Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The much maligned neocons

Are the neoconservatives really the cartoon enemy that the left has made them out to be? Surely they are an enlightened and misunderstood bunch of well-meaning individuals? Douglas Murray writing as defence attorney in The Guardian, does a sterling job of correcting the misconceptions that we have of neoconservativist' core values. Because they are so misunderstood and maligned, it is absolutely imperative that they are given space to correct our distorted vision ( in medialens speak).

To kick off, Murray reminds us of the number of times that people have predicted the downfall of neoconservativism only to find egg on their faces years later. The latest prophet of doom is Matthew Paris, who like those before him, will be proved wrong. Not because Doug Murray says so, but because unless you attempt a mass culling, the species cannot help but linger on to influence the future political process. Is this a proof of how neoconservatives are divinely and fundamentally correct and thus their ideology lingers? In fact, if the lifespan of an idea or practice, is proof of its essential truth, then surely crime, torture or prostitution could equally claim the moral high ground. Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld are not neocons says Mr Murray without saying what classification they actually have. Neocons are people who have a healthy:

“scorn for relativism, disdain for anti-democratic movements, and the belief that freedom in the state, from the state, is the prerequisite for individual happiness. As an instinct or tendency rather than a manifesto, neoconservatism is both idealist and realist. “

The neoconservative voice of wisdom continues..The ship of neoconservatism is not foundering on the rock of Iraq. Rather the future of Iraq, depend upon the intervention and occupation being carried through to its bitter conclusion (as if the present is not bitter enough). Neocons cannot be blamed for Iraq situation, just because they supported the kicking down of the door in 2003. Disappointingly Murray resorts to the usual historical untruths. The door had already been kicked in by the few retired terrorists (such as Abu Nidal) who happened to live in Saddam's Iraq, alleges Murray. Quite how this equates to the situation today is not made clear. If the USA maintain a few sanctions they get accused of murder; when they go in and try and sort Saddam out, they unfairly get accused of killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. The USA can do no right it seems. At this point Murray, become even more hysterical. A leading medical journal that dared to publish a study of Iraqi mortality, is clearly an activist organisation with deeply left-wing communist/terrrorist sympathies:

Even the activist Lancet has acknowledged that the vast majority of deaths in Iraq have been caused not by our military, but by "unknowns" and "others" - what those of us less keen on euphemism call terrorists, fundamentalists, sadists and fascists.

For a conservative realist, the presence of all those jihadists in one place, with thousands of our troops there too, presents an opportunity to cut the number of terrorists a bit. For a conservative idealist, the chance to pull apart the jihad in Iraq not only improves our own security situation (unless zero attacks on the American homeland since 9/11 is some kind of miracle), it also helps Iraq recover from decades of brutality.

Thank goodness, Doug Murray has put us right on this issue. All those 'ists' in Iraq, are the people to blame for everything! In fact the bloodbath that is Iraq is not a scene from hell, but an opportunity. An opportunity, to cull the terrorists a bit more without having to visit all the different places. That saves on fuel and helps reduce pollution emissions in line with Kyoto.

We opponents of the invasion, have now veered from the kooky to the wicked because we actually want 'Iraq to fail'. This rhetorical accusation has become rather worn out by those desperate to prove that the invasion was justified in the first place. The lies about WMD, nuclear weapons, mobile biological weapons and connections to 11/9/2001 are conveniently swept under the carpet to be replaced with this brazen accusation. I guess it depends on how you define success or failure and whose viewpoint you are looking at. Perhaps the zionist co-conspirators supported by Murray, would want 'Iraq to fail' because they do not want a neighbouring stable powerful Arab country that could challenge their regional supremacy. This is why they have invested in the zionist lobby and also sent their agents in to Iraq to ensure the mayhem continues. Why would any Muslim or Arab country want Iraq to fail? Why would they want to see the continuing bloodshed of their kin, just to say I told you so, to the imperialist killers who invaded Iraq? Why would western sceptics who predicted the catastrophe happening, want the current situation to continue? Clearly those peaceniks are uniquely evil.

Iraq has failed already because of imperialist aggression, murder and interference. Those who cannot see otherwise need to remove their heads out of their rectal passage and stare the horror of reality in the face. When will the people of Iraq have freedom within their own state? I doubt if the people of Iraq can stand much more of the state of individual happiness currently thrust upon them by Bush and Co.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sorrounded by a Wall of Hate

Unseen in the British media, beyond the lofty vision of the corporate press, another silent terrorism goes unreported. Such is the dearth of information that only local activists and small groups of people have heard of this new prison for palestinians. On the familiar tragic stage of the Occupied West Bank, a Palestinian town by the name of Marda is now sorrounded by a ring of steel. The zionist wall of hate has sorrounded Marda, so that the only access is by a steel gate controlled by Israeli occupation forces who are legendary for their cruelty and inhumanity. The International Women's Peace Service (IWPS) and others have observed the town to be closed off for days at a time, during the summer. Activists fear that the town is destined for destruction because the illegal settlement of Ariel is located nearby. A Bristol based teacher Ed Hill, has also observed the closure and strangulation of this town.

Zaytoun is an oxford-based ethical cooperative importing Palestinian goods and supporting Palestinian causes. They organised Ed's trip and also work closely with organisations such as IWPS.
"The town suffers at the hands of the Israeli military and from the Settlers. Marda is well known to activists from Bristol as several have stayed in the town to deter such attacks. The harassment can be gun fire from the Settlement making holes in the water tanks on the roofs, marauding gangs of armed Settlers, army patrols during the day, or at night with search-lights, army raids - particularly in the night, guns being fired and “sound-grenades” being thrown around to terrorise people. ...
Findings - We found the youngsters were afraid to use outdoor recreational facilities, such as a tarmac football pitch next to the school, as it attracts gunfire from the Settlement and confrontations with the army patrols. We couldn’t find suitable alternative indoor recreational facilities in the town. I interviewed a youngster aged 7 or 8 who recently had been abducted by the army and held for many hours in the local army building, while they tried to bribe him to become an informer. We were told this happened a lot. I filmed one of the aggressive military patrol through the town and interviewed locals who told me they can happen upto five times a day, or at night. I was stopped at gun-point by soldiers when walking back to the town one night."
Please support the people of Marda by giving your backing to projects like the Bristol Computers 4 Palestine project. The people of Palestine need the support of ordinary people like you. The smallest of donations can make a difference to somebody.



International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS) www.iwps.info

Bristol Computers 4 Palestine project. http://www.bristolcomputers4palestine.co.uk/

Zaytoun is an ethical business importing & selling fair-trade Palestinian olive oil in the UK.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Pimp my Crib

Saddam's place gets a makeover from the new tenants.

Maps of Empire

Empire through the ages

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Australia joins in Mozzy bashing

Australia ever keen not to get left behind in the war of the raving right, is promoting a fresh bout of Islamaphobia. A story that is over a month old has suddenly been promoted to front page news. Allegedly a top cleric condoned the rape of women who were uncovered by comparing them to uncovered meat. Note the timing -why after a month after the alleged remarks were made, has this story been catapaulted into the headlines? The cleric in question has said that his remarks were taken out of context and that he was talking about adultery rather than rape. He offered an apology to all who were offended. However, the newspapers and blogs have lept onto this story and it has taken on a life of its own. I have great difficulty envisaging any Imam lecturing people on how rape is acceptable, particularly in a Mosque during the month of Ramadan. The usual format is attacking the sin of adultery and I cannot see how this particular sermon would have been that much different. John 'little shit' Howard has joined in to bash the errant beard-wallah for this crime against women. Public opinion polls were immediately commissioned that suggested that the Sheik should be deported for his comments. So there you have it. Take a month old 'story', twist and link it to another topic say the recent riots between arab and white youths, stir in some lies and smear it all over the mass media. Before you know it, you have yet another drumbeat 'Muslims are shocking terrorist women bashers who want to convert us all' episode of the now depressingly familiar variety.

WorldNetDaily (a rather sickening anti-muslim crusader website) said:

Sheik Taj el-Dene Elhilaly's comments in a Ramadan sermon in a Sydney mosque have stirred a furor in the country (shouldn't that be Fuhrer?) with even Prime Minister John Howard weighing in with condemnation................The victims of the vicious gang rapes are leading the national outcry – with some calling for deportation of the sheik. In a Sydney Daily Telegraph online poll, 84 percent of people said the Egyptian-born sheik should be deported.

AP also linked the remarks to rape and reported that :

Al-Hilali is an Egyptian-born Sunni who has been a staunch critic of Australia's alliance with the United States in the Iraq war. He triggered a controversy in 2004 for saying in a sermon in Lebanon that the Sept. 11 attacks were "God's work against the oppressors." Al-Hilali said later he did not support the attacks, or terrorism. Last year, al-Hilali traveled to Iraq to help negotiate the release of an Australian engineer from kidnappers, winning thanks from the hostage's family.....The controversy comes amid tense relations between Australia's estimated 300,000 Muslims and the rest of the mostly Christian-heritage population of about 20 million. Last December, the nation was gripped by riots that often pitted gangs of white youths against youths of Middle Eastern decent[descent].

Not much difference there, in the coverage between AP who claim to be objective reporters of a story and an extremist hatred website bent on slandering muslims and the religion of Islam. I would suggest that it is Al-Hilali's reluctance to shut up as a critic of the occupation of Iraq that has brought this fake concocted scandal upon his head. It serves as a warning to those who speak up against the tyranny of the imperialist west.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

One doctors story from one Hospital in Baghdad

Content warning - graphic images

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Preview--Creating a Poverty-Free World: Insights from Muhammad Yunus

The Bonsai Tree

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Hiding the dead; an exercise in cynical and despicable deception

Surprise, Surprise. The revelation that Iraqi authorities have been hiding true casualty figures will come as a surprise to no-one except perhaps IBC media acolytes. Le Monde (Friday) reports that the Iraqi government instructed medical authorities not to reveal the true extent of civilian casualties. This by implication means that media reports will automatically have missed these casualties. Ashraf Qazi, the head of Iraq's UN mission sent a telegram saying:

“This development risks damaging the capacity of the UN’s Assistance Mission to report the number of civilians killed or injured.”

The UN has used data provided by Baghdad’s Forensic Institute and the Iraqi health ministry to form an estimate of civilian deaths, since 2005. The telegram is quoted as saying that the estimate:

“was certainly imperfect but an indicator nonetheless of the growing number of civilian victims”

The latest UN report stated that 3590 civilians died violently in July and 3009 in August. A day after publication of this report, Nuri al-Maliki (Iraq's PM) wrote to the health ministry with orders not to reveal further figures. What is obvious is that Iraq's government is under instruction from the occupation, and is attempting to hide figures from the media and the world. Now the ministry of heath has taken over the 'body count' and sent the morgue workers for 'early retirement' for their impudence in reporting the offensive figures. The mishmash of jihadists, resistance, death squads, criminals and ruthless occupation have rendered the situation an unprecedented disaster. How can anybody come up with a real figure when many deaths go unreported. Can anybody prove that the media covers all these deaths? Victims of torture and death are dumped in rivers, mass graves, woods, street corners and may or may not be reported (or found). Many are buried immediately by the family as is muslim custom. In this climate, how can one believe official statistics of issued death certificates or even morgue statistics are adequate to describe civilian victims? What about the victims vapourised in buildings by US missiles? Do their bodies make it to the morgue for counting? Do any surviving relatives always report the death to the media? The Lancet figures may be imperfect and may have some biases/imperfection, but I don't find them 'unbelievable' in the words of media supporters of the occupation. The larger picture is that the war on Iraq and the occupation have been a total and utter disaster. It needs to be brought to an end and the criminals responsible prosecuted.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Reforming Science Education

Several articles this week on science education have caught my attention. Of course as a scientist, I naturally have an interest in the matter but now that I am also directly involved in secondary science education, I have even more reason to spout on this issue. Teaching science at school is not easy. Compared to other subjects, it is probably more difficult as it involves more preparation, more administration, more risk assessments and practical planning. We already had some complaints that GCSE science actually contained too little science particularly practical science and concentrated too much on a context based teaching of the subject. Science is now to be even more diluted with ‘discussions’ on issues like GM crops and nuclear power that are now becoming a part of the syllabus.

Having already taught undergraduates who cannot weigh out something or work out the concentration of solution by themselves in the laboratory; it is more than a little worrying that the practical element of science could virtually disappear, whilst elementary things like balancing equations could be pushed aside in favour of discussing how chemicals pollute the urban environment. (The practical problem actually persists into universities who are not producing competent practical scientists at degree level. It is not uncommon to have a third year undergraduate attempt a final year project when they cannot handle a pipette, weight a chemical out or work out molarities.)

If the government wanted to introduce things like debate, why did they not produce a new subject of environment and ethical science? Would they ditch teaching historical events as part of teaching history in favour of discussing the rights and wrongs of beheading? The article in the guardian today raises fear that practical teaching has now been abandoned in favour of video presentations, due to safety legislation. This is not quite the case yet (depending on the school of course), but practical content has declined quite significantly since I was at school. As teachers we know that there is nothing like hands-on exercise to capture the imagination and to aid memory. If however, we become ever more burdened with increased requirements for assessment all the time and the schools are not provided with the means to teach basic practice science, then the subject WILL suffer an even more rapid decline.

OCR said the new GCSE was not an abandoning of traditional science. The briefing paper said: "Topics found in the old science specifications will continue to appear in the new ones, but we hope will be delivered in more interesting and exciting ways. So you will continue to find topics like the periodic table, chemical reactions, Newton's laws of motion, electricity and photosynthesis in either the science or additional science specifications (remembering that students going on to study at A-level will need to take both). "However, traditional topics like momentum can be explored in relevant contexts, for example, the importance of wearing a seatbelt, to make them lively and interesting."

Good teaching already looks at real-life examples to illustrate ideas where possible. The legislators are out of touch with the educators on this to some extent. Of course they will preserve some ‘core’ topics but consider how you put photosynthesis in context. Obviously kids do not learn about photosynthesis in isolation – they already learn that it is part of what a green plant does. They will already learn about genetic modification, so why distract them with issues of debate on GM? Surely, that should be contained within a different subject? There is already little enough time in the classroom to communicate the basic ideas, never mind attempt to turn them all into Dawkins.

Eminent philosopher Baroness Warnock can see the danger of the new changes. According to Warnock the agenda is being set by the media, creating debates that are more suitable for a pub than a classroom. She said:

"The present policy has two incompatible aims: to give all pupils some understanding of the subject matter of the sciences, and to so fire the imagination of a substantial minority of them, that they want to pursue their interest into the sixth form and beyond."

Other commentators are applauding the new changes, arguing that it is about time that science was brought under control. They say that scientists have conned people for too long about how important science is. They also say that science should be left to the freaks and more important subjects, such as economics should be promoted instead. Perhaps next time they want to get some medicines from the GP, they should be told to ring up an accountant instead. After all we science people are irrelevant to everyday life. If you want us to make science relevant and inspiring, remove the assessment burden and allow us to do our job.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

war and peace

Whilst the defenders in the UK are busy accidentally not mentioning Israeli crimes, the Zionist entity keeps on terrorizing Palestinians during the holy month of Ramadan. Airstrikes killed at least six people, whilst fifteen others were injured. In Jerusalem, the Zionazi prevented hundred from attending prayer at the Al-Aqsa Mosque as angry protestors used ladders in an attempt to get over the apartheid wall. The Zionazi forces attacked using stun grenades, tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons. They cited ‘security concerns’ as the reason for preventing anybody under 45 from attending prayers. It is the same ‘security concerns’ which have prevented food and medicine from entering Gaza and forcing most Palestinians to the brink of destitution.

Meanwhile George Soros, together with two other US ‘tycoons’ is reported to be setting up an alternative dovish Jewish lobby that promotes Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, in contrast to AIPAC which has been hostile to all peace efforts.

The “Jewish Telegraph Agency” (JTA) reports that a Soros staffer met recently with senior representatives of the dovish pro-Israel community to discuss setting an alternative lobby to APAC. The JTA goes on to say that Soros will attend a follow-on meeting later this month, and that Edgar and Charles Bronfman, along with other Jewish philanthropists and activists, have been invited to attend.

Soros is on the liberal side of the US political spectrum. He supports Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, and recently called on Israel to recognize Hamas. In his latest book “The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror”, he describes how he tried to persuade the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to enter into negotiations with Hamas, and compared the terrorist organization to the Solidarity trade union, which paved the way to democracy in Poland.

A Jewish activist said that Soros and other tycoons were only prepared to listen at this stage. They have agreed to attend a meeting of Jewish activists unhappy with AIPAC’s hard line, and want to boost awareness of what they call a “sane Jewish voice” in the US. The meeting is scheduled for October 26.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Spin to Win

The right dishonorable Margaret Beckman-centrifuge, secretary of state for supporting Israel and the USA, has defended a foreign office annual publication after it missed out any criticism of Israel’s bombardment against Lebanon. Mrs Beckman-centrifuge was last night busy spinning her way out of trouble in line with government denials guidelines. She insisted at a press conference that the omission was due only to the timing being ‘a little tight’. “Hopefully we might mention it next year unless it is in the public interest not to do so” said Mrs Beckman-centrifuge. However, the extreme tightness of the deadline did not prevent the authors from working extra hard to find time to criticize Hezbollah AND Syria for attacks on Israel. They also really pulled out the stops when they cited Israeli casualties but unfortunately the deadline expired before they could include the much higher Lebanese casualty figure. The foreign office insisted that the Lebanese had been treated fairly because a colour picture of a Lebanese woman standing in the rubble of her home was included. Mrs Beckman-centrifuge reported that a local time cyclone generated by high centrifugation speeds was the explanation for the fact that a speech by Mr Asad of Syria, days after cessation of hostilities was included in the report, whilst Lebanese casualties were not.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Sunday, October 08, 2006

RIP Anna Politkovskaya

The award-winning journalist and author wrote many accounts of Russia’s dirty war in Chechnya. The manner of her professional execution is chilling, as is the message it sends out to critics of the Kremlin. Her work will be noted for exposing the insane brutality of Russian power against the Chechen people. It will be noted for its basic humanity and commitment to the principles of justice that all people deserve. She had few peers when it came to bravery and professionalism. She knew her life was under constant threat, but that did not prevent her from doing her job, or caring about victims of the Russian state. From Regnum:

“Since July 1999 Anna Politkovskaya repeatedly visited conflict areas and refugee camps in Dagestan, Ingushetia and Chechnya. She wrote a book called “Journey to hell. The Chechen diary”. Apart from her professional activity she organized withdrawal of 89 residents of a retirement home in Grozny (Chechnya), who by her assistance were settled in Russia. However, in summer of 2000 the old people (22 persons) were brought back to Grozny in order to “show to the whole world that life in Grozny was coming back to normal.” People were left without water, medicines, food and clothes. In August 2000, under Politkovskaya’s initiative, Novaya Gazeta held a charity action called “Grozny. Retirement Home.” They collected about 5.5 ton of load and $5,000. In January 2000, for a series of publications from Chechnya Anna Politkovskaya was awarded Golden Pen of Russia prize.”

Friday, October 06, 2006

Serving the State v Serving the community

A Muslim police officer, who was apparently excused from duty outside the zionist oppressor embassy, has become the subject of national debate. According to the Torygraph, Sun and other rags, he was moved because he had objections to Israel’s terrorist bombardment and destruction of Lebanon. They suggest that he was moved due to ‘political correctness’. Yes the old PC stick is out again and being used to beat any signs of dissent against the establishment. If you join the police you commit yourself to leaving behind any morals and principles. In short you are an agent of the state and you will obey state policy. If the state wants you to shoot innocent people or guard representatives of a terrorist state, then you have to do it, no questions asked. I would have no objection to that as long as they spell it out explicitly to recruits and enshrine it in law. However, police are representatives of the community they serve……. allegedly. If inclusion policy and equality law is followed, then the individual officer has rights if personal or family safety is affected. Yes, all police officers do have to do things that they do not want to do, but sometimes legalities and other considerations for safety also have to be taken into account. According to police, a risk assessment was carried out which was ‘not favourable’. Israel’s destruction of Lebanon was repugnant act, yet the media choose not to focus on this. They prefer to criticize the critics of Zionism and defend Israel, no matter what terrorism or genocide it perpetrates. A small workplace issue becomes a subject of debate and mushrooms into another attack on the Muslim enemy within.

(From The Times)........Superintendent Dal Babu, the chairman of the Association of Muslim Police, said that the officer had asked for dispensation due to concerns about his welfare rather than political objections. "This is about the welfare of an individual and not about a moral issue," Mr Babu told the BBC today.

"This particular officer had brought an issue forward - his wife is Lebanese, his father is from Syria - and he brought up this issue at the start of August this year and had expressed a desire to be posted elsewhere while the war was going on."

"He is now working normal DPG [Diplomatic Protection Group] duties and, clearly, if an issue happens at the Israeli embassy he will deal with it.” Mr Babu said he had spoken to Mr Basha and his understanding of the situation was that he felt "uncomfortable and unsafe" guarding the embassy during the conflict. He acknowledged that allowing officers to be excused from duties because of their moral positions was unacceptable.

So there you have it. It wasn't really a moral objection anyway and the officer has stated that being excused for moral position is wrong. However, the right wing rags will not let inconvenient truths get in the way of a campaign against Muslims in this country. Police officers are human beings and should be entitled to objections to their duties as they see fit. I do not think, police officers should just be agents of the state. They have a duty of care and responsibility to the wider community. Should that mean suspending their morals and principles? If they do not want to shoot an unarmed man, should they be forced to do it? Only if we want a police force that is serving those in power, rather than the community.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The media's curtain of illusion

This is an important article from Kevin Watkins of the UNHDRO in the Guradain today. Poverty has a tendency to be hidden in the mass media behind stories of economic growth, booming IT industry, property market and so on. This is true whatever country you consider including China, India and to a lesser extent Pakistan. It is a curtain of illusion that hides the desperate truth about the people who pay the cost of the miracle economies. The people at the receiving end are rarely considered as anything other than quaint 'poor people' who choose to inhabit shacks and dirt tracks out of choice when they could be living it up in the new booming economy. Poverty is repackaged as choice. This kind of extreme capitalism has been prevalent in South Asia and parts of Africa for a long time and is the cause of extreme poverty and social injustice. It is not doom mongering on my part to say that AIDS and other diseases are rampant. They are facts of everyday life for the poor. The struggle for food and water means that children are being educationally and nutritionally deprived. People are turfed off their land if they have any or are literally slaves to the rich. The assistance given by UNHCR and other NGOs is important but to some people it doesn't exist. They have never heard of it or seen it. Whether reports like this from UNHDRO have any tangible effect on governments in the region is doubtful.