman-Review.

Now get ready, here are some of the buyers of fake degrees (feel safer?)-

135 individuals with ties to the military, 39 with links to educational institutions and 17 employed by government agencies. However, the exact number of individuals with ties to the military, government and education is believed to be far greater because many of those buyers used their personal e-mail accounts.

  • NASA employee Timothy Francis Gorman, who bought an electrical engineering degree using his e-mail account at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to correspond with the diploma mill, and U.S.
  • Department of Health oncology expert Frank S. Govern, who purchased a doctorate in health care administration.
  • National Security Agency employees David W. Barden and Barry A. Hester both bought degrees. Hester, who was a computer Web trainer and designer for the NSA with top-secret clearance, paid $1,187 for an information systems and technology degree, the list shows.
  • Eric Gregory Cole, who was a contract employee for the Central Intelligence Agency, paid $3,801 for a degree in information systems management. His top-secret clearance at the CIA was revoked late last year, months after his name was forwarded to the Office of Inspector General, according to one source. “It was like pulling teeth to get them to do anything about this guy,” the source said
  • William R. Church, a senior military adviser working in the White House
  • George Michael Navadel, a U.S. State Department computer systems negotiator, who paid $5,400 for a doctorate in network engineering.
  • Duwayne Huss, an employee of Nuclear Management Co., operator of two nuclear plants in Minnesota, bought degrees in nuclear engineering and accounting.
  • Author Bonita E. Broyles, who has written a series of books about prescription dosages and nursing care, bought a doctorate in education for $2,225, the list shows.
  • Richard J. Caverly, of Colbert, paid $236 for a degree in construction management before getting a job in May 2006 as a building inspector with the city of Spokane.
  • Brett C. Jarmin paid $1,041 for a bachelor of science degree in criminology and criminal justice. Jarmin had worked as chief of police in Edgemont, S.D.
  • Michael J. Hoilien, who worked for the Air Force in Fayetteville, N.C., bought a medical degree.
  • Alan P. Hernandez, a police officer in San Antonio, paid $2,630 for a bachelor’s and a Ph.D. in criminal justice, then went to work as an adviser and counselor for one of the Randocks’ bogus online universities.
  • Remah Moustafa Ahmed Kamel, a 43-year-old Saudi Arabian, bought degrees in obstetrics and gynecology, but investigators don’t know whether he’s practicing in those medical fields in his home country.

Now some are clearly not very wealthy people trying to get on where education is a privilege for those who can afford it, but an awful lot are just management fuckwits thinking money will buy them anything (and the degree -hah- they are correct in that is testament to the resounding success of the glorious Church of the Free Market!).

This post brought to you by Emperor Pope Professor United Nations Secretary General Sir RickB (VC) -the Merciless- Lord of Anglesey, High Sheriff, BA (Hons), MA, PhD, MD, FRCS, Jedi Master & Sith Lord of the Furry Beasts, Winner of- 8 Oscars, 14 Turner Prizes, 11 Césars, 32 Pullitzers, 12 Bookers, 8 Nobels (the last shared with Harold Pinter and the clone of Albert Einstein), 73 Grammys, 349 Brits, 37 Mercurys, America’s Next Top Model, The Olympics (all events), Crufts and the next Presidential elections in- USA, France, Russia and the Federation of Planets. Chairman & CEO of BP, Exxon, Halliburton, HSBC, News International, Sony, Monsanto, EDF, SPECTRE, Greenpeace, Amnesty International and Lockheed Martin.

A Wingnut Doco & No One Can Mention The CIA

So what do you need to be a successful terror expert? Well act as a McCarthyite stooge in helping railroad prosecutions and then get your ‘documentary’ used as evidence. No really, if your idiot views coincide with those of the establishment you get to be really quite successful, now why didn’t I think of that? Oh yeah, truth and personal integrity, I knew there was something…

(Reuters) – Prosecutors in the trial of Osama bin Laden’s driver unveiled a graphic video on Monday of the September 11 attacks and other al Qaeda operations that is likely to play a repeated role in pending war crimes cases.

The video is entitled “The Al Qaida Plan,” an echo of “The Nazi Plan” made by Oscar-winning director George Stevens as evidence in the Nuremberg war crimes trials of German leaders after World War II.

“The Al Qaida Plan” was made for $20,000 (10,000 pounds) by terrorism consultant Evan Kohlmannal Qaeda from its formation in 1988 through the September 11 attacks. for the Office of Military Commissions, which is conducting the trials of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo.

So ladies and gentlemen courtesy of Spinwatch, meet Evan Kohlmann, pundit, movie director and ‘expert’ witness extraordinaire-

When terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann first appeared on the scene he was dubbed the ‘the Doogie Howser of terrorism’. For those who don’t know, Doogie Howser was an American sitcom aired in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The main character was a childhood prodigy who became a doctor at the tender age of 14. The label was a light-hearted quip at Kohlmann’s relative youth. It also implied that he was some sort of genius, which he is not. Unlike the fictional Doogie Howser, Kohlmann has no post-graduate research qualifications and has displayed remarkable ignorance when challenged in court. Not that that has held him back. He is one of the most prominent media commentators on terrorism in the US, and is a prosecutors’ favourite in terrorism trials there and in Britain. Perhaps if your chosen field of expertise is the ‘war on terror’ then ignorance is a virtue.

Evan Kohlmann first became involved in studying terrorism when he was 18 and in his first year at Washington’s Georgetown University. In February 1998 he began an internship at the Investigative Project, a Washington Think-Tank set up by Steve Emerson – a notoriously Islamophobic journalist turned terrorism expert. There Kohlmann says he was responsible for tracking North African militant groups, and monitoring Islamist websites. The latter was to become his speciality. Still an undergraduate, he began writing articles on terrorism for The Journal of Counterterrorism & Security. One of his first articles was co-authored with collaborator and fellow ‘cyber-terrorism expert’ Rita Katz. Entitled ‘Pandering to Terrorists’, the article argued that to consider Hezbollah a resistance group was a dangerous misconception. Rather it was a terrorist organisation dedicated to the destruction of Israel, and of the Western world more generally. His co-author, an Israeli Zionist, would later set up her own think-tank SITE with Kohlmann’s old school friend Josh Devon.

Kohlmann wrote several such articles but then for a time left terrorism research behind him, hoping to “be a conventional lawyer of some sort”1.  After graduating from Georgetown he started a three year law course. His plans changed on September 11th. He recalls racing out of class and calling Rita Katz. “Time to get to work”, she told him. And they did. Kohlmann returned to his website monitoring and began writing a book on Al-Qaida’s jihad in Europe. He wrote several more articles on terrorism which were published by the conservative National Review. Although still a student, Kohlmann says he was “basically the deputy head” of The Investigative Project at this time2.  His research has mostly involved monitoring and recording postings on Islamist websites which he says can yield important intelligence on the plans and activities of terrorists. He considers himself an academic and a “micro-historian”3.

In 2004 after graduating from law school, Kohlmann went into business for himself. He set up his own website Globalterroralert.com and was recruited as an on-air terrorism analyst for MSNBC. With no expertise beyond undergraduate qualifications and an internship at a dubious think-tank, Kohlmann became a consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Crown Prosecution Service and Scotland Yard’s SO-15 Counter Terrorism Command4.  Meanwhile he ran his website from his bedroom in Manhattan, sitting amongst photos of Al-Qaeda leaders wearing what a journalist said “looks suspiciously like last night’s pyjamas”5.

Kohlmann now works at the NEFA foundation, a terrorism research institute set up by the Washington Group – a US lobbying firm and a subsidiary of the giant PR corporation Ketchum. He also works at Counterterrorism Blog, which hosts numerous rightwing terrorism experts and was established up by a former Reagan advisor Andrew Cochran, who worked as a lobbyist for Steven Emerson and The Investigative Project.

Kohlmann has now appeared at over a dozen terror trials. Most of the cases are based on charges of conspiracy or supporting a terrorist organisation, where the individual’s guilt is established by association. In some cases there is no evidence of links to terrorism at all and the defendants have been charged purely in relation to materials in their position such as literature on weapons or explosives, or merely material downloaded from the internet. In Britain for example, Kohlmann testified against Younes Tsouli, aka Irhabi 007, who the Judge said “came no closer to a bomb or a firearm than a computer keyboard”, before sentencing him to 24 years in prison6.  He also testified against Samina Malik who was convicted under the Terrorism Act 2000 for books in her possession and poems she had written “glorifying terrorism”.

What in particular Kohlmann tends to “bring to life” is connections linking defendants to Al-Qaeda or Osama Bin Laden. This, in the political climate of the United States greatly increases the prosecution’s chances of a conviction. As one US defence attorney explains: “If a jury in the US finds any connection between your client and Osama bin Laden, you’re going to get convicted.”8

So McCarthy-ism is thriving, hero as he still is to the American right and apparently our own Crown Prosecution Service, to add to the farce the defence are not allowed to mention the CIA (& others), y’know, who tortured Salim Ahmed Hamdan-

The name of the Central Intelligence Agency cannot be spoken in the war crimes trial here. No records of the agency’s interrogations of Salim Ahmed Hamdan can be subpoenaed, and no agent can be called to testify about what he or she learned from Osama bin Laden’s former driver.

When defense attorney Harry H. Schneider Jr. attempted to demonstrate how many interrogations Hamdan had undergone in the months after his November 2001 arrest — at least 40 — he couldn’t list the CIA along with more than a dozen other agencies including the Secret Service and what was then known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

The prohibition against naming the CIA came in a “protective order” issued by the court at the government’s request. The tribunal’s deputy chief prosecutor, Army Col. Bruce A. Pagel, couldn’t say which agency sought the shield or what arguments were made to justify it.

That’s some grade ‘A’ civilisation, freedom and democracy right there, gag orders and secret agencies being protected by the judge. What exactly do they teach in US law schools? I mean really, what’s on the syllabus? How to wear suits and make Office templates for your bills? And the final is a trivia quiz on LA Law? Even when they get caught there is no sanction, Bush Crime Family, to the core. I like that there are people who advocate and defend this regime, it makes me think if I ever need to sell a rusty bucket overflowing with cold diarrhoea as a priceless antique soup tureen, I know where I can find some willing shills. And oddly eBay’s Meg Whitman is a right wing nut case (with political ambitions) so caveat emptor baby.

Just So We’re Clear About This Occupation Thingy

You know when sometimes pro-war politicians are asked about withdrawal from Iraq and they act all innocent and shrug saying things like- We are there at the insistence of the democratically elected Iraqi government and When they want us to leave we will and Talk of withdrawal damages the democratically elected Iraq government’s security and that of our forces etc etc blah blah blah.

…in June 2006 in which al-Maliki circulated a draft policy calling for negotiation of just such a withdrawal timetable and the George W. Bush administration had to intervene to force the prime minister to drop it.

“We must agree on a time schedule to pull out the troops from Iraq, while at the same time building up the Iraqi forces that will guarantee Iraqi security, and this must be supported by a United Nations Security Council decision.”

That formula, linking a withdrawal timetable with the buildup of Iraqi forces, was consistent with the position taken by Sunni armed groups in their previous talks with U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, which was that the timetable for withdrawal would be “linked to the timescale necessary to rebuild Iraq’s armed forces and security services”. One of the Sunni commanders who had negotiated with Khalilzad described the resistance position in those words to the London-based Arabic-language Alsharq al Awsat in May 2006.

The Iraqi government draft was already completed when Bush arrived in Baghdad Jun. 13 without any previous consultation with al-Maliki, giving the Iraqi leader five minutes’ notice that Bush would be meeting him in person rather than by videoconference.

The al-Maliki cabinet sought to persuade Bush to go along with the withdrawal provision of the document. In his press conference upon returning, Bush conceded that Iraqi cabinet members in the meeting had repeatedly brought up the issue of reconciliation with the Sunni insurgents.

In fact, after Bush had left, Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni, said he had asked Bush to agree to a timetable for withdrawal of all foreign forces. Then President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, released a statement of support for that request.

Nevertheless, Bush signaled his rejection of the Iraqi initiative in his Jun. 14 press conference, deceitfully attributing his own rejection of a timetable to the Iraqi government. “And the willingness of some to say that if we’re in power we’ll withdraw on a set timetable concerns people in Iraq,” Bush declared.

When the final version of the plan was released to the public Jun. 25, the offending withdrawal timetable provision had disappeared. Bush was insisting that the al-Maliki government embrace the idea of a “conditions-based” U.S. troop withdrawal. Khalilzad gave an interview with Newsweek the week the final reconciliation plan was made public in which he referred to a “conditions-driven roadmap”.

I mean only the weak of thinking buy that schtick about being there because the Iraqis want us to keep killling them some more stay, but this incident from June 06 needs to be thrown in their face anytime they try and pull that shit. Which y’know, is quite often.

Ultra Violence & Addiction

With wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and troops spread around the world, the Department of Defense is the nation’s biggest oil consumer, burning 395,000 barrels per day — about as much as Greece.

The Air Force is the SUV of the military. Its thirsty planes burn more than half the fuel supply for the entire U.S. military. It’s received $1.5 billion in new relief from Congress for fuel — and last week still had $400 million left on its credit card.

Or put another way, the Empire as a whole-

Is it the fact that the largest economy of the world, which is driven by the military industrial complex and uses 25% of the planets oil, has concluded that only Iran stands in its way to controlling 60% of the globe’s known petrochemical reserves?

It isn’t just about oil, but it’s like…one of the top three motivations dude. When you’re running to stand still, peace is not an option. Junkies with atom bombs, not good.

Illusion of Democracy

Woohoo! Well done the union suits, you fund 90% of the Labour party and they just…told you to go fuck yourselves and you…said yes and offered to pay for the KY. Do you think corporations who pay NuLabour would stand for that kind of disobedience to their agenda? Like BAE for example, ahem. And still the school clique gossip level of political reporting is thrilling to chit chat of Brown being ousted, yeah because a different face on all the same policies is really worthy of our fucking attention.

The Labour Party has rejected trade union demands for less restrictive strike laws at its National Policy Forum at Warwick University.

Controversial government policies such as building a new generation of nuclear power stations, a welfare crackdown and ID cards were also all approved, a Labour spokesman said.

There is something about this ‘welfare crackdown’ that reveals a great deal of eliminationist hate in many people too. The reaction to the Purnell Solution let slip rather too many masks of bourgeois punditry revealing prejudice and bigotry as unemployed & sick people are planned to receive the same treatment as criminals. But that is what neoliberal doctrine inevitably leads to, an unequal society where all but the rich are under control and those very poor treated as criminals simply for existing, the trick to pulling that off is divide and rule and the hatred directed at those on benefits (which currently includes me) showed how easily many are playing into that very rudimentary scam. Many who from their other writing appear to be intelligent enough to know better also lined up with the un-waged slave economists, but then bigotry is no respecter of intellect (as the Iraq war and ‘Islamophobia’ is teaching us).

So there you go at a time of crisis-

And yet, when you would think the unions could do nothing other than denounce Blair/Brownism and force an about-turn in their disastrous anti-working-class policies, what do their leaders do? Issue a joint statement with the Labour leadership welcoming the outcome of the policy forum.

The corporatist dictatorship *sorry* consensus has maintained its iron grip.

SNP Hires Abu Ghraib’s CACI For Scottish Census

Which means the SNP are in the shit, the census will be a catastrophe as it will be rightly boycotted and public money will fill the coffers of a corporation that is well known for intimidatory law suits against its critics. Or…the SNP realise they just acted like the worst kind of NuLabour slime and set about finding a way to cancel the contract without paying out huge fees to CACI and they show some realisation that doing business with corporations involved in torture and the war crime of invading Iraq (which erm aren’t the SNP sort of against?) is not how a party acts if it wants y’know… any -more- votes (I mean just what lessons are they drawing from NuLabour’s defeat? -Whoa, cool let’s do what they are doing-?)

Granting CACI (UK) – a subsidiary of the firm accused of torture – the £18.5 million contract has not only badly wounded the SNP government’s claims of being more ethical than Labour and putting human rights at the top of its agenda, but has also led to fears personal data on millions of Scots collected by the company might be sifted by the US government given the close relationship between the Bush administration and the CACI head office in Arlington, Virginia.

Scotland’s leading human rights campaigners have damned the appointment, accusing the SNP of selling its soul, and raised the spectre of a mass boycott of the census by the nation’s population.

Two of Scotland’s leading human rights campaigners savaged the SNP for appointing CACI as the nation’s census-takers. Human rights lawyer John Scott said: “The Scottish government, and any government with a principled stance, should not be going near any firm with such associations, even indirectly.” Scott said he believed the company would be willing to assist the US government in information gathering.

“The government is opening itself up to significant and justified protest,” he said. “Ordinary members of the public could refuse to have anything to do with the census. A boycott is something to be considered. It would be a legitimate step. We cannot ignore our principles.”

Aamer Anwar, another leading Scottish human rights lawyer, said: “The Scottish government was elected on a mandate that it had a human rights conscience and was different to Labour. Now it seems the Scottish government is already closing its eyes to what is going on overseas. Would we say it was OK if a firm connected to Mugabe was hired to run our census? It is unacceptable that they have been hired. This will horrify most ordinary people It is unacceptable that the Scottish government should be selling its soul to an organisation accused of torturing human beings.”

Anwar added that when it came to respecting data privacy “the US government doesn’t give a damn about people’s rights, it’ll gather data in any way possible how can we be sure that the census information will not be handed over to the US government in the interests of homeland security?”

Now the article goes on reporting the legal excuses of both the SNP and the corporation that as CACI personnel have not been convicted, everything is just peachy (Yep, Good Faith is all we need to be innocent for evermore!)

CACI’s problem is, ultimately, with reality. The firm claims that it was vindicated by the military’s investigations into Abu Ghraib, including in a Washington Post editorial by Koegel in which he wrote that “no CACI employee has been charged with any misconduct in connection with interrogation work.” It’s technically true in that no CACI employee has faced formal charges — it’s unclear what jurisdiction civilian contractors in Iraq fall under, if they fall under any — but the Taguba Report (PDF) said that CACI’s Steven Stephanowicz had encouraged MPs under his command to terrorize inmates, and “clearly knew his instructions equated to physical abuse.”

CACI’s strategy has been two-fold: its flacks have distorted well-documented facts in the public record beyond recognition, and its senior management has lawyered up, suing or threatening to sue just about every journalist, muckraker and government watchdog who’s dared to shine a light on the firm’s unique role as a torture profiteer.

In May Emad Al-Janabi filed a lawsuit against CACI-

a 43-year-old Iraqi blacksmith, who alleges that he was beaten and forced from his home by people in U.S. military uniforms and civilian clothing in September 2003. He was released from Abu Ghraib without charge in July 2004.

The defendants are CACI International Inc. (NYSE: CAI) and CACI Premier Technology, Inc., of Arlington, Va.; L-3 Communications Titan Corporation (NYSE: LLL), of San Diego, Calif.; and former CACI contractor Steven Stefanowicz, a Los Angeles resident known at Abu Ghraib as “Big Steve.”

According to the Complaint, Mr. Al-Janabi was:

• Subjected to physical and mental torture in sessions where the defendants acted as interrogators and translators;

• Transported to a detainee site in a wooden box and covered with a hood;

• Scarred on his face when his eyes were clawed by an interrogator;

• Exposed to a mock execution of his brother and nephew, and told by defendant translators that he would be executed or crushed by a helicopter or a tank;

• Hung upside down, with his feet chained to the steel slats of a bunk bed until he lost consciousness, and hung by his arms;

• Repeatedly deprived of food and sleep; and

• Threatened with dogs.

On Oct. 2, 2003, during a surprise inspection of Abu Ghraib, the International Committee of the Red Cross discovered Mr. Al-Janabi naked, chained and bruised in a cell in the “hard site” of the prison. He was a so-called “ghost detainee” who was intentionally hidden from the Red Cross on subsequent inspections and held without appearing on the prisoner lists.

The lawsuit – which alleges multiple violations of U.S. law, including torture, war crimes, and civil conspiracy – notes that CACI provided interrogators used at Abu Ghraib and that L-3 employed all translators used there. Mr. Stefanowicz was linked to Abu Ghraib abuses in military court martial proceedings and was said to have directed low-level U.S. military personnel in detainee interrogations.

Now a sharp suited corporate stooge might say- ah buy CACI UK is a separate legal entity from its US parent- to which I say

So you don’t want to be associated with them, why’s that if they/you are so innocent?

And …this is how you pressure corporations to act ethically, you withdraw business from them and their subsidiaries, and failing any war crimes trials this is the only responsible recourse at present.

So SNP peeps it’s up to you, do you cheerfully don the clothing of NuLabour and then act all surprised as your support vanishes, or do you make an effort to live up to your rhetoric? Email SNP HQ-


(ht2 Red Star Solidarity & Kraant)

PS. The history of govt. ties to CACI is a long and inglorious one, from 2004-

BRITISH Muslims are calling for a boycott of more than 40 UK firms, including Scottish Widows, which are involved with the US- owned corporation accused of directing the torture of Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.

Among the firms which use CACI in the UK are Honda, Renault, Barclays, AXA Direct, Friends Provident, House of Fraser, The Woolwich, Cadbury, Unilever, Danone, The Co-op, WH Smith, the Royal Mail, Peugeot, O2 and British Gas. CACI also works for a number of local authorities including Greater London, and British Telecom.

The Department of Health also has three short-term contracts with CACI. Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price has asked Health Secretary John Reid to suspend the contracts, saying taxpayers’ money should not go “to a company linked to one accused of the torture of prisoners of war in Iraq”.

CACI Ltd in the UK is a wholly owned subsidiary of its US parent company CACI International. It has offices in London and Edinburgh. CACI International was hired in America to work with US intelligence services, such as the CIA, and co-ordinated interrogations at Abu Ghraib.

It’s real simple, when one part of your corporation engages in torture for profit you need to make that right, PR and lawyers does the opposite, it screams- we are guilty as hell and this response makes us all complicit in the crimes.

It is now incumbent upon us to demand our government agencies do not give business to a corporation (and its manifest differing legal entities, m’kay?) acting in such a manner.

PS. And some Taguba report cuts featuring CACI-

11. (U) That Mr. Steven Stephanowicz, Contract US Civilian
Interrogator, CACI, 205th Military Intelligence Brigade,
be given an Official Reprimand to be placed in his
employment file, termination of employment, and
generation of a derogatory report to revoke his security
clearance for the following acts which have been
previously referred to in the aforementioned findings:

Made a false statement to the investigation team Read the rest of this entry »


In music, a lacuna is an intentional, extended passage in a musical work during which no notes are played. A lacuna acts as “negative music” to induce a state of serenity (or tension) in the listener through its contrast to “normal” music consisting of sounded notes. Though no notes are sounded during a lacuna, it is a purposeful and valid musical passage used for a specific effect in the context of the overall work. Lacunae may last from several minutes to hours, days, or even years, depending on the intent of the composer.

Often a concept lexicalized in one language does not have a corresponding lexical unit in another language and thus presents a translation difficulty.

1: a blank space or a missing part : gap <the evident lacunae in his story — Shirley Hazzard>; also : deficiency 1 <despite all these lacunae, those reforms were a vast improvement — New Republic>

2: a small cavity, pit, or discontinuity in an anatomical structure
— la·cu·nar  \-ˈkü-nər, -ˈkyü-\ also la·cu·nate   \lə-ˈkü-nət, -ˈkyü-, -ˌnāt; ˈla-kyə-ˌnāt\ adjective

Synonyms: break, cavity, depression, gap, hiatus, interim, interval, opening, pause, space


Had some splendid friends over, so the web receded (except for some handy browsing on an iPod touch, it works, it really works!) and what do I find when I get back?

UK report says we shouldn’t trust the US (or UK HM Govt.) when it says ‘we don’t torture’, well bugger me sideways with a side order of cheese, what next? Will they discover Tony Blair has stepped down?

This cretin says pardon war criminals so they’ll tell us all about what they did, frankly I suspect he has a relationship with them and this is the preliminary soft spin of a campaign to save them from jail, just in case the expected fudges and betrayals don’t succeed. And if he he doesn’t, don’t matter, still an arsehole. (ht2 James@ Mahatma X Files, where I also saw this

Netroots Nation-Before Pelosi speaks, an announcement is made from the podium that disruptions will not be tolerated–if any of us express our frustrations too passionately with Pelosi and the sell-out Democratic Party leadership we will be arrested.

Then these-

Mossad, the Israeli secret service, was involved in the operation to free hostage Ingrid Betancourt from Colombian rebels, a Spanish newspaper said Sunday, adding US and French secret services were also involved.

And the IDF holding a bound man and shooting him with rubber bullets. Cyrus @ Iran Affairs posts scans of newspapers from 1951, when Iran was being set up for the overthrow of Mossadegh, similar? Like fucking photocopies my friends, here and here.

So the talks ended with Iran saying they were useful, Israel saying they were a bust and American war pimps likewise. Again, go read the paper clippings, relive the UK’s big role in the overthrow, such a proud history of erm, destroying democracy and stealing shit.

And from Citizen Orange, Kyle shines more truth on the reality anti-migrant rhetoric creates-

If people do not believe in my constant call for a more global approach to the issue of migration, read this latest shocking article from Guatemala’s main newspaper, Prensa Libre.

In the United States, migrant advocates frequently speak of the deaths at the border and in detention centers.  These stories are horrific, but they are the stories of the few migrants that make it into the U.S.  Most migrants do not make it into the U.S., and the scale of the horrors that they suffer are much worse, in my opinion, than the scale of the horrors migrants suffer after they’ve gotten to the U.S.

Now we find out that according to the “Foro the Migraciones” eight out of ten Central American women that enter through Mexico’s border are raped, regardless of age. I hope I can do something with this horrific information.

Get that? 80%, combined with the terrorist tactics of ICE, well Iraq, Afghanistan, Gitmo, ghost sites, Abu Ghraib, they are symptoms, points on a continuum. As is this-

Welfare reforms due to be unveiled – including abolition of the incapacity benefit system – will “transform lives”, says minister James Purnell. The work and pensions secretary said they would offer more help to return to work, but responsibility was “vital”.

There are also plans to force long-term unemployed people to work for benefits, according to a draft leaked on Friday. Tory leader David Cameron said it was “great” the government had taken up ideas recently proposed by his party.

So with democracy taken care of, time for some good old fashioned slavery. Bingo!

Friday! Pizzicato Five- Baby Love Child

Like a snugly blanket of aural grooviness. Mmmmm.

Class War

There was a documentary –On The Fiddle?– in prime time on the BBC about benefit fraud investigators (a story about a multiple fraudster living in luxury, which inevitably gives the impression this is the common face of benefit fraud and helps enforce neoliberal hostility against welfare systems) and today via Chicken Yoghurt

The director of the Serious Fraud Office plans to spend less money prosecuting and investigating in order to pursue alternative “harm reduction” initiatives, including educating on fraud prevention, alerting potential victims and civil court actions to disrupt potential criminality.

Ok now pay attention, here’s the science bit, Corporate fraud cost the UK £72 Billion, last year benefit fraud was reduced from £2 Billion to under £1 Billion. People using phones to talk to benefit officers are now having their voice scanned by lie detectors, while the SFO can’t even be arsed investigating multi billion pound frauds. The JRF discovered-

People who work and claim benefits do so often because they are in dire financial trouble, a Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) study has said. Many claimants took illegal cash-in-hand jobs to pay for food and heating or to make debt repayments.

The study’s author said they were “hard-working, ordinary people trying to survive day by day”. The study called for reform of the tax and benefits system to move people from illegal jobs into legitimate work. The JRF study was based on six years of work by the East London Community Links project.

So you have fraud costing us £72 Billion perpetrated by the wealthiest and most powerful and fraud costing us less than a Billion and is largely by the poorest most desperate people in society. And the £72 Billion is not the focus of primetime tv shows and the enforcers are now looking at not actually enforcing the law. Time for Warren Buffet -currently the richest man in the world ($62 Billion)- to say his piece-

“It’s class warfare, my class is winning, but they shouldn’t be.”

So those people who find it awfully Bolshie or impolite to talk of Class War, ought to Shut The Fuck Up, you feel me?

So Has America Rediscovered Diplomacy?

First an envoy to sit in on talks, now a plan to station diplomats in Iran? (and Israel pissed off at both). Well it’s something, it’s definitely something, hmmm. Now the envoy William Burns is to just ‘listen’

He will neither participate actively in the talks (he will listen only) nor change policy (his brief is specifically to support the UN demands that Iran cease uranium enrichment as a precondition for any settlement).

There is a lot of hullabaloo about this, it is certainly significant. Israel though spins it thusly-

The U.S. also claims it is sending an envoy to the talks because it “doesn’t trust” the reports from EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, the liaison with the Iranians. The Americans said Solana “pulls the wool over our eyes,” according to the source in Jerusalem.

So a good step or sabotage, and either way the Israeli government won’t be cheering on the diplomacy. But then the US says they will put some diplomats actually in Iran-

The US plans to establish a diplomatic presence in Tehran for the first time in 30 years as part of a remarkable turnaround in policy by President George Bush. The Guardian has learned that an announcement will be made in the next month to establish a US interests section – a halfway house to setting up a full embassy. The move will see US diplomats stationed in the country.

The news of the shift by Bush who has pursued a hawkish approach to Iran throughout his tenure comes at a critical time in US-Iranian relations. After weeks that have seen tensions rise with Israel conducting war games and Tehran carrying out long-range missile tests, a thaw appears to be under way.

Blimey it’s now got harder not to see some, y’know, actual real hope the pro-attack numpties have lost the argument, at least for now. Now cynics may surmise this is more game playing to create a better narrative of- we tried to negotiate but those pesky Eye-rans just won’t see sense, so we have to bomb them. But…cautiously optimistic, after all there is not a rational reason to attack it was only the power crazed neo-cons/likudniks who wanted this, it would be disastrous. Has sanity prevailed? Not that they are going to BFF with Iran, sneaky manipulation to get a US friendly regime installed will continue, but Iranians are wise to that. The overstretched demoralised military, Iran’s obvious ability to inflict massive damage on the attackers and the twilight of the Bush reign with catastrophic recession and horrendous energy problems, did the US establishment finally realise when in a hole, stop frickin’ digging. I hope so.