|My Pathetic Weblog|
Tue, 31 Jan 2006
Thu, 12 Jan 2006
Red Guerrilla Cannes
From the 'One Law for them, another law for us' file.
Soccer / Crowd ban for Sakhnin; Betar escapes with fine
Mon, 09 Jan 2006
Hitler fans in Austrian Soccer
Israeli clubs charged over post match brawl
Fri, 30 Dec 2005
Eliot Weinberger : From The London Review of Books .
In 2005 I heard that Coalition forces were camped in the ruins of Babylon. I heard that bulldozers had dug trenches through the site and cleared areas for helicopter landing pads and parking lots, that thousands of sandbags had been filled with dirt and archaeological fragments, that a 2600-year-old brick pavement had been crushed by tanks, and that the moulded bricks of dragons had been gouged out from the Ishtar Gate by soldiers collecting souvenirs. I heard that the ruins of the Sumerian cities of Umma, Umm al-Akareb, Larsa and Tello were completely destroyed and were now landscapes of craters.
I heard that the US was planning an embassy in Baghdad that would cost $1.5 billion, as expensive as the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero, the proposed tallest building in the world.
I saw a headline in the Los Angeles Times that read: ‘After Levelling City, US Tries to Build Trust.’
I heard that military personnel were now carrying ‘talking point’ cards with phrases such as: ‘We are a values-based, people-focused team that strives to uphold the dignity and respect of all.’
I heard that 47 per cent of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein helped plan 9/11 and 44 per cent believed that the hijackers were Iraqi; 61 per cent thought that Saddam had been a serious threat to the US and 76 per cent said the Iraqis were now better off.
I heard that Iraq was now ranked with Haiti and Senegal as one of the poorest nations on earth. I heard the United Nations Human Rights Commission report that acute malnutrition among Iraqi children had doubled since the war began. I heard that only 5 per cent of the money Congress had allocated for reconstruction had actually been spent. I heard that in Fallujah people were living in tents pitched on the ruins of their houses.
I heard that this year’s budget included $105 billion for the War on Terror, which would bring the total to $300 billion. I heard that Halliburton was estimating that its bill for providing services to US troops in Iraq would exceed $10 billion. I heard that the family of an American soldier killed in Iraq receives $12,000.
I heard that the White House had deleted the chapter on Iraq from the annual Economic Report of the President, on the grounds that it did not conform with an otherwise cheerful tone.
Within a week in January I heard Condoleezza Rice say there were 120,000 Iraqi troops trained to take over the security of the country; I heard Senator Joseph Biden, Democrat from Delaware, say that the number was closer to 4000; I heard Donald Rumsfeld say: ‘The fact of the matter is that there are 130,200 who have been trained and equipped. That’s a fact. The idea that that number’s wrong is just not correct. The number is right.’
I heard him explain the discrepancy: ‘Now, are some getting killed every day? Sure. Are some retiring at various times or injured? Yes, they’re gone.’ I remembered that a year before he had said the number was 210,000. I heard the Pentagon announce it would no longer release Iraqi troop figures.
I heard that 50,000 US soldiers in Iraq did not have body armour, because the army’s equipment manager had placed it at the same priority level as socks. I heard that soldiers were buying their own flak jackets with steel ‘trauma’ plates, Camelbak water pouches, ballistic goggles, knee and elbow pads, drop pouches to hold ammunition magazines, and load-bearing vests. I heard they were rigging their vehicles with pieces of scrap metal as protection against roadside bombs, since the production of armoured Humvees had fallen more than a year behind schedule and the few available armoured vehicles were mainly reserved for officers and visiting dignitaries.
I heard that the private security firm Custer Battles had been paid $15 million to provide security for civilian flights at Baghdad airport at a time when no planes were flying. I heard that US forces were still unable to secure the two-mile highway from the airport to the Green Zone.
I heard that the President’s uncle, Bucky Bush, had made half a million dollars cashing in his stock options in Engineered Support Systems Inc, a defence contractor that had received $100 million for work in Iraq. Bucky Bush is on the board of directors. I heard Dan Kreher, vice-president of investor relations for ESSI, say: ‘The fact his nephew is in the White House has absolutely nothing to do with Mr Bush being on our board or with our stock having gone up 1000 per cent in the past five years.’
I heard that a Pentagon audit of only some of the Halliburton contracts had found $212 million in ‘questionable costs’. I heard that eight other government audits of Halliburton were marked ‘classified’ and not released to the public.
I heard that African-Americans normally form 23 per cent of active-duty troops, but that recruitment of African-Americans had fallen by 41 per cent since 2000. I heard that a US Military Image Study prepared for the army had recommended that, ‘for the army to achieve its mission goals with Future Force Soldiers, it must overhaul its image as well as its product offering.’
I heard that the military was developing robot soldiers. I heard Gordon Johnson of the Joint Forces Command at the Pentagon say: ‘They don’t get hungry. They’re not afraid. They don’t forget their orders. They don’t care if the guy next to them has just been shot.’ I heard him say: ‘I have been asked what happens if the robot destroys a school bus rather than a tank parked nearby. The lawyers tell me there are no prohibitions against robots making life-or-death decisions. We will not entrust a robot with that decision until we are confident they can make it.’
In March, on the second anniversary of the invasion, I heard that 1511 US soldiers had been killed and approximately 11,000 wounded. There was no way of knowing exactly how many Iraqis had died.
I heard Donald Rumsfeld say: ‘Well, if you have a country of 25 million people and you have x thousands of criminals, terrorists, Baathists, former regime elements who want to blow up things and make bombs and kill people, they can still do that. That happens in most major cities in the world, most countries in the world, that people get killed and there’s violence.’
I heard that, along with banning photographs of the caskets of American soldiers, the administration was actively preventing photographs being taken of the wounded, who were flown in from Iraq late at night, transferred to military hospitals in unmarked vans, and unloaded at back entrances.
I heard about despair. I heard General John Abizaid, commander of US Central Command, say of the insurgents: ‘I don’t think that they’re growing. I think that they’re desperate.’
I heard about hope. I heard General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, say: ‘I came away more positive than I’ve ever been. I think we’re getting some momentum built up.’
I heard about happiness. I heard Lieutenant General James Mattis say that ‘it’s a lot of fun to fight’ in Iraq. I heard him say: ‘You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. I like brawling.’
I heard that Donald Rumsfeld had created his own intelligence agency, the Strategic Support Branch, ‘designed to operate without detection and under the defense secretary’s direct control’, without the oversight laws that apply to the CIA, and that it was employing ‘notorious figures’ whose ‘links to the US government would be embarrassing if disclosed’. I heard about the practice of ‘extraordinary rendition’, by which suspected terrorists are kidnapped and flown to countries known to torture prisoners, or to secret US prisons in Thailand, Afghanistan, Poland and Romania.
I heard that there were 3200 prisoners in Abu Ghraib, 700 more than its capacity. I heard Major General William Brandenburg, who oversees US military detention operations in Iraq, say: ‘We’ve got a normal capacity and a surge capacity. We’re operating at surge capacity.’ A year before, I had heard the President promise ‘to demolish the Abu Ghraib prison, as a fitting symbol of Iraq’s new beginning’. I heard that outside the prison there is a sign that reads: ‘No Parking. Detainee Drop Off Zone.’
I heard that some American soldiers had made a heavy metal music video called ‘Ramadi Madness’, with sections entitled ‘Those Crafty Little Bastards’ and ‘Another Day, Another Mission, Another Scumbag’. In one scene, a soldier kicks the face of an Iraqi who is bound and lying on the ground, dying. In another, a soldier moves the arm of a man who has just been shot dead, to make it appear that he is waving. I heard a Pentagon spokesman say: ‘Clearly, the soldiers probably exercised poor judgment.’
I heard that the army released a 1200-page report detailing the torture of Iraqi prisoners at a single military intelligence base during a few months in 2003. In response to the report, I heard Lieutenant Colonel Jeremy Martin say: ‘The army’s a learning organisation. If we have some shortfalls, we try to correct them. We’ve learned how to do that process now.’
I heard a US soldier talk about his photographs of the 12 prisoners he had shot with a machine-gun: ‘I shot this guy in the face. See, his head is split open. I shot this guy in the groin. He took three days to bleed to death.’ I heard him say he was a devout Christian: ‘Well, I knelt down. I said a prayer, stood up, and gunned them all down.’
In April I heard General Richard Myers say: ‘I think we’re winning. OK? I think we’re definitely winning. I think we’ve been winning for some time.’
I heard Major General William Webster, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, say: ‘We think the insurgency is weakening over time. Some of these attacks appear to be very spectacular and well co-ordinated, but, in fact, are not.’
I heard Lieutenant General James Conroy of the marines say that American troop withdrawals would soon begin, because ‘Iraqis are starting to take care of their own situation.’ I heard Rear Admiral William Sullivan report to Congress that there were 145,000 ‘combat-capable’ Iraqi forces. I heard Sabah Hadum, a spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior, say: ‘We are paying about 135,000, but that does not necessarily mean that 135,000 are actually working.’ I heard that as many as 50,000 may be ‘ghost soldiers’ – invented names whose pay is collected by officers or bureaucrats.
I heard Staff Sergeant Craig Patrick, who was training Iraqi troops, say: ‘It’s all about perception, to convince the American public that everything is going as planned and we’re right on schedule to be out of here. I mean, they can bullshit the American people, but they can’t bullshit us.’
As many countries pulled their small numbers of troops out of Iraq, I heard the State Department announce it would no longer use the phrase ‘Coalition of the Willing’.
I heard that of the 40 water and sewage systems in Iraq, ‘not one is being operated properly.’ I heard that of the 19 power plants that had been rebuilt by the US, none works correctly. I heard a US official blame this on the ‘indifferent work ethic’ of Iraqis.
I read, in the New York Times, that thanks to the ‘sustained momentum’ of the ‘military operation’, the ‘administration’s goal of turning Iraq over to a permanent, elected Iraqi government’ was ‘within striking distance’. I heard General Richard Myers say: ‘We’re on track.’ And I heard Major General Adnan Thabit say: ‘We are gaining more victories because people are now co-operating more with us.’
I heard General John Abizaid predict that Iraqi security forces would be leading the fight against the insurgents in most of the country by the end of 2005. I heard General George Casey, commander of the Multinational Forces in Iraq, say: ‘We should be able to take some fairly substantial reductions in the size of our forces.’
I heard that the insurgents had been driven out of the cities and into the desert and that they were having trouble finding new recruits. I heard Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno say: ‘They’re slowly losing.’
I heard Donald Rumsfeld say: ‘We don’t have an exit strategy, we have a victory strategy.’
A few weeks later, I heard Lawrence di Rita, a Pentagon spokesman, admit that ‘there’s been an uptick’ in violence. I heard Pentagon officials dismiss this as ‘desperate attacks by desperate individuals’, but I heard General Richard Myers now say about the insurgents: ‘I think their capacity stays about the same. And where they are right now is where they were almost a year ago.’
I heard that a report by the CIA National Intelligence Council had stated that ‘Iraq has now replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of “professionalised” terrorists,’ providing ‘a recruitment ground and the opportunity for enhancing technical skills’. I heard that it said that Iraq was a more effective training ground than Afghanistan, because ‘the urban nature of the war in Iraq was helping combatants learn how to carry out assassinations, kidnappings, car bombings and other kinds of attacks that were never a staple of the fighting in Afghanistan during the anti-Soviet campaigns of the 1980s.’
I heard that the State Department refused to release its annual report on terrorism, which would have shown that the number of ‘significant’ attacks outside Iraq had grown from 175 in 2003 to 655 in 2004. I heard Karen Aguilar, acting co-ordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department, explain that ‘statistics are not relevant’ to ‘trends in global terrorism’.
I heard Donald Rumsfeld say: ‘Goodness knows, it doesn’t take a genius to blow up a building.’
I heard that in the month of April there were 67 suicide bombings. I heard Colonel Pat Lang, former chief of Mideast operations at the Defense Intelligence Agency, say: ‘It’s just political rhetoric to say we are not in a civil war. We’ve been in a civil war for a long time.’
I heard that 1600 US soldiers were dead. I heard that every week more than 200 Iraqis were dying in the suicide bombings.
I heard Condoleezza Rice, on a surprise visit to Iraq, say: ‘We are so grateful that there are Americans willing to sacrifice so the Middle East will be whole and free and democratic and at peace.’ On that same day, the bodies of 34 recently killed men were found in a mass grave; a high official in the Ministry of Industry was shot dead; a leading Shia cleric was shot dead; and the governor of Diyala province survived a suicide bombing, though four others in his entourage did not and 37 nearby were wounded.
I heard Donald Rumsfeld, asked whether we were winning or losing the war in Iraq, reply: ‘Winning or losing is not the issue for “we”, in my view, in the traditional, conventional context of using the words “winning” and “losing” in a war.’
I heard a truck driver named Muhammad say, ‘With my own eyes I’ve seen the Americans, when their patrol was hit by a roadside bomb, open fire on all the civilian cars around them,’ and another driver, from Fallujah, say: ‘If Bush is a real man, he should walk down the street alone!’
I heard that the Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, has 3000 Kurdish peshmerga soldiers stationed around his house.
I heard the President proclaim a ‘critical victory in the War on Terror’ with the capture of Abu Faraj al-Libbi, whom the President said was a ‘top general’ and the number three man in al-Qaida. I heard him say: ‘His arrest removes a dangerous enemy who was a direct threat to America and for those who love freedom.’ A few days later, I heard that the man had probably been confused with someone else with a vaguely similar name. I heard that a former associate of Osama bin Laden in London had laughed and said: ‘What I remember of him is that he used to make the coffee and do the photocopying.’ I never heard this reported in the American press.
At the dedication of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, I heard the President compare his War on Terror with Lincoln’s war against slavery.
I heard the President say that Iraqi forces now outnumber their American counterparts.
In May I heard that there were three suicide bombings every day.
I heard a journalist ask the President: ‘Do you think that the insurgency is getting harder now to defeat militarily?’ And I heard the President reply: ‘No, I don’t think so. I think they’re being defeated. And that’s why they continue to fight.’
I heard a human rights worker say: ‘In Baghdad today, four clerics (three Sunni and one Shia) were assassinated. The bodies of two other Sunni clerics who had been abducted last week were found. A suicide car bomber detonated his vehicle in the Abu Cher market killing nine Iraqi National Guard troops and injuring 28 civilians. Two engineering students were killed when a bomb (or rocket) struck their classroom at a local school. The dean of a high school in the Shaab neighborhood was assassinated. One judge, two officials from the Ministry of Defence and one official investigating corruption in the previous interim government were assassinated. In all, 31 dead, 42 injured and 17 abducted. Rumours abound in Baghdad about who is responsible for all the attacks but no one has claimed responsibility. And yet compared to some days in recent weeks here in Baghdad the number of dead and injured was fewer. So comparatively speaking it was a fairly quiet day here in Baghdad.’
I heard Donald Rumsfeld say: ‘We don’t do body counts.’ But then I heard the Pentagon releasing body counts. It said 1600 insurgents had been killed last year in Fallujah, but then I heard that the marines had discovered ‘few bodies’ after the city was captured, and months later a ‘martyrs’ cemetery’ was found to contain only 79 graves. I heard that the army had completely destroyed a ‘guerrilla training camp’ near Lake Tharthar, killing all 85 insurgents, and I heard the television news report that this was ‘the single biggest one-day death toll for militants in months, and the latest in a series of blows to the insurgency’. But then I heard that some European journalists visited the camp the next day and the insurgents were still there. Then I heard US officials claim that the insurgents must have dragged away their own dead. But then I heard a reporter ask how all 85 dead insurgents could have dragged themselves away. And I heard Major Richard Goldenberg reply: ‘We could spend years going back and forth on body counts. The important thing is the effect this has on the organised insurgency.’
I heard about despair. I heard Colonel Joseph DiSalvo, commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, say: ‘What we’re seeing is the terrorists are in desperation.’ I heard him say: ‘By the end of the summer, the terrorists will be captured, dead or, in the least, severely disrupted.’
I heard Dick Cheney say: ‘The level of activity that we see today, from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.’
I heard Porter J. Goss, director of the CIA, say that the insurgents were ‘not quite in the last throes, but I think they are very close to it.’
I heard Dick Cheney later explain: ‘If you look at what the dictionary says about throes, it can still be a violent period. When you look back at World War Two, the toughest battle, both in Europe and in the Pacific, occurred just a few months before the end. And I see this as a similar situation, where they’re going to go all out.’
I heard Donald Rumsfeld say: ‘Last throes could be a violent last throe, or a placid and calm last throe. Look it up in the dictionary.’
I heard Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican from Nebraska, say: ‘Things aren’t getting better; they’re getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality. It’s like they’re just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we’re losing in Iraq.’
I heard Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Wellman say of the insurgents: ‘We can’t kill them all. When I kill one, I create three.’
I heard that Congressman Walter Jones, Republican from North Carolina and the man who renamed French fries ‘freedom fries’, was now calling for the withdrawal of US troops. I heard him say: ‘The American people are getting to a point here: how much more can we take?’ I heard Congressman Mike Pence, Republican from Indiana, explain why he is opposed to a timetable for withdrawal: ‘I never tell my kids when my patience is going to run out, because they’ll usually try it.’
I heard Condoleezza Rice speak about a ‘generational commitment’ in Iraq.
I heard the President say: ‘We have put the enemy on the run, and now they spend their days avoiding capture, because they know America’s armed services are on their trail.’
I heard him tell the American people: ‘As we work to deliver opportunity at home, we’re also keeping you safe from threats from abroad. We went to war because we were attacked, and we are at war today because there are still people out there who want to harm our country and hurt our citizens. Our troops are fighting these terrorists in Iraq so you will not have to face them here at home.’
I heard the President say: ‘See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.’
I heard that US troops had killed the number two man in al-Qaida in Iraq. I heard that US troops had killed another man who was the number two in al-Qaida in Iraq. I heard that US troops had killed yet another man who was the number two in al-Qaida in Iraq.
I heard that in Baghdad 92 per cent of the people did not have stable electricity, 33 per cent did not have safe drinking water, and 25 per cent of children under the age of five were suffering from malnutrition. I heard that there were two or three car bombings a day, on some days killing a hundred people and wounding many hundreds more.
I heard General William Webster say: ‘Certainly saying anything about “breaking the back” or “about to reach the end of the line” or those kinds of things do not apply to the insurgency at this point.’
I heard a ‘high-ranking army officer’ say: ‘There’s simply not enough forces here. There are not enough to do anything right; everybody’s got their finger in the dyke.’ I heard that the soldiers of Marine Company E had set up cardboard dummies of themselves to make it appear that they had more men in battle.
I heard the President say: ‘I’d say I spend most of my time worrying about right now people losing their life in Iraq. Both Americans and Iraqis. I worry about my girls. I used to worry about my wife, until she hit an 85 per cent popularity figure. Now she’s worried about me. You know, I don’t worry all that much, other than what I just described to you. I attribute that to – I’ve got peace of mind. A lot of it has to do with my particular faith, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that a lot of people pray for me and Laura. I’m sleeping pretty good. Seriously. I get asked that. There’s times when I hadn’t been. I’ve got peace of mind.’
In 2005 I heard about 2001. I heard that on 21 September 2001, the PDB (President’s Daily Brief), prepared by the CIA, reported that there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein was connected to the September 11 attacks.
I heard Condoleezza Rice say: ‘The fact of the matter is that when we were attacked on September 11, we had a choice to make. We could decide that the proximate cause was al-Qaida and the people who flew those planes into buildings and, therefore, we would go after al-Qaida. Or we could take a bolder approach.’
I heard Karl Rove say: ‘Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said we will defeat our enemies. Liberals saw what happened to us and said we must understand our enemies.’
In 2005 I heard about 2002. I heard that on 23 July 2002, eight months before the invasion, Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of MI6, reported in a secret memo to Tony Blair that he was told in Washington that the US was going to ‘remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD’. However, because ‘the case was thin, Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran . . . the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.’
I heard that this ‘Downing Street Memo’ was a scandal in the British press, but I didn’t hear it mentioned on American network television for two months. During those two months, ABC news had 121 stories on Michael Jackson and 42 stories on Natalee Holloway, a high-school student who disappeared from a bar while on holiday in Aruba. CBS news had 235 stories about Michael Jackson and 70 about Natalee Holloway.
I heard that in the second half of 2002, the US air force and the RAF dropped twice as many bombs on Iraq as they had done in all of 2001. I heard that the objective was to provoke Saddam into giving the allies an excuse for war.
I heard that the primary source of information about Saddam’s mobile biological weapons labs and germ warfare capability, used by Colin Powell in his presentation at the United Nations and in the President’s 2003 State of the Union address, was an Iraqi defector held by German intelligence. The Germans had repeatedly told the Americans that none of the information supplied by this defector, an advanced alcoholic, was reliable. He had been given the code-name Curveball.
I heard that the primary source of information about the tons of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons buried under Saddam’s private villas and under Saddam Hussein Hospital in Baghdad and throughout Iraq was a Kurdish exile called Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri. He was sponsored by the Rendon Group, a Washington public relations firm that had been paid hundreds of millions of dollars by the Pentagon to promote the war. (Rendon, among other things, had organised a group of Iraqi exiles in London, called them the Iraqi National Congress, and installed Ahmad Chalabi as their leader.) I heard that after al-Haideri failed a lie-detector test, administered by the CIA in Thailand, his stories were nevertheless leaked to journalists, most prominently Judith Miller of the New York Times, which published them on the front page.
I heard Donald Rumsfeld say: ‘Well, you never know what’s going to happen. I presented the President a list of about fifteen things that could go terribly, terribly wrong before the war started. And the fact that the oilfields could have been set aflame like they were in Kuwait, the fact that we could have had mass refugees and dislocations and it didn’t happen. The bridges could have been blown up. There could have been a fortress Baghdad with a moat around it with oil in it and people fighting to the death. So a great many of the bad things that could have happened did not happen.’ I heard a journalist ask him: ‘Was a robust insurgency on your list that you gave the President?’ And I heard Rumsfeld reply: ‘I don’t remember whether that was on there.’
In 2005 I heard about 2003. I heard a US marine, who was a witness to the event, say that the story of the capture of Saddam Hussein was a fiction. Saddam had been caught the day before in a small house, and then placed in an abandoned well, which was invented as the ‘spider hole’ where he was hiding. I never heard about this marine again.
In 2005 I heard about 2004. I heard that, during the attack on Fallujah, the President had suggested to Tony Blair that the headquarters of the al-Jazeera network in Qatar should be bombed. I heard that Blair persuaded him that it wasn’t such a good idea.
Because it was difficult for the military to attract new recruits, I heard that an army directive recommended ‘alleviating the personnel crunch by retaining soldiers who are earmarked for early discharge during their first term of enlistment because of alcohol or drug abuse, unsatisfactory performance, or being overweight, among other reasons’. I heard that the Pentagon had asked Congress to raise the maximum age for military recruits from 35 to 42.
I heard that the US military was actively recruiting in Latin America, offering citizenship in exchange for service. I heard that Hispanic-Americans make up 9.5 per cent of the actively enlisted, but 17.5 per cent of those given the most dangerous assignments.
I heard that the government had offered $15,000 cash bonuses to National Guard personnel who agreed to extend their enlistment. I heard that the government never paid, and cancelled the offer after many had signed up.
I heard that in veterans’ hospitals, the only televison news that is permitted is the Pentagon Channel, a 24-hour news station that features programmes like Freedom Journal Iraq.
I heard Rory Mayberry, a former food manager for Halliburton in Iraq, say that they routinely served the troops food that had expired by as much as a year. I heard that they would salvage food from convoys that had been attacked. I heard him say: ‘We were told to go into the trucks and remove the food items and use them after removing the bullets and any shrapnel from the bad food that was hit.’
I heard that, in a poll of American soldiers in Iraq, more than half rated their unit’s morale as ‘low’ or ‘very low’.
I heard the Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine say that one in four veterans required medical treatment and that it expected that as many as 240,000 would suffer from some form of post- traumatic stress disorder. I heard a soldier say: ‘My nightmares are so intense I woke up one night with my hands around my fiancée’s throat.’
I heard that members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas were demonstrating at the funerals of soldiers who had died in Iraq, claiming that the war was divine retribution for American immorality. I heard that they held signs depicting ‘homosexual acts’, with the words ‘God Hates Fags’; ‘God Hates America’; ‘Thank God for IEDs [roadside bombs]’; ‘Fag Soldiers in Hell’; ‘God Blew Up the Troops’; and ‘Fags Doom Nations.’
I heard that headstones in Arlington National Cemetery were now being inscribed with the slogans ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ and ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ along with the traditional name, rank and date of death of the deceased soldier. I heard Jeff Martell, who makes headstones for the cemetery, say: ‘It just seems a little brazen that that’s put on stones. It seems like it might be connected to politics.’
On the first anniversary of the ‘transfer of sovereignty’, I heard that there had been 484 car bombs in the last year, killing at least 2221 people and wounding at least 5574. I heard 890 US soldiers had been killed in the last year and that there was now an average of 70 insurgent attacks a day. That same day I heard the President say: ‘We fight today because terrorists want to attack our country and kill our citizens, and Iraq is where they are making their stand. So we’ll fight them there, we’ll fight them across the world, and we will stay in the fight until the fight is won.’
I heard him say: ‘Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war. Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York, in Washington and Pennsylvania.’
I heard him say: ‘Some may disagree with my decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, but all of us can agree that the world’s terrorists have now made Iraq a central front in the War on Terror.’
And I remembered that, three years before, to justify the invasion, he had said: ‘Imagine a terrorist network with Iraq as an arsenal and as a training ground.’
I heard Tom DeLay, then still the House majority leader, say: ‘You know, if Houston, Texas was held to the same standard as Iraq is held to, nobody’d go to Houston, because all this reporting coming out of the local press in Houston is violence, murders, robberies, deaths on the highways.’
I heard Donald Rumsfeld say that the Shias ‘are reaching out to the Sunnis and allowing them to come into the constitutional drafting process in a very constructive and healthy way. So there’s an awful lot good that’s happening in that country.’
I heard Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, say: ‘I think we have a clear strategy for success, and there is great progress being made on the ground. We are succeeding and we will succeed.’
I heard the President say: ‘We have a clear path forward.’
I heard that Halliburton had built a wall around the Green Zone, made of 12-foot-high, five-ton concrete slabs, topped with concertina wire. I heard that mortars fired into the Green Zone often fell short and landed in the neighbourhoods just outside the wall, and that frustrated suicide bombers, unable to get into the Green Zone, would blow themselves up outside the wall. I heard Saman Abdel Aziz Rahman, the owner of the Serawan Kebab Restaurant, which is next door to a restaurant where a suicide bomber at lunchtime had killed 23 people, say: ‘We are the new Palestine.’ I heard Haider al-Shawaf, who lives on al-Shawaf Street, now bisected by the wall, say twice, in English: ‘It was very nice street. It was very nice street.’
I heard the President say: ‘America will not leave before the job is done.’ I heard Dick Cheney predict that the fighting would be over by the time the administration ends in 2009.
After Amnesty International compared American treatment of Afghan and Iraqi prisoners to the Gulag, I heard the President say: ‘It’s an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world. It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of, and the allegations by, people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble – that means not tell the truth.’
I heard that most of the insurgent violence in Iraq was personally directed by a Jordanian, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. I heard that rumours of his presence had led to the US bombings of Fallujah, Ramadi, Mosul, Samarra, and a village in Kurdistan, but each time he had narrowly escaped. I heard that he had been seen recently in Jordan, Syria, Iran and Pakistan. I heard that he was closely linked with Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and the government of Syria. I heard that he was the bitter enemy of bin Laden, the secularist Saddam and the secularist Syrian government. I heard that he had died in Afghanistan. I heard that, after an injury in Afghanistan, his leg had been amputated in a hospital in Iraq, which was proof of Saddam’s connections to terrorism. I heard he was still walking on two legs. I heard he was one of the hooded men in a video showing the decapitation of a young American, Nick Berg, although the men never removed their hoods. I heard that he had died recently in Mosul when eight men blew themselves up rather than surrender to the US forces who had surrounded their house. I heard Sheikh Jawad al-Kalesi, an important Shia cleric in Baghdad, say that Zarqawi had been killed long ago, but the US was using him as a ‘ploy’. I heard the President compare him to Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. I heard that he had fewer than a hundred followers in Iraq.
I heard that there could be as many as a hundred groups responsible for the suicide bombings and I heard that many of them were connected to Ansar al-Islam, which had many more followers in Iraq than Zarqawi and had actual ties to Osama bin Laden before the war. Ansar al-Islam was almost never mentioned in administration speeches or in the press, since it is a Kurdish group, and all Kurds are presumed to be allies of the US.
I heard that unemployment for young men in Sunni areas was now 40 per cent. I heard that the annual per capita income was $77, half of what it was the year before; and that only 37 per cent of families had homes connected to a sewage system, half of what it was before the war.
I heard General George Casey say: ‘Iraq slowly gets better every day.’ I heard Lieutenant Colonel Vincent Quarles, commander of the 4-3 Brigade Troops Battalion, say: ‘It’s hard to see all the progress that has been made. But things are getting better.’
I heard that the Pentagon was supposed to deliver a report to Congress on the training and capability of the Iraqi security forces, but that it had missed the deadline and was reluctant to release the report. I heard Donald Rumsfeld say: ‘It’s not for us to tell the other side, the enemy, the terrorists, that this Iraqi unit has this capability, and that Iraqi unit has this capability. The idea of discussing weaknesses, if you will, strengths and weaknesses – “this unit has a poor chain of command,” or “these forces are not as effective because their morale’s down.” I mean, it would be mindless to put that kind of information out.’
I heard General William Webster say that the insurgents’ ability ‘to conduct sustained, high-intensity operations, as they did last year – we’ve mostly eliminated that.’ In the next few days, I heard that suicide bombings in Baghdad had increased, including one at a school that killed some two dozen children, and the explosion in the central square of a stolen truck of liquefied gas, killing at least 71 people and wounding 156 others. I heard that the highest-ranking diplomat from Algeria had been kidnapped. I heard that the highest-ranking diplomat from Egypt had been kidnapped and killed. I heard that no Arab country would send an ambassador.
I heard an unnamed ‘senior army intelligence officer’ say: ‘We are capturing or killing a lot of insurgents, but they’re being replaced quicker than we can interdict their operations. There is always another insurgent ready to step up and take charge.’ I heard him say that the US military was having a hard time understanding the insurgency’s unlikely coalitions of secular Baath Party members and Islamic militants.
I heard that, after a car bomb killed several children, the Task Force Baghdad 3rd Infantry Division released a statement quoting an ‘Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified’: ‘They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists.’ A few weeks later, after a car bomb killed 25 people near the al-Rashad police station, I heard that the Task Force Baghdad 3rd Infantry Division released a statement quoting an ‘Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified’: ‘They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists.’
I heard that the administration had decided it would no longer refer to a War on Terror. The new name was the Global Struggle against Violent Extremism.
I heard General Richard Myers say: ‘I’ve objected to the use of the term “War on Terrorism” before, because if you call it a war, then you think of people in uniform as being the solution. And it’s more than terrorism. The long-term problem is as much diplomatic, as much economic – in fact, more diplomatic, more economic, more political than it is military.’
I heard that the administration had decided it would no longer refer to the Global Struggle against Violent Extremism, which was too long. The new name was now the old War on Terror.
I heard the President say: ‘Make no mistake about it, we’re at war. We’re at war with an enemy that attacked us on September the 11th, 2001. We’re at war against an enemy that, since that day, has continued to kill.’
I heard Abdul Henderson, a former marine corporal, say: ‘We were firing into small towns. You see people just running, cars going, guys falling off bikes. It was just sad. You just sit there and look through your binos and see things blowing up, and you think, man they have no water, living in the third world, and we’re just bombing them to hell. Blowing up buildings, shrapnel tearing people to shreds.’
I heard a ‘former high-level intelligence official’ say: ‘This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush administration is looking at this as a huge war zone. Next we’re going to have the Iranian campaign.’ I heard Condoleezza Rice say that an invasion of Iran ‘is not on the menu at this time’.
I heard that John Bolton, the new US ambassador to the United Nations, had said: ‘There is no such thing as the United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power in the world – and that is the United States – when it suits our interest and when we can get others to go along.’ I heard that he keeps a bronze hand grenade on his desk.
I heard the President say: ‘This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. Having said that, all options are on the table.’ I heard the White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, say: ‘The President makes decisions based on what is right for the American people.’
I heard about despair. I heard the President say: ‘As democracy in Iraq takes root, the enemies of freedom, the terrorists, will become more desperate.’ I heard about hope. I heard him say: ‘These terrorists and insurgents will fail. We have a strategy for success in Iraq. As Iraqis stand up, Americans and Coalition forces will stand down.’
I heard an unnamed ‘top US commander’ question how the current Iraqi Ministry of Defence, largely staffed by civilians appointed by the US, would be capable of maintaining an army: ‘What is lacking are the systems that pay people, that supply people, that recruit people, that replace the wounded and AWOL, and systems that promote people and provide spare parts.’ I heard that the ministry had deposited $759 million in the personal bank account of a former money trader.
I heard a White House spokesman, Trent Duffy, say: ‘The President knows one of his most important responsibilities is to comfort the families of the fallen.’ I heard Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey had been killed in Iraq, describe her meeting with the President.
I heard her say: ‘He first got there, he walked in and said: “So who are we honouring here?” He didn’t even know Casey’s name, he didn’t, nobody could have whispered to him: “Mr President, this is the Sheehan family, their son Casey was killed in Iraq.” We thought that was pretty disrespectful to not even know Casey’s name, and to walk in and say: “So who are we honourin’ here?” Like: “Let’s get on with it, let’s get somebody honoured here.” So anyway, he went up to my oldest daughter, I keep calling her my oldest daughter but she’s actually my oldest child now, and he said: “So who are you to the loved one?” And Carly goes: “Casey was my brother.” And George Bush says: “I wish I could bring your loved one back, to fill the hole in your heart.” And Carly said: “Yeah, so do we.” And Bush said: “I’m sure you do.” And he gave her a dirty look and turned away from her.’
As the President moved to his ranch for a six-week summer vacation, Cindy Sheehan camped out at the entrance, demanding another meeting, which the President refused. I heard him say: ‘I think it’s important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say. But I think it’s also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life. I think the people want the President to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy. And part of my being is to be outside exercising.’
I heard that privately he had said: ‘I’m not meeting again with that goddamned bitch. She can go to hell as far as I’m concerned.’
I heard that 82 per cent of Iraqis were ‘strongly opposed’ to the presence of foreign troops and 45 per cent supported armed attacks against them. Less than 1 per cent believed that the foreign troops had made the country more secure.
I heard ‘top military commanders’ say that we could expect ‘some fairly substantial reductions’ in troops by next spring. I heard them add that the reduction would come after ‘a short-term bulge in troop levels’.
I heard that 1100 bodies were brought to the Baghdad morgue in one month, many with hands bound and a bullet in the head. I heard that between 10 and 20 per cent were too disfigured to be identified. I heard that in the Saddam era the number was normally around 200. I heard that doctors were ordered not to perform post-mortems on bodies brought in by US troops.
On a single day, I heard that fighting had broken out between two Shia militias in Najaf, leaving 19 dead; that the bodies of 37 Shia soldiers, each killed with a single bullet to the head, had been found in a river south of Baghdad; that Jalal Talabani had escaped an assassination attempt in which eight of his bodyguards were killed and 15 injured. On that same day, I heard an ‘unnamed White House official’ say that the Iraqis were ‘making substantial and real progress’.
I heard Condoleezza Rice say: ‘It’s a lot easier to see the violence and suicide bombing than to see the rather quiet political progress that’s going on in parallel.’ I heard her say that the insurgency was ‘losing steam’.
As riots broke out in Baghdad over the lack of electricity, I heard Nadeem Haki, a shop-owner in Baghdad, say: ‘We thank God that the air we breathe is not in the hands of the government. Otherwise they would have cut it off for a few hours each day.’
I heard General Barry McCaffrey say, after returning from an inspection of Iraq: ‘This thing, the wheels are coming off of it.’
I heard that the President’s approval rating had fallen to 36 per cent, lower than Nixon’s during the summer of Watergate. I heard that 50 per cent now believed that sending troops to Iraq was a mistake. I heard Trent Duffy say that the President ‘believes that those who want the US to begin to change course in Iraq do not want America to win the overall War on Terror. He can understand that people don’t share his view that we must win the War on Terror – but he just has a different view.’ I heard that the President, at a strategy meeting, had said: ‘Who gives a flying fuck what the polls say? I’m the President and I’ll do whatever I goddamn please. They don’t know shit.’
I heard Donald Rumsfeld say: ‘It’s been alleged that we’re not winning. Throughout history there have always been those who predict America’s failure just around every corner. At the height of World War Two, many Western intellectuals praised Stalin. For a time, Communism was very much in vogue. Those being tossed about by the winds of concern should recall that Americans are a tough lot and will see their commitments through.’
I heard General Douglas Lute, director of operations at US Central Command, say that the US would withdraw a significant number of troops within a year. I heard him say: ‘We believe at some point, in order to break this dependence on the Coalition, you simply have to back off and let the Iraqis step forward.’ The day before, I heard the President say that withdrawal would ‘only embolden the terrorists and create a staging ground to launch more attacks against America and free countries. So long as I’m the President, we will stay, we will fight, and we will win the War on Terror.’
I heard the President, still on vacation at his ranch, say: ‘A time of war is a time of sacrifice.’ I heard a reporter ask him if he planned to do any fishing, and I heard the President reply: ‘I don’t know yet. I haven’t made up my mind yet. I’m kind of hanging loose, as they say.’
I heard that the US was now spending $195 million a day on the war and that the cost had already exceeded, by $50 billion, US expenses in all of World War One. I heard that $195 million would provide 12 meals a day for every starving child on earth.
I heard the President, at North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego, compare the War on Terror to World War Two. I heard him quote the words of Captain Randy Stone, a marine in Iraq: ‘I know we will win because I see it in the eyes of the marines every morning. In their eyes is the sparkle of victory.’ In a long speech, I heard him briefly mention Hurricane Katrina, which had struck a few days before and which, at the time, was believed to have killed tens of thousands. I heard him say: ‘I urge everyone in the affected areas to continue to follow instructions from state and local authorities.’
I heard that the emergency response to the hurricane had been hampered because 35 per cent of the Louisiana National Guard and 40 per cent of the Mississippi National Guard, as well as much of their equipment and vehicles, were in Iraq. Approximately 5000 Guards and troops were eventually deployed; in 1992, following Hurricane Andrew in Florida, George Bush Sr had sent in 36,000 troops. I heard that the Guardsmen in Iraq were denied emergency two-week leave to help or find their families. I heard they were told by their commanders that there were too few US troops in Iraq to spare them.
A few weeks after the hurricane, I heard the President say: ‘You know, something we – I’ve been thinking a lot about how America has responded, and it’s clear to me that Americans value human life, and value every person as important. And that stands in stark contrast, by the way, to the terrorists we have to deal with. You see, we look at the destruction caused by Katrina, and our hearts break. They’re the kind of people who look at Katrina and wish they had caused it. We’re in a war against these people. It’s a War on Terror.’
On the day after an estimated 200,000 people demonstrated against the war in Washington, a pro-war rally was held on the Mall. I heard Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican from Alabama, address the crowd: ‘The group who spoke here the other day did not represent the American ideals of freedom, liberty and spreading that around the world. I frankly don’t know what they represent.’ The crowd was estimated at 400.
I heard that, along with the $30 billion appropriated by Congress, the US Agency for International Development was also seeking private donations: ‘Now you can donate high-impact development assistance that directly improves the lives of thousands of Iraqis.’ I heard that USAID’s ‘extraordinary appeal’ had raised $600, but I heard Heather Layman, spokeswoman for USAID, say that she was not disappointed: ‘Every little bit helps.’
In 2003, Dick Cheney had said: ‘Since I left Halliburton to become George Bush’s vice-president, I’ve severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interest. I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven’t had, now, for over three years.’ I heard that he was still receiving deferred compensation and owned more than 433,000 stock options. Those options were worth $241,498 in 2004. In 2005 they were worth more than $8 million. Along with its $10 billion no-bid contracts in Iraq, Halliburton was hired to expand the prison at Guantanamo and was among the first to receive a no-bid contract for Hurricane Katrina relief.
I heard the President say: ‘At this moment, more than a dozen Iraqi battalions have completed training and are conducting anti-terrorist operations in Ramadi and Fallujah. More than 20 battalions are operating in Baghdad. And some have taken the lead in operations in major sectors of the city. In total, more than 100 battalions are operating throughout Iraq. Our commanders report that the Iraqi forces are operating with increasing effectiveness.’
An Iraqi battalion has about 700 soldiers. The next day I heard General George Casey tell Congress that the number of ‘combat ready’ Iraqi battalions had dropped from three to one. I heard him say: ‘Iraqi armed forces will not have an independent capability for some time.’ When asked when the American people can expect troops to be withdrawn from Iraq, I heard him reply: ‘I don’t want to get into a date. I wouldn’t even want to go there, wouldn’t even want to go there.’
I heard Colonel Stephen Davis, commander of Marine Regimental Combat Team 2, tell a group of Iraqis that the US was not leaving: ‘We’re not going anywhere. Some of you are concerned about the attack helicopters and mortar fire from the base. I will tell you this: those are the sounds of peace.’
I heard General George Casey say that the insurgency ‘is failing. We are more relentless in our progress than those who seek to disrupt it.’
I heard General John Abizaid say: ‘The insurgency doesn’t have a chance for victory.’
I heard Condoleezza Rice say: ‘We have made significant progress.’
I heard Major General Rick Lynch, the chief military spokesman in Iraq, say: ‘Zarqawi is on the ropes.’
As the administration celebrated the approval of the long-delayed constitution, I heard Safia Taleb al-Suhail – the daughter of a man who was executed by Saddam Hussein and who, in a staged moment during the State of the Union address, embraced the mother of an American soldier killed in Iraq – say: ‘When we came back from exile, we thought we were going to improve rights and the position of women. But look what has happened – we have lost all the gains we made over the last 30 years. It’s a big disappointment.’
I heard an Iraqi Shia sergeant say: ‘Just let us have our constitution and elections in December and then we will do what Saddam did – start with five people from each neighbourhood and kill them in the streets and then go from there.’
I heard Melvin Laird, secretary of defense under Nixon during the Vietnam War, call for the withdrawal of troops. I heard him say of the President: ‘When troops are dying, the commander in chief cannot be coy, vague or secretive. His West Texas cowboy approach – shoot first and answer questions later, or do the job first and let the results speak for themselves – is not working.’
I heard Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser and a close friend of Bush Sr, say: ‘I thought we ought to make it our duty to help make the world friendlier for the growth of liberal regimes. You encourage democracy over time, with assistance and aid, the traditional way. Not how the neo-cons do it.’ They ‘believe in the export of democracy, by violence if that is required. How do the neo-cons bring democracy to Iraq? You invade, you threaten and pressure, you evangelise.’ I heard him say that America is now ‘suffering from the consequences of this brand of revolutionary utopianism’.
I heard Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s chief of staff at the State Department, say that foreign policy had been ‘hijacked’ by the ‘Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal’. I heard him say that Rumsfeld was ‘given carte blanche to tell the State Department to go screw itself in a closet somewhere’. I heard him say: ‘If something comes along that is truly serious, something like a nuclear weapon going off in a major American city, or something like a major pandemic, you are going to see the ineptitude of this government in a way that will take you back to the Declaration of Independence.’
I heard that 2000 US soldiers had been killed in Iraq; that 15,220 had been wounded in combat, including more than 7100 who were ‘injured too badly to return to duty’; and that thousands more had been ‘hurt in incidents unrelated to combat’.
I heard that a spokesman for the US military in Iraq, Lieutenant Colonel Steve Boylan, had sent an email to journalists asking them to downplay the marker of 2000 dead: ‘When you report on the events, take a moment to think about the effects on the families and those serving in Iraq. The 2000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone. It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives.’
I heard that 65 per cent of Americans now believed that the Iraq war was based on falsified information; only 42 per cent considered the President ‘honest and ethical’ and only 29 per cent considered Dick Cheney ‘honest and ethical’.
I heard the President say: ‘Anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. The stakes in the global War on Terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges. These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America’s will.’
I heard Dick Cheney say: ‘The suggestion that’s been made by some US senators that the President of the United States or any member of this administration purposely misled the American people on prewar intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city.’
A few days later, I heard Dick Cheney complain that the ‘liberal’ media had distorted his remarks. As evidence, I heard him cite a headline that read: ‘Cheney says war critics “dishonest, reprehensible”.’ Then, in the same speech, I heard him say: ‘I will again say it is dishonest and reprehensible. This is revisionism of the most corrupt and shameless variety.’
I heard Congressman John Murtha, Democrat from Pennsylvania, a marine colonel decorated in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and a prominent military hawk, with tears in his eyes call for the withdrawal of US troops within six months. I heard Scott McClellan say: ‘It is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing.’ I heard Congressman Geoff Davis, Republican from Kentucky, say: ‘Ayman Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s deputy, as well as Abu Musab al Zarqawi, have made it quite clear in their internal propaganda that they cannot win unless they can drive the Americans out. And they know that they can’t do that there, so they’ve brought the battlefield to the halls of Congress.’ I heard Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, Republican from Ohio, say: ‘Cowards cut and run. Marines never do.’
I heard the President say: ‘Some contend that we should set a deadline for withdrawing US forces. Let me explain why that would be a serious mistake. Setting an artificial timetable would send the wrong message to the Iraqis, who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done.’
I heard that, at an extraordinary ‘meeting of reconciliation’, a hundred Shia, Sunni and Kurdish leaders had signed a statement demanding ‘a withdrawal of foreign troops on a specified timetable’.
I heard that their statement also said: ‘National resistance is a legitimate right of all nations.’
I heard Congresswoman Jean Schmidt say: ‘The big picture is that these Islamic insurgents want to destroy us. They don’t like us. They don’t like us because we’re black, we’re white, we’re Christian, we’re Jew, we’re educated, we’re free, we’re not Islamic. We can never be Islamic because we were not born Islamic. Now, this isn’t the Islamic citizens. These are the insurgents. And it is their desire for us to leave so they can take over the whole Middle East and then take over the world. And I didn’t learn this just in the last few weeks or the last few months. I learned this when I was at the University of Cincinnati in 1970, studying Middle Eastern history.’
I heard that, in Fallujah and elsewhere, the US had employed white phosphorus munitions, an incendiary device, known among soldiers as ‘Willie Pete’ or ‘shake and bake’, which is banned as a weapon by the Convention on Conventional Weapons. Similar to napalm, it leaves the victim horribly burned, often right through to the bone. I heard a State Department spokesman say: ‘US forces have used them very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes. They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters.’ Then I heard him say that ‘US forces used white phosphorus rounds to flush out enemy fighters so that they could then be killed with high explosive rounds.’ Then I heard a Pentagon spokesman say that the previous statements were based on ‘poor information’, and that ‘it was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants.’ Then I heard the Pentagon say that white phosphorus was not an illegal weapon, because the US had never signed that provision of the Convention on Conventional Weapons.
I heard that US troops had accidentally come across an Interior Ministry bunker in Baghdad with more than 170 Sunni prisoners who had been captured by Shia paramilitary groups and tortured, some with electric drills. I heard Hussein Kamal, the deputy interior minister, say: ‘One or two detainees were paralysed and some had their skin peeled off various parts of their bodies.’ I heard a State Department spokesman, Adam Ereli, say: ‘We don’t practise torture. And we don’t believe that others should practise torture.’
I heard that the Senate, after an hour of debate, voted to deny habeas corpus protection to prisoners in Guantanamo. The last time the US suspended the right to trial was during the Civil War.
I heard that a human rights organisation, Christian Peacemaker Teams, was distributing a questionnaire to inmates released from Iraqi prisons. Those surveyed were asked to check ‘yes’ or ‘no’ after each question:
I heard a man who had been in Abu Ghraib prison say: ‘The Americans brought electricity to my ass before they brought it to my house.’
I heard that the Lincoln Group, a public relations firm in Washington, had received $100 million from the Pentagon to promote the war. As well as bribing Iraqi journalists, often with monthly stipends, the Lincoln Group was writing its own articles and paying Iraqi newspapers to publish them. I heard that the articles, intending to have local appeal, had titles such as ‘The Sands Are Blowing toward a Democratic Iraq’ or ‘Iraqi Forces Capture al-Qaida Fighters Crawling like Dogs’. I heard a Pentagon spokesman, Major General Rick Lynch, say: ‘We do empower our operational commanders with the ability to inform the Iraqi public, but everything we do is based on fact, not based on fiction.’ I heard him quote the al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri: ‘Remember, half the battle is the battlefield of the media.’
I heard that the average monthly war coverage on the ABC, NBC and CBS evening newscasts, combined, had gone from 388 minutes in 2003, to 274 in 2004, to 166 in 2005.
I heard that 2110 US troops had died in Iraq and more than 15,881 had been wounded. Ninety-four per cent of those deaths had come after the ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech, the first two sentences of which were: ‘Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.’ I heard there were now an average of a hundred insurgent attacks a day and an average of three American soldiers dying, the highest violence and casualty rates since the war began.
I heard that the President, in response to the increasing criticism, was going to reveal a new strategy for Iraq. On 30 November 2005, the administration issued a 35-page report: ‘National Strategy for Victory in Iraq’. On a page headed ‘Our Strategy Is Working’, I read that, on the ‘Economic Track’, ‘Our Restore, Reform, Build strategy is achieving results’; on the ‘Political Track’, ‘Our Isolate, Engage and Build strategy is working’; and on the ‘Security Track’, ‘Our Clear, Hold and Build strategy is working.’ General goals would be achieved in the ‘short’, ‘medium’ or ‘long’ term. The report ended with ‘The Eight Strategic Pillars’ (‘Strategic Pillar One: Defeat the Terrorists and Neutralise the Insurgency; Strategic Pillar Two: Transition Iraq to Security Self-Reliance’), like the Five Pillars of Islam or Seven Pillars of Wisdom. I heard that the ‘Strategy’ contained few specific details because it was the ‘public version of a classified document’. Then I heard that there was no classified document.
That same day, I heard the President address the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. I heard him say: ‘We will never back down. We will never give in. And we will never accept anything less than complete victory.’ I heard him say: ‘To all who wear the uniform, I make you this pledge: America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins so long as I am your commander in chief.’ In a front of a huge sign that read plan for victory, he stood at a podium bearing a huge sign that read plan for victory. I wondered whether ‘plan’ was a verb.
That same day, I heard that members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams had been kidnapped by members of the Swords of Islam.
4 December 2005
Eliot Weinberger's What I Heard about Iraq, which first appeared in the LRB in February, has been published as a book by Verso; 9/12 is published by Prickly Paradigm; What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles is forthcoming from New Directions.
Mirror of Craig Murray's Torture Exposé
Craig Murray's Site Still Down: Here is a mirror of his post on the leaked documents.By ringverse at Fri, 30/12/2005 - 01:11
While Craig Murray's site is temporarily down for reasons as yet unknown.
UPDATE (00:48) - Well, shut my mouth. Something fishy .is. going on. Details in the morning. Meantime, my advice to those who are hosting this data is as follows;
Back-up your websites... just to avoid any possible hassles.
Boy, it's a good thing we hosted this in multiple locations, isn't it?source
Here is a mirror of his post on the leaked documents:Damning documentary evidence unveiled. Dissident bloggers in coordinated expose of UK government lies over torture.
Help us beat the British government's gagging order by mirroring this information on your own site or blog!
Constituent: "This question is for Mr Straw; Have you ever read any
Jack Straw: "Not to the best of my knowledge... let me make this clear... the British government does not support torture in any circumstances. Full stop. We do not support the obtaining of intelligence by torture, or its use." - Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, election hustings, Blackburn, April 2005
I was summoned to the UK for a meeting on 8 March 2003. Michael Wood gave his legal opinion that it was not illegal to obtain and to use intelligence acquired by torture... On behalf of the intelligence services, Matthew Kydd said that they found some of the material very useful indeed with a direct bearing on the war on terror. Linda Duffield said that she had been asked to assure me that my qualms of conscience were respected and understood. - Ambassador Craig Murray, memo to the Foreign Office, July 2004
With Tony Blair and Jack Straw cornered on extraordinary rendition, the UK government is particularly anxious to suppress all evidence of our complicity in obtaining intelligence extracted by foreign torturers.
The British Foreign Office is now seeking to block publication of Craig Murray's forthcoming book, which documents his time as Ambassador to Uzbekistan. The Foreign Office has demanded that Craig Murray remove all references to two especially damning British government documents, indicating that our government was knowingly receiving information extracted by the Uzbeks through torture, and return every copy that he has in his possession.
Craig Murray is refusing to do this. Instead, the documents are today being published simultaneously on blogs all around the world.
The first document contains the text of several telegrams that Craig Murray sent back to London from 2002 to 2004, warning that the information being passed on by the Uzbek security services was torture-tainted, and challenging MI6 claims that the information was nonetheless "useful".
The second document is the text of a legal opinion from the Foreign Office's Michael Wood, arguing that the use by intelligence services of information extracted through torture does not constitute a violation of the UN Convention Against Torture.
Craig Murray says:
In March 2003 I was summoned back to London from Tashkent specifically for a meeting at which I was told to stop protesting. I was told specifically that it was perfectly legal for us to obtain and to use intelligence from the Uzbek torture chambers.
After this meeting Sir Michael Wood, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's legal adviser, wrote to confirm this position. This minute from Michael Wood is perhaps the most important document that has become public about extraordinary rendition. It is irrefutable evidence of the government's use of torture material, and that I was attempting to stop it. It is no wonder that the government is trying to suppress this.#
Fri, 23 Dec 2005
Some of My Strike Propagandizing.
Explain to your kids:
a response to someone saying the TWU strikers should 'explain to his kids' why there aren't as many presents under the tree this year, cause he couldn't get to the store.
Dec 20, 2005 02:36PM EST
Try explaining to your kids that the reason we can work 40 hour, five day weeks is cause these unions went on strike for it. And it didn't just make the workers miss pay. People were shot by goons, burned out of their homes, beaten and bloodied to prevent us having health care or lunch breaks.
[and yeah: people literally killed striking workers who wanted holidays like Christmas off with their kids!]
When the Trolley workers struck in 1919, the worked 10 hour days six day weeks. The bosses claimed that their ten hours only counted when the trolleys were moving. So people got paid for ten hours after working twenty.
The supreme court just ruled on a meatpacking plant that wasn't counting tool cleaning, prep, and uniform dressing as paid time. These people had to devote and hour before and after work to it, free of charge.
Try explaining to your kids why you can leave home at seven and get home at six most days. Cause before union organizers got killed striking for it, people like The New York Times thought a sixty hour week was just common sense!
Try explaining why there's any health care at all in this country! Cause unions fought for it. Try explaining why their grandparents can retire at 65 and don't have to work till the last day of their lives. Cause unions fought for it.
If the TWU has to 'give back' in every contract, even when there's a surplus, there soon won't be anything left. And that'll be one more set of working people screwed! Just cause your boss screws you, you think no one should have a union? If even the TWU or the UAW can't defend itself, what hope do the rest of us have? And did you know those unions spend a lot of time and effort trying to organize new workplaces? Maybe even the one YOU work in?
How bout you start building a union in your workplace. There losta people here who will support you with blood sweat and tears (like the IWW Starbux activists).
Or you can blame your fellow workers for striking. Maybe if we don't inconvience you by fighting back the bosses will just hand it all to us! Or maybe you'll be working 12 hours a day like your great grandparents did!
On the Taylor Law
Dec 20, 2005 10:24PM EST
The Taylor law was passed cause the state government decided the earlier laws were unenforceable. The 1940s laws not only made it illegal for public workers to strike, they mandated prison for strike leaders and rank and file, with quite heavy terms for labor leaders. Taylor just changes the penalties to financial, cause the unions ignored the previous laws. They did cause no NYC politician was going to round up strikers and put em in jail. I seriously doubt the NYPD would follow those orders even today. And this was back when the unions were all led by Irish and Italians. There would have been a freakin revolution, and Mayors like Lindsey knew it.
So after the 66 strike, upstate politicians changed the laws. Now Taylor STILL makes it illegal to even talk about a strike. It also has provisions for the public works board to remove a striking union from recognition and void their previous contracts.
My fear is Pataki is so set on running for president (and delusional, cause he would have to start eating babies in public for the national Republicans to give such a 'liberal' Republican any real national power) . He is scared to death of looking weak. What'll his opponents say in Iowa? And imagine how right-wing his opponents are gonna be! So he CAN'T back down.
The MTA is all for ruining the union financially. It solves their problems for decades to come! So they (like the TWU) have calculated how long the union can survive taking fines before they go bust. We don't know that date, but the question is: can Pataki take the political pressure that long? That's the only thing that'll keep the union from having to cave. And the mainstream press is doing a great job of deflecting all the pressure from Pataki and onto the TWU. Unless we can turn that around, and make Pataki and the MTA hurt politically, we're screwed.
Sorry to be so grim, but that's what it looks like at this point. What can we do? CALL THE MEDIA! CALL THE POLITICIANS! GET OUT AND SUPPORT THE UNION!
If the TWU loses this, what union can't be made to give concessions in every contract? What chance do unorganized workers have of keeping healthcare or pensions, if even these unions can't? Think it doesn't effect your job? These unions got you the 40 hour week. The bosses are taking back everything our grandparents won. It won't be long before they start taking back from YOU!
Fri, 16 Dec 2005
Securocrat Spying Scandal: Ireland.
I know, there's enough going on locally to be outraged about, but this shows, if you need it, proof of British government/military/intelligence collusion with the supression of Irish self-rule, and the lurch of Unionism to the extreme right fascism of the DUP.
In short, Belfast self-rule collapsed in 2002 when the UK raided Sinn Fein, claiming their members were behind a 'spy ring' run out of Sinn Fein's government offices. The Unionists used this as an excuse to walk out of coalition. The area has been no self rule since, and the Unionists have lurched even farther to the right.
Last month the security services dropped the charges, all the while leaking info to the press that the accused were really guilty. Now we find the top accused was actually in the pay of the security services! The 'evidence' of spying he was 'caught' with was planted: by him!
A paramilitary force has been medling in the north of Ireland: the British Government (the political wing of the British Army).
Sinn Fein expels 'British agent'
A senior Sinn Fein figure has been expelled by the party which accused him of being a "British agent".
Charges of involvement in an alleged IRA spy ring against the party's former Stormont head of administration, Denis Donaldson, were dropped by the Crown.
Party leader Gerry Adams claimed he was about to be "outed" by the same "securocrats" who set him up as a spy.
The government said the October 2002 Stormont raid was solely to prevent paramilitary intelligence gathering.
Northern Ireland's power-sharing executive collapsed following the arrests of three men, who had all charges against them dropped last week.
The Northern Ireland Office said in a statement on Friday that they "completely reject any allegation that the police operation in October 2002 was for any reason other than to prevent paramilitary intelligence gathering".
It said "the fact remains that a huge number of stolen documents were recovered by the police".
At a news conference on Friday, Mr Adams claimed Mr Donaldson had been approached by police officers earlier this week and told he was about to be "outed" as an informer.
Mr Adams said he contacted Sinn Fein and at a meeting at the party's Belfast headquarters on Thursday, he admitted that he had been working for the British authorities.
He said Mr Donaldson was not under any threat from the republican movement.
There has been no comment yet from Mr Donaldson.
Last week, Mr Donaldson appeared alongside Mr Adams at Stormont after the charges were dropped.
Mr Donaldson told the news conference that the "charges should never have been brought".
"It was political policing and political charges and the fact that we were acquitted today proves that," he said.
The police said on Friday that it was a matter of policy to neither confirm nor deny whether any individual is or had been an informant.
Police sources reiterated that the "Stormontgate" affair began because a paramilitary organisation was involved in the systematic gathering of information and targeting or individuals.
Security editor Brian Rowan said he believed Mr Donaldson was not the mole whose information prompted the police's Special Branch to act in the Stormontgate affair.
"My understanding is that the information that Special Branch had on that alleged IRA intelligence-gathering operation came from another source - not from Denis Donaldson and not from any of the others charged in connection with that case," he said.
Last week, the Director of Public Prosecutions would not be drawn on why the charges were dropped, only saying that it was "in the public interest".
Other parties have demanded that Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain or Attorney General Lord Goldsmith must clarify what were these public interest reasons.
The three men were arrested following a police raid on Sinn Fein's offices at Parliament Buildings on 4 October 2002, when documents and computer discs were seized.
Following the arrests, Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists and the Ulster Unionists, led at that time by then First Minister David Trimble, threatened to collapse the executive with resignations.
The British government then suspended devolution in the province, embarking on direct rule for the last three years.
Tue, 29 Nov 2005
1984 US PROPAGANDA COMIC
Fri, 25 Nov 2005
Mark Oliver,(Guardian) Friday November 25, 2005
Obituary: George Best
Thu, 10 Nov 2005
OF THE VANITY OF WORDS
Fri, 14 Oct 2005
Smurfs be Bombed
I have the flu. My whole office has the flu. It's cold and it's wet, and Scotland aren't going to the world cup, and other stuff is wrong too. All but the Scotland thing should be better by Monday. In the meantime, go bomb a smurf. It'll make me feel better, those tiny blue bastards.
Thu, 06 Oct 2005
Collected Quotations And Pies
I lately lost a preposition;
Correctness is my vade mecum,
All the passions make us commit faults; love makes us commit the most
Scotland: Fan charged for throwing pie.
A HIBS fan who threw a steak pie on to the pitch during yesterday's match against Inverness Caledonian Thistle has been charged with breach of the peace. The 17-year-old was arrested after throwing the pie at the players 15 minutes into yesterday's game. The youth, who was a season ticket holder, now faces the threat of being banned from the ground. Two supporters who were with him were also thrown out of the stadium by police, but not charged.
L'hazard ne favorise que l'esprit prepare.
"We repeat it again: without organization, free or imposed, society cannot
exist; without conscious, desired organization, there can be no freedom nor
guarantee that the interests of those who live in society are respected. And
those who are not organized, who do not seek the cooperation of others and who
do not offer theirs, in reciprocal conditions and in solidarity, place
themselves necessarily in a state of inferiority and there remains an
unconscious gear in the social mechanism that others work in their way and to
"remain isolated, acting or wanting to act each off his own bat, without understanding
each other, without preparing ourselves, without gathering together the fragile
forces of the isolated, means condemning ourselves to weakness, to wasting our
energy in small ineffectual acts, to losing faith quickly in our objectives and
to complete starvation"
Wed, 05 Oct 2005
Simple Explanation of Capitalism
Tue, 20 Sep 2005
:: On the Yank
A friend pointed me to a (now closed) website with pictures of the filming, but there remains an open directory of pics. Note how Elijah Wood's character learns how to dress decently by the end of the film. Talk about plot development. And he can drink more, get into fights and sing football songs. That's a well rounded human being by my (rather skewed) reckoning.
So while i'm in the mood: collected football stories from the last couple of weeks:
Steaua get stadium ban for racism, Cisse helps CSKA escape
BUCHAREST: Steaua Bucharest have become the first club to be punished by UEFA with a stadium ban because of racist chanting by their fans after a Champions League match last month. Bulgaria's CSKA Sofia, however, have escaped a ban for racist chanting during a Champions League match at their ground last month because of the "improper conduct" of the target of the abuse, Liverpool's French striker Djibril Cisse. Steaua were originally fined $20,460 after their fans made monkey noises at two black players playing for Irish club Shelbourne in a Champions League second qualifying round, second leg match in Bucharest. But UEFA appealed against the decision of its own disciplinary committee and Steaua must now play their UEFA Cup first round, first leg match against Norway's Valerenga 250 km from Bucharest and pay a fine of 19,500 euros. "It was acknowledged at the appeals hearing ... that the club did not do enough against this kind of misconduct among its fans," European soccer's governing body said on Friday. UEFA also appealed against the 19,500 euro fine imposed on CSKA after racist chanting in the home leg of their Champions League qualifying match against Liverpool on August 10 but the appeals committee decided not to increase the penalty. "It was noted that Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse came in for racist abuse during the latter stages of the game," said the UEFA statement. reuters
Anti-racism body wants action from Romanian FA MondaySeptember 12, 7:23 PM Reuters
BUCHAREST, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Romania's anti-discrimination watchdog wants the national soccer federation (FRF) to take action against increasing displays of racism at matches. Romanian champions Steaua Bucharest were given a stadium ban by UEFA last Friday after fans whistled and booed black players in Irish club Shelbourne's side during a Champions League match. Steaua, who were also fined 19,500 euros ($24,180), will play Norway's Valerenga in their UEFA Cup first round, second leg match, 250 km from Bucharest. "The image of Romanian soccer is in deep crisis and Steaua pays now for the FRF's lack of reaction (to racist behaviour) over the past several years," Csaba Asztalos, president of the country's Anti-Discrimination Council (CNCD), told Reuters on Monday. "The FRF, the Professional League and the clubs failed to take efficient measures to eradicate the plague of discrimination," he said. "Local soccer bodies must apply FIFA and UEFA rules against racism, which are very clear. But nobody has done anything in stopping racism in Romanian soccer," Asztalos added. "The clubs have their responsibility on the issue, too." Rapid Bucharest and Otelul Galati supporters shouted racist remarks during their first division match, just a day after UEFA had punished Steaua Bucharest.
Croatia police vow to crack down on hooligans
ZAGREB, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Croatia's police force, faced with growing violence among local soccer fans, vowed on Monday to crack down on hooligans and respond faster to crowd trouble. "We shall make a database of hooligans and insist with clubs that they are banned from entering stadiums," Interior Minister Ivica Kirin told state radio on Monday. "The police will intervene immediately, without waiting (for trouble) to spread. We shall move in promptly and pull out any trouble makers," Kirin said.
More than 100 Croatian fans were deported from Malta last week following violence during a World Cup qualifier, which ended 1-1 to jeopardise Croatia's hopes of winning Group Eight and qualifying directly for next year's finals in Germany. Seats were ripped up and hurled at Malta supporters in the VIP area, where a government minister was hit in the head, needing four stitches. On Sunday, fans twice interrupted a match between rivals Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split, throwing dozens of flares onto the pitch despite a huge police presence.
A week earlier, a friendly between Dinamo and Zeljeznicar Sarajevo in Bosnia had to be called off in the 75th minute due to crowd trouble. Vlatko Markovic, chief of Croatia's Football Association, said the country's chances of hosting Euro 2012, for which they are jointly bidding with Hungary, could be dented after FIFA had filed a report on the Malta incident.
Deaths at match in DR CongoBy Patrice Citera BBC Sport, Kinshasa
Sunday, 11 September 2005, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
At least four people were killed as fans protested the outcome of a football match in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The people died when a wall collapsed in the stadium on Saturday as police fired tear gas after Kinshasa-based Vita Club had beaten FC Tshikunku 2-0 in the central town of Kananga. Several people were also hospitalized with injuries from the incident which happened late Saturday.
According to authorities, the victims were buried under the rubble when the wall collapsed as fans tried to climb over to get onto the pitch. A local journalist who commentated on the game told BBC Sport from Kananga that there the police lost control as they tried to stop fans from getting on the pitch when the referee blew the last whistle.
Last month police fired tear gas during a derby game in the DR Congo capital Kinshasa between rivals Vita Club and DC Motema Pembe which left several people injured.
Argentine footballer shot in riot
An Argentine footballer has been shot and seriously wounded by a police officer during a riot between rival groups of supporters.
San Martin player Carlos Ezcurra was shot as he and other players tried to intervene and calm the fans. Second division San Martin, from the western city of Mendoza, were losing 3-0 to local rivals Godoy Cruz when trouble flared. Mr Ezcurra was operated on for a punctured lung and broken ribs. Trouble had flared during half-time of the keenly-fought local contest when angry fans threw rocks onto the pitch
Minutes from the end of the game, rival fans invaded the pitch and clashed on the playing surface. Players who remained on the pitch tried to calm the fans, before police intervened, firing rubber bullets, and injuring Mr Ezcurra.
The Governor of Mendoza province, Julio Cobos, said he would seek the officer's expulsion from the police force. Five other officers involved in the disturbances would also be investigated, he said. Football in Argentina has become blighted by fan violence and hooliganism inside and outside stadiums.
Malaga call on fans to join fight against racismArticle Here
Malaga have called on their fans to banish racist behaviour from their stadium, after abuse was directed at visiting Espanyol players during Sunday's Primera Liga match. The club was fined 600 euros ($791.8) for the behaviour of its fans, which is the club's second such fine this year. Similar incidents took place during last season's corresponding fixture.
"Malaga football club demands that all its fans come together to back the club in its fight against any type of racist actions taking place during games," the club said on their website. "The club abhors these acts and attitudes, and asks that fans do not repeat them at any more games, training sessions, or other club events."
Last season Deportivo La Coruna, Albacete, Getafe and Atletico Madrid all received fines for similar incidents in their grounds. ¤ Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano is to have surgery on his left foot and will be out of action for the rest of this year, according to his Brazilian club Corinthians. Flavio Fallopa, the Corinthians doctor, said the examinations had revealed a stress fracture in the 21-year-old's left foot. Mascherano, a regular for his country since last year, has been out of action with a thigh injury since August 10.
AEK boss takes new initiative for a hooliganism-free clubDemis Nikolaidis announces weekly open-house meetings to draw fans
ACTION IMAGES Fan violence in AEK?s opening game of the season last week against Atromitos led to a one-game fan ban. Club boss Demis Nikolaidis appears determined to not tolerate misbehavior from fans. He has sought a meeting with organized fans, but they have kept a distance.
Appearing determined to wipe out hooliganism at his club following an outbreak of fan violence in the opening round of this season?s soccer league, AEK boss Demis Nikolaidis took yet another initiative yesterday aimed at keeping his club trouble-free. Nikolaidis, who enraged the club?s biggest group of organized fans, which calls itself Original, by submitting video footage of last week?s fan violence to police authorities, yesterday announced a weekly open-house meeting for fans wishing to discuss issues of concern.
His decision, last week, to submit video footage led to police authorities? arrests of approximately 15 rival fans of the AEK and Atromitos clubs. A sports tribunal handed AEK a one-game fan ban for the trouble. Prior to the verdict, a furious Nikolaidis, who spearheaded a group of investors a little over a year ago in a takeover that saved the historic club from looming bankruptcy and consequent relegation to amateur-level competition, said holders of season tickets would be compensated for the one-game ban.
Nikolaidis has sought a meeting with the Original fan club to discuss their grievances, but it has refused to meet with him, and furthermore, called him a traitor. The club boss, a recently retired star striker at AEK, was adored by fans for his devotion during his playing years. As a show of solidarity, Nikolaidis, who sports an AEK tattoo on his arm, has occasionally joined the Original fan club in the stands. Since assuming the club?s top administrative job, Nikolaidis has expressed unbending support for trouble-free soccer that, ultimately, will be open to all interested spectators, including families. Attendance figures in Greek soccer have fallen drastically over the past decade or so, mostly due to heightened violence.
Shortly after his takeover of the beleaguered club, Nikolaidis negotiated with state authorities to nullify a significant part of the club?s debt owed to the state. Poor and corrupt management by a series of club bosses over the years generated deep financial and administrative trouble at the club. The initiative to hold weekly open-house meetings, as part of a wider strategy at the club to bring the administration and fans closer, is be held every Tuesday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the club announced yesterday.
Last season, to prove the point that he would not tolerate any misbehavior from AEK fans, Nikolaidis confiscated a season ticket from a club fan who tossed a bottle at Olympiakos?s Brazilian star Rivaldo during an AEK-Olympiakos encounter.
Book probes Nazi past of German federation16 September 2005
BERLIN: It has taken 60 years for Germany's soccer federation to face up to a dark period in its history when it collaborated with the Nazis.
A new book, Fussball underm Hakenkreuz (Soccer under the Swastika) is a first, if belated, attempt by the federation (DFB) to look at the dirt swept under the carpet immediately after the collapse of the Nazi regime it once wholeheartedly backed. The book illuminates how closely the DFB cooperated with the Nazis from the moment they took power in 1933 and systematically forced out thousands of German Jews from all levels of soccer, from players to club owners and sponsors. Many Jews, including former leading national team player Julius Hirsch, went on to die in Nazi death camps.
"Julius Hirsch had been a national hero but from one day to the next (he) was treated like an insect," said Theo Zwanziger, the present DFB co-president. "We want to come to terms with our past and not just brush over all this." "It took far too long for this book to be written," Otto Schily, Germany's minister for sport, told a news conference on Tuesday. "But it also took a long time for Germany as a nation to be able to look clearly at what happened in the Nazi era." Schily said the DFB deserved a share of the blame for the decades-long cover-up of its collaboration with the Nazis.
The book, written by historian Nils Havemann, comes 20 years after most Germans began looking critically at their Nazi past in the wake of a landmark 1985 speech by former President Richard von Weizsaecker who called Adolf Hitler's defeat a day of liberation for Germans. "One should be self-critical enough to say the DFB itself was one of the reasons (for the delay), there's no reason to beat about the bush about that," said Schily, flanked by leaders from the DFB. "But just because it took so long doesn't at all mean we shouldn't bother now. Just because our predecessors wasted the chance doesn't mean we should. "The DFB was anything but heroic during the Nazi era; on the contrary, there were terrible characters and horrible behavior. The facts are painful and sad but we have to face them." Schily and DFB officials said the book, the result of a three-year examination by Havemann which the federation sponsored, threw a spotlight on the organization's unsavory cooperation with Hitler's regime.
Its release comes less than a year before the World Cup finals Germany is hosting and helps to end decades of stifled speculation about whether German soccer was a victim, as some have claimed, or a tool of the Nazis. "Because the topic has been neglected for so long a lot of myths have emerged," said Havemann, a history lecturer at the University of Mainz. "Some said the DFB was militaristic and closely aligned with Nazi doctrine while others said the DFB tried to stay neutral and protect soccer from the Nazis. Those and other legends should be corrected now."
Schily said he hoped the book, which includes a striking cover picture of Germany players lined up giving the stiff-armed Hitler salute on the pitch before a match against Sweden in Stockholm in 1941, would initiate a broad discussion in soccer circles. "This will help us next year with the World Cup," said Schily. "I can imagine a lot of visitors from abroad will be here and asking what happened between 1933 and 1945. A lot of that will come up. I think this will make an important contribution to those discussions." Although few in the DFB were Nazi party members or especially vocal advocates of the regime's racist doctrines, most were willing tools or opportunists who let themselves be used out of ignorance or professional ambition, Havemann writes. "Most of the DFB members played a contributing role to the stability of the Nazi rulers and thus deserve a share of the guilt for the suppression, persecution, war and annihilation," he said. The DFB and clubs let themselves be "seduced" by favored treatment by the Nazis.
The book probes the Nazi-era career of Sepp Herberger, who joined the Nazi party in 1933 and was appointed national trainer in 1937. "He did everything in his power to keep that job and was to a very high degree willing to conform, at least externally, to the will of the regime of terror," wrote Havemann. "Because he bowed to their will, Herberger made the greatest leap forward of anyone in the DFB during the 12 years of the Nazis." Herberger's role in the Nazi era has always remained shadowy, largely because he was quickly rehabilitated after World War Two ended in 1945 and became one of the country's first post-war heroes by coaching West Germany to the World Cup title in 1954. "Unfortunately a shadow is falling over Sepp Herberger," said Schily. "It shouldn't be overlooked that he let his national team take part in a Nazi propaganda film in 1941. He let himself become part of the Nazi propaganda."Article Here
Match between Chiefs and Sundowns has been postponedSeptember 16, 2005, 19:15
The PSL match between Kaizer Chiefs and Sundowns has been postponed. Kaizer Chiefs succeeded in an urgent Johannesburg High Court application to have Sunday's match postponed, after a PSL disciplinary committee had ordered that the game be played in front of an empty stadium. Judge Mohammed Jhajbhay earlier postponed the matter, after lawyers for the PSL declared they had not had a chance to look at the papers.
The disciplinary committee's order followed hooliganism by Chiefs fans after their loss to Bloemfontein Celtic last month. The committee imposed a two-match ban on the club's supporters and a further R145 000 fine after the team's fans went on the rampage following the loss. A date for the game has yet to be decided and the PSL has been ordered to pay the costs.Additional Article Here
See Also: Chiefs succeed in last-ditch bid to postpone matchArticle Here
The girl addicted to hooliesWill Buckley meets the director of a film about hooliganism - and discovers it is based on her own experiences as a member of the Mannheim Firm
Sunday September 18, 2005
Not so long ago, films would be allowed to speak for themselves. Now, increasingly, they are accompanied by a director's statement. Lexi Alexander's, written to accompany the release of Green Street - which might have been titled 'A Yank at West Ham' - is perhaps typical of the genre. Alexander's 'statement of claim' starts by detailing how, growing up in Germany, she became the only girl in the Mannheim City Boys Firm, thanks to her brother and her knowledge of martial arts. She and her friends came from middle-class backgrounds, but their parents 'were workaholics, alcoholics, abusive or just simply absent'. Hooliganism filled a gap.
According to Alexander, it allowed young men to express their love for each other without having to put it into words. 'Standing strong next to your friend when you're facing 30 guys who want to punch your face in, that's love,' she writes, coining a 'Love Is...' for the upcoming hoolie generation. At the conclusion of the statement, Alexander details what 'people can take away from the movie'. First, she hopes it might make people better parents. Which is something of a stretch. Second, she hopes the film will warn against the dangers of addiction. 'And third, why I made this movie: [her use of capitals] YOU NEVER RUN, YOU NEVER LEAVE YOUR FRIENDS BEHIND!' A gloom descends as I read this statement while waiting for the director. Alexander, however, speaks better than she states. She is charming, funny, curious and extremely successful. Next year she will direct a £40 million 'actioner' for Disney and she is only 30. 'It's a hardcore, non-stop action movie with a really good storyline and a really good love triangle, like The Great Gatsby.'
Alexander's big break came when her short film Johnny Flynton was nominated for an Oscar. That allowed her to make Green Street and once it won a few prizes, 'all of a sudden instead of receiving one script a month I was receiving 20 a month. When you are a struggling director no one gives a shit.' Hollywood is more imitative than creative. People like to go with projects other people have supported so that if the project bombs someone else can be blamed. At the moment Alexander is flavour of the month, a fact more remarkable for her sex than her age. When she asks me to name three female directors I lamely say: 'Jodie Foster,' and stall. 'I think it's three per cent of all directors,' she says. 'It's definitely a boys club that I have totally decided to interrupt.'
Not for the first time, because she was the only girl in the Mannheim Firm.
Alexander was brought up by a single mother and started going to football at a young age. 'When I was five I might have liked the hotdogs more. But it becomes an addiction quite quickly. It's an amazing distraction from everyday life.' Mannheim are 'now in the fourth division playing on farmers' fields', but when Alexander followed them they were 'much like West Ham, yo-yoing between the Bundesliga and the second division'. Her hooligan times started in her teens, when karate was 'the only sport I was good at. I got to know a couple of guys I recognised as being firm members. And as I was their sensei [master] they couldn't justify not taking me.' She hung around with the gang, not fighting but taking pictures. 'I found consistency and stability that I didn't have at home,' she says. 'Each Saturday I would be in the same pub at the same time. At home, our parents broke promises constantly. 'Much like the arc of the film, I thought they were the greatest guys. But after a while I saw some very ugly sides, with people breaking their own rules and going overboard and not being able to differentiate between right and wrong. We always said we didn't touch anyone who was just a fan.' One fan of an opposing team happened to walk into the wrong street at the wrong time and 10 of them jumped him. Alexander didn't question their behaviour - 'I was not ready to say, "You guys are arseholes." I didn't have the guts' - but she did drift away. Her experiences found their way on to film. 'What I want to do is put a looking glass on to an unknown world.' Hooliganism is less known in the United States than in Britain and I had assumed it was on the wane, but the film-maker disagrees. 'There's this urban legend that it was heavier in the 1970s and 80s, but I don't think that is the case,' she says.
But surely the presence of CCTV and the demise of terraces have led to a decline? 'If you do the research it's as big as it used to be,' she counters, using the 'r' word to cap the argument. She has done her research and employed Dougie Brimson to co-write the script. Dougie and his brother were members of the generally unregarded Watford firm and heavy contributors to the hoolie-lit movement. Whenever their names crop up it brings to mind Monty Python's Dinsdale brothers, who were forever nailing people's heads to coffee tables. The film is littered with Dinsdale moments. It is well choreographed and moves at pace, but some of the dialogue is no more illuminating on the screen than when overheard in the pub. Of more import is the issue of whether it glamorises hooliganism. The World Cup is in Germany next year and should violence disfigure the tournament, as it did the 1988 European championship, then Alexander will be called upon to defend her film.
'If you walk out [of the cinema] and think you should be involved in hooliganism you are so retarded no one can help you,' she says combatively. Perhaps, but aren't some fascist hooligans retarded? 'The whole right-wing thing is way overrated,' she says. 'Football fans should be given credit that this has died out. It is one of the only outlets to be patriotic. There has to be some kind of outlet to be proud of your country.' In this Alexander might be accused of having it both ways. She needs to argue that hooliganism is prevalent to make her film relevant. But if it is prevalent it seems naive to think that some of those using football as an outlet to be proud of their country will not adopt fascistic postures.
Yet this does not mean we should shoot the messenger, even if you disagree with her statement. Alexander's film shows hooliganism is an addiction and demonstrates the consequences of becoming hooked on that addiction. 'The reason we cannot allow it is that someone always oversteps the line,' she says. 'Sadly, the human race can't be trusted and you have to protect people from themselves.' Anyway, if trouble does break out in Germany, Alexander will be in Hollywood, a place she considers more dangerous than hanging out with the Inter City Firm. 'In Hollywood these guys stab you in the back like no tomorrow.' How does she cope with that? 'I usually have a pint when it gets too much.' Green Street is on nationwide releaseArticle Here
Gambians celebrate shock winBy Lamin Cham
BBC Sport, Banjul
Thousands of Gambians poured into the streets of Banjul and surrounding towns late on Saturday night in celebration of the country's victory over Brazil at Fifa's Under-17 World Championship.
The Baby Scorpions stunned the football world by beating the tournament favourites 3-1 in Piura in the West African nation's first ever match on the global stage. Cars thronged major roads leading from the capital to Serrekunda, the largest town in the country, tooting horns as young men and women beat drums until the small hours of Sunday morning. Fireworks littered the sky as flocks of fans took to the streets singing the praises of the Baby Scorpions.
"I cannot believe this is happening," Alhaji Momodu Njie, Gambia's most celebrated footballer, told BBC Sport. "I have always waited for the day Gambia would beat Brazil. "Al-hamdulilahi, it has come in my life time," said the man popularly known as Biri Biri.
Elsewhere in the Gambia, people turned out across towns and villages in their thousands to greet the Baby Scorpions' unprecedented football triumph with long-distance walking and drumming. In Brikama, jubilant crowds defied heavy rains as they paraded their celebrations in the streets. "Our boys have now come of age - this team is heading for greater things," said Pa Faye, coach of local league side Pa Faye and a former coach of the Baby Scorpions.
Most of the fans expressed great joy even though they were surprised that Gambia beat Brazil, and the victory is viewed as critical for the team's confidence and chances of progressing in the competition. "Now we can be sure of a good tournament," ventured Biri Biri, one of 200 Gambians waiting to be flown out to Peru to support the country's footballers in the remainder of the matches.
Sparta players and staff attacked by angry fans after defeatSeptember 19, 2005
PRAGUE (AFP) - Players and staff at Sparta Prague came under attack from angry fans after the reigning Czech football league champions fell to a 2-0 defeat at the weekend, a club spokeswoman has revealed.
Around 60 radical supporters managed to get into Sparta's stadium after the bus carrying the team returned from their away defeat to eleventh-placed FC Slovacko, spokeswoman Lenka Rakova said. Sparta are currently lying fifth after six matches.
"A group of around 60 people got into the stadium. Security staff together with the police managed to evict the aggressors and enabled the players and staff to leave in safety," said Rakova on Monday, adding that one security worker was slightly injured during the incident. According to Czech daily Blesk, the fans threw smoke grenades. Rakova added that "tighter security measures" would be put in place during Sparta's home match this Saturday against Banik Ostrava.
But she declined to comment on reports that coach Jaroslav Hrebik and his family were under police protection. Sparta are due to take on English side Arsenal on October 8 followed by Dutch side Ajax and Swiss side Thoune during their Champions League qualification matches. Hrebik, 56, has been regularly taunted by supporters since taking up the role in December 2004, replacing his popular predecessor Frantisek Straka.
Penarol lose points after match halted by riotArticle Here
MONTEVIDEO, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Penarol have lost all three points after misbehaviour by their fans forced a Uruguayan championship match to be abandoned earlier this month.
Penarol were leading 2-1 when fans behind the goal began fighting and hurling missiles onto the pitch. Referee Martin Vazquez abandoned the match as riot police fired rubber bullets into the crowd to restore order. The decision means that Penarol, Uruguay's most popular club, dropped to 11th in the Apertura championship with five points from four games.
Fri, 02 Sep 2005
Alex Chilton still missing
Thu, 01 Sep 2005
Welcome to the Terrordome
"Those who know don't speak, and those who speak don't know"
"Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is in prison."
Henry David Thoreau
Wed, 31 Aug 2005
Which Side Are You On?
Council defuses town centre tension with organised BB gun battles between teenagersPatrick Barkham
Wednesday August 31, 2005
Peterborough's Cathedral Square yesterday afternoon. The scene of regular standoffs between gangs of marauding chavs and goths. Apart from the patter of shoppers' feet on hot paving stones, it's quiet, too quiet.
Ten miles away, at a secret location in the Cambridgeshire countryside, it is a different story. Startled wood pigeons crash through the trees at the sound of plastic ball bearing guns as the city's chavs and goths run through the undergrowth taking pot shots at each other.
War games do not appear the most obvious way to bring together these teenage tribes, as distinctive and implacably opposed to each other as the mods and rockers of the 1960s. But Peterborough city council is hoping that a new scheme, in which they take unruly chavs and goths on "airsoft" war games, will bring a truce to the trouble in Cathedral Square.
Fourteen male and female chavs and goths yesterday swapped fake Burberry and Marilyn Manson T-shirts for camouflage to take part in the first of the airsoft games, which is similar to paintballing but uses ball bearing - BB - guns firing plastic balls.
The voluntary scheme has been organised by the city's street wardens with the blessing of the local police. The street wardens were introduced three years ago to tackle antisocial behaviour and petty street crime but have found the antagonism between chavs and goths difficult to quell.
The gangs have attracted complaints of underage drinking, violence, vandalism, graffiti and littering. Police have also received a spate of calls from members of the public terrified by teenagers firing the frighteningly realistic-looking BB guns at each other on the streets.
Kitted out in black body armour and chomping on a large cigar, Steve Mayes, the street warden supervisor, looks more than a match for any mouthy chav or stoned goth. But he's found both groups showing scant regard for him, each other or society, and hopes that skirmishes in the countryside will instil respect.
"We've had large groups of chavs and goths on Cathedral Square on a Saturday. They've not really being doing any harm but the sheer number of them intimidates people," he said. "It's like mods and rockers - not that these guys start fighting, it's just a bit of a slap here and there."
The few goths who still walk across the square by the city's Norman cathedral are not so sure. War games in the countryside? "That's going to be murder," said Kenny, 19, resplendent in his daywear of black boots, black jeans, black shirt and long black leather jacket (it's sunny and 25C). "The chavs will take knives."
Kenny admits he was once a "borderline" chav but got in with skaters, punks and then goths. Black is his daywear but for gigs he'll don black eyeliner and black nail varnish. Apart from clothes and music, the difference between the groups is attitude, according to Kenny.
He points out a chav, swaggering through the square on the toes of his immaculate white trainers. "Most goths are so laid-back they are on their arse," he said. "If you go up to a chav and look at him wrong, he'll kick your head in."
A piercing scream cuts through the quiet of the countryside as a chav receives a buttfull of plastic ball bearings. The bonding between the two groups is proceeding apace and organisers swear that the teams have not simply divided down chav/goth lines.
But Mr Mayes admits there is one small problem: most of the goths were so laid-back they couldn't get up in time for the war games. Six cried off yesterday morning. "We've got more chavs than we have goths because they couldn't get out of bed," he said. "They've probably been smoking too much pot."
"Chris just unloaded a clip on me," yells one chav, clutching his backside in mock pain as he enters the "dead zone", where those who are shot during the game must recuperate for five minutes. "I shot you about five times, man," bragged another chav.
"They call me a chav," said Craig Jones, 22. He doesn't mind. "It's a bit of laugh. I think they mean Orton boy, which is an area in Peterborough which has graffiti all over the place so people think it's a bit dingy."
He finds the joy of the war game a welcome relief from the tedium of sitting in Cathedral Square. "I hang around with mates having a giggle, having a laugh. There's not much to do. Because we hang about in big groups separate from one another people think there's trouble and it's intimidating. With a big group of lads, grannies think they're going to rob their handbags."
But he insists that far from gang warfare, the chav-goth tension in Peterborough is like anywhere in the country, it is simply "friendly banter".
Mr Mayes says the voluntary scheme, in which chavs and goths pay a reduced rate subsidised by a local company, is not rewarding bad behaviour. Teenagers brandishing BB guns in town has been a problem, but the scheme teaches youngsters that the realistic-looking weapons hurt and should only be used in safe "game" situations.
"These guys here are well-behaved kids. All they've done is stand in large groups. They say: 'I hang about on the square because I haven't got anything else to do, innit?'"
Mr Mayes believes the games will give the two groups something to do and get them talking to each other. "It gets rid of that pent-up energy that teenagers don't seem to get rid of these days when they are sitting around on their Playstations and Xboxes," he said.
The council hopes a new spirit of mutual respect will extend to all their employees. As well as the orange-clad street wardens, there is even a council parking attendant sportingly allowing young chavs and goths to take pot shots at him. "When they see us now it's not going to be 'oh those bloody tango wardens'," said Mr Mayes. "They now know who I am."
Whether skinny goths can be persuaded out of their beds for some bracing outdoor activity with their chav foes remains to be seen. But the council wardens believe the airsoft games, which they hope to hold every half-term, will spread via word of mouth, bringing the two tribes together in war - and bringing peace to Cathedral Square.
"It's like football," said Denise Mee, another street warden. "You pick which team you belong to. But ultimately the chavs and the goths are the same sort of people, so the idea is to get them together. When they first came they were in little groups but already there's more togetherness."#
Fri, 26 Aug 2005
We have to build parallel structures to capitalism and the state. These structures have to mirror the values of a post-revolutionary life (as much as possible in a capitalist culture). And these structures have to survive any individual. They have to be there for the next generations to build upon.
Second, we have to convince people that revolution has to happen. We have to convince people that capitalism is a bad thing and we can end it if we want to. All that is PR. Simple as that.
Those things aren't sexy. They aren't storming barricades or (neccessarily) armed struggle. But these things build a post capitalist future. They make revolution happen, because revolutions happen in culture, in economics, and (most importantly) in people's minds.
Does this mean marches and protests are good or bad? Only to the extent that they build revolution or not.
You get to decide that for yourselves, but I get sick of kids slagging off others actions on the internet while they pose with balaclavas and guns. It seems some people want to remain a cool little hated cadre. It's much easier than reaching out into society and trying to talk with the normal working people who we need to make a new world.
So let's support one another. I'll see you at the revolution.
Thu, 11 Aug 2005
Fri, 05 Aug 2005
A Better, More Violent World Is Possible.
Banksy strikes on West Bank barrier
British artist Banksy took a little holiday to the West Bank and painted some amazing and subversive murals on the wall the Israeli army is building on Palestinian land. Check out the Manifesto on his website. Amazing stuff.
Now for the latest crisis to hit the British mainland:
a ballsy parrot.
"He's told a lady mayoress to f..(expletive) off and he told a lady vicar: 'And you can f... off as well'," sanctuary worker Stacey Clark said. "Two policemen came to have a look at the centre. He told them: 'And you can f... off you two wankers'."
On the hooligan watch
UEFA to probe racist chanting at Shelbourne match.
UEFA have vowed to investigate racist abuse directed at Shelbourne players during the Champions League qualifier against Romanian side Steaua Bucharest.
Curtis Fleming, a former Republic of Ireland international, and Joseph Ndo both suffered racist chanting at the hands of the Romanian supporters.
Shelbourne lost the match 4-1 on the night and on aggregate after a 0-0 draw in Dublin last week.
Shels racist abuse to be probed.
Shelbourne manager Pat Fenlon said: "The one disappointing thing is that we have two black players on the field and they got abuse. It was unacceptable."
And proving it's a game anyone can play,
One of the world's most successful directors of television commercials has been found guilty of football hooliganism and banned from attending matches for five years.
The London-based director, a life-long West Ham fan, was arrested after he was filmed throwing coins at Millwall fans at a match in November. He was originally charged with violent disorder but that was reduced to a charge of threatening behaviour.
IC London reports:
Rioting broke out during the London grudge match which ended 1-0 in the Lions' favour in November.
Seats were torn up and thrown and coins thrown at cops.
PC Andrew Wadeson, from the Met's football unit, confirmed Diebel was a leading television director.
He said: "You get a surprising mix of people involved in this sort of thing.
"He [Diebel] was seen on CCTV throwing coins at Millwall fans, and also at police officers.
Meanwhile, here comes football terrorism, right from the BNP and other assorted idiots.
Iran friendlies canceled over racist threats.
Rumours have been rife in England that right-wing extremists who identify with certain football teams have been planning a backlash against London's Muslim community in the wake of July's bombings.
In a more fictional vein,
Eddie forwarded news of the film Hooligans, renamed Green Street Hooligans is coming out soon in the US. Co-written by Dougie Brimson, we'll see if it's any good.
All Power to the People?An Aussie publication argues that UEFA is pushing more football clubs to become supporter owned. I'm not sure if I believe it, but I sure want to.
Football versus greed: the battle begins.
...this battle will be fought in boardrooms by men in designer suits. And it will be bloody and long. It will be between UEFA and the most dangerous element to emerge in the game since hooliganism: the G14 [a coalition of the fourteen richest football clubs].
The first shot across the bows of the G14 will be fired shortly, when UEFA releases its newly-approved 10-year strategy for European football. In it UEFA calls for all clubs to be 'controlled and run by their members (e.g. supporters) according to democratic principles'.
Anarchosyndicalism in action, I tell ya.
Back to old fashioned hyper-nationalist violence.Anorthosis of Cyprus triumph in grudge Turkey game.
Anorthosis Famagusta of Cyprus qualified for the third round of the European Champions League after a dramatic and politically-charged game against Turkey's Trabzonspor.
The Cypriot visitors lost the second leg 1-0 but went through to the next round 3-2 on aggregate and will now play Scottish champions Rangers. ... Spectators packed the 20,000-capacity stadium in Trabzon, turning it into a sea of red and white, the colours of the Turkish and TRNC [breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] flags.
A huge TRNC flag also greeted the Greek Cypriot side as their bus arrived in the street leading to the stadium. Only 80 tickets were sold to Anorthosis fans.
At the final whistle, disgruntled Turkish supporters hurled plastic bottles at the Greek Cypriots, but the security forces quickly led the small group out to safety.
Despite the heavy police presence, several hardcore fans also pelted the Anorthosis bus with stones as it drove the visiting team directly to the airport after the game, CNN Turk television reported.
Two bus windows were broken but there were no injuries, it said.
Anorthosis are supported by Greek Cypriots who were displaced from the eastern city of Famagusta by Turkey's 1974 invasion and plays "in exile" in the south coast resort of Larnaca.
I seem to be saying this a lot, but don't mention the Celtic result.
Thu, 04 Aug 2005
Tue, 19 Jul 2005
Iraq Body Count has just published a new report detailing twenty-five thousand Iraqi civilian deaths since the US invasion. They fucked this up, now it's up to you to do everything you can to fix it before another ten thousand are added to that toll.
℘ Great bit in the Observer: Why Marx is man of the moment.
℘ Also in the Observer: Activist 'cut down by the evil he defied'
℘ One Down, a Couple of Thousand To Go.
BNP founder Tyndall dies aged 71.
r℘ And finally, also from Upsetter: The best of British Justice.
ASBO orders teen to be drunk and carry alcohol.
Thu, 14 Jul 2005
Happy Bastille Day. Now go cut off the head of an aristocrat.
Wed, 13 Jul 2005
Fri, 08 Jul 2005
Date: Thu, 07 Jul 2005 16:28:58 +0200
Statement by ethical anarchists on London Bombings
It is a hideous act to kill innocent people in such as manner as has happened in London this morning. We strongly condemn such acts against random people, regardless of the crimes committed by their government.
Tony Blair has stated that the attacks were meant to coincide with the opening of the G8. Anarchists have different views on direct action and violence, some being pacifists, but every anarchist would agree that if you have a battle to wage, you wage it directly with those in power. This is why they are around Gleneagles and are aiming at world leaders. We disagree entirely with theories of collateral damage and the idea that the way to get to those in power is through killing their subjects. Not only is it outrageously counterproductive, but it is a crime against humanity. Such types of acts tend not to touch people in power, but poor and average working people - those who ride in public transport, not in armoured vehicles protected by bodyguards. Everything we do in our struggle against the state and economic order is in the firm belief that we all can make life better for the average person - not destroy it.
We are therefore convinced that these acts in London have nothing to do with anti-G8 protests in Scotland. We do believe that they may well be a protest against the policies of some G8 countries, in particular Great Britain. The state of Great Britain in its support for war has been an equal participant in atrocities against human life. We do not believe in this type of revenge - an innocent life for an innocent life. Rather we believe in an overthrow of the war machine and demilitarization of the state and the creation of a new world without wars and nation-states or superstates.
We are saddened that such an act has happened and send our sympathies to those victimized by this act but we are equally concerned that this will mark yet another step towards unfreedom as frightened civilians tend to turn against each other rather than blame those who policies are the root cause of the problem. Rather than random arrests, torture, police state security measures and harrassment of political activists. we urge people to demand social justice. Only an end to unjust war, economic imperialism, militarism, police tactics will strike the death blow to terrorism.
Statement against London bombingsSite Here
As social anarchists and libertarian communists, we at libcom.org deplore the horrific attacks on innocent people this morning in London. We express our deepest sympathy to anyone affected by the blasts. We condemn the use of violence against ordinary people and the perpetrators of the bombings whether they be Islamists or anyone else.
Terrorist actions are completely at odds with any struggle for a freer, fairer society and never help oppressed people in any part of the globe. Instead violence against civilians is a tool of states and proto-states every bit as brutal as the ones they profess to oppose.
The British Government, by sending British soldiers to kill and die in Iraq and Afghanistan has made all of us a target for terrorists in their pursuit of increase profit and power at the expense of ordinary working people.
We stand for a world in which human solidarity and co-operation replace the quest for profit as society's driving force, and stand in solidarity with all people fighting exploitation and oppression in all its form, from opponents to the occupation of Iraq here to those in Iraq who are opposing both the occupying forces and the ultra-reactionary Islamists the Occupation helps strengthen.
Our thoughts today are with the victims of this atrocity, and their loved ones.
Written by libcom.org group
- Class War Federation (Site Here)
- Colchester Solidarity Group (Site Here)
- Anarchist Federation (Site Here)
- International of Anarchist Federations IAF-IFA Secretariat
- West Midlands Anarchists (Site Here)
- Burnley Voice (Site Here)
- Ipswich Anarchists (Site Here)
- Norwich Anarchists (Site Here)
- Freedom Newspaper (Site Here)
- Preston Solidarity Federation (Site Here)
- Red Party (Site Here)
- Organise! Ireland (Site Here)
For more information on an anarchist political, rather than solely humanitarian, critique of terrorism, see You can't blow up a social relationship - the anarchist case against terrorism (Site Here)
Adams offers sympathy and solidarity to people of London
Published: 7 July, 2005 Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has condemned the bomb attacks in London this morning. Mr. Adams has sent a message of sympathy and solidarity to the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and to the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone.
Mr. Adams said:
"I condemn the bomb attacks in London this morning. I have sent a message of sympathy and solidarity to Mr. Blair and the London Mayor Ken Livingstone.
"On behalf of Sinn Féin I offer my sincere condolences to the victims and the families of those killed and injured and to the people of London. ENDS
Tariq Ali's statement on the London Bombing
The price of occupation
Friday July 8, 2005
The Guardian Site Here
During the last phase of the Troubles, the IRA targeted mainland Britain: it came close to blowing up Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet in Brighton. Some years later a missile was fired at No 10. London's financial quarter was also targeted. There was no secret as to the identity of the organisation that carried out the hits or its demands. And all this happened despite the various Prevention of Terrorism Acts passed by the Commons.
The bombers who targeted London yesterday are anonymous. It is assumed that those who carried out these attacks are linked to al-Qaida. We simply do not know. Al-Qaida is not the only terrorist group in existence. It has rivals within the Muslim diaspora. But it is safe to assume that the cause of these bombs is the unstinting support given by New Labour and its prime minister to the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
One of the arguments deployed by Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, when he appealed to Tony Blair not to support the war in Iraq was prescient: "An assault on Iraq will inflame world opinion and jeopardise security and peace everywhere. London, as one of the major world cities, has a great deal to lose from war and a lot to gain from peace, international cooperation and global stability."
Most Londoners (as the rest of the country) were opposed to the Iraq war. Tragically, they have suffered the blow and paid the price for the re-election of Blair and a continuation of the war.
Ever since 9/11, I have been arguing that the "war against terror" is immoral and counterproductive. It sanctions the use of state terror - bombing raids, torture, countless civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq - against Islamo-anarchists whose numbers are small, but whose reach is deadly. The solution then, as now, is political, not military. The British ruling elite understood this perfectly well in the case of Ireland. Security measures, anti-terror laws rushed through parliament, identity cards, a curtailment of civil liberties, will not solve the problem. If anything, they will push young Muslims in the direction of mindless violence.
The real solution lies in immediately ending the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. Just because these three wars are reported sporadically and mean little to the everyday lives of most Europeans does not mean the anger and bitterness they arouse in the Muslim world and its diaspora is insignificant. As long as western politicians wage their wars and their colleagues in the Muslim world watch in silence, young people will be attracted to the groups who carry out random acts of revenge.
At the beginning of the G8, Blair suggested that "poverty was the cause of terrorism". It is not so. The principal cause of this violence is the violence being inflicted on the people of the Muslim world. And unless this is recognised, the horrors will continue.
. Tariq Ali's latest book is Speaking of Empire and Resistance.
Site Here #
Tue, 28 Jun 2005
Our parents were of Midwestern stock and very strict. They didn't want us to grow up to be spoiled and rich. If we left our tennis racquets in the rain, we were punished. -- Nancy Ellis (George Bush's sister), in the New Republic
From the Chicago Times: A British demon is rumbling.
"There are two types of night life in England," said Mark Dosh, a 25-year-old window washer from nearby Sunderland. "You can stay home and watch telly, or you can go out and get drunk."
Mon, 27 Jun 2005
You should never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and liberty. -- Henrik Ibsen
Thu, 23 Jun 2005
I came across this great review, entitled Cubist Slugs, of the overpriced art book on the history of camoflage. DPM: Disruptive Pattern Material; An Encyclopedia of Camouflage: Nature Military Culture goes for a hundred plus bucks. Plus, the guy who wrote it has some ritzy Shop in London, selling fifty dollar t-shirts. Artist for the rich, as usual.
But it's a fascinating subject, and the last line of this excerpt rings true today. Plus it proves what I'd always suspected: Gertrude Stein was a self-absorbed jerk...
Mon, 20 Jun 2005
Dis n Dat.
If you know me, you know I go on a bit about Languedoc, and how it's not really a part of France, and how I'd like to be there right now. Here's a link about the language bit of it. The sitting in the sun drinking Pastis and playing Petanque will have to wait.
Central Asian Paras: Class Act.
In Celtic FC News.
On the Violence Front.
Thu, 16 Jun 2005
All Got Our Runnins
Running my ass off at work all week, and the evenings, and next week looks to be much of the same. So in lieu of my inciteful blog posts, here's something to do BEFORE getting loaded and falling over this weekend.
US, NYC, J18 Day of Action for Sbux Workers 12:00 to 15:00 IWW* and Friends Return to the 17th-and-1st Starbucks: Get an Organizer Her Damn Job Back. Join a rowdy moving picket in front of the starbucks at 17th St and 1st Ave. Bring friends, drums, whistles, and spirit. If you stop in, tip but don't buy. Sarah Bender was "separated" for allegedly mishandling six dollars. This happened one week after store manager Noura Glenn was overheard discussing her plans to fire Sarah for union activity. So join us as we demand the unconditional reinstatement of Sarah Bender and an end to illegal union busting! An injury to one is an injury to all. **4:00pm to 7:00pm: Support the Union The picket relocates. Celebrate the starbucks workers at 2nd Avenue and 9th St. who proudly went public as an IWW union on May 27th 2005! Show your support.http://www.starbucksunion.org http://www.iww.org #
Fri, 10 Jun 2005
Summertime, and the livin is sleazy
Every summer needs a record, at least in my world. Something to blast out the window on sticky, lazy days. Last summer was Orchestre Baobab's great
Specialist in All Styles, especially the re-recording of their 70's classic El Son De Llama. And not only because of the vision of Salsa dancing Senegalese llamas.
On a slightly related topic, I found this great quote on Gilberto Gil and the Tropicalismo movement in dictator-ridden 70's Brasil
And if it's a revolution you're seaching for, this fella is selling. A bizarre tribute to a bizarre ideology, the US followers of North Korea's Juche-Marxism(sic). Hey it worked so well for the Koreans. Don't miss the prose poems dedicated to the Dear Leader.
I have to say, I'm seriously considering flying to London for this!
On a sadder note: Great Baltimore Antifa Punk band Fighting Chance is breaking up.
Wed, 08 Jun 2005
I Go Down For The Last Time.
So my boss went to pick up his kids and calls a bit later saying his daughter just peed all over him, so he'll be working the rest of the day from home. Something about trauma.
Fri, 03 Jun 2005
Wasting/Not Wasting Cash
Well, Sinn Fein did it: The Bug has been sold!. The Sinn Fein shop had to take over the auction of a British Intelligence bugging device found in their offices, after EBAY pulled an earlier auction. Every home should have one! At least that's the US government's plan.
Some might feel a better use of resources is to download 3000 swedish techno ringtones: Phone Ring Tone to Top British Music Charts
Out now: With the Poor People of the Earth: A Biography of Doctor John Creaghe of Sheffield & Buenos Aires by Alan O'Toole
But the best possible use of money is to save football from capitalism, though I might be a bit biased...
"Thunderbolt steers all things...
It consents and does not consent to be called Zeus."
Herakleitos of Ephesos
For weekend fun (and poop jokes) go to www.b3ta.co.uk. Perhaps a sample of their work will convince you? Though it seems unlikely.
Wed, 01 Jun 2005
Lolife Socialist Retail Therapy
Sadly, I fall into retail therapy when I'm depressed, victim of a consumer society as I am. I realized, though, that in the last twenty-four hours I've slapped out for both a cheesy-ass Aquasqutum ned cap and "A People's History of Iraq: The Iraqi Communist Party, Workers' Movements and the Left 1923-2004". I'm not sure this was what was meant by 'if it feels good do it'. Hippies.
What apparently feels good to some Norwegians is preventing a US warship from docking at Oslo's version of Fleet Week. One group has begun a campaign to fife an ancient cannon from Oslo's medieval fortifications. Put your Norge mastery to the test at thier Shoot at the Saipan manifesto webpage and Sign the petition to let them use the cannon. Like that's going to happen.
Unlikely, heartening, and scientifically proven!
I know where the US get's both it's hysterical prudishness and it's drunken disregard for morays: It's slightly southwest of London.
Further Proof of the Existance of Good People, even in the UK
Tue, 31 May 2005
Soy Foods..... With vegetarianism on the rise and beef scares in Europe, soy-based meat substitutes are a booming industry. What are some of the most popular items among meat-shunning Euopeans? Misteak Soystrami Mockwurst Nauseages Prosciuttofu Approximeat Roast, Almost Kielbeancurdasa Soysters Rockefeller Nofu: The Tofu Substitute Fake-un Double Cheesebulghur I Can't Believe It's Not A Dead Animal!
This event is part of the June 10-12, 2005 Weekend of Resistance for Political Prisoner Jeff 'Free' Luers.
Saturday June 11th, 7pm at DUMBA Art space, 57 Jay Street [between Front and Water Streets]. Friends of Jeff Luers, The Jericho Movement and Resistance in Brooklyn will be sponsoring an event with speakers, music, film and some suprises. Speakers: former Black Liberation Army (BLA) political prisoner Ashanti Alston, former Animal Liberation Front (ALF) prisoner and activist currently under federal indictment for SHAC campaign, Andy Stepanian. Music: Cipher, Casey Neill and the Rude Mechanical Orchestra.
The music, frankly sounds like it ranges from crap to headache inducing, but the cause is worth it, even if you have to hang out in yuppified Dumbo.
'Hoodie' cops stop boxer Hatton
Tuesday, 31st May 2005
POLICE stopped Manchester boxer Ricky Hatton during a 2am training run - because they thought he was a hooded thug.
Ricky, 26, said he was running down Stockport Old Road near his home in Hattersley when the incident happened.
Police forces have said they will check on so-called "hoodies" - youths wearing hoods - and that's how the mistake occurred.
The officers apologised when they realised it was Ricky preparing for his early morning fight at the Manchester Evening News Arena on Sunday against Kostya Tszyu, the Australia-based Russian who is the IBF world light-welterweight champion.
Ricky said: "The police pulled me up because I had my hood up and I was training away at about 2.30am. I had my bob-hat on and my hood and they pulled me up.
"As soon as I turned around they noticed who I was.
"They said `We should have known it was you, Ricky. What other idiot would be running at two in the morning?'"
Ricky said that he had changed his training regime so he would be ready for Sunday's 2am fight, which is being broadcast in America.
He said: "Normally I get up at 8.30 and I train at 12 or 12.30 and go running at 7.30 or eight in the evening.
"Now instead of getting up at eight, I get up at half one. I'm in the gym at tea-time and I not off at four or five o'clock in the morning. All I have done is move my day along."
Ricky, considered an underdog for Sunday despite 38 straight professional wins, said that at first he found the new early-morning training regime difficult to handle, with foxes running across his path and bats sweeping down.
He said: "I've sort of got used to it now and to be honest I've enjoyed it."
Now, I'm a big Shels fan, so I dislike those southside Rovers fans, and I know Shels are a bit of an 'old man's club' but c'mon: Linfield are mini huns. They get what they deserve. And don't bring up Pat Feldon's past. I'm overlooking that in the cause of sheer talent.
Shels refuse to retract 'thugs' statement
Saturday, 28 May 2005
Ollie Byrne stands by a statement by Shelbourne fans that blamed "thugs wearing the green and white hooped shirts of Shamrock Rovers" for violence at the Setanta Cup final
Shelbourne FC have reacted angrily to a request by the Shamrock Rovers 400 Club over allegations that fans of Rovers were involved in the violence outside Tolka Park during Shelbourne's Setanta Cup final meeting with Linfield FC a week ago.
Shelbourne chief executive Ollie Byrne said that he stood over his accusation that "certain individuals who regularly attend Shamrock Rovers games were involved in the incidents on Lower Drumcondra Road in a very provocative and aggressive manner."
He said: "Some Shamrock Rovers fans and fans of another Dublin club were ejected from Tolka Park. Shelbourne FC will sternly defend their position and are now considering legal action against the individuals responsible for the running of Shamrock Rovers FC including the 400 Club and its members."
In statement after the final, the Shelbourne fan club claimed that media reports of the violence had been greatly exaggerated and added that any violence that had taken place was carried out not by Shelbourne fans but by "thugs wearing the green and white hooped shirts of Shamrock Rovers or Scottish club Celtic."
This angered Shamrock Rovers fans who, through the Shamrock Rovers 400 Club, issued a statement demanding a retraction of the allegation.
Rovers refute Shelbourne statement.
Saturday, 28 May 2005 4:19
The Shamrock Rovers 400 Club have refuted claims by officials of Shelbourne FC who stated that "thugs wearing the green & white hooped shirts of Shamrock Rovers" attacked fans of Linfield FC.
The attacks were alleged to have happened prior to the Setanta Cup Final at Tolka Park on Saturday 21st May.
The 400 Club has investigated the allegations made against Shamrock Rovers' fans with the appropriate authorities. Email Services from RTE
The Gardai in Santry, who were responsible for the policing outside the ground, reported only minor disturbances and were happy to confirm that it was a "relatively incident-free game" with no evidence of any Rovers' fans being involved in any of the minor incidents reported.
The security firm responsible for the matchday organisation also confirmed that no Rovers' fans were involved in any such incidents.
A number of fans were ejected from the stadium, none of whom were identified as Rovers fans.
The 400 Club has sought legal advice on the allegations made by Shelboune officials and is seeking a retraction of the same as well as a full and frank apology by those who have made such claims.
Finally, via Eddie. Note, he's a real hooligan: he can't spell at all.
Utility get result where United fail
From the CSC board
Look fannie, if your going to start to talk crap then feck off.
Respect for the untilty lads in the nick 30 lifted is realy heavy handed, now we know why never saw them after the game.
as for we matter of the dancen, about 20 csc headed to the game as thought utity were no comeing and the 2 mobs walked into each other and bang it went of both mobbs had a good toe toe for easy 5 to maybe 10 min's with dundee getting the upper hand.
No post mortems by us hope the lads are sound at court uitlty are only mob to come to us with the intention of going for it so fair play maybe if a few other who like to spout there rubbish on the forms made the effort then would a few good days a head but sad fact is cant see it.
Main stream media view of the day
THIRTY FANS ARE LIFTED IN CUP FINAL BATTLE
THIRTY football fans were arrested yesterday after a riot broke out half an hour before the Scottish Cup Final kicked off.
Strathclyde Police lifted the brawling supporters for 'mobbing and rioting' in Glasgow's Bedford Street, near the Carling Academy in the city's south side, at around 2.30pm.
Police would not reveal if anyone was injured in the clash or if any weapons were involved.
Another 16 football fans were also arrested in and around Hampden, where Celtic beat Dundee United 1-0 to lift the trophy.
One supporter was lifted for a sectarian breach of the peace, while eight were for breach of the peace.
A further seven matchgoers were arrested for alcohol-related offences.
Last night, Strathclyde Police Chief Superintendent John Malcolm said: 'Despite an early disturbance, a good-tempered crowd attended the game
Fri, 27 May 2005
Life is driving me to either get a phili-fucking-sophical or just get drunk!
Crazy Bald Head Sound System Presents Boss Sounds
Date: Saturday, May 28, 2005 Time: 9:00PM - 4:00AM EDT (GMT-04:00) RAVEN 194 AVE A @ EAST 12TH STREET (212) 529-4712 www.raven-nyc.com For the past 6 years Raven has played host to The Crazy Bald Head Sound System . They spin all sorts of Reggae music concentrating on 60's Ska, 70's Rock Steady and Roots, and 80's dancehall. Five years is a long time for any party in New York but with these guys it's only natural. Their parties at Raven have been called the "Best Reggae Party in the city by both Time Out http://www.timeoutny.com/features/280/280.ft.clubs.seven.html#Anchor-MONDAY-23240 at more recently by New York Magazine http://nymetro.com/urban/guides/bestofny/nightlife/04/retroreggae.htm Start time 9pm. Don't forget our great Saturday Night Specials: $2 Pabst Blue Ribbon in cans. $3 Tequila shots . WAR RESISTERS LEAGUE 339 Lafayette Street New York, NY 10012 email@example.com www.warresisters.org PRESS RELEASE Contacts: Thomas Good (347) 524-5631 Frida Berrigan (347) 683-4928 May 24, 2005 WAR RESISTERS PLAN MARCH AND VIGIL TO MOURN WAR DEAD DURING FLEET WEEK NEW YORK - Anti-war and peace activists will gather at Bryant Park (42nd Street and Avenue of the Americas) at 11:30 on Saturday, May 28, prior to commencing a solemn procession to the site of New York City's Fleet Week military demonstrations at the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum. A vigil will be held at the Intrepid (12th Avenue and 46th Street) from approximately 12:30 until 2 PM. Called by the War Resisters League, this action is part of a campaign to end the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. Activists will leaflet during the procession and at the Intrepid, in particular reaching out to the military personnel visiting New York City - advising those in uniform of their rights and options should they wish to leave the military. "Soldiers and sailors put in harm's way by the reckless actions of the Bush Administration have a right, if not a duty, to refuse participation in the Iraq occupation", said Thomas Good, an organizer with the New York City War Resisters League. "We are here to assist them in any way we can - our view is that the only solution to the Iraq quagmire is to bring the troops home now", he added. The groups involved in the protest have attended several previous Fleet Week events. "Traditionally the response from military personnel with whom we interact has been very positive," said Matt Daloisio, an activist from Catholic Worker. Frida Berrigan, a member of the WRL's National Committee pointed out that: "the cost of the war and occupation has been staggering, both in terms of the financial burden and the loss of life. It is time to end the occupation and allow the Iraqi people to control their own affairs. It is time to bring our military personnel back home." The march and vigil event has been endorsed by Clergy and Laity Concerned About Iraq (CALC-I, a working group of United for Peace and Justice), the Direct Action Tendency of the Socialist Party USA, Catholic Worker, Not In Our Name and 1000 Coffins. The War Resisters League is an 81-year-old secular pacifist organization, headquartered in New York City, and is affiliated with the War Resisters' International, which is based in London. WRL believes war to be a crime against humanity and advocates Gandhian nonviolence as the method for creating a democratic society free of war, racism, sexism, and human exploitation.
Finally, check out this great collection of radical pamphlets in the Eugene Debs Archive in Indiana.
Lotsa great ones spanning 1900-1970s. My favorite has to be : Free Love and Socialism: The Truth as to What Socialists Believe About Marriage, by the author of the Political Economy of Jesus :Rip-saw Series; No. 7. Saint Louis, Mo.: National Rip-Saw Pub. Co., 1911.
It's not as good as it sounds. #
Thu, 26 May 2005
Fri, 20 May 2005
That was Entertainment
Went to see the Gang of Four Wednesday. Tremendous show. Mostly first two records, though I'm cheesed they never played 'Armilite Rifle'. Check out this overly intellectual article on the band, and this one form some academic journal on their use of Situationalist crap.
Big Weekend! Celtic will clinch the League on Sunday, though O'Neill hints at Celtic departure. Much rumored he'll go to Man U, tragicly.
Wed, 18 May 2005
Fight the Power! la-de-dah-de-dah-dah...
On and off the Pitch
Beware Greeks baring pitch invasions: Iraklis players in hospital after attack by Aris fans.
Here's a new Tim Howard Interview from Sports Illustrated of all places.
From the I could have told you that file: A study sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security has found that corporate insiders who sabotage computers and networks are motivated mainly by anger against their bosses.
Tue, 17 May 2005
George Galloway gives America a (tounge) lashing
A fine use of ratepayers' funds:
All my hatred has payed off:
Unusually, a dead white male had it right:
Thu, 12 May 2005
Yes, it's the really crap news you've all been waiting for:
In some better news
Finally, some great photos from St Pauli fans away to Werder Bremen (amatuer), commemerating the Soviet victory over Hitler. Pretty ballsy for Germans, eh?
Mon, 09 May 2005
"There are no emotional victims, only volunteers."
Per last week's discussion: basics of organizational security. Read it: it just makes sense.
Who are the terrorists again? For all the talk of 'taking the gun out of politics' the PSNI (nee RUC) seem to have no interest in stopping avowed terrorist groups from marching though cathloic communities, provided the terrorists are protestant. Go figure.
And speaking of supporting fascism:
Roberto Carlos presents shirt to former Ultra Sur leader
From the UKs Morning Star Daily:
Stanley Crouch seems worried about 'A new kind of cross-racial dating'.
For a number of decades, black men in the urban North have crossed the romantic color line for a variety of reasons. Yet black women have almost always remained inside of the group. Why are these women now coupling up with white men?
Fri, 06 May 2005
Came into work (late) to find this image as my horoscope. Don't think I'll be going directly home. Seriously, though, idiot kids in my political party are sitting about in basements, wearing tighty-whities, eating cheese doodles, telling all and sundry on the internet that they're going out to commit felonies this weekend (which they aren't). And when I tell them to cool it I'm suddenly the hippie pacifist.
UK General Election last night. This essay in the Guardian summed up the results well. New Labour ™ sqeeked by, Galloway stole Bethnal and Bow from them, saying "Mister Blair, this is for Iraq! This is for all the people who died!" Which was cool. Galloway is a bit of a flake, but god bless him.
Scottish Socialists didn't do well, but I came across this wee summation:
Sinn Fein is doing well, with results still coming in. Looks like five seats plus, but the Ulster Unionist have collapsed, with their party leader and all but one seat lost, and Paisley (spit) and the DUP becoming the fascistic standard-bearers for their fascistic cause.
Nuff of that: Football! CSKA and their crazy racist fans
are through to the UEFA Cup Final. But not without trouble. 40 of em were arrested for throwing fireworks at the Parma keeper (in Italy: it's not a crime in Russia, aparently) and getting into fights with anything latinesque. My favorite
story on this comes from CNN, where their 'targeted advertising' asks you to buy some fireworks after reading this. Pickup a quart of cheap Wodka and a ticket to Italy, and that's one hell of a weekend.
Finally, this article on Barcelona FC's attempt to get shirt sponsors for the first time in their history. They (and Athletic Bilbao) have resisted every previous attept to sully their colors, but they might cave before a big sack of cash. Best part is the BBC list of other bad shirt sponsorship deals, reprinted below.
Thu, 05 May 2005
I woke up this morning to news of the pipe bomb outside the British Consulate. Reporters are an odd bunch. First the obvious. It clearly wasn't about the British General Elections. Do your freakin homework.
So this is the day, in 1981, when Bobby Sands died. Read about his life, not just his death, here. Never forgive Thatcher and the rest, but remember Bobby's words: "Our revenge will be the laughter of our children."
This day also marks commemerations of the end of the Holocaust sixty years ago.
On a lighter note Former Celtic, current Barcelona striker, Henrik Larsson was made a Doctor of the University of Strathclyde yesterday. His prediction: Celtic take the league. Again.
Wed, 04 May 2005
Collected Crap from Last Week
The US prison population, already the largest in the world, reached a new high of more than 2.1 million last year, with one in every 138 residents of the country now behind bars, according to new government statistics.
'Scotland's greatest artistic genius of our generation'
ZIMBABWE football update
Opposing fans clashed
as Partizan Belgrade earned a 1-1 draw at Red Star to stay five points ahead of their bitter city rivals and on course for a domestic double.
Fan violence and dull matches hurt Serbian game
Scotland's designer kids won't play outside
It's Grim Out East: Recent reports on racism in Balkan Football
Ivorian defender in race row
Romanian football has been under fire for failing to tackle racism.
Ivorian defender Mariko Daouda has threatened to quit Romanian club Universitatea Craiova. Daouda claims he has been at the end of constant racist abuse throughout his stay there.
"I'm disgusted with Romania," Daouda told journalists after the bottom-placed club earned their first league point in six matches, following a 1-1 draw at CFR Cluj.
"In Romania you are considered good or bad based on the colour of your skin but not for what you manage to do on the pitch," Daouda said.
"Supporters insult me during games and my wife on the street."
In Romania you are considered good or bad based on the colour of your skin Ivorian defender Mariko Daouda
Antonie Solomon, the mayor of Craiova, was quoted in the Romanian media this weekend as saying Craiova's black players were responsible for their poor standing.
They have 15 points from 21 games and are likely to be relegated from the top flight for the first time in their history.
Instances of racist abuse have increased in Romanian football over the past months.
Steaua Bucharest's stadium announcer was fined for making racist comments during the derby against Rapid Bucharest earlier this month.
The club were also fined by the National Council to Combat Discrimination, after fans shouted racist slogans.
Club websites 'featured racism'
From the "Please don't beat me up column":
Romania-based Iraqi striker makes hostage offer
Romanian mayor fined for racist statements
Mon, 02 May 2005
It could have been worse. You could have been celebrating May Day in Linköping Sweden. Eight punks, a guy with a flag, and a guy in a suit. And the punks were just there to lounge in the sun.
Fri, 29 Apr 2005
You know us we're...
On the road to Toronto in a rented car for the Insurgence Records 10 birthday party with the first and only Opressed show! I'll probably miss the Soul Bhoys reggae night that Roddy Moreno will be spinning at, but I got tickets and will be picking up the limited edition complete discography sets, the cover of the first of which is to the left
recognize the picture? Its Cardiff V Leeds from a few seasons back, whre the Soul Crew made themselves legends. Out of this and many other performances they became one of the best know hooligan crews ever. And they're not even racist dickheads like Chelsea. As Lenny Henry says of Welsh rappers:"Tidy!"
Don't tell Roddy I've always liked Swansea, will ya?
Anyway, half of NYC will be up there, and RASH skins are doing the door. It's an antifascsit's dream of how to spend May Day eve. Hope you have a good one, and remember: the world belongs to us.#
Wed, 27 Apr 2005
Hands are broken?
I've been too busy to write anything, though I've collected great stuff. It just never got coded.
I have been working on the Rash Futbol, soon to be renamed Red Football/Black Football, or something like that.
"The capacity crowd includes Conservative leader Michael Howard, a Liverpool fan, who told BBC News 24: "We're just two games away from the final and another game away from the Champions' League trophy and I'm sure we can do it." [This makes me verrry angry, Doris.] Worldwide interest in the game is immense with over 200 countries showing the television pictures of the game. The overall winners after next Tuesday's second leg play either AC Milan or PSV Eindhoven in the final in Istanbul on 25 May."
Release the Headhunters on Howard, I say!
In the interim, check out the collection of 'edited' Conservative campaign posters on ToryScum.com. Too easy.
Fri, 15 Apr 2005
Out Of Left Field
Wed, 13 Apr 2005
Sick of it All.
Tue, 12 Apr 2005
Care for a Smoke?
Fri, 08 Apr 2005
Tue, 05 Apr 2005
Heysel and Today.
Mon, 04 Apr 2005
Albania fans cry foul at Greek 'ban'
Schwarzer Freitag für die 2. Liga or "Black Friday for the 2nd Division" in Germany. After their classy showing in Slovenia last month, German fan violence has moved to the 2nd Division, where powerhouses (snicker) Aue clashed with Energie Cottbus. The Aue fans (I think it's pronounced 'Ow') are a classy lot as you can see from the photo. The '88' emblem, which you can see in the crowd, is commonly used by nazis as a signifier for 'heil h*tler'.
These fellas threw a large firework that struck the opposing coach, rendering him unconsious.
There was also trouble with Efurt fans at Alemannia Bliefeld, and unsurprisingly, at RW Essen with Dynamo Dresden Fans. Though not the 'yellow horde' of the days when they were the superstars of DDR football, Dynamo fans have a well deserved reputation as professional troublemakers. I've seen their crowds, and they look like Millwall fans after a rough night on the town. But they do seem to take pride in their work.
Coach hospitalised in Germany
The coach of Energie Cottbus has been hospitalised after a firework was thrown his way as more hooliganism erupted in three German stadiums during second division matches.
In Essen on Friday, hundreds of fans from the home club and visiting Dynamo Dresden fought and battled police outside of the stadium before the 2-1 win by Essen. Twenty were arrested and an unknown number injured.
In Aachen, visiting Erfurt fans vandalised the fan block in the stadium during Alemannia's 5-1 victory and two officers were injured as police intervened. Before the match, fans engaged in fist fights. After the game finished, they vandalised the gardens of homes near the stadium.
And Finally, the Best News An interview with the guy who dowsed Pat Buchanan in salad dressing. He's a fellow Socialist Party member and ex-Marine. The dressing was 'ceasar', appropriately.
Fri, 01 Apr 2005
Thu, 31 Mar 2005
Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring.
By dictator standards, you're not that bad. Sure you almost started world war 3, but the treatment of your people is moderate. You're a saint compared to the guy before you that you kicked out, so your people tolerate you. However, you're ability to stand up to America has made you one of the more popular dictators. Hardly a movie star? but hay, it's a start!
So Here's Another Uncheery Subject: Ethnic Basis of Zimbabwian Club Football.
Otherwise known as "so who do you support, then" in Shona.
I saw this article last week.
Sunday 27 February, 2005 -- CAPS, Bosso clash in Charity Shield
Farirayi Kahwemba Senior Sports Writer
TENSION is likely to dominate proceedings at Barbourfields this afternoon in what should prove to be a groin-gripping[!!!] encounter between Zimbabwe soccer kings CAPS United and Bulawayo giants Highlanders.
The Charity Shield is at stake here and there is no doubt that both sides will go for an out and out victory as they look to set the tone for their 2005 league campaign. However if the last encounter between the two sides can be anything to go by then local football might be in for another sad episode. CAPS United last played the Bulawayo giants at this venue (Barbourfields) mid season last year in a match that was eventually highlighted by unfortunate scenes of hooliganism by a band of disgruntled Highlanders supporters. The teams finished deadlocked at 3 3 but the match will be remembered more for the fact that it had to be stopped prematurely owing to the uncouth and barbaric behaviour of some supporters during the final minutes of that heated match. Apparently, all hell broke loose when the 'Bosso' supporters started throwing stones and other dangerous objects onto the pitch after CAPS United were awarded a penalty. The penalty was awarded after Highlanders defender Gilbert Banda had scythed a goal bound shot by Limited Chikafa. While Tapuwa Kapini was successful in calming down the fans shortly after, they went berserk after CAPS United hitman Leonard Tsipa converted the penalty. This left the referee with no choice but to call off the match with just 3 minutes remaining.
Elton Mhangarayi, a keen football follower, predicts a closely contested encounter. 'It should be very close. These are two very good teams and I think we are in for an exciting game. I just hope that violence will not stop everything,' he said.
And so, one asks, why do these clubs hate each other so much? Politics? Regionalism? Ethnicity? Civic rivalry?
How about all of the above
First, a little history. (you in the back, pipe down).
Zimbabwe is a nation of almost twelve million people in southern Africa.
Today, the two main ethnic groups are the majority Shona and the Ndebele, who make up about a fifth of the population. With them live the remainder of the white settlers whom the revolutionary government induced to stay on after 1980.
The Shona have lived in what's now Zimbabwe prior to European invasion, and the country is named after the ancient city which they built almost a thousand years ago.
The Ndebele speaking peoples were driven from the south by European expansion two hundred years ago, when they were a proud warrior kingdom, much like the Zulu. Here they settled mostly in what's now southern Zimbabwe
Things never went very well between the two communities, and at the time of European conquest, the Ndebele dominated the area. Some say the Shona were treated little better than slaves, and that Shona in fact is a derivation of the Ndebele word for pig. European rules used these divisions for the next hundred years to weaken and control both peoples
Under colonial domination until 1979, it was an outpost of British and Afrikkans farmers who treated the local people much like the South African Apathied regime did. In the midst of a revolution against racist rule in the 70s, the white government declared itself independent from the UK and fought a long bloody war against several revolutionary groups.
The two main factions were the majority Shona ZANU, led by Joseph Mugabe and funded by the Chinese, and the Ndebele majority ZAPU, led by Joshua Nkomo and funded by the Soviets.
Despite their differences, the two parties worked together to free their country, and in 1980, Mugabe became the president of a free Zimbabwe.
It wasn't long before this unity fell apart. Mugabe's regime steadily increased its power, while at the same time reconciling with the white minority with the understanding that they keep out of politics and keep their land and businesses making money. While neither ZANU or ZAPU had strong leftist ideologies, Mugabe abandoned his at a record pace. Nkomo was little better in this regards, but with exclusion from power and the nonstart of land reform, ZAPU militants found themselves under pressure. Soldiers from both camps were never effectively integrated into the new military, which retained many colonial officers and NCOs. ZANU made sure that its loyalists took the remaining posts, leaving the country, and especially the Ndebele west, with armed ex-combatants fending for themselves.
Protests and riots ensued in areas of ZAPU strength, including the ethnically mixed midlands. The ZANU response was brutal, systematically destroying ZAPU support anywhere except in the Ndebele west. Many Zapu leaders fled, and those at the top distanced themselves from their own militants.
In the midst of this, Apartheid South Africa began recruiting fighters in all its newly free neighbors, and conducting raids which it tried to blame on ZAPU dissidents. This "Operation Drama" succeeded in igniting an already tense Ndebele homeland, Mantabeleland.
Mugabe's response to this was to bring in North Korean advisors to train a unit of shock troops loyal only to him, the infamous "5 Brigade". Nicknamed the Gukurahundi, they began brutal ethnic attacks on civilians throughout Mantabeleland, in which as many as 20,000 were killed. Reports describe a bloody 'ethnic cleansing' targeting any and all Ndebele and finishing the 400 or so rebels as an afterthought. One study concludes that:
the Government increasingly referred to supporters of ZAPU as being supporters of dissidents: ZAPU, dissidents and Ndebele-speakers in Zimbabwe all came to be seen as one and the same thing in the eyes of certain Government officials: this is clear when reading newspaper reports from those years.
It is important to remember the conflict was really more about politics than ethnicity: it was about creating a one party state in Zimbabwe.
In the late 80s, Nkomo, his power now destroyed, was convinced to join ZAPU to the ZANU government as ZANU-PF. ZAPU had become a non-entity, but its deepest constituency, the Ndebele, never reconciled with ZANU, and began to murmur of an independent Matabeleland: Mthwakazi. One writer in 1986 said that:
The Ndebele minority now interprets its hardships as the result of being a tribal-national minority - they feel nationally oppressed at the hands of the Shona-dominated Harare government. The lack of progress on the land and social questions (there has been no land resettlement in Matabeleland implemented yet) has made the problem much worse as politicians have sought petty advantage in tribal chauvinism. Both parties exploit their tribal base.
For better or worse, the Ndebele, in the wake of the unresolved horrors of the 80s see Zimbabwe as two societies. Ethnic stereotyping in rapant. Some Shona see the industrial heartland centered around the Ndebele populated Bulawayo as representing a failure of the Shona people, while the influx of successful Shona into the city from the capital of Harare is by locals. Another commentator stated that Mugabe's nominally socialist revolution was in reality a "product of failure of nationalist politics".
Into this mix comes football.
One of the oldest clubs in Zimbabwe is Bulawayo Highlanders. They began in the 1870s, and along with clubs like Harare's Dynamos, were vehicles to escape and fight against racist rule. Based in Matabeleland, Highlanders also became one of the dominate institutions of Ndebele culture. Nicknamed "Bosso", they have been the most successful clubs in Zimbabwe's history, and have always boasted great players from all ethnic communities, including the white Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobellar.
But when the ZANU came to power the regime began to use other clubs, most famously Dynamos, as an emblem of state power. The clashes between the two teams became political theater, and every coaching or officiating decision was seen as the action of some unseen force of Shona or Ndebele powers. In Bulawayo, ethnic Shonas drawn to work in the city were drawn to Saints, as an emblem of Shona identity. Predictable bloody clashes between the teams and their fans followed. But in the impoverished world of African football, both Dynamos and Saints declined financially as their on-field performances failed to match Highlanders. When Saints folded, many of their Shona fans began following the Bosso, breaking down ethnic barriers. Some from both communities were horrified by this ethnic mixing.
A new enemy quickly developed, reputedly with the aid of government cronies. CAPS United, based in Harare, is owned by the Central African Pharmaceutical Society, and has become Highlanders biggest rival. CAPS, with big backers and big sponsorship deals, threatens to dominate Highlanders, which, like Dynamos, is a community run non-profit. Dynamos, which grew out of a poor community has few funds on which to draw, and is facing the prospect of privatizing, or following Saints in extinction.
But while Highlanders are less mono-ethnic in their support, many fans still hold on to anti-Shona feelings.
One stadium anthem can be translated as:
What are you doing? We don't like it! We don't like the Shona man running this country!
A fan messageboard has the comment after a big game ended in violence last summer that:
Is it not obvious the violence at BF [Barbourfields, Highlander's stadium]was instigated by zpf[police]. A police officer and a caps goalie throwing missiles Does it not just remind you of the disident era that followed Gukurahundi attrocites.
Yet Highlanders have seen themselves reborn as a center of multi-ethnic dissent in the last few years of anti-Mugabe turmoil in Zimbabwe. The team has been associated with the Movement for Democratic Change, the grassroots group organizing opposition to the regime, and fans of all ethnicities have become targets for the police and the notorious ZANU youth wing, the "green bombers". The same message boards quoted above include comments from CAPS fans saying they would "send the green bombers after them" [Highlands Fans] the next time the team played in Harare.
In a 2002 incident, a police officer shot an unknown number of Highlands supporters, apparently without warning or provocation. The local affiliate of Amnesty International reported:
At about 17.00 hrs MM was coming out of Barbourfields stadium after watching the match (soccer) between Highlanders and Dynamos. He saw a policeman standing on a pavement near the entrance into the stadium. The police detail was carrying a pistol, which he then used to fire shots at the crowd. The victim alleges that the saw one man getting shot in the head and dying on the spot. At the same time he tried to run away but he was shot on the leg. The victim made a report at Mzilikazi Police Station. Some police officers assaulted him at the camp. He also managed to hold on to the bullet that he was shot with.
So as Zimbabwe struggles against oppression and injustice, remember that there is one institution that still points towards freedom: Highlanders Football Club.
St. Paddy's comes early this year
The big manhattan St.Patrick's Day Parade ain't a 'House of Pain' video any more. Used to be all drunkenness and 'Brits out" banners. So really our gay and lesbian friends aren't missing too much.
Come out and join the Anti-Imperialist Anarchist Contingent of the "St. Pat's For All" St. Patrick's Day Parade in Queens, meeting at 43rd Street and Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside at 12.00p.m. Sunday, March 6th.
The Parade starts at 12:30, and includes folks from all different NY communities, including other ethnic groups and American Indians in recognition of their help for Irish immigrants escaping the Great Famine. There'll be food, an Irish Fair, and the best (actual) Irish pubs in the city all along the parade route, which runs through the center of the Irish community started by immigrants from the 70s and 80s (not 19th century mutts like me). Good craic.
Hollywood wakes up to the call of the world's biggest game from the Guardian, includes a list of upcoming football/soccer related movies:
Fun With Bricks
Came across the website of a professional 'lego artist'. God, if I'd known about this as a kid, I'll be sitting with a pile of legos building crap right now.
So check out nathanbrickartist.com for his portfolio. He's one of the guys who built all the huge things in NYC's Toys r Us store.
And it seems there's an entire industry providing for professional lego builders. This website, Bricklink.com, is a hub of selling, manufacturing, and trading lego pieces, especially weird ones. I'm really not sure if all this is sad or cool, but as Homer Simpson once said : "It's not usual!"
Thanks, Eddie, for the headsup on the aborted Scottish Labour Buckfast Ban. For those not in the know, Buckfast is a fortified wine, famous for mass consumption by bums, teenage boys, and my fellow Celtic supporters. It's really nasty, but cheap.
Some Labour minister of the Scottish Parliament decided it'd be a political coup to harange the press and shop owners about the sale of this fine Vin de Table, in service of her anti-"anti-social behavior" campaign. Instead, as the bicture shows, she got shouted down by a buch of 13-year old neds and ignored by everyone else. Har!
Sorry bout stuffing the Dark Blues today Eddie, but it had to be done. We'll spot you some points next season when the Huns implode again.
Everyone has a Blog.
It's about three steps away from becoming a recognized literary genre. Leaving aside people who bare their souls to voyeristic wierdos, a couple of respectable institutions who have blogs came to my attention today.
The 1930's Soviet 'spy's guide to London' has been all over the news. It came from the UK National Archives new digital documents site.
Updated every few days, here are scanned archive documents released under freedom of information laws. Highlighted are things of public interest, like the 1950's reports from London police superintendants blaming West Indians for everything from prostitution and drug trafficing to athletes' foot.
The Guardian's NetNotes is a daily blog of web-based perspectives on a single issue, event, or idea. For March first last year, they covered St. David's Day. For those who don't know, it's the Welsh National Day. So netnotes teaches you to say 'Dydd Gwyl Dewi hapus'.
Recent topics include (deep breath):
Rude words, Swans, The potato, The number, George Orwell, Tea, Bounty hunters, Royal Ascot, Fish porn, Must-see museums, Steinways, Barry Manilow, Missions to Mars, Trainspotters, Eurovision song contest, Ghosts, Saving Britain's wildlife, This is Your Life, Malta, Crufts, Irish authors, The number three, Ties, Tom Jones, Stamps, Chinese new year, Thunderbirds, Darts, Orang-utans, The year ahead, Hedgehogs, Turkey, EU neophytes, Santa Claus, Pi, Mothers, Thanksgiving, Dogs, Philosophy, James Bond, Otters, Licensing laws, Alan Partridge, The Cornish language, Guy Fawkes, Halloween, Earthquakes, Cider, The Cuban missile crisis, The Nobel prize, Tracey Emin, The Magic Roundabout, Diaries, Changing your name, The Kilshaws, The countryside, Emoticons, The Bush family tree, Pyramids, The potato, Chinese government backs down on Google, Crop circles, Silly competitions, Tony Blackburn, Extreme sports, Romeo Beckham, Essex, Air Guitar, Elvis lives!, Twins, Badgers, Lefthandedness, Meteors
That'll keep you busy.
If its not enough check out the Guardian's Football Fanzine collumn, in with a different UK club side Zine is featured, along with recent strories from their publication.
My personal favorite is See you in hell, yankee, a Man City bit on the Man U / NY Yankees cosponsorship deal of a few years back.
I can't endorse his views of baseball, but as a Mets fan, Man City is the footy equivilent.
Politcs = Funny
Though the old eighties and nineties Class War group is defunct, it carries on in London Class War. They started a couple of years ago putting out their newspaper again, one of the few leftist pubs taht never gave me a headache. It's still filled with radicalism, humor, and even a sports page.
Here are some excerpts from the most recent paper, with their Daft Cops stories, Worst Upperclass Names, and a big bit on Hugo Chavez not being very right on. (The kids do still say 'right on', don't they?)
Class War Issue 87 Winter 2004-5
If They Had Brains, They Would be Dangerous!Welcome to Class War's regular round up of buffoonery from the boys in blue. As usual, this column of the paper was the easiest to fill!
Diplomatic Protect Unit Its nice to know that senior officers in this team are capable of taking the sort of hard decisions management is paid for. When PC Amoreena Adams was suffering from depression they temporarily suspended her firearms licence. However a stroke of genius from senior officers saw her later posted to the armoury at the Territorial Policing HQ on Victoria Embankment, where she shot herself. Bang on!
Northumbria - Bungling cops who kicked down a door in a 3.30am raid found they were at the right address but the wrong town. Officers who went to Berwick Road Gateshead about a disturbance should have been five miles away in Wallsend, Newcastle. Northumbria police blamed confusing reports forgetting the wrong town but later denied they had left the first house unsecured. Confused reports? Confused plod more like!
Royal Protection Unit
It could happen to anyone. There you are, standing on a chair to close a window, and you overbalance and fall. What can we say to the unnamed officer, in the elite Royal Protection squad, who stumbled into a painting, gashing its canvas, and leaving the royal picture collection a million pounds worse off. Perhaps he could pay it back out of his overtime?
It was doubles all round at Guildford police station, when special constable Anthony McArdle reported for duty. You've got to be pretty desperate to be a special, but no one could accuse McArdle of letting the job get in the way of his social life. When breathalysed at the station he was found to be a whopping four times over the limit and sadly his career as a police offisher is over. Never mind Anthony, you might find people start talking to you again now, and you will certainly have a lot more time to spend down the pub.
Greater Manchester Police
Its farewell also to PC Gary Hart, who resigned from GMP after being convicted of picking up a prostitute whilst on duty in his police car. Hart,who took the women to the unmanned Castle Street police station even failed to pay her the agreed £20. In his defence he claimed that he was not kerb-crawling but "gathering intelligence on drink-drivers". A long career as a security guard beckons Gary!
Avon and Somerset Special Branch
We know that Britain is safe from terrorist attack as long as we have men ofthis calibre to protect us. When the singer in Clash tribute band London Calling sent a text message suggesting some changes to the lyrics of "Tommy Gun" he did not expect to be pulled in by anti-terrorist police. After Mike Devine sent the message to the wrong number he was visited at work by police officers concerned that that he was plotting to hi-jack an airliner. The officers eventually left Mr Devine alone after he showed them the relevantlyrics on a Clash website. Al-Qaeda must be quaking in their boots!
Look out for PC Scott Haston, who tried to clear his slate in the station canteen using a forged 20 pound note he had seized from a supermarket. Witty Haston then tried to pass it off as a joke, until he found himself laughing all the way to Peterborough Crown Court. Can a career in the Fraud Squad be far away?
Now this one impressed even hardened cop-watchers at Class War HQ.
When a group of six officers from the Territorial Support Group were sent to calm crowds in Soho, they found themselves dealing with a mob leering andcheering in the direction of a large van, where a porn film was apparently being made.Always willing to put themselves into the firing line, two hardy officers entered the van, truncheons at the ready. As concerned officers made frantic calls to enquire if they needed assistance, it soon became clear that something had indeed popped up. All was quickly revealed when the film "Horny Policeman" appeared on the internet, at http://www.hornypoliceman.net/. The two officers concerned now have a great deal more time to pursue their acting careers, as they are suspended on fullpay. As Class War's always said ? their brains really are in their trousers!
Top Ten Silly Names
These rich bastards just can't seem to help themselves. Check these out!
10. Tamara Mellon ? Head of the 50 million dollar Jimmy Choo fashion(?) empire, Tamara is wet and yellow by name, wet and yellow by nature!
9. Phillipa Shirley-Bevan ? Those who want to throw rocks at Pippa should go along to the Jed Forest Hunt in Roxburghshire.
8. Isabella Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe ? Apparently this London heiress is Prince William's latest girlfriend. Silly name, silly cow.
7. Mr Otis Ferry ? Brian Ferry named his son after the great black soul singer Otis Redding. How inappropriate for someone who has grown up to be a spoilt, whining, soulless foxhunter.
6. Dr Peter Spillet, the suitably named Head of Environment, Quality and Sustainability, at Thames Water.
5. Julian de Vere Whiteway-Wilkinson ? Son a prominent Devon family, Whiteway-Wilkinson was recently convicted of supplying cocaine to city businessmen. Writing his name should fill up most of the cell door!
4. Ms Phoebe Hobby, Hunt Secretary, Berks and Bucks Draghounds. Feeble name, feeble hunt.
3. The Hon Mrs M V Chaworth-Musters. A trustee of the Grove and Rufford hunt in Nottinghamshire. No comment required.
2. Commodore Tyrone H.G. Pile. A senior figure in the Canadian navy, Commodore Pile appears destined to end up at the bottom of the sea.
1. Janion Glasscock - Board member, Atkins Rail. ? And people thought British Rail was a laughing stock!
I Say, I Say, I Say!
There were two kids on a council housing estate One kid says: We've got cockroaches and rats in our council house. The other kid replies: That's nothing we've got social workers coming into our house.
Overheard quote of the month
Whilst walking past traffic in London I noticed a builders van was being stared at by a Police Community Support officer and there was some talk about a tax disc being out of date. I heard the driver reply "Come back when you're a real copper now fuck off."
Don't Believe The Hype A new darling of the British left and liberals the world over is Venezuelanpresident Hugo Chavez, Class War is in regular contact with a class struggle Anarchist group in Venezuela, who produce the El Libertario magazine, andwho tell a slightly more complicated story. The August 2004 elections legitimised Hugo Chavez's presidency, approved by the multinational powers-that-be, despite the opposition's claims of electoral fraud. We, at El Libertario (issue 39, September/October 2004),presented an indepth analysis of the consequences of the referendum, as well as proposals for action in the new circumstances. We shall now quote a couple of notes from that issue that express the essence of the Venezuelananarchists' perspective.
Social movements must tear down every wall blocking their autonomy. From the viewpoint of the leaders of the two opposing camps (the official, under Hugo Chavez, and the so-called Coordinadora Democratica), people's participation and bottom-up democracy are mere slogans without any basis in reality.
These leaders prove once and again that, in order to remain in charge and accumulate more power, they are willing to do any kind of behind-closed-doors deal, as well as performing any political juggling necessary to channel the citizens' anger towards their own benefit. Autonomy means everybody being capable of self-determination, able to establish their own dynamics and pursuing their own concrete goals. The self-proclaimed leaders know perfectly well that their living depends upon turning their own affairs into general interest issues. They present themselves before their constituencies as guarantors of their aspirations,which will be realised in an hypothetical future if, and only if, they areappointed as their bosses. But they never deliver, no matter their colours.For these politicians, the only thing that really matters is to perpetuate their own positions of power.
No politician does your work; let no one make your decisions. From the diversity of common practices shall be born the community of multiple,limitless forms of association with which we shall fight every form of domination. To weave a dense social fabric, is incompatible with warlords,politicos, militarists and demagogues of all colours. Shedding out everykind of dependency, we exercise our potential for autonomy. Anything lessthan that would mean to remain forever under the thumbs of those who profitupon our miseries.
Revocatory Referendum: Power's "Reality Show"
The August 2004 electoral circus was intended to perpetuate the lies that the media, both state-owned and private, had presented to us, ratified by the officialists and the "opposition" before public opinion. All Venezuelanpeople were the spectators; they swindled us, making us choose between a"Yes" and "No" about an individual, as if this would solve our collectiveproblems. That the event would end up in fraud was predictable. Not becausethe losers claim it, or because the process could be manipulated for onecause or another; but, because the real fraud are the so-called differencesbetween the government and the opposition, just like the referendum itself is a swindle when it comes to solving poverty, the militarization of society, or the slow process of giving away the country to themultinationals. The high costs of this election circus, contrasted with the realities of health, environment, education and well-being of the population confirms it. Social problems cannot be solved from the heights of power, nor by the economically privileged, but by society itself. Power can only be used to regulate misery, and legalise inequality. It dominates, imposes a singlecriterion, while at the same time keeping an ambiguous and absolutist discourse, denying any glimmer of freedom. It doesn't know any other logic.It doesn't like plurality. The Coordinadora Democratica gave multiple proof of that in the past, and the unseen players who finance it are still doing it in the present. These beggars of power have lost every right to speak inthe name of a people they don't represent. People have their own voice, andthe responsibility to open up their own spaces, where they can exercise their autonomy through direct democracy, and in so doing to get their own voice and action. This means: to destroy authoritarianism everywhere it exists and to pursue their own well-being.
Both the exaltation of the military persona of Chavez and its an historical linking to that of Bolivar, is intended to legitimise neo-liberal politicswith demagogical words. They have also played up the "US Invasion" scare, an ironic prelude to this government's giving away of the country's oil to corporations like Chevron-Texaco or Repsol-YPF, champions of capitalist globalisation. This revolution is being financed with money from themultinationals, from the very same imperialism that is supposedly out to invade us. It has learned to coexist with global power, as long as it pays "our price". Those very same groups enrich themselves in Venezuela, start the Puebla-Panama Plan against the Central America peoples, pollute and loot Ecuador, and finance the troops invading Iraq or any other country they want to. All of it thanks to "our price", and the Venezuelan reservesguaranteeing to the US a good 17 percent of its oil consumption.Latin America has to learn that language is not always what it seems; that "revolution" is an empty word in the mouth of people like Chavez, Lula or any other who speaks from the heights of power. In this continent, that wordhas been used only to describe who is better at managing Capitalism. It is of vital importance to understand that a better future won't be given to us by the State, only organised society can confront it and open the waytowards real change. We need to widen the debate, to listen to one anotherbeyond the useless squabbles about Chavez.
The libertarian movement must support and join this transformation, along with that 'people' so many talk about but nobody listens to. Our battle is against Power, in any guise it adopts. Neither "humane" national capitalism nor multinational capitalism; self-management is still our theory, autonomy our practice. Going headlongagainst neo-liberalism, inequality and authoritarianism, with direct action and mutual aid as our tools to build the possible utopia of freedom,equality and solidarity.
For more and updated info and analysis on what is happening in Venezuela, see the English section in El Libertario`s website at http://www.nodo50.org/ellibertario/seccioningles.htm
PO Box 467 London E8 3QX
America: the Car.
Its only a matter of time before hummer drivers trade up to this. The Landmaster was built for some bad seventies movie. Reading between the lines, the guy who painstakingly designed that page thinks its a chick magnet. If you can find the snapshot of him posing with this thing, you can see it wouldn't hurt his chances.
Me: The Shoe.
I really don't know if these would be too embarassing to wear, but as a cultural icon, they seem essential. Yes folks, it's the Burberry tartan Nikes. Nothing says "watch yer car meester?" or "Is you looking at moy bird?" quite like these shoes.
Farewell folks. I'm about to buried under a foot of snow. My housemate reminded me that the NYC blizzard of the 1880's (the biggest on record) happened in March. I'm moving to the Caribbean. #
Out of Touch Loser
Well I must be. Look at the draw for the next round of the Uefa cup. Most everyone I expected to go through crashed out. For god's sake, are Shaktar Donetsk a better side than Shalke? I will never, ever bet on football, that's for sure.
Uefa Cup round of 16 draw: / Middlesbrough v Sporting Lisbon / Sevilla v Parma / Steaua Bucharest v Villarreal / Lille v Auxerre / Olympiakos v Newcastle / Shakhtar Donetsk v AZ Alkmaar / Partizan Belgrade v CSKA Moscow / Austria Vienna or Athletic Bilbao v Real Zaragoza/ *Ties to take place on 10/17 March
Hmm, Bilbao are still in it, and playing (if they win Sunday) the team that was making monkey sounds at Barca's Eto two weeks ago.
Maybe I could just put five on it...
What I'll be really doing this weekend (apart from shoveling snow and going to a reggae night) is playing Katamari Damachy.
Don't act like you don't know: it's the video game where you roll stuff up with a sticky ball.
Whether you're interested or not, this Japanese export has a huge cult following around the world. Enough so that there's a sequel already in the works.
One the most insidious bits of this thing is the bizarre Japanese pop songs that play in the background, rattling on in a frightfully cheery way about god knows what. So if you're hooked by these cheesy melodies head to this page for the complete lyrics from Katamari Damachy, translated into English. No disappointments if the lyrics are more vapid (but just as endearing) as you imagined.
Over the edge of Katamari fever is this intrepid fan who's recreated the game with Play-Dough. I suppose if you're too stoned to actually play it, this is as good an option as any
Making fun of geeks on the internet can be downright mean. Despite that, it's also downright entertaining.
Which seems to be the point of Cruel.com. One of their highpoints is this personal website of a guy's collections of, well, just about everything, all lovingly displayed in a home that looks like a granny's paradise. More Doctor Who crap than most grannies have though.
This fella makes fun of people in a more subtle way by photoshoping romance novel covers into strange and disturbing creations. Too easy by far.
But we all know the measure of human value is how many hits you get. So someone's designed this Internet Ready Tombstone. After you've passed away, it monitors Google to see how often your name is mentioned of the web. The more hits, the younger the photo of you on the monitor.
But what does the tombstone show if everyone is writing about what a loser you were?
Well, not really, but this past week did seen more than usual police involvement in British football.
Everton V Man U had the revival of coin tossing. Not only did Everton fans manage to hit Goalkeeper Roy Caroll, but some sharp fellow threw their mobile phone at a United player. Now if it had hit 'em, that would've been funny.
In an Old Firm match I'd rather forget, someone managed to ding the Rangers captain upside the head.
While the club threatens to ban whoever did it, you know most people are muttering that it served the b*stard right.
Finally, after Milan cleaned Manchester United's clock yesterday, their team doctor was arrested for indecent exposure towards a hotel masseuse. Yes, in Manchester sometimes a massage is just supposed to be a massage.
Locally, we've discovered what the NYPD was doing with those fancy helicopters during this summers Republican Convention protests. A legal aid worker is suing the cops for wrongful arrest during the Critical Mass bike rally. The court mandated the city turn over all its survielance video of the incident. Seems the cops were using their multi-million dollar helicopter mounted infrared video camera to film a couple making out on a nearby rooftop while their fellow officers beat the stuffing out of peaceful protesters. Class.
Kerry Zavagnin is a nice guy, but a crap soccer player, who used to play for the MetroStars. So Here's history's least unexpected piece of sports news: Zavagnin staying with Kansas City after tryouts with English teams.
Finally, a west coast paper features the story of a gay Jewish writer's half-hearted attempts to join the Neo-Nazi National Alliance. Hilarity ensues.
"...You say you drink Alize'... or is it Malibu?" -Snoop
I'm assuming everyone heard about the guy throwing a shoe at Richard Perle last week as he debated Howard Dean in Oregon. I wish the guy could've aimed a wee bit better, and that there had been a photo of it. My own rendition will have to do.
Really, Richard Perle (icon of the neo-conservative faction in the US government, for those living under a rock) deserves to have lots of stuff tossed at him. When he worked for Reagan, Perle was known by his fellow staffers as 'the prince of darkness'. If even the Reaganite loons think you're too right wing, you're trouble.
And speaking of trouble, people in Europe and DC seem abuzz about who blew the former President of Lebanon to smithereens. Honestly, I think none of the politicians or pundits know the first thing about Lebanese politics. I took a class on it in school (more than a decade ago), and had a friend from southern Lebanon at the time. (He always reminded us in the 80's that there were Israeli artilery implacements where his parents house used to be. Got a teaching job at the American University in Beirut right out of college, but this was when westerners were being kidnapped there, so it cut down on the applicant pool.)
In short, Lebanon is complicated, I don't understand it, that fella on TV doesn't understand it, and the New York Times reporters, despite their professions to the contrary, probably haven't a clue.
So check out Indymedia Beirut for a collection of english language articles reflecting widely different views of who would want former President Hariri exploded into very small pieces.
And speaking of very small pieces, the rest of the world is fixated on the contents of Paris Hilton's, er, cell phone. All her stuff is posted on IllMob.org, a famed hacker/cracker/spotty-teenage-geek website.
Normally I wouldn't have cared, but for a Daily News article describing the weaknesses of those Sidekick phones. The best bit is that the Secret Service Agent chasing the hackers in question had his cellphone hooked to his work computers using the same T-mobile service. So said hackers broke in and posted Top Secret security agreements with the Russian government all over the web.
And does Secret Service involvement in this comes from the breaching of interstate comunications, or is Paris Hilton 24th in the line of Presidential succession?
I friend exchanged cards from one of the guys who does 'the 1000 Coffins'. That's the 1300+ (and growing) coffins that are marched in protests across North America. Check out their testimonial page for some pretty heart-rending stories from famlies of dead US soldiers opposing this insane Iraq war.
Apart from that, this fella's business card is really cool. His website is, for the moment, just his card. The back of the actual card is a big green wave pattern. The whole thing is, to me, very impressive, and doesn't make you look like a hoover salesman when you hand someone a business card.
Of course, I easily impressed, since I was giggling like a schoolgirl after seeing an advert entitled 'my little nazi dolls' on craigslist. The writer claims that:
...a lot of people in the 'action figure community' are mean to me because some of my dolls are gay.
This is troubling on o so many levels.
Today, I am lazy...
Was gonna write something deep and meaningful. I'm too lazy to do that, though.
So I'll reflect on the weekend past. Frankly there wasn't much to reflect upon. Went to se The Gates at Central Park, mostly so I wouldn't be embarrased by my own laziness when people asked me what I thought of them (the gates, not the people who might questioning me).
And I tell ya, for a miserable, slushy, grey winter day, the park was crawling with people. Cops were everywhere, probably with the expectation that one mugging of a tourist coming to see the art installation would make the front of the Post for the next week.
I swore I wouldn't take pictures, but the place was crawling with earnest young couples taking arty-fartsy photographs of the gates. I'm sure all million of 'em expressed the depths of the human condition and a profound lonliness of the soul. I'm also sure most of the photos ended up with some dower goateed twenty-something taking his meaningful images in the background, which might detract a tad.
Still, it was pretty an all.
The Simpsons on sunday had a warning to viewers that gay marriage would be discussed in the show. Dear God, what have we come to when people are offended when a tv portrays reality! I realize more and more that subrban and rural Americans live in a fantasy world of their own creation; their cars, malls, detached houses, and TV parental controls carefully keeping anything that doesn't reek of a 1950's Levittown fantasy at bay.
And because we're all idiot's, here's some crap from the internet. Yes, it's time to get Homer-erotic!
Torturer in Chief
So John Negroponte will become US Intelligence Director. What better way to bring back the heyday of CIA coups and murderous puppet regimes? On the news last night, I saw an interview with the top house Democrat, who was pleased with Negroponte's nomination, describing him as "a neutral figure" and a "career diplomat". This fella enthusied over Negroponte's qualifications, saying he'd been a distinguished diplomat "at the UN, as ambassador to the Phillipines, and amabasador, um, ... somewhere in Latin America... Guatemala?"
And this is the guy who's supposed to hold the Republican's feet to the fire?
Alright congressman moron, John Negroponte was ambassador to Honduras in the 1980's. While there, he was tasked with spearheading Reagan's anti-Sandinista coup attempts, and ratcheting up the counter-rebel efforts in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
Guatemala, you might remember as the place where UN reports from the 1990s concluded the government was carrying out Genocide against its highland Indians during Negroponte's tenure. Several hundred thousand people were killed by their army, funded and trained by the US Army.
The same US Army and CIA who funded and trained the El Salvadoran death squads that murdered thousands, including the Bishop of San Salvador and a group of US nuns, whom they first raped.
The same US Army and CIA who operated the Contras out of bases in Honduras, and killed thousands in Nicaragua, mined Managua's port, let the Contra leaders ship cocaine on US transport aircraft, and supported the whole thing by selling weapons to Iran, then lied about it to save G.H.W. Bush's hide.
So it's coming back then?
But Negroponte wasn't a spy or operative, he was a diplomat. Sorry. Even the previous ambassador to Honduras has testified he knew the crimes the Honduran government was already committing, and briefed the incoming Negroponte about it in 1981.
Negroponte then chumed up with the Honduran intelligence chief (later dictator: see a pattern?) to train a special anti-communist unit, the 3-16. First they were trained by Argentine fascists who'd had lots of experience in torture and murder, then sent to the School of the Americas in the US. The 3-16 went out and killed and tortured lots of civilians. They threw nuns out of helicopters. They murdered a US Jesuit priest. They snatched people of such high profile that US citizens who knew them when to Negroponte, asking him to intervene. He said he knew nothing about it. Sorry.
And so it carried on for years, as sources in the embassy say Negroponte was involved in even minute details. Then Alvarez, the dictator was overthrown by his own men who thought he had gone insane. The Iran-contra fiasco broke, with Negroponte managing to evade it because of the stonewalling of others, and the friendship of George I.
The US media ignored much of this legacy, until the Baltimore Sun won a trove of documents under the freedom of information act, and published a detailed description of the Honduran tragedy and the US Embassy's role, in 1995.
Human Rights Watch published a report in 1996 detailing US involvement in torture and murder. It said:
The U.S. role in providing training, equipment, and funding to Battalion 3-16 is well documented. Many of the Honduran participants and several of the commanders of Battalion 3-16 have publicly described CIA officials' close supervision of the battalion's operations, including the interrogation of clandestine prisoners.
Much of this supervision passed through Negroponte.
The Honduran government set up a human rights commission on the dictatorship which indicted the US and Negroponte for playing leading roles. George Washington University's National Security Archives has published a report documenting these findings with US and Honduran sources. This Global Policy Institute paper concludes much the same: Negroponte was at the center of an anti-democratic, US supervised regime, that ordered torture and murder of civilian opponents.
Negroponte returned to the limelight with the Bush administration, when he was named UN ambassador just days after 9/11. There, he oversaw the push for an invasion of Iraq. When there were finally congressional hearings to appoint him to the post, human rights groups raised questions. Within days, former members of the Honduran Junta and its 3-16 enforcers residing in the US were hurriedly deported. No witnesses, no embarrassing questions.
When asked about the Honduran dirty war, Negroponte said, under oath, that he never knew of any kidnappings, torture, or murders by the Honduran government, and didn't believe they'd happened. This is years after the Honduran government itself came clean about it.
When Negroponte was appointed ambassador to Iraq, some people began making noise. Articles in places like Z Magazine, Utne Reader, and a Chicago Sun-Times Editorial have been easily ignored in the mainstream press.
Now he'll lead the US secret world war of torture, murder, and subversion of democracy. He's been well trained.
Read more about Negroponte's past in this Series of responses to Negroponte's appointment in Iraq, an essay on Negroponte's dark history, a current AP article (Negroponte Draws Criticism South of Border), and from a campaign to stop his appointment as UN ambasador.
For one of the best things I've seen on what we know so far on the US government's torture and murder policies, see the Guardian's Nobody is Talking: How the British Government Pioneered Current US Torture Methods and Justifications in northern Ireland.
Happy Presidents' Day. #
I'm a shallow bastard
I had to do it. My playstation2 was slowly wasting away, and had finally gotten to the point that it couldn't read a disk at all. Years old and bought used even then, it had a good run.
So when my paycheck came in, I trundled off to the store to pick up a new one (and a copy of a Streets record I'd already downloaded most of off the internet. 's good. Buy it).
Still $149 is a lot of money to me, but when I got that puppy home, it was truly a thing of beauty. Plopped in Katamari Damacy right away, while my housemate clutched his memory card for Grand Theft Auto San Andreas expectantly.
So it works fine, is faster loading, quieter, and has a network adapter built in. But the impressive thing: it's tiny.
I knew it was skinnier and smaller that the old Playstation2s, but MAN is it tiny. Think a hundred page trade (large size) paperback novel. I'm so happy, and obviously very, very shallow.
The thing is impressive, but it ain't gonna be around too long. The PS3 is less than a year away, and Sony says it will have playable test versions of the machine by March.
The processor called a cell chip, is too complicated for me to either understand or explain, but from what I've seen it's going to be more powerful than any pc out there, by using distributed computing. It's little processors will be chugging along simultaneously and sharing work not only with each other, but other cells in any box in the world over a network.
I'm not sure what all this means, but I might just cry the first time I play with it. Yep, shallow.
More proof people don't know what to do with money.
This painting of dogs playing poker just sold at auction for over five hundred thousand dollars. I really can't tell you if that's good or bad. I just know if I ever had that kind of cash, I wouldn't spend it on a painting, and I certainly wouldn't spend it on a painting of dogs playing poker.
I might spend it on a soccer team though. Seems Servette of Switzerland are the latest famous club to go bankrupt. From their humble origins of being named after a napkin, Servette rose to become one of the dominant Swiss clubs. And while that may mean they'd get their asses handed to them by a pickup team from Brooklyn, it's a big deal to the Swiss.
Now they've been forced to drop to the third division (where they actually will play against pickup teams in a city park), and their owners say they'll recharter the club as an amateur side.
Money and football... I hope the owners of all the 'big' clubs sleep well tonight. They probably will, cause they have big piles of cash to sleep on.
If you don't have big piles of money, and you have a penchant for technology, check out O'Reilly computer publishing's new magazine called Make. It says it's full of "hardware hacks", which means it teaches you to take apart old mechanical crap and stick it back together to make something cool and bizarre.
The first issue shows you how to make a kite-borne camera, and how to build a desktop liner accelerator. Release your inner McGyver.
Or you can just read their entertaining blog and save your money.
The world is going to shit, but it's sunny on Staten Island
Israel plans new W.Bank settlement
Tuesday February 15, 03:33 PM JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel has plans to build a new settlement in the West Bank that could take in settlers uprooted from Gaza, officials say, drawing protest from Palestinians who fear losing land for a state they seek.
Gvaot, planned as an extension to the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, appeared to fall within the cracks of a U.S.-led "road map" peace plan whose final vision is hotly disputed as Israel and the Palestinians try to stabilise a tentative ceasefire.
The road map requires a halt to settlement-building on land Israel captured in 1967 and where Palestinians want statehood. But President George W. Bush said in 2004 that Israel could expect to keep some of the West Bank land under an accord.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon aims to remove 8,500 settlers from Gaza under his plan to "disengage" from conflict with Palestinians, while cementing Israel's hold on swathes of the larger West Bank where 230,000 settlers live.
Gush Etzion, about 20 km (12 miles) south of Jerusalem, has about 15,000 settlers alone and is among several sprawling enclaves Sharon regards as strategic assets not to be ceded.
Israel has been expanding larger West Bank settlements for years and Palestinians fear this could dash their hope for a viable state envisioned by the road map.
"The prime minister long put off discussing this (Gush Etzion) section of the fence, concerned it would draw international censure," an Israeli political source said.
"Now he hopes to mollify the cabinet rebels, by letting them vote for the fence section with the knowledge that he expects them also to approve the Gaza plan."
So, as always, if the US won't lean on Israel to pull out of the West Bank, then another and another and another settlement gets built. With them come 'secure' roads (for Israelis only) and security zones that slice up the territory, and confine Palestinians to smaller, more isolated bits of land, in the most unarible areas.
When Palestinians reject this at negotiations, it them who've blocked peace (like Oslo), and the cycle begins again.
Honestly, if the US wanted to, they could solve this tomorrow.
Tell Israel to pull back to the 67 green line (let them stay in most of Jerusalem), or else we cut all funding to the Israeli government. Make acceptance of this by the Palestinians conditioned on support for them. I think a lot of (non-crazy right wing) Israeli's would jump at this.
There would be trouble with the uber-nationalists/religious-fanatics on both sides, but it would stick if both sides wanted it to.
The problem is that there are right-wing Zionists who like this slow motion annexation, and are willing to suffer through the deaths of their own people to get all the West Bank. There are Hams religio-fascists who see more death as a great recruiting tool.
The US has always known this, and they don't stand up to it. Until we pressure Washington to come clean, thousands and thousands more will die needlessly
Speaking of religio-fascists... Sectarian summit only deepens divide
Tuesday February 15, 03:00 AM
JACK McConnell's widely trumpeted summit on sectarianism became mired in controversy yesterday following a war of words between Catholic Church leaders and the Orange Lodge of Scotland.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, opened a high-profile debate at Glasgow University by making a call for the First Minister to "directly lobby" Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, to repeal the 300-year-old Act of Settlement, which bans Catholics from the throne.
In reply, the Orange Order's representative at the summit accused the Catholic Church of attempting to undermine Britain's religious liberty.
Cardinal O'Brien told the summit the Act of Settlement was "hurtful" and discriminatory, and pointed to the announcement of the Royal wedding.
He said: "It's a matter of regret, surely, that had Mrs Parker Bowles been a Catholic, Prince Charles would have lost the right to succession to the throne and, similarly, if they had been going to have children, they would have been excluded from the right of succession, and that's hurtful." Ian Wilson, the grand master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, retorted that, although he recognised the situation may be hurtful to Catholics, this sort of "institutionalised sectarianism" was a historical fact.
He went on: "I wouldn't have thought it was all that unusual for a Protestant country like this to have a Protestant monarchy.
"The settlement is there for good historical reasons and particularly we see it as a guarantee of our religious liberties. Having a Protestant monarchy, under the constitutional arrangements that we have guarantees everyone's religious liberty."
This makes sense, why?
The First Minister claimed to have achieved a "historic" consensus on the need to combat sectarianism in Scotland by bringing together more than 40 organisations at yesterday's summit. Representatives joined figures from Glasgow's Old Firm football clubs, their fans, loyalist and republican parade groups, police, councils, trade unions, business and the media to discuss how to tackle the issue.
Sounds like a fun room
During the two-hour summit, Lawrence McIntyre, the head of safety at Rangers FC, said that "the 90-minute bigots", who shouted foul religious abuse for the duration of a football match, had to be silenced in order to expose the real bigots.
which would make for an awfully quiet stadium...
Peter Rafferty, from the Affiliation of Celtic Supporters' Clubs, agreed there a problem. But Mr Wilson, of the Orange Lodge, accused the First Minister of exaggerating the issue.
Last month, David Murray, the owner of Rangers FC, accused the First Minister of being "ill-informed and disrespectful" and of having displayed a knee-jerk reaction to the problem of sectarianism.
Yeah, only %90 of their fans are knuckle-dragging, soap-dodging bigots! Stop jumping to conclusions about Rangers
oven ready image stolen shamelessly from http://jinkysoars.co.uk
Livingstone: Daily Mail is reprehensible
SO red Ken, the Mayor of London got mad at a Daily Mail reporter who was hounding him (as they do, cause they don't like the mayor's politics), and Ken called him a nazi. Our drama continues, as Livingstone describes the Daily Mail in these terms:
Chris Tryhorn, Guardian Tuesday February 15, 2005
"They have a disgraceful record, none more so than the Daily Mail," he said.
"When it was first set up [in 1896] its first campaign was against Jewish refugees coming to London from the pogroms. It continued its anti-Semitism in the 1930s, fighting any proposals that Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler should be admitted to this country."
He said the Mail had run stories supporting fascism and that its owner, the 1st Viscount Rothermere, the great-grandfather of the present proprietor, had welcomed Hitler's rise.
"Had Britain lost the war and had the Nazis controlled Britain, Lord Rothermere and his cohorts would have been at the front of the queue of collaborators."
OK, Lighter note. It's sunny and fifty something degrees, and its good to be alive. So let's all laugh at crappy websites on the Gas Station Websites Blog.
"Why do gas station's need websites?" the owner asks,"Because they're hilariously awful!" Good enough.
I go out on Saturday night, and I come home on Sunday morning.
Went to Frank's DJ night on Saturday and it was really great. Lots of old oi and reggae, and old friends and aquaintences, which really took me back. Lots of beautiful Skinhead girls and beer helped as well.
Met Phil Templar, tons of other folks, and hung with this French kid who's doing construction work in Queens, and used to stand with the Ultramarine crew from Bordeaux. Glasgow Celtic love Bordeaux, so it was a meeting of the minds. I think I spoke French at him and praised Lafayette and the French Fleet for kicking the brits out of our country, but god knows what I sounded like by that point in the night.
Anyway, Eddie and me were all labeled up (with the tweed trainers), looking casual (or like aging neds, take your pick), and we must have stood out like colorful sore thumbs amidst a sea of boots n' braces. The old folks are more laid back now, but the youngins looked like they just walked out of the Last Resort, circa 1980. Course I did too when I was their age, so I can't point fingers.
So it surprised me to see this on an unidentified (to you) list this morning. Some former AntiFascist Action fella from Leeds talking about his life of political hooliganism:
"...There was also a period in afa's history[uk] that we started to act and resemble a football mob,at the time it worked to great effect [we kicked the fash off the streets big time]and myself as a football casual absolutely fuckin loved it,[I've also stood with blokes from my team who a week later I've been trying to kick the shit out of over politics,sounds fucking dumb doesn't it] gone were the scruffy students and didn't we all look cool as fuck in our lacoste and stone island jackets,even some of my apolitical mates come along for the odd bit of aggro[nice 70's term],the thing was we started to think like a football crew,[and maybe lose sight of what we were about at times]I even remember[guilty as charged] telling a load of crusty's they couldn't come on a mobilisation cos they would give the game away to the police cos of the way they dressed,that was the mind set..."
God I love AFA and its progeny. Though a friend mentioned that he "could smell the chips from here" when he read that.
But haven't we ALL wished we could tell the crusties they couldn't come to stuff?
On a related topic, came across a German shop called Fire And Flames that sells redskin/antifa/punk gear and records. Their football scarves are killer, and their tagline is "Music, Clothing, and Literature for the Elegant Revolutionary". Sure enough.
In other news: Eto'o responds to racist abuse[BBC]
Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o Fils danced like a monkey to celebrate his goal in response to racist abuse he received in Barcelona's 4-1 win over Zaragoza on Saturday.
Eto'o, who notched his 17th goal of the season, was greeted by monkey chants when he touched the ball at Zaragoza's Romareda stadium. Peanuts were also thrown on to the pitch after he scored.
"I danced like a monkey because they treated me like a monkey," said the Barcelona striker.
Referee Fernando Carmona Mendez did not mention the incidents in his match report, commenting only that the behaviour of the crowd was "normal".
Several clubs have been fined for the racist behaviour of their fans this season.
But the Spanish Football Federation will not take any action unless the incidents have been reported by the referee.
This is the third time the Cameroon international has been racially abused this season. He was the target of racial abuse from Getafe fans during Barcelona's 2-1 win three months ago.
Two supporters of Spanish club Albacete were fined last December for making monkey noises at the Barcelona striker.
Now, I'm pissed about this for a whole host of reasons, but Real Zaragoza used to have some lefty ultras. What the hell happened?
I'll stick with Herri Norte Taldea of Athletic Bilbao, thank you very much.
Saw the adds for EA's new Street Soccer game. Normally I steer away from this kinda 'football..with a twist!' stuff, but this actually looks good. You tour around ghetto playgrounds of the world, no set fields, banging off trashcans onto chalked-wall goals, beating teams and recruiting their players. Have to see what the reviews say before I drop the cash, though.
Plus, my PS2 is dead as a doornail after a protracted, lingering illness. That paycheck can't clear soon enough.
From the Urban Rebel mailing list:
Panzerfaust's New Project
Feb 09, 2005
The RASH-Northeast Intelligence Bureau (tm) has recently uncovered information that prior to their recent implosion, Panzerfaust Records was planning to follow up their "Project Schoolyard USA" with a new way of attracting kids: the infiltration of the chocolate and sweets markets.
As proof, we include a photo of one of their candy prototypes sent to us by an operative in the field.
dj marvelous hagler
Metro Moves, But To Where?After dumping Pope, Cornell Glen and Fabian Taylor (oh and Arena the younger), the MetroStars just signed thirty-six year old Youri Djorkaeff. Will he play midfield, defence, or sit around waiting for Matlock to come on?
Ligers' are pretty much my favorite animals...
FAIR(Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting)'s newsmagazine has a cover story entitled The Emperor's New Hump, or "The New York Times killed a story that could have changed the election?because it could have changed the election".
It says, in part:
That the story hadn?t gotten more serious treatment in the mainstream press was largely thanks to a well-organized media effort by the Bush White House and the Bush/Cheney campaign to label those who attempted to investigate the bulge as "conspiracy buffs" (Washington Post, 10/9/04).
In an era of pinched budgets and an equally pinched notion of the role of the Fourth Estate, the fact that the Kerry camp was offering no comment on the matter?perhaps for fear of earning a "conspiracy buff" label for the candidate himself?may also have made reporters skittish. Jeffrey Klein, a founding editor of Mother Jones magazine, told Mother Jones (online edition, 10/30/04) he had called a number of contacts at leading news organizations across the country, and was told that unless the Kerry campaign raised the issue, they couldn?t pursue it.
To me, this passes the conspiracy nut job test, cause as I've said before, real conspiracies are just a few powerful people trying to cheat in the most banal, and usually ham-fisted, way. It's not elaborate or especially complicated, AND it was pretty obvious. And it was done for the stupidest of reasons, because Rove or whoever thought "the rules don't apply to us."
in other news, Hackers edit php websites with rude pictures of Bush, unfortunately aimed at the entirely wrong target.
The hackers replaced the phpbb.com front page with a picture of U.S. President George Bush's head pasted onto the body of a monkey and a message in Portuguese advocating that people use their lives to make others happy and to appreciate flowers. The hackers, calling themselves the Simiens Crew, are apparently from Brazil and were protesting against Bush.
I assume they thought all americans, especially open-source programers just lurv Bush.
That said, I can get behind their maifesto, plus it's got monkeys! #
Today on Pathetic: what Scotland tourism doesn't want you to see.
This came over the digital transom today:
'TARTAN WEEK Mar. 28 - Apr. 11
VisitScotland will host this free public event in Vanderbilt Hall making Grand Central the center of a city-wide celebration of everything Scottish. Visitors will be welcomed into the Scottish Village where they can experience all the wonderful aspects of modern and traditional Scottish life.'
In that spirit, enjoy the following 'wonderful aspects of modern Scottish life": idiot Tories, thieving royals, and resplendent neds. It's done with love, like pulling off a bandage very quickly...
Scotsman Tuesday February 8, 03:00 AM
Senior Tory says Scotland 'not a very attractive place'
A SENIOR London-based Tory yesterday provoked outrage after claiming Scotland was failing to attract new immigrants because it was "not a very attractive place" for people to come to.
Cue the outrage and climb-downs.
Advanced use of twee gibberish in a good cause.
Scotsman, Tuesday February 8, 03:00 AM
MPs allege 'fiddling' in Charles's accounts
' THE Prince of Wales was last night facing unprecedented calls to open up his finances to parliament after MPs suggested the accounts of his multi-million-pound estates were being "fiddled". A string of Labour MPs yesterday savaged Prince Charles's financial managers as they appeared before the Commons public accounts committee to answer questions about the Duchy of Cornwall, the source of the prince's private wealth. One MP accused the prince of being out of touch with his prospective subjects, accusing the heir to the throne of pocketing a lottery-win-sized salary every year from his holdings. The prince received £12 million from the estate last year. The prince's stipend has risen 300 per cent since 1990 according to Alan Williams, Labour MP for Swansea West. "To the public that would look like winning the lottery every year," Mr Williams said. "This looks very much like jiggery-pokery. It looks like you've been doing a bit of fiddling" - Gerry Steinberg, Labour MP for Durham.'
Jiggery-pokery? I thought the royals weren't discussing that sexual harrassment charge.
And Royals not earning their money? That's what royals DO. They're aristocrats. They don't work and they live off the peasants. C'mon fella, we've had fifteen-hundred years to figure that out.
Finally, of more value to society than Tories and Royals: the illustrous Ned.
The Glasgow Survival Guide features a gallery of neds. My favorite? See bottom of gallery four, Weapon of choice: applecorers.
But since there won't be any display ned at Tartan Week, create your own Virtual Ned! (or 'spide', as they're known in Belfast. Gotta love that accent.)
"Sex without class consciousness cannot give satisfaction, even if it is repeated until infinity."
-- Aldo Brandirali (Secretary of the Italian Marxist-Leninist Party), in a manual of the party's official sex guidelines, 1973.
I'd like to put this to the test. #
For your enjoyment, the This Is Broken blog, in which people send in examples of all sorts of design, interfaces, and products, that just don't work. Should put this to the left, for future study. -----
And speaking of skiving off work, the French conservative government is trying to do away with the 35-hour workweek. Of course since the 35 hour law came into effect, the French have become the most productive workers (by hour) not just in europe, but the world. The French economy, with cronic %10+ unemployment has created over 300,000 new jobs since the switch. There's also much evidence that people are just plain happier. Plus, the 35 hour law says you're free to work a 39 hour week if you choose. And who gets anything done between four and five on friday anyway. I'm the last one in my office, and I'm writing this!
And before you lay into the French bashing, remember, the only reason we have a 40 hour work week is cause Unions litterally fought (and more than a few strikers died) to force it down the bosses throats. They made the same arguments for why we had to work 60, and the 50, hours a week. And I don't see the rich people clocking in at my job.
Stopping the War.
After tens of thousands dead in Iraq, a kid in New York was just arrested for trying (and failing) to burn down two unoccupied army recruiting stations. Which is the bigger crime?
I may question his methods, which just seemed designed to get him put in prison while doing the least possible damage to the war effort, but It's time people who oppose this war take it seriously.
March 19th will see a day of action against the war by the War Resisters League among others. And you don't even have to get arrested, which is nice.
Today, Bob Marley would have been sixty.
I don't have to explain who he was, or why that's miserable.
Instead, listen to my personal favorite Marley recording: Burning and Looting. When you're really kicking against the pricks, it just sums up life.
[That song was used in the opening riot scene of the 1995 movie Hate, a film so good, it can make anyone think the French are cool.]
Some think that Marley was murdered by the CIA. A couple of stories are transcribed here and here. I normally dismiss all conspiracy theories, but the CIA were trying to bump off just about everybody during the Cold War. Hell, the Russians are still poisoning Ukrainian political leaders.
As a rule, the more clumsy and uncomplicated the conspiracy, the more likely its true.
I think we all might want the CIA to be responsible for the decline of social awareness in Reggae, but if you believe it, you're certifiable (or you're Lee Perry).
And on a largely unrealted topic, we bring you: The History of Walking and Feet. And I think I have too much time on my hands. #
Activists Urge Free Open-Source Software
By ALAN CLENDENNING, Associated Press Writer PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil - Activists at a leftist gathering where Microsoft is viewed as a corporate bogeyman urged developing nations Saturday to leap into the information age with free open-source software.
John Barlow, a lyricist for the [horrifically crap band] Grateful Dead, told a gathering inside a packed warehouse that poor nations can't solve their problems unless they stop paying expensive software licensing fees.
Open source software includes programs that are not controlled by a single company. The software can be developed by anyone, with few restrictions. The best known such software is the Linux operating system, which can be downloaded free from the Internet.
"Already, Brazil spends more in licensing fees on proprietary software than it spends on hunger," said Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a cyberspace civil liberties group.
The session was one of several at the World Social Forum, which has drawn tens of thousands of people to an annual protest against the World Economic Forum, a gathering of world leaders now underway in Davos, Switzerland.
The activists in Brazil are generally united in their oppositon to what many call unbridled capitalism and the policies of the Bush administration. They are also promoting hundreds of causes, ranging from opposition to genetically modified crops to free distribution of land to poor farmers.
Barlow said Brazil is trying to wean itself from Microsoft with a campaign to persuade Brazilians to shift from costly Windows products to applications that run on the Linux operating system.
Microsoft contends open-source software can be more expensive than Windows programs when service costs are factored in.
How much people spend on Microsoft products is unclear because the company often provides discounts when it senses it may lose business. However, competition from open-source software has prompted Microsoft to offer those discounts.
Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's administration says the open-source policy makes sense for a developing country where a mere 10 percent of the 182 million people have computers at home, and where the debt-laden government is the nation's biggest computer buyer.
China, France, Germany, Japan and South Korea also are pursuing open-source alternatives. In a partial response to the open-source threat and to piracy, Microsoft last year launched stripped-down, cheap versions of Windows in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Similar products are on the way for India and Russia.
Joining Barlow on Saturday were Brazilian pop superstar Gilberto Gil [really not crap at all], who is Brazil's minister of culture, and Lawrence Lessig, Stanford University law professor and chairman of Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization devoted to sharing creative material online.
All the social forum's 800 computers are running on open-source software, but the loosely organized event ran into an embarrassing glitch Saturday when two big screens betrayed the fact that the computer was running on Windows, with the operating system's toolbar visible at the bottom of the screens.
Lessig noticed and the computer was quickly disconnected and replaced with a laptop running on open-source software. #
Nike, everyone's favorite corporate megolith, is producing harris tweed sneakers.
I have to admit, I lust for them, and so (apparently) do others. New Balance has quickly followed suit.
Scotland's Sunday Herald (also know as the Sunday Hun) notes the following: 'Sunday Herald fashion editor Eva Arrighi said the tweed sneakers are squarely toeing the line between being a haute couture inspired choice and "pure dead brilliant, by the way" ned fashion disaster. "But tweed trainers could play into the hands of the Burberry cap brigade. No doubt they'll be banned in a pub in Aberdeen soon enough."'
Let's see, if my choice is between rich fashion snobs and neds, pick me up a 2 liter of cider and I'll meet you round the bus shelter!
Finally The Jaggy Thistle site points out how we should be grateful to nike for saving Harris Tweed.
N.B.: Despite my political objections, you'll see me wearing a pair. I'm just that shallow. #
I had a lovely weekend of vomiting.
Turns out Nathan had this last weekend. We assumed it was bad sushi (which is always a fair assumption with Nathan), and he spent a day puking every hour on the hour. After hanging out this weekend, it hit me too. I came into work, someone mentioned that this was going around with people she knows. Now I hear Hillary Clinton collapsed today while giving a speech. Her dignosis: stomach virus. Her handlers are rushing to the CVS for ginger ale and mouth wash as I write this, I'm sure. #
Another Reason I'd Rather Be in Bilbao
A couple walks past 'Quantum Field- X3', an art installation by Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata, in Bilbao, northern Spain, January 27, 2005. The work, which is displayed outside the Guggenheim museum, consists of two giant cubes made up of holographic panels that reflect and refract visible light frequencies.REUTERS/Vincent West
As a side note, people in the Basque country (Euskal Herria) think of their 'nation' as Basque, while they live in "the Spanish State". So saying Bilbao (or Bilbo) is in Spain, is like saying Belfast is in England. Even the people who want to continue with Spanish government would say they live in the Basque region('nation') of Spain (the governmental entity).
Front national. «L'occupation allemande n'a pas été particulièrement inhumaine»: la provocation du leader du FN est moins un dérapage que l'affirmation de son extrémisme>
*Le Pen, la nostalgie de la collaboration>
Par Renaud DELY-Liberation
vendredi 14 janvier 2005
en parler ou pas ? Comme à chaque fois que Le Pen déverse propos racistes ou négationnistes, la question ressurgit. Tout en dénonçant ses déclarations, des responsables politiques mettent en garde contre le supposé /«piège» /tendu par un homme avide de médias. La mécanique a redémarré avec ses nouvelles élucubrations publiées par /Rivarol/. L'occupation allemande /«n'a pas été particulièrement inhumaine»/ malgré quelques/ «bavures inévitables dans un pays de 550 000 km2»/, a prétendu Le Pen. Avant de faire écho aux thèses révisionnistes sur le drame d'Oradour-sur-Glane (lire ci-dessous) pour prétendre qu'/«il y aurait beaucoup à dire»/ sur la cause du massacre, le 10 juin 1944, de 642 personnes par la division SS /Das Reich/ dans ce village de Haute-Vienne. /«On voit bien la manoeuvre de monsieur Le Pen : revenir dans le débat médiatique au moment où il avait disparu»/, jugeait hier, parmi d'autres, Philippe de Villiers.
Pourtant, le caractère confidentiel de /Rivarol/ fait douter de la thèse
du /«coup médiatique»/. La publication des propos remonte d'ailleurs au
7 janvier. Et son invitation, hier matin, sur RTL, était antérieure.
L'hypothèse d'une mise en scène contredit une autre interprétation,
celle du /«dérapage»/ incontrôlé. En fait, ni coup de pub ni acte
manqué, cette relecture de la Seconde Guerre mondiale n'est que
l'expression des convictions de Le Pen qui collent au projet originel du
FN. /Rivarol/, journal créé en 1951 par d'anciens pétainistes, était le
canal adéquat pour les ressasser.
Le Pen touche là au /«noyau dur de l'idéologie d'extrême droite»/, selon
l'expression du politologue Jean-Yves Camus. Sur fond de culture
contre-révolutionnaire, le FN est un parti de revanchards, composé des
vaincus de l'histoire (collaboration, Indochine, Algérie, etc.). Depuis
ses origines en 1972, il poursuit le même dessein : lever les tabous
liés à la Shoah et laver les crimes de l'occupant nazi pour mieux
réhabiliter le régime de Vichy, seule période du XXe siècle où l'extrême
droite a accédé au pouvoir. Le pedigree des fondateurs du FN explique
cette vocation : derrière Le Pen, le premier vice-président du FN,
François Brigneau, était un ancien du Rassemblement national populaire
de Déat et de la Milice de Darnand ; Victor Barthélemy, ex-bras droit de
Doriot à la tête du Parti populaire français, fut secrétaire
administratif du FN ; Pierre Bousquet, ex-trésorier du FN, avait
combattu sous l'uniforme allemand sur le front de l'Est dans la division
Charlemagne, aux côtés d'André Dufraisse, ex-membre du bureau politique
du FN. Quelques itinéraires parmi d'autres auxquels Le Pen n'a cessé de
rendre hommage. /«Tes copains continuent ton combat»,/ lançait-il en
mars 1994 aux obsèques de Dufraisse. En mars 1998, il saluait, pour le
vingtième anniversaire de sa disparition, son /«bon camarade»/ François
Duprat, ex-dirigeant FN et négationniste notoire. Une /«plume de
talent»/, s'était alors ému Le Pen. A 76 ans, avant de rejoindre les
fantômes de l'histoire qui composent les strates de l'extrême droite, il
poursuit encore et toujours le même combat.
An "After Action" report from the DC J20.
New York Counter Inaugural Cluster Report from Inauguration Protests.