IMF Makes $2.6B Loan To Sri Lankan Govt

Apparently concentration camps are pricier to run than you think.

Britain made clear its discontent over Sri Lanka’s treatment of Tamil refugees last night by abstaining from a vote at the International Monetary Fund to give $2.4bn (£1.46 bn) to the country.

The abstention, the first by the UK since 2004, signals the degree of unease in London over the handling of the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka following the government’s recent victory in its civil war against the Tamil Tigers. The US, Germany and France also abstained.

The British abstention was more symbolic than practical in that the IMF loan will go ahead in any case. It was approved by the IMF executive board in Washington last night, with $322 million to be made available to the Sri Lanka immediately and the rest flowing subject to quarterly reviews by the fund.

Speaking for Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), the US-based activist group that filed law suit seeking an injunction against a US IMF vote, British representative of TAG, Jan Jananayagam said: “Our law suit is vindicated by the U.S abstention. Tamil people are also grateful to the UK and France for showing their opposition to the IMF loan to Sri Lanka.

“The IMF Board’s decision to reward Sri Lanka for racism and genocide despite the opposition of the United Kingdom and others is appalling. In the guise of “development” the IMF is helping to fund ethnic cleansing and militarisation via “High security zones” of the Tamil areas. While the entire Tamil population of the region are imprisoned in concentration camps, the government has announced its intention to change the ethnic composition by financing Sinhala settlers to immigrate to the formerly Tamil areas.

“There is evidence that many of the 300 000 inmates of the camps are being used as slave labour. Under these circumstances the IMF cannot credibly assert that “free market” market conditions that are “blind to race” exist in Sri Lanka.

“While the IMF may stave off default in Sri Lanka, unconscionable actions such as this may risk further disillusionment and radicalisation of Tamil populations globally,” Ms Jananayagam added.

A spokesperson for the US-based rights group, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said: “The government continues to hold displaced persons in detention camps in violation of their rights to liberty and freedom of movement, limiting their ability to communicate and talk to others about what happened in the final stages of the war.

“It prohibits aid agencies from speaking out about poor conditions in the camps and expels critics. Persons suspected of having LTTE ties have been detained incommunicado, contrary to international law, and credible reports indicate that at least some have been mistreated,” the Times reported.

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Malalai Joya & Lance Corporal Joe Glenton Speak Out

(Coming soon- I was kindly sent a review copy of Malalai Joya’s new book ‘Raising My Voice’ so stay tuned next week to marvel at my madskilz of literary criticism.)

Stop the War, Feyzi Ismail– On Thursday 23 July, the Stop the War Coalition held one of its most electrifying rallies in its eight year history. The inspirational anti-war Afghan MP Malalai Joya was joined on the platform by Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, a serving British soldier who was speaking in public for the first time against the horror caused by the war in Afghanistan. Malalai Joya has been called one of the bravest women in Afghanistan. She told the 300-strong audience that she’s survived five assassination attempts and is still not safe with personal security guards or by wearing a burkha to cover her identity. Yet she continues to campaign against foreign occupation and fundamentalist warlords, and for women’s rights and education. She believes all NATO troops must leave Afghanistan immediately. Elected to the Afghan parliament as its youngest MP in 2003, her first speech called on the Afghan government to prosecute the warlords and criminals also present in the assembly. But she had barely started her speech when her microphone was cut off, angry men were raising their fists towards her and she had to be escorted out by a human chain of supporters and UN officials around her. In 2005 she told the assembled parliament that it was “worse than a zoo.” Two years ago she was suspended from the parliament.


She told the audience of the suffering of Afghans, and in particular women, at the hands of both occupation forces and the warlords who benefit from the occupation. If the war was ever about eradicating opium, 93% of global opium production now comes from Afghanistan, and £500m goes into the pockets of the Taliban every year because of the drug trade. Afghans have lost almost everything, she said, except that they have gained political knowledge. And they are against the occupation. She holds little hope for the upcoming elections in August. She said the ballot box is controlled by a mafia of warlords and criminals, and that even if the democrats in Afghanistan could put up a candidate, they would inevitably become puppets of the US and NATO, or they wouldn’t survive in office. NATO could not possibly provide a solution because the troops are despised for the carnage they have brought to the country. As Malalai repeated a number of times in the meeting, no nation can liberate another nation, and only the oppressed can rise up against their oppressors. The only solution, she said, was for the anti-war movement internationally to speak out and demonstrate against the war in their own countries, “because our enemies are afraid of international solidarity.” It will be a prolonged and risky struggle, she continued, but the Afghans must liberate themselves.

Soldier ashamed and disllusioned

The other highlight of the meeting was the testimony of a serving British soldier. While Malalai fights against the war in Afghanistan, more and more British troops – who equally risk their lives fighting in Afghanistan – are realising the futility of this project. Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, who fought in Kandahar in 2006, told the audience that he came back ashamed and disillusioned. He said the army and the politicians never explained why they were there or what was going on, only that British troops were helping the Afghan people. When he found that the Afghans were fighting against them, this came as a real shock. He spoke of the discontentment in the ranks, which he described as dangerous, and the need for Britain to withdraw its troops.

Two years ago when Glenton heard he was being posted back to Afghanistan, he decided the only sensible thing to do was to leave the army, even illegally, as he did not believe that Britain was doing anything constructive in Afghanistan. He now faces up to two years in a civilian prison. Stop the War Coalition declared it would support Glenton and any other soldier who faced the courts on account of being against the war. Andrew Murray, Chair of Stop the War, opened the meeting by reminding us that the Stop the War Coalition was founded eight years ago in response to the threatened invasion of Afghanistan. Now that the British government has shifted its focus to Afghanistan – discussing the possibility of sending more troops, as the death toll rises past that in Iraq – so the anti-war movement will step up its campaign to mobilise public opinion to demand that all the troops are brought home as soon as possible. Public opinion in Britain has indeed shifted against the war in Afghanistan. Whatever support the war had initially – for reducing opium production, for the reconstruction taking place, for keeping the Taliban in check, for defending women’s rights and bringing democracy – people are now cutting through the media spin. They know this is an unwinnable war, that there is no reconstruction taking place and that the longer we stay the more death and destruction we cause. As Malalai put it, the war being waged by the British government in Afghanistan not only causes untold suffering for the Afghans, but it takes away from our humanity too.

In the event of the 200th British soldier that is killed in Afghanistan, Stop the War will call on all its local groups across the country to organise street protests. The current death toll stands at 188 and is rising at an average of about one per day. Stop the War will also be announcing shortly details of a major national demonstration in November to mark the anniversary of the Afghanistan invasion in 2001.

Malalai Joya’s new book Raising My Voice: The Extraordinary Story of the Afghan Woman Who Dares to Speak Out has just been published by Rider Books.

Friday! Psychoville- Murder Mystery Evening

I’ve been catching this on the Beeb’s iPlayer (sorry rest of the world), saves having to do that teevee shit.

Shock Doctrine

Nice they admit they are just trouble-shooters for the financiers though…

David Cameron may be forced to stage a rapid post-election budget to calm the markets and prevent a drop in Britain’s credit rating in the first days of a Tory government, Philip Hammond, the shadow Treasury chief secretary, warns in a Guardian interview today.

Anticipating an era of deep short-term cuts in public spending, Hammond urges voters to give the Conservatives a big majority so a new government can act boldly to cut the public debt, warning that the public finances are in such a state “the worst outcome for Britain would be an unclear political result at the election”.

Hammond, destined to be the man to rein in public spending if the Tories gain power, also concedes he is “likely to become a great figure to pin up on the dartboard, and throw darts at. I am sure there will be short-term pain and brickbats.”

But he argues: “It is absolutely not the case that people in the public services are dreading this, or saying ‘oh my God, what is going to happen?’ ” He claims civil servants are preparing to make cuts without waiting for instructions from on high. “There is a sense of liberation that we are going to empower public sector professionals to undertake the reform.”

Setting out Tory ideas, Hammond discloses there will have to be a budget either soon after a spring election, or in the autumn, so the Conservatives can start to rein in public spending next year.

He warns that Britain’s credit-worthiness could be downgraded, pushing the economy into crisis. Such a move, which has been threatened by the international credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s, would make it much more expensive to pay back the national debt, which this week reached a record £799bn.

Some Things Worth Knowing

From Inca Kola News

“I was watching the helicopter….I saw it…I was scared…the bullet hit me here…when it came there was nothing…that’s what it seemed like…there was nothing….it came like this….it hit me here…..there was a lot of blood….some of my blood was on a woman…a bit of my blood was on her….I’m scared that they fired…I don’t want them to shoot at me…because I don’t want to suffer….for my mother…”

-seven year old Leidi Luz, Bagua, Peru.

Richard Murphy skewers The Nudge for the drivel it is-

That though is ultimately the flaw in the logic of Thaler & Sunstein’s ‘Nudge’ thesis. They call it ‘libertarian paternalism’. I’ll agree with the latter. The former is pure pretence. It is about providing the illusion of choice when the reality is that either none is available, or it is incredibly constrained, or in fact (as fashion evidences day in, day out) the desire to make ‘choice’ is actually all about the need to conform under a veneer of difference.

What Israel’s use of the Mufti Hitler photo really reveals

A number of present-day political parties found inspiration of one sort or another in the Nazis, including India’s Hindu nationalist BJP party. The party that’s the present-day BJP sent missions to Germany thru the 1930s. Yet it’s the BJP that tightened relations with Israel in 2003, when Ariel Sharon visited Delhi.

Israeli embassies may also wish to slip in info about Pierre Gemayel, a personal guest of Hitler in 1936 who, inspired, then founded the Lebanese Phalange. But that might now be so good either…. Israel aligned itself with the Phalange during its invasion of Lebanon, and in 1982 inserted Pierre’s son, Bashir, as Israel’s hand-picked president!

I suppose the BJP and the Gemayels (not to mention Anwar Sadat who thought the Nazis were cool) are forgiven for their Nazi past because of alliances with Israel (and “anti-terror” rhetoric), while Palestinians as a population get demonized because they resist dispossession. So what’s Israel really concerned about–what happened in WWII, or maintaining domination over the land? We can see it’s the latter.

Craig Murray fought a valiant battle against the big three parties and the media that continue to present them as the only choice (Nudge nudge)-

…it is worth noting that the Conservatives are celebrating wildly losing 2,000 of the votes they had at the General Election. It was great to see the New Labour betrayers getting almost totally deserted by their followers, and instructive that the LiBDems also lost a third of their vote.

The real lesson is that the total vote for the three “Main parties” fell from 42,000 votes at the general election to 23,000 now, with each of them shedding votes. That is a profound statistic. The political landscape is indeed shifting sharply, even if my own efforts to affect it were rubbish. Tory braying is futile and shallow.

In this “great victory”, 18% of the electorate voted for them. I know form doostep experience that many of those who stayed at home were not merely apathetic, but actively hostile.

And Vestas, the fight continues, via SU!

vestas-demo

Create Green Jobs – Don’t destroy them
Support the Vestas Occupation
Solidarity protest at Vestas UK HQ in Warrington
Saturday 25th July @ 12 noon
Vestas Celtic UK HQ
302 Bridgewater Place
WA3 6XG
Warrington

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A City Council Meeting

Hamed Saber

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Meeting room of Islamic City Council of Tehran

Tehran Islamic City Council (شورای شهر تهران)

The meeting room was full of crowd today. Some people didn’t have any seat. They were families of arrested, disappeared and killed politicians, journalists, lawyers and normal people who was arrested during the election aftermath.

Families introduced themselves and talked about their problems, and the fact that they are unable to contact their son/daughter/sister/brother/father. And that they are under physical, neural and mental torture. Even a mother told that she heard that her daughter is being raped in jail.

[More]

Posted in Human Rights. Tags: . 2 Comments »

Student Bursaries Frozen

The good news is though people who want to study betrayal won’t need to attend university to learn about it, all you need to know is manifested in New Labour’s every move-

Bursaries for England’s poorest students will no longer have to cover the gap between grants and fees. The Office for Fair Access (Offa) has decided the minimum bursary universities must offer if they charge fees should be 10% of the fee level. Currently it has to make up the difference between the £3,290 annual fee and the maximum grant of £2,906. For next year grants are frozen but fees go up. The bursary will be £55 short of the £384 difference. Offa’s move follows revised guidance from the Higher Education Minister, David Lammy.

NUS vice-president Aaron Porter said: “Today’s announcement is nothing short of shameful. “In 2004, we were told that universities would only be allowed to charge top up fees if they guaranteed that poorer students would not be out of pocket. The government has now gone back on its word.”

Sally Hunt, the general secretary of the University and College Union, said: “I cannot understand why a government that is looking so hard at social mobility has taken the decision to charge the poorest students more money to attend university.”

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Vestas Occupation Continues

A Statement From the Vestas Workers Inside the Factory
‘Another eventful day yesterday as everyone knows from yesterday’s newsletter, Vestas imposed a food ban but they didn’t stop our great supporters getting food to use and in the right way, walking calmly and peacefully and throwing food to us, thanks guys.

Despite Paddy Wier being in meetings for most of the day yesterday with other senior management, the network reps and the island’s MP Andrew Turner, it seems they appeared to have achieved very little, their only option was to issue a last chance ultimatum for the fourth time, ‘come out or lose your jos and your redundancy’ to which we declined. Afterwards we recieved a letter from Paddy Wier stating we are now liable for temination and no redundancy package.

Vestas are however allowing us some food, as from today Vestas have stated they will supply us food but they will not allow any outside food onto the premises.

The rally at 6pm last night was very sucessful it was great to see so many people showing their support and a big thanks to everyone out there organising these events.

All our supporters are doing a fantastic job and it is you guys who are going to win this for us and with all the hard work and support and the huge publicity we are generating it shouldn’t take too long.’

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Thanks For Dying

More British and American troops will die in Afghanistan, but the war against the Taliban is in the national interests of both countries, the US vice-president, Joe Biden, said today.

Biden refused to be drawn into the row over resources – particularly helicopters – for British forces, but he praised British soldiers.”I think they are among the best trained and the bravest warriors in the world,” he said.

“This is the place from which the attacks of 9/11 and all those attacks in Europe that came from al-Qaida have flowed – between Afghanistan and Pakistan … It is a place that, if it doesn’t get straightened out, will continue to wreak havoc on Europe and the United States.”

Wow, were some of Bush’s speeches left over, after all we know he likes to recycle other politician’s work. But hey Afghans, thanks for being killed, it’s all for our benefit, our ‘security’ etched in your blood (or whatever excuse this week is). Oh wait he didn’t mean that, he meant the troops, who volunteered (well other than stop loss) and are paid to kill you, such compassion.

Afghan’s deaths are the means for our warriors to be heroes, how’s that for being a useful cypher, c’mon you didn’t think you’d be treated like humans did you? And you get that, the controversy here is we haven’t given our killers enough means to kill you. Marvel at our sophisticated Western civilisation!

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This Shit Is Fucked

A popular Australian comedy show took the fight over the US’s torture program straight to John Yoo’s law class at the University of California-Berkeley. A performer from The Chaser’s War on Everything interrupted a lecture by John Yoo — the former Department of Justice lawyer who wrote many of the legal memos justifying the Bush administration’s torture program — by standing up on a desk dressed in “Abu Ghraib” fashion — a dark cloak and a black, pointed hood.

“Professor, I’ve got one question,” the comedian asked. “How long am I required to stand here until it counts as torture?”

When students suggested that the comedian leave, he replied: “I’d love to move but every time I do my balls get buzzed.”

“Unfortunately, I’m going to have to end the class,” Yoo said, gathering his papers and moving towards the exit.

Said Yoo to the comedian: “I’ll give you a certain amount of time to leave before I report [this] to security.”

Ok

  1. The students sided with the torturer (also implicit in the fact they are sitting his course!), oh goody can’t wait for the world those lawyers will bring into legal being, it really is only a matter of time before a national debate on extermination camps is provoked when the govt is discovered to be running some, all nice and legal of course. Reporters will go to the death camps and be embedded with Sonderkommando who explain the humane American Dream™ system that allowed them to earn the privilege and the other inmates suffer very little and after all if they were set free after what was done to them they’d be dangerous terrorists (oops, sorry that last argument is already being used for Gitmo).
  1. Security will come and get the comedian, not the torturer? Yeah have a nice long proud look at yourself in the mirror there security peeps, admirable!

Malalai Joya Speaking in London

From STWC

Hear Afghanistan’s bravest woman speak out against the war. Tomorrow night (Thursday 23 July) Malalai Joya MP is speaking out against the War in Afghanistan in central London. Malalai is a 31 year old woman Afghan MP who has risked her life and won international acclaim opposing the warlords in the government and the NATO occupation. The meeting takes place at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London, near Holborn Station.

Morons Lying to Children

  • The Christian right is making a fresh push to force religion onto the school curriculum in Texas with the state’s education board about to consider recommendations that children be taught that there would be no United States if it had not been for God…One of the panel, David Barton, founder of a Christian heritage group called WallBuilders, argues that the curriculum should reflect the fact that the US Constitution was written with God in mind including that “there is a fixed moral law derived from God and nature”, that “there is a creator” and “government exists primarily to protect God-given rights to every individual”.
  • The Nakba is leaving the education system: Education Minister Gidon Saar decided yesterday to cancel the subject of the Nakba in the Arab sector. The Nakba is the description used by the Palestinians for Israel’s victory in the War of Independence, and literally means “catastrophe. The topic was studied until today as part of the geography subject, after a decision made on the matter during the period of Limor Livnat, and was officially introduced into textbooks during the term of the previous education minister, Yuli Tamir. “There is no reason for the official curriculum of the State of Israel to present the state’s establishment as a Holocaust or catastrophe,” Saar said yesterday.

Common denominator? Ethnic cleansing and/or genocide excused because…God Made Me Do It! Translation- I avoid personal responsibility at the same time as claiming ultimate unquestionable supernatural authority for my actions. It’s the last undiagnosed mass mental disorder left on Earth. It also makes you doubt evolutionary theory, not as a whole, just as applied to Homo sapiens, clearly de-evolving at a rate of knots.

The Sound Of The Other Shoe Dropping

How do empires extend their sphere of influence? Talk up threats then step in to counter them.

Hillary Clinton today outlined how the US may go about containing a nuclear-armed Iran by extending a “defence umbrella” to US allies in the region. The US secretary of state, speaking on the way to a security summit in Thailand, later said she was not suggesting a new policy. But her comments marked the first time a senior US official has publicly contemplated the option of containment in the event of Iran’s succeeding in building a nuclear weapon.

And people were wondering why the US was getting all chummy over ASEAN way (hello China!).

Posted in Iran. Tags: . 2 Comments »

Vote Conservative, Vote for Rape!

Boris Johnson was ambushed by female protesters who barracked him over his failure to “keep his promise” over the funding of four rape crisis centres across London, a video posted on YouTube reveals today.

Yet BBC soap Eastenders is going to help with this chumps public image-

Mayor of London Boris Johnson is to make a guest appearance on the BBC soap EastEnders later this year.

The deceit in not providing funds also demonstrates the lies Conservatives and neoliberals engage in during electoral sales pitches when they claim to be able to spend more by making ‘efficiencies’ and keeping tax low non-existent for the wealthy (sorry ‘wealth creation policies’). They are all just lies to hide their actual plans- cut public spending and help the rich get richer, and in this particular case make it easier for rapists to operate while their victims are silenced.

Johnson has criticised the paucity of services for women in the capital experiencing sexual violence and used his mayoral campaign to promise £744,000 annually to fund both the only rape crisis centre in the capital, situated in Croydon, south London, and establish a further three centres across the Greater London area to cater to the needs of the capital’s female population, which numbers 3.9 million. Though Johnson had envisaged securing this level of funding by cutting the media and marketing team he inherited from Ken Livingstone by 20%, he prompted widespread criticism last autumn by putting forward just £220,000 – around a third of the promised money. Johnson, who launched a strategy on tackling violence against women in April, subsequently pledged a further £700,000 from efficiencies to boost the money available to £1.4m over three years – equivalent to around £450,000 a year – but critics say this is still short of the £2.2m originally promised. The number of reported rapes in the capital shot up by 14.5% last year and domestic violence incidents rose by 4.4%. Yet only an estimated 10% of women who have been raped or sexually assaulted report it to the police and only 6% of all rape cases end in a conviction.

(ht2 HarpymarxEarwicga)

Prime Minster Mandelson

According to the Cabinet Office, Lord Mandelson sits on 35 of the 44 Cabinet committees and sub-committees which oversee government business. He sits on more committees than either the prime minister, the chancellor or the foreign secretary. These include areas such as health, immigration, climate change, trade, Africa, Olympics planning and food.

He’s not elected and “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich, as long as they pay their taxes”. The UK’s reputation globally is that of a tax haven, a situation engineered and promoted by… New Labour, so no wonder rich Lords can be so ‘relaxed’.