Monday, January 28, 2008

U$ Military Spending Tops $1 Trillion Per Year!

Following on from my last post about the cost of war...For the first time in history, U$ military spending is going to top $1 trillion. That's not all, At the end of 2007 the U$ Treasury announced that their national debt had breached the $9 trillion mark. Makes Northern Rock look like a piss in the water;

It is virtually impossible to overstate the profligacy of what our government spends on the military. The Department of Defense's planned expenditures for fiscal year 2008 are larger than all other nations' military budgets combined. The supplementary budget to pay for the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not part of the official defense budget, is itself larger than the combined military budgets of Russia and China. Defense-related spending for fiscal 2008 will exceed $1 trillion for the first time in history. The United States has become the largest single salesman of arms and munitions to other nations on Earth. Leaving out of account President Bush's two on-going wars, defense spending has doubled since the mid-1990s. The defense budget for fiscal 2008 is the largest since World War II....Such expenditures are not only morally obscene, they are fiscally unsustainable.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The I-Can't-Believe-They-Did-This Iraq Post

We start with the former war-monger, now at JP Morgan bank for half-a-million per-year part time job, in the run up to the Iraq war;

With blithe self-confidence, and without even asking his officials for expertise, however, Blair assumed it would be easy for the US and UK to run the country after Saddam was toppled. His style was not to encourage his policy preferences to be questioned, or call for nuanced assessments of possible consequences.

Then we need to ask ourselves what else could have been achieved with the cash that paid for the Iraq cock-up (so far);

Consider that, according to sources like Columbia's Jeffrey Sachs, the Worldwatch Institute, and the United Nations, with that same money the world could:

Eliminate extreme poverty around the world (cost $135 billion in the first year, rising to $195 billion by 2015.)

Achieve universal literacy (cost $5 billion a year.)

Immunize every child in the world against deadly diseases (cost $1.3 billion a year.)

Ensure developing countries have enough money to fight the AIDS epidemic (cost $15 billion per year.)

In other words, for a cost of $156.3 billion this year alone – less than a tenth of the total Iraq war budget – we could lift entire countries out of poverty, teach every person in the world to read and write, significantly reduce child mortality, while making huge leaps in the battle against AIDS, saving millions of lives.

Then the remaining money could be put toward the $40 billion to $60 billion annually that the World Bank says is needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, established by world leaders in 2000, to tackle everything from gender inequality to environmental sustainability.

I read today that a suicide bomber blew up a school. Worth every penny then? I hope Bliar is enjoying his plush new job. Prick.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tom Cruise Nut-Job

The latest celebrity to go nuts on us is Scientologist Tom Cruise in this scary video where he asserts that scientologists are the authority on the mind, metal illness and criminals. That you are either with them or you don't get it and so on. It's insane that somebody can have so much conviction for a fake religion based about some dodgy sci-fi fiction. The control-freaks have had it removed from YouTube, but that has not stopped it - see it yourself!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Iraq in Eclipse

Heard of the Iraq Freedom Congress (ICF) - sounds a great idea;

The IFC was formed in 2005, bringing together trade unions, women's organizations, neighborhood assemblies and student groups around two demands: an end to the occupation, and a secular state for Iraq.

A secular Iraq - that sounds like a great thing for combating religious extremism, but the U$A has different ideas...

July 4, 2007 saw the Fred Hampton-style execution of the leader of a popular citizen's self-defense force in Baghdad. According to the Iraq Freedom Congress, the group Abdelhussein Saddam was associated with, a unit of US Special Forces troops and Iraqi National Guards raided his home in Baghdad's Alattiba neighborhood at 3:00 AM, throwing grenades in before them—and opening fire without warning at him and his young daughter. The attackers took Saddam, leaving the girl bleeding on the floor. Two days later, his body was found in the morgue at Yarmouk Hospital.

Another stark reality on the War of Terror. Read the full story. And there is more:

The firefighting team [sent to Iraq] had at its helm the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte, ably assisted by retired Colonel James Steele, adviser to Iraqi security forces. In 1984–86 Steele had been commander of the U.S. military advisory group in El Salvador. Between 1981 and 1985 Negroponte was U.S. ambassador to neighboring Honduras. In 1994 the Honduras Commission on Human Rights charged him with extensive human rights violations, reporting the torture and disappearance of at least 184 political workers. A CIA working group set up in 1996 to look into the U.S. role in Honduras has placed on record documents admitting that the operations Negroponte oversaw in Honduras were carried out by “special intelligence units,” better known as “death squads,” of CIA-trained Honduran armed units which kidnapped, tortured, and killed thousands of people suspected of supporting leftist guerrillas. Negroponte was ambassador to Iraq for close to a year from June 2004.

Killing in the name of freedom and democracy!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

What I have Been Reading Online in Jan '08

If you're interested.... Juan Cole has been laying out some very blunt advice to Iraqi politicians (my ehphasis);

Radio Sawa reports in Arabic that Iraqi members of parliament dismiss the pledge of US presidential candidate Barack Obama to end the Iraq War and withdraw US troops from the country. They say it is just campaign talk and that if Obama were elected he would swiftly become more realistic. (It is my firm impression that the Iraqi political class has unrealistic expectations of the US public. >The likelihod is that most US troops will be out by summer 2010 no matter who wins, and if Iraqi politicians want to avoid being taken out and shot in the aftermath, they had better cut some deals locally soon.

And Information Clearing House has a great article on the supposed democracy we live in;

For all we know, there is no slippery slope. It's entirely possible that extraordinary rendition, eliminating habeas corpus, and the torture camps at Guantánamo and elsewhere are exactly what the government says they are--tools for fighting terrorists, not domestic political opponents. But how likely is it?

History is clear: Over and over again, the U.S. government places fascists in powerful positions. Once in office, they exploit wars and national tragedies to roll back hard-won freedoms. They're Democrats as well as Republicans.

As has happened with increasing frequency in recent years, another blockbuster story revealing the anti-democratic impulse within the top echelon of the U.S. government has appeared and vanished overnight. According to Cold War-era files declassified last week, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover repeatedly advised President Harry Truman to arrest "all individuals potentially dangerous" to national security, jail them in military prisons and try them before kangaroo tribunals that "will not be bound by the rules of evidence."

Ain't that the truth - and we see it here too with such things as 'control orders', prevention of terrorism acts and ID cards.

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Fifth Rider Signals The End of the World

Back in the middle-ages there were plenty of times when lots of people believed the end of the world was nigh! And who could blame them? Plagues, wars and more tended to put your mind in that place. Death, famine, war, pestilence: The four horsemen stalked the land, and now there is a fifth;

And so to Britney, arguably the ur-trainwreck. Ill-advised marriages, breakdowns, rehab, knickerless exits from cars, custody battles, videorazzi chases, public insobriety episodes, head shavings (right) - she's ticked them all, and remains an enthralled world's most popular internet search term. Is this kind of celebrity the fifth horseman of the apocalypse? Well, a pregnancy test found in a room Britney had recently vacated was sold for $5,001. It was bought as an advertising gimmick by a casino that also paid £25,000 for William Shatner's kidney stone, and whose spokesman said: "It's hard to put a price on Britney Spears' urine." "Sooner than you probably think," noted the peerless US gossip blog, "the capitalist exchange of items that have passed into and out of Britney Spears' possession will be the dominant mode of commerce in our society...

This pale rider signals the end;

In December...figures connected with U.S. torture practices spoke out....Damien Corsetti, a former private in the U.S. Army who served as an interrogator in Kabul, Afghanistan (and was nicknamed the "king of torture" and "the monster" by his colleagues at Bagram prison), gave an interview to the Spanish paper El Mundo, describing the beatings and torture techniques used there. ("They tell them they are going to kill their children, rape their wives. And you see on their faces, in their eyes, the terror that that causes them. Because, of course, we know all about those people. We know the names of their children, where they live -- we show them satellite photos of their houses. It is worse than any torture.") He also claimed that 98% of the prisoners, as far as he could tell, had nothing to do with either al-Qaeda or the Taliban, and observed, "In Abu-Ghurayb and Bagram they were tortured to make them suffer, not to get information out of them." Both men denied themselves torturing or mistreating anyone.


Solstice GoatLab Aftermath...The last GoatLab was great! Big up to all the artists and performers and the goatravers - 'twas a wicked night. Here is a sample photo by Gusset, more here and some great photos by Emma. Cheers, y'all!

And the next one....oh yes....

The GoatLab Party! Parasite's 30th Birthday Bash! Friday 15th February, The Croft, Bristol starts 10pm.

Come and join Death$ucker records head-honcho and acclaimed breakcore producer Parasite with friends to celebrate his 30th Birthday with a massive line-up of mash-up talent. Coming along to help the festivities are The Doubtful Guest (who has a new album out on Planet Mu!), Pisstank, Exillon (a Bristol debut!), Bristol punk legends Spanner, Anakissed on VJ as well as crowd-pleaser's Gusset, Jay Nom, Ironside, atki2, Dub Boy and Nim Chimpsky. FFI see

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Democracy - U$ Style

Democracy, the dream of many and the idea so many have died for in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has long known has had a double meaning. For U$A it translates as 'people we like in power' whereas its opposite, 'dictatorship' is 'people we don't like in power'. Here is proof - elections in Kenya which the EU observers say were not fair at all, the bastion of democracy says different;

The US, however, which enjoyed close cooperation with the Kibaki government on anti-terrorism matters, congratulated the president on his reelection and said it supported the electoral commission's decision.

State Department spokesman Robert McInturff said: "The United States congratulates the winners and is calling for calm, and for Kenyans to abide by the results declared by the election commission"

Yet when Chavez looked poised to win his election, the U$A decided that this vote looked dodgy;

Chavez appears to be in line to defeat his main rival, Manuel Rosales, governor of the country's far-western Zulia state.

Political adversaries of the government have expressed concern about the honesty of the balloting process - concerns shared by Stephen Johnson, a senior policy analyst with the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Since coming into power, Johnson said, Chavez has moved to install a "crony congress" and to impose tight controls on the news media.

"A climate of fear and intimidation" had taken hold, he said..."It is a dictatorship with the fig leaf of democracy,"

Like we should expect any more from the staunch supporters of those democratic lands of milk and honey such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan...
PS - I got 'The Strange Death of David Kelly' by Norman Baker MP for xmas and its a great read, more on the book once finished...