War On Democracy: That’s Right, Do What He Says, He’s Your Friend

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President George W. Bush on Sunday toned down his rhetoric on democratic change, as he sought to persuade the Gulf states to reduce their ties with Iran.

Delivering the set-piece speech of his Middle East trip to an invited audience in a $3bn Abu Dhabi hotel, Mr Bush hailed the United Arab Emirates for having “shown the world a model of a Muslim state”.

Ah yes the UAE, and who better to judge a theocratic state than George W. Bush! Who’s with me? Anyone?

Ooh look you can use Hamed Saber’s Firefox add-on to get round internet censorship there, then you could report on the kind of nation Bush finds so appealing-

  • freedom of expression in all its forms – has still to be achieved in the UAE in spite of its media explosion. The hrinfo report begins with the most obvious example of censorship: the state-ordered shut-down of two Pakistani TV channels, Geo and Ary One, at the request of Pakistan’s military dictator, General Musharraf.
  • Authorities have blocked the formation of independent human rights organizations and exerted censorial pressure on a wide range of social activists…
  • The UAE has not signed most international human rights and labor rights treaties. Migrant workers, comprising nearly 90 percent of the workforce in the private sector, are particularly vulnerable to serious human rights violations.
  • Since 2000, the government has barred 12 prominent UAE commentators and academics from disseminating their views. In 2006 the government increased its persecution and prosecution of human rights defenders. In June 2006 the Federal High Court issued an arrest warrant for Muhammad al-Mansoori, president of the independent Jurists Association
  • Abuses against migrant workers include nonpayment of wages, extended working hours without overtime compensation, unsafe working environments resulting in deaths and injuries, squalid living conditions in labor camps, and withholding of passports and travel documents.
  • In March the government announced that it would legalize trade unions by the end of 2006, but as of November 2006 it had taken no steps to do so. Instead, in September the government introduced a law banning any migrant worker who participates in a strike from employment in the country for at least one year.
  • According to the US State Department, human trafficking to the UAE is an endemic problem.
  • The US, Japan, and the European Union are among the UAE’s main trading partners. In April 2004 the UAE signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the US, and the two countries in November 2004 began negotiations toward a Free Trade Agreement. The UAE is also negotiating free trade agreements with the European Union and Australia.

Hey, how does the CIA’s own world factbook compare eveeeel Iran with the UAE? Let’s have a look shall we?

  • Suffrage: (y’know voting) UAE- erm…none, on 18-20 December 2006; the new electoral college – a body of 6,689 Emiratis (including 1,189 women) appointed by the rulers of the seven emirates – were the only eligible voters and candidates.
  • Iran- universal once over 18. Which seems sort of democratic-ish, hmmm?
  • Judicial branch: UAE- Union Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president).Hmm, no universal vote and a judiciary packed by the President, no wonder George is keen.
  • Iran: The Supreme Court and the four-member High Council of the Judiciary have a single head and overlapping responsibilities; together they supervise the enforcement of all laws and establish judicial and legal policies; lower courts include a special clerical court, a revolutionary court, and a special administrative court.

Now what about that being a danger to the world and backing armed groups in other countries..

Mr. Bush focused not only on what the United States suspects are Iran’s nuclear ambitions but also its suspected support for Islamic groups and militants in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

Oh my God!!! Evil Persian troublemakers in 4 other countries! And you can rely on Mr. Bush to tell the truth about these things, golly yes. Well that’s done it, clearly Iran has to be stoppe…sorry what was that? Over a thousand…a thousand what? Oh military bases, in what? 140 countries. Oh my god it’s worse than I thou…Sorry what? America, the USA has over a thousand miltary bases (or large armed groups directly supported by the US you could say) in 140 countries. Not Iran then? Oh…, erm, oh dear, that would seem to make Mr.Bush a bit of a cheeky motherfucker for giving such a speech, like a bully looking to get applause for knocking another country over. Hmmm.

Hey but don’t worry I’m sure the press will pick up on this, I can see it already, huge banner headlines

  • President and Military Chief of poverty stricken America continues aggression in plot for world domination!
  • Scared countries cower before drug crazed emperor’s warmongering speech!
  • Boozed up monkey boy spews some more shit only retards, bigots and ruling elites would buy!

So, having failed to appeal to opposition to Ahmadinejad (hey get rid of this guy and say hello to America, y’know remember the Shah and everything! You’d get free ‘Baywatch’ reruns!). And their own establishment throwing cold water on their plans, the war pimps (including their sidekicks in Israel) are selling an attack as a protective measure to the other countries in the region, or more like a mob protection racket- It would be awful sad if your country burnt down fella, why not help me out with this little Iran deal and I’ll make sure nuthin’ bad happens. Huh?

Droning On: Targets Of Opportunity

So the flying robots of death, and erm, that is an accurate description, were busy all over-

RawStory -In the wake of last week’s assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistan bureau chief of Asia Times is laying responsibility for the killing on a new and more radical splinter group of al-Qaeda.

According to journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad, the United States retaliated against the head of that faction immediately following the attack on Bhutto:

“This nest of takfiris and their intrigues was on the radar of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the day after Bhutto’s killing Sheikh Essa was targeted by CIA Predator drones in his home in North Waziristan. According to Asia Times Online contacts, he survived, but was seriously wounded. Sheikh Essa had only recently recovered from a stroke which had left him bedridden.”

There have been no other press reports of such an attack and no US claims of responsibility. However, the US never does acknowledge participating in events of this sort. For example, in October 2006, a religious school on the Afghan-Pakistan border was destroyed in an airstrike, killing 80 suspected militants and leading to angry protests. Mulitiple reports indicated the school had been hit by a US Predator drone, but a Pakistani army spokesman denied any direct US involvement. 

So basically a neat excuse to whack a name on their list and a rather sinister glimpse into a region patrolled by drones. The Asia Times article is very – Blame Al Qaeda!! (interestingly as I viewed the page it was plastered with US Army recruitment ads) so they see this as a great score, with Pakistan the prize in T.W.A.T. between the Empire and AQ -who are an all powerful supervillain type menace, ahem. Except, who’s got the flying robots of death?

As for the drones, they’re not autonomous or cyborgs yet so we can’t call them, say…Daleks or Terminators. But give the CIA time, it’s only January 1st.

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

A detail from a PPP party security adviser shows a very determined technique-

However, AP quoted a PPP security adviser as saying she was shot in the neck and chest as she got into her vehicle, before the gunman blew himself up.

Updated from later post: Reading around about Benazir Bhutto’s assassination you find a morass of theories and projection of propaganda and you also come across a lot of articles and reports that reference her killing (forgetting the other victims) before plunging into what they really want to talk about-what it means for America and the west-. Way to show some empathy scumbags, never mind the dead people whose country we have been fucking over with our great game intrigues, let’s talk about what it means for us. They’ll be time for that, but can we respond to this as fellow humans first and acknowledge some responsibility, there just seems a strain of that ‘the Iraqis have to stand on their own feet’ colonial exasperation at the mess that we in fact helped make.

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.

Peak Oil Was So Last Year

Literally-

according to a study by the Energy Watch Group (EWG) in Berlin, Germany. It reported this week that world oil production peaked in 2006 – far earlier than expected.

Energy Watch Group is a Germany-based group of independent scientists and energy experts who this month released a report that includes nearly 100 pages of exhaustive technical analysis of every oil producing field in the world and every known and proven reserve.

the EWG study relies more on actual oil production data which, it says, are more reliable than estimates of reserves still in the ground. The group says official industry estimates put global reserves at about 1.255 gigabarrels – equivalent to 42 years’ supply at current consumption rates. But it thinks the figure is only about two thirds of that.

British energy economist David Fleming: “Anticipated supply shortages could lead easily to disturbing scenes of mass unrest as witnessed in Burma this month. For government, industry and the wider public, just muddling through is not an option any more as this situation could spin out of control and turn into a complete meltdown of society.”

Mr Schindler comes to a similar conclusion. “The world is at the beginning of a structural change of its economic system. This change will be triggered by declining fossil fuel supplies and will influence almost all aspects of our daily life.”

Jeremy Leggett, one of Britain’s leading environmentalists and the author of Half Gone, a book about “peak oil” – defined as the moment when maximum production is reached, said that both the UK government and the energy industry were in “institutionalised denial” and that action should have been taken sooner.

“When I was an adviser to government, I proposed that we set up a taskforce to look at how fast the UK could mobilise alternative energy technologies in extremis, come the peak,” he said. “Other industry advisers supported that. But the government prefers to sleep on without even doing a contingency study. For those of us who know that premature peak oil is a clear and present danger, it is impossible to understand such complacency.”

The smart money is moving into Thunderdome fight training schools, presided over by robot Dick Cheney in a chain-mail cocktail dress, mmmm.

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Syria Schmyria, Nuclear Schmuclear

The only, only, sources for the inference that the Israeli strike on Syria was on a nuclear -SCARY- facility look to be war pimping hacks (Murdoch!) playing Darth Cheney’s tune, a tune with a second verse that begins with Iran-

Even the Bush White House, generally willing to use any hint of malfeasance to condemn Damascus and Tehran, has been reluctant to confirm the story. It doesn’t need to. Official silence-narrated by a compliant press taking uncorroborated dictation-is cementing a public impression. That’s the way disinformation works. Done right, no one stops to ask where it came from-or who benefits. 

Allegations that a Syrian envoy admitted during a United Nations meeting Oct. 17 that an Israeli air strike hit a nuclear facility in September are inaccurate and have raised the ire of some in the US intelligence community, who see the Vice President’s hand as allegedly being behind the disinformation.

A United Nations press release discussing the General Assembly’s Disarmament Committee meeting mistranslated comments ascribed to an unnamed Syrian diplomat as saying that Israel had on various occasions “taken action against nuclear facilities, including the 6 July attack in Syria.”

The UN has since gone through the tape recordings of the meeting and found that there was no mention of the word “nuclear” at all. According to the UN, the error was one of translation, involving several interpreters translating the same meeting.

Recent news articles, however, continue to make allegations and suggest that a nuclear weapons facility was hit — something that the Syrian government has denied, the Israeli government has not officially confirmed and US intelligence does not show.

US intelligence “found no radiation signatures after the bombing, so there was no uranium or plutonium present,” said one official, wishing to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the subject. Read the rest of this entry »

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John Howard Uses Paskistani Dead

Huge terrible bombing,

More than 100 people have been killed after two bombs exploded among crowds in Karachi celebrating the return of the former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto. Ms Bhutto, who was travelling through crowded streets from the city’s airport to a rally marking her homecoming after eight years in exile, was not hurt. The truck carrying her had its windows shattered and a door blown off.

Various condemnation’s but look what John Howard said-

It’s too early to be certain but it looks very much like the work of al-Qaeda. Benazir Bhutto, to her credit, as well as General Musharraf, have both said they will continue to support the Americans in the war on terror. It is a reminder of the evil of al-Qaeda. It is a reminder of how important it is not to concede a victory to them in Iraq or in Afghanistan.

Can’t tell he’s in an election campaign can you? Wanker.

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