Funding Mentalism

So Chris Morris’ Jihadi satire (the “Four Lions” film project) got turned down by both Ch4 & the beeb as noted here. Then another bulletin came forth via popbitch-

We told you that Chris Morris’ terror cell comedy had been rejected by a fearful Channel 4 and BBC. It seems they have a history of this. Muslim comedian Omar Mazouk was to present a mockumentary about misguided suicide bombers for BBC but this was also nixed. He took the idea to a TV network in Denmark instead, where it’s getting rave reviews. And putting two fingers up to TV commissioners, Morris is turning his Jihadi sitcom into a film. He’s got producers at Warpfilm and a distributor. All he needs now is enough money to make the film. Which is where we come in. Popbitch readers donating between 25 and 100 quid to help get the film made will get the chance to be in it. So get out your cheque book and burkha and email: fundingmentalism@warpfilms.com

You can also check the warpfilms site. They are not asking for cash just yet but are seeing what the level of interest is to see if this is a viable way to get the film made. It’s ridiculous someone of Morris’ talent is being left in the cold by timid broadcasters but not really surprising. Below is his smackdown of Martin Amis (who is welcomed by the establishment -bad Manchester Uni, bad uni-, hmm funny that) which gives some clues as to where ‘Four Lions’ is coming from and why it should be a vital injection of intelligence and hilarity into our cultural waronterror ™ fog- Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Preventable National Disgrace’

Border Agency? Lying thugs? Govt. covering up? Who’d a thunk it?

In October last year, The Independent ran a front-page article revealing 200 allegations of racist and physical abuse committed by British guards against failed asylum-seekers. Most of the cases involved abuse of immigrants during the process of being sent back to the countries from where they were fleeing persecution. The then Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) said it could not find evidence supporting such high levels of allegations and demanded to see all the cases so they could investigate. We agreed but said that permission first needed to be sought from the alleged victims and the groups representing them.

When the story was raised in the House of Commons, ministers defended themselves by accusing The Independent of failing to hand over full details of the claims. In short they were accusing us of exaggerating or inventing the story.

Since then, the Home Office’s own audit complaints committee has confirmed the similar high numbers of allegations of mistreatment made by failed asylum-seekers. It also reported serious failings in the investigations carried out by the BIA.

In July, asylum groups and lawyers working for the victims of abuse were able to hand over a dossier of complaints which had now reached 300 cases, around 50 of which were suitable for investigation by ministers. Lord Ramsbotham, a former chief inspector of prisons who read the report, said if only one of the allegations was proved it would amount to a “preventable national disgrace.”

Punk’d!

Robbed fucking blind!

The Federal Reserve will pump an additional $630 billion into the global financial system, flooding banks with cash to alleviate the worst banking crisis since the Great Depression.

The Fed’s expansion of liquidity, the biggest since credit markets seized up last year, came hours before the U.S. House of Representatives rejected a $700 billion bailout for the financial industry.

Vote all you like congress critters, it means nothing to the King, you won’t buy the toxic debt so as consolation the ‘fed’ showers them in cash and check McCain playing the Shock Doctrine card-

When asked about the economic crisis, John McCain called for a sweeping spending freeze.

Sen. John McCain: “How about a spending freeze on everything but defense, veteran affairs and entitlement programs.”

Jim Lehrer: “Spending freeze?”

McCain: “I think we ought to seriously consider, with the exceptions of caring for our veterans, national defense and several other vital issues.”

Autumn’s Here!

Autumn has kicked in here which means high winds racing in off the sea and…the dodgy rusty old phone line (thanks privatised BT oversubscribed & TalkTalk) begins to leak zeroes and ones. So the wobbly connection might stifle blogging a tad (it’s intermittent tonight) or it might be ok mostly, there’s really no way of telling. So there you go. A virtually pointless post (what do you mean ‘as usual’). I’m going to have my fifth go at getting it improved but as the ‘fifth’ implies, results have so far been, er, none.

Meantime, have a whizzy pic (that’s the technical term for slow shutter blurry goodness which doesn’t do the camera justice but hey this isn’t an ad baby, it’s art!) I took with my new fone-not too expensive cos it’s 2 years old and out of fashion, but I had to get one even though I hardly use it hence pay as you go is the best cost benefit solution even though it means you have to buy a handset when the old one kaks it– apparently it was the model clumsily product placed in Casino Royale, (it can’t be much longer until every single prop is sponsored and the mise en scène resembles a racing driver’s firesuit) which I didn’t know and would have put me off, I feel so used & dirty now.

Government Giveaway

I was just declaring SORN via the directgov website on an old car that we can’t quite decide what to do with and at the end of the process (which is easy and much simpler than trogging down to a post office so yay for that) I got-

Your SORN declaration has been successful and you have now been automatically entered into a FREE Prize Draw for one of 3 brand-new Seat Ibiza  cars (unless you chose not to be entered in Step 1). Details of the prize winner will be provided at http://www.dvlaprizedraw.org

Huh? So the govt. is doing prize give-aways like any sleazy corporation? Of course it’s a bit cunning as if you win you will be liable for tax etc but still WTF? And SEAT, got a good lobbyist have they? I see I could have chosen not to be entered but I missed it, silly me thinking that when I’m dealing with govt. sites to make legal declarations I have to be on the lookout for raffles! Also as part of the process you can tick a box to avoid you being sent offers and info, again like any business. Which I suppose to the consensus of our parties is true, all is commerce, public service is something plummy voiced actors talked about in black and white films. I have heard the idea that to get more voters it should be run as a lottery with every vote giving you the chance to win a million, which is how these suits think, not that over a third of people don’t vote because of lack of real alternatives, sod that, like we’re deviating from neoliberal dogma even as it destroys itself, nope we’ll retain power by having a minority vote for us by offering them a prize giveaway. Democracy Shmnocracy, Bingo or Sudoku, that’s your political choice.

Gagged Yet Parliament Listened

British troops who hand over prisoners in Iraq to US military personnel could find themselves facing prosecution, according to a legal opinion compiled for parliament. The finding has led to calls for the British government to rethink its current policy and investigate how the US treats its prisoners, and whether torture is employed against them.

Earlier this year the all-party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition sought legal opinion from Michael Fordham QC on whether a human rights violation would arise under the European convention on human rights (ECHR) and the 1998 Human Rights Act (HRA) if an individual in British detention in Iraq were handed over to US military personnel, “despite substantial grounds for considering that there is a real risk of that person being subjected to torture or inhuman and degrading treatment”.

The conclusion reached by Fordham and his colleague Tom Hickman is that an offence would definitely have been committed. If acted on, the opinion could mean that UK troops would not be allowed to “render” detainees to the US military until it was clear that they would no longer face the possibility of torture or ill-treatment.

What prompted the inquiry was a statement made in February this year by Ben Griffin, a former SAS soldier who was on active service in Iraq. In his statement, Griffin said that he was “in no doubt” that individuals handed over to the US military “would be tortured”. He cited what had happened to those detained at Guantánamo Bay, Bagram airbase and Abu Ghraib prison.

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Let Cyrus Explain

The IAEA has verified that all of Iran’s known (declared) nuclear activities are progressing under IAEA safeguards exactly as they’re supposed to be, and are not being used to make weapons. However, the IAEA has said that it cannot legally verify that there are no undeclared nuclear activities in Iran.

Naturally, this point is being manipulated and spin-doctored by the media to make Iran appear suspect. However, the IAEA’s refusal to guarantee the absence of clandestine nuclear activities in Iran is not because there’s actually any reason to suspect the existence of such undeclared activities — rather, its because the IAEA does not verify the absence of undeclared activities for ANY country that has’t signed and ratified the Additional Protocol. In short, it is a legal technicality, which is being exploited and misrepresented by the media for political purposes.

According to the IAEA’s own Annual Safeguards Implementation Report of 2004, of the 61 states where both the NPT safeguards and the Additional protocol are implemented, the IAEA has certified the absence of undeclared nuclear activity for only 21 countries, leaving Iran in the same category as 40 other countries including Canada, the Czech Republic, and South Africa:

“With regard to 21 States with both CSAs [Comprehensive Safeguard Agreements] and AP [Additional Protocol] in force or otherwise applied, the Agency concluded that all nuclear material in those States remained in peaceful nuclear activities. For 40 other such States, the Agency had not yet completed the necessary evaluations, and could therefore only draw the conclusion that the nuclear material placed under safeguards remained in peaceful nuclear activities.”

Iran has signed the Additional Protocol, voluntarily implemented it for 2 years (during which time no evidence of any clandestine nuclear activity was found in Iran) and has offered to ratify the AP once its nuclear rights are recognized. However to allow excess inspections under the AP when Iran is being threatened with bombings is to give away crucial intelligence that can only be used to make such bombings more effective.

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