Sunday, July 31, 2005

He tried to bomb Shephers Bush, he failed and ran ways via Westbourne Park, he took three days to get to Waterloo, he boarded Eurostar despite his phot being plastered all over the station, he made his way to Rome and now claims it was all a "demonstration". See below.
eTV post

Our local basement plotters

lifts lid on London bomb plot

Another quick London bombers link. The one who tried to bomb our "local" target here (Shepherds Bush/Westbourne Park) has confessed to Italian interrogators and it seems a basement gym in Notting Hill was where all the planning took place. One wonders about the speed of this revelation given the close connection between mafia and police in that country.

Some questions were raised last week about MI5's overt recruitment campaign and whether this may actually increase the likelyhood of infiltration by "Islamist" activists. The "standing-down" of Irish republican miliary operations may also have some greater significance, given that they are known to have co-operated with British Intelligence in previous times of greater warfare.

During recent years there have been endless stories of Amerika shipping prisoners to countries that engage in torture to extract information. One hopes that Britain has no plans to engage in similar practices. Information gleaned under such circumstances can barely be considered reliable - people will "confess" to anything that offers relief under duress and the technique is hardly the mark of a civilised society in the 21st century.

We should take care to ensure the hunt for global threats to our modern day lifestyle does not bring us to another age of inquisition.


Saturday, July 30, 2005

Money matters & screw the rest of us

Tax cuts=bribes

A very quick lin today for some interesting financial figures. More a case of get rich quick that any political common sense. Whether such profits will be worth a dime when the economy crashes is a mute point.

Britain now seems to have caught all those on the run following the recent bomb attempts. Two of the raid were rather close to home here so we are in a bit of extra shock. The Portobello tourist zone will probably be experienced some interrupted traffic flow today.

Quote of the week ...

"The fact that you shot yourself leads me to believe you are not very experienced in handling firearms" - a high court judge prior to sentancing a nighclub bouncer for turning away someone with a gun.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

War is over - if you want it

IRA Says It Will Disarm | July 28, 2005

At 4.30pm today the IRA renounced and ceased all military operations in Northern Ireland and elsewhere. Although they have not disbanded, they will be pursuing a peaceful democratic path following increasing political support in both Northern Ireland and the republic itself. This link has the latest.

I rarely use a printer these days - email, blogs and portable electronic documents have made them both un-necessary and an appalling waste of paper resources which the world's forests can ill afford any longer. Now there's another reason. Click here to find out how the Electronic Frontier Foundation are going public on their concern about home-printer manufacturers whose products are producing hidden watermarks that can identify you to government and other parties. Anyone producing hard-copy for propaganda purposes could be in for a rude shock on their doorstep!


5 years late - Amerika ends "war" on terror

Independent Online Edition

I just had to blog the link to this little story. The emperor's new facelift is of course a purely cosmetic makeover but it seems someone in the administration has finally woken up to the meaningless title given to recent imperial crusades. I've been saying for yonks that a war on a methodology or warfare itself is an absolute nonsense - more the shame that Britain's Blair-faced minions are using the expression more and more.

In these ominous times, the police seem to have mastered the art of frank talking in plain English - just when the political elite seem to have forgotten it entirely.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Blair v Blair in the War Against Terror

Scotsman Story

Lost in his own personal ideology, we all know the UK prime minister (preacher) has long since lost touch with the electorate. Now it appears the dissent extends to the domestic quarters of Downing Street too. Read more with this link.

New today, Richard Neville posts a new edition of his blog.

As for this one? Sorry about the lack of postings, but some other tasks have taken priority recently. Re-organising my web locations foremost. Check Latest Clicks for the most interesting stories.

Here in the UK I'm on two wheels pedalling away from public transport. Wearing a rucksack is essential for this, so let's hope cyclists are not in the scope of the public executioners. A shot in the arm is preferable to eight in the head.

London's churning.


Friday, July 22, 2005

The big news today is the shooting of a suspect unrelated to this lot on the underground. Eyewitness reports would seen to indicate the killing was closer to an execution than a result of the chase. It seems there may be questions to be answered Posted by Picasa

These are the pictures released today of the latest bomb suspects. Londoners - keep you eyes open and contact if you know anything. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Strange face for a new Robin Hood

Britain, UK news from The Times and The Sunday Times - Times Online

Today's link is for an article in the Times which doesn't seem to have been reported elsewhere.

If you have savings in the bank which are lying dormant for use in the future you should heed this one. It appears our beloved benevolent chancellor has plans to raid your account if it isn't actually used over a period of time. After the fiasco of his tax credits scheme, you would think a bit more care would be exercised before announcing schemes such as this.

Website News

Burnsite can no longer be accessed by it's domain name so use the links here instead. The registration is due for renewal at the end of this year and it may not be possible to transfer to a new host before that time. Meanwhile, all you really need is here anyway. You may see pictures appearing here now and again as I attempt to convert this blog into a slightly more exhaustive news monitoring portal to replace Burnsite Online. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The first signs of global censorship?

CBS News | Blair: Let's Talk Extremism | July 20, 2005�12:00:16

The first thing that struck me about Britain's reaction to the recent bombings was that, unlike the response to the earlier New York attacks, the affair was conducted as a criminal investigation rather than a overtly military one. When, following 9/11, the then un-elected Bush declared "war" on an abstraction, he had the perfect excuse to apply it to any "enemy" that took his fancy regardless of any direct association to the attacks themselves. Whilst he may be on a sympathy roll with 7/7, Blair has already subscribed to the Bush agenda and can't claim it anew for himself. So he's been forced to create his own mission - albeit one that will fit in very nicely with Amerikan policy.

Blair's new "war" will be on something just as intangible as "terrorism" per se - namely, "extremism". Once again, it is not a notion adequately qualified to have any real meaning beyond a "catch-all" phrase for anybody (or everybody) who advocates a world social system in opposition to his own values and economic interests. Given that those include rape and pillage of the planet, supporting and promoting the illegal occupation of other people's territories and the enforcement of mass slavery to the consumerist market hierarchy - it could be said that he himself is guilty of a form of "extremism". Any claims to the contrary were repudiated by the impotence of his G8 summit to alter anything other than its cosmetic appearance.

This link may seem like just another news item in the post-7/7 propaganda machine, but like the debate over ID cards (a project now virtually uncontested anymore) it hints at something more.

We live in a rapidly accelerated world where rapid change is needed to protect the future of human life, but the traditional political machines still move slower than even the social norm amongst those who elected them. Lifelong learning is becoming an essential requirement of 21st century living, yet educationalists themselves do not constantly refresh their own skills in order to pass them on to the next generation. In economically-deprived and ethnically-biased areas the learning process is a disgrace and dis-enchantment amongst the young can almost be taken for granted. Religious teaching is symptomatic of this regression in that it conveys basic doctrine without regard for contemporary life-skills and social trends. Although rarely structured to address today's multi-ethic society, it is usually the one item on the curriculum that requires few financial resources and little updating. It gains in popularity when credible alternatives are scarce.

The citadels of religion have only ever had one real function - the dissemination and control of information. They are all largely redundant in the information age but still gain subscription by targeting the disenfrachised and presenting themselves as the ultimate authority. The information they omit to convey is often far more dangerous that that which they directly preach. Believers are given selected data and left to rationalise it for themselves. In collective congregation, the message becomes that of the lowest common denominator until simplicity becomes absolute and fundamentalism is born. Extremism can be moderated by providing the ensnared with more information - censoring what little they already have will narrow their field of vision even more and make them more prone to exploitation.

This is not acute to Islam. It applies to all religions. Putting religious obsessives like Blair and Bush in charge of moderating competing ideologies is a recipe for disaster. While the world speeds along, religion festers and indoctrination occurs slowly. When, some time from now, the non-Christian faiths realise they've been hi-jacked by the dictates of "infidels" - the violence and destruction will most likely be far worse than anything we've witnessed yet.

We don't just need to feed the world, we need to educate it and promote self-determination of all its citizens. Make fundamentalism history!


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Message Posted by Picasa

Neo-Con Novels & Illegal Mushrooms

Jeet Heer, "Tory Stories"

A quick link here courtesy of Counterpuch leads to a discussion on literature and how it reveals more about the authors than they may realise.

In the UK, sellers of "magic" mushrooms will no longer be able to take advantage of a loophole in the law which did not specify that fresh forms of the fungi were illegal. From yesterday, the Drugs Act 2005 came into force stating that the sale of the hallucinogenic fungi, whether dried or fresh, is illegal. How long before plants are known as "weapons of mass corruption" I wonder.

There is some bad news on my front too. has been brought down and cannot be accessed as a domain name. The content can still be found at but links back to it from dependent servers no longer function properly. I'll be using this blog provide access until some solution can be found.


Monday, July 18, 2005

Apologies to a very old Private Eye parody

Britain, UK news from The Times and The Sunday Times - Times Online

"Grocer Heath, Grocer heath -
Never mind now those awful teeth.
Oh no, oh no!

Grocer's Daughter, Grocer's Daughter -
She really took you to the slaughter.
Oh woe, oh woe!

Grocer Heath, Grocer Heath -
May you now rest in peace.
Just so. Just so."

In memory of Edward Heath - the one British prime minister who, whatever his faults, both championed the European cause and steadfastly stood up against the United States of Amerika.


Sunday, July 17, 2005

'Exercises' Took Place at Same Time as Real Bomb Attacks

London Underground Bombing 'Exercises' Took Place at Same Time as Real Attack

Just when I said the conspiracy theories were quiet, up pops this item. Then, to get things really going there's another HERE too.

Normal blog will hopefully resume tomorrow, but there have been serious problems with my website being taken down today. It remains to be seen whether this can be resolved amicably, but there's a fairly functional version available direct here, which is the main server for the portal (burnsite) itself.

Latest clicks has been updated there as well.


Friday, July 15, 2005

If you have faith, don't flaunt it!

CBS News | Protecting Islam | July 14, 2005�23:00:18

Well, I'm back. Not only with the blog but in London town too. It hardly seems like only a week since the bombings but I was more acutely aware of security concerns coming into London by train than ever before and even lugged my bag home across the park rather than face public transport. The park itself was full of collapsed Londoners seemingly withering in an oppressive heat and it's just as hot today. Not the best weather for concentration I'm afraid.

Last week's assault on the Capital City remains in the news headlines, today with the arrest of an Egyptian chemist reputed to be involved. Unlike 911, the conspiracy theorists don't seem to be gathering on this one and it is remarkable just how quickly the anti-terrorist agencies have got to grips with the apparant plot. It seems almost laughable that the investigation took off so quickly becuase one of the bombers forgot to tell his parents he'd be going away, but it is this simple fact that reveals the hardest truth of all - that these kids willing to commit suicide for their cause are just that - kids.

Islamic youth living in 21st century western-dominated society are restless. Unlike Christianity-brainwashed offspring who usually rebel against regressive fundamentalism, rebels from the muslim tradition are reacting to the ineffectual representation of Islam in the greater society by retreating into the extremes of religion and distorting its values. The ready-made option is the Al Quada movement whose argument, at its simplest, seems to be that only the destruction of the oppressive superpowers will bring about their kind of justice. As I have recalled before, Bin Laden actually "declared" war on the west way back in the last century - it was reported in the mainstream media and considered by all and sundry to be something of a joke. Certainly, the threat wasn't taken seriously, which coupled with the rise of the Taliban and increased despair in the Palestinian hub, led to an uncontested rise in his movement with plenty of time for training guerrilla forces and embedding "sleeper" cells in target nations.

You cannot have a war against "terrorism" because terrorism is merely a method of warfare. The French resistance of WW2 were "terrorists" as are almost all participants in insurgancies. The British and the USA have employed more than their own fair share of terror tactics to serve their military ends. That a new kind of global war is already in motion can no longer be denied, but it is ill-defined. As with all wars, the foot-soldiers are the young and fit - too innocent to fully know why they follow a cause and frequently too ignorant to question it. The London bombers, like the Japanese suicide bombers of WW2, are simply soldiers in a war being played out and engineered by others who manipulate the field of play far from the frontlines.

Today's link addresses the issue of persuading moderate Islam to actively tackle the extremists within its midst. It is a worthy call, but I fear it is far too late - the rebel powerbase already exists and has no real affinity with traditional Islam. Some of the foot-soldiers may hide there, but they almost certainly hide in other walks of life too - probably with no obvious religious connection at all.

Extremists also exist on the opposing side. Behind the well-spun disguises, the fundamentist drive behind the Bush and Blair crusades cannot be ignored. Both seek a world dominated by the archaic Christian mindset that would claim to "tolerate" other faiths rather than "accept" them. Faiths can only co-exist when they are relegated to matters of personal belief and their ideaology open to discussion and debate. Worship of any absolute and employing methods of mass-indoctrination simply sows the seeds of conflict.

The generation that stood up to Amerika's manufactured war in Vietnam brought that conflict to a halt. In the media-driven social machine of the 21st century a new generation of young rebels is less obvious. Yet something seems to be emerging - it can be sensed in online blogs and cyberspace in general. It also seems the vote of intellectually-starved, consumer-blinded, middle Amerika that brought the current administration to power may itself be less-than-willing to offer up it's own young as foot-soldiers to be sacrificed at PNAC's whim. Military job-hunters just can't be found and attempts to turn Amerika's educational establishments into recruitment centres has backfired by upsetting the parents nationwide. If as it seems, Amerika re-introduces the draft, the social backlash could be the trigger for major change.

The pacifist that I am, this should be cause for optimism. From a commentator's point of view I'm more cautious. The G8 summit was a communications failure that now seems almost forgotten as the mainstream media have fed us with stories about the London attack to the point of obsession. Moves to curb the western lifestyle that is raping the planet to death have been largely ignored. Moves to give "aid" to people living in poverty had already been announced and the summit only produced a few modifications which are conditional on subscription to the western notion of trade hierarchy. No surprise either, that aid is concentrated on the only continent where Christianity is still in ascendency and the populations ripe for manipulation. Exactly how the plans will bear fruit in lands that are now under threat of desertification too is anyone's guess. Aid will almost certainly be a temporary cosmetic cure that does nothing to give the recipients a chance to build their own sustainable infrastructure. Rather, it will further enslave them to the foreign multi-national complex.

Only when a sense of fairness and equality streaches around our entire planet will these new conflicts end. Instantaneous communication and digital decadence will mean nothing if the earth isn't a viable eco-system and whilst we continue to forge a path of destruction we are doing nothing to placate the danger both within our midst and elsewhere.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Boy-President in a Failed World?

AlterNet: Boy-President in a Failed World?

It's been another long hot sultry day here and the mind is less than focused on writing.

Tonight's link is a piece on Bushy by Tom Englehardt courtesy of AlterNet. There's also an interview discussing how the arab media has reported last week's London bombings.

Latest reports tonight suggest that police have CCTV footage of the bombers who are believed to be British and from the Leeds area. It also seems that Britain has indeed experienced its first "suicide" attacks. The question now is what motivates young British men to act like this.

Is Bush responsible for the new mobilisation in progressive Us politics? Click here.

Also announced - Neil Young and others reuniting in Chicago this September for the 2oth anniversary of Farm Aid.


Monday, July 11, 2005

Fighting the Wrong War and learning from Lost Civilisations

AlterNet: Fighting the Wrong Wara

Is Amerika losing faith with almighty Bushy? This leads an an article at Alternet.

In the same place, click here for another good article about Easter island and other long-pst civilisations that may offer clues we need today.


Who watches the watchmen - reprise

AlterNet: Readers Write: Who's Watching the Watch List?: "including "

As this quick link shows, an increasing number of Americans are becoming worried, or at least mystified, by their security status. Of course that list I posted the other day does seem to continue into infinity.

Today we also learn that France's former President Mitterand did actually order the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior (a Greenpeace ship) 20 years back - despite his denials at the time.

Meanwhile, this link, to the Scotsman shows the British police getting into the act of harrassing medical pot growers. Customers of these chocolates will now be forced to use drug dealers to obtain their medicine.


Sunday, July 10, 2005

My little china whirl

Get Used to It: China's bid to take over Unocal is just the start of its plans for acquisitions -- In These Times
This morning's link shows Amerika finally waking up to week old news with concern about an inpending Chinese invasion - capitalist stylee of course. Of more interest than the news are the comments following it.

Self is about to go check out the last day of the Marlborough Jazz Festival, so it's a case of ...


Saturday, July 09, 2005

Wherefores & Whys of Thursday

Tariq Ali: the London Bombings, Why They Happened

A little late link as I arrive in the heart of Britain's countryside and feeling far away from both bombs and the other pressures of city life in London. Downside is that there will be no website updates for the duration (including "latest clicks") but I do get more time for reading and, of course, this blog. This link leads to some comment by Tariq Ali on the sad events last week and is from Counterpunch.

Back, unless I manage to get too laid back, tomorrow.

Which is, quite naturally ...


Friday, July 08, 2005

London calling - Despondent yet defiant

Independent Online Edition > Crime : app2

As the shock subsides everyone here is tring to get back to normal. This link will take you to all the coverage from today's "Independent" newspaper, starting with some eyewitness accounts from the bus explosion.

As forensic teams dig deeper into whatever traces the perpetrators of this horror may have left behind, it seems increasingly certain that the single bus incident was the work of a suicide bomber. London is no stranger to terror attacks and we are constantly wary of unattended packages and the like - but if this is the case it will be a first. It also means some of our future vigilance will turn to people themselves more than objects they may have planted. If this results in a culture of suspicion the legacy of this attack may be more insidious than we think.

Given that the suicide bomber detonated some time after the other bombs, it also raises the spectre that the whole assault could have been conducted, if not orchestrated, by a single person. I'm no expert, but the pattern of explosions around the junction of the Piccadilly and Circle (underground) lines looks like a group of pre-set devices may well have been planted from a single station before the culprit went aboveground and onto the bus. Of course, this assumes the trains were moving in the appropriate direction to arrive where they exploded and I certainly don't have the information to qualify that possibility. The thought however, is alarming.

As I write, the police will not confirm that the bus explosion was caused by a suicide bomber, so speculation is rather pointless. Meanwhile, in a rather quieter way than usual, life in London is returning to normal, proving that in the long run such atrocities, whilst remembered, will not serve to change our lives.

For completely unrelated reasons, I'm off out of town tomorrow - so, barring any later bulletins today, it will be Sunday or Monday before I'm back here. The website, including latest clicks, will be updated before I leave but may be dormant for a while thereafter.

Later, whenever.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London mourning! News - Top Stories - Twelve dead, at least 150 injured as terrorists target London

Based in London as I am, it is hard to focus on any other news than that of the chaos caused by the terrorist attacks here his morning. This link leads to the latest posting at The Scotsman where all the latest from G8 can be found as well.

For those who have read, or are about to read, my previous blog an explanation is in order. The first paragraph was written last night - subsequent paragraphs this morning as I woke to the news. They were published simultaneously and the juxtaposition of the two items looks like very poor taste. My apologies.

The contrast between the street parties of last night following the Olympic news and the somber mood this morning could not be more acute. The palpable shock is something I cannot remember since the IRA bombed the City of London in the 1970s. Long expecting such an event, the emergency systems have coped well and the human cost of this assault may fortunately be less than intended. Yet the new world war has hit home and the economic damage is already evident as the pound and stock market already fall in value - the more so following yesterday's boost (not that even Al Quaida could have forseen the Olympic decision). That the timing co-incides with the G8 summit speaks for itself.

Understandably for once, the air traffic overhead is busy and you'll forgive me if I sign off the monitor the local news.


On yer bike -literally News - Scotland - Edinburgh - Police foil bid to blockade city

It would be laughable under other circumstances. Bloke arrives at party, gets bored with talk, takes bike ride, collides with local policeman, hospitalises policeman, gets taken back to party, quick repair job and attends dinner in bandages. The bloke in question however was George Bush - presumably mistaking the golf course for his local rodeo. The poor cop, upon seeing what was coming, will have had good cause to redefine his expectations of a "terrorist".

Sorry. As I write there have been a number of what probably are "terrorist" attacks here in London, so things are getting serious.

First from Channel Four...


**Breaking news**

London Underground has suspended all services following reports of
explosions near Liverpool St and Edgware Road this morning.
We are also receiving news of explosions on a number of buses including
one in Tavistock Square - and further explosions on the Piccadily Line
near King's Cross.

Emergency services were called to London's Liverpool Street Station
after reports of an explosion shortly before 9am.

British Transport Police said the incident, reported at at 8.49am on
the Metropolitan Line between Liverpool Street and Aldgate.

London Underground said: "The network has been suspended until further
notice and all stations are being evacuated.

"This follows major incidents at Liverpool Street and Edgware Road
(Hammersmith & City) stations. Emergency services are on site and are
working closely with London Underground."

A spokesman for the City of London Police said there were "quite a
large number of casualties" at Aldgate Station.

Mainline train company First Great Western said its services into
London's Paddington station were terminating at Reading in Berkshire because
of the Underground crisis.

More to follow and at Noon on Channel 4.


Official news is still sketchy but London is at a standstill. Targetting the transport infrastructure is a known terror tactic and with it all taking place at the start of G8 I cannot believe this resulted from a mere power surge. As I write, the mobile telephone networks are currently being shut down to prevent them being used to trigger explosive devices and the London Emergency Plan is in full effect, so we can fear the worst.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

No heart, no soul, in the womb of empire


Another late quickie today. This link leads to an account that should be read by all of you in that it tells us a lot about the creature who is undoubtably the centre of attention at Gleaneagles. Cindy Sheeham lost her son five days after he arrived in Iraq and, following a private audience with the Bush entity, certainly lost faith in her president.

I also forgot earlier to express respect for and best wishes to the Dalai Lama who celebrates his 70th birthday today. If the world were a different place he would be among those attending the G8 today.


As a bonus, here's a copy of tonight's Snowmail from Channel 4 News.


An extra-long Snowmail today with reports from all over the UK covering
both the Olympics and the protests at Gleneagles - with reports from
inside and outside G8 and from our blogger in the protest itself.

From Jon in Gleneagles

Well, straight off the plane from Entebbe and into the Blair court in
time to hear the epic Olympian announcement .

I say that it wasn't quite direct because the journey to Gleneagles
from Glasgow was circuitous in the extreme.

Not because of protesters, I think in the entire journey I saw perhaps
sixty, which included a couple of half cocked road blocks. But because
the Thames valley and Met police, who are doing valiant service in the
Scottish lowlands, hadn't a clue which way to send us.

So I bask in the enjoyment of having circumnavigated the entire
perimeter fence of Gleneagles and I can testify to the truth that there are
least 50,000 more sheep here than there are protesters.

Those protesters that I have seen have strawberry ink wigs, rainbow
scarves, and scuffed trouser bottoms, though I gather things have got a
bit more serious in the last hour or so, with protestors threatening to
breach the fence. Police on horses, and now police jumping out of a
helicopter would you believe?

But certainly not a million people here in any form. Merely five
thousand massed media, three thousand policemen and eight suits.

Blair bounded into the room for once justifying every quandary of his
MacLean's smile - it was one of those rare events where you couldn't'
think of anything difficult to say…

I mean whether the Olympics are a good idea or not, and sentiment seems
to swung behind the idea that they are, the fact is that most
extraordinary victory has been scored at the expense of Mr Chirac - that'll
teach him to talk about English cooking

He hasn't made it here yet. Having waited in Singapore a bit longer
than Mr Blair, but I think I'm beginning to understand the meaning of the
word 'chagrin'.

As to the real issue here resolving climate change and what to do about
it, and Africa? Well, there's a lot of harrumphing going on and the key
discourse seems to centre on whether to simply to agree something on
climate change but accept President Bush won't be around forever and
ignore him. Or weaken the entire agreement in favour of keeping him on
board. There’s all to play for

Africa - well people are trying to increase the number of countries
that are forgiven their debts from 18 to nearly 56 and the case being made
by a number of NGOs is that these people forgave Iraq's 20 billion
pounds of debt with one flick of their fingers.

Anyway we shall be live from there at 7

Keep reading for the views of our new South African colleague Redi
Direcko, who's part of our team covering the G8, and from our brave blogger
Brendan out with the Wombles at the Gleneagles perimeter fence, but for
now, as ever

Jon Snow

From Alex Thomson in London

Greetings all,

They're ready... they're set -- and now they've got the go. Against all
the odds the British tortoise took the Gallic hare well after the bell
and probably into the final straight

It's London 2012 for the Olympic Games. Thousands of people, indeed
hundreds of thousands (and lots of estate agents) will be highly chuffed.
Great news for London it will be argued and the regeneration of what
is, having been there several times myself, a vast area of neglected

So it's about to get the mother of all makeovers and David Beckham's
"manor" will soon begin to be transformed. But isn't he from Walthamstow,
miles away? Well who cares - it was all about hype and frenzy and now
it's all about delivery.

Tonight - the final push; the moment of decision; the partying and
where we go from here not just for London but for Britain - because if it's
really going to mean something it's got to strike home with
overwhelming majority who don't live in London, are very glad of it and don't much
care about the place.

What with Gleneagles and Olympics - all else is a little on the
squeezed size tonight.

Louise Casey, charged with sorting out yob culture, is in a little hot
water. She gave an after dinner speech, greeted in some of the more
absurd tabloids as a foul mouthed tirade -- in fact anybody born this side
of Jane Austen would hardly characterised her earthy observations on
the joys of boozing in such terms -- it's a bit of a hoot and was
secretly recorded. Tony Blair says he stands by his woman.

The group al Qaeda in Iraq, now says on its website it will kill the
Egyptian diplomat whom it kidnapped - earlier they'd posted his ID
documents on their site and... on more mundane matters... Steven Gerrard
won't be walking alone, at least not to Chelski.

It turns out that the Russian millions couldn't tempt him from the
banks of the Mersey so, for once, money isn't the thing which talks
loudest in what used to be called a sport.

That's about it - I'd better leave some space for Jon, if I know him, I
think he'll have a few things to say from the fence around Gleneagles

Cheers - AT

From Redi Direcko inside the G8 summit

Africans everywhere love a sense of occasion. Funerals, weddings and
baptisms are a huge cause of celebration. A gathering like the G8 summit
is definitely not business as usual. And back home there is sense of
hope and expectation.

I dare say that the proverbial ordinary man in the dusty streets of
Africa's shanty towns is not familiar with fancy terns such as 'global
warming', 'debt cancellation' and 'fair trade'. All he knows is that he
cannot feed and clothe his family as and when he wants to. He also has to
worry about providing shelter for his family.

As for Africa's women - they too are at the forefront of subsistence
farming and low scale economic activity. Political correctness aside
there are still the fairer sex and carry the burden of HIV aids that is the
fate of Africa.

It is the fate which easily transforms when there is a promise of a
better life and the much hyped G8 summit is seen as a promise of a better

For Africa the high profile of world leaders including those from the
content itself is an indication that something is happening, that a plan
is being hatched to reverse the cycle of poverty and unemployment.

Some Africans are cynical and have resigned themselves to their fates,
accepting poverty as a way of life. Some want more accountability from
their leaders.

The unprecedented 40 billion dollar debt deal announced last month has
been wildly welcomed by African countries, humanitarian groups, and
social activists, as a positive but modest step forwards. What it will
amount to in real times remains be seen.

For the poor Africans, packing bags and making a journey is a big deal.
World leaders have packed their bags and undertaken the long journey to
Gleneagles Scotland.

Surely this time it cannot just be for mere pleasantries and occasion?
Surely something will come out of this?

That's the expectation of Africa.

Redi Direcko is one of South Africa's leading radio and TV journalists.
We've asked her to report for us from within the G8 summit at

From our blogger Brendan Cole with the protestors

I'm at the front line at the moment. It was pretty quiet at first but
just now a group of anarchists grabbed one of the gates and forced it
down. Police reinforcements on their way. But there's verbal and physical
altercations all around me.

I'm five rows from the front I've really got to keep my wits about me.
One group of protestors is pleading with the black crew: "Why are you
doing this?" Their plea fall on deaf ears.

The gate is upended. There's enough police backup to take care of it. I

Earlier a Chinook flies overhead. Everyone starts jeering. In a surreal
aside, two protesters made it on to the Gleneagles golf course - but
no-one seemed interested in them. They stayed there awhile, but then
rejoined the main march...

More from our G8 Blogger at


Double fanfare this morning - Dubya trouble later?

Sameer Dossani: The Trouble with Gleneages

This link is for the article I'm reading right now - an analysis from today's issue of the excellent "Counterpunch" newletter.

Just mere minutes ago we learned that London has the Olympic Games. Our local media has been so obsessed with the impending decision that little coverage has been given to today's start of G8. I'm surprised we won the franchise and wonder if it may have been influenced by recent gastronomic comments by the Chirac. As a part-time francophile I took them to be an example of that peculiar French sense of humour, but I also suspect that a good deal of people considered them both rude and insulting.

It can be assumed Chirac will not be in the best of moods for talking this afternoon. Maybe Bush will compensate by saying lots whilst actually contributing nothing. Blair will no doubt be displaying an even bigger grin than normal - G8 chairman, EU president, Venue host and now Olympic campaign winner. Would that his actions conveyed the same weight as his ego.

If Scotland's police hoped to maintain a friendly face and low key operation in Edinburgh it was a good dream. However, Live8 protests aside, all G8 summits in modern times have been heavily disrupted by very angry wings of the anit-capitalist movement and there was no reason to suppose this one would really be any different. Our own police are now out in force, drawn in from all over Britain, with fully armed contingents now deployed within the Gleneagles site perimeter. Most alarming is the sight of Amerikan military helicopters buzzing like flies above a sleepy Scottish town and the knowledge that a virtual invasion force lies a few minutes off the coast. Where Bush goes, his firepower goes too - the very image becoming one designed to overshadow everyone else and re-enforce the US global pre-eminence. Yet the would-be emporer remains dumb to reality, if not exactly mute on his interpretation of what passes for it.

Tonight will also see the last of the Live8 concerts in Edinburgh itself. Without quite the same megastar line-up as Saturday's events, this will only be broadcast on digital TV (BBB3 from 9.30pm) and the web. No doubt all the political messages between acts will be censored as they were last weekend, but with the likes of Youssou N'Dour and Annie Lennox attending the event, it should raise the spirits. I only hope the violent fringe of the direct action groups don't spoil the proceedings and the peaceful message it hopes to convey.

As to be expected, Saturday's Live8 performers have witnessed increased music sales. Congratulations to Dave Gilmour for being the first to announce that the royalties will also be donated to the cause (in his case, the Pink Floyd has a tenfold increase in sales of their "Echoes" compilation). Let's hope the other artistes follow the Floyd example.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Abdication of the mandate to care

Independent Online Edition > Legal : app3

It seems this morning's main blog went astray after all and since it is authored directly online I have no backup. Another work of art lost to prosterity! But seriously, I'll try to recap starting with this link which tells the tale of a woman subjected to legal procedeures where the health service should obviously have addressed the matter.

Today is actually the 57th anniversary of Britain's National Health Service opeing its doors. Despite an attempt around 20 years ago to start closing it doors (under the Thatcher regime) it continues to function, albeit behind a wall of beaurocracy and absurdly-censored online communications. (A friend of mine runs a sexual health section and can't even receive any email with the word "sex" in it!) In all the talk of foreign aid, one should remind the powers that be that charity begins at home and they have a duty of care to all citizens - not just those with an economic value. A rule that extends to the global stage too.

China has been invited to join in the G8 talks, so for some of the time it will be a G9. This is good news since, despite having a seriously less-than-democratic government, the Chinese have ended a huge amount of their own poverty whilst also allowing their state-owned corporations to engage in market-driven policies. These tactics have now extended to the point that they are one of the few superpowers actually investing in Africa (in return for energy resources) and employing local labour to do it while also putting affordable produce on the native shelves. Their industrial base is also encouraged to take over multi-national corporations and they have done this with a vengence - last week even mading inroads into the US economy itself. They should be brought into the fold if this international summit is to have any credibility at all.

Sadly, it look like rising oil prices will now take over the focus of the talks. Any European-based consensus could be marred by the recent trading of insults by Britain and France in their efforts to secure the Olympic franchise, but since we'll know the outcome tomorrow morning it may fade into the background as the real business starts. Richard Branson has flown into Edinburgh with an entourage of entertainment stars to join the protesters, but the peaceful demonstrations are already being marred by minority rioting. Bush will be arriving with a replacement for standard golfing arena at Gleneagles - it's called an "Obstacle Course" by all accounts.


Oil hijacks G8 agenda News - Top Stories - Soaring crude oil price pushed to top of G8 agenda

This is my second blog today, but it looks like the previous one didn't get posted. This link suugests that Fair Trade, African Poverty and Global Warming may now move down the agenda later this week.

If the previous blog doesn't arrive when I republish this, I'll try and recount it again ...


Monday, July 04, 2005

The America I Love

The Future this week

Third link of the day is an update for Independence Day (US stylee) at Richard Neville's site. No mention of Australia's reaction to Live8 but something's obviously inspired the author to launch into something approaching protest "song".

Watching the latest news from Scotland, it seems the disturbances are returning after the earlier lull. I now find myself beginning to wonder whether we will actually see Gordon Brown and other big-wigs on the streets at all. What - with all those riotous anarchists around? The number eleven cyber-womb must sound a lot more comfortable right now.

Having seen Jon Snow's report from Africa tonight, there is another aspect to the great equation discussed earlier today. As China increasingly encourages its corporations to expand into the multi-national arena, Africa is at least becoming an attractive investment for someone. They produce goods (often locally) that the natives can actually afford and are more than willing trade fairly for energy resources they desparately need. It will be the supreme irony if China quietly manages to achieve some of the economic resurgance the G8 can presently only procrastinate upon.

But it's late and the mind wanders.


Gee - eight cometh to ignor the cast of thousands

We Brits should probably watch TV news tonight for Trevor McDonald's interview with the great dictator. Best to know the enemy and all that! Actually, so much has been revealed in advance that we can be pretty sure George was not listening to the Live8 congregation. Jon Snow will report further from Africa no doubt, but this link is for the new G8 blog started by Channel 4 News. Keep it in your favourites this week.

Philadelephia may not have given us the best concert last weekend, but they sure as hell gave us the best turnout with around 1.5 million people. Two full days on and the amount of attention it has received in Amerika's mainstream press remains deplorable. At one time, Bush would have had us believe that he himself never watched television. Laura Bush put paid to that myth and rumour has it that if Sir Bob had had the foresight to include Ozzie Osbourne in the line-up, then even the presidental ears would have picked up. We'll never know!

What we do know is that despite a few cosmetic enhancements to his public image, he has not intention of agreeing to anything that will upset Amerika's own economy and the greed inherant therein. The world can fall apart for all he cares - so long as it remains ripe for plunder while he follows his 20 year drive for alternative resources and a hydrogen-powered economy. Whilst Britain and other selected countries will no doubt get to share some of these advances, the third world in another two decades may find itself in a whole other league of disenfrachisement.

PNAC are hellbent on world domination and their biggest weapon is the manipulation of the global economy through a multi-national corporate infrastructure. When the oil does run out (and it will) then even the states currently rich in that particular product will become relegated to zones of inconsequence. Remember, they are a "Project for a New Amerikan CENTURY!" That's a long time indeed for your average politition, but a very short time for the industrial complex and would-be empire builders.

Today links and more are HERE as always.


Opposing the ID ideaology

NO2ID: stop ID cards and the database state!

I just received this link to the "Say No to ID" site in Britain.

It occurs to me that despite having been returned to power with a heavily reduced majority, Blair is now at his most dangerous. His policy pursuits have now become an obsession with legacy and with the end of his premiership in sight that old evangelical streak has taken over.

This week will be the start of his final fling. He will be pulling together his peers (well - eight of them anyway) in the hope they will give him some global credentials to sign off with. He will also be European President for the next six months and will probably seek to have an enduring influence in that arena too. He will also be hoping Britain gets the Olympic consession on Wednesday so that his international reputation will be remembered for more than the orchestration of war.

Blair has stated that global warming and the associated enviromental collapse is a greater threat to the planet and human race than anything else - including the 21st century "terrorism" phenomonem. In this he is absolutely right and if he really wants to give the future an inheritance he should use the remaining time to try and seriously prevent Gaia's decline. Disengaging Britain from Amerika's imperial design would be a good start.

This last weekend has sent a powerful message to world leaders. Indeed, it has been noticed even more by those who are not members of the elite group of eight. Where Gleneagles will be a communion of power-brokers, a UN-led forum of all nations would be more appropriate in the modern age. An equal participation by every country and continent is essential.

There is a good chance the G8 mob will come up with something the appease the demonstrators. They cannot be seen to ignor that many people expressing themselves in all the corners of the world. Yet we should watch them carefully, for it is the long-term goals behind their appeasement and the greater stategy that is all important. We already know about the debt cancellation and that there will be more "aid" for Africa. The might even be a bit more. If the leaders are shaken enough, they might even consider moves to implement a "fair-trade" system of sorts for less fortunate nations outside the current monopoly. What will never be on the agenda, especially while Amerikan greed is involved, will be a realignment of the world trade infrastructure itself and, sadly, this is the biggest problem of all.

Consider this. One of the main symptons of environmental change now underway is the "desertification" of parts of our planet. As water levels change, the eco-system will be unable to provide essential irrigation to certain areas. Of these area, it will be no surprise that Africa features highly. If the matter of poverty is addressed at all constructively, it will be with the establishment of sustainable economies in the poor regions. Fair trading conditions may not be enough in themselves if they are still subserviant to the monopolies of the World Trade Organisation itself. Nor will real people be much better off if they live in states where the wealth, acrued, donated or otherwise, is syphoned off to feed the greed and militaristic ambitions of local leaders. Above all, a sustainable economy that offers respite in a few years time will not necessarily be one sustainable in a long-term future desert.

Wars are fought for resources. Logically, they are fought more often when resources are short. The justification is always an ideaology but more often it is religion that is the professed excuse. After all, god is always on every side! When the reigns of power are in the hands of evangelists, the message may be benevolence, but the motive can be very different indeed. Would that we could lock the G8 protagonists inside the Geleagles Hotel (without the golf course) and refuse to let them out until they see sense.


Sunday, July 03, 2005

The carnival is over

Princess Diana

Absolutely nothing to do with the current concerts and protests, this link is something that came via my spambox but is nonetheless intruiging for those of you still dubious about the circumstances of Princess Diana's death.

Diana would undoubtably have approved of this weekend's events. As a media onslaught designed to convey a single message is has been extremely sucessful. Whether the message is heard by the eight in question can be in little doubt - whether they heed it is another matter. The presence of both Kofi Annan and Bill Gates at the Hyde Park gig may actually have more sway with those in question than that of the entertainment megastars.

Yesterday's mail from Jon Snow was pertinent. "Do they know it's Xmastime at all?" was the refrain from the original Live Aid single - "Do They Know it's Live8 at all?" is the point raised here...

Continuing the News From Africa season on Channel 4 News, this mail
comes first from Jon in Uganda, and then Samira in London.

Is Africa watching?
Well right across the globe Live8 is throbbing through the ether making
a fabulous spectacle. Amazing sounds from Tokyo to Moscow, particularly
spectacular in Hyde Park London and Johannesburg.

I say right across the globe but here in Kampala I find the words to
that song ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ flooding through my brain.

Here it is a case of do they know it’s Live8?

I am afraid they do not.

I’ve just been on the roof of Uganda Television with an engineer trying
to hand crank the satellite dish to a point at which they might somehow
connect with pictures offered up from South Africa.

Even the power supply to make the crude search machine work had to be
cobbled together from three old links of flex, the rooftop and its
equipment looked as it had been rejected by some museum in the 60s.

And that’s the core of the problem: infrastructure.

There is almost no sub-Saharan state outside South Africa that has
anything like a 21st century communications system that would make Live8
widely available to its people. In any case only one in 10 people here
have a TV.

I have scoured the markets and wandered dusky alleys but I have
encountered almost no one who has either heard of Live8 or G8.

In fact so desperate was I, that I went to the bar at Makerere
University – which was packed, the TV was on, but on the wrong channel.

So it’s a good time Saturday here but if you’re thinking global for G8,
Live8 and all the razzmatazz, even if this continent is the target,
forget any idea that anyone knows.

Actually there was one exception - the Bishop of Busoga who I
encountered in a South African style shopping mall here in Kampala, he knew lots
about the summit but nothing of Live8.

In a way, today’s extraordinary event has a telling moral in the pale –
Africa is desperately disconnected from the rest of the world.

Best Wishes

Jon Snow in Kampala.

And from Samira in London

And what does Live 8 mean outside Africa?
The Live 8 concert dominates our coverage from here in London.

With massive crowds and a largest ever global television audience, the
personal passion behind the "Make Poverty History" concerts are
evident. But for those of you old enough to remember Live Aid 20 years ago, it
all looks rather less innocent.

Outside the corporate champagne enclosure ordinary ticket holders had
no alcohol to blame for why Bono appeared to have more grey hair than
Sir Paul.

Dido sang flatter than usual; naughty ticket touts got arrested and
most of the people our Arts Correspondent Nicholas Glass spoke to seemed
to have no idea or interest in the cause behind the gig.

"Ladies and Gentlemen… Kofi Annan! and now.. Miss Dynamite."


The performers themeselves outdid themselves with barely a hint of the egocentric behaviour that often marrs these events. Some, though they will remain un-named, did offer a slightly patronising attitude, but the eclectic mix of both thought and creative style served its purposes. Indeed, there were no real individual highlights because every act delivered its own magical moment in the context of their own audience.

For me, the highlights at Hyde Park were the great and aging rock gods - The Who and, as I expected, the Pink Floyd. Neither were the best performances I've ever seen but in the case of both bands I have been spoilt by growing accustomed to their contemporary entourages. What struck me with both yesterday was how the original members (only 2 of The Who) could quite literally "cut it" without their normal high-tech sets and support musicians.

Mind you, the camera close-ups revealed a lot. Poor Roger Daltrey looked rather aprehensive in the seconds before the final "scream" in "Won't Get Fooled Again" whilst Dave Gilmour of the Floyd looked distinctly less comfortable being on stage with Roger Waters than did Waters with him. That a cause like this pulled two such people together again is telling in itself.

As an audio consumer with highly cathloc musical tastes. this worldwide event presnted a similar dilemma to the previous week's Glastonbury festival - namely that so many events overlap that you can't se everything you want. Although a walk across the park to the Hyde Park site would have taken me only a short time, I opted to stay at home and relish the broadcast sound quality from the BBC whilst trying to get the best of the rest through webcasts. Still barely awake when Totyo finished, it did at least catch Bjork's finale which was wonderful. The African and world music stage at the Eden Project in Cornwall started up an hour or so before Hyde Park and probably offered up the best actual music (and Dance) of the day. Most artistes played longer sets there, with time for a decent ambiance to build up. When Hyde Park started up I switched, but returned back in virtually every break thereafter.

The last leg of my sonic marathon was watching the BBC highlights from the USA stage in Philadelphia but here I was disappointed. Given that, like Hyde Park, this line-up was supposed to be a "creme-de-la-creme" of local superstars, it made me realise just how far removed from other cultures Amerika has become. The support for the cause was, of course, laudable, but I was struck most how the performers were portraying the angst of life in their own society.

Broadcast-wise we got to see glimpses of events in Rome, Berlin, Paris and others, but little attention was given to Johannasberg except for Nelson Mandela's speech. Given that this was the only stage in Africa itself, I found that rather alarming. Although, as Jon Snow pointed out above and previously, communications in the continent itself are woefully inadequate, South Africa is, in general, an exception to that particular rule and we should have been given more.

A prsonal disappoinment was not being able to get the Canadian stage in Montreal. I imagine the real highlight there will have been the performance by Neil Young who, still recovering from a serious operation last year, insisted on participating.

The turnout for the real events was remarkable. At 255,000 people Hyde Park did actually break the Knebworth record I cited last week. Interestingly, although the Scotland concert won't happen until after the G8 start on Wednesday, the protestors on the streets matched those in Hyde Park. That despite around 70 rioters upsetting the vibe, a carnival experience pervaded and the authorities seem happy too. In sheer terms of mass, the Philadephia event must have actually looked incredible with over one and a half million attending!

My latest clicks section has reports from Scotland and CBS in America as received in this morning's delivery. To my astonishment however, today's New York Times does not have a single mention of any concert or even the event itself in it's headlines.

Anyhow, the carnival itself is indeed now over and it will be the coming week that decides the legacy of a remarkable day. Stay tuned.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

Live 8 The Day

BBC Media Player

So the big day arrives and the media is saturated. This link is for those of you who might prefer a bit of Africa itself as an alternative to the caucasian mega-stars at Hyde Park. It's a parallel broadcast via the BBC from the Eden Project venue in Cornwall. Enjoy.


Friday, July 01, 2005

Cancel My Subscription to the Minds Of Regression

Executive Order: Blocking Property of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators and Their Supporters

Today's link finishes by listing a number of companies that apparantly have something to do with those Dubya-M-Ds. The white house doesn't include any direct links (this may simply be beyond their intelligence) but suffice to say that a tour around the blogsphere reveals that a few of them lead right back to the Bush doorstep. Mind you, the guy could probably sign a warrent for his own arrest before realising what he'd done.

My main thoughts for this blog concern that rather dicey subject of religion. In Britain, we now have an act passing through parliament that could get me arrested for disparaging the faith of state as much as it could for ridiculing any other doctrine. Unsure where I stand, I'll assume that criticism remains a far cry from the "incitement of hatred" therein defined and plod on regardless. It's not law yet anyway.

When, in my youth, poet Jim Morrison screamed the words "cancel my subscription to the resurrection" I took great pleasure in the proclamation of something I had, to all extents and purposes, already done. Today it could even be argued that such advocation is even more relevent in this age of regressive attitudes. It was however, a rebellion against a single doctrine - the one adopted to the greatest degree by western culture and pervasive enough within that culture to indoctrinate us from birth. Rejecting it was part of a greater rejection of the subliminal messages by which our minds are subjected to the control of others. It was imancipation pure and simple - an acknowledgement of a higher consciousness where self-awareness transcends the notion of the collective conscription by others with predetermined ideas of their own. The lyrics implied a break from what were the founding principles of Christianity - but the real message could have been addressed to virtually any form of organised religion.

Human beings have always sought faith. It is a by-product of our mortality It is a psychological buffer that, once found, prevents us from trying to process information beyond the finite point in linear time where we cease to exist as individuals. It is, if you will, a private reconciliation with the inevitabilty of death that stops the mind burning itself out pondering "unknowables!. Organised religions, on the other hand, seek to take myths or theories and present them to us as "knowables" in an effort to manipulate and often control our lives. This is often known as "blind-faith" because its purpose is usually to stop us questioning by providing a ready-made ideaology, however inplausible its foundations. Almost all cultures embrace some form of this obligatory subscription system in their methods of population control and historically it has often provided stability, if not actual security, in times of economic and political turmoil. Traditionally also the conduit for information dissemination and storage, it has also been the root on which societies and cultures have been rebuilt when required.

Karl Marx once observed that "religion is the opiate of the masses" and in the days before mass global communication this was probably apt. The real opiate nowdays has become the communications media itself. The likes of television began a process that has provided us with more and more distraction and the concept of "worship" is associated more with the cult of celebrity than any given deity. Yet the teachings, however implausible by today's standards, of the old religions have never gone away. They have remained lurking in the shadows waiting for the time their power can be revived. That revival is dependent on a climate of fear, something like war or disaster, where the attraction of a less-than-tangible abstract provides solace in the face of hardship, poverty or enslavement. The public face of organised religion is almost always benevolent - even trans-national elites like freemasons insist their lackeys subscribe to a system (although, tellingly, not actually caring which one!), but their hierarchies are more usually concerned with amassing power and wealth.

Half the planet now enjoys the decadence of consumer-driven capitalism. The other half are enslaved producers for the system or simply its cast-offs. The resurgance of organised religion may be a sign of regression - but in this situation it is hardly surprising. Even the dispossessed and those suffering the inequality in the rich economies are falling back on it. Intelligent people too will give credence to nonesense if it provides hope for their future. As more and more people are denied access to information other than propaganda, or denied the economic status to participate in the larger world, this regression will continue. As it accelerates, the huge wealth of the churches and relgious institutions is being employed to take-over the film and videogame industries to further dictate the bias of media content - hiding the facts and other tools of empowerment from the masses. How long one wonders, before non-subscription itself becomes dangerous again.

The more power and influence organised religion gains, the more fundamentalist it becomes. If this regression becomes a worldwide phenomonem, then the tension between different brands of organisation will increase. Then as usual when religions collide, there will be more war. In the 21st Century (and witness - I use the Christian calender without realising) this is unacceptable. As the planet falls apart from our own indulgance and neglect, we should not be preparing to battle it out for remaining resources - we should be redefining our faith in ourselves and our purpose by leaving the world in a fit and better place for those to come.

To be continued probably, but it's getting late!


NOTE: The quote by Jim Morrison is from "When The Music's Over " by The Doors. Later in the same poem ...

"What have we done to the earth?
What have we done to our fair sister?
We've ravaged and plundered,
ripped her and bit her
- stuck her with knifes in the side of the dawn,
tied her with fences
and dragged her right down!"