February 27, 2010


I love this story (cheers to Brian Visiondanz on facebook)

Did Woodstock hippies lead to US financial collapse?

Chicago – A new film is gaining traction among tea-party followers for suggesting that the collapse of the US financial system has roots dating back 40 years to the Summer of Love.

“Generation Zero,” a film set to premiere in March, examines what producer David Bossie says is a “historic perspective on a generational change” that led to the September 2008 bank collapse. Mr. Bossie says generational narcissism, as represented by the 1969 Woodstock Festival, is responsible for the excessive spending, mortgage crisis, and recklessness on Wall Street...


February 25, 2010

The Immigrants Left

Evan Davies gets the local employers of Wisbech to try out British workers with predictable results

The Day The Immigrants Left


February 24, 2010


via Harrys Place

When she first arrived in Sweden after her rescue from a Nazi concentration camp, Judith Popinski was treated with great kindness.

She raised a family in the city of Malmo, and for the next six decades lived happily in her adopted homeland - until last year.

In 2009, a chapel serving the city's 700-strong Jewish community was set ablaze. Jewish cemeteries were repeatedly desecrated, worshippers were abused on their way home from prayer, and "Hitler" was mockingly chanted in the streets by masked men.

"I never thought I would see this hatred again in my lifetime, not in Sweden anyway," Mrs Popinski told The Sunday Telegraph.

"This new hatred comes from Muslim immigrants. The Jewish people are afraid now"...

..."It started during the Gaza war when Jewish demonstrators were attacked. It was a horrible feeling, being attacked in your own city. Just as bad was the realisation that we were not being protected by our own leaders."

Mr Eilenberg said he and his wife considered moving to Stockholm where Jews feel safer than in Malmo. "But we decided not to because in five years time I think it will be just as bad there," he said.

"This is happening all over Europe. I have cousins who are leaving their homes in Amsterdam and France for the same reason as me."

Malmo's Jews are not the only ones to suffer hate crimes.

At the city's Islamic Centre, the director Bejzat Becirov pointed out a bullet hole in the window behind the main reception desk.

Mr Becirov, who arrived in 1962 from the former Yugoslavia, said that windows were regularly smashed, pig's heads had been left outside the mosque, and outbuildings burnt down - probably the acts of Neo-Nazis who have also baited Jews in the past.

He said that the harassment of Jews by some young Muslims was "embarrassing" to his community. Many of them are unemployed and confined to life on bleak estates where the Scandinavian dream of prosperity and equality seemed far away.

For many of Malmo's white Swedish population, meanwhile, the racial problems are bewildering after years of liberal immigration policies.

"I first encountered race hatred when I was an au pair in England and I was shocked," said Mrs Popinski's friend Ulla-Lena Cavling, 72, a retired teacher.

"I thought 'this couldn't happen in Sweden'. Now I know otherwise."


I saw this poster a while back and thought it was great. I am not sure why Russia Today are promoting themselves so big in London but this image reminded me of what I used to see on protests, where some of the riot Police and some of the protesters exhibited the same mentality

February 23, 2010


I had to laugh when I read this-

Philadelphia-based architect Kieran Timberlake has won the battle to design the new US embassy in London - the largest American building in western Europe.The design beat off competition from four other practices, all-American, due to security concerns... The US government wants to build the £500m complex, 40-50,000 sq ft, 20 storeys high - on a five-acre site in Nine Elms in south London.

A site currently hosting the biggest Psytrance squat parties in London, where we played on New Years eve. We were all wondering why such a huge area was left vacant for such a long time.


Some weird French stuff..

...France has created an intermingled culture, which is being forged on a daily basis between the native Gaul and the immigrant Arab and Berber. It revolves around two French obsessions: the bed and the dinner table. Your average young Muslim girl is interested in living and having children with a French gouer, a North-African colloquial term meaning “infidel”—i.e., non-Muslim. (Gouer is itself a corruption of the classical Arabic kuffar, used in immigrant slang to designate a French native. They are also known as fromage, or “cheese”—ironically the same synecdoche that was used in the neocon-coined “cheese-eating surrender monkeys.”) These women would loathe the very idea of an arranged marriage to a fellah (peasant) cousin from the far away bled (North Africa) with his unrefined manners and pedestrian French...


February 20, 2010


This is a bit of a "Story behind the song"


Castro was in the bathroom, hiding from his wife and doing a line of heroin. I was on the phone to Nippon TV.

“Do you speak English?”

“Hai,” said a female voice.

That was what they all said. She was the third tier of secretary-receptionist and I had already been on the phone for twenty minutes. They all knew how to speak English, but then didn’t. “Well, ah… Could I speak to Mr Kurosawa, please? The international news editor?”

Some rapid-fire Japanese. Then: “Kurosawa-san? You like to speak to Mr Kurosawa-san?” The incredulity in her tone of voice conveyed the idea that Mr Kurosawa-san was an incredibly important man and one quite simply couldn’t call up like this out of the blue and expect to speak to him.

She put me through to a lady called Yui instead, and I started on the same story I had already told ABC, NBC, Sky, BBC, ABC (Australia), TVE, TV France, Doordarshan and God knows who else. Castro and I had been working the phone in shifts from his kitchen without stopping for 24 hours.

“I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the overall military commander of the Talibn was killed yesterday. We have a video interview, the first one he gave specifically directed at a Western audience. It was recorded 24 hours before he died. Might you be interested?”

The Japanese bought it, too.

A week earlier, I had dropped in on Castro because he had called me up, asking for a favour. I was sick, sick, sick. I hadn’t taken any heroin for two months..

(to read more)


Saw The Hurt Locker with Mr Camel the other day. I thought it was OK, you know, I can see why people in America would think this was an important film. Mr Camel thought it was wubbish. We struggled to imagine which Oscars it should be nominated for. Best almost homosexual rough sex scene in a movie? Best performance by a jack-in-the-box? Best performance by Ministry in any soundtrack? Definately the last one anyway..


February 17, 2010


Another great doco from Peter Taylors Generation Jihad series. Remember this? I wondered myself at the time. I never realised the ringleaders had enterd a guilty plea, nor the scope of their international contacts. I remember at the time I used to get loads of abuse in the comments sections of my youtube videos from hothead Muslim kids who happened to be from Toronto. These are all fascinating stories. I think they miss a more rounded explanation as to why these kids fall into terrorism but they are fascinating stories none the less.


February 16, 2010


Facing death, freed Iraq detainees may fight again (Reuters here)



I just caught up with news about the latest bombing of the German Bakery in Pune. I spent a bit of time in this place whilst I was looking into the Osho Ashram. To be honest, and I think I have said this before- I am surprised this sort of bombing against western tourists hasn't happened earlier. I was fully expecting a suicide bombing of the dancefloor in Goa years before the Mumbai attack.

If you just closed your eyes and sprayed an AK in a circle you'd hit x amount of Israelis in Goa, and probably kill off the sizeable amount of Israeli tourism to the area for years. Maybe they know that this would just make the Israeli government happy and they are reckoning a drug fucked, debauched Israeli is better than a fully functioning one.

"Abu Jindal" claims responsibility


I'm not sure if I am contradicting myself on this blog, but I feel like I should comment a bit more about this Moazzam Begg/Amnesty thing. I used to be totally anti torture. These days I am not so sure. How do you get a terrorist with a track record of attrocity to talk? I don't know. I am not saying I am pro torture, or that I think torture is a good idea. I'm saying I don't know. I would imagine the sort of person who is involved in torture would have a "they're all guilty" attitude. I probably wouldn't like them. But what if some information they got hold of prevented loss of innocent life? As I'm not in a position where my stances affect the day to day runnings of the war on terr-r I prefer not to take them.

I used to be a principled person. I used to think principles were valuable. These days I find myself almost annoyed at principled people from either side. Over the last few years I have shied away from too much opinion here, prefering just to link to subjects or items in the news which I found relevant. If I have an opinion on anything it usually ends up in the comments section of Pickled Politics or Rightwingsparkle (now Kathleen McKinley.com).

Do I miss being a principled person? Not really. Its very tempting to stick a flag in the ground or wave it about in the air. To "take a stand" on an issue or against another issue, but I question myself, things I read and things I see. Don't get me wrong- principles are important, until they become outmoded. But people always want you to take a side don't they. How can I if I don't have enough information on which to base an opinion?

For example, when I believed for a short while during the Hamza trial that I had some solid connections into another side of the story I took this to a major production company with a view to getting something made which was bigger than I could manage alone. I was asked my views on Hamza.

"I think he is either everything they say he is, or he is who he's saying he is at the trial." I said.

"You've got to come down of the fence a bit more than that." I was told.

Strange. Why? I visited Finsbury for years, but I wouldn't claim to know who Hamza is. Plenty of people with years less experience have made a lot of money saying who he is. How do they know? They are a fucking joke. I only know this because I was there. I never promised anyone I was fleetingly connected with that I would depict Hamza as innocent, just that my pride was such that if they would risk telling me their side of the story on camera, I was totally up for depicting what they said fairly and they were happy with that. Anyway none of that matters now.

Things in my life have encouraged me to take my time with my stances and opinions and if I don't know to say so, and to say so simply, with honesty and with as much pride as I used to take in any of the principles I used to stand on. I don't know. Simple.

Is Amnesty damaged by its relationship with Caged Prisoners? Possibly. Put it this way I am surprised the issue hasn't come up before. I would imagine a lot of Caged Prisoners readership believe Hamza was prosecuted for preaching Islam. This is an unacceptable view apparently, which in wider society leads people to believe Caged Prisoners supports terrorists.

As a bit of a barometer beyond my own comfortable perch on the fence, none of the journalists I have met have shown any concern about Moazzam Begg, though quite a few have questioned whether Caged Prisoners are supporting the right people. Amnesty is supposed to take a black and white view of torture, naughtiness, unacceptable behaviour. Connection with Caged Prisoners will be problematic. Of course it will. Moazaam and most of the people at AI are going to be quite righteously angry because for them torture should be top of the agenda and nothing else.

Speaking personally I have never had a problem with anyone from Caged Prisoners, and I don't think that anyone from that organisation I have met wants to threaten my way of life or the UK at all. I don't think they are campaigning for the loss of innocent life, but I fully understand that a lot of Muslims want a future that I don't want, and one that I would have quite a problem with. No one I have filmed with has any illusions about my personal beliefs. They just want fair representation of what they are saying. For the wider public to make informed opinions they need accurate information.

I can't see why Ghita Sahgal was sacked or why Amnesty should distance themselves from Moazzam Begg. Instutions should learn that there is nothing wrong with arguing in public. You are not a politician, you didn't want to be a politician. Relax. This is a live issue. We live in a world where thousands have died for "democracy" and many more thousnads as the victims of "democracy". Thousands have died for "jihad". Thousands have died as the victims of "jihad". It is important that I take a stand is it? OK then. I stand for everyone making peace.

Human rights are for all: Response to media article (Amnesty International)
The conscience stifled by Amnesty (Times)

February 13, 2010



I missed a party- a rave in Dunravin st? How Ironic.

Obviously, whilst I have spent my time filming people with controversial views I haven't been that into sticking it to people of a different religious persuasion. One of my best bloggin mates is a Catholic. Having said that I do like and totally agree with what Stephen Fry is saying here at the The Intelligence² Debate. Christopher Hitchens speaks here. The Intelligence² site is here.

Otherwise I have been recording, or at least trying to. Its very hard to play my style of guitar along to a click but I'm glad I am finally giving it a go. Hopefully we'll be able to get some of the stuff we have been improvising for the last few years into some tracks along with a decent amount of synths and samples. Its heads down for the next coupla months.

Have I blogged about Baritones before? I think I have, but I never got round to buying one. I tried a Fernandes a long while back which was really deep and bell like in the lower tones and had an amazing sustain. There is a surprising amount of of choice when it comes to electrics, but virtually none for acoustics outside the expensive hand-made route. As my sound involves making loops and switching between acoustic and electric, I will probably need an acoustic baritone if I buy an electric. Who knows, I might end up exclusively playing baritones.

On this note I was wondering whether the guitar below might be the most convenient thing for me, as I could put in loops with the baritone and play along on the lead below. I can't imagine owning this guitar but it isn't that expensive and as its so obviously been such a labour of love for some Korean guy, I feel duty bound... Danelectro make a Baritone/Lead double neck as well but it isn't as pretty.

February 11, 2010


Middle-aged Shanghai residents are turning to ketamine, cocaine and methamphetamine to sustain them through marathon sessions of mahjong and cards, a state newspaper has warned...


Charlie Wilson Dies

Former Texas congressman Charlie Wilson, the architect of the US support for anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan and subject of the Hollywood movie Charlie Wilson's War, died today. He was 76.

If you haven't already do read George Criles book which is even more crazy than the film.


February 10, 2010


Addicted in Afghanistan from Jawed Taiman on Vimeo.

This was filmed by Jason Brooks who did a music video for my band


We Don't Torture: Update

David Miliband, Britain’s foreign secretary, on Wednesday lost his battle to prevent the publication of evidence relating to the alleged torture of a British resident at the behest of the American authorities eight years ago.

In a judgment that may test the intelligence sharing relationship between the US and UK, Britain’s Court of Appeal gave the green light for the publication of a seven paragraph summary of the alleged torture of Binyam Mohamed, a former Guantanamo detainee, in 2002...

Seven paragraphs on the FCO website

"The following seven paragraphs have been redacted

[It was reported that a new series of interviews was conducted by the United States authorities prior to 17 May 2001 as part of a new strategy designed by an expert interviewer.

v) It was reported that at some stage during that further interview process by the United States authorities, BM had been intentionally subjected to continuous sleep deprivation. The effects of the sleep deprivation were carefully observed.

vi) It was reported that combined with the sleep deprivation, threats and inducements were made to him. His fears of being removed from United States custody and “disappearing” were played upon.

vii) It was reported that the stress brought about by these deliberate tactics was increased by him being shackled in his interviews

viii) It was clear not only from the reports of the content of the interviews but also from the report that he was being kept under self-harm observation, that the inter views were having a marked effect upon him and causing him significant mental stress and suffering.

ix) We regret to have to conclude that the reports provide to the SyS made clear to anyone reading them that BM was being subjected to the treatment that we have described and the effect upon him of that intentional treatment.

x) The treatment reported, if had been administered on behalf of the United Kingdom, would clearly have been in breach of the undertakings given by the United Kingdom in 1972. Although it is not necessary for us to categorise the treatment reported, it could readily be contended to be at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the United States authorities]"


February 09, 2010

Also in The News...

An interesting follow up on the Amnesty/Caged prisoners story from David Aaronovitch in The Times How Amnesty Chose the Wrong Poster Boy

I have never spoken to Mozzam Begg, but others from Caged Prisoners who I have met on this journey come across as very nice people who don't threaten the UK. Would I like to live in an Islamic state? Noooo, but it doesn't shock or surprise me that Muslims want to live in one.

Dunrantin from my favourite Newspaper (who owe me money) "LEGAL aid chiefs have seized jailed hate preacher Abu Hamza's house in a massive victory for taxpayers"

Probably the most intriguing story via a comment on pickled politics here Declan Walsh's The mystery of Dr Aafia Siddiqui who I had heard about over the years but never knew she had been on trial in the States. A couple of things in Finsbury made me wonder whether the women weren't more extreme than the men, this women appears to have fought everyone the whole way.


Generation Jihad

Some of the framework of the language around all this puzzles me still but I like Peter Taylors films. Do watch and see what you think. Generation Jihad

Also- How the Internet has taken over the world, or something like that- a new series. I think this chick is quite sexy. She has a really graceful walk which they film her doing all over the world and I like the way she nods at people when they are speaking to her. The Virtual Revolution

February 03, 2010


Finally read Omar Nasiris Inside The Global Jihad, which is probably the best book on the subject I have read in a while. An amazing and surprisingly amusing insight which I thought I'd better get round to reading, having heard about his impressions of Hamza and Qatada whist spying for the French and the British in London during the nineties. He manages to present the dichotomy of really enjoying training for jihad whilst secretly being a spy as a most natural thing.

"Omar" his last fake name of many, has a very clear definition of honourable jihad which he has held his whole life. In short, he believes in the Jihad of such people as Ahmad Shah Massoud. He is willing to work against Muslims he views as breaking these clear rules, whilst forming strong relationships with them at the same time.

Obviously I have read a bit around this subject but a few things still surprised me. For example I learnt that Al Qaeda (a name never heard by Omar whilst he was in the camps) were actually against the Taliban in principle because they thought their punishments were sadistic. Reading this book you feel for the young Chechens training in the camps in the nineties, and the parents who were trying to keep them out of the fight with the Russians.

All the usual questions are thrown up in this read. Has Bin Laden, in his global jihad directed against the "enemy far away" tarnished the ability of those who would fight a defensive war against invaders? Can the west accept no honourable jihad post 9/11? Does war and terror by its nature escalate beyond any honourable principles humans might try to subscribe to, culminating in events like Beslan? Is it possible to be an honourable jihadi or an honourable soldier for that matter?

"Omar" is probably the clearest authority I have read on this subject. He has formed his principles the hard way with no real help from anyone and his principles are compelling. Reading all this made me wonder whether peace in the "War on Terror" would be better pursued by ex soldiers and ex jihadis.

Omar articulates a really positive attitude as a Muslim in todays world. He knows better than most that the "War on Terr-r story" is not black and white. Neither Muslims who take to violence nor those who champion a military implementation of democracy should be judged on anything but the way they behave and Omar makes excuses for neither. An excellent, genuinely useful book, which I am sure would ecourage any Muslim contemplating a career as a spy to think twice!

Possibly related stuff I have been reading, may comment on later:-
Cage prisoners/Amnesty International trouble in The Sunday Times
and Mozzam Beggs response on Caged Prisoners here
Paula Newton on CNNs Security Files blog

February 02, 2010


Nothing new to report as yet, still sorting out the technology :-)

Found some interesting links-

a Jamaican article about Sheikh Faisal being deported from Kenya

and an article in the Independent US waves white flag in disastrous 'war on drugs'

Also I have just finnished Edna Fernades' Holy Warriors which I thought was a really good book about the Political and religious struggles within India.

Review here