Remember: The Ruling Class Murdered Martin Luther King

Even Auntie Beeb is daring to politely question the official line of the ‘lone assassin’ a modus operandi so very common in that era when figures who threatened the hegemony of the establishment kept being murdered, funny that. And if the truth ever gets out, it will be once all those responsible have died after lives enriched from their crimes, mission accomplished. Yet people are convinced their enemies are over there, where the oil is coincidentally, terrorists will steal our resources. Our real enemies are really no more than a quick drive away, if you live in a capital city you could probably just walk it.

In January 1968, King launched an inter-racial Poor People’s Campaign. The idea was to bring black, white and brown poor people to Washington, where they would establish a tent city and camp out in front of Congress until either a job or a living income was guaranteed for all.

Increasingly, King identified the war in Vietnam as part of a global struggle against colonialism, and black inequality as a function of class inequalities that also affected many whites. Though he opposed the separatism espoused by black nationalists, he had his own view of what “integration” meant: “We are not interested in being integrated into this value structure.” A “radical redistribution of economic power” was needed. “So often in America,” he observed, “we have socialism for the rich and ragged free enterprise capitalism for the poor.”

[On April 4th 1968] he was shot dead on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. He was 39 years old.

The civil disorder that ensued was the most widespread in US history. Riots erupted in 125 cities; 70,000 national guard and US troops were called in to quell them, with 50,000 on stand-by – the largest domestic deployment of military forces since the Civil War. Curfews were imposed and martial was declared. In the end 24,000 were arrested; 3000 injured; 46 killed, all but five black.

In Washington DC, crowds 20,000 strong overwhelmed local police. Marines mounted machine guns on the steps of the Capitol. At one point, rioting reached within two blocks of the White House, which was guarded by the Third Infantry.

In 1999, the King family brought a civil suit in Memphis for wrongful death; after reviewing the evidence in more detail than had ever been done before, the jury ruled that government agencies had indeed been involved in a conspiracy to kill Martin Luther King. 

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New Arms Race Is GO!

There’s nothing more I like to see than the military imperialist class’s eyes light up like children at Christmas as they ensure a new spectral ‘enemy’ has been marketed and they secure the funding to stay rich & powerful and build shiny things that often don’t work and when they do they mostly kill people. War! Huh, What is it good for? Lots of lots of money, say it again!

George Bush, the US president, has won backing for his controversial missile defence shield to be based in Europe, despite Russian objections. A communique that Nato leaders are to adopt during their summit in Bucharest will recognise “the substantial contribution to the protection of allies… to be provided by the US-led system”.

The communique declaring Nato’s support for the shield calls on all Nato members to explore ways in which the planned US project, to be based in Poland and the Czech Republic, can be linked with future missile shields elsewhere.

 A related US and Czech Republic deal was also reached on the stationing of a US radar in the Czech Republic to track ballistic missiles. “The radar will be linked to other US missile defence facilities in Europe and the United States,” the statement said.  The document calls on Russia to accept US and Nato offers to co-operate on the system, which will also involve 10 interceptor missiles based in Poland.

You will co-operate! As old cold war commuphobics get their oats and the future application -power tussles with China- is assured. And Sarko ponders whether to put France back in (not a difficult call) and Canada’s neo-cons pledge more backing for the war of terror, the rejection of Ukraine and Georgia was not a big thing, just a delay, they have been promised a set of hoops they must jump through to join.

Yet what threat actually exists here and now in the real world that is afflicting 20% of EU children-

Some 19 million children live in poverty in the EU, about a fifth of the bloc’s citizens below the age of 18. While Gabriele Zimmer, a German left-wing member of the European Parliament (MEP), described the statistic as “almost unbelievable”, she indicated that it would be even higher if it was expanded to include young asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants. Zimmer is currently preparing an official report for the Parliament on child poverty. 

At least 8 percent of each EU country’s national income should be spent on education, Zimmer said. At present, the average for industrialised countries is 6.2 percent.  “You can’t treat poverty without looking at the questions of minimum income and minimum wages,” she added. “You always have to know what the consequences are if people are not paid enough.” 

A December 2007 ruling by the European Court of Justice which attacked minimum wages in Sweden has “thrown Europe into disarray,” he said. In that case, the court ruled in favour of Laval, a Latvian construction firm, which won a contract to build a school in Vaxholm, Sweden.

Laval withdrew from the project after it became embroiled in a bitter dispute with Swedish trade unions because it sought to pay its workers Latvian wages, which were between one-tenth and one-fifth of those paid in Sweden. According to the court, efforts by the Swedish unions to force a foreign company to negotiate on pay violated the freedom to provide services.

De Rossa said that the Laval verdict has raised fears that ‘social dumping’ — the relocation of companies to countries where they can pay lower wages — “will become the norm.

“If we have social dumping, we certainly cannot deal with child poverty,” he said.

In a study published last year, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) examined relative poverty among children — growing up in a household with less than half of the average national income — in 21 industrialised countries, mostly in Europe. It found that hardship was lowest in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden but highest in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Britain and the U.S. 

Hey wait a minute aren’t those the most conservative and militaristic (post and current imperial powers too!) societies, some of which were ruled by openly fascist governments in the past? So again we make our choices, shiny weapons beat human welfare everytime. And when those shiny weapons become self aware killbots and begin exterminating us we can proudly proclaim, as they coral us into the omni death kill grinder, with tears in our eyes- just a chip off the old block. Go Arms Race!

NuLabour’s War On Women

Not wanting to be too antagonistic The Guardian/Observer has a good report on women and prison, they bury what really should be the lede 8 paragraphs down-

The female prison population almost doubled between 1997 and 2006, despite there being no corresponding rise in women committing more serious crimes. Nine out of 10 were convicted of non-violent offences. According to a 2003 report by the Prison Reform Trust, women who would previously have received community penalties are being imprisoned while those who would have been sent to prison are being given longer sentences. 

So tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime was in fact-

  • tough on crime- longer sentences.
  • the causes of crime- the person who committed the crime (see tough on crime).

I’m sure they didn’t mean to mislead people and make supporter sthink they would be looking at the socialogical roots of crime, like poverty, housing, education, income and opportunity disparity. NO, that would be fibbing. So NuLabour have locked more women up and for longer while the rich got richer and social mobility declined, really quiet an achievement for a right wing party, the tories must be seething with jealousy- shit, that’s what we wanted to do dammit!

  • 17 The number of women prisons in England
  • 4,248 The average number of women in prison in 2006, up from 1,560 in 1993
  • 37 The percentage of women in prison who have attempted suicide
  • 6 The percentage of women in the total prison population
  • 36 The percentage of women prisoners in 2004 convicted of drugs offences
  • 19 The percentage of women in prison who are foreign nationals – compared to about 12 per cent of males
  • 70 The percentage of women prisoners with mental health problems

Won’t Somebody Stop This Madman?

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez inaugurated a new social program known as a “mission” on Saturday, which focuses exclusively on the health of Venezuelans who have disabilities.

Chávez explained Saturday that the new mission will be carried out partially by students in the Venezuelan-Cuban School for Communitarian Integral Medicine. These students do their residency and internships in small clinics in poor communities, systematically recording medical histories in communities with no previous access to health care. Last week, Chávez met directly with communitarian integral medicine students and announced the doubling of their monthly grant for living expenses to 500 bolivars ($233).

Socialised medicine, ending the marginalisation of those with disabilities? Oh the depravity!

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Tesco Buys Up Hack

And the irony, given the mostly unreported tax swindling schemes

The BBC’s Wall Street correspondent, Dharshini David, has quit the corporation to join Tesco’s communications team.

During her tenure, she covered the slump in global economic markets after September 11, the Worldcom and Enron scandals, and the collapse of the Argentinian economy.

So she won’t be reporting on any Tesco related scandals, back in the arms of the inner sanctum of the Church of the Free Market (not that mainstream corporate financial reporters are objective about capitalism). While Tesco’s dirty dealings are mostly verboten (why credit The Guardian -a competitor- while simultaneously pissing off a very major advertiser & cornerstone -unfortunately- of British life?) at least some MP’s paid attention-

MPs and Lords called for a crackdown on tax avoidance yesterday following the Guardian’s revelation that Tesco was using an elaborate corporate structure involving offshore tax havens which enables it to avoid paying what could be up to £1bn of tax on profits from sale of its UK properties.

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Cover Ups

New generation anti-depressants have little clinical benefit for most patients, research suggests.

Publication bias? Never! This is maybe not news to those of us who have used these drugs, the only thing guaranteed to come from them are side effects, health left to capitalism ain’t so healthy.

At a press conference, Senator Syvret brandished a report commissioned by Jersey’s Education Committee into an incident of child abuse at an island school in the 1990s. He said: “This shows we can’t rely on prosecutions to happen when necessary. “The overriding concern of the establishment is the image of Jersey – to prosecute people would be apocalyptically bad for the Jersey establishment.”

It seems to me that once you look into this stuff there isn’t a council who haven’t covered up child abuse, particularly within the homes they run. In some cases it has appeared that sexual predators and corporal punishment fanatics gravitate towards these services and pretty well much ran the kid’s homes as virtual brothels for themselves and those with such tastes. Such arrangements were also used as capital in corrupt dealings (building, land, contracts) where useful. The cases where this comes to light are like the number of rape cases that ever make it to court and end in a conviction, a tiny tip of a nasty iceberg that tells some unwelcome truths about the human condition, the vulnerable will never be short of predators. Speaking of which-

The government has been told to release the minutes of two cabinet meetings in the days before the Iraq war. The demand came from Information Commissioner Richard Thomas after a Freedom of Information request was rejected by the Cabinet Office.

In his ruling, Mr Thomas says the minutes had to be released to help “transparency and public understanding of the relevant issues”. He also says that accountability for the decisions made is “paramount”.

The person making the request said that not releasing the information created “a public impression that something not entirely truthful has been uttered”. But the Cabinet Office refused to release minutes on the grounds that the papers were exempt from disclosure as they related to the formulation of government policy and ministerial communications. However, Mr Thomas ruled that, in this particular case, the public interest in disclosing the minutes outweighed the public interest in withholding the information.

The ruling is set to reopen controversy over the then attorney general Lord Goldsmith’s legal advice on the war. On the eve of war, 17 March, his opinion unequivocally saying military action was legal was presented to cabinet, MPs and the military and published.

However, after long-running reports that he had changed his mind into the lead up to war, his initial lengthy advice given to Tony Blair on 7 March was leaked and then published in 2005. This advice raised a number of questions and concerns about the possible legality of military action against Iraq without a second UN resolution and was never shown to the cabinet.

The then prime minister Tony Blair defended his decision not to show the cabinet the full advice, saying that Lord Goldsmith had attended the cabinet in person and was able to answer any legal questions and explain his view.

Now the political case is clear, you keep everything secret because any information could hurt you in the political arena. But the party politics and Machiavellian principles of the powerful are of no concern to proper government or the people whom it supposedly serves in a democracy. There is no reasonable case not to release the full minutes of a meeting that was instrumental to over a million people being killed. Our nation went to war, that must be an open process, it is of too great an import to be the playthings of politics, it is life and death. If it was an honest decision made in good faith then these minutes will reflect that (the non-redacted bits…) but we all know what they do show, cold dishonest calculation and coordination with the Whitehouse to commit war crimes. Publish, and be damned, I say.

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Recently white, rich, Eton educated conservative leader David Cameron said the police were no longer racist, not unexpected for a sleazy buffoon fond of right wing delusions. But the frame is far too narrow, we need to think about racism everyday and how we fight it externally and internally. This reflection is most needed within the state that wields such deadly power, much is still rotten.

A £10m architectural centre built as a memorial to Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in a racist attack 15 years ago, has been vandalised just a week after it opened, can reveal. Eight windows each worth £15,000 and designed by the Turner prizewinning artist Chris Ofili on the front of the new building in Deptford, south-east London, were destroyed overnight. A Metropolitan police spokeswoman confirmed the attack was being treated as a racist incident.

“It is a very sad day for the trust as a whole, and for Stephen’s family,” said Woodley. “Stephen’s mother is as distressed as all of us.” She said it was the fourth time the centre had been attacked, but this was by far the worst. She added that the centre had CCTV and 24-hour on-site security, and that security measures would be reviewed.

“I think this is awful and just shows there are still people out there who have a problem with racism and with those who value diversity,” said Imran Khan, a lawyer for Stephen’s mother, Doreen Lawrence. Richard Stone, an advisor to Sir William Macpherson in the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, said he was “horrified” by the attack. “The killers of Stephen are still at large in south-east London. They hate black people getting on in life. I feel devastated for Doreen and Neville [Stephen’s father] who put so much into the building which has become a target. It just suggests there are people out there who are filled with hate.”

He called for a review of the 1999 Lawrence report, which concluded that institutional racism within the Metropolitan police had hampered attempts to catch the killers, to investigate whether racism in institutions and British society was being reduced.

I think such a continuing process is clearly badly needed as every bigoted authoritarian’s wet dream-The War Against Terror- has handed them a license to indulge what previously we were beginning to recognise and deal with. Meanwhile…Guilt by association is naught but prejudice-

In giving the court’s judgment, Lord Justice Hooper said: “The public labelling of the appellant as a terrorist by the authorities in this country, and particularly by the CPS, over a period of many months has had and continues to have, so it is said, a devastating effect on his life and on his health. “He considers that, unless he receives a public acknowledgement that he is not a terrorist, he will be unable to get his life back together again.”

The Algerian pilot was arrested under the Terrorism Act at his home in the UK soon after the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington in 2001. He was held under an extradition warrant issued at the request of the US government, which accused him of having trained the 19 hijackers. The US alleged he attended flight training and used a flight simulator at a training school in Arizona at the same time as 9/11 hijacker Hani Hanjour.

Mr Raissi remained in Belmarsh Prison for four-and-a-half months until he was granted bail. The Crown Prosecution Service, which was representing the US, had objected to bail.

It later emerged that Mr Raissi and Hanjour may have flown on the same day at the flight school and may have trained on the simulator together. However, there was no evidence he trained Hanjour or had any links with him or any of the other hijackers. In April 2002, a judge ruled that there was no evidence connecting Mr Raissi to terrorism.

And in another striking case again our courts are proving a defence from an aggressive totalitarian impulse, but not before they are used to first persecute helped by juries fed on mainstream fear peddling Islamophobia –

The Old Bailey heard last year that the four Bradford University students were arrested after the fifth defendant, schoolboy Mohammed Irfan Raja, ran away from home, leaving a note for his parents to say he was going to fight abroad and would see them in heaven. They were obsessed with jihadi websites and had all planned to go to Pakistan to train to fight in Afghanistan, potentially against British soldiers, the prosecution claimed.

But the young men all denied having extremist views. The material they had downloaded from internet sites was not intended to encourage terrorism or martyrdom but simply to research ideology. They were nevertheless convicted and given sentences ranging from two to three years.

But yesterday, Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips, sitting with Mr Justice Owen and Mr Justice Bean, quashed their convictions and ordered their release. “We do not consider that it was made plain to the jury… that the case that the appellants had to face was that they possessed the extremist material for use in the future to incite the commission of terrorist acts. We doubt whether the evidence supported such a case,” said Lord Phillips.

And there are a number of cases built on this ‘thoughtcrime‘ principle-

Critics inside the Muslim community and civil liberty campaigners say section 57 of the 2000 Terrorism Act has been used as a blunt instrument to prosecute young Muslim men where there is no proof of genuine links to terrorism. The BBC understands there have been three other convictions under this legislation – more cases are expected before the courts this year.

He [Imran Khan] said section 57 of the 2000 Terrorism Act had been written in such wide terms that “effectively, anybody could have been caught in it” but prosecutors would now have to prove such material was intended for terrorist purposes.

At the cutting edge of this county’s descent into an Orwellian hellhole are many Muslims who are the first to find themselves victimised by these iniquitous laws. It is both an expression of institutional bigotry and selfish bystanders. We should neither be possessors or perpetrators of this prejudice or bystanders to the encroaching lockdown. We are in a hysterical cultural fugue state-

A full-scale evacuation from a North Sea oil rig was sparked after a female employee apparently told colleagues of a dream she had about a bomb being on the platform.

Gone untreated it will cost far more than the million plus we have already killed, we are in the process of throwing overboard every single thing we have learned about the worst aspects and excesses of the human condition in favour of a sureness of might makes right. That the hard work of understanding and empathising (the more feminine traits) is just too much bother when you can have fun shooting, bombing, hitting, raping an ‘other’ you have been officially sanctioned to despise (as ever in the service of acquisitive capital). Iraq wasn’t a discrete event, it was a door opening, we have stared into the abyss and now the abyss is staring into us, changing us. In an era of peak oil it is clear the elites have determined to secure steal resources by their oldest tried and trusted methods and yet we actually have the intelligence, means and abilities to do this differently. Yet the malign influence of the ruling class is robbing us of options with every day we pursue blood and treasure. And fuel our policies with hysterical fear and prejudice.


Mr Field went on: “This could encourage richer taxpayers to embrace the responsibilities of wealth that were, for example, such a characteristic of an equally flamboyant and rich Edwardian age.

You see Nulabour’s idea of progress is to go backwards 100 years! This is part of the ‘Surrender to the Rich’ week best summed up by Mark Steel here.

Our tax laws have become so soft that last year the International Monetary Fund put us in the same category as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. Along with Ireland, we’re the only country that allows the wealthy to live here and pay no tax through this system, and apparently we should be proud of this. So we’re bragging, “We’re so soft they come to rob us. Isn’t that wonderful? They don’t rob France or Italy, just us. But we mustn’t upset them or they might go somewhere else and rob them instead.” 

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Dietrich: [looking through an infra-red scope, walks right past an Alien that is molded into the Hive’s wall without even noticing it] Maybe they don’t show up on infra red at all.

John Edwards, because he talks about labour and corporatism, is being censored out of the presidential race by corporate media. But that speaks of the real disappearing trick that has happened, even in this article about class the absence is notable. No one says ‘working class’ in American mainstream discourse, the nearest they get is the approved code words ‘middle class’ that is somewhat acceptable but even that gets you in trouble for being ‘shrill’ or invoking ‘the politics of jealousy’. But it has been really annoying me, constantly hearing ‘middle class’ because no one dares sound like a ‘red’ (I suppose, McCarthy and the ‘red scare’ did its work) by talking about the working class, sometimes ‘working man’ (careful though with ‘working poor’) gets a look in but never mention ‘class’ with that. Some billionaires are allowed to say it but only when musing on how they won the class war, oh yeah and NEVER say ‘class war’. After all a billionaire conservative is a ‘moderate‘.

The race is already between shades of conservative but now the whole lower paid section of their population is unpeople. Even beyond the hateful notions of deserving and undeserving poor, now they just have…no poor, a nation economically cleansed of it’s own rotting reality. Should make the recession interesting, will people simply disappear from perception when their net worth drops below a certain level?

Ps. Yes, both an ‘Aliens’ and ‘Buffy’ reference in one post…and Stalin!

Naomi Klein On New Orleans

The final showdown over New Orleans public housing is playing out in dramatic fashion right now. The conflict is a classic example of the “triple shock” formula at the core of the doctrine.

– First came the shock of the original disaster: the flood and the traumatic evacuation.

– Next came the “economic shock therapy”: using the window of opportunity opened up by the first shock to push through a rapid-fire attack on the city’s public services and spaces, most notably it’s homes, schools and hospitals.

-Now we see that as residents of New Orleans try to resist these attacks, they are being met with a third shock: the shock of the police baton and the Taser gun, used on the bodies of protestors outside New Orleans City Hall yesterday.

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Buried Alive, The Migrant Gulag

What happened today? Was a body discovered, was an actor released from jail, did terror porn aid the announcement of anti-terror measures only necessary because of the war crimes we commit?

But hidden, scheduled so as to be overrun by the big terror announcements, ironically in testimony to our determination to deny the humanity of people in our own country, news of their abuse was ignored. Both the government and the media shared the spade work of putting this story into a shallow grave in the dead of night. The Border and Immigration Agency’s Complaints Audit Committee report seemed to turn up at 11pm on the BBC website, at that time the headline was “Fury over treatment of migrants” (you cannot hide from Google cache- the irony) now the opening has been rewritten emphasising how the system will be changed (and removing some witness quotes of the brutality) and the headline is “Migrant complaint policy shake-up“. It made it into some newspapers but being released late at night so it would quickly be overtaken and obscured by the terror porn is not a coincidence. So why should you pay attention to this report? Because this is not a record of failures it is the exposure of a system publicly claimed to do one thing but is in fact about brutalising people that no one cares about, it is about the migrant gulag-

Because only 8% of complainants were interviewed 89% of investigations were “neither balanced nor thorough”. Consequently 83% of replies were “indefensible”.

Over 20% of paperwork was simply disappeared, hello Mr. Shredder, it’s called destroying evidence.

95% of cases were investigated by the same companies that the complaints were against.

This is no failure, this is no breakdown, this is a system being exposed for doing what it really does while government and private corporations claim mistakes, maybe even bad apples, maybe incompetence. NO. This is a criminal system (7 privately run ‘detention’ centres holding 1,878 people) being brought into the light, it is doing what it is meant to do, all the excuses are made because what it is doing is wrong, criminal and inhumane. No, not ‘glaring errors’ this is intentional, malice aforethought. What this shows is the government’s real instructions to the contractors were this- get rid of these people, keep it cheap, do not get us or yourselves in trouble, get the job done, keep it quiet. The contractors created a system where no person could ever get fair or even reasonable treatment from it, this was Kafka, Orwell. A closed system of incarceration and forced repatriation insulated from British law by walls, barbed wire and internal complaints procedures designed to destroy complaints. What might the nature of these crimes be-

…bundled onto a plane at Heathrow and refused permission to see his lawyer, with the security guards knowing he already had permission to stay in the UK. He struggled and was beaten up in the back of a van… “I was crying, shouting, crying, shouting, then one of his colleagues was very, very aggressive to me… Told me that these black monkeys don’t want to go back to their country.”

serious assaults in privately run immigration centres are not being passed to police because firms believe they will lose lucrative government contracts. “All in all, the immigration service managers have failed in almost every aspect of the laid-down complaints investigation procedures and in some respects, have deliberately ignored these requirements.”

In the past year, only 29% of cases alleging misconduct by named officials and contract staff were handled in time.” 

The report also revealed that of the number of arrest team cases in the past year, none was handled on time, with 89% taking more than the eight-week target and one taking a year.

All the press on immigrants and the government has been in the context of attacks on government handling with the implicit assumptions ‘illegal’ immigrant are bad. This report of the scandalous gulag would be a useful stick to beat the government, but it does damage the ethos of privatisation so not a big favourite subject of corporate media. But the real reason it has been buried alive, it screams out how we do not care about these people, it reveals the nasty hidden cruelty of our dog eat dog culture, it doesn’t just attack the establishment it tells a truth about us- fuck ’em let them be assaulted and treated as subhuman, life’s damn hard as it is, can’t we just buy shiny crap, watch X-idol factor brother jungle (some nice sadism in those, yes we like that). Don’t make us face ourselves, don’t make us wake up.-

So no big mainstream media fuss about this. No arrests, no trials, no corporate manslaughter (perchance), I don’t even think a single one of the contracts have been canceled (after all violent fascist bigots need jobs too…). No better to channel our sentiment (what little is left of our atrophied empathy) into matters we can’t effect, tragedies of the small and personally identifiable. But nothing that might provoke questions of structure, culture, economics, realpolitik, class, race. How we are set up to fight each other lest we recognise the real enemy in the room, that cruelty that hides behind many masks but its end result is always the same, broken, raped and dead bodies.

Not that we would know, in this case the complaints procedure makes sure of that and the report being ignored makes sure we don’t have to worry about it either. No better we cower in fear from the Terrorists!!!!! And support everything we are told to support to make us ‘safe’. While of course the things that would actually make us safe but would inconvenience the established elites must remain forever taboo. Things like respect, compassion, equality and inalienable rights, y’know those silly little things.

Chest Doc In Palestine

The internet is bountiful indeed, Dave at Complex System of Pipes led me to Chest Doc in Palestine- when a UK doctor spent a fortnight in Palestine he wrote up his experiences day by day creating a compelling travelogue that becomes a bruising indictment of Israeli policies towards Palestine. And you can read it right here, right now for free, just click here- Day 1: Ben Gurion Airport and Jerusalem. I started reading it and couldn’t ‘put it down’ and read the whole record of his trip and branched off to sites he linked to that coloured in even more details. It is essential reading and I’ll have more to write about it in time but I mention it now because…You can hear him talk about his experiences tomorrow 7pm on 14th November at the Geoffrey Manton Building at Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Torture- From One Who Knows

 I know the waterboard personally and intimately. SERE staff were required undergo the waterboard at its fullest. I was no exception. I have personally led, witnessed and supervised waterboarding of hundreds of people. It has been reported that both the Army and Navy SERE school’s interrogation manuals were used to form the interrogation techniques used by the US army and the CIA for its terror suspects. What was not mentioned in most articles was that SERE was designed to show how an evil totalitarian, enemy would use torture at the slightest whim. If this is the case, then waterboarding is unquestionably being used as torture technique. 

Waterboarding is a controlled drowning that, in the American model, occurs under the watch of a doctor, a psychologist, an interrogator and a trained strap-in/strap-out team. It does not simulate drowning, as the lungs are actually filling with water. There is no way to simulate that. The victim is drowning. How much the victim is to drown depends on the desired result (in the form of answers to questions shouted into the victim’s face) and the obstinacy of the subject. A team doctor watches the quantity of water that is ingested and for the physiological signs which show when the drowning effect goes from painful psychological experience, to horrific suffocating punishment to the final death spiral.

Waterboarding is slow motion suffocation with enough time to contemplate the inevitability of black out and expiration –usually the person goes into hysterics on the board. For the uninitiated, it is horrifying to watch and if it goes wrong, it can lead straight to terminal hypoxia. When done right it is controlled death. Its lack of physical scarring allows the victim to recover and be threaten with its use again and again.

I had previously visited the Nazi death camps Dachau and Bergen-Belsen. I had met and interviewed survivors of Buchenwald, Auschwitz and Magdeburg when I visited Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. However, it was in the S-21 death camp known as Tuol Sleng, in downtown Phnom Penh, where I found a perfectly intact inclined waterboard.

 The torturer will trigger within the subject a survival instinct, in this case the ability to breathe, which makes the victim instantly pliable and ready to comply. It is purely and simply a tool by which to deprive a human being of his ability to resist through physical humiliation.

 Most people can not stand to watch a high intensity kinetic interrogation. One has to overcome basic human decency to endure watching or causing the effects. The brutality would force you into a personal moral dilemma between humanity and hatred. It would leave you to question the meaning of what it is to be an American.

That is the problem, even this fine piece asks ‘American’ when it should ask ‘human’ the patriotism, nationalism is a large part of the problem. Simply put- tribalism to exempt members from moral criteria when dealing with others not of the tribe. Put that into service of imperial expansion and it’s an old story told by millions upon millions of murdered, abused and mutilated bodies. Countries don’t do evil, people do evil, as soon as someone tells you how ‘we’ must do whatever is necessary to protect ‘our’ country you know the evil isn’t out there, it’s sat right in front of you… about to be confirmed as Attorney General.

EU Does The Carrot & Stick Thing With Burma

European Union foreign ministers agreed on Monday to strengthen sanctions on military-ruled Myanmar in response to its bloody crackdown on protests last month. The ministers agreed to broaden sanctions that include visa bans and asset freezes on generals, government officials and their relatives, and to take new steps targeting the country’s key timber, metals and gemstone sectors. “The EU deems it necessary to increase direct pressure on the regime,” the ministers said in a statement issued after talks in Luxembourg. “It will therefore adopt a package of measures that do not harm the general population but that target those responsible for the violent crackdown and the overall political stalemate in the country.”

The new measures are set to include an export ban on equipment to sectors involving timber, metals, minerals, semi-precious and precious stones plus import and investment bands on these sectors. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said new economic measures would not be implemented immediately and the EU may send a mission to Myanmar to call on the military junta to take steps towards reconciliation with domestic political opponents.

Seems like an improvement, but…will they take actual democracy as a goal or just the regime talking and signing the right corporate contracts. You can read this which overstates the US manipulation but does show the geopolitics involved, however I find people ignoring Burma because it is not a straight left vs. imperialism struggle short sighted.

Update: Statement from Burma Campaign UK-

The Burma Campaign UK today welcomed an announcement by the European Union that it will impose targeted sanctions against the regime in Burma. The EU has agreed a ban on investment in, and imports of, Burmese timber, metals and gems. It is also considering a ban on all new investment if the regime does not enter into genuine dialogue with the democracy movement.

“This is a significant breakthrough,” said Zoya Phan, Campaigns Officer at the Burma Campaign UK. “The EU is finally starting to impose sanctions that bite. We have been calling for this for more than a decade. These targeted sanctions will hit the regime where it hurts them the most, in the pocket. It also sends a strong message of solidarity to the people of Burma.”

The Burma Campaign UK dismissed suggestions that the sanctions would have little impact. “The EU imports hundreds of millions of dollars worth of goods every year, these sanctions will hurt the generals and their business cronies,” said Zoya Phan. “We need a combination of economic and political pressure from the EU, and this is a good start.” Read the rest of this entry »

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New Orleans-Ethnic Cleansing: Hell No We Ain’t Alright

Courtesy of MISTER Chuck D. free mp3 download is here (Oh yeah, don’t say I never give you nothing). So get down to that and remember blame Bush all you like but keep on target- racism, privatisation, conservatism. Here, there and everywhere is deadly. The same partisan hacks who made fortunes contracting in Iraq are doing the same on the gulf coast, party connected, corrupt corporate disaster capitalists.