Friday! Look Around You- Maths

What’s the biggest number you can think of?* This seductively surreal note perfect remake of old schools programmes is all on youtube so if you dig it there is much to enjoy. The second series that were longer take offs of Tomorrow’s World and the like were also good but these ten minute shows really achieve an attention to detail that is remarkable and of course are very educational.

*45 Billion, but mathematicians suspect there may be even larger numbers.

Posted in Media. Tags: , . Comments Off on Friday! Look Around You- Maths

Oppostion Leader Found In Rubbish Dump Grave

Via BoRev, Inca Cola News sez-

Big news breaking in the region. The body of Guillermo Rivera was found buried in a garbage dump, apparently having been strangled. Rivera, a leader of an important opposition group in Venezuela, went missing on April 15th. His family were told at the time he had been taken in custody by the National Police Force.

This promises to set off an international scandal of the highest order. With the political situation tense as it is, this form of suppression of opposition political leaders is an affront to the spirit of democracy, protests should be made to the government of Hugo Chávez immediately and without doubt Venezuela and its government should be IMMEDIATELY SANCTIONED BY ALL INTERNATIONAL BODIES.

Here’s the link to the full story. Oh….wait a minute….it’s in Colombia, not Venezuela. Oops, silly me! And it was news there two weeks ago. Amazing how that one wasn’t reported in English, isn’t it?

The charmed life of Álvaro ‘Teflon’ Uribe Vélez!

Bush Kills The NPT With India’s Special Treatment

Let Cyrus explain

Today, acting under US pressure, the IAEA Board will formally consider carving out an exception to international non-proliferation laws to recognize India as a legitimate nuclear weapons state.

If you remember, back in 2006 India was bribed by the US into voting against Iran and in favor of reporting Iran’s file to the UN Security Council. The reward consisted of US nuclear cooperation deal with India, which is itself a violation by the US of its own NPT obligations since India is not a signatory to the treaty.  According to US Under-Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, it was India’s vote against Iran that paved the way for the US-India nuclear agreement to proceed.

So let me make that clear in case you missed it: the US insists that Iran do MORE than what the NPT requires of it, while it has VIOLATED the NPT itself by promising nuclear cooperation with India. The NPT strictly prohibits nuclear cooperation with non-signatories such as India, while requiring nuclear cooperation with signatories such as Iran. The Bush administration has done the reverse.

Slate magazine pointed out the potential consequences of this Bush policy on the NPT:

If the United States can cut a separate deal with India, what is to prevent China or Russia from doing the same with Pakistan or Iran? If India demands special treatment on the grounds that it’s a stable democracy, what is to keep Japan, Brazil, or Germany from picking up on the precedent?

Now I don’t know about you but the Bush neocon reign has shown total opposition to international laws and treaties, to some degree this can be expediency but it’s clear if you can steel yourself to read their rantings this is also very much part of their ideology, Pax Americana- the American Empire is not constrained by anything, might is right. That gets potentially apocalyptic where nuclear weapons are concerned, even apart from that nation after nation falling into very expensive arms races (Pakistan has already seized on this to demand exceptions) will mean further impoverishment for the people, imagine the health service America could have if it weren’t for its military industrial congressional complex (and the will to y’know, look after each other instead of guns ‘n’ fear ‘n’ cut throat capitalism). As for Iran they are not even at the stage of nuclear power and the US is pretending to be all offended and a great guardian of the NPT where it suits their and Israel’s aggression towards Iran and the issue has been deliberately blurred to = Iran is about to have nuclear weapons ZOMG!!!!!! That is all theatrics in order to mask the old game of domination, a strong and independent Iran is too much for dominant colonial & imperialist chauvinism to contemplate. Sadly what Bush could be unleashing is a global race where the only way to be protected from outside predators is to have your own nukes, to many that was the lesson of the Iraq war (a military attack on Iraq was only possible precisely because they had no WMD). If you want to see the madness of a nuclear arms race here is that small clip again showing just how many nukes the US has-

In a way it is what barbaric neocons and other dominationists of all stripes want, a world ruled though brute -male- violence (now it is debatable if we ever achieved anything but, however it’s clear which direction this moves in) and nurturing qualities exemplified in healthcare and welfare being destroyed. It’s also a shift into extremes, international law and treaties always were bent to suit the powerful nations and ruling classes, but elites are now so irrational in their greed even that slight pandering to international statutes is too much for their unbound desires to bear. As the corporations they have dual citizenship of are transnational, laws that apply globally are a massive irritant, so again this suits their corporatist agenda and with the disaster capitalist model now shown to be working (although ultimately logic dictates it will only lead to a terminal state), well as the Monkey King said- Bring it on.

ps. the intertubes is wobbly and Firefox 3 and wp’s spell check are fighting, all is slow and shit today so enjoy any typos that have got through, I’ve had enough!

The Journalist They Didn’t Kill

Mohammed Omer you may remember was the award winning Palestinian journalist who was tortured by Israeli security, here he reports (HT2 The Fanonite) his determination and the damage done-

This summer, at age 24, I was honored to learn that I had become the youngest journalist to receive the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, named for the famed American war reporter and awarded to journalists who counter propaganda with the truth. Although Israel has sealed Gaza’s 1.5 million Palestinians in what many now call the world’s largest open-air prison, Dutch MP Hans Van Baalen lobbied the Israeli government to let me leave Gaza to receive my award in person. Upon my return from London, I was surrounded by Israeli security officers. I was stripped naked at gunpoint, interrogated, kicked and beaten for more than four hours. At one point I fainted and then awakened to fingernails gouging at the flesh beneath my eyes. An officer crushed my neck beneath his boot and pressed my chest into the floor. Others took turns kicking and pinching me, laughing all the while. They dragged me by my feet, sweeping my head through my own vomit. I lost consciousness. I was told later that they transferred me to a hospital only when they thought I might die.

Today, I have difficulty breathing. I have abrasions and scratches on my chest and neck. My hands don’t function well; typing is difficult. My doctor informed me that due to nerve damage from one kick, I may be unable to father children and will need to have an operation.

Israeli attacks on journalists are not new; nor are they rare. In April, Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana was killed by fire from an Israeli tank. He was in a car, clearly marked as press. According to Amnesty International, “Fadel Shana appears to have been killed deliberately although he was a civilian taking no part in attacks on Israel’s forces.”

Reporters Without Borders has condemned the Israeli military’s widespread “abusive behavior” of Palestinian journalists. And the Committee to Protect Journalists reports that journalists covering Israeli military actions in the West Bank and Gaza “contend with perennial abuses at the hands of Israeli forces.” In 2007 alone, Israeli soldiers shot photographers from Agence France-Presse, Al-Ayyam newspaper and Al-Aqsa TV. The television cameraman, Imad Ghanem, fell to the ground when wounded. Israeli forces then shot him twice more in the legs. Both of his legs have been amputated.

Could it be that despite their tanks, fighter planes and nuclear arsenal, Israel is threatened by our cameras and computers, which give the world access to images and information about their military occupation of Palestinians? Indeed, this month a Palestinian girl filmed an Israeli soldier shooting a blindfolded Palestinian at point blank range with a rubber bullet. The video aired widely, on CNN, NBC News and the BBC, among other media outlets.

Although Palestinians face this violence daily, the images and our stories rarely travel beyond our borders. Israel seems intent on hiding its oppression of Palestinians under its rule–including its dual system of laws, one giving civil, political and social rights to Israelis, and the other denying those rights to Palestinians living under occupation. This system allows Jewish settlers in the West Bank to enjoy freedom of movement and access to healthcare and education, while Palestinian children in Gaza die of curable illnesses because hospitals have run out of medicine.

Martha Gellhorn brought to light atrocities committed in World War II and in the Vietnam War. In her tradition, I remain committed to accurate reporting from Gaza today. For this I may suffer lifelong consequences. But I hold on to the hope that Americans–as well as journalists worldwide–will impress upon Israel the need to respect the rights of reporters. Freedom of speech and a free press are hallmarks of any democracy. I am proud to call myself a Palestinian and a journalist. The might of the Israeli military will not silence my pen or darken my camera lens.

Mohammed Omer is an award-winning photographer and journalist based in Rafah Refugee Camp in the southern Gaza Strip.

Posted in Human Rights, Israel. Tags: , . Comments Off on The Journalist They Didn’t Kill