Friday, March 30, 2007

Bristol Indymedia Film Night: Middle East Focus – Iraq

Monday April 2nd 2007 @ Cube Cinema. Doors open 7.30pm, film starts at 8pm. £3/4 though nobody turned away for lack of funds.

This year Bristol Indymedia Film Night will be taking a deeper look at the history and stories behind the headlines of the middle east. The region is rarely off the headlines with bombings, shootings and killing and yet has around 60% of the worlds oil supply.

Opening the evening will be veteran peace activist and well known campaigner, Dr. Margaret Jones. Margaret is one of the Fairford Five and will be talking about the cases (due to begin, again, at Bristol Crown Court in April) and discussing direct action acts of resistance to the invasion of Iraq.

We will also be screening 'UNCOVERED: The War on Iraq' a feature length documentary. Filmmaker Robert Greenwald chronicles the Bush Administration's determined quest to invade Iraq following the events of September 11, 2001. The film deconstructs the administration's case for war through interviews with U.S intelligence and defense officials, foreign service experts, and U.N. weapons inspectors -- including a former CIA director, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and even President Bush's Secretary of the Army. Their analyses and conclusions are sobering, and often disturbing, regardless of one's political affiliations. "IMPOSSIBLE TO DISMISS." -Baltimore Sun

Venue: Cube Cinema: Dove St South (off Kings Square), Bristol

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Iraq Update

There is an interesting update on the UK sailors who were kidnapped from Former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, as reported by Juan Cole:

Former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray called for the immediate release of the British sailors, but admitted that the Iranians had a legal case for objecting to their activities. They were in disputed waters and checking for smuggled automobiles. Murray can't figure out how automobile smuggling in the Persian Gulf is any of the business of the British navy. He says it would be different if they had been checking on arms smuggling.

The violence, far from being stopped by the 'surge' seems to be spreading as the cops, previously being limited to death-squad actions, just go on the rampage. Which this in mind, Hana Abdul Ilah Al Bayaty writes;

In struggling against military-imperial powers, Iraqis fight in defence of values around which a majority in the world gathers in consensus. In contrast, the sheer level of force to which Iraqis have been subjected by imperial powers — from systematic murder and rape, the desecration of religious and cultural sites and the destruction of Iraq’s historic heritage, the poisoning of Iraq’s landscape and rivers by radioactive weapons that will mark the lives of its future generations for hundreds if not thousands of years, the terrorising of a whole national population and its attempted division along lines leading to all out civil war, the plunder of its resources — prove the decadence and utter immorality of the neoliberal/neoconservative agenda. The struggle of Iraq is a struggle for civilisation, for culture, for justice, and for not reducing human life to mere production and consumption or the conquest of others. Indeed, the present uprising of Iraqis is not only a part of the wider struggle against savage globalisation and 'free' capital, it is its forefront battle. It is because the Iraqis refuse to surrender their sovereignty to multinational corporations that Iraq is being destroyed so viciously...We must retrieve recognition from any entity imposed by the United States and that claims to represent the people of Iraq. Long live the Iraqi people and its sole representative, the Iraqi Resistance.

He is asking the question, who's side are you on? The murderous genocidal side or the resistance? First you think of the carnage the resitance have also left behind, the face of some of the resistance like al Queda in the Land of the Two Rivers and thier hateful ideology. Walden Bello tried to address this point;

But there has never been any pretty movement for national liberation or independence. Many Western progressives were also repelled by some of the methods of the Mau Mau in Kenya, the FLN in Algeria, the NLF in Vietnam, and the Irish Republican Movement. National liberation movements, however, are not asking for ideological or political support. All they seek is international pressure for the withdrawal of an illegitimate occupying power so that internal forces can have the space to forge a truly national government. Surely on this limited program progressives throughout the world and the Iraqi resistance can unite.

Food for thought.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Bringing Iran into the War on Terror (TM)

The last post I wrote was about Somalia in the War on Terror (TM) - now to Iran, who the U$ and Neo-Labour are trying to bring into the game to join Somalia in the fray. There has been a steady drum-beat against Iran for some time now. Adding to the tension, Iran arrested 15 British Navy people. Iran says that were in it's waters and the UK says they were in Iraqi waters. Not sure who to believe as all governments lie, however at the moment I think Iran is probably telling the truth. Why do I think this? Because all the news reports state that the three UK vessels were surrounded by a larger number of larger Iranian vessels. This means that either the Iranians can enter Iraq waters undetected - home to the U$/UK Navies with the most advanced electronic detection equipment in the world plus with huge amounts of air and satellite cover and kidnap three boat loads of military people - I don't think so - or that the UK Navy had slipped into Iranian waters.

On the subject of Iran, this article is worth reading - about Iran and the media coverage of the issues...

Frank Barnaby, of UK think tank The Oxford Research Group, said last year:

"They [the Iranians] don't currently have enough centrifuges working - so far as we know - to produce significant amounts of highly-enriched uranium or even enriched uranium. They would need a lot more." (Sarah Buckley and Paul Rincon, ‘Iran “years from nuclear bomb“,', January 12, 2006)

Given these and other problems, The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) believes it would take Iran at least a decade to produce enough high-grade uranium to make a single nuclear weapon. Dr Barnaby agrees:

"The CIA says 10 years to a bomb using highly enriched uranium and that is a reasonable and realistic figure in my opinion."

So why, one really ought to ask, the sense of imminent crisis?
The War on Terror in Somalia

I had blogged about the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) taking control of Somalia. We were told that the ICU had links al-Qaeda. Then the US then sponsored Ethiopia, the hated neighbor of Somalia, to invade and take over. We saw a mixture of US air-power, Ethiopian troops and the beleaguered 'official' government of Somalia rush in and supposedly crush the ICU. Job done.

Except its not job done. As in Afghanistan, the hard power of the US military is proving incapable of solving what are essentially localised political problems. So once the war-planes have left, we see the rise of an insurgency coupled with human-rights violations by the ruling powers then terror attacks and so on and so forth.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Surge to Fail

Great article...

The first prong of this new policy is doomed. No area in Baghdad, or for that matter in Iraq, has been successfully pacified in this manner. That includes Falluja and Tal Afar, where this very strategy has been applied and has failed. About 1,000 American soldiers, supplemented by Iraqi (Shia) troops, have been in Falluja for 27 months since the city was "cleared" (that is, largely destroyed). They have established a particularly harsh form of martial law and yet the insurgency in the city, without ever having disappeared, has slowly grown again in strength. Falluja is not pacified and the Americans have never actually initiated a real program of reconstruction there. In other cities, with less comprehensive occupations, the insurgency is even more robust, and there isn't even talk of reconstruction.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Channel 4's Bollox

Martin Durkin's film 'The Great Climate Smindle' on Channel 4 - whataloadofbollox.

Some comment...ONE

We live in an era of conspiracies. Princess Diana was killed by Nazis; 9/11 was the work of the US government, while the manned lunar landings were hoaxes filmed in TV studios. To this list of internet-fuelled daftness, we can now add a new plot: that the world's scientific community is not just wrong about global warming, but is collectively lying when it says industrial carbon dioxide emissions are heating up the planet.

and TWO

In October 1998 a television producer named Martin Durkin took a proposal to the BBC’s science series, Horizon. Silicone breast implants, he claimed, far from harming women, were in fact beneficial, reducing the risk of breast cancer. Horizon commissioned a researcher to find out whether or not his assertion was true. After a thorough review, the researcher reported that Mr Durkin had ignored a powerful body of evidence contradicting his claims. Martin Durkin withdrew his proposal. Instead of dropping it, however, he took it to Channel 4 and, astonishingly, sold it to their science series, Equinox.