Archive for the ‘Humanity’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 19, 2006

Category: Humanity

Whenever George Clooney or any other celebrity has the temerity to speak out about the Middle East, all sorts of wingnuts crawl out from under their rocks to malign, mock and undermine them (here’s a classic example)… but I’m not seeing a lot of these attacks now that George Clooney is speaking out about Darfur. I find this to be odd, given that there are significant business interests to be protected. Perhaps it’s the lack of an apocalyptic objective….

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 12, 2006

Category: George W. Bush, Humanity, The War on Stupid

Guardian – ‘Killing themselves was unnecessary. But it certainly is a good PR move’ : “It does sound like this is part of a strategy – in that they don’t value their own lives, and they certainly don’t value ours; and they use suicide bombings as a tactic,” Colleen Graffy, the deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy, told BBC’s Newshour yesterday. “Taking their own lives was not necessary, but it certainly is a good PR move.” On Saturday, the camp’s commander, Navy Rear Admiral Harry Harris, said the suicides were an al-Qaida tactic. “They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us,” he said.

BBC – Guantanamo suicides a ‘PR move’: Speaking to the BBC’s Newshour programme, Ms Graffy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, said the three men did not value their lives nor the lives of those around them. Detainees had access to lawyers, received mail and had the ability to write to families, so had other means of making protests, she said, and it was hard to see why the men had not protested about their situation.

The Herald – Suicides at Camp X-ray a publicity stunt, says US official: The three had taken part previously in extended hunger strikes and been force-fed. They all left suicide notes, but no details were made public.

Ignore for the moment the shocking inhumanity of this position and the bald-faced lie that these men had not protested about their situation, and take a moment to ponder on this message:

These men committed suicide, so what further* proof does one need that they are suicide bombers?

(*Not that the Bush administration has come up with any other proof of their guilt these past few years…. but surely their presence in Guantanamo Bay is proof in itself.)

Related bloggage:
Another Guantanomaly
But… but… but… we gave them Happy Meals!

Fresh bloggage:
Daily Kos – Suicides an ‘Act of War’, Says US Admiral
Not Little England – Incredulity
BSSC – The Anomaly

UPDATE – BBC – Dead detainee ‘was to be freed’: One of the three men who committed suicide at the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay was due to be released – but did not know it, says a US lawyer. Mark Denbeaux, who represents some of the foreign detainees said the man was among 141 prisoners due to be released. He said the prisoner was not told because US officials had not decided which country he would be sent to.

(Well, obviously they’ll need to review the other 140 cases. If someone earmarked for release is capable of an act of asymmetrical warfare, then there’s something profoundly wrong with the system.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at May 26, 2006

Category: Humanity

Galloway: Bombing Blair ‘justified’ (via)

(Please keep this clear stance in mind whenever I declare my wish to see Tony Blair’s head on a spike. I will, of course, be speaking figuratively.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 13, 2005

Category: Humanity

No doubt you’re aware of, but I thought you might also be interested in some of the following weblogs, all of which are written by people who – until a week or so ago – used to live in or near New Orleans. I’ve highlighted a few key posts as well:

NO Bull: New Orleans Bulletin of Politics and Government
Highlighted post – Those Wedding Bells (Part 5 of what the author describes as ‘an extended road trip’)

Your Right Hand Thief
Highlighted post – Beautiful mind: My privileged family is in Florida right now, but we’re not going to stay. We will move back and rebuild in New Orleans. Like Blake says, “New Orleans 2.0“!

Blake Haney
Highlighted post – See above. Here, he also links to Eight Big Lies About Katrina

Hobson’s Choice (by James R MacLean)
Highlighted post – Reflections on Hurricane Katrina-3: I want to stay away from this high octane polemics because I think it’s contributed to the refusal of netizens to reject statements entirely on their immediate, transitory ideological implications. However, it’s been extremely difficult to avoid being drawn into this polemics because of the debate over FEMA’s response to Katrina has encompassed every domestic and foreign policy debate there is is.

(Note – James also features some incredibly detailed factual posts on the hurricane and the overall issue of poverty. AFAICT, James has yet to ponder publicly on his strangely prophetic choice of web host.)

Highlighted post – No permalinks, unfortunately, but the author links to this account of Gretna police holding hurricane survivors back at gunpoint and had this to say about his own situation on Wednesday August 31: I’m … numb. When I’m not numb I’m a sobbing wreck. Fortunately, everyone’s keeping me busy; my family, spread out between Lafayette, Shreveport and Birmingham, have difficulty contacting each other but seem to have a relatively easy time contacting me, so I’m a messaging hub and Internet looker-upper. It’s good to be busy, and I’ve taken leave from work until next week, ’cause I have to confess that I really couldn’t give a crap about a single thing going on there right now, and that’s not fair to them.

Harmony St. Charles
Highlighted post – New Beginning Or Next Chapter?: I’m trying to decide what to do with this blog and it isn’t easy. Memory lane is way too painful a place to visit right now. As we have no plans to return to New Orleans the chronicle of my life there has abruptly come to an end.

Black Sundae
Highlighted post – Three cheers for the “nanny state!”: When terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center, and innocent people were trapped under the wreckage, they were not left to claw their own way out in the name of some corruption of “self-reliance.” Government employees rescued them because that’s what governments are for. That is the very least one can expect from a government, and ours has just failed miserably at every single level.
Highlighted post – Sunday, September 04, 2005: nearly a week after I left new orleans, I’m realizing very quickly that although I knew this was going to be a cat. 4 storm, I didn’t pack for it. I guess I -like everyone else- didn’t realize what exactly that meant. That being said, I’m certainly not in need of anything – but I find myself with an interesting assortment of material posessions which at least until I can go back and do some salvage qualify as all I’ve got…. (list follows)… what a freak. how many people left new orleans with absolutely nothing – how many didn’t even get out – and i here i escaped with my japanese art films. *sigh*
Highlighted post – Today, Let’s try not to cry.: And I really mean it this time. Crying only gets you so far, and there is so much work to be done. My parents come back today to start cleanup on their home. They will be staying with us for the duration. Tuesday supposedly we close on the house, but the evil developer is trying to sell it from under us, and I really think it’s going to get uglier before it gets better. There is this crazy post-Katrina real estate boom here in Hammond, and he knows he can sell it for much much more right now. And that is what he’s trying to do.
Highlighted post – Sunday, September 04, 2005: (Imagine) everyone – everyone – for as far as you can see, everyone you’d encounter in the course of a normal day. Imagine all of them gone. No one is where he or she would normally be. Each and every one of those lives disrupted, on hold, indefinitely. No one you know is living a normal life, at home, comfortable. See what I mean? Mind-blowing.

Home of the Green Baron
Highlighted post – I am alive

Babies are Fireproof
Highlighted post – Marksville: It’s Tuesday evening, and I wanted to post about one of the shelters here in Marksville, the one in Garan, Inc. This was a garment factory until a few years ago, when the work moved south to Mexico. On Friday, my friend Paige and I visited and talked to Roland Scallan, who’s running the place. It’s not a state-run shelter. As far as I can see, it’s a building owned by the Marksville sheriff, T-Bill, and Roland was supposed to be in charge of a new communications company T-Bill plans to set up there…. Roland is a retired banker. He has gray hair and a tan. The look in his eyes is kind of wild. He’s dressed in a polo shirt and khakis; his name tag gives his name but no job title, because he doesn’t have one. “I’m not Red Cross, I’m nothing. Not social services. I’m a civilian who’s become the person in charge here.”

They Have Their Own Thoughts
Highlighted post – bootstraps: Yesterday, or a week ago, time has so lost relevance, some woman in some line I was standing in, said she doesn’t feel sympathy for those people who ended up in the Superdome because there were buses evacuating people and they chose not to go and so they caused their own problem. That’s another one of those “if those people would just pull themselves up by the bootstraps” sentiments. At the moment I was too numb to react but as I think on it, I get sicker and sicker about it. I know she’s just ignorant. I know she doesn’t understand that these are not people who could be leading middle class lives if only they’d do a little something for themselves. Like it’s easy or something.

The Blog of GayGayBrad Zippernut
Highlighted post – Katrina: Chapter One: After checking on the condition of the livingroom, I discovered that my diningroom window was breathing like something out of a horror film. The glass was breaking and pieces of my window were flying away. I frantically grabbed another shower curtain, some large, heavy cardboard and a 2X4. I nailed the hell out of the materials cursing to God and crying as the wind and rain beat me in the face. I then grabbed my bedding and went into the bathroom where I had no windows. Somehow, I eventualy fell asleep but was awakened by the sound of light rain. It was calm and unlike the hurricane raging outside. I opened the bathroom door to my bedroom and found that the water was coming through my ceiling.

If you find any more, do let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

Posted by Tim Ireland at May 19, 2005

Category: Humanity

Demonstrate against the Uzbek massacres.

Uzbek Embassy, London, 12 noon, Saturday 21st May

12 Noon – Saturday 21st May 2005 – Assemble at the Uzbek Embassy, 41 Holland Park Road, London W11 3RP

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 28, 2005

Category: Humanity

As they’ve always been champions of the rights of Jews, gays and gypsies, obviously…

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 27, 2005

Category: Humanity

I will never forget.

But neither will I tolerate those who would exploit this tragedy in order to commit or excuse their own crimes against humanity.

I will never forget.

But neither will I tolerate those who would exploit this tragedy in order to commit or excuse their own crimes against humanity.

Well, isn’t that interesting? Richard Desmond appears to be trying to get on Tony’s good side by not running the images and instead reminding us what this fight is ‘really’ about… and that we could all get blowed up…

BBC – ‘Abuse’ pictures dominate papers: The Express is the only paper that does not feature images of alleged abuse on its front page. Instead the paper leads with a special investigation by two of its reporters trying to show “how easy it is for bombers to get into Britain”. It describes how they smuggled fake bombs across the Channel by boat, then took them to various places including the London Eye and Heathrow airport.

Normally, this is the kind of helpful stunt The Sun would pull.

For the record, I should note that I didn’t see a newspaper rack until late yesterday, but when I did I found that the Express also bigged-up the Omar Bakri Mohammed ‘story’. And today they continue the good work.

(Oh, and I haven’t seen a newspaper this morning, either… so I don’t know what the girl with the tits thinks.)

One would almost think that the Bakri matter was pushed/generated in expectation of the release of these pictures, in order to reach that fuzzy area in the back of people’s brains that still links the war in Iraq with the War on Terror… a link that in some small way is supposed to excuse these pictures.

In fact, while The Sun has run with the pictures today, they tie up the messy ends with the following neat little bow….

The Sun – Army’s shame: The country is asking one question today: How COULD the British Army let such terrible things happen? The truth is that only a few revolting individuals have allowed themselves to sink so low… The fine work of 99 per cent of our magnificent Army has been tarnished by a handful of morons. The Sun feels deep sympathy for the mistreated Iraqis, and we know our readers will too. The soldiers on trial must, if convicted, pay a heavy penalty. That is vital. We cannot afford to let the likes of Omar Bakri, the fanatical Muslim cleric, try to make mileage out of these events.

I’m sorry, but I feel the need to correct that middle sentence… The fine work of 100 per cent of our magnificent Army has been tarnished by a handful of morons that are in charge.

Blair! Hoon! Stop pretending to cry at the back there and pay attention! This concerns you.

The same strategists who worked so hard to link the invasion of Iraq with the War on Terror at home did equally fine work contributing to the mentality of our troops. Mix a getsomegetsomegetsome atitude with a false picture of the population you’re invading (Iraqis were responsible for 911, don’t you know), and you’re away.

Combine this with the practice of bagging/hooding that magically turns people into objects, and you have your very own recipe for disaster.

Of course, an incident like this happening so early in the war should have been a warning sign for someone senior along the way. Unless of course such a go-getter attitude was seen as a necessary evil. Or perhaps even a desirable attribute, given that someone would have to get tough sooner or later in order to track down those pesky WMDs. That never existed.

But what makes me angriest about this is that – while no-one is stupid enough to be quite as overt as Rumsfeld about it (though The Sun tries) – the same game to win hearts and minds that led to this is still being played in order to excuse it.

Iraq, Friendly Fire, Civilian Casualties, and a Total Lack Of Torture
Something Funny Happened On The Way To Abu Ghraib

UPDATE – Today’s topless totty has been moved to page 7. There, Ruthie (23, from Kent) is angered by photos of British troops abusing Iraqi prisoners and turns away from the camera to show a suitably respectful hint of nipple. She says: “Stories like this play right into the hands of our enemies. People who abuse prisoners should be punished.”

And by that she means pilloried.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 18, 2005

Category: Humanity, It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, The War on Stupid, Tony 'King Blair

Guardian – Court martial told of soldiers’ ‘appalling’ abuse: Three British soldiers carried out “shocking and appalling” physical and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners that was photographed by servicemen, a court martial heard today. Twenty-two photographs were released by a British military court in Germany where the court martial of the three accused Royal Regiment of Fusiliers soldiers opened today. Among the disturbing images was a picture of two naked Iraqi men simulating anal sex with their thumbs raised up to the cameras. There was also a close-up picture of two Iraqis simulating oral sex.

Is it just me, or do these new pictures look disturbing familiar in theme and content?

Dear oh dear oh dear oh dear oh dear… how could this have happened?

UPDATE – Not connected to the above in any way, shape or form. By the way, none of this is real because the images the Mirror published were fake.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 6, 2005

Category: George W. Bush, Humanity, It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, The War on Stupid

OK, it’s shocking, it’s alarming…. but it Does. Not. Surprise. Me. At. All.

Guardian – Bush’s choice for top law job faces grilling on torture: Alberto Gonzales, currently his chief legal adviser, told Mr Bush in early 2002 that the White House was not bound by the Geneva conventions in dealing with al-Qaida and the Taliban. In August that year he helped orchestrate and approve a justice department memorandum arguing that interrogators could use techniques which the Red Cross has since described as “tantamount to torture”. His role will come under close scrutiny, but he is expected to survive. Republicans consolidated their hold on the Senate in November and some Democrats are uneasy about blocking the country’s first Hispanic attorney general.

Just let the powerlessness/gutlessness of the Democrats sink in for a bit before continuing…

New York Times – Newly Released Reports Show Early Concern on Prison Abuse: When the Abu Ghraib scandal broke last spring, officials characterized the abuse as the aberrant acts of a small group of low-ranking reservists, limited to a few weeks in late 2003. But thousands of pages in military reports and documents released under the Freedom of Information Act to the American Civil Liberties Union in the past few months have demonstrated that the abuse involved multiple service branches in Afghanistan, Iraq and Cuba, beginning in 2002 and continuing after Congress and the military had begun investigating Abu Ghraib.

ACLU – New Documents Suggest Government Reluctance to Investigate Guantanamo Abuses: Documents released today by the American Civil Liberties Union show that an FBI investigation into the use of “aggressive” interrogation techniques at Guantanamo was sharply scaled back, and that records related to the FBI’s investigation are still being withheld.

You can browse through and read those documents here:
Records Released in Response to Torture FOIA Request

DailyKos – What Bush Lackey Gonzales Wrought: Does it matter that Alberto Gonzales advised the President of the United States that he was not bound by the Geneva Conventions, any international treaties to which the U.S. was a signatory, or federal law when it came to “coercive interrogation” techniques? Of course it does. Here’s why…

Lots and lots of comments and extra info in that last link – do follow and dig. Oh and make time to share Something Funny Happened On The Way To Abu Ghraib.

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