Russia- Dear George, Take Your Unipolar World & Shove It

Russia, like other countries in the world, has regions in which it has privileged interests” said Mr Medvedev. “In these regions are located countries which have friendly relations…Russia will work attentively in these regions” he said, adding these “privileged” regions included states bordering Russia, but not only those.”

“Russia does not intend to isolate itself. We will develop, as much as possible, our friendly relations with Europe and the United States, and other nations of the world”

He also focused on a commitment to international law, and again expressed Moscow’s now familiar antipathy to a “unipolar” world dominated by Washington, saying “this type of world is unstable and threatens conflict”.


So Magomed Yevloyev, owner of the site much hated by the President of Ingushetia Murat Zyazikov, (a former KGB general and Putin thug) is on a flight the President is also on, when the plane lands in Ingushetia Yevloyev is arrested at the airport then is led away by police and dies from a gunshot wound to the head. The BBC sez-

Reports quoting local police said Yevloyev had tried to seize a policeman’s gun when he was being led to a vehicle. A shot was fired and Yevloyev was injured in the head.

Al Jazeera though have him already in the car-

Vladimir Markin, the prosecutor’s office spokesman, said “an incident” took place after Yevloyev was taken into a police car “resulting in a shooting injury to the head and he later died in hospital”, Interfax reported.

Kaloi Akhilgov, a lawyer from the site, told the Reuters news agency: “As they drove he [Yevloyev] was shot in the temple … They threw him out of the car near the hospital.


BBC-His website reported on alleged Russian security force brutality in Ingushetia, an impoverished province of some half a million people, mostly Muslims, which is now more turbulent than neighbouring Chechnya.

Ingushetia borders Chechnya and has suffered from overflowing unrest. There is a low-level insurgency, with regular small-scale ambushes against police and soldiers. In June 2008, the Human Rights Watch group accused Russian security forces there of carrying out widespread human rights abuses. HRW said it had documented dozens of arbitrary detentions, disappearances, acts of torture and extra-judicial executions.

AJ- The website is among the most-visited for news on Ingushetia and has openly criticised Zyazikov, who threatened to shut it down on several occasions. Russian officials ordered the closure of the site in June, saying it was disseminating “extremist” views. Moscow had also blocked access to the site late last year after it urged readers to protest against the local administration, which the opposition had accused of corruption and mismanagement. Rosa Malsagova, the website’s chief editor, announced plans to seek asylum in France earlier this month.

Looks an awful lot like he pissed off the Pres a bit too much and maybe something on the flight was the last straw and he was whacked. Check out the action packed wiki profile of Murat Zyazikov and the BBC country profile. Hard not to see that it being a neighbour of North Ossetia this is part of the Russian security lockdown or at least with that underway Zyazikov figures he will be backed on anything he does. Meanwhile Russia does an Israel and keeps buffer zones in Georgia, ironic given the Israeli ‘consultants’ working with Saakashvili.

Self Harm Up 73% In Six Months In Migrant Prisons

This is a Red Alert that the jails and the Border agency system are absolutely wrong and inhumane in their approach. This is an expression of human pain that tells you the migrant gulag must be dismantled, for such activity to rise 73% in such a short time is profoundly indicative of the inequities and brutality of the institutions. Kudos to Emily Dugan for this report in The Independent-

Incidences of self-harm in immigration detention centres rose 73 per cent in the first six months of this year, Home Office figures have revealed. The sharp increase has provoked calls for the Government to re-examine its policy of treating asylum-seekers as prisoners. .

In the first six months of this year there were 109 cases of self-harm requiring medical attention. Colnbrook detention centre in Berkshire had the highest number, with 32 incidents so far this year. The numbers on self-harm watch have also risen – with 722 cases in the first half of 2008, up from 678 in the last six months of 2007. The total population of the country’s immigration detention centres is typically below 2,300.

When the Independent Asylum Commission concluded a review of the entire system earlier this year, it recommended the detention of asylum-seekers be reconsidered. Sir John Waite, the former High Court judge who chaired the commission, said: “This alarming figure confirms the anxiety which was expressed by us about the appropriateness of detention for asylum-seekers. It also confirms the need for a root-and-branch review of the entire policy.”

The UK Border Agency has already been criticised for its detention of vulnerable migrants and for the extended stays that many are forced to endure. Contrary to UN recommendations, there is no legal limit to the length of time a person can be held in a UK immigration detention centres. The Home Office no longer publishes a breakdown of the length of detention. Experts say it is not uncommon for asylum-seekers to be held for more than six months at a time. Donna Covey, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: “It is unacceptable to detain people without charge for long periods. There is only one proper response to the unacceptably high level of self-harm in detention, and that is for the Government to end the use of detention as part of its asylum policy.”

Despite the latest figures, the Government is determined to expand the immigration detention capacity from 2,500 to 4,000. Dr Cornelius Katona, of the asylum charity Medical Justice, said: “There is an enormous body of evidence that says detaining asylum-seekers is bad for their mental health. These are people who are very vulnerable.” Dr Katona estimates that at least half of the UK’s detainees suffer from mental illness. John O, of the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, said: “I speak daily to people in detention and there is no solace you can give to a detainee who does not understand why they have been detained.”

A Border Agency spokesman insisted detention centres were “safe and secure”.

A detainee’s story: ‘They don’t treat you like a person’

Terri Matsvimbo, a 28-year-old asylum-seeker from Zimbabwe was held in Yarl’s Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire for four months this year. She was so distressed by her incarceration and her fears that she would be sent home that she began to self-harm.

In the worst of these incidents, she slit her wrists with razors that were provided by staff at the centre, despite her medical history of depression.

“I was just desperate,” she says. “They don’t treat you like a person there; people keeping animals would treat them with more respect.

“Being in Yarl’s Wood was the lowest I’ve ever been: it was mental torture at its worst. Now I’ve got mental and physical scars that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

Wrong Number

I don’t use my mobile much but it’s handy for the odd thing, most of the time it is switched off, so when I turn it on it has a bunch of texts to catch up with. Last night I turned it on and one text was a wrong number, nothing too important so here is this odd snatch of someone else’s life-

Is it ok to come and
get the blanket
today? Also could you
please let me in to
grandad’s for
hannah’s nappy’s

Thankfully free of txtspk but- nappy’s- hmmm. Pedantry aside let’s all hope they solved their communication mishap and the blanket is safely returned and the baby has something to wear. I found it intriguing and it’s playful to construct a narrative into which this text fits. Seems to be between family members as grandad is used as a common title for sender and receiver and as they need to let them in, well gramps is away or no longer with us.  ‘Is it ok‘ seems very polite, maybe some tension in the relationships. Also a blanket seems a bit unremarkable to make a trip for so I guess it’s a beloved blanket probably belonging to Hannah, she’ll be hell without it. Not that I’m saying there aren’t fanstatic blankets we all love, not at all, I have my own lovely multicolured blanky that has kept me warm on many a sofa.

Unless it’s all code for a terror attack which is how we are encouraged to think, for blanket read nerve gas, for grandad read armourer for nappies read machine guns, yes that’s probably it, the dastardly terrorists just won’t ever let us be. About time we jettisoned some more civil liberties, just to be safe.

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Day of the Disappeared

In marking the 25th International Day of the Disappeared on Aug. 30, rights activists in a number of countries across the world are holding rallies and sit-ins to press their governments for immediate ratification of the U.N. Convention against Enforced Disappearance.

The 2006 treaty was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in December 2006. It has been signed by 73 nations, but not ratified. So far, only four countries — Albania, Argentina, Mexico and Honduras — have ratified it. “Enforced disappearance”, according to the treaty, is the “arrest, detention, abduction by agents of the state or by persons, groups or persons acting with the authorisation, support or acquiescence of the state, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person.”

The treaty contains an absolute prohibition on forced disappearances in both peacetime and wartime, and enshrines measures such as the registration of detainees, their right of access to a court and the right to contact their lawyers and families. Recently, the U.N. Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances reported over 41,000 pending cases across 78 countries. Since its creation in 1980, the Geneva-based group has submitted more than 50,000 individual cases to governments in more than 90 countries.

According to the London-based rights watchdog Amnesty International, the worst national statistics referred to the Working Group last year were in Sri Lanka, where 5,516 people are currently registered as disappeared, and 30 new urgent action cases were identified in relation to alleged disappearances.

The Day of the Disappeared was started in 1983 by the Latin American non-governmental organisation FEDEFAM (Federación Latinoamericana de Asociaciones de Familiares de Detenidos-Desaparecidos) at a time when disappearances arose from authoritarian governance by military rulers. But, as human rights researchers point out, enforced disappearances are taking place in all parts of the world. In September 2006, U.S. President George W Bush publicly acknowledged that the CIA was running prolonged incommunicado detention in secret locations. This practice has involved governments around the world.

Those being held in secret locations have no clue about where they are and what is going to happen to them. It is feared that most of them are at risk of torture and death. Bush reauthorised the programme in 2007. In scrutinising the Bush policy on secret detentions, the Amnesty International identifies Pakistan as one of the chief collaborators. The rights group says that in that country there are many cases of enforced disappearances linked to the so-called U.S. war on terror.

Events are being organised in more than 20 countries to pay respect to disappeared persons as well as to campaign for the new convention on enforced disappearances. Among those countries are Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Philippines, Nigeria, Morocco, Belarus, France, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and Spain.

Fuk Da Kredit Krunch

It’s Saturday, the sea is becalmed, the doldrums lay heavy upon this humid Isle and it’s time to get my rant on. Fuck the credit crunch, what a bullshit meaningless term birthed in the fetid alien womb of PR speak politics. Fuck that shit. It’s a crisis of capitalism, of free market dogma, hey guess what- huge global unregulated markets decided in their unaccountable freedom and run by the already wealthy, they decided to be crooks, they faked up debt packages ignored warnings and fed their greed. It’s not a credit fucking crunch it’s the price of capitalist greed, the consequence of elite crime, so take your banal blameless phrase and stuff it up your economically moribund arse. Ignoring the reason for this only means once we have survived it…we’ll do it all over again.

Guess fucking what, if you have a social democracy with good welfare and progressives taxes the booms aren’t quite so good, but also the busts are not as bad, but no, not even that moderation is acceptable to the Church Of The Free Market. One less solid gold ball scratcher is far more immoral that a homeless person starving. These Friedmanite Taliban accept nothing but the unfettered liberty of capital to do as it will and by just an amazing coincidence this supposedly intellectually compelling theory just so happens to mean the rich get to be even richer. I wonder why it was embraced so enthusiastically, I’ll guess we’ll just never ever know, huh?

And while the proof the theories are utter bullshit that fail to account for hegemonic greed and the base dehumanisation of us into lonely selfish robots of enlightened rational market decisions (their model only works if the people within it act as psychopaths, hmmmm). While that proof stares us in the recession-tastic face, even now the fundamentalist are planning on taking this crisis and capitalising on it to push through even more extreme polices. Yeah maybe if the oligarchy get all the money some might trickle down this time, hey it’s worth a try, did I tell you my 17th home has a new jetway, yeah by the golf course? This just makes the race to the bottom even quicker, watch out China!

Fuck the credit crunch, the least we could do is have a competition (ooh they’ll like that) to find an even more facile term to lampoon our misery and let the guilty off the hook after all newspapers are already printing patronising how-to-make-more-money pieces (hey get an extra job, y’know after working 8 hours, and then 2 hours commute/prep so after working 10 hours -well 11 because lunch is at work you can’t chill at home-  go and do another job, problem solved!). So in place or in addition to the Krazeee Kredit Krunch, newspeak me this Batman-

  • Bill Bingo
  • The Job Shuffle
  • House Squeeze (that’s the new term for being made homeless)
  • Welfare Reform (already popular)
  • The Market Tingle
  • The Loan Spank
  • Mortgage Murmur
  • Money Drizzle
  • Vote Conservative

Mission accomplished New Labour, you have done what the US right wanted and destroyed Britain’s mainstream left wing party. Time for another (cold?) war.

Friday! Stewart Lee- Everyone Hates Ben Elton

Wherein the comedian (41st best) determines Osama Bin Laden is more popular than Ben Elton.

Posted in Media. Tags: , . 8 Comments »

War Pimp Regatta

Here’s the churnalism-

Gulf Daily News– NAVY ships from Bahrain, the UK and the US are conducting a joint exercise to track and locate hostile vessels in the Gulf, officials confirmed yesterday. Operation Goalkeeper aims to ensure a lawful maritime order and improve relationships between regional countries.

Led by British Royal Navy Commodore and Combined Task Force (CTF) 152 commander Peter Hudson, it involves training marines in maritime security operations. The five-day exercise, taking place in the central and southern Arabian Gulf, ends today. “Exercise Goalkeeper provides coalition and regional navies an opportunity to fine tune their skills in conducting essential maritime security operations,” said Commodore Hudson.

It provides participants with an opportunity to showcase their ability to locate and track various vessels, practice boarding techniques and work with Bahrain’s coastguard. Coalition vessels participating in the exercise include the RBNS Al Fateh (PGGF 20), HMS Montrose (F 236) and USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168) and coalition maritime patrol aircraft.

Commodore Hudson said the operation’s key focus was handling the command and control in locating and tracking specific vessels deemed to pose a threat to coalition nations. The exercise also allows coalition teams to board the vessel and practice the procedures for handing them over to coastguard ships.

The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) regularly carry out security operations in the Gulf to promote the region’s stability and prosperity. These seek to prevent potential terrorists using the maritime environment as a venue to attack or transport people and weapons.

Also see IHT and Payvand (ht2 Naj). I think we can surmise the newspeak ‘terrorists’ means Iranian forces resisting a coalition attack. And ‘stability and prosperity’ = practice battle plans so if it is ordered we will be better capable of keeping that lovely oil flowing. And once again distance from American mainland to the Straits of Hormuz:- 8,684 miles, UK to there is:- 3212 miles (as the crow flies), distance from Iran:- 0. So yeah, totally normal for the military forces of these countries to be hanging out there, not at all imperialist-y, no sir-eee!

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The Terror We Support

On 21 August 2008, Luisa Fernanda Malo Rodríguez was in a park in the south of Bogotá on her way to the Family Welfare office to collect some documents. As she was crossing the park she was approached by two men, one of whom held a gun to her side, while the other attempted to inject her with a hypodermic needle. As Luisa Fernanda Malo Rodríguez was struggling to free herself, one of the men asked her if she wanted to die there and then. The other man then punctured her skin three times with the needle before injecting her with an unknown liquid. The men then pushed her and told her she had twelve hours to live. Luisa Fernanda Malo Rodríguez immediately contacted her partner, who accompanied her to a health centre located in the park, and subsequently to the Kennedy Hospital where she is currently under observation and is receiving psychological care.

Luisa Fernanda Malo Rodríguez has been forced to move around different regions of Colombia as a result of threats that she has received. She was residing in the city of Barrancabermeja with her family when her name appeared on a list circulated by the paramilitary group Águilas Negras, declaring her as a military target. She also received threats via e-mail and calls to her mobile phone in which she was told that her daily movements and places of work and residence were known. She was further threatened that retaliation would be taken and it would involve her children. Following these threats, she moved to Bogotá in March 2008, in order to lower her profile and she ceased many of her regular activities.

Front Line believes that the attack against Luisa Fernanda Malo Rodríguez was motivated by her activities in defence of human rights through her work with the Hope Foundation. In view of this attack and the resultant trauma, Front Line is seriously concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Luisa Fernanda Malo Rodríguez.

Go to for details of how to help.

As for AGUILAS NEGRAS (Black Eagles), a previous terror warning makes it clear who they are aligned with (and they love caps, a common rightist phenomenon)-


The UK government’s support of the Uribe regime includes political backing and our special forces (SAS etc) ‘training’ and assisting Uribe’s security apparatus. Perhaps most infamously was the recent photo of Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells posing with members of the High Mountain Battalion, after that he smeared a human rights group- Justice for Colombia- as being supporters of FARC this put their lives in extreme danger. He has since rather grudgingly apologised, however our ‘aid’ in concert with US support of the Uribe client regime continues. As previously noted last year 329 people were assassinated by the regime, trade unions and human rights workers being prime targets. In this case our brave -boys- assistance supports the regime that fostered this terrorist attack on a woman and mother.

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‘Prisons create employment and they’re quiet neighbours’

So with that in mind, a final solution for the prison ‘issue’ – we just make every other house a prison, it’s frankly genius and I don’t mind saying so myself. No more troubling neighbours because every alternate house, every house/flat you would be next door to is a prison, plus the commute to work is really quick, it’s next door! Now of course we’d have to work out a few kinks, not everyone will want to work in the ‘corrections sector’ but those ‘individuals’ can work in the service sector for the wardens, this also completely solves the unemployment ‘issue’. If you’re a bad unemployed person (and let’s face it that’s most, almost by definition really – the conservative libertarian definition that just so happens to agree with corporate beliefs, what a lucky coincidence for our PFI entrepreneurship house/prison retrofit program- Save Your Community and Become Rich by Imprisoning Half of it! Liberty for Some!) you go into a prison and the few good welfare recipients enter the warder sector. It will reinvigorate the housing market, boarded up houses will once more be useful and the streets will be safe by virtue of being entirely empty.

Now you might be asking- won’t this mean basically half the population is in jail being overseen by the other half? And I say yes! Ah you say, but surely 30 million Britons are not guilty of crimes to which I say- Oh don’t worry, with all the laws now and the economic impetus for this project it’ll be no problem violating half the population into a guilty plea. Astute readers will of course be looking for how the wonders of the market & our exciting media saturated environment can aid this and it’s simple: With half the population being eyed up for jail time there’s going to be some fierce competition to be a warder not a prisoner, and what likes fierce competition more than the market. Families (and yes we must emphasise family values in our brave new prison culture, youth crime is a terrible stain on communities a middle aged man who went to Eton once told me) could advertise how law abiding they are, how pure they strive to be, the best campaigns are sure to result in warder status, those with little PR savvy can expect to have their collar felt.

Presiding over this will of course be Her Majesty’s Ministry of Justice, there’s no need for people who have nice houses on big plots of land to be involved as they are remote enough from their neighbours not to have problems. Also their commute would be longer and their BMW X5’s produce too much carbon (after all they take care to shop using canvas bags they bought on weekend breaks to Sorrento so it would be unfair to undo their hard planet saving work) so they are not involved. I know certain hard left extremists will say this is some kind of class war but hell, guess where they’ll all be? Next door under lock and key, Bing-fucking-O Trotsky!

Now Her Majesty’s government & the Ministry of Justice are sort of working in this area but so far have only taken the step of pushing through shopping mall prisons. They’re called Titan jails and they’re basically like a mega-mart out of town shopping centre for naughty criminals, very big and of course derided by everyone except the Ministry, the building firms who will make huge profits off them and the Police. The sort of namby pamby do-gooders who object to these mall jails (which will still not be enough to house all the people we increasingly want to deem criminal) can be first in the new neighbourhood jail program. Their crime? Well we are locking up people for support of terrorism on very flimsy evidence (non white and they can spell Al Qaeda and own no Andy McNabb books, hmm suspicious) so it should be no great leap to imply people who spend time with criminals (lawyers, visitors, health workers, teachers, social workers etc) are clearly in league with them (the Howard League!) and are supporting their nefarious agenda. Thank you War on Terror for showing us the way.

But what of inspections? Any civilised prison program needs some inspectorate to maintain standards. Well we already have obvious candidates, our wonderful tabloid media spend a great deal of time agonising over the dangerous effects of luxurious prison cells on their inhabitants (sitting down all day in a locked cell watching TV is a sedentary lifestyle likely to cause many health problems, answer- remove the TV. Some obsessive pacing up and down the six foot space will soon get that dally exercise requirement fulfilled). And so the new system will allow a prisoner (in the case of children, parents are allowed to help with the letter) to write to their citizen stake-holder neighbour warder, if this overseer thinks there is a dangerous case of over luxuriousness they will forward the letter to a tabloid newspaper who can then inspect the criminals cell and if they are being dangerously indulged can have more ‘corrective’ elements emphasised. The system is modeled on how complaints are dealt with in Border Agency jails, and it works a treat there, virtually zero complaints ever acted upon!

Environmentally this scheme is very sound, commuting a long distance will be over and the prisons already exist, we just need to put bars/steel plates over the window and brick up the back doors. (In fact looking at some householders’ security measures they have installed already… if that’s not ‘grassroots’ pre-approval of this program then I don’t know what is! At least that’s how we’ll spin it.) Then with a good solid steel front door the jail is ready, in fact the occupants having to move out while their house is refitted will have to fund their hotel stay, if they can’t they become vagrants and bingo, no lengthy trial needed (efficient on the spot sentencing is very much a part of the exciting go getting Olympian Britain) just shuffle them straight back into their former house -now prison- and job done (another advantage relatives and friends already know the address to write to!). Criminals kept off the street and homelessness solved. Immigration jails will follow the same plan but obviously (as now) require no sentencing , just lock ’em up. Some fine upstanding citizen public safety overseers will understandably prefer proper -white- British people in their jails, not swarthy foreigners, so those volunteering for immigrant duty get a weekly bonus and a free lifetime subscription to The Daily Express. It’s a win win win that’ll have them cheering in the aisles at the party conferences.

Now of course there is a danger that once half the population is jailed some of the other half might do something criminal (in fact I’m certain the laws will demand it!) so even with his ideal solution there could be a risk of overcrowding, that’s why we’ll need to reinstitute the death penalty. Again the inspector system run through News International and the Daily Mail will help in bringing this to fruition and from then on numbers can be kept in check by executing serious offenders. When I say serious offenders of course that will have to be determined by the Ministry of Justice, there’ll be little problem convincing the Big Brother conditioned audience of the need to string up pedos and murderers but that might not keep the numbers down enough. Just to be safe we will need to make more crimes a capital offence, possibly a public vote on what those should be could be. Simon Cowell can host it and each week we can execute 3 people guilty of a different crime and the execution the people like the most makes that crime a capital offence. By the end of a 12 week run we will have 12 new offences which demand an automatic death penalty, the text & online voting alone will pay for the cost of the show, a win win for the Chancellor. If this really takes off we will enter what shall be called Justice for All (possibly with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber).

Eventually the jail next door strategy combined with a healthy capital punishment regime will lead to empty prisons which may become dilapidated over time, this offence to civic pride cannot go unpunished and associated warders must be held responsible. At last the Titan jails come in handy where only a handful of faithful staff can imprison hundreds of anti social ex-warders. Soon we can incarcerate the majority of the population with only a small band of loyal staff to control them.

But what of Great Britain’s economic standing in the world? These selfish crooks threaten to derail our economy so in order to pay for their humane imprisonment they will be expected to work, and who better to run these business opportunities than those with a proven track record of successful corporate globalisation, contracts shall be awarded to exciting and ambitious corporations (BAE, Nike, Microsoft, HSBC, Matalan! Etc.) and soon China will no longer be the only ‘worlds workshop’. But what of the vast empty spaces where once the neighbourhood jail estates flourished, in project ‘Regeneration’ they’ll be demolished and the land given over to the National Trust and Tesco Farm Inc. to grow food for the inmate population. Better yet our glorious heritage of large country houses can expand as responsible land owners have no fear of nearby ‘chavvy’ neighbours and can open up to weekend tours by weary Titan staff wanting a glimpse of ‘the good life’. I’m not saying this will be easy, or there won’t be setbacks but don’t we owe it to our children (and yes we’ll have little striped uniforms, they’ll look so cute) at least to try?

Warming Helps Ease Passage

And in shipping news…(why what did you think I meant?)-

For the first time ever, both the Northwest and the Northeast Passages are free of ice. Shipping companies have been waiting for this moment for years, but they will have to wait a little while longer before they can make use of the Arctic shortcut.

Shippers in Bremen are getting impatient. The Beluga Group, a shipping company based in the northern German city, had planned to send a ship through the Northeast Passage — or the Northern Sea Route, as Russians call it — this summer, according to spokeswoman Verena Beckhausen. The route leads from the Russian island Novaya Zemlya, off the northern coast of Siberia, through the Bering Strait between far eastern Russia and Alaska.

This route is radically shorter than the normal trip through the Suez Canal. From Hamburg to the Japanese port city of Yokohama, for example, the trip using the northern route is just 7,400 nautical miles — just 40 percent of the 11,500 nautical mile haul through the Suez. Dangerous ice floes normally block the shorter route, but as of a few days ago the Northeast Passage is ice-free according to Christian Melsheimer of the University of Bremen. Scientists at the university use data from the NASA satellite “Aqua” to cobble together up-to-date maps of sea ice. Still, it will likely be a while until the first ships sail through the passage. Russian authorities have still not issued the necessary permits allowing shipping companies like Beluga to take advantage of the Arctic shortcut this year.

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I Don’t Think ‘Smuggle’ Means What You Think It Means

The Free Gaza boats are not at sea on their return trip to Cyprus with several Palestinians who could not leave as Israel controls who exits and Gaza (until the boats broke the blockade). Free Gaza openly and publicly announced they were giving passage to these people (I even posted it here) but that gets reported by Ynet as ‘Left-wing activists smuggle Palestinians out of Gaza‘ Now I have to say as smugglers the Free Gaza peeps are rubbish, first off they’ve completely failed on the whole sneaky secretive part, secondly as Gaza is supposedly no longer occupied by Israel how is it- Gazans leaving there with approval by Gazan authorities through Gazan territorial waters- smuggling anything? It’s like me saying Wales is smuggling pensioners into Ireland via the ferry to engage in merciless tea drinking and garden admiration tours. It’s only smuggling to one’s mind if you believe you have some right of control over the people in question, funny that.

PS. Jeff Halper has decided to stay after being arrested then released simply for being in Gaza-

Halper decided not to return to Cyprus with the rest of the activists. “I realized that the State is apparently planning to indict me, and so therefore I can’t sail back to Cyprus. I took this into account when I did what I did. I wanted to say that peace, and the connection between peoples, cannot be restricted by a military order.”

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Default Guilty

Charges for arrestees were issued on pre-printed forms, where police were told to “cross out” charges that they were not facing. In many cases, police failed to cross out inappropriate charges, and so the detainee would be charged with “begging, loitering and throwing stones and missiles,” the ACLU said.

Is this the brave new world on offer from the other imperial party-

What’s more, police are said to have tricked protesters into pleading guilty, by giving them the impression they had to plead guilty in order to post bond. This meant that no one was allowed to make a phone call unless they plead guilty, thus making it impossible for arrestees to even call a lawyer until admitting guilt.

Most ominously, the ACLU letter claims that protesters were told they would be “facing ‘years’ in jail for a conviction of a single particular charge.”

“In fact, all the charges were municipal court violations that do not carry such penalties,” the ACLU added in a footnote.

Meanwhile a huge ICE raid has incarcerated 600 people and put monitoring devices on others (don’t worry oligarchs no executives were even questioned), will this even be mentioned or condemned at the convention?

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Harry, UCU and All That

The fallout over Harry’s Place and Jenna Delich’s leaked email is apparent across various left wing blogs, the discussion at Socialist Unity sums it up pretty well. Put simply, from what I can see some (including me) took it to be important to oppose sites being taken down however dreadful the site might be (within reason, I would not waste time on the BNP for example), others said the site was so bad and its effect so invidious that it did not warrant their support. I won’t attempt to square that circle as both have valid points expressed sincerely and passionately, but I hate to see further recriminations and division among people who have so much in common (even if it’s just arguing). So I have a proposal for what it’s worth- I’m sure Ms. Delich feels like avoiding the whole thing, but if she or someone on her behalf would like to write about what has transpired then we will all publish it. Perhaps Socialist Unity & Lenin’s Tomb could figure out how to get that to happen. In an ideal situation we all have an equal platform and can answer to accusations made against us, but not all blogs are created equal and the take-down story of HP is all over the place, so she is owed similar coverage, this would also make search results over the issue more representative and help remove speculation as to details. This would include a call on HP to also post this writing once they are restored.

Posted in Media. Tags: . 2 Comments »

Craig Murray On Russia/Georgia

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