September 30, 2009


Judge’s Ruling Confirms Innocent Gitmo Detainee Tortured To Make False Confessions

...shortly after his arrival at Guantánamo, “a senior [redacted] interrogator came to me and said, ‘There is nothing against you. But there is no innocent person here. So, you should confess to something so you can be charged and sentenced and serve your sentence and then go back to your family and country, because you will not leave this place innocent.”

This is deeply disturbing, of course, as it indicates that at least one senior interrogator recognized that the Bush administration’s refusal to recognize that there were innocent men at Guantánamo...



Someone posted a link to this on facebook. A video froma site called "ted" ( technology, entertainment, design)

September 29, 2009


A really good scare story from a time when they made real documentaries.


As I have said before when it comes to chops I am not really into Harleys at all but this one really caught my eye on Ebay. It's sort of really subtle but futuristic in a way chop builders sometimes attempt but usually make a complete dogs dinner out of. Bidding just cleared five grand... I couldn't park something as pretty as this where I live!

September 27, 2009


During wars and after them, the real voice of the enemy is rarely heard. Propaganda is plentiful, as are prideful boasts—and the Taliban have certainly been quick studies at the modern art of information warfare. But the fears and ambitions of ordinary fighters are too often buried under statistics and theories propounded from thousands of miles away. That’s been even more true in Iraq and Afghanistan, where reporters who might accurately convey the other side’s perspective are at risk of being kidnapped or killed for their efforts.

After eight long years of war in Afghanistan, however, America and its allies can ill afford not to understand who the enemy is and why they fight. To put together this remarkable oral history, told through the words of the Taliban themselves, NEWSWEEK turned to contributing correspondent Sami Yousafzai, who has been covering the conflict for the magazine since 2001. Over that time he has developed and maintained contact with dozens of Afghan insurgents, including the six whose stories are told here...

UPDATE: Now I have had time to read it myself- very interesting. Not surprising that a lot of this seems to have been directed by Arabs at first, or that Karzais Police are loosing the people with their corrupt behaviour now. I was surprised how often Chechens and Uzbeks are mentioned as I had a diferent concept of these countries, well Uzbekistan anyway. I was also surprised how little suicide bombing is mentioned.

Reading the whole article you get an idea of how fragmented these pockets of resistance are, but how as a whole they are bloody dificult for a superpower to deal with. It seems the Americans can't really stay and expect things to get better or leave, and "Your enemies enemy" isn't necessarily your friend for them in the long run either is it.

Also- Some really good pictures of the international forces in Afghanistan in the Big Picture here.


Some people have got real fuckin problems

Also- A really interesting article about people who haven't got problems anymore, (unless you believe in the afterlife) and in what context photographs of them are circulated or used in the news.

To print or not to print (some not very nice images of dead people)


September 25, 2009

Lost Vegas

Investigative journalism in The Sun? OK then..



...As used by the conspirators in this case, the term "jihad" meant defending Islam against its enemies through violence and armed aggression, including, if necessary, by using murder to expel non-believers from Muslim holy lands...

The article goes on to state that according to witnesses (plural) Kassir supported Bin Laden but does not say whether he believed Bin Laden responsible for 9/11 at the time nor anything about supporting terrorism outside of Muslim Holy lands.

I am assuming Kassir is this guy interviewed in The Asian tribune a long while ago

...While denying involvement in the London bombings, the man said that the suicide bombers who attacked three underground trains and a bus were “martyrs,” adding that he hoped also to become a martyr one day.

“They are not terrorists, as they are doing what Islam requires,” he said.

Sweden, he said, is not threatened by al-Qaeda, although he told Expressen that this could change if the Swedish government handed him over to the British or American authorities.

“If Sweden hands me over to another country then it will only have itself to blame. Sweden will then be punished with the greatest punishment.”


Wade through this


September 23, 2009


Richard Bartholomew has written an interesting post which highlights a Guardian article about a Sun apology (though not to me for stealing my work, mutter, mutter..) relating to all things Jenvey, Alan Sugar etc. if you are up on that sort of thing. Its quite funny none of these articles state that Mr Jenvey is now a Muslim.

Related: Pickled politics and Press Complaints Commision


September 22, 2009


More from Mayfair on ITN here.
Daily Mail

I am Not a Cynical Person

....The communique, whose signatories include British Airways, Virgin, BP, Shell and energy suppliers EDF and E.ON, warns that a failure to secure a deal in Copenhagen will worsen the current economic climate.

But a science-based agreement with commitments for deep and immediate cuts from industrialised countries will "deliver the economic signals that companies need if they are to invest billions of dollars in low carbon products, services, technologies and infrastructure", it said.

The communique, organised by the Prince of Wales's corporate leaders group on climate change based at the University of Cambridge, said: "Economic development will not be sustained in the longer term unless the climate is stabilised.

"It is critical that we exit this recession in a way that lays the foundation for low-carbon growth and avoids locking us into a high-carbon future."

The statement, signed by companies from more than 50 countries including the UK and Europe, the US, Russia and China, backed efforts to limit temperature rises to 2C, which will require global emissions to peak within the next decade and fall by between 50 per cent and 85 per cent by mid century...


September 21, 2009

Immortal Technique

In Afghanistan



I have been unable to visit an exhibition by some more Mayfair squatters, the Art Collective Oubillete but it sounds like they have been having fun. Lucky Jim blogs about their art show here and appears on Talk Radio Europe talking about squatting here.

He also links to a very interesting article about Paul Palmer, Westminster City Council's empty-property officer.


September 15, 2009

Oussama Abdullah Kassir

...Oussama Abdullah Kassir, a/k/a "Abu Abdullah," a/k/a "Abu Khadija," was sentenced

today to life in prison for, among other things, providing material support to al Qaeda.

On May 12, 2009, following a four-week jury trial before Judge, Kassir was found guilty of charges relating to his participation in an effort to establish a jihad training camp in Bly, Oregon, and his operation of several terrorist websites.

Kassir was found guilty of all eleven counts against him, including: conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; providing material support to terrorists; conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda; providing material support to al Qaeda; conspiracy to kill or maim persons overseas; and

distributing information relating to explosives, destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction...

I can't really say anything new about this. Obviously Kassir has been convicted on evidence from James Ujamma. The only thing I heard while I used to hang around Finsbury was that James Ujamma was giving evidence against Hamza because the Americans were threatening to throw away the key. His wife is apparently here, or was last time I checked which was years ago now.

When Ujamma was released for reasons known to himself he skipped the country rather than staying to give evidence against Hamza, they caught him and have now used his evidence against Kassir. Whether Hamza, Kassir, Aswat or Ujamma are anything to do with Al Qaeda or Osama Bin Laden, no one is telling me.


September 14, 2009

Communities Talking

...This weekend John Denham compared today's far right to Oswald Mosley's 1930s fascists, and announced a drive to counter the extremists within white working-class communities. Yet it won't do for the government to extend its current counter-terrorist policies to treat the white working classes as another "at risk" category. It should first reflect on just how effective the policy has been...

... Last week, the imam giving the Friday address at the Harrow mosque invited those outside, who were calling for no more mosques in Europe, inside for talks. That would be a good start: polemics cannot be a substitute for understanding and reconciliation.

I am heartened by the reaction from the Imam. In Finsbury park years ago I tried to arrange an opportunity for members of the UBA to put their concerns to Mr Hamza as a lot of them had come all the way from Yorkshire. Not surprisingly in the situation it didn't work which I thought was a shame but I managed to record one interesting exchange when they returned a little while after Hamza's arrest.

September 13, 2009


Well they got that one nailed down no worries. With the Thames festival winding down around it heads with blatant yellow jackets with "Reclaim The Beach" written on the back manhandle sound systems and decks down onto the beach as soon as the tide starts going out and everyone parties till the tide comes back in. No interest whatsoever from the law, a good time had by all and everyone pitching in on clean up duty at the end. Well done to all involved. Listening to all that dancehall at night in a T-shirt almost put me back in Jamaica.

At one point when some friends left and before others arrived I was dancing having a good time and noticing most people were standing around posing and chatting. The only people going for it, and whose vibe I could feel were a couple of kids. I spoke with their mum.

"I know you aren't supposed to take your kids raving, but we were here anyway and they are having such a good time.."

"Yeah," I agreed "It takes the rest of us untold drink and drugs to get to the same level as these guys are at naturally. Its ridiculous".

Things got a bit leary so the mum removed her nippers and I missed them.

Some people were doing balloons of laughing gas, or hippy crack as some call it. I have been experimenting with Holotropic breathwork which has pretty much the same effect, so I got some people to experiment with it to compare the effect, just in case they didn't have to waste their time breathing in N20.

I thought that it would be pretty funny if I have spent the last however many years getting myself in whatever states on whatever pills potions and drinks and all I had to do was breathe in and out really deeply for the same effect.

I haven't done any drugs for almost five months now. I was really surprised there was nothing wrong with my throat after years of bongs, so I didn't immediately restart my habit once I got the all clear. I don't feel any healthier, or in any better state of mind. I play the guitar the same which is nice, as I always thought I needed a bong to play the guitar which I obviously don't, so maybe that is good.

Dealing with friends with mental health problems is making me feel old, and making me feel there are better, more interesting things to do than the same drugs or even new ones. Having the number of the local secure unit on my phone still feels wierd. Old and drug fucked is not a good look, and if I have got away with it, I have got off lightly.


September 11, 2009

Sorry, how do people get away with this sort of thing again?

A long-awaited report into the collapse of car giant MG Rover is expected to reveal that four bosses took more than £40 million in pay and pensions from the troubled firm.

The four businessmen bought MG Rover for a nominal £10 from owner BMW.

The men, known as the Phoenix Four - former MG Rover chairman John Towers, vice-chairman Peter Beale, Nick Stephenson and John Edwards - have been given copies of the 850-page report to study before its official publication.

The report comes more than four years after the motor firm went out of business with the loss of thousands of jobs.

The independent inquiry into the crisis has cost the taxpayer more than £16 million and will detail the Government's efforts to save the firm, including a £100 million bridging loan, as well as the involvement of the 'Phoenix Four'.


September 08, 2009


Well second time around and a reported 21 million pounds later they finally got a guilty verdict for three of them at least. I watched the first of these trials and I wondered what the jury had seen which the rest of us hadn't. I remember remarking at the time that after watching the tapes in the public gallery I was really suprised that a white jury hadn't convicted all of them.

There is a lot of blah in the news about how this inconvenience everyone who flys went through after the arrest of these people was all justified etc. With the convictions of only three of the group I am really interested in the stories I am not reading as they all made pretty similar videos in the same room at the same time.

The airline bomb plot: a reminder that Britain is at war with Islamist militants (Telegraph)
(The debate in the comments below is more interesting than the article)
Channel 4 News

UPDATE: We are going round again

September 06, 2009

Seventeen Years

Seventeen Years I have been here and this is the first time I have been mugged. Three teenage black kids. My fault for cycling down a dark alley after midnight. I got whacked in the leg with a bike lock but they didn't seem to get off on violence. They just wanted a fucking telephone. I walked away saying

"What the fuck do you think you are doing? Where do you think this is going to get you? You are better than this.."

One of them picked up my bike and started walking toward me. I took my bike and asked for my phone and my wallet which they gave me. I think they took a tenner.

"What is the fuking matter with you? Do I look rich?"

They started walking away from me.

"Are you going to call the Police?" one of them asked as he went under a tunnel in the distance.

"Of course I'm fucking not." I shouted.

Why not? Because they gave me my phone back? Why not? Who is their next victim tonight? Would they be as lucky as me? I felt sensible not falling for gagetry capitalism. I have a shit phone with numbers which are really valuable to me. I have a shit bike no one wants but it is always where I leave it whatever state I get myself in.

As I said in a post the other day- No philosophy. My leg has a big welt on it. I haven't had any adrenaline kick in. I feel sorry for these people. I wish there was something I could do.

It is strange because I had just been watching the excellent series City of Vice. Really frightening true stories from when London really was a dangerous place. I am angry but I feel lucky that they didn't have knives.


September 04, 2009


from a local newspaper

... “With no police presence this year we’ve been able to focus much more on the climate change message.”

Campers spent today taking down the tents, litter picking and removing the contents of their compost toilets, which will now be given to farms.

Protestor Murray Smith said: “We’ll be cleaning up until we return the heath to the way we found it. Everyone in the camp is encouraged to help and leave it in pristine condition.”

Hannah Smith, 23, said: “I think it’s been a fantastic success. We’ve had a chance to build this movement into something very exciting.

“It shows what we need are normal people to realise we all need to take responsibility for climate change.” ...



Via Pickled Politics here

A filmed interview with the English Defence League outlining some allegations about Mr Choudhary and co. Mr Choudhary's posse address the English defence league here curiously defending them from media distortions and accusations of racism from the UAF (Unite Against Facism).

September 02, 2009



...Small actions like the ones above may be inspirational to the participants, but they are of little use to the wider aim of garnering support and jolting politicians into action; showing politicians that the world is moving on and that they need to move with it.

For that you need to be ambitious, you need to plan and research meticulously; the result can be actions such as Greenpeace's climbing of the Kingsnorth chimney or Climate Camp's occupation at Heathrow, which genuinely created a buzz.

The next few months are crucial. It will be interesting to see whether Climate Camp's decision to invest in movement building will pay off...

err.. Yeah anyway whilst everyone was in town ripping the S off of SHELL I was up at the camp discussing Where Now? Very difficult because it was organised by people at the front who told everyone to discuss in groups for ten or five minutes and then went off on one themselves all the time yabbering between these stunted debates. This is consensus I am quite used to and it doesn't really bother me. I still reckon it is a good thing, we just have to spend longer invovled in each others lives than your average Capitalist.

They played a game where everyone walked around in circles shouting ideas at random which the group then answered which was quite fun. How can I surmise? People wanted Climate Camp to appeal to more people. They feel a bit middle class and honky-fied. Someone said they wanted less national meetings cos they are hard to get to and distract people from creating strong local groups. They want to engage with pre-existing community groups and residents associations.

I only arrived for the afternoon session, but in total this went on for about six hours. For the whole time one guy was standing alone with some stupid sign hassling people every so often with the facilitators trying to reason with him. Right at the end, when one chick got up and said there would be time for people to quickly publicise upcoming events to the group as a whole, another of them stood up and said she "Had to learn to say no" at these things, and then proceeded to use the time up waffling some more herself instead.

Its all quite funny really and, as I say its something I am quite used to. I like living surrealism. Will mainstream society one day embrace this non-hierarchical way of life? I think so. It is something which has been lost a long time ago which we are struggling to refind so although I felt a bit frustrated it didn't put me off any. I am only on the periphery of climate camp and if I can say anything useful I will.

Predictions? Well trying to shut down a Power Station will put the Police straight back into Kings North mode. Hassle people. Inconvenience them. Inconvenience them a lot. Provoke them. Try to discourage them from coming back. You can't just shut down Power Stations now can you? They'd look pretty silly if a bunch of people like this did shut a Power Station down eh.

But wait...

...Scotland Yard said tonight the model of policing used at Climate Camp, the week-long gathering of environmental activists that ends tomorrow, was a "really successful" approach that would be repeated at future demonstrations.

Chief Superintendant Helen Ball, a spokeswoman for policing at the campsite in Blackheath, south-east London, said neighbourhood-style tactics which included a "low-key" presence, limited surveillance of activists and almost no use of stop-and-search powers proved the Met had changed its approach since the G20 protests in April. The tactic is likely to be repeated at future demonstrations, she said, noting there had been just one arrest in seven days. "Where the opportunity arises to adopt a similar policing style in the future, we will do that, so if you are in Nottingham in October, buy some candles"...

I made up that last bit.

In the evening Martha Tilston played, which the folkies thought was a big deal. I realised as she played what was alienating me from all this. She has a great voice and beautiful songs but "Wonderful world" just isn't something I can relate to or sing along to with any conviction. Its not that I think it isn't, I just have no philosophy. This became apparent to me in a flash of inspiration in Tescos the other day. I would imagine a lot of people have shed their belief system in the queue at Tescos, this is how I shed mine.

I looked up and sitting down next to her mum was an Indian girl of perhaps fifteen with her face like the Elephant man. Sort of hall of Mirrors without the mirrors. Of course I looked away or tried not to look, or tried not to look uncomfortable. I walked on and saw a beautiful young blonde and felt my eyes and whole self attracted toward her. She opened her mouth and shattered the spell of her beauty with some proper Bermondsey attitude.

I just thought, human beings are just naturally as fickle as any other creature and I am one of them. No religion, no philosophy. I am not going to question anymore. If I can have fun, create or make the world a better place, its just because its a good idea. No belief, no goal. I think I am happy with that.

When I was hungover on Sunday some Spanish guy visiting my house was going on about Holotropic breathing. I have been giving it a go since and its made me incredibly angry very quickly to the extent that I am seriously considering finding some sort of guide rather than getting it all DIY style off of Youtube. Someone said I was "Holding on to Negativity" and had to "Breathe through it."


September 01, 2009


Some more stuff about Climate camp

Prosperity without growth, in a tent on Blackheath

....the Climate Camp suffers from a preoccupation with measuring its achievements in terms of the protests it has undertaken rather than a series of achievable goals that those outside the camp movement can easily identify with...

...The police have vanished, gone to confiscate some drugs at the Notting Hill carnival or practise their handbrake turns on the M25. And the campers admit that, actually, it feels a bit odd without them. After all, much though they may deny this, the police have actually been incredibly useful to Climate Camp – uniting the campers in the face of the common enemy, and keeping them in the headlines in the months between camps...

...Without the “common enemy” of the police, the protesters have nothing to motivate them. The interfering government chooses to ignore the campers, and suddenly the anarchists have nothing to do - there is no visible “man” to stick two fingers up at, so they are only left to pick their noses...

...We left the gates of Barclays covered in messages written on coloured paper...

...Then we decided to march around the city, and try to find some bankers in the local gastropubs having a Friday night drink...a man in a suit came up next to me and took hold of the end of it. At first I thought he was a camper dressed up as a banker for the event, but soon realised he was a genuine city worker, who had drunkenly joined us. He didn’t really know what was going on, and swung between asking us what it was all about, and shouting that he loved us all. As we approached the main access road to Canary wharf, he took the megaphone and danced around in front of the banner (and about 10 big cameras), and addressed the masses.

Our banker left us before we sat down and blocked the road for a while, (letting through the buses). Then back home to the camp, clearing out the free limes being given out by people advertising something on the way home...

More Non-Violence

via Pickled Politics