Friday, June 30, 2006

Al Gore with Jon Stewart

Former US vice-president (Clinton era) and latter-day eco-evangelist Al Gore jioned Jon Stewart on the Daily Show Wednesday night. Well worth watching again, this is the full uncut US broadcast and considerably more worthy of your time than the Jonathan Ross with David Cameron interview mentioned below.

Big bashings in Little Britain

It is one of those days where the news is very different wherever you are. The US supreme court delivers a bashing for Bush (the only abstainers were his own recent appointees) and the public at large have delivered a bashing for Blair in the UK. Welcome news of course, but it means Palestine has lost the headlines.

Blair lost two elections - one to an independent and another to his "official" opposition, the conservatives. The latter aren't exactly celbrating though - they won by a narrow margin that showed massive support for the Liberal Democrats. Conservative leader David Cameron may have been hurt by his appearance on a chat show at the weekend - or at least the media coverage of it.

During the show, host Jonathan Ross asked Cameron jokingly if, as a teenager, he had ever masturbated to pictures of Margaret Thatcher. It was the juvenile banter which we expect of Ross and if Cameron had had his wits about him might have replied with "metaphorically yes, physically no" or a similarly humourous anecdote. He couldn't - and that is probably what damaged him. I was actually recording the interview for some parrying on the issue of legalising drugs which I knew was coming. I remember a slight snigger at the Thatcher remarks, but didn;t at the time assign it any importance. Given that all re-runs of the show on the web and elsewhere have now been censored - it looks like I have a collectors item!

The election blows for Blair have been topped here by revelations that his government has been moving to privatise the health service. Some adverts offering tenders went out early and in public thanks to an administrative goof. It's also revealed today that he has spent £1billion on "reforming" an agency (CSA) the result of which has made its functioning considerably worse.

The blow to Bush was initially seen to be a legal declaration that procedeures in Guantanamo Bay were illegal under both United States and International law. The Washington Post dig deeper and consider it A Governing Philosophy Re-buffed. Alternet suggest it is The beginning of the end for exective power itself.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Supreme Court rules Guantanamo tribunals 'illegal'

Breaking news, this from Jon Snow at Channel 4.

"Well, after years of America's critics hammering on about Guantanamo, tonight a significant moment. In short, the American Constitution has stepped in to pronounce that the tribunal process for those 'enemy combatants' held in that offshore centre, is illegal.

According to the Supreme Court, the Bush regime has quite simply systemically flouted the Geneva Convention ever since the place was set up five years ago. The camp was established deliberately sited on Cuba to avoid coming under US legal jurisdiction.

The inmates were declared 'enemy combatants' somehow to enable them to be punished beneath the radar of the Geneva Convention. Well today the Supreme Court, three of whose members have been appointed by George Bush, has ruled that the process by which the president sought to try the inmates - Military Commissions, are illegal within the terms of the Geneva Convention.

What this ruling means is that the Supreme Court regards Guantanamo as within its jurisdiction, and regards the inmates as qualifying to be treated under the terms of the Geneva Convention.

I've seen one quote suggesting that this is the biggest and most important Supreme Court ruling since 1801. The only problem is finding out what it was they ruled in on 1801 - but boy it must have been important…

This does not close Guantanamo but it must be one of the largest nails ever hammered into the lid of its coffin."

Also, the link for this weekend's "Pride" event is here. Sorry it didn't make the calender.


As world trade ministers met yesterday in Geneva, protesters were out in force. Largely uncovered in the media as events elsewhere took centre stage.
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Britain's Silent Takeover

Independent Online Edition > UK Politics

The above links to today's lead article in The Independent newspaper and makes for intruiging reading. Essentially a look at our Prime Preacher as a stealth weapon imposing authoritarianism and dictatorship on the country. It's not all smooth sailing of course - yesterday his Home Oriface got seriously screwed again when the High Court ruled the latest batch of "anti-terror" measures illegal. Again!

The main news of course remains the continuing malevolent behaviour by Israel towards its Palestinian host. I am also too angry to comment, but this link to something a week or two ago says it all. Thankfully, the global jewish community are abandoning support for what purports to be their official "state" - one just wishes the UN hadn't spent half a century turning a blind eye to to the endless list of illegal and criminal activity by the arrogant Zionist movement. See also "Powerless In Gaza" by Yossi Alpher in the Guradian.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Winds of change?

One Riot Breaks Ground in China

The Washington Post report above is one of those stories that may not have headline status but could have long-term significance. A huge protest amongst China's farmers has not been met with the usual state violence and repression. Rather, despite major riots, the protest has been met with concessions which suggest China may be moving toward a tactic of negotiation in cases of internal dissent. Oddly, it may be the new market economy itself that is bringing this about.

Most of the British press went "to bed" too early to give much coverage to the overnight incursion by Israel into Gaza, but Amerika was still awake when it happened. The destruction seems to have been designed to divide Gaza into three sectors.

The Independent notes how the jets struck on the eve of what might have been a settlement. The same paper has a major features asking about the supposed "dangers" of cannabis following the UN czar's pronoucements the other day. (See previous blog). The US congress vote of allowing medical pot use tomorrow and this is the last chance for US readers to act.

Also of note, Jack Straw has called for an end to the Royal Perogative on matters of UK war-making (although I did note yesterday that in any real sense this vanished back in the days of Thatcher anyway!). A national mail strike is threatened and the "Freedom of Information" office has been accused of, you guessed it, secrecy! Most of the UK press centre their attention on the possibility that Blair will set his departure date before Labore's September conference.

The Spanish parliament votes today on "Rights for Apes". This will be a first for a non-human species! Thanks to a single vote, Amerikan's can still enjoy the privilage of burning their own flag.

Some new UK festival dates in the calender (at left) and a plug for the forthcoming book, Hemp For Victory.


Daylight and the damage done. Palestinians survey the carnage following last night's temper tantrum by Israeli occupiers. See below.
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Zionists re-invade Gaza

Hamas move offers peace hopes amid hostage row

So some Palestinian resistance fighters take a single serving Israeli soldiers hostage and demand the release by Isreal of several hundred prisoners, most of them civilian. So what does Israel do? As of shortly after midnight (UK time) they have sent troops into Gaza , effectively sealing the one remaining independent border with Egypt. As they now claim to look for their missing soldier in an operation rather akin to searching for a needle in a haystack, the Israeli government has promised "great pain" to Palestine and has already bombed the hell out of the local infrastructure. The quest for one soldier seems likely to bring about far more troop casualties and it's anyone's guess how many innocent Palestinians will suffer.

All this as Palestine's Hamas government, whilst not officially recognising the Isreali right to occupation of its territory, has signed up to an agreement that would define the Palestine state borders in the position still legally recognised by the UN - namely those last in effect in 1967. Not that the Zionist expansionists are having any of it - for all the talk of peace they behave in a manner more reminiscent of their own former oppressor, namely Hitler. Plus they have illegal nuclear weapons which represent a far greater threat than those of either Iran or North Korea in real terms. No doubt the hypocritical imperialists in Washington will be lapping up the Israeli agression whilst the UN stand idly by.

The television media are now picking up on it and treating it like a thrill-a-second adventure. No prizes for guessing which side is getting the subliminal support. I'll catch up on the murder count in the morning. Which will be ...


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A quarter century passed, Argentina declares new pursuit of Falklands

Argentina talks tough over new claim to the Falkland Islands

When Thatcher engaged in the "hostilities" with Argentina nearly 25 years back, it was the first major British conflict of the times for people my age. It was also the first time Britain entered such a fray with out obtaining royal consent for a declaration of war. Arguably it was a defensive action and that a "state of war" thus never existed, but rumours abounded that the invasion to which we suppossedly reacted was secretly engineered by British operatives as an excuse to reclaim and further fortify an Imperial outpost whose main asset was its proximity to the oil and mineral resources in Britain's antarctic territories. Whatever the reality, the news that Argentina is getting uppity about the colony again is not good news. Particularly given that Blair has just put Antarctica's protected status "on Hold".

Blair's participation in the invasion of Iraq was most certainly not a "defensive" action and must certainly qualify as a "war". Despite massive protest, he went in anyway - seemingly pursuing an agenda dictated by Amerika. In the disaster that has followed, it is interesting that little mention is ever made of the fact that, despite a hastily-convened parliamentary debate, Blair never obtained royal consent for Britain's latest crusade either.

Today, the Prime Preacher has his hands full again as his most recent scapegoat, former Home Secretary Charles Clarke, goes public with his vindictive misery. So much so, that he's taken up writing essays - yesterday and today. Obviously now devoid of anything better to do and with some time on his hands!

The Scotsman report that the UN Drugs Czar has condemned Britain's downgrading of Cannabis. Whilst I think we can assume the spokeman is a Bush stooge, it is a bad sign - but before we get too depressed about the article, check out the wealth of comment it has produced. Sane voices prevail and also show that The Scotsman has an international reach. As the UN increasingly proves itself useless in combating tyranny and imperialism, it begins to seem like nothing more than a tool of its so-called "Security Council" - an unrepresentative collection of its ruling elite. That its now taken up dictating its own basepoint on civil rights and liberties merely reinforces the obselete nature of its current administration and constitution.

One of Britain;s best political cartoonists is Steve Bell. Here he discusses 25 years on the job with some wicked observations on the targets of his charicatures.

Powell & Rice both said "no WMDs in Iraq"

Two clips from before 9/11 which seem rather at odds with their later comments.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Government Hype?

Cringingly awful public information film designed to be shown at times of crisis such as a nuclear assault.In a real crisis I doubt if anyone would have time to watch it at all - and what's with the smoking policeman around 30 seconds in?
Network Neutrality Advert

This is a promo clip from Save The Internet (see link in lefthand column) about net neutrality.Nice and polite, addressed at mainstream users, it only touches the surface of the censorship issues but you can work out the rest by extension.
Double Take

A hilarious sequence from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show. Governor Bush meets George Bush for a debate - some very clever juxtaposition.

Drugs - The danger is in your bathroom cabinet!

Drug firms a danger to health - report

Nothing particularly new here except that it is all in one major report from the Guardian. As governments worldwide increasingly suck up to the interests of giant multinational pharmaceutical companies, their increased hypocrisy in condemning homeopathic and traditional medicine becomes ever more apparant. The insult in denying people access to herbs like Marijuana is made worse by the deliberate marketing of highly dangerous synthetics which, more often than not these days, have not been fully tested in the short terms - let alone for their long-terms effects and legacy.

It is of course all down to greed and vested corporate interests which care little for the abuse of citizens. In a world where un-natural condition is yet another excuse to promote a new experimental remedy, articles like this are few and far between - and thus, welcome.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Apedom Squawking

Cheney Assails Press on Report on Bank Data

With Bush over in Hungary, it is of course Cheney that's leading the noise. With the ape emporer still trying to wriggle his way out of the phone-tap spying scandals, it is no surprise that the Amerikan government went cock-a-hoop trying to stop the latest one from breaking. Thanks to the New York Times it did - now it's plastered over the entire media and the attempt at a cover-up is causing as much consternation amongst the people as the revelations themselves.

The money and the damage done? Maybe Amerika was unhappy when its citizens learned their privacy was compromised by communications monitoring, but an awful lot of them seemed to assume Bush's insistence on "necessity" was something they could live with. After all - if you are not engaged in anything suspicious, it's unlikely to affect you. Is it? But government interference with your relationship with the great god, money - now that's another thing entirely. Greed and financial hoarding is the sole ethic under which the Amerikan machinary works and the average joe, whilst he doesn't object too particularly to your eavesdropping on his backward opinions, does not take too well to having his private "business" exposed. Namely - the bank accounts.

It gets worse of course. This latest spying tactic has not only been in effect since shortly after 911, but has targeted the international banking system itself. It is not just US residents that need to be concerned - it is everyone on the planet who buys into Amerika's style of capitalism or the world banking system itself. This is Bushland at it's lunatic best - kicking its own people and its allies in the ass!


Thursday, June 22, 2006

If you're in London, yet another climate change party outside the Amerikan Embassy on Saturday. Set to be a monthly event over the summer months it seems.
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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"Sabotage" (Beastie Boys)

Okay - so I'm no a big fan of Heavy Metal or whatever this genre is, but the song certainly has something to say. The words and pictures, more so. Check out the link left for 911 Truth in the UK.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Return to Brockwell Park

So the Medical Pot lobby went to parliament this year and last year held an educational rally in Trafalgar Square. The year before that and for several years previous there was a wonderful annual legalisation festival in Brockwell Park, London. Here is some newly posted footage - music and nostaligia to enjoy.

Spies in your skies

Independent Online Edition > Americas

My prefered reading, fiction-wise, has always been science-fiction - especially the type of "dangerous visions" that sought to be prophetic or warn us about possible futures. Notwithstanding the works of HG Wells, Jules Verne, Goeroge Orwell and others, the genre itself was probablt still niche reading until the mid-1970s. Then came "Star Wars" and the door was opened to all manner of futuristic romps courtesy of Hollywood's cinema screens. So much so in fact, that those same "dangerous vision" scenarios have become part of the popular psyche - so commonplace in film, videogames and other entertainment media that darker messages are obscured by the trill of adventure in environments that many assume subliminally will come to pass with real time.

Such is the case with the 21st century epidemic we call the "surveillance state". One wonders how willingly we would accept it if the notion were not already implanted in our brains by nearly 30 years of fanasy entertainment wherein it appeared as the norm. There are countless stories where the world is infested with devices ranging from tiny robot "spy" insects to monstrous airbourne "tanks" that dispense death or justice at the whim of unseen intelligence and at the spur of the moment.

Residents of Los Angeles have now been treated to under step in that direction. See headline link above.


Missile Threat or Missile Hype?

Defense Tech: North Korea

With the possible exception of Australia, Amerika is the world's "teenager". As such, a rebellious independent attitude might be something we should expect. Sadly, this particular wayward child is psychotically insular and displays an arrogance that goes beyond reason. It is highly vocal, but it exists in its own private realm with which any kind of inter-personal communication is impossible. Worse still, it has the nerve to assume that its own self-determination is absolute, no matter how they affect the affairs of others. This "teenager" is little more than a spoilt brat - "buying" false friendships and dumping them at will when the attraction wear off. It exerts it will everywhere and anywhere, despite the fact it has no heritage, tradition or experience with which to stride the adult world. It has yet to learn that "no man is an island" and pursues a course destined for the ultimate isolation. As with any errant "teenager" there comes a time when even the most tolerant will seek to restrain it. That time has come.

What is lacking is any true consensus on how to approach the problem of this youngster. The less tolerant of the world simply seek to terminate it as soon as possible. The more tolerant seek to restain it but struggle with their inability to communicate. Any attempt to censure its behaviour results in an temper tantrum wholly uncocerned with the issue at hand. The more humble on the world stage watch in awe, amidst great confusion as the temper becomes violent. Even the hermits are woken up.

One of those hermits is, by all accounts, a rather unsavoury character. North Korea is disturbed and wants its voice to be heard. Unlike some others, it has no time for diplomacy - especially when the errant child refuses to even speak with it. It knows it can't fight or attack the young bully, but it sure as hell can seek to defend itself. Like its fellow hermit, Iran, it insists on doing so. Sacrifice is preferable to subdugation.

This writer is very much the pacifist and has no time for war-posturing and weapons - especially the nuclear kind. Nor do I have any liking for North Korea, Nonetheless, at this point in time I don't give a damn whether they have an inter-continental missile or not. They will never begin to match the firepower of the teenager's arsenal, but they may just be able to offer enough defense to keep the aggressor in check. Neither Iran nor North Korea offer any light toward a civilised world, any more than does Amerika itself - but like the old Soviet Union, their intolerance of meddlers may just send the message that the world itself cannot survive without mutual communication between all its residents. When the teenager seeks to slaughter all those who will not be its slaves, resistance is inevitable. Whether that resistance comes from the forces of "good" or the forces of "bad" becomes almost a matter of inconsequence - it is the unavoidable reaction against the pursuit of mindless imperialism.


Monday, June 19, 2006

911 - Deepest Secrets

Was 911 simply a contemporary version of Hitler's Reichstag Fire? Where the previous piece looked at what was done after the fact, this montage sees Mike Rupert discussing the "hows and whys" of its engineering and happening in the first place.
Shock & Awe Revealed

A short documentary piece on the origins of the "shock and awe" approach of Imperial Amerika and its use since the 911 events.

The 911 Truth Group meet in London again tonight - Printer's Devil, Fetter Lane. The focus this week is on campaign planning.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

1pm UK Time

INTERVIEW - "Myth" That Green Protection Hits Economy

Okay. I'm sitting here browsing the news and all hell breaks loose. First off, a large low flying plane has me running for the window. Second, a few more follow and the paraniod in me wonders if a load of big-wigs are fleeing London for some reason. Then masses more - I conclude that it's all too obvious and remember that it's probably part of Queenie's birthday celebrations. Helluvva noise though! The final flypast had all the audio impact of a missile strike and set off most of the car alarms in this usually peaceful square.

Obviously we have airpower to spare over and beyond that deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Shuddering under the sonic assault, my thoughts went out to those unfortunate people whose lot it is to live in those countries and others - where this kind of activity is a perpetual nuisance and an impediment itself to everyday life.

So back to the papers. What did I have open? The headline link above - an interview that suggests the green agenda is not an odds with economic growth. As good a lead as any.

Last night I mentioned the Bonnaroo Festival broadcast. Tom Petty was on good form with Stevie Nicks joining him onstage. The webcast picture quality was fine but the audio itself not the best. Most annoying of all was the censorship. None of the subtle "bleeps" you get with the likes of the BBC, but huge badly-cut chunks of silence. It belied the claim that it was genuinely "live" (why the warning about viewer discretion?) and served little purpose. There may have been a few four-letter words near the end, but most of the censored lyrics simply refrred to "getting high" and "rolling a joint". Laughingly, far more controversial innuendo in other songs completely passed the meddlers and "Last Dance for Mary Jane" got broadcast intact.

A great concert, but a sad day for freedom of expression in an Amerikan media plagued by fear and paranoia. See previous blog for an item about Bush signing a "broadcast decency" act.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Bonnaroo Festival

AT&T blue room presents Bonnaroo

A quiet day totoday but a good weekend of music in store at the above link. Almost the midnight hour here in the UK but the evening is just starting over there. I'm waiting up for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers at 8.30pm (CST) which will be the wee small hours my time. With Buddy Guy and the Neville Brothers tomorrow and Phil Lesh on Sunday the line-up is promising. The first few hours certainly have been!

The Independent offer a more detailed British take on the Bill Gates retirement mentioned yesterday. Meanwhile, Bush has signed a broadcast censorship bill.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Domestic mimickery of the world stage? I couldn't resist the symbolism in this picture sent from Leilani Horton in New Mexico.
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Gates Retires

Breaking News Headlines and Video from CBS News

Just in from CBS news that Microsoft Corp. has announced that co-founder and chairman Bill Gates is relinquishing daily duties in 2008 to work more closely with his foundation. Gates will continue to serve as chairman and adviser on key projects. Details promised at the above link shortly.

Whether this will result in major policy changes for the monolith corporation remains to be seen. Although the new Vista operating system is due shortly, there are rivals available. More importantly, their services are under threat from Google's online facilities and other specialised portals. Gates is clearly rich enough not to worry, but the days of patching together a commercial implementation of other people's ideas are over. Microsoft need to find themselves a new direction - one which doesn't rely on monopolisation. Their leading user interface is probably their most valuable property - it needs to become more adaptable and friendly for those who seek its co-operation with systems of the future.

As Bill continues with other pursuits, maybe a new visionary will take the helm.

Change could be in the air. Today, the chief of IBM (they of the original operating systems) has called for An end to "Colonial Attitudes" in companies. CBS also have a feature on Closing the Digital Divide.

The US government is increasingly resorting to data mining as, Google are launching a sub-search-engine specifically designed to sort through all the data the government has. Another of Google's technologies now actually "listens" to TV broadcasts over the web to index the content.

On the ground and over here, Ireland will now be searching all US planes landing on its soil after allegations of rendition flights got serious as the cleaners found a prisoner. In Iraq, around 60 British soldiers a month are being diagnosed with mental illness whilst the new local government is pardoning many insurgents - some of which are known US attackers. Maybe the latter is in return for Bush's presumptive behaviour a few fews ago.

The UK labour governmet has been revealed to have forced near one and a half million pensioners onto state benefits by implementing tax rises they cannot afford by themselves. Our law lords have also decided that Britain's arms deals are more worthy of protection than torture victims by refusing to allow a prosecution of Saudi Arabia.

Thanks to some great facilities from the folks at "You Tube" you will now be seeing more video features directly in this blog. Primarily, this will allow you to listen to some great historical music clips while you read and also re-run key political programmes and satire. Enjoy.

Bush Unspun

A wonderful little montage of the Ape Emporer addressing congress at the last Stae of The Union. At around 90 seconds, all the unneccessary words have been deleted giving us the real sppeech in a compact and concise format.
Alex Jones fires off on "Conspiracy Zone"

911 cover-ups, FEMA and torture - good to see some free talking still in Amerika.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Take Back America, Day One: John Kerry and Hillary Clinton

Some rather biased commentary from Pox News here, but the speeches are intact.

5 minute notice

Amerikan Honcho storms in

It is said the Ape Emporer does not like to travel. He'd rather hunker down in Texas or its Washington colony. A journey beyond the homeland must be risky - into a war zone even more so. As someone who has successfully screwed up most of the planet, this paranoia would now be justified. So who had the bright idea of dispatching him to Iraq?

Much has been made of the secrecy surrounding his trip - after all, most thought he was holidaying in Camp David unde the auspices of discussing (?) Iraq "policy" with his advisors. Yet some advisor or other decided this excursion was necessary. We are told that only a few favoured individuals knew of the plan - yet a full complement of the press corps were assurred places on Air Force One. The mission was said to be in support of Iraq's new Prime Minister, but it looked far more like a PR stunt to combat falling ratings. Summoned to the meeting at 5 minutes notice, Iraq's new leader looked decidedly uncomfortable. Not surprising really - the image of solidarity created by the photo-call will not have helped his standing with the electorate and the whole exercise seemed designed to make a folly of the notion of an independent sovereign government.

No leader flies into the country of another without announcing themselves. You certainly don't then barge in for an uninvited audience, taking over the show and then refusing to actually conduct any serious conversation off-camera. Any pretence that Iraq is now in charge of its own destiny will have now been dispelled by this display of Amerikan arrogance and imperial assumption. Nice one, Dubya!

In Palestine, Israel's attempt to get itself off the hook over the beach slaughter has been upset by evidence pointing to their guilt. Human rights Watch are demanding an investigation.

In Britain, the Home office is in more trouble. This time for spending more money trying to recover criminals' proceeds than actually doing so. Plus, Home Secreary John Reid is himself accused of hypocrisy.

New York Times have a piece revealing Google's new data centre. One nice touch, all the huge processing power required is actually supplied by a local water source.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Miles Davis & John Coltrane - "So what"

A bit of music while you read? Some classic live jazz from 1959.

Blair meets new Israeli mouthpiece Ehud Olmert who came looking for backing on the continued occupation of Palestine. Remarkably, he didn't get it - as Blair insisted on Israel's return to its 1967 borders. Some sanity in Downing Street for once? See below.
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Blair shows some sense for once

Blair refuses to back Olmert's West Bank plan

A report above on Blair's meeting with the new zionist leader, Ehud Olmert. Instead of giving backing to Israel's continued occupation of Palestine, he has sensibly demanded that the forces of invasion should return to their defined 1967 borders. Were they to do so, it is said that there is every chance that Hamas, the elected Palestinian government, would concede Israel's right to exist on their former lands and that a workable solution could be found for the two states to co-exist as neighbours.

Sadly, it seems that Palestine's legacy president would rather swing towards placating Israel. That a threat of civil war in Palestine itself now looms following his attack on the elected government simply plays into the hands of the occupiers who will claim that Hamas are an unfit party with which the negotiate. Full marks then for once, to Tony Blair who seemingly insisted that "negotiation is the only way forward". Cynics note that he may have his eyes on a role as international peace-maker as a post-prime-ministerial legacy - but if he sticks to his guns on this one, who cares?

Now if only the UN would take action of Israel's illegal nuclear weapons, there might be a sensible future yet for the Middle East. It would also go a long way toward tempering Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Vibrant music at London's Cuba carnival at the weekend. Photo by Saeeda Anwar.
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Comment is free: Pain, pot and politics

Pain, pot and politics

A link to the blog "Sacred Rain" by Christina Morgan on the medical pot issue. Good article, but more interesting for the extent of discussion following it - probably due to its being published as part of the Guardian's "Big Blogger" feature.

Alter Nat also have an item on Big Parma's deadly experiments just as the UK approves Prozac for kids.

Yours truly has spent the weekend indulging in a Cuban music festival here in London. Bopping away, the sounds are still echoing in my head - a welcome remedy to the darker world of newsfeeds. Also in music, the return of the Isle of Wight festival. But comparisons to Woodstock? Come off it.

With fresh blood on his hands, Israel's leader comes to London. Also, Support for Britain's police chief is crumbling (see notes last week) and a report suggests our civil service are becoming increasingly frustrated with government incompetence. New laws have not made the UK any safer either.

Bombed then beaten to death? As he dies for the 7th time, another piece on how Al-Zarqawi got invited onto the war stage in the first place. Vanity Fair tackle the lies they needed for the war they wanted and OpEd look at "risk-transfer militarism".

Now to read today's news.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Yesterday's maked cycle ride around London landmarks was intended to draw attention to pollution and environment issues. It worked!
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Friday, June 09, 2006

Everybody's tuning in the German combat zone. Even the British police have relocated for the duration.
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The Ball-kicking war begins

AlterNet: World War on the Soccer Field

This link leads to a piece at Alter Net. Today of course sees the start of a new theatre of combat that will obsess both the news and entertainment media for a few weeks to come. It is the 4-yearly foot whacking tournament that provides a seemingly palatable excuse for patriotism. It will be largely lost on Amerika however - they'd rather play "sock ya!" than soccer.

The big diversion will obviously take our eyes off the other real wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The only way to avoid it on TV will be to watch Big Brother - an equally trivial pursuit. Better to check the web - who knows what games our governments will play with legislation and policy changes while we are looking the other way? England match days should be interesting in Whitehall - no doubt MPs will be anxious to rush through anything so that they too can run off and glue themselves to the compulsory plasma screens.

Bah humbug, and ...


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Dysfunctional Home Oriface spews forth

How 10 joints could lead to 14 years for dealing

When John Reid took over the job of Home Secretary he described his new department as "unfit for purpose". He was, I think, refering to its communication and organisational abilities - but if this piece above from today's Guardian is anything to go by, I think we can consider the description equally appropriate to its policy-making arm.

A couple of years back, the decision to re-classify marijuana as a "Class C" drug was widely considered a commendable, if not wholly adequate, move. The quantities considered to equate with "possession" were even more liberal than expected - a crucial point given that the measure of the herb involved would most likely mean the difference between a caution and an arrest for those found with it. Yet today it seems this malfunctioning ediface has come up with the idea of re-adjusting the "possession" guidelines to a microscopic amount.

This effectively wipes out the progress made by the legislative change. Casual users could once again find themselves incarcerated in already over-crowded prisons and the issue of "possession" versus "trafficking" will again become blurred and unworkable. More law enforcement time and manpower will have to be diverted from more important issues to pursue an antiquated civil rights assault that benefits nobody except possibly Blair's spin doctors. Or maybe the coffers of pharmaceutical giants anxious to experiment on human guinea-pigs with an increasing range of psychoactive products supposedly tailored to individual requirements?

Of course there could be another agenda. Four decades ago, drug legislation began to be used for the supression of and interference with prevailing social undercurrents. It was, if you like, the "excuse" under which government could conduct civil rights abuses which would otherwise have been unacceptable to a libertarian society.

This inevitably brings me back to the meddling architecture of the surveillance state. As so often in recent decades, propaganda and misinformation are being used to hide the real issues.

On Monday night I attended a meeting of the London group of the "911 Truth" campaign. Highly interesting and attended by a very diverse range of people, it brought home one essential point. If the evidence about the true nature of the "terror" attacks on Amerika were made widely available, the cultural shock on the innocent masses would possibly be far greater than the original event itself. Certainly, five years of draconian legislation and illegal government behaviour both here and elsewhere across the world would be brought into question were a mammoth "sham" exposed. The likes of "No-2-ID" and the "anti-war" campaigns would become more justified than ever, yet were the intent of global governance revealed as a "masquerade" the world would probably end up facing more unrest than we have at present.

In the music world, we have sadly lost Billy Preston aged just 59. In Art, do check out a new online graphic novel - "Shooting War" is set in the Iraq War but sometime in the near future.

Lots more in "Latest Clicks".


Monday, June 05, 2006

Intelligence or lack of it?

Officials admit doubts over chemical plot

The British media have spent some days indulging themesleves with last week's anti-terror raid in London. 250 police and intelligence personal on the scene, a thankfully non-fatal shooting and still no clear evidence that anything was amiss. Today's headline from the Guardian above brings us up to date and questions whether there was any real justification for the exercise at all. Most disturbing was the news that the occupants of the next door house were also incarcerated incommunicado for 12 hours just for living in an adjacent building.

One wonders whether the surveillance state is becoming the cause of its own problems. Data is great but we still don't have powerful enough AI (Artificial Intelligence) to sort it accurately. Thus it is left to beaurocrats and mere mortals to analyse and interpret. Increasingly they seem less adept at the task.

Radio news here just reported that a group of travel agents have been kidnapped in Bagdad by insurgents posing as police. Such stories have become a daily event these days, but I find this curious. No details yet, but of all the places on the planet one might NOT expect to find travel agents, surely Iraq is number one. Smells like a cover!


Sunday, June 04, 2006

A tactical break in the preacher's holiday
eTV Picture Post

Nuff said

Blair plans state funeral for Thatcher

The above just has to be my pick of the weekend. After a few days in the Cesspit called Washington, anyone would need a holiday, but surely the prime Preacher is taking far too many these days. Currently languishing in post-Berlusconi Italy, he's taken time out to aquaint himself with the new Prime Minister and also his Papalness - urgently seeking sainthood perhaps? The above story is however the most audacious of all. Blair, it seems, is planning a big state funeral for his heroine, Margaret Thatcher. It would be the only such event since the death of Winston Churchill, but there's one problem - the Iron Lady is still alive!

In 1981, two peace protesters set up camp outside the White House and became an institution, as yet undisturbed by the advent of Bush and the facist state. They are still there, now celebrating their 25th anniversary.

The Ape Emporer has embarked on a consultancy excercise over Iran policy. He may even be looking to dissenters for help, but taking the ticket surely is his appointing an "expert" consultant who is a known Iranian news hoaxer!

In comics, Batwoman returns. She is now a lesbian! There also now seems to be a surge in anti-war titles.

The "Daily Prescott" is not published today.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Silencing the marvericks

Independent Online Edition

This headline link leads to a feature at The Independent on the controversial deputy police commissioner, Brian Paddick. An outspoken and relatively liberal voice in the firoce, he has now been "promoted" to an insignificant desk job. The message? he should now retire or resign. This is a bad sign and symptomic of the beleagered commissioner, Sir Ian Blair now operating on the defensive. With others in the ranks saying it is he who should go, is London's Met engaed in its own civil war?

I've been offline for near 36 hours for some extensive system maintainence and now have a tripe-sized inbox to cope with. Scanning news undercurrents is time-consuming at the best of times so check "Latest Clicks" for breaking items. Normal service will be resumed ...