Friday, 25 May 2007

press freedom - some recent developments in-



Indonesia [via normblog]

you can read Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, here, discussing New Lab's tendency to curb civil liberties.

"Who could have predicted 10 or 20 years ago that we would need to apply for police permission to protest peacefully in Parliament Square?"
Liberty often have sensible things to say.

is the Home Secretary listening, to their criticisms, or any of their suggestions?

No one disputes that we live in difficult times. But with threats come opportunities.
a small selection of REALLY REALLY SHIT headlines MAKING some of the domestic NEWS IN THE U.K.

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra hopes to complete a takeover of English Premier League soccer club Manchester City in early June, his spokesman said on Friday.

"Everything is going smoothly," Thaksin's lawyer Noppadon Pattama told Reuters. "We hope the deal will be formally concluded by early June."


'The home secretary, John Reid, made clear yesterday he is prepared to declare a "state of emergency"'


Spiralling gun crime is blighting Greater Manchester with more than 3,000 firearms incidents in the last 15 months, the MEN can reveal today.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

i think this is the first Comment is free (Guardian) posted comment i've seen to make me laugh, from someone called TheScaryCornflake

theres plenty of indigenous people who hate this country mate, try reading this site.

[many have you despairing]

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

some good news for the Chagossians at the Court of Appeal in London today.

Families expelled from the Chagos Islands to make way for the Diego Garcia US airbase won their legal battle to return home today.

it'll be a pleasant surprise if the UK doesn't continue its shameful and disgraceful behaviour and not try to appeal..

...btw, you'd have to buy it, but one from the archives: Glenny on the murder of Zoran Djindjic

Tuesday, 22 May 2007


i should have mentioned this at the time but about two months ago Dubai Ports World finally completed the sale, in full, of American assets to an American company, although the deal was agreed last year.

the deal had been seen as necessary as DPW had come under intense pressure from within the USA to offload their American holdings to an American firm.
DPW had acquired these interests in the USA when they bought another company out, the British P&O.
(public and legislative opposition to a foreign state-owned outfit controlling aspects of American port security was the driver of this hostility.)

[the company buying is American International Group, who are arguably best known outside their homeland for their sponsorship of Manchester United football club.
some embittered Mancunians have been suggesting AIG stands for Absent In Greece, which is petty and unfair but clearly i'm running with it, so you can go ahead and call me on that.]

late last year, incidentally, it was reported that

A.I.G.'s asset management unit, the AIG Global Investment Group, will take control of the port operations. The ports' current management, led by its chairman, Michael Seymour, will remain. AIG Global Investment's managing director, Christopher Lee, said that A.I.G. had "identified the marine terminals sector as a key element in our infrastructure investment strategy."

this sort of tinkering shows, pretty much, what a storm-in-teacup the whole thing was from the jump..
i don't think i'm contributing to anything horrid here (there's a big media scrum there, and who knows really what that means) - (i would say this of course) - as regards the ongoing agony of life for the parents & loved ones of the missing British girl, Madeleine McCann, who disappeared days short of her fourth birthday in southern Portugal recently during a family holiday, but i wanted to flag up Carol Sarler (ex-Daily Express) here.

"we have paedophiles, as do "they"; we have desperate, barren madwomen, as do "they" – but at least we don’t have organised bands of evil, swarthy foreigners grabbing our babies to flog in their vile markets"

Monday, 21 May 2007

The "horror of history" in which her apologists thought her "imprisoned" was a narrative of her own making about which she remained nostalgic and unrepentant. It was richly rewarded and free of any compulsion save personal ambition. She did not suffer from it but profited, and to suggest otherwise – as she often did – is an insult to the millions who died at the hands of a regime she took pride in glorifying, using, and enabling.

- Steven Bach on Leni Riefenstahl

Thursday, 17 May 2007


it's behind a free sub but

here is the Washington Post's Juan Forero on "one of Chávez's most far-reaching experiments -- community councils"

Gaunt-faced and thin in a police uniform, Jhon Frank Pinchao described how he slipped from chains the guerrillas used to hold prisoners and fled for more than two weeks through the jungle before he was found by a police patrol.

Pinchao was captured by the FARC when guerrillas attacked a police base in 1998, killing some officers and taking more than 60 hostage. He said he was held with a group of 13 hostages, including some other police officers.

All of the hostages were suffering from ailments after years in the jungle, including Gonsalves who has hepatitis, Pinchao said.

"I hope they can return soon, God protect them," he said, breaking into tears.


Gaza: "A BBC correspondent described the fighting as the worst he had ever seen."


press release for Accepting Realities in Iraq, with link to paper. (they also announce In 2007 we plan to publish reports on FLEC in Angola and the Forces nouvelles of Cote d'Ivoire.)


if you were at all surprised (even a little, momentarily, as i perhaps was*) with Tony Blair's slurring like a bar-room drunk at his resignation speech to his constituency - proud to have been at the helm of the greatest nation on earth - do recall that during his tenure Blair has occasionally been guilty of stoking some quite crass populism against the EU, when he has been courting tabloid readers of a certain stripe, for instance.

i thought the only national politicians that genuinely believed that theirs was the best are politicians serving under dictatorships or (of course) American ones.
it seems not.

* [i'm still unsure, i guess.]


Tuesday, 15 May 2007


Uribe says the arrests are proof Colombia's institutions are working and demanded authorities support the investigation. But rights groups say the militia bosses have kept their criminal networks alive and remain influential.

Paramilitary commander Salvatore Mancuso promised this week to give evidence about politicians, army commanders, business leaders and foreign companies who he says collaborated with the warlords before their demobilization.

U.S. banana giant Chiquita Brands International recently pleaded guilty to charges that it's local unit paid protection money to paramilitaries and agreed to a settlement of $25 million.

announced yesterday

'Colombia's Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said the killings were under investigation but the two men could have crossed into Venezuela as part of their undercover work against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC.

"They infiltrated the FARC; we have a lot of people infiltrated in the FARC. There is nothing unusual about that, and they were found dead in Venezuela," Santos told local Caracol radio.

"They were assassinated and appear also to have been tortured," he said.'


Maruf Khwaja on "Rising, uprising Pakistan"

Politics, the state, and its doctrinal fetishes have failed Pakistanis - but their voices are not yet silenced.

Thursday, 10 May 2007


The attack was near Landazuri, in Santander province, 100 miles north of Bogota, where officials said the National Liberation Army is active.

Local police commander Gen. Jaime Otero said the officers were providing security for workers eradicating coca crops, which are used to make cocaine, when FARC members detonated explosives as their truck passed by.


'Valle de Cauca is a centre of Colombia's lucrative cocaine trade.

Both Farc and the right-wing paramilitary groups draw revenues from the cultivation and export of cocaine.

Army commander Gen Hernando Perez Molina said Thursday's attack on an army patrol took place at 1245 local time.
Perez told the local Caracol radio station that..had carried out the attack.

Two officers and eight soldiers were killed in the attack.
"We know this is Farc because it fits their modus operandi and historically they have operated in this zone," he said.'

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

RIP Nina

You were just little

Thursday, 3 May 2007

two links to the Beeb: 'Iran's proud but discreet Jews', by Frances Harrison, & a photo essay from Western Sahara (camps, troops, and camels)
interesting juice in the Champions League these past recent days, as the final returns to Athens for the first time since 1994, incidentally the scene of the greatest display in a European Cup final of modern times,

will lightning strike twice?

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Of course he was bashed. He deserved it...I told the police beat him a lot...We are saying to him, ‘Stop it now or you will regret it.'

"Right now, no one walks about after 7 p.m., unless you want a beating"

Bashing Dissent: Escalating Violence and State Repression in Zimbabwe

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

it's testament that, plucked at random, Owen's two latest bits at one of his places cause unalloyed joy, just plucked at random mind you.

a slap-down to Simon Jenkins (i might not be saying he's always a total duffer, politically*, and i admit to being intrigued by his forthcoming Falklands conflict book, with Max Hastings, but really more because it's Max..) is beautifully administered here, whilst the last line on this Niemeyer biscuit here should certainly be in cold, hard print.

{* tempting though, maybe}