Clashes in Bahrein - Photo Montage

Brave Woman Activist - 6th December
Pictures of recent clashes with police and government spooks here.


Tariq Aziz To Be Executed

Tariq Aziz, who served as Iraq's top diplomat under Saddam Hussein, will be executed next year, after U.S. forces have pulled out of the country.
"It will definitely take place, and it will take place after the Americans leave Iraq," said the adviser, Saad Yousif al-Muttalibi, about Aziz, who served as foreign minister.
A lawyer for Aziz said he was surprised. "I did not expect the government would be that stupid, by doing this they will drag this country to the edge of the abyss," said Badi Arif in a telephone interview.

A new law is under consideration that would require death sentences be ratified by the president within 15 days of their being handed down, al-Muttalibi said."What about the national reconciliation that this government has been calling for? The government's position will be even weaker if they carry out the execution after the American troops leave the country and this will lead to more conflict among Iraqi factions."
Al-Mutalibbi added that all of Iraqi society, including members of the three main sectarian groups -- Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds -- favor the law.
Aziz was captured by U.S. forces in April 2003, shortly after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Hussein. He appeared frail when he testified in Hussein's 2006 trial on war crimes charges, for which the ousted dictator was hanged later that year.
Aziz was sentenced to death in October 2010 by the Iraqi High Tribunal for his role in eliminating religious parties during Saddam Hussein's regime.
His family was shocked by the verdict, his daughter told CNN at the time.
"My father served his country for more than 22 years. He delivered himself to the U.S. Army (after the fall of Hussein) because he wasn't afraid. He didn't do anything wrong. He served his country," Aziz's daughter, Zainab Aziz, said. "He has been wronged."
Arif said last year that there was a political motive behind the death sentence.
"Mr. Aziz used to always tell me, 'They'll find a way to kill me, and there is no way for me to escape this,'" Arif told CNN. "But from a legal perspective, this sentence is wrong; this is illegal and this is unexpected."
Aziz served as deputy prime minister from 1981 to 2003, also holding the post of foreign minister for part of that time.
After the verdict was announced, Amnesty International urged Iraq not to carry out the sentences, even as it acknowledged the brutality of Hussein's regime.
"Saddam Hussein's rule was synonymous with executions, torture and other gross human rights violations, and it is right that those who committed crimes are brought to justice," said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International's director for the Middle East and North Africa in 2010.
"However, it is vital that the death penalty, which is the ultimate denial of human rights, should never be used, whatever the gravity of the crime," he said in a written statement.
The Vatican also opposed the death sentence, spokesman Federico Lombardi told CNN.
"This is not the most adequate way to promote reconciliation and reconstruction of justice and peace in a country that has suffered so much," he said.

'Disabled' By Wilfred Owen

A poem not about the military but about the devastation of humanity by war. I read this at school and have never forgotten it.
He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark,
And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey,
Legless, sewn short at elbow. Through the park
Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,
Voices of play and pleasure after day,
Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him.
About this time Town used to swing so gay
When glow-lamps budded in the light-blue trees
And girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim,
— In the old times, before he threw away his knees.
Now he will never feel again how slim
Girls' waists are, or how warm their subtle hands,
All of them touch him like some queer disease.
There was an artist silly for his face,
For it was younger than his youth, last year.
Now he is old; his back will never brace;
He's lost his colour very far from here,
Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry,
And half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race,
And leap of purple spurted from his thigh.
One time he liked a bloodsmear down his leg,
After the matches carried shoulder-high.
It was after football, when he'd drunk a peg,
He thought he'd better join. He wonders why . . .
Someone had said he'd look a god in kilts.
That's why; and maybe, too, to please his Meg,
Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts,
He asked to join. He didn't have to beg;
Smiling they wrote his lie; aged nineteen years.
Germans he scarcely thought of; and no fears
Of Fear came yet. He thought of jewelled hilts
For daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes;
And care of arms; and leave; and pay arrears;
Esprit de corps; and hints for young recruits.
And soon, he was drafted out with drums and cheers.
Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer Goal.
Only a solemn man who brought him fruits
Thanked him; and then inquired about his soul.
Now, he will spend a few sick years in Institutes,
And do what things the rules consider wise,
And take whatever pity they may dole.
To-night he noticed how the women's eyes
Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.
How cold and late it is! Why don't they come
And put him into bed? Why don't they come?

Winter In Durnover Field By Thomas Hardy

Scene.--A wide stretch of fallow ground recently sown with wheat, and
frozen to iron hardness. Three large birds walking about thereon,
and wistfully eyeing the surface. Wind keen from north-east: sky a
dull grey.


Throughout the field I find no grain;
The cruel frost encrusts the cornland!

Starling.--Aye: patient pecking now is vain
Throughout the field, I find . . .
Rook.--No grain! Pigeon.--Nor will be, comrade, till it rain,
Or genial thawings loose the lorn land
Throughout the field.
Rook.--I find no grain:
The cruel frost encrusts the cornland!

Lobbyists Out Of Control At Westminster

Neither Cash for Questions, Cash for Honours nor Labour's millionaire donors, nor any of the other similar upsets, has done anything to unravel a political culture with old school ties,friendship, influence and PR murkily entwined.
For evidence, one need look no further than the boasts from Bell Pottinger outlined in today's Independent report. It is, apparently, "not a problem" to get "messages" through to the Foreign Secretary or the Prime Minister's principal advisers. Even allowing for the arrogance of the sales pitch, such claims are an embarrassment for the Conservative Party.
But the standing of the Tories is the least of it. It is the cheapening of the entire British political establishment that is so unforgivable. In the wake of Liam Fox's career-ending links with Adam Werritty, Bell Pottinger's claims only add to the sense of government-by-network, of parallel power structures accessible to those who can pay.


Wikileaks - The Spyfiles (Inter-Active)

Christopher Logue, Author of All Day Pemanent Red, Dies

Logue was a pacifist who marched with CND and joined Bertrand Russell's Committee of 100 which earned him a second spell in prison. In the 1950s he lived in Paris and was friends with writers Alexander Trocchi and Samuel Beckett. He was married to the biographer Rosemary Hill.
Then of a stadium when many boards 
are raised And many faces change to one vast face. 
So, where there were so many masks, 
Now one Greek mask glittered from strip to ridge. 
 Already swift Boy Lutie took Prince Hector's nod 
And fired his whip that right and left 
Signalled to Ilium's wheels to fire their own, 
And to the Wall-wide nodding plumes of Trojan infantry— 
 Flutes! Flutes! 
Screeching above the grave percussion of their feet 
Shouting how they will force the savage Greeks 
Back up the slope over the ridge, downplain 
And slaughter them beside their ships. 

Women For Cain - Herman Fights Back

From the department of LMFAO. Does there need to be a de-skankification of American politics? The clip below will answer your many questions. :)

Maliki Was Target Of Green Zone Bomb

Al-Moussawi said Friday that the new information was based on confessions from members of a terrorist group. They revealed that the bomb was supposed to go off when Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki visited the parliament during an upcoming session, he said. But Al-Moussawi declined to give further details.
He added that security officials already had information leading them to believe that Al-Maliki might be targeted during his parliament trip. Al-Maliki was expected to address the legislative body soon but no date had been set.
A security official with knowledge of the investigation said police found a charred body near the mangled vehicle and were still trying to determine the identity of the person through DNA tests. The official said no one had come forward to claim the body, and it was not clear whether it was an innocent bystander or a suicide bomber.
Al-Maliki was in his office in another area of the Green Zone when the bomb went off, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to journalists. More here.


John Pilger On The Guardian And Iran Scaremongering

The Guardian's 3 November "exclusive" and the speed with which its propaganda spread across the media were also prime time. This is known as "information dominance" by the media trainers at the Ministry of Defence's psyops (psychological warfare) establishment at Chicksands, Bedforshire, who share premises with the instructors of the interrogation methods that have led to a public enquiry into British military torture in Iraq. Disinformation and the barbarity of colonial warfare have historically had much in common.
Having beckoned a criminal assault on Iran, the Guardian opined that this "would of course be madness". Similar arse-covering was deployed when Tony Blair, once a "mystical" hero in polite liberal circles, plotted with George W. Bush and caused a bloodbath in Iraq. With Libya recently dealt with ("It worked," said the Guardian), Iran is next, it seems. Link.

Killing The Children Of Iraq

Paying the Price Killing the Children of Iraq from John Pilger on Vimeo.

Iraq Torture - Priest To Be Prosecuted?

Phil Shiner, a lawyer at the Birmingham-based firm, said: "This Catholic priest crossed the road when he saw what was happening to Baha and the other men. If he had intervened Baha would still be alive – it is as simple as that.
"He must now face criminal investigation as the archbishop of Birmingham has swatted away my formal complaint telling me that it is a private matter between him and Madden. That is an outrageous response which is a blatant attempt to sweep this matter under the carpet".
The archdiocese of Birmingham said in a statement that the archbishop, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, had interviewed Madden and discussed the matter with the senior Roman Catholic chaplain in the British military, and had "found no grounds for taking further action in relation to Madden's current responsibilities as a parish priest in the Archdiocese of Birmingham". Full story here.


Jeremy Clarkson, The Marchers And The Need To Kill Off Nulabour

Excellent piece by Michael White on the day of industrial action yesterday. Jeremy Clarkson has inadvertently created more sympathy with the marchers's sentiments. As a member of Unite, I took the adjacent pic at the Glasgow march yesterday. White's description of the need for a new party of the left echoes my thoughts of some years standing now. New £abour is dead
Several ex-Labour voters on the march told me that they want to see a new party, not the eternal Trotskyite factions that come out in force on such occasions, but a proper party of the left that would represent working-class people as Labour once did.

As The Team's Head-Brass

By the poet, Edward Thomas, killed in the First World War. My reading of it is that even Nature is disrupted and affronted by war. But the life-force will prevail.

As the team's head-brass flashed out on the turn
The lovers disappeared into the wood.
I sat among the boughs of the fallen elm
That strewed the angle of the fallow, and
Watched the plough narrowing a yellow square
Of charlock. Every time the horses turned
Instead of treading me down, the ploughman leaned
Upon the handles to say or ask a word,
About the weather, next about the war.
Scraping the share he faced towards the wood,
And screwed along the furrow till the brass flashed
Once more.

The blizzard felled the elm whose crest
I sat in, by a woodpecker's round hole,
The ploughman said. 'When will they take it away? '
'When the war's over.' So the talk began –
One minute and an interval of ten,
A minute more and the same interval.
'Have you been out? ' 'No.' 'And don't want to, perhaps? '
'If I could only come back again, I should.
I could spare an arm, I shouldn't want to lose
A leg. If I should lose my head, why, so,
I should want nothing more...Have many gone
From here? ' 'Yes.' 'Many lost? ' 'Yes, a good few.
Only two teams work on the farm this year.
One of my mates is dead. The second day
In France they killed him. It was back in March,
The very night of the blizzard, too. Now if
He had stayed here we should have moved the tree.'
'And I should not have sat here. Everything
Would have been different. For it would have been
Another world.' 'Ay, and a better, though
If we could see all all might seem good.' Then
The lovers came out of the wood again:
The horses started and for the last time
I watched the clods crumble and topple over
After the ploughshare and the stumbling team.

Newt Gingrich - The Latest Hypocrite To Lead The Republican Nomination Race

Entretien Historique Entre Hillary Clinton et le Président Birman

Clip from France 24 here.

Egyptian Elections - Short Clip

Julia Gillard - Obama Toady/Cheerleader To Earn More Than Obama

PRT Madness - Iraq Provincial Reconstruction Teams

No idea was too bizarre, too gimmicky, or too pointless for us hearts-and-minders: We actually preferred handing out croissants and children's calendars to tackling tough issues like health care or civic services. One month it might be guaranteed-to-fail small businesses like car washes and brake repair shops in an economy struggling just to take a breath; the next, an Arabic translation of Macbeth, with some of Saddam Hussein's henchmen in bad-guy roles.

As one Iraqi told me at a U.S.-funded art show in Dora, one of the most violent suburbs of Baghdad, "It is like I am standing naked in a room with a big hat on my head. Everyone comes in and helps put flowers and ribbons on my hat, but no one seems to notice that I am naked." Full story.