“The reaction of British newspapers today to the story [of tortured Iraqi prisoners] was mixed. They were played down by Rupert Murdoch’s papers, the Sun and the Times, and were relegated to inside pages by the Telegraph and the Express, both of which supported the war and Britain’s allegiance to George Bush.
The picture of a hooded Iraqi prisoner standing on a box with electric wires attached to his fingers, who had allegedly been threatened with electrocution if he moved, were used on the front pages of the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, the Guardian and the Times.
However, most of the pro-war nationals relegated the images to the inside pages. The Sun carried a single picture illustrating a down page story on page six, while the Express ran two pictures on page 10 and the Telegraph used two images in its World News section on page 14.”(Source: The Guardian)
There you have it: your super soaraway Sun doesn’t give a shit if human beings are tortured. Of course, if those pics had been of “our brave lads” you can guess the kind of howling editorial and front page splash that would have made. Never forget this arsewipe of a newspaper published the infamous ‘Gotcha!’ headline. How this poorly written adult fantasy comic dares to call itself a newspaper is beyond me.
And a page 14 entry for the Torygraph, always the most loyal cocksucker of the Establishment (The Times and FT don’t count – they are the Establishment).
These newspapers have marginalised the biggest current news story in the world. The horrific torture of civilians being held without trial means nothing to them. This makes their political allegiances painfully clear.
Yesterday I marched in London with, compared to the big antiwar demos, little more than a handful of people. We marched to the US Embassy, protesting against the US’ illegal occupation of Iraq and its war crimes against civilians. As we marched through London, I could see some passers by shaking their heads. They were obviously thinking, ‘lefty nutters – the US is liberating Iraq, they got rid of Saddam. He’s evil, the US is good!’
Today, even the TV media is frothing at the mouth at the “revelation” that US soldiers have been torturing Iraqi prisoners:
“The graphic images include one of a hooded and naked prisoner standing on a box with wires attached to his genitals. CBS said the prisoner was told that if he fell off the box, he would be electrocuted.
Another shows naked prisoners being forced to simulate sex acts. In another, a female soldier, with a cigarette in her mouth, simulates holding a gun and pointing at a naked Iraqi’s genitals.”(Source: BBC News)
The US military has reacted immediately, suspending the commanding officer, Brigadier General Janice Karpinski, and claiming that these soldiers were ‘a few bad apples.’
Yeah, cos the rest of the apples are good, aren’t they? Shooting dead unarmed old women holding white flags, laying siege to Fallujah and murdering an estimated 700 civilians, those are the actions of an honourable military force, aren’t they?
Make no mistake, the torture pictures that have slipped through the net onto US and UK TV are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of US abuse of human rights in Iraq. The ultimate abuse of human rights is the wholesale murder that US stormtroopers have been carrying out. Their attack and invasion of Iraq is a war crime, under the guidelines laid down by the Nuremburg trials. Is it really that surprising that torture of prisoners would also be carried out by these Nazi-like forces?
What you haven’t seen on telly is the pictures of hundreds of Iraqi dead in Fallujah, the shattered bodies of women and children liberated by the honourable, benevolent US military. Why? Because these pictures are deemed ‘too shocking’ by our censors. We always see pictures of the victims of our enemies’ terrorist attacks (as we did in the Madrid bombing atrocity) but we never see the corpses created by the USK military. Therefore, for most of us, they don’t exist. Those pictures are out there but you have to search to find them, they aren’t in the mass media. We’re “protected” from seeing them. This makes us the “good guys” in every war and conflict because our media kowtows to our governments and deliberately distorts its coverage.
Even the coverage of this abominable torture conforms to this framing: every TV report I’ve seen so far has had clips of Deputy head of coalition forces in Iraq, Brig Gen Mark Kimmitt, mouthing bullshit platitudes about being “deeply disappointed” and claiming the prisoner torture was an isolated horror.
Really? That’s not what one of the accused claims:
“One of the suspended soldiers, Staff Sergeant Chip Frederick, said the way the army ran the prison had led to the abuse.
“We had no support, no training whatsoever. And I kept asking my chain of command for certain things… like rules and regulations,” he told CBS. “It just wasn’t happening.”
He said he did not see a copy of the Geneva Convention rules for handling prisoners of war until after he was charged.”(Source: BBC News)
It appears that the US military has zero interest in educating its soldiers about something as rudimentary as the Geneva Convention. Is this truly the way an “honourable” military (what an oxymoron that phrase is) would act?
Me and Keyvan got to the meeting place and there were around eight police vans parked along Malet Street and a handful of protestors. Overkill or what? This wasn’t a national demo, just a small one organised by Student CND, FOSIS and Stop The War.
Once we’d all assembled, I’d say there were around 200 of us. Definitely not enough to warrant the huge police prescence (there were at least 5 police motorbikes, for fuck’s sake!).
We got to the Embassy (well, pretty near it) and after the rally got in a bit of shouting. It was quite cold and wet but there was still a good spirit in the crowd. Four and a bit hours on the train there and back, do I think it was worth going?
END THE OCCUPATION OF IRAQ FREEDOM FOR PALESTINE Thursday April 29th, 5pm, Assemble outside SOAS, Malet Street (nearest tubes Goodge St and Russell Sq) Called by Stop the War Coalition, Student CND and FOSIS
Well, how else can I register my anger at the atrocities being committed in Iraq by the occupying US military? Writing these rants at 6am when I’m too fucking angry to sleep can only achieve so much.
The most important action you can take is to get on the streets, show the governments of the world what real people power looks like. Just like the March For Women’s Lives did last Sunday, undermining in one day a deacde of crypto-fascist Republican bullshit.
So, if you’ve been reading and connecting with these antiwar rants and you can get down to London on Thursday, please do your best to make it. Every single body counts, every single person is another slap in the face for Bush’s occupation of Iraq and pacification of war criminal Ariel Sharon. Bush is ripping our world into bloody shreds around us, we have to do the utmost to stop this psychopath and his insane Christian vision of an American Empire.
I can tell you now, you won’t be on the telly. It’ll barely be a footnote on the news. These huge popular movements aren’t getting any mass-media coverage. 1.5 million of us marched in London last year and where’s the analyses, the in-depth documentaries? There’s not enough time, they’ve spent it all on making programmes about who Becks may or may not be shagging. Anything to distract and deceive.
So you won’t get famous, your mates won’t see you, mid-frame, looking cool like Che.
But you may help to change the world and save many, many lives.
It’s your life, your choice. Do you want to live it as an empowered free human being or as merely an obedient consumer?
“In possibly the most stinging rebuke ever to a British government by its foreign policy establishment, 52 former ambassadors and international officials have written to Tony Blair telling him he is damaging UK (and western) interests by backing George W. Bush’s misguided policies in the Middle East. It would be comforting to imagine that their comments will be heeded.”(Source Financial Times)
Good quote, innit? Taken from that filthy communist publication, The Financial Times. First The Torygraph publishes an account of a British Army officer calling the US military Nazis and now the FT puts the boot in.
Who has Blair got left on his side?
Apart from the FT running it, this attack is also important because of the nature of the attackers. These aren’t idealistic, lefty kids. These people are all professional diplomats. Think about that. These people have been at the very peak of their profession, a profession that relies on tact, non-confrontational approaches and a solid grasp of international relations.
These are the people condemning Blair for his poodleism.
“The organisers of this most undiplomatic d?marche are, moreover, Atlanticists. Yet, in essence, what they are telling Mr Blair is: if you really have influence with the Bush administration, now is the time to use it. If that proves “unacceptable or unwelcome” in Washington, they write, “there is no case for supporting policies which are doomed to failure”. (Source Financial Times)
Put more simply, “Try growing a fucking backbone, Tony.”
My wife pointed out an even more worrying aspect to this story. These diplomats aren’t anti-establishment. In fact, they’re probably as establishment as you can get.
So how terrible must the situation be in terms of international relations for them to break ranks and attack Blair in such a public manner?
And according to Robin Cook, their views are also held by current serving ambassadors:
Mr Cook, writing in The Independent, says it is inconceivable that agreement on a common text could have been reached among the former diplomats “without widespread sympathy for their views among the ambassadors who have replaced them”.
Underlining the unprecedented importance of their letter, Mr Cook adds: “By the standards of diplomatic communiqu?s, their statement is off the Richter scale.” (Source: The Independent)
Poor old Butcher Blair… will his tears ever manage to shift a drop of the blood on his hands?
Fuck Blair: Fallujah has just undergone the most intense shelling so far from the Nazi-like (?British Army) US military. US AC130 gunships have been slaughtering the innocents of Iraq once again while we do nothing. The US military is massacring civilians, simply by labelling them “insurgents.” We won’t see the bodies on our TVs, it won’t be in the headlines.
But it’s happening. With Butcher Blair’s total support.
A truly tumbleweed night tonight… but the few peeps who had come out seemed to enjoy the night’s music and also had plenty of requests. Again, I managed to fit in plenty of new tracks, some of which are pre-release.
Best new track tonight was Lali Puna’s ‘Faking The Books.’ I got away with playing this tonight even though it’s a very quiet track (the same goes for Akufen). It’s a great, simmering song.
Fave old track was The Red Army Choir’s ‘Kalinka.’ It almost got Mandy doing his Cossack dance…almost…
Comrades! Tonight the (very select) masses heard:
Statistics – A Number, Not A Name
Nautilis – Oh How Schmee Loves DSP
Le Tigre – Hot Topic
Eyedea And Abilities – Kept
The Sprites – Do It Yourself
The Weather Prophets – Almost Prayed
Claro Intelecto – Peace Of Mind
Lali Puna – Faking The Books
Antipop Consortium – Place The Face
Eagles Of Death Metal – Bad Dream Mama
Enon – Disposable Parts
Lamb Of God – Purified
Nancy Wilson – Call Me
Magnetic Fields – If There’s Such A Thing As Love
Method Man & Redman – Blackout
Detalles – Slowe
The Walkmen – The Rat
The Kinks – David Watts
Of Montreal – Chrissie Kiss The Corpse
G.D. Luxxe – Minds
BBC Radio – Listen With Mother
Throwdown – Baby Got Back
Dead Prez – Way Of Life
The Stills – Allisson Krausse
The Shins – New Slang
The House Of Love – Destroy The Heart
Jason Forrest – 10 Amazing Years
Vishiss – Shake It
Stephen Malkmus – Phantasies
Freescha – Rinky Dink
Simon & Garfunkel – Richard Cory
Bradford – Gang Of One
Dilated Peoples – This Way
The Elected – Go On
Boards Of Canada – Sequoia
Lou Reed – Satellite Of Love
Happy End – Kaze Wo Atsumete
Cypress Hill – How Could I Kill A Man
Akufen – Heaven Can Wait
Sonic Youth – Plastic Sun
Red Army Choir – Kalinka
British Sea Power – Remember Me
Phoenix – Run Run Run
Vic Damone – Wives And Lovers
It looks a bit like that huge ’69 anti-Vietnam war march doesn’t it, the one they took the piss out of in Forrest Gump?
But that picture was taken yesterday.
There’s an excellent full report about The March For Women’s Lives here and the official site is here.
Look at those people, probably a million plus marching in support of women’s rights. There were, apparently, a scattering of anti-abortion protestors but their right-wing, loony fundamentalist agenda was drowned out by the sound of these pro-choice protestors. The placards reading ‘Feminists Are The Majority’ seemed amazingly apt.
The US government is currently in the grip of an extreme right-wing cabal, a group committed on the one hand to ending as many human lives as possible with their PNAC strategy whilst at the same time absorbing fundamentalist dogma about the rights of foetuses. Why are pro-lifers always pro-war, eh? Do the lives of post-birth humans not count?
The March For Women’s Lives has been yet another kick in the teeth for the Bush administration. Look at that crowd of marchers, all intent on maintaining control of their own bodies and ousting the Republican administration that’s so keen on winding back time. Barefoot and pregnant – that’s the Republican view of a woman’s place.
Actress Whoopi Goldberg brandished a wire coat hanger, a symbol of abortions women performed on themselves, as she stood on a stage in front of the U.S. Capitol. “There is a whole generation of people who don’t know what that is,” she said. “This is what we used, and never again will this be the choice of any women in this world.”(Source Mercury News)
We’re living in different times now. The last year has seen the entire world change. We’ve seen the biggest ever protest in British history and now the biggest ever women’s march in the USA. These protests have shown that the majority of people are peace-loving, not right-wing nutters who blast a lot of hot air and have a dis-proportionate control of the media. Look at the picture at the top of the page: those are ordinary people like you and me, mostly young women, children and men who believe in human freedom and human rights.
I’ll leave you with some of my fave ever hip hop lyrics, ‘Femme Fetal’ by Digable Planets:
It was 8:49 on a beautiful 9th day of july
There was not a cloud to speak of so the orange sun hung
Lonely in the sky
I was laying prone in my catbeat home
Listening to fine nappy jackie and his jazzcat’s horn
Sliding in a tape of Bird on verve when suddenly rang my phone
Hello butterfly, a voice said
Slip on some duds comb out your fro and slide on down to my pad
The vibe here is very pleasant and i truly request your presence
A problem of great magnitude has arose
And as we speak it grows
Damn, what could it be i thought
A juice i bought and rolled on down to her pad
Seeing bros i know slapping fives i arrived and pressed G-5
And there was nikki
Lookin some kind of sad with tears fallin from her eyes
She sat me down
And dug my frown and began to run it down
“You remember my boyfriend sid that fly kid who i love
Well our love was often a verb and spontaneity has brought a third
But do to our youth an economic state we wish to terminate
About this we don’t feel great , but baby that’s how it is
But the feds have dissed me
They ignore and dismiss
And the pro-lifers harrass me outside the clinic
And call me a murderer, now that’s hate
So needless to say we’re in a mental state of debate”
Hey beautiful bird i said digging her somber mood
The fascists are some heavy dudes
They don’t really give a damn about life
They just don’t want a woman to
Control her body or have the right to choose
But baby that ain’t nothin They just want a male finger on the button
Because if you say war they will send them to die by the score
Aborting mission should be your volition
But if souter and thomas have their way
You’ll be standing in line unable to get welfare while they’re out
Hunting and fishing
It has always been around it will always have a niche
But they’ll make it a privelege not a right
Accessible only to the rich
Pro-lifers should dig themselves
Cause life doesn’t stop after birth
And to a child borne to the unprepared
It might even just get worse Supporters of the h-bomb and fire bombing clinics
What type of shit is that? orwellian in fact
If roe v wade was overturned would not the desire remain intact
Leaving young girls to risk their healths
And doctors to botch and watch as they kill themselves
I don’t want to sound macabre
But hey, isn’t it my job
To lay it on the masses and get them off their asses
To fight against these fascists
So whatever you decide make that move with pride
Sid will be there (ladybug will be there, doodlebug will be there)
And so will i
An insect til i die
Rhythms and sounds
Across the nation
What a shock
Land of the free – but not me
Ye-haaa! What a brilliant night! I paid £7.50 to see two magnificent pop bands, both doing their thang in very different ways.
First up were The Stills who played a very muscular, dark set of pop songs.
I saw The Cure in 1981 at Derby Assembly Rooms and I mean it as an extreme compliment when I say bits of The Stills set reminded me of that gig. I’m glad there wasn’t a stop-motion film of a Lego robot before this gig though. I love the feel this band have live, it’s a different twist on the current post-punk / new new wave sounds currently doing the rounds and I like that altered perspective. The sound was also very good, I was chuffed that I could hear their doomy, neogoth lyrics quite clearly.
Great singalongs like ‘Lola’ and ‘Still In Love Song’ just barrelled along and before I knew it, it was all over. This was the support band? Surely not… The only bad point for me was where the hell was ‘Allison Krausse?’
In some ways, The Shins had a tricky task in following up a louder, driving band with their more delicately arranged music. But they didn’t seem fazed and launched into their set with huge, shit-eating grins and shedloads of energy.
As with The Stills, the familiar songs off their current album, ‘Chutes Too Narrow,’ just poured out, not in a studied, dead way but with smiles and fun. There was something spookily beautiful in the way the band nonchalantly clapped and whooped their way into ‘Kissing The Lipless,’ it made the light song glow. And it would be all too easy for a quiet tune like ‘Young Pilgrim’ to fall into a gig’s background chuntering, become lost and shrivel away. But it didn’t, the chorus soared wonderfully.
Then, just when they’d finished and we demanded more…
…the fuckers came back with a masterful cover of The House Of Love’s ‘Destroy The Heart.’ As Dave Hernandez started playing the A -> D guitar riff, I thought…hmmm this sounds familiar and then when I realised what it was, I almost jizzed myself with excitement. It’s a mark of The Shins live playing power that they came close to The House Of Love themselves when I saw them play this song at Trent Poly, what seems like aeons ago. The Shins took a potentially difficult cover in their stride.
At the party after, I got chatting to all of The Shins except Jessie (dunno where he was hiding) and they all seem like diamond geezers, not up themselves at all and very friendly. It was a revelation to find out that Dave is a fellow 4AD trainspotter. Perhaps a cover of ‘Pearly Dew Drops Drops’ next time, eh lads? 😉
As I said – what a night! Two pop bands whose different styles complemented each other perfectly. The Stills and The Shins – I salute you!
P.S. now I’ve actually had some sleep, I have to add that live, even more than on record, The Shins reminded me of Sex Clark Five. If anyone reading this is a Shins fan who hasn’t heard SC5, please check them out, they’re super-poppy!
Much busier this week, I’m assuming some Derby studes must be back. The music was as lovely as usual (fave track was the new Bloc Party single, very Gang Of Fourtastic) but there were quite a few wankers out trying to start fights. I guess Zanzibar must have been shut. Ah well…