Bloody darkies

John Lucas PrestonMeet John Lucas Preston. He was born in Britain in 1970 and grew up in Leeds.

At the age of 18, he visited Pakistan… and since then he has been battling for his life.

On 17 December 1988, while travelling from Rawalpindi to the village of Bhubar, John claims that Jamshid Khan (the taxi driver he had hired for this journey) attempted to physically/sexually assault him and – in the scuffle that followed – Khan produced a gun which then discharged, fatally injuring him.

John immediately drove to the nearest police station, reported the incident, handed over the weapon, and led police to the scene.

He was later charged with murder.

(According to one judge who heard his case – and there were many, as you’ll soon learn – police planted evidence on John at this time and later doctored witness statements “when all negotiations had failed” – a clear reference to attempts to elicit bribes.)

In 1989 the local secular court convicted John of murder and sentenced him to death. John appealed, and a high court dismissed the case saying there had been discrepancies.

In 1994, a lower court then found John guilty again, and sentenced him to life imprisonment. John appealed this new conviction again at the high court, which in 1996 again dismissed the case and acquitted him.

The case was then referred to the Federal Sharia Court, which convicted John of murder and robbery and sentenced him to death; this conviction was upheld even though:

1. The court conceded there had been no theft (it could be shown John paid for the taxi)
2. There were no witnesses (as is usually required for such a charge and sentence)

On appeal in the religious courts this conviction was again overturned. In 2003, the Supreme Court upheld the conviction and a subsequent appeal to that court failed.

In 2005 an appeal for clemency to President Musharraf was declined.

Under Islamic provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code relating to murder, family members of a murder victim have the right waive the punishment and accept blood money as compensation. Despite extended negotiations, Jamshid Khan’s family continue to call for John’s execution.

And that pretty much brings us up to date.

John has spent close to 18 years – almost half of his life and his entire adult life – sitting in a foreign cell or any one of a number of foreign courts. For most of that time, he has lived under a sentence of death.

His execution has been postponed a number of times following a variety of protests, interventions and negotiations throughout 2006. Most recently the date for his execution was moved to last Sunday, which was handy for John and President Musharraf, as this date fell during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Handy for John, because – if the tradition of not executing prisoners during Ramadan holds up – he gets to live until at least late October.

Handy for President Musharraf, because this gave him the elbow room required to keep scheduled appointments with leaders in Europe and Britain and see what pressure he would be put under to (finally) intervene in this case.

As it turns out, that pressure was not sufficient to warrant intervention, but President Musharraf did feel compelled to make this face-saving claim:

“I am not a dictator. I cannot violate a court judgement, whether you like the court or not.” – General Pervez Musharraf – President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Oh, really?

“The President shall have power to grant pardon, reprieve and respite, and to remit, suspend or commute any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or other authority.” – Article 45 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Blair meets MusharrafAnd this is all we get – even after a direct one-hour meeting with our glorious PM?

Well, in a word, yes…

10 Downing Street (28 September 2006): Tony Blair has welcomed President Musharraf of Pakistan to Chequers for talks on terrorism, Afghanistan and relations with India. The two leaders talked for over an hour in a private meeting. The PM thanked President Musharraf for Pakistan’s help in the investigations following the 7/7 attacks and its assistance in foiling foil the transatlantic terror plot over the summer. [Ed note – I just bet he did.] They also both reiterated their commitment to ensuring that the Taliban and Al Qaida are never able to re-establish a foothold in Afghanistan. The UK is the biggest foreign investor in Pakistan, and is Pakistan’s 5th largest export market.

No mention of a certain Briton about to be executed. At all.

Still, at least that last sentence goes some way to explaining why. Too bad they didn’t include other important market forces (for reasons of space, natch).

So why isn’t Blair under pressure to do more?

[Psst! Newbies! Trust me on this; it’s an important question. Our government is inclined to give valuable trading partners and/or allies in the glorious war on terror a hell of a lot of leeway… but only when it’s worth it and/or if they think they can get away with it.]

Specifically, why isn’t John Lucas Preston’s face splashed all over the front page of the Sun newspaper?

Why isn’t Rebekah ‘Red Mist’ Wade screaming for the blood of those who would dare to allow a fellow countryman to suffer such a blatant and disgraceful miscarriage of justice?

Well, let me give you a clue:

Everything you’ve read above is true… apart from the name.

Mirza Tahir HussainJohn Lucas Preston is really Mirza Tahir Hussain.

He was born in Britain and raised in Leeds, but – when it comes down to it – Mirza is a bloody darkie, and simply not worth the bother.

And it’s not just overt racism at work here…

Attention all whities! Do me a favour, and read the following:

– John Lucas Preston
– Mirza Tahir Hussain

Now turn away from the screen and see which name you can best remember.

See?

Mirza Tahir Hussain? Tch! His name may as well be Mumbo-Jumbo Something-Something (or perhaps even Jean Charles de Menezes).

Still, let’s be charitable and see if the good people at The Sun are – at the very least – granting John Mirza a passing mention. After all, they’re constantly reminding us that we have no choice but to back Bush and Blair’s war on terror, as the only alternative is the worldwide imposition of Islamic law. Seems to me that a pro-war angle goes begging. Let’s see:

Nope. Not a sausage. Let’s try the shorter version:

Nope. Still no joy. Looks like Mirza is shit out of luck on three fronts:

Wrong place. Wrong time. Wrong race.

[Please note: If you or your loved ones suffer from a short attention span, this post can be summed up with a single image. Thank you for your time.]

UPDATE – See also: under|progress – The damning silence over Mirza Tahir Hussein








Posted in Humanity | 4 Comments

The Downing Street intruder

As you might expect, The Scum have gone completely OTT on this story.

Here’s my view.

PS – OMG… they weren’t kidding! Tony Blair appears on Blue Peter this afternoon. I hope they’ve beefed up security in their garden…








Posted in Tony 'King Blair | 1 Comment

Vidcast Fever!

Tom’s done made himself a vidcast! I can’t say that I agree with all of it (particularly the bit about politics “getting more decent the more local it gets”… *cough*), but at least he has a video… and that means he’s now officially ‘weblogging’ at last.

(That is right, isn’t it? It gets a little bit confusing with so many experts about.)

Also, Will Howells has issued a 2nd edition of Webcameraon. (Warning: the closing statement may upset some vegetarians.)

Oh, and I’ve been busy on the video front myself…

I suspect that the video embedded below is the one that will give you the biggest laugh (shame on you), but I urge you to also check out this humble offering:

Webcameron: unscripted and in stereo – this is a straight mix of the opening segments in this video where David Cameron is ‘caught unawares’ at the kitchen table and this video where David Cameron is ‘caught unawares’ doing the washing up. All totally unscripted, of course.

(One can only wonder how many takes this ‘natural’ exchange took… and if the unseen contributor was a driver who should have been paying more attention to the road than his script.)

There’s no editing to speak of; it’s simply a matter of one video being laid over the other. Very educational.

Anyway, lecture’s over. I promised you the possibility of a laugh, and here it comes… enjoy:

PS – Two messages for regulars of a certain age:

1. YES, WE’VE GOT A VIDEO!!!!!

2. Whore my link, you bastards!

UPDATE – Psst! Got a spare £20?








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off on Vidcast Fever!

Listen… do you smell something?

Special Friendships #1: The Foley scandal
Special Friendships #2: Peerage probe police quiz Tories
Special Friendships #3: White House in crisis over ‘Iraq lies’ claims

Fireworks? Already? Tch. And I’ve only just started on this year’s guy.

UPDATE – An extra-special Foley video. Enjoy.








Posted in Inneresting | Comments Off on Listen… do you smell something?

New Tory Labour: Transmission #2

The latest New Tory Labour video is now online:

New Tory Labour Transmission #2 – Delivering Promises

And, just in case there’s any confusion among those who wish to one day make the tea (and perhaps be caught unawares by a film crew when doing so)….

This is a broadcast.
This is a weblog.
Many of these are also weblogs.
This is a broadcast.
This is a weblog.
This is a broadcast.
This is not a weblog.

Got that? Good. Mine’s a black tea with one sugar… and two milk-chocolate digestives, thanks.








Posted in Flash Music Video, Games and Objects | Comments Off on New Tory Labour: Transmission #2

Webcameron: Sam Roake and his backhand stroke

What is blogging? Sam Roake explains...Sam Roake, who has been regularly name-checked for 3 months now as the head of the Conservatives’ web strategy, used to work for Google…. but what he actually did for Google is addressed almost universally as a throwaway line (in fact, here it is again).

Myself, I think it deserves a little bit of focus:

As a Google ‘maximiser’, Sam Roake wrote the copy for users of AdWords who did not feel that they were able to string a dozen words together.

He. Wrote. Ads.

Fair enough, this does require some skill, but it has sweet bugger all to do with Google’s central database – and knowing what you’re doing in this particular game requires knowledge not only of this database, but how its users interact with it (and each other).

When you’re about to go to the coal face and mine those rich seams, you want to make sure you have someone at the helm who knows what they’re doing; someone who has actually worked at the face and knows the potential risks and rewards inside-out.

Instead, the Conservatives have hired the chap from the tea-room who sold the biscuits (i.e. he was not considered responsible enough to make the tea).

The results so far speak for themselves:

1. In what universe do you have to live where you don’t realise that an “Oh, hello… you’ve caught me doing the washing up (with eco-liquid, no less)!” video is going to – quite rightly – get mocked again and again?

2. Comments? Until a few minutes ago, the only comments going live that related specifically to individual videos were going live under an unofficial mirror of the launch video on YouTube. The comments that were going live on the official site failed to raise a single response from David Cameron and/or his chosen ambassador(s). This. Is. Not. A. Conversation.

3. The response? A video interview with Sam Roake, who explains that it’s a ‘work in progress’ and proposes a brilliant solution; he wants to ask the users how they think the comments ‘problem’ can be addressed. Presumably because he has no ideas himself aside from a brilliant wheeze involving carefully ghost-written 12-word responses on behalf of David Cameron (that also double as ads for generic Viagra).

[UPDATE (1:30pm) – The video interview with Sam Roake has now been removed. How odd.]

4. And here’s the bit that really gets up my nose… David Cameron ‘caught in the middle of dinner’ and explaining away his lack of policies by stating that he has to clean up politics first. I sought to clean up politics in my local area (1, 2, 3, 4) and was recently rewarded with a very personal smear campaign run by local Tories. When I brought this to the attention of Conservative Central Office, they referred it back to this same group of Tories (1, 2) for ‘action’. (I also emailed David Cameron’s office about it, but have yet to receive a reply. Perhaps the evidence was ‘a bit technical’.)

So far, I’ve watched a number of Conservatives (and Blairites) have a go at this incredibly new ‘conversation’ idea, but – with very few exceptions – their approaches have been marked by desperation, dishonesty, arrogance, ignorance… or a mind-bending combination of all four.

I’m not seeing anything new here… and Sam Roake can’t prove me wrong without first delivering Anne Milton’s head on a stick.

UPDATE – And here’s a picture, boys and girls…








Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | 3 Comments

Fuck him, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse he rode in on

Belfast Telegraph – Bush claims victory as Senate approves terror suspects bill: Both sides are claiming victory from the compromise. But human rights groups say the final version allows the President too much discretion in deciding what interrogation methods are legitimate, and in providing immunity for CIA interrogators from prosecution for war crimes. The Bill, passed by a 253-168 vote in the House, sets up military tribunals to try suspects. It thus complies with June’s Supreme Court ruling that any such system must be approved by Congress, and cannot merely be imposed by the Pentagon, as were the tribunals set up at Guantanamo Bay. But defendants’ rights will still fall well short of those guaranteed by civilian and most military courts. It also defines war crimes including torture, rape and biological experiments on detainees. But Mr Bush will have wide authority to decide which other interrogation techniques are legal. The legislation also fulfils a vital political purpose. With party ranks reunited, the White House is again trying to manoeuvre Democrats in a corner, in which it can depict the latter’s opposition to anti-terror legislation as proof of weakness on national security. Republicans are counting on the issue to retain control of Congress in November. After the House vote, Dennis Hastert, the Speaker, accused the 168 Congressmen who opposed it (all but eight of them Democrats) of “voting in favour of more rights for terrorists”. If Democrats had their way, he said, they would “coddle” the very people who were trying to harm Americans around the world.

Please note that – at the core of that latter deception – is the absolute certainty that all suspected terrorist are terrorists.

Some further reading for you below. Me, I’m rendered all-but-speechless right now, and have nothing to add beyond the one thing that is a certainty… America is now a rogue state.

Ian MacLeod’s Blog – They Passed the Torture Bill, Gave Bush Wiretapping, and America is Dead
The Existentialist Cowboy – The Week in Review from Republican Occupied America
Kurt Nimmo – Habeas Corpus Murdered, Few Notice
Amnesty International – USA: Congress rubber stamps torture and other abuses
Juan Cole – Craig Murray on Manufacturing Terror (Oil, Lily Pad Bases and Torture)
The UK Today – You may like to think that the following couldn’t happen here








Posted in George W. Bush, It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, The War on Stupid | Comments Off on Fuck him, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse he rode in on

Blair, Brown and brown ice-cream

What a performance!Sure, you could read Teh Speech in full. You may even choose to peruse a leisurely fisk or a slightly more detailed/impassioned one that’s due over at Blair Watch any minute now. You may even take the time to consider that the word ‘performance’ has more than one meaning and/or wonder quietly how well the speech would have fared if every major passage ended with the words; “… and all we had to do was break a few teensy-tiny rules.”

But we all know what really matters is what Rupert Murdoch Rebekah Wade thinks… and how Rebekah Wade the girl on Page 3 chooses to express that view…

Today Zoe (‘author’ of the most audacious Page 3 editorial of all time) hails Blair’s speech as “simply the best” and says; “What a performance! He showed all the qualities that attracted millions of voters in 1997. It will be very interesting to see whether his departure rebounds on Labour come the next election.”

I’m also repeating today’s extended editorial so it may be preserved for the ages (like Blair’s speech, it’s as bold as brass and has a little bit of everything):

The Sun Says – Labour will miss Blair when the tears have dried: Has Labour gone stark staring mad? It is hard to reach any other conclusion after seeing the party stand and cheer the most successful leader they’ve ever had – the man they’ve forced out of office. In what will go down as the speech of his life, Tony Blair spelled out what he has done for his party – and what they have done to him. He sprinkled his delivery with good jokes – the best about his wife Cherie and the next door neighbour. And he played skilfully on an audience that is fast regretting its act of regicide. Tearful delegates were left in no doubt about their monstrous act of ingratitude. He recalled how Labour spent 18 years in Opposition until he rescued them in 1997 and led them to three “unique” victories. He listed Labour’s subsequent successes – at one point cheekily claiming success over immigration and crime. Some were near tears as he admitted: “You can’t go on forever. I won’t be leading you into the next election.” But he made clear he won’t be bundled out until May – as revealed by The Sun – when he marks “10 years in the hot seat” as Prime Minister. It all had an eerie reminder of 1990, when the Tories brought down their greatest winner Margaret Thatcher after 10 years in power. With that act the Tories sowed the seeds of their own destruction and opened the door for Tony Blair. Yesterday, Gordon Brown applauded as his old friend and rival paid tribute to his “remarkable” contribution to Labour’s long run in power. But that was it. There was no endorsement of Gordon as successor – and no handshake afterwards. Worse, he utterly eclipsed the Chancellor’s own low-key speech the previous day. While Mr Brown was perfectly competent, the PM was the maestro, pitch perfect with lots of funny lines between the serious stuff. In half a dozen searing sentences he tore the Tories and David Cameron to pieces – although Cameron was the only man breathing a sigh of relief yesterday. There were no tears. Tony Blair wasn’t going to give his executioners that pleasure. This was a headmasterly farewell, stern in parts, warm in others. There were swipes at maverick ex-ministers like Clare Short. He compared her to others who “never forgot their principles when in office; and they never discovered them when they left office.” And without a hint of apology, he took them all head-on over the issue that cost him his job – Iraq. He insisted terrorism is not our fault, and denied there was a war against Islam. He even managed to win applause as he reminded them: “Terrorism killed nearly 3,000 people on the streets of New York long before war in Afghanistan or Iraq was even thought of.” The nearest he got to a catch in his voice came as he offered tips on winning a fourth term. They could take his advice or ignore it, he said. “Whatever you do, I’m always with you. Head and heart. Next year I won’t be making this speech.” He continued: “The truth is you can’t go on forever.” But Tony Blair was not telling the full story. He doesn’t want to go. He believes he could have landed them an historic fourth term. So do the weepy delegates who waved placards in the hall pleading with him to stay. Too late now comrades.

UPDATE – Well said, that man…

Independent – An intelligence assessment that gets it right: For Tony Blair to claim, as he did in his speech, the terrorist threat is “not a consequence of foreign policy” on the ground, that terror existed before 9/11 is denying reality to the point of criminal negligence. The British public has just as much right to an accurate assessment of risk and cause as the American public. It should not be deprived of it simply because its Prime Minister wants to avoid shouldering responsibility.








Posted in Page 3 - News in Briefs | 2 Comments

Perceived grievances

A completely false sense of grievance I:
New York Times – Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat: A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

UPDATE – Denied!

A completely false sense of grievance II:
Bloomberg – Cherie Blair Walks Out of Labour Party Conference, Calls Gordon Brown Liar: Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie, walked out of a speech by U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, accusing him of misleading the public about his relationship with the prime minister. As Brown told the Labour Party conference in Manchester that it had been a “privilege for me to work with and for” the premier, Mrs. Blair left the conference center saying “well that’s a lie.'”

UPDATE – Denied!








Posted in Tony 'King Blair | 1 Comment

‘Loans’

Bloggerheads – Blair, Capita and ‘easy money’ above the table (March 22, 2006): I’m going to ask you to think about that for a moment… these people came offering donations, but were instead asked for loans. Were it not for this scandal, how many of them do you think would be prepared to simply write off the loan after a suitable period? You get ten points if you answered correctly; All. Of. Them.

New Statesman – Cash for peerages: the new evidence (September 22, 2006): According to my Labour Party source, who is at the highest level of the party structure and perfectly placed to know, at least some of these loans were never intended to be paid back. According to this individual, they were never loans at all but purely and simply secret donations. And has my source told the police? You bet.

Blair Watch – Labour’s bright idea to solve its funding crisis… us!: Maybe, instead of hitting us up for more cash, the Labour Party should ask itself why its membership has halved but its fundraising has trebled since Tony Blair became Prime Minister.

(Psst! For the answer to that question… click here.)

The New Statesman article relates to a Dispatches documentary that will be shown on Channel 4 on Monday 25 September at 8pm. I urge you to watch it.

Oh, and keep an eye out for the first edition of the Labour Party’s campaign return… coming soon to a web browser near you.

UPDATE (24 Sep) – Two related links for you:
Independent – Exclusive: Lies, loans & lordships (The cash-for-honours scandal: Top Labour official tells ‘IoS’ ‘Party deliberately got round the law’ )
Independent – Dodgy donations: How Labour’s cash crisis led to the biggest sleaze scandal in the party’s history








Posted in Tony 'King Blair | 1 Comment