Monday, July 30, 2007

Religion - In Perspective.

One of the best rants I have heard in ages about religion. Funny and important!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fascist Russia

There is another victim of fascist Russia, this time an eco-protestor;

Ilya Borodaenko you will never be forgotten RIP. This just shows how important it is to do something, fight back, do what you can, for the animals, the environment or each other.

Yesterday, a group of Russian nazi's launched an unprovoked attack on a completely non-violent anti-nuclear eco-camp in Angarsk in Siberia. The campers knew of the attack in advance, and so posted people to try and guard the entrances over night whilst the rest slept. But when the Nazi's arrived, early in the morning of the 21st July, they completely outnumbered and overwhelmed the people at the entrances, and attacked the rest of the campers, in their sleep with iron bars, knives, and air guns, and set tents on fire.

A 21 year old guy named Ilya Borodaenko, was the first guy to greet the Nazi's. He was brutally beaten, and later died in hospital. One of the activists suffered serious head fracturing, another had both their legs broken, and nine others are also seriously injured.

Below is the website of the organisers of the camp:

Ilya Borodaenko r.i.p.

From a statement by the organisers of the camp:

"...we will forget nothing and we won't forgive Ilya Borodaenko's death to his murderers (irrespective of successes or failures of the official repressive system investigating the crime). We won't stop activity of our environmental protest camp, we won't stop our struggle against fascist plague and nuclear mafia, against authoritative ideas and racist dregs, against all that destroys both the nature and human life and dignity. Today we grieve. Tomorrow we will continue our struggle."

For more info, see:


Please repost

Monday, July 23, 2007

Lies, Lies, Lies Video

Another great video - this time it shows the lies of the U$ politicians over the war in Iraq. At the end there is some great footage of the same politicians getting angry responses from the public - something you don't often see in the news media!

Link to YouTube page is here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Draft College Republicans

A great video! The same people who advocate fighting on the front lines of the war of terror do not want to be the same people to have to do it. Nice. Worth watching:

In conversations with at least twenty College Republicans about the war in Iraq, I listened as they lip-synched discredited cant about "fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here." Many of the young GOP cadres I met described the so-called "war on terror" as nothing less than the cause of their time.

Yet when I asked these College Repulicans why they were not participating in this historical cause, they immediately went into contortions. Asthma. Bad knees from playing catcher in high school. "Medical reasons." "It's not for me." These were some of the excuses College Republicans offered for why they could not fight them "over there." Like the current Republican leaders who skipped out on Vietnam, the GOP's next generation would rather cheerlead from the sidelines for the war in Iraq while other, less privileged young men and women fight and die.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Local Flooding, Global Warming

Two friends of mine, who were due to spend a couple of days in London returned from Bristol Temple Meads Station a couple of hours later, their travel plans in ruins due to the flooding. Another friend has just spent hours on the roads, most of it trapped in the chaos that is the M5. The news from the Glade festival (where lots of Bristolian's have gone) is also bleak with the closure of the Overkill stage and problems for other parts of the event. (The organisers are hoping to re-open the stage) This following the weather assault on Glastonbury and Ashton Court and weeks of weird and erratic weather. Mother nature truly is a powerful force, and she dominates the headlines of todays papers. I guess this does lead to the question of global warming – is this weather linked? The bastion of business values, the FT suggests so;

Erratic weather has been held up as evidence of global warming. Growing incidence of floods is meanwhile changing attitudes to property in low-lying areas. An estate agent’s blurb promising “river views” is only alluring so long as the homebuyer’s chances of seeing the river lapping around his three-piece suite are low. Planning authorities are starting to take a more critical view of developments that increase flooding risk by building on fields.

In it's own coded language I would suggest the FT is hedging its bets that, yes, the erratic weather and global warming are linked – else why else would planning rules need to be re-visited unless the weather was changing? They are not the only media outlet to consider the weather as a portent of things to come, the Times ran a piece entitled 'Ten predictions about climate change that have come true' while the Scotsman's farming writer, in a piece entitled 'How my scepticism on global warming took a real battering' noted at the end of June;

“Good riddance to flaming June and welcome to what we hope might just be a more pleasant July. I have to admit to a degree of scepticism on global warming, but those doubts are now increasingly in reverse gear. April was just about as wonderful as anyone, especially farmers, could wish, then along came May which was strictly average, but June proved to be a real horror.”

As we now know, July was not the respite that this writer was hoping for - far from it. It would seem to me that the climate-skeptic view has been dealt a double whammy, first by the flooding and the evidence of our every-day lives and second by the scientific research demolishing their favorite 'solar warming' theory, the final volley of which was a reply by Professor Mike Lockwood;

"Because I am a solar physicist, it would make me very happy indeed were the sun to be the cause of current climate change, partly because it would make my studies more relevant and important but mainly because I understand that solar activity will almost certainly decline in years to come. This would mean that the greatest threat to mankind's continued prosperity and wellbeing, namely climate change, would also decline. Sadly for me, and for all of us, you cannot wish or spin away a scientific reality."
(original article, reply and counter reply)

At a climate protest some years ago I listened to a Young Republican, who, as part of a group of 20 or so zealot students who had flown over to tour European protests to rubbish the Kyoto agreement. He outlined the climate-septic view of the worse case scenario, “You know of the chaos of the European economies after the second world war?” He asked us, we nodded yes, “If you implement Kyoto then that chaos would be like a picnic, it would be like a worse version of the great depression – any of you have a job?” He asked the five or so listeners, all of us responded that we did, “Well if you sign this, you can kiss that goodbye.”

Now while the science behind global warming is not 100% (more like 95%), the science of the septic is even shakier – so which view would you rather hedge your bets with – that by trying to save energy and reduce consumption we may trigger a huge economic depression, or the worse case predictions of the 'global warming is real' view; we risk the lives a millions of people, the destruction of hundreds of species and eco-systems and much more. I know where I hedge my bets.

It is time to bury the sceptic view - they had ther chance, failed and it was drowned in the 'summer' of '07 - now to the important question - what are we going to do about it?

Friday, July 20, 2007

More Meeja News: The Beeb and Mail in Rows

Recently the major newspaper have been all huff-and-puff in attacking the BBC and the gaffs over the Queen and phone-in competitions. Make we wonder if the people up in the BBC's Whiteladies's Road office are feeling under siege? While I have my own bone's to pick with the BBC's very pro-establishment view of things, in this case I feel sorry for them given the fact that most of the papers arguing against them have a vested business interest in the removal or privatization of the BBC. For example if you go to The Sun website, it's full of articles attacking the BBC, but search it for 'Murdoch' and you find nothing, when I think that fact that he and Bliar had six phone conversations on eve of war says more about the power of media that the declining institution of the Queen being revealed to be human:

"Tony Blair spoke to Rupert Murdoch three times in nine days in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, it emerged yesterday, after the government caved in to a four-year campaign for the release of details of their conversations and meetings.....In all Mr Blair held six formal conversations with the media baron between March 2003 and October 2004. The first three took place on March 11, 13 and 19; military action against Iraq began early on March 20. A broadcasting row involving the BBC and BSkyB was also taking place."

On the subject, the owners of Venue, the Evening Post, Metro, GWR etc, the Daily Mail and Trust have also been attacked for 'Incredible hypocrisy' over gambling;

"Just days after [The Daily Mail] trumpeted its role in killing off the introduction to Britain of Vegas-style supercasinos as a 'Very Moral Victory', The Observer has discovered that the paper's website, where punters can seemingly sign up with minimum security checks to play internet poker, roulette and slot-machine games, failed to adhere to guidelines set out by GamCare and Responsibility in Gambling Trust, organisations which offer help and advice to addicts."


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Justice in the Middle East

A great anaylsis of the Palestine issue;

Israeli leaders insist that negotiations with the organization are impossible. Hamas, after all, has waged a terror war against Israel and adamantly refuses to recognize the Jewish state. Few now remember that Israel used the same argument to avoid talking to Arafat's Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Fatah, too, had engaged in terrorism against Israelis (and still does occasionally) and refused to revise its charter to recognize Israel until 1998, five years after Arafat and Prime Minister Yizhak Rabin had their historic handshake on the White House lawn.

Worth a read!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Report Back - the MOVE Talk

Ramona Africa and her colleague visited Bristol on the 2nd July as part of a European speaking tour. She introduced herself as the minister for information of the group MOVE (note, MOVE is not an acronym, but a greeting to fellow members as in, 'on a MOVE' ) The evening began with a showing of a documentary about the group and its struggles narrated by Howard Zinn. The documentary is a shocking account of the brutality of the police – one stark example is when the police, after denials of brutality, are caught on camera surrounding and beating an unarmed MOVE member. Following the pubic revelation of the film footage, the head of the police union asserts (on camera) that if the cops had simply killed, rather then beaten him, then they would not be in this mess at all.

Ramona takes up this theme following the video, “You call the police when you are under attack, but who do you call when its the police that are attacking?” She asked the audience, “They say that police brutality is just a few bad apples, when when things like this happen time after time you find yourself asking, where are all the good apples?” She then talked about the ideas of MOVE – that move believes in life and freedom. She talked about life; that move protested wherever life was 'caged' from zoos to care homes with unsafe conditions. Another example she gave was how MOVE used to compost their vegetable waste – back in the early 70s they were derided as 'nasty' for this, now widespread practice. She talked about freedom; about MOVE's belief that when you give responsibility to officials, you give away your purpose. She talked about self-defense and differentiated it from violence. She said all living things had the instinct for self- defense in one form or another and MOVE refused to give this instinct away. She talked about then when MOVE refused to back down to the police violence they had often won concessions such as the freeing of MOVE members from jail. In regard freedom she talked about the difference between 'legal' and 'right' – that the system confused us into thinking that legal = right when in MOVE's view it did not always match. She reminded the audience that slavery was once 'legal', but that it was never 'right'. She talked about the system as a whole – that in MOVE's view the system is sick – that is is any surprise the rocketing rate of respiratory disorders and cancer when we poison the food and the air? She ended in a call for global solidarity from Chiapas to Bristol to Iraq everywhere in defense of life and freedom.

PS. The Kebele cafe on the 1st July raised £120 to assist the MOVE tour and the film night added a further £65 to this – thanks to all who supported the event!

PPS. You can help the 9 MOVE people still in jail by going here; to find out more!

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Lost War

It is now not only the war in Iraq that is lost, we are loosing the whole 'War of Terror' according to Alexander Chancellor;

Intelligence analysts reportedly warned the White House this week that al-Qaida is now stronger and better organised than at any time since September 11 2001. If true, this is a shattering condemnation of America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the rest of its anti-terror strategy of the past six years.

Indeed. So why is this? Lots of reasons, but most have to do with the reality on the ground, something lost on the dogmatic politicians who are supposed to be leading the war. What is happening on the ground gives a lie to any notion of 'hearts and minds' or 'fighting for democracy' - its a brutal spiral of mutual destruction, degradation and death don't take my word for it – ask the soldiers who are there. For example her is how a house raid works:

"You run in....You go up the stairs. You grab the man of the house. You rip him out of bed in front of his wife. You put him up against the wall. You have junior-level troops, PFCs [privates first class], specialists will run into the other rooms and grab the family, and you'll group them all together. Then you go into a room and you tear the room to shreds and you make sure there's no weapons or anything that they can use to attack us...You get the interpreter and you get the man of the home, and you have him at gunpoint, and you'll ask the interpreter to ask him: 'Do you have any weapons? Do you have any anti-US propaganda, anything at all--anything--anything in here that would lead us to believe that you are somehow involved in insurgent activity or anti-coalition forces activity?' ..Normally they'll say no, because that's normally the truth...So what you'll do is you'll take his sofa cushions and you'll dump them. If he has a couch, you'll turn the couch upside down. You'll go into the fridge, if he has a fridge, and you'll throw everything on the floor, and you'll take his drawers and you'll dump them.... You'll open up his closet and you'll throw all the clothes on the floor and basically leave his house looking like a hurricane just hit it...And if you find something, then you'll detain him. If not, you'll say, 'Sorry to disturb you. Have a nice evening.' So you've just humiliated this man in front of his entire family and terrorized his entire family and you've destroyed his home. And then you go right next door and you do the same thing in a hundred homes."

This is the real War of Terror. How about supply convoys?

"There was then a little boy--I would say he was about 10...a little Iraqi boy and he was crossing the highway with his, with three donkeys. A military convoy, transportation convoy driving north, hit him and the donkeys and killed all of them. When we got there, there were the dead donkeys and there was a little boy on the side of the road....We saw him there and, you know, we were upset because the convoy didn't even stop...They really, judging by the skid marks, they hardly even slowed down. But, I mean, that's basically--basically, your order is that you never stop...We're using these vulnerable, vulnerable convoys, which probably piss off more Iraqis than it actually helps in our relationship with them...just so that we can have comfort and air-conditioning and sodas--great--and PlayStations and camping chairs and greeting cards and stupid T-shirts that say, Who's Your Baghdaddy?"

This is why al-Qaida are winning in Iraq and worldwide. IMHO al-Qaida is winning – not because they are winning on the ground (indeed the evidence shows that the insurgency in Iraq is 93% Iraqi) but in people's minds; because the west is trying to impose its vision of what should be happening on nation-states that were created by the west to impose its vision. FFS, we can't even create democracy here, never mind elsewhere;

In Afghanistan and Pakistan, in Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon, the "international community," acting unilaterally, bilaterally, and multilaterally, is trying to shore up, strengthen, and create states to provide peace and stability. Some, even many, people of those areas long to become full citizens of states that protect their rights and provide services. But for many others, it is harder to imagine that they might one day be citizens of an effective accountable nation-state than that they might be joined with their fellow Muslims in a renewed caliphate. Somewhere in the mountains of the land its inhabitants call Pakhtunkhwa, Bin Laden is waiting.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Medja News

Venue #773 issue took a swipe at those of us who had been criticizing Ashton Court in the 'Severn Bore' column;

"In recent weeks local newsgroups, blogs and other online soapboxes speak of nowt else but how terrible it's all become. Some of the comment is informed and sympathetic to an event struggling to survive in the face of a chickenshit avalanche of red tape. Much of it is breathtakingly ignorant and chippy. A minority of fools posting on Bristol Indymedia ( are the worst. Here wigged-out trustafarians wrapping their clueless irresponsibility in the cloak of 'anarchy' and complaining of corporate sell-out, profiteering, conspiracy and worse."

I find it interesting that they create two streams of comment – either you are pro-Ashton Court and sympathetic, or anti-Ashton court and clueless etc. (Either with us ro with the terrorists and so on.) Well, sorry to keep banging on about it all, but there was a huge overspend last year and while some of the money has been accounted for, not all of it has. If you want people to donate, I think you owe them a couple of things in return – first full transparency about why you need the money, which IMHO has not been forthcoming. (I had blogged about this before and some more information has been released online, so to-date we have a $100K overspend consisting of £15K in extra licensing costs, £45K in increased security costs and £11K in damage to the site – so still £19K unaccounted for – unless I am reading the figures wrong and am happy to be put right if needed.) Second, you need to tell people what has been put in place to prevent the same thing happening again. Again, I have not seen any contingency plan on their site about this. Provide both these in full, and I am happy to donate to see the event keep going.

Still, some credit to Venue to at least naming Bristol Indymedia as a source, their sister publication, the Evening Pest, will mention content on the site without naming it, almost as if they can't bring themselves to mention a competitor for Bristolians eyeballs to their own online news-portal

In other medja news, for former Telewest, now Virgin Media and supplier to a healthy chuck of the homes in Bristol for cable, phones and TV has been looking for a buyer – and is being courted by the Carlyle Group. The Carlyle group are the private equity firm who got criticized for making a mint out of the sale of the public defense research labs into the private QinetiQ. They are also the subject of interest due to its impressive stable of current/former investors/employees including the Bin Laden family, former prime-minister John Major and both former and current president Bush. A nice little earner if you can get in with it. Watch this space for a new Bliar opportunity?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Wrong Verdict

The six trial of the Fairford Five ended on Friday with a shocking verdict of 'guilty'. I think lots of people had high hopes that following five not-guilty or hung verdicts, that this trial would also end with a glimmer of justice. Not so. On the day the foreman of the jury read out the decision, I read of the ongoing (and sadly 'normal') cacophony of violence that continues to engulf Iraq, including five people shot execution style in different parts of the Baghdad, a mortar killing seven members of the same family and a U.S. soldier dying of wounds. One post on Bristol Indymedia summed it up best;

It is simply wrong that these two have been found guilty, when those who have unleased a war that has killed over 650,000 are not in jail. This is around 100,000 to 200,000 more than Saddam killed during his war of terror. Blair, Brown and all the New Labour people who supported this war should be in the dock not Margret and Paul. This is decision of injustice.

I could not agree more: Stop the Legal Persecution of the Fairford Five - sign here:

On a lighter note (and to keep your sanity...) the 19th sees the Premiere of 'Summer Job' shot in Bristol by local filmmakers. Should be fun and Vialka on the 24th - both at the Cube. Click for full listing.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Meme Wars: The Beauty Industry

Adbusters have been doing some good work around getting a message to a wider audience. What is interesting is the response of magazines to running an advert that is counter to the idea of make-up...

Here's how it went. Adbusters put together an advert;

Then asked about running it in various teenage magazines. Here's what they said:

Seventeen (2,000,000 readers)
The advertising rep from Seventeen emailed us a pretty terse response: “Unfortunately, we cannot accept this ad. Please let me know if you need anything else.” We sent two follow-up emails requesting clarification of their reasons, but both went unanswered. After a month of waiting, we called the representative directly. She explained that she is not at liberty to discuss their advertising policies, and that it would be up to “higher-ups” to disclose anything to us. When we asked to be put into contact with those higher-ups, the response was “We’ll call you.” They haven’t.

Teen Vogue (900,000 readers)
“I had to run this ad request through corporate, as the subject matter could have further ramifications on our business overall. Corporate has decided that we, as a company, cannot accept this ad.” At least they were forthcoming with their reasons.

CosmoGIRL! (1,400,000 readers)
According to their advertising rep, CosmoGIRL! is open to running the ad, provided that we are willing to 1) include the word “Advertisement” at the top to differentiate it from editorial, 2) include our logo, website address, or phone number for people to respond, and 3) provide supporting documentation or evidence to substantiate the claims in the ad copy.
In fact, we agree wholeheartedly with all of these requirements, and have no problem complying. But we are left wondering if CosmoGIRL! sets such stringent standards for all of its regular beauty-industry advertisers.

So much for freedom of speech.