Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gaza: Israel Does What Bin Laden Failed to Do - Unite Arab Word

Bin Laden has a vision of a united Arab world. He has failed utterly (thankfully) to achieve his vision over the last 10 years or so of fighting. However Israel has managed a united vision in just days thanks to its bombings as bitter enemies take time out to condemn Israel: Iran and the Taliban, the warring factions in Iraq, Hezbollah and Egypt. The action has also suspended peace talks mediated by Turkey. Not doing much for peace, this bombing.

Other points of note; Helena Cobban writes of how the response to this crisis shows the US has lost it's veto power and Norman Soloman writes of the Biblical 'eye for an eye' of this bombing; '100 eyes for an eye' and the propaganda war goes digital.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Gaza's Asymmetric War

I have posted (1,2) about the political perspective on the bombings; now for the military. This action is a classic response in an asymmetric war. So how will it pan out?

First reports suggest that the attacks were planned in advance by Israel and they struck when they knew Hamas personal to be at their posts. The same reports suggest that the attacks have delivered a blow against Hamas's hidden cache of weapons.

This matters because it has been suggested that Hamas have been modelling themselves on Hezbollah (following their 2006 kicking of the IDF) so says the noted war reporter David Axe;

If Israel ground forces were to roll into Gaza, they would face 15,000 fighters who have absorbed the lessons of the Lebanon War, Haaretz claims. "For two years Hamas, with Iranian assistance, has been working hard on developing its military power, using Hezbollah as a model."

Hamas' forces reportedly feature:

* A large stockpile of rockets and mortars
* Anti-tank weapons capable of targeting helicopters
* An extensive network of defensive bunkers, tunnels (pictured here) and booby traps

The heart of the force is the 1,000 elite Iz al-Din troops who "undergo rigorous military training as well as participating in ideological classes held in mosques."

Now there are reports that the Israeli's are massing ground forces for a possible incursion/re-occupation. However what they must be thinking is; are Hamas ready for this? Cast your mind back to 2006 and that time Israel vs Hezbollah;

But as you may recall, those tanks got a real different reception when they chased Hezbollah's raiding party back into Lebanon after the Hezzies killed three IDF soldiers and kidnapped another two. The IDF mid-ranking commanders had to act fast because the Gaza command was taking heat for not pursuing Shalit's kidnappers fast enough. So they shouted, "Charge!" and the first Merkava steamed over the border.

Guess how far it got. Ten meters. Ten goddamn meters. Then KABOOM! A Hezbollah mine or shaped charge turned it into a very expensive oven, with four crew killed. Another IDF soldier died trying to rescue them. So within a few minutes the IDF had lost eight men. As far as I know, Hezbollah's losses were zero.

So now the chess pieces are in-place. The questions are; has Hamas anticipated (indeed wanted) a ground incursion? Will the Israeli's give it to them.

Not only that - but if the IDF marches into Gaza and Hamas can give it a kicking - the reputation of the IDF is going to be very low indeed and the gamble will have failed (or back-fired).

More Gaza Bombing Links

Indymedia UK has some good coverage of events and of UK protests over the bombings which include London, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Leeds and Bristol.

Other articles worth reading;

The dead-end of militarism in solving problems.


Robert Fisk writes; "Yes, Israel deserves security. But these bloodbaths will not bring it. Not since 1948 have air raids protected Israel. Israel has bombed Lebanon thousands of times since 1975 and not one has eliminated "terrorism". So what was the reaction last night? The Israelis threaten ground attacks. Hamas waits for another battle. Our Western politicians crouch in their funk holes. And somewhere to the east – in a cave? a basement? on a mountainside? – a well-known man in a turban smiles."

Juan Cole writes; "What I can't understand is the end game here. The Israelis have pledged to continue their siege of the civilians of Gaza, and have threatened to resume assassinating Hamas political leaders, along with the bombardment. The campaign of brutal assassinations launched by Ariel Sharon earlier in this decade were, Sharon, promised us, guaranteed to wipe out Hamas altogether. Do the Israelis expect the population at some point to turn against Hamas, blaming it for the blockade and the bombardment? But by destroying what was left of the Gaza middle class, surely they a throwing people into the arms of Hamas."

Understanding The Airstrikes

First a little bit of history. Remember our brave and visionary leader Mr Tony Bliar? Back in 2003;

Tony Blair, in an attempt to convince critics at home that his "special relationship" with the United States President is not a one-way street, will tonight urge George Bush to keep up maximum pressure for a Middle East peace settlement.

How well did that go? A disaster. Since the axis of Bu$h/Blair the middle east has been worse than ever; over a million dead in Iraq, the ongoing Turkey/Kurdish conflict, Israel/Hezbollah, Lebanon in ongoing various states of turmoil. And Tony 'peace' Bliar is doing such a great job as peace envoy using his 'special relationship' with the US to broker peace (not). What a fuck-up. There are things we can do from here to promote justice in the Middle-East and one thing is to make sure we never forget the shameful complicity of the Neo-Labour party in the ongoing violence, corruption and death.

So how are we to understand the broader context of what is going on? So here are a few links of interest;

The excellent Helena Cobban writes;

The casualty rate is tragic, tragic-- for Palestinians and for all of humanity. ... But at a cynical, Realpolitik level, these casualty levels are not, actually, all that bad for Hamas and its attainment of its political goals. They severely undermine Abu Mazen, Hosni Mubarak, and all the other cast of corrupt and US-supported leaders in the region. These raids will also not succeed in snuffing out Hamas, a movement which is as much an idea of religiously-buttressed resistance, as it is an actual political party. You can't snuff out such a movement simply by killing even hundreds of its members or supporters, or scores of its leaders. Israel pursued the leadership-decapitation strategy through much of the 1990s and early 2000s. It killed three or four successive generations of Hamas leaders with its broad strategy of assassinations-- but the movement as a whole only dug in deeper.

So what does it feel like to have loved ones in the bombing zone?

A little later I called my mother, only to hear her crying on the phone. "The planes are overhead" she cried "the planes are overhead". I tried to calm her down- planes overhead mean the "target" is further away. But in such moments of intense fear, there is no room for rationality and logic. There is you, and there are war planes; and nothing in between, besides orders and a video game screen.

And now we have right-wing US pundits using the same logic Bin Laden used to justify attacks on civilians to cheer-lead these airstrikes;

The question is whether the Palestinian people are educable. Which brings me back to the first point: the Palestinians voted to put in power — i.e., vest with the power of a quasi-sovereign government — a terrorist organization which thinks legitimate governing consists of bringing about the annihilation of its sovereign neighbor and, meantime, targeting the said neighbor’s civilian population with bombing attacks. When you do that, you make yourself a target.

and wingnut Bin Laden;

The American people are the ones who choose their government by way of their own free will; a choice which stems from their agreement to its policies. ...This is why the American people cannot be not innocent of all the crimes committed by the Americans and Jews against us.

Scary how wingnut propagandists will always find a reason to justify killing civilians.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

RIP Pinter

The Nobel prize winning writer and outspoken activist, has died. Rest in peace.

Early in the invasion there was a photograph published on the front page of British newspapers of Tony Blair kissing the cheek of a little Iraqi boy. 'A grateful child,' said the caption. A few days later there was a story and photograph, on an inside page, of another four-year-old boy with no arms. His family had been blown up by a missile. He was the only survivor. 'When do I get my arms back?' he asked. The story was dropped. Well, Tony Blair wasn't holding him in his arms, nor the body of any other mutilated child, nor the body of any bloody corpse. Blood is dirty. It dirties your shirt and tie when you're making a sincere speech on television.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Climate Creationism

I blogged about the similarities between climate change denialism and creationism; and the evidence that these two ideologies are two-sides of the same coin keeps mounting up...for example a new law called the 'Louisiana Science Education Act 2008' which claims to be about supporting academic freedom has in the details the finger-prints of the ideological lobby groups who are pushing for it. In summary it has nothing to do with academic freedom (which I am all for) and is a trojan horse for right-wing ideological propaganda;

"The real purpose of the law—as opposed to its ostensible support for academic freedom—becomes evident on analysis. First, consider what the law seeks to accomplish. Aren’t teachers in the public schools already exhorted to promote critical thinking, logical analysis and objective discussion of the scientific theories that they discuss? Yes, indeed: in Louisiana, policies established by the state board of education already encourage teachers to do so, as critics of the bill protested during a legislative hearing. So what is the law’s true intent? That only a handful of scientific topics—“bio­logical evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning”—are explicitly mentioned is a hint." (my emphasis)

Oh yes - so not only are the tactics and strategies used by creationists and denialists the same, not only are the funding organisations the same - and some of the 'experts' who deny both evolution and climate change are the same.

Thus a new term of the denialists is born that more accurately reflects their 'intellectual heritage' and public relations strategies; Climate Creationism.

Some News Updates: Afganistan, Bristol, So-Called 'Eco-Terror' and Bristol

A few quick links that might be of interest updating some news I have been blogging about;

I blogged about the drug-wars of Mexico: things have got even worse since then. Recently the severed heads of 8 soldiers were found in a bag with a warning. A former DEA agent is claiming that elements in the US law enforcement are on the cartel's payroll;

One of Celerino [“Cele” Castillo III is a former DEA agent]'s discoveries, in particular, likely incurred the wrath of a particular federal agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco (ATF), Castillo claims. As part of his part-time work as a consultant on criminal cases, Castillo contends that he uncovered evidence that two ATF agents “were on the payroll of a Mexican cartel.” That “cartel,” Castillo asserts, is a paramilitary offshoot of the Mexican military that is being supplied with U.S. weapons, some only available through the U.S. military, by operatives on the U.S. side of the border.

Now the Guardian article above claims the army are seen as 'cleaner' than the corrupted and compromised cops. But are they?

But several other federal law enforcers who spoke with Narco News, on the condition their names not be used, don’t find his analysis to be far-fetched. “The Mexican military and government are corrupt,” one law enforcer says. “The Military escorts smugglers to the border. It’s a daily occurrence. The video cameras at the El Paso Intelligence Center have it all on video, filed away. If we report the suspicious activity to our superiors, nothing ever happens. It’s just covered up. “The Mexican military cartel has taken over Juarez. Our government knows it; they’re not stupid, but they’ve made some backroom deal with the Mexican government.”

It's a fuck-up. And from one fuck up to another: Afghanistan. Check this quote:

"The problem is the British. They support the Taliban." Why? "Because they want to control Afghanistan. They want us to stay fighting forever. The British only kill the innocent, they don't kill the Taliban."

And that's from a fucking police man! Yes, there are Afgan coppers who think the UK military are there to facilitate the drugs trade. Here's another one;

Crossing his long fingers, and speaking quietly, the uncle explained his trade. "If we smuggle 40kg, we give the Taliban 4kg. We pay the 10% as a zikat [Islamic tax] to the Taliban. And we pay another 10% to the government officials and the police.

Yup - both the Taliban and the cops are on the take. While the government, police and army of Afghanistan are so corrupt - and they are - the war there can never be won. UK soliders and cash are being used to prop-up a dysfunctional, corrupt and dead-end narco-state (like Mexico?).

And from one dead-end to another - so-called Eco Terrorism; Monbiot has weighed into the issue that us bloggers have been on for a while now;

Just as the misleading claims of the security services were used to launch an illegal and unnecessary war against Iraq, [National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit]'s exaggerations will be used to justify the heavy-handed treatment of peaceful protesters. In both cases police and spies are distracted from dealing with genuine threats of terrorism and violence.

And while NETCU were busy helping out polluters and corporations under the guide of 'fighting terrorism' this is what they should be doing;

A right-wing extremist who wanted to "secure a future for white children" and kept explosives at his Yorkshire flat was convicted on terrorism charges on Tuesday. Martyn Gilleard, 31, from Goole in East Yorkshire, was found guilty at Leeds Crown Court of the preparation of terrorist acts and of collecting information useful for an act of terrorism. He had pleaded guilty at earlier hearings to possessing live ammunition and 39,000 indecent images of children. Police conducting a child pornography raid last October had discovered racist literature, home-made bombs, knives and a rifle at Gilleard's flat.

Finally another shout-out to the protesters in Bristol taking on Raytheon. Great work people!

Monday, December 22, 2008

An Xmas Message

Well happy christmas/solstice or whatever you want to call it. I hope you have a good 'un. I would like to send a few shout-out with xmas best wishes;

to the protesters trying to kick Raytheon out of Bristol and spending the period on a roof - a big thanks you and best wishes for your tenacious and inspiring actions.

Second a big well-done to the Bristol Blogger and other local bloggers for the plaudits achieved and recognition gained, it is well deserved, even if it does come from the old-media-in-eclipse.

Third a 'well done' to the new AnarchoBlog's new aggregator. Looks cool!

Fourth to the denialists of global warming, who along with the creationists, give me much enjoyable reading on the net. Sadly the quality of their debate has degenerated of late in to simply making claims without even the pretence of evidence. But I guess that was inevitable as the evidence for their 'cause' is simply no longer there. I did write about the similarity between the two before and I'm not the only one who thinks so....

Inhofe's list of 650 scientists that supposedly dispute the consensus on AGW reminded me of another list: The Discovery Institute's list of scientists who dissent from Darwinism, so I thought I'd compare the two lists.

First, numbers. The Discovery Institute's list has 751 names, while Inhofe's has only 604. (Not "More Than 650" as he claims -- there are many names appearing more than once.)

Second, how do you get on the list? Well, you have to sign up to get on the Discovery Institute's list, but Inhofe will add you to his list if he thinks you're disputing the global warming consensus and he won't take you off, even if you tell him to do so. Yes, there is someone less honest than the Discovery Institute.

Third, what sort of scientists are on the lists? Well, the Discovery Institute list has a distinct shortage of biologists, while Inhofe's is lacking in climate scientists. It does have a lot of meteorologists, but these are people who present weather forecasts on TV, not scientists who study climate.

Fourth, who is on both lists? There are five names, and two are from the University of Oklahoma.

Both are ideologies that have a set conclusion they then seek to 'prove' (the opposite of what science should be) both are pointless to argue against as they can never admit they are wrong and there is no evidence you can present that will sway them (see previous ideological point), both fight their battles with obfuscation 'cos they cannot win with the science, both claim there is a real debate to be had (there is just not where they are...) and both are funded by right-wing think tanks. Separated at birth? I think so.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Between the Lines: Hardline Jewish Settler Violence Against IDF Has Alienated Many Israelis

This came to me via email. It's an interesting interview from Between The Lines; I have read a number of articles in the past suggesting an increasing de-politicisation of Israeli youth, even though they are conscripted into the army. On the other hand the ultra-orthodox Jews are exempt. This seems to me to build the tension where a secular section of the country is being asked to enforce the religious view. Anyway, judge for yourself...

Hardline Jewish Settler Violence Against IDF Has Alienated Many Israelis
Interview with Hagit Ofran, director of the Settlement Watch Project of Peace Now, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

In early December, members of the Israeli Army, known as the Israel Defense Forces or IDF, forcibly removed a group of radical right-wing Israeli settlers from a building they were occupying in the West Bank city of Hebron, following violent attacks by the settlers on both the IDF and on Palestinian civilians. About 600 settlers, living under the protection of the Israeli army, reside in the middle of Hebron, a Palestinian city of 130,000. This is one incident among several that have recently caused some Middle East watchers to conclude that relations between Israelis and Palestinians are deteriorating even below their formerly abysmal level. This week, outgoing President Ehud Olmert described the settlers' treatment of Palestinians as a "pogrom," a word used historically to describe organized violence against Jews.

The situation is extremely volatile, as Israelis will soon be holding national elections, which the far-right Likud party candidate, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is favored to win. The U.S. -- Israel's strongest and most uncritical supporter -- will also inaugurate a new president in January.

Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Hagit Ofran, director of the Settlement Watch Project of Peace Now. She keeps track of developments among the 276,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and 180,000 living in Palestinian East Jerusalem. She explains what happened in the Hebron conflict and the possible ramifications.

HAGIT OFRAN: The situation is that a group of settlers broke into this building a year and a half ago by force, and only then did they ask a permit to go in. And when they were denied to have this permit, they started a list of petitions to all the courts they could in order to force the government to let them stay in this building. All of that failed, and two weeks ago, there was a decision by the Supreme Court saying that they should leave the house in three days and that the government has the right to evacuate them after those three days. Of course, they were not leaving, and it actually made many young settlers come to the place in order to protect it from evacuation, and when they had rumors where the IDF (was) about to evacuate them, they started to attack mainly the Palestinians around. And I think that the violence that took place by the settlers against the Palestinians and also against the security forces of Israel, made our minister of defense, Ehud Barak, decide to kick them out of the house because of the severe violence that took place. So it was counter-productive for the settlers to be so violent in terms of public opinion in Israel and the opinion of Ehud Barak. I believe if they weren’t so violent, he wouldn’t have touched them, because this is the way he is acting since he became a minister -- not to evacuate any settlers, to get to as many agreements with them and avoid any potential clash with the settlers.

BETWEEN THE LINES: Based on what you just said, it sounds like the aggressive removal of settlers in this case is more of an anomaly than the start of a new Israeli policy. Does it mean anything, do you think?

HAGIT OFRAN: I think it might have meaning. The IDF didn’t do anything until today. I think what made the change is the fact that the settlers started to attack the IDF itself. This is something really hard for the Israeli public because the army is everybody, and when there is a group fighting against the army, people say, why do I send my child to protect those horrible people that attack him? Because the soldier is there to protect the settlers, and now he’s being attacked. So, this is like a red line that has been crossed by the settlers in the last few months, and this has made, I think, a slight change in the IDF’s attitude toward the settlers. However, it’s very far away from law enforcement or taking care of all the violations going on in the West Bank.

BETWEEN THE LINES: There’s been continued settlement in the West Bank in recent years. Where does that stand now?

HAGIT OFRAN: Yes, unfortunately, despite all the political process that has been going on –(at) the Annapolis summit last year -- we see that construction is still going on almost everywhere in the West Bank. Some of it has gone on unofficially without any permits from the government, but without any reaction or any tries to enforce the law. And in some places, it is initiated by the government, especially in those places where the government thinks that in a future agreement it will be swapped by equivalent land to the Palestinians, that Israel might annex those settlements that are closer to the Green Line, that are most populated, and in return will give land from the lands of Israel to the Palestinian state-to-be. So they take it for granted that we can build in those places as if there was already an agreement, and we in Peace Now think that one of the biggest obstacles today, facing the Israeli chances to get to peace, is the settlement activity.

BETWEEN THE LINES: Opinion seems to be changing slowly in the U.S., away from uncritical support for the Israeli government to at least some skepticism about its role, especially regarding the occupation. How important do you think this change might be for the Israelis and Palestinians being able to reach some kind of resolution?

HAGIT OFRAN: It could be conducive to an agreement. The lack of criticism by the United States in the last, let’s say, at least eight years, made it possible for Israel to do the most horrible things for the Israeli interest. I always say if you’re a good friend of mine, don’t let me drive while I’m drunk. What the U.S. did, in general, was letting us drive while we’re drunk. We should have been more criticized in not letting us destroy our own partner -- the only side in the Palestinians' that we can build on -- in terms of building some kind of an agreement and stop the bloodshed. But in the past eight years we were in an enterprise to prove that all the Palestinians are the same, that they all want to kill us, and we destroyed our own partner, and I think it was pretty much supported by the last [U.S.] administration, and maybe the public opinion also in the United States.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's All Greek to Me

As you might have noticed, the murder of a 15 year-old by Greek cops has trigged a mass uprising. Where can you find out more? Hat-tip to Huw for this info:


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Enduring Freedom by Supporting Tyranny

So as reported, the attacks of the Taliban on NATO supplies has reached crisis point. So what will they do about it?

Nato is negotiating with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to allow supplies for Nato forces, including fuel, to cross borders into Afghanistan from the north. The deal, which officials said was close to being agreed, follows an agreement with Moscow this year allowing Nato supplies to be transported by rail or road through Russia.

So in the continuing war for freedom NATO is now striking deals with;
- Russia - a 'managed democracy', i.e. not one.
- Turkmenistan - until December 2006 it was a dictatorship, has has elections of a sort but does not respect human rights.
- Uzbekistan - Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, as well as United States Department of State and Council of the European Union define Uzbekistan as "an authoritarian state with limited civil rights"
- Tajikistan - A corrupt, despotic democracy; "The latest parliamentary elections occurred in 2005 (two rounds in February and March), and as all previous elections, international observers believe them to have been corrupt, arousing many accusations from opposition parties that President Emomali Rahmon manipulates the election process."

Nice. That's what I call enduring freedom!
New GoatLab Show!

Check it out...

Download the show here: Goatlab Radio with Anakissed, Parasite & Dan Breakwhore - December 2008


1. B.I.N.T. is P.L.U.R.
2. Wet Dog - Fuk you you fucking cunt bastard fuker 2 with stepverb
3. Schlachthofbronx ft. Jah Dan & 77Klash - Brooklyn Anthem (Parasite Mashup)
4. Breakwhore - Get Your Log Out
5. Plain Jane - I Love You Like I Love Myself
6. Shitmat - Sniffer Dogs
7. General Disarray - Intergablactic
8. Mahalia Jackson - I’m Gonna Live The Life I Sing About in My song
9. Miriam Makeba - Pata Pata
10. Microphyst - Idiot Sound Dat
11. Raxyor - Unknown
12. Dorothy Dandridge (from Carmen Jones) - Dere’s A Cafe On De Corner
13. Twice19 - Here I Wait
14. Gizmode - Techsik Duncehall


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Bonkers Logic From The Right

I'm reading Al Franken's book 'Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right' - it is very US-centric (as you'd imagine as he is writing about US politics) but funny and the examples of logical and intellective dishonesty are staggering. Now I'm not pretending that dumb thinking is the preserve of the right, far from it, (witness examples of so-called progressives defending the Neo-Labour party) but sometimes - sometimes, well, it takes your breath away. Witness this example from singer and evangelical nutter, Pat Boone;

What troubles me so deeply, and should trouble all thinking Americans, is that there is a real, unbroken line between the jihadist savagery in Mumbai and the hedonistic, irresponsible, blindly selfish goals and tactics of our homegrown sexual jihadists [protesting for the rights for marrage for gay couples].

I spluttered tea everywhere when I read that. Duh!!! Is there not common ground between the Muslim jihadists and the Christian right in that they are both anti-gay (to say the least) and both very conservative about sexual issues? If so there is not an unbroken line between struggles for sexual liberation and jihadist savagery in Mumbai at all as they are on opposite sides of the issue. Now the question becomes, is there an unbroken line between Ronald Regan's support from jihadists in the 1980s and jihadist savagery in Mumbai?
Here's a Dubstep big-up for Bristol!!!

If you'd not heard, dubstep is pretty big in Bristol and not the city's newest music scene gets a bit of a national big-up as Radio 1's Mary-Anne Hobbs explores the scene!

Dubstep is a genre of electronic music that has its roots in London's early 2000s UK garage scene. It is distinguished by its dark mood, sparse rhythms, and emphasis on bass.

Nice one, people!


Monday, December 08, 2008

The Drug Wars in Mexico

A shocking and very interesting read is 'Day of the Dead' about the drug-wars in Mexico;

The cartels, meanwhile, 'have replaced the old pyramidical chain of command with the same concession or franchising system as any other commodity,' he says. 'Drug trafficking has become more democratic in the modern, capitalist sense, outsourced and opportunistic.' It takes a moment to realise how disdainfully funny Alvarado is being about the 'legal' economy, as well as the killers: 'The cartels don't need to control the streets, because they cannot, so they franchise them, get other people to kill and die, and collect the taxes and commissions. All they need to control is the corridors across the border, because Juárez is the one place from which you can reach any part of the United States.' This 'outsourcing' has been a speciality of the Sinaloa cartel: to franchise use of its corrupted officials and even tunnels under the border equipped with ventilation, lights and rails, in return for 'taxes' and commissions from sub-contracted traffickers.

It mentions the 'House of the Dead' scandal, which has been excellently covered by NacroNews;

The House of Death murders took place more than four years ago, before Mexican President Felipe Calderon escalated the drug war by ordering the military into Juarez, before the U.S. government authorized millions of dollars to further arm the hunters via Plan Mexico and before the narco-traffickers lost control of the killing fields.

But even four years ago, as a U.S. government informant assisted narco-traffickers and Mexican cops in carrying out the torture and vicious murders of a dozen people, the signs of the break down of civil society — on both sides of the border — were all there in front of us.

The informant, Guillermo Ramirez Peyro, was employed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — and was paid more than $200,000 for his work via U.S. taxpayers. The narco-trafficker who ordered the murders, Heriberto Santillan Tabares, employed a goon squad composed of Mexican cops led by a Mexican state police commander named Miguel Loya.

Worth reading.
The Mess of Afghanistan

I have blogged quite a bit about the mess of Iraq. It is a total and utter fuck-up, to put it bluntly. While I have written a bit less about Afghanistan. It is also a total and utter fuck-up, but as the total number of troops and insurgents involved is less, it features on the media radar a lot less (unless you can get a member of the Royal family over there). However the Taliban (or allied forces) have just scored a major victory;

Unidentified militants attacked a NATO forward storage center at the ring road (beltway) of the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Sunday morning. They destroyed some 150 trucks loaded with materiel and supplies, including humvees, intended for NATO troops in Afghanistan.

The Taliban figured out that the supply lines to NATO forces was a major weak-point and have been hammering there. A mix of ambushes, IEDs and looting supplies have proven a very successful strategy. This is classic guerilla strategy stuff. Running parallel with this is the Taliban moderating its stance. This is also starting to pay dividends as all NATO (and allied forces) is offering (to the average Afghan) is a mix of death-from-above in massive air-raids and arbitrary detention. Both of which have been shown to push the civilian population into the hands of the Taliban.

In short, it's a fuck up.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Neo-Labour: no justice and no peace for them

Watching the very enjoyable and informative Taking Liberties last night, it brought a surge of fresh anger towards the apparatchiks of the Neo-Labour party; watching Jack Straw and Tony Bliar deny that the UK was involved in extraordinary rendition (aka kidnapping) only to be shown they were wrong. Hard to believe they didn't know - hard to believe they were not lying though their teeth when they denied it. Seeing the non-existent Ricin plot used the Bu$h and Colin Powel to justify the genocidal war in Iraq and so on and so on. While these lies and deceptions remain un-atoned by the party there can be no justice and no peace for them. Ever.

On the subject:

Torture, far from saving lives is costing them says one of the men who used to do the torturing;

I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq. … It’s no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me — unless you don’t count American soldiers as Americans.

Should be front page news.