Friday, March 31, 2006

Asleep at the wheel?

Hot News

After two days without a full blog, you might be forgiven for thinking I'm dozing - especially as we've been celebrating our first national "Nap At Work" week. Truth is that some essential file re-organisation has pre-occupied this wordsmith. For the most important stuff, follow the headline link at the top.

For now, it's the midnight hour here in the UK which means snoozetime-a-la-regular for me. Cunning linguistics can wait.


Condi's much anticapted weekend jaunt with Jack Straw has finally arrived but it doesn't look like the odd couple will be getting much privacy. Large crowds of anti-war protesters have descended on Straw's backyard with even those still indoors having their say.
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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Power to the people. The astonishing turnout for protests in Los Angeles last weekend as the demonstrations continue. Time for Bush to face the music at last? See below.
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A hornets nest descends on the Bush

Student Immigration Protests Continue

It may have started as a distraction, but with the immigration issue in Amerika it looks like the Bush administration have finally kicked a little too hard at a hitherto sleeping mass of people. Last weekend's demonstration has led to continuing unrest during the week, especially among students. As the full bill goes before the senate, the government faces a vast swathe of protest that better have been awakened earlier. By sheer co-incidence, we also see the Ape Emporer depart for Mexico to discuss matter relating to, you guessed it, immigration. Alternet even reckon the country may finally be on the Path back to normal as the neurotic-in-chief attempts to change course.

Exactly how the cost of enacting these policies equates with the massive US debt is also bewildering. Indeed, Al Jazeera reort that Asian businesses are be warned to prepare for an iminent collapse of the dollar whilst there's talk elsewhere of serious corruption in the world bank itself. As Britain too starts a descent into further debt, we note that China has now replaced Japan as the country with the most foreign reserves.

Talking of corruption, Jack Abramoff faces sentencing today - on which subject you may like this cartoon. Plus, a new superdrug to end all superdrugs is launched, as the US military find themselves "not guilty" thank you.

In the UK, our old pal "Willy" Clinton popped up yesterday to support Gordon Brown and was heard to ask some public service protesters "Is something wrong?" Belatedly, the US media have picked up on London's mayor Ken Livingstone's remarks about the Amerikan ambassador.

Yesterday in 1834, US President Jackson was "censured" by the senate. Those of us hoping for suitable celebration by way of a repeat performance were disappointed however. Today's anniversary is Three Mile Island - 27 years on and no lessons learned it seems, especially in the UK as the Prime Preacher presses ahead into his radioactive dreamland. We've also now missed our own emissions targets.

Heck - they're coming for all of us.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The cover of an old science-fiction comic strip collection by Angus Mckie. Does this depiction of a fanasty future now represent our reality? See the link below.
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The Mind Connection

Brain Cells Fused with Computer Chip

I'm both astonished and yet unsurprised at the same time, but it seems we may really be moving into the world of science-fiction brought to life, as the above link indicates. As communication technologies increasingly weave us into the surveillance planet, how long before the linkage extends into a very beings. The most important story I've read in quite a while, fears about cloning and the like look set to enter a whole new dimension.

In latest new it seems Bush's Chief-of-staff at the White House has resigned. Of course, Amerika is currently distracted from Iraq and the collapsing Bush administration by the controversy of criminalising illegal immigrants. Rob Kall offers an extended feature at OpEd News.


Striking a blow to the status quo

One and a half million out

The above leads to The Times report on todays walk-out by public sector workers here in the UK. Similar disruption is also happening across the channel in France today, hot in the wake of recent protests. A sign of the times?

In both cases the contentious issue is one of pay, but beneath the surface it is a symptom of capitalism becoming out of control. The present day inequality between nations and continental power-blocks and the exploitation of the poor by the rich is increasingly reflected in microcosm within the so-called "rich" countries themselves. Even governments who claim to have their roots on the left of the political spectrum have taken to servicing the needs of corporate globalism rather than addressing the local and international polarisation that system creates. The disparity of wealth and the sheer cost of social empowerment in an age where everything is "privatised" beyond civil accountability is shifting entire economic infrastructures toward a new world of "masters and slaves". The "duty of service" we expect of those we elect to power has been replaced by culture of a career-driven, money-hungry elite whose perception of reality is wholly corrupted by their privilaged postion.

Of such inbalance are revolutions made. It is not surprise at all that a mood of disaffection is returning to the social arena. If the so-called "leaders" don't wake up soon, what they may face may be better called "insurrection" - disruption beyond their power to manage at all!


Monday, March 27, 2006

For your diary. Join the party in London on May 20th as the climate change campaign present music, fun and other frolics in the front yard of the Imperial Ediface. All perfectly legal as an event to highlight the Bush administration's loss of touch with reality. Be there.
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The Rock 'n' Rolling News Man

Jon Snow

The above link is not so much news as about the news - or rather, one of Britain's major news presenters. The Independent pays tribute to Jon Snow - anchor of the acclaimed "Channel 4 News" and multi-award-winning journalist. Nice one.

The prime peacher and spouse are hanging out down under where Blair has admitted he has de-stabilised himself. All set to de-stabilise Britain's security too, plans are announced for the UK to host missile silos for the Ape Emperor's new "Son of Star Wars" project. Also, parliament's lone anti-war protester has been arrested. Shame.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Small beer for a poison plot

Qaeda Tested Poison Beer, Burger Plot

The above report from CBS concerns a trial that has received reasonably high profile coverage here in the UK. I've avoided commenting on the slow emergence of cases like this when arguably the greater issue is those who remain detained uncharged and with no recourse at all to a "court of law". There is however, something in this summary that gave me pause for thought.

Here we have a trial in Britain where a key witness is provided by the Amerikan FBI, escorted by US marshals and protected under armed guard by our authorities. We have defendants charged with very serious acts of plotting terrorism whilst some of the allegations made by this witness seem more like schoolyard fantasies.

I'm trying, for example, to image the laborious process of injecting thousands of beer cans with what must be a very slow-acting poison, stickering over each broken seal and then taking them to a football match for sale. In an age where terror threats come from committed suicide attacks by those duped into the pursuit of a false martyrdom, this seems like "small fry" indeed.

The ITN-produced "More 4 News" on British television has adopted a "watch" policy on news about "rendition flights" or other CIA misbehaviour. Although Jack Straw tells us that no such requests have been made in the post-9/11 era, the programme's pointed out this week that other documentation is routinely required that would indicate whether these flights did include prisoners on the passenger lists. If, as suspected, the US are arranging for their victims to be tortured, it is of grave concern.

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of conducting torture, I've always held that it is pointless in its purpose. Under such conditions, a suspect will probably agree to anything and possibly fabricate evidence just to stop the pain. The reliability of information garnered this way is thus highly suspect and of little real value in intelligence terms. If anything, it could be so misleading as to have the opposite effect of the avowed intent.

If torture is going on however, it occurs to me that there is one instance where it may serve its purpose - albeit a highly corrupt purpose at that. It is in the creation of a false witness. Under threat of torture, it is easy to conceive of a victim who would resort to fabrication of facts and it takes little streach of the imagination to realise that, under present security conditions, such a person could be produced as a witness in a purposely- compromised court of law.

There is of course no evidence itself that this is happening, but the possibility raises questions that need to be addressed. I, for one, remain slightly cautious about the dubious evidence mentioned in the above article, particularly given that it appears to be comprised of annecdotes merely tangential to the gravity of the real issue.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Time for the banker to wake up? See comments last week.
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The leaders that pray together prey together

Bipolar Blair

Earlier in the week I commented on the Prime Preacher's foreign policy speech. Today in Counterpunch above, Michael Carmichael delivers a far more biting critique which suggests a kind of Islamophobia is enamating from Downing Street. They also have a piece of how greater war spending and increased debt is actually making Amerika less secure.

In an attempt to further mix up the issues, the Bush administration seeks to further confuse our perception of George Orwell's work - in a hybrid of "1984" and "Animal Farm". Plus, denial is a force more powerful than faith whilst the undying human need for truth can give us hope yet.

In the UK, more news on the surveillance state as Scotland will be the first to introduce satellite tracking of sex offenders.

A revealing new portal is World Citizen Guide. Check out the "100 people" tab which tells much about the disproportionate balance in our planet today.

A report here also suggests that a cannabis legalisation party may make inroads in next week's Israeli elections as they are promoting other policies that appeal to the disaffected young and Arabs alike. On the same theme, the British pot campaign held a conference in Norfolk last week which co-incided with the anti-war events. Speeches, music and a record of proceedings can be found via this link.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Flashbacks - An annex

Bring the Sixties Out of the Closet

Last week I mused a little on similarities between today and 40 years ago, which met with some approval. The link above leads to a piece at Alternet where Don Hazen is thinking on similar lines.

In Washington, it seems judges are leaving their day job to get down to a bit of rock & roll. Weird. Also, a white paper by the bush adminsitration qualifies under "a definition of insanity".


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Oh dear, Prudence. Britain's chancellor doesn't quite hit the mark. See below.
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No budge yet in a budget called debt!

A case of leadership battle-lines

The above link leads to the Independent where it examines yesterday's financial decrees from Britain's chancellor, Gordon Brown. Brown is of course the "leader-in-waiting" for the day Blair steps down and with Blair's withdrawl from the stage in yesterday's Common, thre possible future triumverate of Brown, Cameron and Campbell got the chance for a dry run. It was all a bit flat, although Cameron's literal "bellow" was an impressive retort.

I question whether anything really happened at all. A few minor tweaks, a raise in the usual duties and a large amount of self-congratulation does not a budget make. The only thing apparant beneath the cosmetics was a plan to increase Britain's debts by billions over the next few years. Nothing like the mega-trillions "borrowed" by the Bush administration, but incriminating nonetheless.

I will now pay 9p more for a packet of cigarettes. By my reckoning, if only one in every 50 smokers give up the habit as a result of the new government campaign, the income from this increase will be wiped out completely. If 2 in every 50 smokers give up, the exchequer will suffer a loss in actual income. But will the improved health of those who quit actually allow the Health Service to make savings? One hopes so but doubts it - yet no new money was aanouced for the NHS in the budget at all. An odd PR omission if nothing else for a prospective Prime Minister.

The much hailed "green" tinge to taxation was both a farce and an insult. Gas-guzzling vehicle drivers will pay a few pennies more from their inflated pocket-money whilst those who can afford to invest in new low-emission technologies will be exempt. This means nothing to the average person. No attempt was made to implement a levy on aircraft emissions, even though this could have been done without affecting internationally agreed aviation fuel prices. A rise in airport taxes and a new draconian VAT band for environmentally damaging products could have brought in more money and re-enforced the "green" agenda.

We also need legislation for compulsory self-sustainability in all new homes and commercial buildings to reduce the drain on the national grid and other commercially distributed energy sources. Micro-technology for wind, solar and hydroelectric power is now available and the government could swell its coffers a little more by imposing penalties on fuel and energy wastage. Not wholly the chancellor's job of course, but integral to his remit.

In declaring how much we will need to borrow for the forseeable future, no mention was made of the military cost of following the Amerikan imperial agenda. This expenditure alone overshadows the cost of just about everything else the government spends money on. Getting out of the colonisation business would allow more to be spent on aid and overseas development, with enough left over the seriously dent the amount of borrowing we need to do.

The economy is indeed a loaded gun. What now, Dear Prudence?


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Return of the royal dissident. See below.
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Forked tounge methinks

Bush Battles Back On Iraq

The above link leads to more information and video on the Bush speech. Now my regular linking engine seems to be working again I'll try to recreate what went missing earlier.

For news about Richard Neville's attempt to create a satire site based on his recent script=writing for the Australian premier, he writes ...


The domain name,, is hosted by Melbourne IT. In less than 36 hours of its launch, following 10,500 visits to the site, the plug was pulled. By who? On what grounds? It took three days for Melb IT to make contact with me and help lift the veils of confusion. After receiving a phone call from Greg Williams of the People, Resources & Communications Division at the Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet, Melb IT put the domain name on HOLD, where it remains. This domain cannot be transferred to another, more resilient host, for 60 days. In addition to the complaint from John Howard’s office, Melbourne IT said they had received calls from THREE Federal Police, and provided the name of an agent from the Australian High Tech Crime Centre. As far as I know, my passport has not met the same fate as my domain name."

For more, see Richard's Website.

Here, it's a return to the news for HRH His Dissidentness Prince Charles. He feels the pain of terrorism as he is awarded for promoting Islam in Egypt and reckons his predictions have come true. We are also warned of a looming constitutional crisis as the House of Lords reject the government's ID card proposals for the 4th time!

In the US, thousands turned out for the anti-war concert in New York at the weekend while in strangely hidden news, Congress have put a stop to building permanent bases in Iraq. Maybe there's still spunk in them yet.

It seems that looted valuable relics from Afghanistan have been turning up in London antiques markets. Some other shady trading is revealed as nude photos of unsuspecting members of the public are being sold after being culled from surveillance tapes by police personnel.

For a whole bunch of other items, see "Latest Clicks" on left. For now, it;s ...


Ghosts of old rhetoric

Old Forecasts Come Back to Haunt Bush

Well, he came, proclaimed and ... dunno - exactly why Bush called his press conference is a bit vague, nothing much new and hot on the heels of yesterday as covered in the above link. I suspect today had something to do with desparation - trying to keep up the pretense of authority in the face of declining approval ratings. It all came sadly unstuck when he took questions afterward - too much indecision in the answers, a couple of close calls on mixing up Iraq with Iran and an awful lot of attempted humour and snickering to cover up the goofs. Gawd help Amerika.

The questions were interrupted as my UK feed switched to East London where the Prime Preacher was delivering his own speech on Britain's foreign policy. It was, I begrudgingly admit, a rather compelling oratory which saught to say that long-term objectives were modernise political globalisation in line with the infrastructure of economic globalisation that has already stabilised. Very oddly, given his own religious persuasions, in an attempt to distinguish militant Islam from the moderate faith itself, Blair referred to "protestant bigots" creating obsticles to the peace process in Northern Ireland and insisted that most Muslims want to live in a contemporary democratic world. In this regard he also displayed telling knowledge of the history and tenants of Islam itself.

None of this changes the reality of the fact that Blair seems unable to see beyond his own urge toward evangelical patronage in the affairs of others, nor his conviction that the current model of economic globalisation is the right one. In an age of rampant consumerism and a market-driven capitalism that accelerates the divide between rich and poor, he has clearly given no thought to the fact that a "modern" world so defined is in serial decline. He views "terrorism" as a contemporary threat to drag so-called civilisation back into a fundamentalist dark age but never considers that it may also sometimes be motivated by disenfranchisement. Whilst there continue to be those that suffer within the new global economic hierarchy, his words remain framed by an opposing fundamentalist stance and will continue to lack the integrity he tries so hard to employ.


Intellectual Poverty

If Bush ruled the world

I've just writeen a long blog that has gone totally astray so this is a short replacement. The above link to the International Herald Tribute suggests that Bush's new National Security Policy is both incoherant and a case of intellectual poverty. CBS report that the Ape Emperor is to make an emergancy adresss about now (10am EST, 3pm UK) so I'm off to tune in.


Monday, March 20, 2006

The furies down under

Powerful Cyclone Devastates Australia

Some breaking mainstream news here - the northwest of Australia has been hit by a major cyclone. News at the above link via CBS.

Also at CBS is a photo-record of Israel's recent incursion into Palestine and the Save Amerika from Treachery test.

A commendable new portal called Freecycle is a worldwide resource via Yahoo Groups. It allows you to support recycling constructively by by-passing capitalism. Give unwanted studd away and claim what you want for free. Nice one!

My own links have extended into Yahoo's "360" facility and will no doubt be connected to my main site shortly.

A curious item in Washington Post tells that most Egyptians went to the cinema rather than endure Condi Rice's appearances during a recent visit. Why? Her lookalike was performing sexual antics in a hot local film release.

That great law-making body called the US congress is seemingly so redundent that it will "only bother" to meet for 97 days this year. Is this what Amerikan government has come to? An article at Counterpuch asks Where is the resistence on the Home Front?

John Reid, the British war minister insulted us all on Saturday by describing those who attened the anti-war demonstrations as "supporting terrorists". Now he's gone a step further by joining those in denial about Iraq's Civil War. Those who are more inclined to recognise this truth are, it seems, themselves (you guessed it) "supporting terrorism". All in all, it seems like Chaos Accomplished.

Here at home the financial total of Blair's secret loans increases day by day and his ratings are down to 33% - something else he has in common with the Ape Emperor. This is all of minor consequence however as we learn that, in this supposed age of nuclear non-proliferation, his hypocritical attitude to Iran is re-enforced by Britains secret development of new nuclear weapons.

The cost of all this will also no doubt hit us hard when the chancellor reveals his budget later this week. Just as energy price rises come home to roost.

For latest clicks and more, see links at left.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

A wee bit of creative accounting?

Protests Mark 3 Years Of Iraq War

It seems I must stand corrected. Having uploaded yesterday's photos of Trafalgar Square I rushed to put some annotation in this blog. One typo resulted in my claiming a figure of 100,000 in attendence - a zero too many. Also, it did get some television media coverage - albeit buried in the far more "newsworthy" violence of events in France.

Reported attendence figures for London are officially in the region of 14,000 souls ( - yes, I typed it right this time!) although my feeling is that 10,000 is closer for those who actually marched there. The above link to last night's late edition of CBS news actually headlined the worldwide events, so I guess the point was made.

My thanks to Johnny Void (see link at left) who was not only one of those pointing out my fault, but also for reprinting my tirade from early yesterday about the time for a new revolution under the heading "Optimism".


Saturday, March 18, 2006

One of the outstanding placards seen at today's anti-war event in London. See below.
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Trafalgar Square Today

Stop the War Coalition

The above link should be updated shortly - I seem to be ahead of them.

Around three and a half years ago I joined over a million people in Hyde Park to protest against the looming war with Iraq. Oblivious to common sense, the Prime Preacher ignored the public mood and pursued his agenda regardless. Most of the predictions made by speakers at that event have now come true as we remain bogged down within a culture we barely understand. I remember the demonstration most because it was a freezing winter day and I caught a chill which laid me under for a week or more.

Today was a slight case of deja vue. I've just returned after spending four hours or so with approximately 100,000 people who marched to Trafalgar Square in equally cold conditions. At least the sun came out for us.

Of as much concern now is the possibility of an impending war with Iran and the inability of the international community to prevent Israel colonising what's left of Palestine. Obviously, our withdrawl from Iraq was on the agenda too.

The quality of speakers was exceptional and wide-ranging. Highlights were mostly the usual suspects - Bruce Kent, Tony Benn, Piers Morgan, George Galloway, Ken Livingstone and Brian Eno, amongst countless others. A fine surprise was Julie Felix who ended the day with some harsh musical words for our planet's corporate war-mongers.

I've posted my own PHOTO GALLERY for your interest - the pictures aren't all as clear as hoped because I lingered in the crowd too long to secure a decent place to snap the speakers. I've no doubt video and audio will be popping up elsewhere soon - there was plenty of recording going on. Links to follow as I find them.

Whether the mainstream media has the decency to cover it remains to be seen. There were enough people to justify coverage but the main channels were not to be seen. The rolling BBC news service, "News 24" has no mention at all as I write. If there is any coverage here in the UK it will probably be on Channel 4 - but don't hold your breath for it! Lack of media attention to the anti-war campaign was one of the topics most criticised today, despite the otherwise high-profile of many concerned in the movement.


Get on down

United for Peace

For some reason my calender didn't cough up the automatic link to put here earlier. I'm off to the anti-war event in London's Trafalgar Square to commemorate the 3rd anniversary of our fateful invasion of Iraq. If the light holds, maybe I'll have some photos later.

If you're reading this in London - get down there! If you're not in London or even Britain, click the above link to find the activities nearest you.


Good News for once

Google Avoids Surrendering Search Requests

It's strange that this breaking news hasn't even got close to being headline status anywhere. I had to hunt around the backwaters in the Washington Post to find the above link.

Essentially it seems a federal judge has ruled in Google's favour in allowing it to protect its information from the prying eyes of government. There are a few general statistics the government will be allowed to see, but it looks like individual privacy will continue to be secure in Google's hands.


Two faces or just vacant of purpose?

White House Welcomes Irish Leaders

A curious little news item above. Amerika has seemingly been celebrating St Patrick's Day with a vengence, largely overshadowing events in Ireland itself. Last time tyhe ape emperor donned his green tie was to welcome the McCartney sisters into the great white goldfish bowl - pronouncing at the time that Sinn Feinn were no longer welcome in the mansion of anti-terror inquisition.

Surprise then that yesterday we saw Jerry Adams accompany Irish PM Bertie Ahern into the hallowed Roosevelt room. Granted, most other Irish political faces were there too, but thankfully not Ian Paisley. Maybe there's a limit to how much fundamentalism even Dubya can take!

British readers may be interested to note that you get now register online for a new state benefit. The absence of waiting time may usefully be used to start reading "The Unbinding" - a new online novel by Walter Kim at Slate, with new chapters about twice a week. MI5 seem to believe that most office managers in the UK are encouraging terror attacks whilst the Labour Party seem to want a re-invented "Clause 4" to replace the one Blair buried on the road to power.

A happy 30th birthday approach for Apple Computer and a new US blog for the Regulation of Marijuana debuts.


Friday, March 17, 2006

The end of the world as he knows it?
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US seeks enslavement of "little critters"

U.S. military plans to make insect cyborgs

A bit offbeat with the above link but it tells of plans by the US military to further enslave our planet's other species. Already experimenting with sharks and dolphins, they now have their eyes on the small fry - insects. Forget the war zones, this could be a nifty move for the surveillance state. With a population vastly exceeding that of the human race, a few trillion extra little critters crawling around spying on us will no doubt be un-noticed - even by those of us wary of CCTV cameras, web-monitoring and ID cards. Maybe not the near future - but a darkly possible future nonetheless.

Talking of dark futures, much is being made of how brave Hollywood has been in bringing "V for Vendetta" to our screens. Although the story has been sanitised, the scenario remains based in London and I suspect it would not have got made at all if transposed to the US. The original message was a warning about the direction of Thatcherism in 1980s Britain and was no more a "glorification of terrorism" than Orwell's "1984" - with which it has something in common. There may be subtexts for modern today Amerika (and indeed Britain itself) and it could have the power to make viewers question contemporary reality, yet it will probably be absorbed as pure entertainment. Those who seek to ask questions are already doing so and the danger of this movie is that it will further romanticise a silent message of authoritarianism that so many are all-too-willing to embrace when faced with a climate of fear. The original author, Alan Moore, has dis-owned this exploitation of his work.

Our current pretender to the totalitarian throne enters his own political twilight years and this week may be a landmark of sorts. Successful on the surface, his pursuit of social reforms and an enduring legacy has only been possible by cultivating support fromn what was once the idealogical opposition. He has effectively abdicated leadership of his own party political base. If that wasn't enough, his subversive attitude to party fund-raising has the same hallmarks of "sleaze" that he so vindictively fought against in his original quest for power. The evangelical arrogance of what now purports to be our government is about as far away from the movement that gave rise to it as can possibly be.

The kids of Amerika want nothing to do with the military conscription agents that are now a compulsory presence in their schools and colleges, but a report indicates a large increase in those studying for religious qualifications. It's a disturbing trend in that it seems these students have little intention of adopting the pulpit as a platform but rather see such fundamentalist education as a prerequisite to success in other career paths.

When Clinton left the White House, the Amerikan bank account was slightly in credit. Since the advent of the ape emperor that same account is in the red by so many trillions of dollars that this author's mind has great difficulty comprehending the figures. Now the senate have given him the go-ahead to borrow some trillions more - largely to finance foreign adventures and line the pockets of his corporate paymasters. No doubt the rape of world resources will continue to equate with the pillage of homeland welfare.

As predicted here last week, it seems the US are now working with Iran after all. The intent is to help solve the problem of civil war in Iraq but it stinks of hypocrisy in the light of the Condi-Bush intransience on matter nuclear. There's also a bit of a stink over "Taliban" fighers admitted as students at Yale, just as Bush has added to the list of regimes he wants to overthrow. Such contradictory behaviour, could there be signs of civil war in Amerika too?

Back in 1968, protests in France had the enduring legacy of keeping subsequent governments rather cautious about doing anything to upset a delicate status quo. The French seem be be very good at this kind of political empowerment by the people. Shades of those times, nearly 40 years ago, have come back to haunt the administration today. Not quite so volatile as yet, the new riots come all-too-soon after the recent ones by Islamic residents and the urban dispossessed.

Next year will be the 40th anniversary of the original "Summer of Love" - focal point of the hippie era and anti-vietman war movement. Those of us of that generation considered it a "revolution" and indeed so many of the social mores and attitudes of those days are now embedded in greater society. Maybe a new "revolution" is in order - after all the word itself implies the cyclic nature of events much as nature, the planet and the universe itself follow rotational patterns. This similarities between than and now are increasingly obvious, albeit the modern version obscured behind technological smokescreens, the propaganda base underlying contemporary media and news delivery and the comfort zone of consumerism. Once again, Amerika is pursuing a war of its own devise driven by the idealogical follies of fools with an ill-defined mission. Once more, governments are adopting attitudes of social dictatorship rather than acting as servants of their electorate. Once more, minorities are becoming oppressed by a vast swathe of the unthinking population who are subconsciously urged to react adversly to anything they don't understand.

Fortunately for freedom, governments rarely find they can maintain the complexity of deceit for too long. For every age of inquisition there follows a age of liberation. Maybe the time for that revolution is here again.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Let the games begin
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Prankster's Hoax goes haywire

Tim Longhurst - Richard Neville tries his hand as PM's speech writer

The above link chronicles the aftermath of publication last week of an alleged speech by Australian Prime Minister John Howard. It was actually authored by that good old "Oz" prankster, Richard Neville - a dab hand with satire which he frequently posts on the web. I first received it from Op Ed News, who also publish other satire amongst their genuine body of opinion.

In this case, the article wasn't clearly marked as satire and was subsequently interpreted as fact by many - including, one suspects, most search engines. Then things went awry as Richarc explains in an email today ...


It's funny; I'm about as much threat to the state as smelly socks. And yet something happened at 8pm on Tuesday night, Sydney time, that gave me the shivers. Maybe it's a technical problem, I kept telling myself, which is why I've waited 36 hours before making it public.

As most of you who received my email on Monday now realise, JOHN HOWARD'S APOLOGY was an act of satire and culture jamming. Its impact was way beyond expectation, as was the variation in feedback. Many of you wanted to believe in John Howard's U-turn, and said he "stood taller" after the speech. Others replied he had "sniffed the wind" and was cutting his cloth to ensure his political survival. It made them hate the PM even more. A seasoned activist emailed from London, "this speech proves John Howard is smarter than TonyBlair".

To heighten its impact, I asked a student to design a site that closely resembled the official page of the Australian Prime Minister, as well as his personality - ­ oodles of grey. For $9.71, I purchased a web-hosting package from Yahoo, which included domain name registration. Was I wrong to indulge in this undergraduate jape? My previous email reported, "A friend just sent me this link, but I can't believe it!. Well, when the site went up, the designer sent me the link and I couldn't believe how good it looked. Satire is intellectual slum clearance. It works best if people are sucked in for awhile. I left a trail of clues. is registered in my name, easily accessed. The embedded links were a give-away. Lotsa typos.

In the first 24 hours, the site received 10,500 visits, thanks to many of you. Then it was blocked, and remains so. I didn't realise this until I opened my emails yesterday morning. Complaints of a "dead link" were building up. received similar reports and asked if I had heard from the PM's office. Not a peep. At first I put itdown to local area tech probs, but over the day the site started to disappear, server by server, like watching the lights go out all over Europe. Urgent emails to Yahoo have remained unanswered for 36 hours. What's the alleged crime? Will the spooks knock at the door? During the debate on Australia's draconian "anti terror" laws, the PM kept assuring us all that free speech would never be endangered. Sure. A .pdf of the disappeared page has been posted on - let's see how longit lasts.

This is the direct link:

Several questions remain:
1) who ordered the closing of the site?
2) On whatgrounds?
3) By what authority?
4) Through what mechanism?
5) Why in secret?
6) Will I get a refund from Yahoo?

If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone!"

On a personal note, my own ISP is in partnership with Yahoo and although they don't host any of my websites, I have frequently suspected censorship of certain destinations and interference with my Yahoo webmail account. It's hard to prove, but one casualty may be my own Chinese routing address ( - a top level server but located within the "Great Firewall". I can no longer access it myself - weird that!

An interesting item from yesterday's CBS news asks just "How Free Will The Internet Now Be?" as Yahoo, like AOL, have plans of conquest, monopolisation and domination. Google continue to oppose the dark forces, but for how long?


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Ides o' March

Amateur Hour

The above is a legal editorial at CBS examing the appalling mess Amerika has made of it prosecution of an alleged 911 conspirator. Today's update and the full setback is reported in full here.

It is a day for the courts. In Iraq, Saddam's trial continues to deteriorate as he takes the stand, in Amerika Google are still battling the goverment and the Senate have lashed into the merger policies and massive profits of the big oil companies.

In the UK my calender has just remined me that 66 year old Patricia Tabram, otherwise known as the campaigner "Cannabis Gran" is in Newcastle Crown Court today where she has opted to stand trail before a jury on grounds of cultivating the controversial herb. We wish her luck.

Drugs are also in the news here as an experiment by the pharmaceutical industry in six human guinea pigs has gone very seriously wrong. Outrage all round of course, but less serious cases like this happen all too frequently and are reported equally infrequently.

In the commons, there will be the vote on Blair's flagship education bill. The number of labour rebels is still an unknown but most concede the government will get its way through the backing of the Tory opposition. If those votes make the difference in the final tally, it will actually be a defeat for Blair as party leader. In any event, there will be a serious obsticle course in store, since the Tories will oppose a second bill concerning the timetable for implementing the first. Ah - the fun and games of Parliament!


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Albert Einstein - Birthday Boy
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Double-turn downunder?

John Howard's apologies

The above leads to a rather unusual speech from the Australian Prime Minister. How long before Blair coughs up something similar? All this as HRH Queenie descends on those same foreign shores for her latest tour.

Here's a great slideshow on changing times by photographer Thomas Hoepker and a press release on Dick Cheney's complicity in the 9/11 attacks. Comic strip writer Alan Moore slams into what they've done to his work in "V for Vendetta" and elsewhere, whilst you can download the full page ad for The Impeachment of Bush here. It seems the impeachment drive is now going mainstream in the imperial heartland.In the undercurrents, Arab Banks are moving their assets away for the dollar and money markets are moving away from Amerika.

We've lost the notorious John Profumo and we remember Albert Einstein on his anniversary. Also, Osama Bin Laden celebrates his 49th birthday somewhere today.

A whole bunch more in "Latest Clicks" (see left) and apologies for the slowdown in this blog while I'm taking care of other business.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Coming Resource Wars


Having been offline a lot over the last couple of days there's no real blog here. The above link has an article about how the world of ecology and politics may merge in all the wrong ways.

For a taste in wonderful semi-surreal, semi-psychedelic art installations on the web check out Larry Carlson's work and really do that Sunday lazy thing.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Anti-Surveillance as a Fashion Statement?

New York Times

The above link points to a feature I found last week. Although vaguely related to art, it is something that normally resides beyond my frame of reference for this column.

What brought it to mind is a radio news item today which told of an unfortunate pensioner who was denied access to a local pub because her hat was proving an obstacle to their CCTV system.

As I understand it, the expression "Boyz in Da Hood" originally had connotations relating to Amerika Urban youth in their "neighbourhoods" but nowadays seems to have been sperceded by reference to headgear. Here in the UK there was much spirited outrage about "hoodies" on our streets some time back - the same kind of panic created by long hair in the 60s. Missed by these critics was the simple fact that it was and still is simply a trend - a case of mutual fashion and identity for a generation. Some disaffected yes, but hardly all.

More recently of course we have seen increased tension with Islamic culture. Many Muslim women choose to wear headgear (as do Christian "nuns" for that matter) but the symbolism of "hiding something" has not altogether helped fragile relations.

The feature at NYT makes all sorts of whimsical suggestions as to why designers may be taking an interest in headgearn but I'm intruiged for a different reason. If headgear becomes all the rage, it will lessen the unwelcome focus on those who wear it for reasons other than style. It will also make it rather awkward for those who seek to dictate our behaviour for the convenience of their surveillance systems. So, if you don;t feel comfortable with state voyeurism and its implications for privacy, hop on board and make headgear your statement of personality.

In case of emergency, maybe we should urge designers to re-invigorate another old-time fascination - the fine art of the umbrella and sunshade. If this Winter ever ends, a highly styled reflective version of the latter would be just the ticket - loud, unmissible and guaranteed to play havoc with the optical recognition software.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

"The show must go on!" Not really we hope.
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Strange Contradictions

News from Iran

Yesterday I mentioned Britain's Channel 4 network. This week their news team are reporting from Iran and the above link leads to their blog. Their reports add to the wealth of intruige about what's going on.

Fresh from posturing about how naughty Iran's nuclear ambitions are, the Ape Emperor added to the fray yesterday by claiming Iran was also supplying weapons and covert help to the insurgency in neighbouring Iraq. Yet it also seems that Iran's fondness for the game of basketball is fostering unlikely friendships with Americans and the news that both the Washington and Bagdad governments have been working behind-the-scenes to engage Iran as a mediator in their own dilemma suggests that the mainstream media have only been reporting one side of the story. Indeed, Amerika's choice of Iran as a possible intermediary with Iraq is another snub to Britain who normally facilitate communications between those countries.

As usual these days, the United Nations seem to be left out of the loop on all this as Kofi Annan focuses his attention on the "outsourcing" of its global operations for better future effectiveness. Threats to refer Iran to its Security Council don't exactly sound hollow, but that council is comprised of the world's elite power-brokers and they no longer represent the interests of any other nations than themselves. The council is little more than a world trade cartel who want no new members as they dominate the affairs of our planet.

Imperial decrees from Amerika are beginning to sound like calls to take some vague moral highway to nowhere. Their avowed intent is belied by a shortage of miliary strength and fiscal bankruptcy. It's even suggested that the corporate prostitute Amerika calls its president will veto any attempt to block the sale of ports to Dubai. Why? Kickbacks of course, including the United Arab Emirates allowing and contributing to superficially massive airforce deployments in Iran's backyard. Middle Amerika won't complain about surgical air strikes and other "hands-off" forays provided there are no more casualties with troops on the ground. "Colateral Damage" is fine - so long as it is at the enemy's cost.

The Emirates will become like Germany in the days of the cold war. An ever present bastion of dubious authority with which to keep the opposition in check. It will be a decade or more before Iran could amass nuclear weaponary, even if that is it's intent. With an ever-watchful outpost across the water, such intent will be hindered further. But Amerika could lose all. Israel will be happy.

Amerika also has its eyes on what it thinks is an Islamist Terror Enclave in South America and it seems the FBI have interfered with the Scottish justice system. All this from a nation whose dependency on psychiatric drugs has all the symtoms of creating mass insanity.

Two obituaries - the music world has lost Ali Farka Toure whose talent best reflected the bridge between Africa music and early American blues and social photography has lost Gordon Parks.

Two online media gems have shown up. Google have 80 minutes on the 911 cover-up while YourTube have found a lost Fox News item on the Israeli connection with that same event. NYT have a programme on Treating HIV in South Africa and Newgrounds offer a bit of light relief with a retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood story.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Winds of Change. Londoners will now be able to receive power from alternative sources which bypass the national grid and may end up being cheaper than conventional supplies. This as the UK government's advisors report that new nuclear power plants are not a viable option. See comments below.
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Cindy Sheehan assaulted

Cindy Sheehan Arrested At NYC Protest

The above link just in - antiwar campaigner Cindy Sheehan has been arrested yet again and also, it seems, assaulted in the process. Sheehan's last arrest was at the State of the Union speech to which she had been invited. There were no charges and a mild apology was offered. The action at this latest peaceful protest shows all the signs of government harrassment and bodes ill for the future of civil rights. Cindy is due to join with REM for an anti-war concert (also in New York) in 2 weeks time - let's hope she isn't detained to prevent that appearance.

There are times when a profusion of news means that this author has a problem focusing on a given topic. For a wealth of recent hits, check the "Latest Clicks" link on the left.

The other disturbing news from the heart of empire concerns South Dakota where abortion has been made illegal. Reversing this regressive trend will mean an appeal to the Supreme Court, which is now a firmly right-wing institution in its own right. If such an appeal fails, it will set a precendent for the prohibtion of abortion throughout Amerika - effectively undoing "the right to choose" that women fought for over 30 years ago.

Also in the US, schools and colleges are to have their funding withdrawn unless they allow military recruitment agents to set up shop within them. Highly sinister.

Saturday saw the welcome return of well-researched cutting=edge satire with "Bremner, Bird & Fortune" on Britain's Channel Four television. The same broadcaster has a feature last night on the rise of fundamentalist teaching in UK schools. As Blair continues to pursue his education reforms, which include government support for so-called "faith schools", this is a disturbing sign. It's all right to criticise the teaching of extremist Islam, but such libertarian analysis is less than welcome where Christian obsession is concerned. With creationism and other archaic doctrine on the menu, such mind control techniques will do little to further the cause of cultural harmony when the recipients come of age. Oddly, although such schools preach that evolution is bad news, a US report suggests that humans are evolving right now.

Fortunately, the government here are not getting it all their own way. Their own advisors have said no to the idea of new nuclear power plants and the House of Lords have rejected the ID card proposals once again. We also hear that British taxpayers have now spent over £4 billions on invading Iraq just as climate research funding is slashed.

Another undercurrent has only been reported so far in the New York Times - in Palestine the new Hamas government have passed legislation which curbs the powers of their president. Another snub to the meddling of Amerika and Israel.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Marc Emery. This man sells hemp seeds quite legally in Canada, but Amerika thinks its criminal activity and seeks to extradite him. See link below.
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Prince of Pot revisited

Marc Emery

The above link leads to a longish profile of Marc Emery at CBS news. Marc's business is selling hemp seeds and it's no real problem for him in Canada. The US disagree with such liberalism and want to extradite him. We had a protest about this last year, but the issue remains.


Saturday, March 04, 2006

Countdown to Monday

How to write to a Peer about ID cards

After a welcome 24 hous completely offline, here's a link for British readers. The House of Lords will be reviewing the new ID card proposals on Monday and the above will help you let them know your feelings. Do it now.

The mood of the country seems to be increasingly wary of surveillance plans. Speaking on TV on Thursday, former Tory MP Michael Portillo noted an interesting point as his story of the week. In a recent case where police had asked for public help to identify a criminal, they asked around 4000 people to come forward for elimination. Normally, public-spirited response would have produced a large percentage of co-operative citizens - in this case however, only around 100 people came forward. The reason? It seems that anyone doing so would be given a DNA swab and filed permanently on the police database.

Maybe this is an example of how ID card legislation will, instead of helping fight crime, actually be an obstacle to law enforcement.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

The emperor hits on India
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Booth's Boot 2 Bush Backside

Cherie steps into row over torture of terror accused

Cherie Booth, the legal-minded spouse of our increasingly unbeloved Prime Preacher, has popped up to express her views on human rights again. A definate snub to Bush and not exactly good news for her husband either as the above link reveals. There's more coverage in the Independent too.

Talking of mouths in high places, our very own HRH The "Dissident" Charlie is revealed as having launched a "three-pronged attack on the government" in today's Times.

Elsewhere, the US military are to use brain implants to turn sharks into spies and possibly weapons. Any excuse to avoid getting their own hands dirty I guess!

Amerika also seems concerned about an invasion. This time it's from Britain's leading supermarket chain, Tesco. For once their paranoia may be justified - not that their own WalMart chain set any better example.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Iraq & The Hidden Trap

The Iraq Insurgency: Advantage Ba'athists

The link above leads to an in-depth article at AlterNet written by the former weapons inspector, Scott Ritter. It warns that in the context of the new civil war, Amerika is walking blindly into a trap that will have far-reaching consequences for the entire region and what is left of US credibility. A must read.

Britain's queen celebrates her 80th birthday shortly, at which time she plans to reduce her workload to a three-day-week. Expect the mainstream media obsession accordingly. The question is surely whether this move will result in a shifting of additional duties to that most regal of "dissidents" - Prince Charlie.

British Gas raised their energy prices today as announced, so Powergen report they are following the trend. With the increases at an astonishing 25% (give or take), you may find this background of interest.

As the Ape Emperor takes passage to India (via Afghanistan this morning), Slate has some musings on the trip as Dubya's Indian Fantasy. In a land plagued by child labour, starvation and poverty he looks to the elite as a "new best friend".

Op Ed now have a pretty exhaustive listing of subjects. Click here. Also, George Monbiot on "Flying as Dying" and in Alternet "How the republicans sell Amerika's ass for corporate profits".