Bastions of Free Speech

August 20, 2013 at 7:31 pm

This Sunday past, the 18th of August to be precise, the world witnessed yet another act of intimidation against free speech by a repressive state. A journalist, or rather a partner of a journalist, was detained for a whole nine hours to be questioned by police. I’d always heard of these types of things in the past, where a completely innocent person is detained for long periods of time, and wondered:

“What kind of questions do they ask?

Because to be held for a length of time as substantial as nine hours, you’d think there’d be some probing, cutting questions. Of course I still wonder what questions were asked, but not with the same sense of mystery as I once did. For starters, these detentions were the kind of thing that mainstream media outlets assured us only ever happened in horrible nasty evil strange places like Iran, China, Russia or North Korea. How should I know then what a North Korean interrogator would ask? This kind of thing never happened here and if it did it only happened to nasty people that want to attack our very way of life(!)

The mystery disappeared for me at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv (except it’s not really in Tel Aviv), when my wife was subjected to a four hour ‘detention’. It was a bit strange how it all happened really. I was let through straight away without any issues or even any questions asked, but my wife was immediately questioned: “Where are you from? No where are you from? What’s your father’s name? What’s your grandfather’s name? What are you doing in my country? Why don’t you go to Spain?’ I could say something about how the answers must have been the wrong ones, but it was clear that it was actually the skin colour and religion that was wrong.

Anyway, taken away to a little room she was ‘detained’ for four hours, subjected to hourly 10 minute sessions of aggressive interrogation that made me wonder: ‘Does this ever actually work?’. I mean, you’d have to be a really bad terrorist to crack under the heat of repetitive questions that began with ‘Why are you visiting Israel?’ and ended with ‘I SAID WHY ARE YOU VISITING MY COUNTRY, WHAT DO YOU WANT HERE? YOU KNOW YOU CAN GO TO SPAIN?’ What’s the fascination with Spain, I wonder? Do the Spanish Tourist board pay the IDF commission?

I imagine David Miranda, being the partner of a journalist who has dared to confront the greatest (by greatest, I mean largest and meanest) powers of our time for partaking in less-than-legal activities, was probably subjected to a far tougher line of questioning than my wife. Though if he were asked the same question ‘Why are you visiting my country?‘, aside from the obvious ‘I’m not, I’m just changing flights‘ I’d have been tempted to say ‘I have no f**king idea mate. It’s sh*t, it’s always f**king wet and the people have a strange sense of self-importance when really these pathetic little Islands are a spent force, periodically sucking American d**k to earn a few brownie points.’

Whatever David was asked, I think Scotland Yard’s claim that his detention was ‘Legally Sound’ is completely irrelevant. It may well have been legally sound, so to speak, but it was definitely not morally sound. In fact, it was morally repugnant. A complete disgrace. It’s pretty clear that this guy was targeted, this was no coincidence, and he was targeted because his partner is engaged in a campaign to reveal some rather inconvenient truths that may or may not affect the public’s view of not only the NSA and GCHQ but also the US & British Governments too. It’s rather easy to shoulder the blame and mistrust onto the security agencies, but they are only following orders.

Even the legally sound bit is becoming a bit irritating actually, because it’s also legally sound to stop ethnic minorities (particularly black males) and search them at will, the only justification required? ‘They looked suspicious guv’. Must be a bit of a shock to bone-headed bobby to discover things like ‘A Brief History of Time’, a violin or even just a pen in a black male’s satchel instead of some weed, a gun or a knife. Probably just carrying it for a white friend or something. ‘I’ve got my eye on you.‘ So the legally sound thing is pretty meaningless, besides the guy was detained under terror laws. I mean really? He doesn’t even have a Muslim Face, for Christ’s sake.

So the upshot of all this is our government just looks worse than it already did before (a spectacular achievement in all fairness as they look like a shower of c*nts as it is), because all this sorry little episode has done is show the British public that in all actuality we are merely slaves to the States. It’s clear that any secrets revealed by Glenn Greenwald will show the UK in a negative light, a seedy light. They will show that GCHQ and by extension, our Government, are whoring out their services to the US in a bid to impress them, to stay in favour. They will show that we fully support everything they do and our most recent actions show that we will support them in trying to suppress the truth too. What our Government must realise though is that, like all whores, once the US has paid us for our services they will have no hesitation to discard us for a more attractive proposition.

Now Russia, Iran, North Korea and China may not exactly be bastions of free speech and democracy, but it seems that neither are we. That’s not to say that whenever a repressive regime commits an immoral or grotesque act of injustice we should remain silent. Definitely not, but in the case of David Miranda and Glenn Greenwald, the UK has destroyed any credibility it may have once had. The next time Putin imprisons one of his political rivals on weak (or non-existent) charges, our voice of condemnation will be even more meaningless than it already would have. Whereas before Putin would have just swatted us away like the irritating fly that thinks it’s an Eagle, now he’ll merely laugh at how ridiculous we look.

Because the way to stop ‘terrorism’ is to confiscate games consoles. Obviously.

Explosions

August 17, 2013 at 11:20 pm

What is an explosion?

We’ve all seen them on television, in films, on the internet and maybe even caused a few on our games consoles. But do we really know what an explosion is? I have never seen one with my own two eyes, and I’ve never felt the effects of one on my skin. Like most people, I’ve only seen real explosions on a little box in my house, relaying images from far away lands. Occasionally the odd explosion on British soil causes a range of emotions on these isles from mild concern to outright panic, but still I’ve never seen one.

And because so few people in the west have ever seen or felt or experienced an explosion, because most of the explosions we see are so distant or just not real we can quite easily forget what an explosion actually is. Generally speaking, humans conform to the old adage:

“Out of Sight, Out of Mind.”

The explosions we see in Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan and Palestine all happen well out of reach of western territories. They happen in distant lands where natives of English-speaking countries are few and far between. They happen in cities most natives of English-speaking countries have little or no interest of ever visiting. They kill people without faces or names, people who bear no relation to anyone that we know. So instead of concern for the loss of life, we just don’t care. It is after all, ‘Out of sight’.

That is the really concerning thing here. When people die overseas, the masses just don’t care. And why should the masses care? Leaders of nations don’t really care, they may record messages of faux-condemnation but if you followed the paper-trail from the finger pulling the trigger all the way back up to the pen signing the arms deal, you’ll find the hand holding the pen would belong to the leader of one of these nations.

Our media also has a pretty shocking view on explosions and death too, often giving parity to stories such as ‘David Moyes wins his first match in charge of Man Utd this afternoon’ with stories like ‘Security Forces Clear Cairo Mosque’. I think it would be fair to say that if a Briton were injured in this ‘Clearing’ of a Mosque, it would be the headline news story immediately. Forget that 683 people died on Wednesday, that 173 died on Friday. They were Egyptian, who cares about them? A Briton broke a nail in a siege in the Mosque. Then Cameron, or the equally odious Hague, would be on telly in front of a stand of a hundred microphones calling for an end to the violence in Egypt.

But no British people have died in Egypt, no British people broke their nail in a siege, no leading politicians have called for an end to the violence or even called the coup out for what it actually is. A military coup led by the same Generals who served the deposed Mubarak. So the public follow suit, instead of reading about the Egyptian situation, they read about an online poll of airline passengers’ opinions of airports. Really.

Only when an explosion happens in Britain do the masses sit up and take note. I have some vague recollections of a helicopter crashing in Central London earlier this year, the initial reaction was measured: “TERRORISTS ATTACK LONDON”. I also seem to recall a fire at a tyre recycling depot causing some consternation last year. And of course the riots in 2011, where the damaging of property, looting of multi-national chain stores and the stealing of Basmati rice received much more attention than the killing of a young, black male by police.

Can we blame the masses for not caring though? Looking at the current political situation in the UK, I think the answer is no. Voter apathy will reach all new lows in the 2015 General Election, because Cameron is a profiteering little c*nt who’ll do whatever it takes to hold on to power (apart from improve our country) and Miliband is weak, shifting Labour almost as far to the right as the Tories. Voting for anybody else is always a ‘wasted vote’ anyway, but this time around I think more people will realise that none of these people are the right ones to take us forward, so why bother?

And that attitude, which I have to say I agree with, poisons other aspects of our thinking too. Apathy is like a virus, it first affects our desire to vote where it multiplies inside us making us no longer willing to stand for or against anything any more. Because the ordinary man or woman in the street is losing interest in politics at home, crises abroad only seem like an extension of our politics where it doesn’t really matter who wins, because in the end we’re all f*cked anyway.

As it happens, I won’t vote Labour or Tory in 2015. I may not even vote at all, not through apathy but through protest. I’m not saying ‘I don’t care’, I’m saying ‘You’re all useless c*nts’. But that doesn’t mean that I, or anyone else who doesn’t vote, should become politically inactive and unaware. Quite the opposite, we should increase our awareness.

So next time you’re watching the news, reading a newspaper or browsing a news website and you see a story about an explosion, a bomb or death just stop for a second to think how you’d feel if someone connected to you was directly affected. Remember that the actual people affected in these faraway lands are real people too. They have fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, wives and husbands too. They are exactly the same as you in almost every single way, except they’ve experienced a struggle like nothing we ever have. Try to find out the name of one person that died.

Ask yourself then, ‘What is an explosion?’, and maybe we’ll begin to care just a little bit more.

Outsourcing Death

August 15, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Tony Blair, quite rightly, often cops a lot of flak for his over-eagerness to enter into war with our American partners (read Masters) in Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m sure anybody reading this is well aware that the ‘war’ in Iraq was premised on the fact that Saddam Hussein had built up large stores of WMDs and that we’d save the day by bringing democracy to Iraq. The ‘war’ in Afghanistan was premised on the fact that the Taliban regime there harboured terrorists, so we’d rid Afghanistan of these terrorists, bring democracy and make it a better place. Oh, and of course on the complete down-low was the only actual fact:

We’d make sh*t loads of money out of it.

History now tells us that Saddam did not have any WMDs, never mind a stash big enough to pose a threat to the US or even the UK. We have tried to enforce democracy (the irony) in Afghanistan and Iraq, but we’ve completely failed in that respect as nothing’s really changed in either country. We haven’t really gotten rid of any terrorists in Afghanistan, merely made it easier for them to recruit globally. We’ve only succeeded in making Afghanistan and Iraq far more dangerous places than they ever used to be.

One of the main criticisms that faces the likes of Blair, Bush and now Obama is the civilian death toll. We’ll never really know the exact amount, because of the sheer politics involved in counting dead people. The UN and other international agencies of ‘peace’ will always be keen to downplay this number, whereas sources sympathetic to the local cause may be just as keen to exaggerate. Whether these perceptions are accurate or not isn’t really relevant because no one will agree on specifics, what we can agree on though is a sh*t load of innocent people have died as a result of these ‘wars’. The inverted commas are purely placed because these were labelled as wars, but were actually more like occupations by much larger, more technologically, militarily and economically advanced bullies.

Anyway, the point behind this article is to simply state that politicians in the UK have learned some important lessons from our misadventures overseas helping out our masters. Whilst Tony Blair can be said to have given the direct orders that led to the deaths of potentially millions of civilians, orders that he still refuses to acknowledge any regret for, David Cameron cannot be said to have given direct orders to kill anyone. Our PR savvy Prime Minister learnt from Iraq and Afghanistan, that if you want to make s*it loads of money from killing people, you’re probably better off doing it via somebody else.

We have in place a Government now that is happy, no delighted, to sell weapons (or at least Military Tech) to: Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Israel, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Argentina (Bizarrely enough!), Iran, Russia and China. At the same time we have a government who continually condemn or express concern at state violence and oppression of freedoms in the very same countries.

So instead of pledging ourselves to large-scale participation in military occupations around the globe, David  merely supplies the weaponry for repressive regimes to murder and oppress their own citizens. Of course, the good thing about all of this is that the Arms Trade provides the UK with bucket loads of cash and jobs to boost the economy that his government is so desperately failing to fix. So whilst Tony Blair has blood on his hands, David’s outsourced it to somebody else. And he f*cking loves it.

The Establishment Urinates on the Electorate. Again.

August 13, 2013 at 6:21 pm

The Government today announced another rise in ‘Regulated’ Rail Fares, and it won’t be the last either with further hikes built in already for 2014 and 2015. The stage is set then for Rail Fares to become a bit of a battleground for the main parties in Election 2015. Expect to see the three main parties include ‘Price-Freeze’ promises in their Manifestos, not price cuts (obviously), and expect to see the winner(s) break the promises. Also expect UKIP to team up with a nice British make-up company to announce a Foundation Shade-based ticket-pricing system, whereby the darker your skin tone, the more you pay – unless you buy a one way ticket on the Eurostar to Brussels or Paris of course.

Seriously though, much is being made of another inflation-busting price rise of 4.1% which is pretty hard to swallow, particularly as that’s just an average. Some fares will actually rise by up to 9.1%. That’s an astronomical rise considering the average wage in the UK rose by just 1.4% in 2012. I just don’t see how any Government could justify increasing fares by so much, I understand that there’s a huge national debt and a burgeoning budget deficit to be brought under control, but it could be argued that the majority of these rises will simply end up in the pockets of shareholders.

Rail companies come out in force promising more punctual trains, less delays and improved services but it just doesn’t feel like this is happening. I travelled on a train from Manchester to Bolton (final destination of Blackpool) during the week at 5pm. Around this time, masses of commuters filter out of the city heading for their homes in the relative quiet of Lancastrian towns and villages. I got on at Oxford Road, the stop after the main station at Piccadilly and there were at least 50 passengers waiting for the train. It was seven minutes late by the time it appeared around the bend with just two carriages. Most of the seats on board were already full and we could see that the gangways were also full. Bear in mind, there were another two stations within the City where commuters board before we move out into the suburbs and away from the City.

I know it’s a terribly British thing to do to complain about things half-heartedly and be self-deprecating and faux-grumpy about it. I also appreciate that rail fares in a ‘Developed’ nation such as Britain really are small-fry compared to some of the other concerns that exist around the globe, and perhaps that’s why we half-jokingly complain about our lot, but perhaps that’s also the very reason why successive governments don’t really give a damn about real-life issues that affect real-life people. Times are tough in Britain. Employers don’t want to pay us more, and at the same time expect their customers to pay more. Simple mathematics dictates this to be unsustainable for people living on or below the average wage. How can we expect to be paid less yet pay more?

This government, and the opposition too, are simply taking the p*ss out of the electorate. And quite frankly, we deserve to be taken the p*ss out of because we’re so stupid for sitting by doing nothing except pass our vote every four or five years. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to fall into that a caricature of a stereotype, the British person too stiff-upper-lipped to actually complain about something. We should get up and do something about it. But there’s something in that. We’re a nation that rarely does take collective action, the last major collective action was ‘Stop the War’ prior to Tony Blair steering us into an illegal war and before that who knows – Poll Tax?!

But why? Perhaps our ‘civilisation’ is a little more Orwellian than we’d care to admit, and not because of the recent spate of allegations against Intelligence Agencies spying on ordinary citizens. No, because anybody daring enough to actually think differently is ridiculed, mocked, oppressed or ignored. Their basic premise of an idea is mercilessly torn apart by agenda-driven media hacks, internet trolls or even broadcasters out for a cheap laugh.

I even think the so-called Arab Spring revolutions are being used as a bit of a tool to make us question whether collective action really works. The situation in Egypt is quite frankly bizarre to a complete outsider looking in. Huge amounts of people invested lots of time and energy fighting against a corrupt, autocratic government. Lives were lost in the pursuit of freedom and democracy, before finally the tyrant gave in. Elections are held shortly after, with the Muslim Brotherhood just shading it. Less than a year later further demonstrations are held because the new Prime Minister isn’t very good, so the Military stage a coup, insert the guy who lost the election as PM and promise more elections later on.

Obviously it’s more complex than that and there’s a lot more detail to go into, but this is the view that someone with just a passing interest will have. At the time of the initial revolution, many people in the west wondered what it’d be like if we had the same amount of people over here take such action against our own governments. The retort to that dream is simply ‘Look at them now’. Again it’s simplistic, it’s wrong and it’s defeatist, but it’s another reason for people to just lie down and let the tanks roll over them. Why bother? All that’ll happen is we’ll waste our time and nothing will change.

This is the British attitude, and before we can defeat our hideous government, we have to beat that.

The Free World is Dead

July 30, 2013 at 7:14 pm

A hero is not a (wo)man who always follows orders unquestionably, a hero is a (wo)man who always questions orders.

I always question the mentality of a person who dismisses another based on their past. In the UK recently the press came down on Papiss Cissé, a footballer, who publicly declared that he would not wear a shirt adorned with the logo of his club’s new shirt sponsor, payday loan company Wonga. The reason for this is that he felt that it contradicted his Islamic Faith, which seems fair enough to me. Islam bans any form of usury, and Wonga are renowned for drawing profit from people who often don’t have a lot of money.

It didn’t take all that long for the press, not just the tabloids mind, to bring up the following facts that made his declaration look a bit ‘odd’:

  1. Newcastle Utd had Virgin Money emblazoned on their shirts last season, he had no issue with that at the time
  2. He was photographed visiting a Casino in November 2012
  3. Several of his team-mates are Muslims and they have no issue with it

All three are fairly pathetic observations:

  1. True enough Virgin Money are a similar type of organisation to Wonga albeit with far less negative publicity surrounding it, perhaps Papiss has recently had a spiritual awakening and/or thought that Wonga was just a step too far?
  2. Firstly, do we know that he was gambling in the casino? Secondly, this was eight months ago. People change.
  3. So what? Faith is unique to each individual, Islam is about people not robots. Just because two adherents don’t have an issue does not mean that the third person by default should follow suit.

These observations played out in the media were a pretty blatant attempt to discredit the guy, either orchestrated by his own club or by a media that has absolutely no intention of understanding the spiritual needs of someone who is a little bit ‘different’ to them. In the end, Papiss gave in. I don’t know why exactly he did give in, but I rather hoped that he wouldn’t, not based on Islamic principles but on the principle that Wonga exploit those in need with exorbitant interest rates. At least Papiss made a stand though, he’s not a hero as such but he should be commended for drawing attention to the issue.

Another man who was taken a rather more high-profile stand is of course Bradley Manning. Bradley truly is a hero, one of those people that come along once in a generation and take a stand against the highest form of evil in our world. The United States isn’t so dissimilar to the (in)famous empires we so keenly read about in history lessons at school, though there is one key difference. Where these famous empires failed in the past was their reliance on a strong leader or figurehead to steer them through the lowest of lows and lead them to the highest of highs.

Rome, The Mughals, The Macedonians and The Mongols are just a few examples of Empires that collapsed in the hands of weak or uncharismatic leaders. The American Empire is of course unofficial, we don’t know how much of the world is actually in their control but we can be certain that their influence is felt everywhere. That’s not necessarily sinister in itself, it just depends on how much of that influence is positive. What Bradley Manning showed us is that their influence is often negative. He showed us the dark truth that lurks just beneath the shiny, happy, smiley surface of The Corporate Empire of The United States of America. He said ‘This is not what I signed up for’ and instead of being ‘A Patriot’ and ignoring the issue, he confronted it head on, via Wikileaks.

He will now serve the rest of his life in a cold, dark cell. While he wastes away in there, Barack Obama and his successors will give orders to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people in far away lands. The CIA and maybe even the future Presidents themselves will work in the background to destabilise ‘threats’ across the globe from Venezuela to China. The US will seize upon unstable nations, even regions, they will make their profits, grab any resources they can and leave behind power vacuums to be filled with civil wars and decades of unrest.

America will continue to oppress those who quite simply do not wish to live the way Americans do, in fact America will even oppress Americans. More obviously it will continue to allow white murderers of black people go free, it will disproportionately imprison non-whites and ethnic minorities, and more discretely it will allow large corporations to continue buying off Senators and Congressmen/women to ensure that Average Joes and Janes, even if white, will always get a raw deal. They’ll still have to pay for healthcare, guns will never be controlled, Monsanto will still control (genetically modified) seeds and profits will always come before the good of the people.

Bradley Manning will still be in prison, he’ll still be innocent and the truly guilty will still walk free and remain unaccountable for the worst of all crimes: Crimes against Humanity.

The Free World is Dead. It has been for a long time, but I fear that the worst is yet to come. Steadily and gradually, life on this planet is only getting worse. Unless you’re filthy f**king rich or just don’t give a s**t about anyone else.

Long Live The King

July 23, 2013 at 12:29 am

I’ve seen a good number of comments today from people talking of how Kate’s 9 months of pregnancy felt a lot longer than that. To me though it passed quite quickly, the main reason being that I have absolutely no interest whatsoever. Sure I get incredibly irritated when the royal family hog the headlines and we have to see the flabbergastingly pro-Royal brown-tongue Nicholas Witchell launch into another of his preposterous missives about how great everything royal is.

But I’ve largely ignored the whole royal baby story, and that’s worked out well for me. I don’t feel like it’s dragged on forever like one of those American TV serials that started off with a unique and interesting idea but sort of lost its way after three episodes and nothing exciting really happened until the finale. No, it’s not been like that at all. Only one word I can think of describes my feelings towards the whole situation:

Meh.”

Despite the Royal Family being a bunch of work-shy, benefit-claiming toe-rags I wish Kate and Wills and the new sprog prince no ill will whatsoever. Any new life being brought into this world is more than worthy of warm words and celebration. Any life at all, whether that be in a slum in Mumbai, a council house in Ilford, a palace in London or a favela in Rio de Janeiro; all life is to be celebrated equally.

What I have been less than impressed with is of course the media. And I’m only going to talk about the British press because I’m not altogether that bothered by what the foreign press prints on this issue. No, Fleet Street’s ‘finest’ have been clambering all over each other to remind us:

The World Awaits the Royal Baby!”

And:

A Nation Rejoices at the Birth of our Future King!”

Yes, I can just imagine a Bavarian pub packed to the rafters with German punters demanding the barkeep switch over to BBC World Service for a 24 hour news feed on the Royal Baby, sat on the edge of their stools in silence, eyes glued to the screen, a boorish man enters the pub asking “What’s going on?” to be met with a chorus of index fingers raised to the lips: “Shh, the kid might pop out any second.”

Let’s be honest, normal people of the world may raise a smile should they come across the news by chance. They don’t care. It’s a nice little feel-good story about a princess giving birth to a prince and they all lived happily ever after, but in the grand scheme of things it’s inconsequential. Unless he turns out to be batsh*t mental, dissolves parliament, seizes control of Britain, invades Belgium, Holland and France and enslaves half of the world from his new Flemish Castle. Highly improbable though.

And that touches on another point. I’m 28, and will either be dead or dying by the time this Prince becomes a King. So he’s inconsequential to me too, and I’m potentially one of his future subjects. And what exactly will this King, or the two between now and his reign for that matter, actually do anyway? Sit around on a throne, visit former colonial outposts and wave at kids who’ve been brainwashed into thinking they’re of some significance?

Kings, Queens, Princes, Princesses, Dukes, Duchesses, Earls, Barons and whatever other fancy titles these people all have are fantastic distractions from the real world. We can all forget about David Cameron and his Coalition government tearing apart our nation’s public institutions for the good of his private pals. We can forget about the civil war in Syria. We can forget about the messes we created in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen. We can forget that we’re selling weapons to Bahrain, Saudi and Israel. We can forget that the NSA and GCHQ are colluding to spy against us normal civilians. We can forget that Mosques are being bombed. We can forget that a big earthquake killed hundreds in China. We can forget that Western exploitation of African resources is preventing African governments from providing their citizens with basic services. We can forget about Putin jailing his opponents in Russia. We can forget about Obama not releasing innocent men imprisoned for a decade without trial. We can forget he’s still bombing the sh*t out of Pakistan and killing innocent men, women and children. We can forget that Israel is breaching international law daily and oppressing the Palestinians. We can forget about all that.

Because Kate gave birth to a little baby boy.

Earth is not a Cold, Dead Place…

June 23, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Earth is not a cold, dead place. But we humans do our utmost to make it so.

Every now and then I need to take a little break from the wall of depression that is the 21st Century, this weekend I took one. I was at a wedding all day Saturday and today I just relaxed at home reading a book (1Q84: Book One) with Vingt-Quatre Heures du Mans and the Cricket on in the background. It’s been a good weekend, detached from the realities of mainstream news and the real news.

But as the old saying goes:

“All good things come to an end.”

True enough, no sooner than ‘Rise of The Continents’ with Professor Iain Stewart had finished on BBC2, I switched over to BBC1 for what felt a bit like the 2013 equivalent of ‘The Ten Minutes Hate’. The content was so dire and depressing that I can’t even remember what was said, instead I have moving images floating around in my head jostling for position with the images that were stuffed in there last week and the week before and the week before that and so on…

I can’t even keep track of what’s going on in the world anymore. There’s just so much going on everywhere and I feel like our masters and overlords balance our news diets for us, make sure we know enough to believe we are free but not enough to actually be free.

It was interesting that Professor Stewart talked of all the activity beneath the surface that constantly and almost secretly changes the nature of our worlds. I’ve kind of half followed the Edward Snowden story over the past week, it’s something that we all should be incredibly interested in and frightened by but there are too many sheep on the abattoir conveyor belt perfectly happy in the knowledge they’ll soon be made into mincemeat and stuffed into a Tesco Value Lasagne.

There are others though who turn their eyes to a life away from the conveyor belt and think:

“Hold on a minute, Not sure I fancy being sold as a 99p Microwaveable meal actually!”

But us Black Sheep face a Matrix-esque problem, we’ve already taken the Red Pill yet not everything is quite as it should be. We seek the truth, but we don’t know exactly what it looks like, sounds like or feels like at the minute. We’re carving out our own methods and techniques of trying to figure out what’s going on, we’re the digger that just keeps digging and with each new layer of earth we breach we find more and more unmarked mass graves. We find more and more skeletons, more and more questions only to find that we’ve been followed by snakes looking to poison us and spiders looking to ensnare us in their webs of lies and deceit.

The point is though, the NSA and GCHQ have been spying on us to the extent that we can’t even be sure what exactly it is what they know, what they were looking at or why. I read an interesting statistic that actually blew my mind. There are 850,000 NSA employees and US ‘contractors’ with access to GCHQ’s fibre-optic spying databases. What kind of country needs a quarter of a percent of its population snooping around UK web and phone records? It’s just staggering. If you stuffed 93,000 average American citizens inside Wembley Stadium, 250 of them would have access to GCHQ’s data.

There are so many questions that we need answers to, but will these questions even be asked? And if they are, will they be answered? Why is GCHQ spying on UK citizens? What data are they collecting? Who’s looking at it! What are they doing with it? Why is it shared with the US? Why do they want it? Who are these private contractors? What is so interesting about this data that almost a million Americans can access it?

People have said for years now that we live in the ‘Information Age’ but only now are we awakening to the fact that our governments want access to all of our personal information. They want the facility to type your name into a computer and find out everything about you. Everything. But why? Are we the enemy? The answer to that question will hit the conveyor belt sheep like a bolt-gun to the brain, but the digging black sheep will already know.

The Electorate are the Enemy of the State

It shouldn’t be this way, but it is. And the reason it is this way is that our ‘Free and democratic’ nations are neither free nor democratic. Imagine a country where less than 20% of eligible voters chose the ‘winner’, and imagine that ‘winner’ acting with impunity savagely destroying the fabric of society for personal profit. Imagine a country where you choose between one right-wing authoritarian or another one. Imagine a nation that sells weapons to the highest bidder without a care in the world who’s buying. Imagine a nation that criticises others for their lack of freedoms.

Welcome to Britain. Where the elites get rich and you die trying.

Muslims Need to do More…

June 12, 2013 at 8:51 pm

For a good while now, every negative news story involving either a Muslim, a group of Muslims or even a person with a vaguely ‘Muslim-looking’ face or a ‘Muslim-sounding’ name is swiftly followed by one sentence of immense stupidity:

Muslim communities need to do more to root out (insert crime here).

‘Why is this such an immensely stupid statement?’ I hear you ask.

When a white Briton commits the very same crime, and they do (quite often as it happens), do we see media outlets ask the same question of white British communities? Never. Do white British communities do enough to root out Paedophilia? It’s a ridiculous question to ask. Is it a cultural thing that means Paedophilia within white Britons is more likely than other communities? Of course it isn’t. Do white people need to apologise for every white Paedophile or rapist? Don’t be absurd.

So why do we see that minority communities in Britain face these very same questions? Muslims in particular face the pathetic accusation that we ‘Don’t do enough to root out terrorism and extremists in our midst’. If the accuser would stop for just a moment to allow the brain-mouth link to function correctly they may begin to understand why it is so ludicrous.

I’ve been to a great many mosques over the past five years. I’ve been to Pakistani mosques, Indian mosques, Somali mosques, Bengali mosques, Libyan mosques, Iraqi mosques, mixed mosques, Arab mosques, revert mosques, university mosques, multi-million pound mosques, garden shed mosques, multi-storey mosques, mosques in India, Nepal, Egypt, UAE, Palestine, Turkey and Britain. Not one of them had a dark little hideaway labelled ‘Terrorist Corner’.

What you must understand before asking whether Muslims ‘do enough’, or just outright declare that we don’t, is that terrorists or extremists in our midst don’t exactly shout their opinions from the rooftops. They probably don’t even discuss their views within the mosque itself and there’s actually a damned good reason for that too: It isn’t Islam. It isn’t welcome in our mosques, it isn’t welcome in our communities and it definitely isn’t welcome in our name. Our imams don’t preach hatred or talk of commandeering these isles in the name of Islam or of enforcing ‘Sharia Law’ on the native white population. They preach love and tolerance, equality and peace.

I often wander around inside mosques, casually eavesdropping on conversations and surprisingly enough I’ve never encountered any hushed groups of four to five angry, bearded, robed men sat around the blueprints of a major landmark discussing strategically placed plastic models of TNT. Usually they’re talking about the beauty of the Qur’an, talking about it’s pronunciation or meaning, talking about the Almighty or his Messenger. Mosques are not sinister breeding grounds for extremism and misogyny.

Consider this: how many ‘Dawn raids’ do police carry out on mosques on Counter-Terrorism grounds? None. The raids are always on houses, usually belonging to another seemingly mundane member of the local community. Usually the inhabitants eat, sleep, shower and s**t in that house. Often, they actually leave the house to buy food or talk to people about sport, news, the weather or family. Sometimes they invite people into that house, other times they’ll visit other people’s houses. They seem to be ordinary people. In fact some of them don’t even live within a ‘Muslim Neighbourhood’, some have the audacity to live next to White British people.

The problem then for the Muslim community then becomes a little more apparent don’t you think? In Islam, we believe in many miracles. Sadly mind-reading is not one of them. So tell me: What should Muslims be doing exactly? And what are you doing about Paedophiles, Rapists and Murderers?

The Blair Issue

June 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Late on Saturday night I had the misfortune of reading Tony Blair’s latest offensive on Islam. The MailOnline website had posted an article just before 1am talking of Blair’s ‘Most powerful political intervention since leaving Downing Street’. An interesting description, presumably the Mail correspondent believes Blair has been next to useless in his role as Peace Envoy to the Middle East too?

An hour later the full article was published. The extreme arrogance with which he wrote sickened me to the core. In it he claims he has ‘first-hand experience of what is going on in the Middle East’ and will make his ’100th visit to the Middle East’ this month. He claims to know of Bashar al-Assad’s plan to split Syria in two and is ‘using chemical weapons on a small but deadly scale’, he claims that ‘Al Qaeda is back causing carnage in Iraq’, and ‘Iran continues it’s gruesome meddling’ whilst also ‘Still exporting terror to West’ and are ‘Still intent on getting a Nuclear weapon’.

All of this is exceedingly wonderful insight into the Middle East (and his psyche), but beneath it all lies the inescapable fact that the West has either caused or played a significant role in the general instability over there. All of this insight ignores the fact that it comes from the mind of the man who took us to ‘War’ in Iraq solely on the premise that they had WMDs. Whether Tony lied about WMDs or just plain got it wrong is actually irrelevant for the purposes of my article. Saddam didn’t possess any WMDs, Tony Blair’s credibility in international politics dwindled with each new day of fruitless searches whether he lied or got it wrong.

His opinion on the Middle East is therefore worthless, he has proved he is either incompetent or a liar. He has made almost 100 visits to the Middle East in 6 years of his heart-crushing role of Peace Envoy and what has he achieved? All we know is that he’s developed a fine career advising questionable regimes and giving speeches to questionable corporations. But achieving peace in the Middle East will never appear on his CV.

Tony Blair has the classic White Supremacist ideology coursing through his veins, he is incapable of listening to the people on the ground affected by his reckless politics. Remember how many turned up for the ‘Stop the War’ protests in 2003? Did he listen? No. Tony Blair is single minded in that he is always right. He has never expressed even a modicum of regret on the Iraqi invasion, he still believes it was the right thing to do, he still thinks Iraq is a safer place to live now than it was then. How many civilians died in Iraq last week Tony?

Not only does he refuse to acknowledge his error of judgement, in his article today he refuses to acknowledge the role of the West in causing this instability we currently see in the Middle East. He makes no mention of The USA’s gruesome meddling in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Egypt, Libya, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Yemen etcetera etcetera. He chooses to ignore western support for totalitarian dictatorships, he refuses to acknowledge that the majority of the current ‘villains’ were at one point funded by us! In fact he claims the Taliban was borne out of the Russian Occupation of Afghanistan but fails completely to mention the role of the Americans.

Tony states that there is a ‘Problem within Islam’ but ‘not with Islam itself’ and I find myself actually agreeing with this up to a point. I would suggest that Islam is a peaceful religion, its adherents struggle to achieve the same goals as any westerners: to provide for their families, to better themselves, to practice their faith freely. The ‘problem within Islam’ he talks of is accurate to some extent, there are people who act in brutish, thuggish, disgusting ways who claim to do so in the name of Islam, in the name of Allah. But let me assure you they are not acting in the name of Islam Tony, they act purely in retaliation and revenge against the west merely using Islam as a cover to legitimise their acts and attract support. These people were created by you, they were created by your predecessors, and their predecessors too.

There are too many people in this world willing to kill and to die doing what they believe to be right. The overwhelming majority of these people make no claims to be Muslim, they wear camouflaged clothing, carry expensive weaponry and drive around in armoured vehicles. They are convinced that what they are doing is right by people like Tony: pen-pushing, money-grabbing, attention-seeking, credit-hogging, self-indulgent, corrupt autocrats.

Tony says that beneath all the troubles in the Middle East and North Africa lies a common thread, he asks us ‘Are we going to continue to ignore this?’ He’s right. There is a common thread: Western Intervention. And this fact has been ignored far too long.

Tony also says ‘The ideology behind the murder of Lee Rigby is profound and dangerous, why don’t we admit it?’

I respond with a question:

When will the West pull our bloodied hands from behind our backs?

It is our ideology that is profound and dangerous. We think we have done no wrong. A casual glance through history would suggest otherwise.

Burmese Days

May 27, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Whilst Muslims in certain areas of the UK are living in fear of reprisal attacks from bone-headed thugs, the Muslims of Burma (or Myanmar) live in fear of their businesses, their lives and their homes being taken from them. If you’ve ever had the good fortune of reading Orwell’s fantastic novel ‘Burmese Days’, set in Burma under British colonial rule, you’ll understand that the Burmese were thoroughly oppressed by their British rulers.

What is surprising now is that a sizeable chunk of the Rakhine Buddhist population have split themselves from the Rohingya Muslim population and began oppressing them. They’ve adopted a ‘strategy’ that could be described as being the illicit love-child of Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden. One of the most outspoken Buddhist monks, Sayadaw Wirathu, even goes as far as to label himself the ‘Burmese bin Laden’. His sermons and speeches attack Muslims and Islam, claiming that they are taking over Myanmar and will prevent Buddhists from practicing their faith.

He claims that they are buying out all of the land and the buildings, using their money to take young Buddhist women, outbreeding the ‘native’ Burmese and ‘infiltrating’ political parties. Interestingly he claims that Aung San Suu Kyi’s party is under particular threat of infiltrators, which seems a little outlandish given her relative silence on the entire matter. According to him ‘They’ve got her’.

Last year saw some 180 Rohingya killed (though figures vary) and 120,000 displaced, it saw nationalists call for a boycott of trade with all Muslims, it saw riots, it saw villages burnt to the ground, it saw refugees attempt to escape over the border to Bangladesh only to be turned back to face continued persecution and it saw very little media attention. This year is no better, in fact the persecution is escalating.

Bangladeshi Buddhists have been quietly crossing the border, re-settling around the edges of Rohingya villages causing increased tensions in the area. The Rohingya people have lived in the area for almost a millennia yet are not currently ‘recognised’ by the Myanmar government as citizens, but as refugees with limited access to basic amenities such as schools. Now the very real fear amongst the Rohingya is that the government are trying to force them from their home through fear, oppression and violence.

The latest development, a truly shocking one at that, comes in the form of a two-child limit enforced upon the Rohingya. Immediate thoughts turn to China where there has been a ‘One Child Policy’ since 1979, but in truth there is no comparison as China does not target this policy at specific ethnic groups. My friend Omnia brought it to my attention that in Myanmar this policy only applies to Rohingya.

The policy itself actually dates back to 1994 but until now has never been enforced. A government-appointed commission identified rapid population growth as one of the key factors behind the ‘sectarian violence’ last year. For this reason the government is implementing this ban in two Muslim-dominated townships along the border with Bangladesh: Buthidaung and Maundaw. Aung San Suu Kyi, the Western-appointed saviour of Burmese democracy, has spoken out against this policy but is mere condemnation enough?

To this end, it’s clear that the official policy of the Myanmar Government is the Ethnic-Cleansing of the Rohingya people. If this plan is successful, the consequences for the Rohingya are stark. Not only will they lose their homes, they don’t have anywhere else to go. They will be forced to live under the increasingly repressive rule of the Buddhist majority. That’s if they’re still alive.

The world’s media have been silent for too long. And by silent I don’t mean that the plight of the Rohingya has gone unreported, I mean that it has not been reported enough with actual purpose. The reports we’ve read are somewhat disjointed and focus on ‘Sectarian Violence’ and ‘Riots’ when the Rohingya dare to fight back against their Rakhine oppressors, instead of what’s happening: Ethnic Cleansing. It’s unacceptable and the world needs to be informed.

Why should we care though? For the same reason western news agencies fawned over Aung Sang Suu Kyi during her house arrest. It’s unfair, it’s unjust and it’s inhumane.

Why such a difference in the reporting? Well, it is said that a man can be judged by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. Supporting Suu Kyi during her incarceration was aimed at opening Myanmar to democracy and therefore trade (note Coca Cola resumed trade there this year), whereas supporting 4% of a population (Rohingya) will give a far smaller financial benefit. Now is the time for wealthy western nations to develop a more compassionate foreign policy, because pursuing this exploitative one is damaging both the environment and humanity itself.

It looks increasingly like the Rohingya’s Burmese Days are numbered, we should do all that we can to ensure this is not the case.

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