Thursday, 30 April 2009

the British Foreign Secretary in the Commons.

a Tory asked can Colombo be suspended from the Commonwealth.

the gentle reply was we haven't the numbers.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

I feel... thin. Sort of stretched, like... butter scraped over too much bread. I need a holiday. A very long holiday. And I don't expect I shall return. In fact I mean not to.

- Bilbo Baggins
note, from that Wahiu and Tesfagiorgis piece

The move from sovereignty as an alibi for inaction to constitutional legitimacy as a basis for action is a watershed.
although re my casting about in the dark on the previous post, here is Peter Ryley, eternally relevant
tbc re yday's post, a 'blood on hands' rejoinder to my support for Geras doesn't work re the invasion of Iraq as both those in favour and those against sadly have blood on hands practically (if one is to go down that route) - we all do, don't we - owing to the monstrously tragic character of humanity (and to the infernal nature of the vile Saddam regime).

i don't wish to be misconstrued as making light, speaking lightly (this would be barbarous, heartless and as wrong as i could be) of people being bombed, people being shot at check-points, people, say, being maimed through the use of white phosphorous or killed in wicked numbers during the spring 2004 American assault on Fallujah (a collective punishment, it is surely uncontroversial to say, which amounts to a violation of the laws of war - for which, of course, insurgents also bear responsibility), and apologise for making obvious sixth-form statements but, just, you know, tbc.

Ending Chechnya’s counterterrorism operation - or not, by Tanya Lokshina

Life in the world’s largest refugee settlement, by Anna Husarska

Africa: constitution-building vs coup-making, by Winluck Wahiu and Paulos Tesfagiorgis

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Naomi Wolf thinks this should happen.

tbc on the torture debate, Vim handily locates some of the keystones, including the excellent Mark Danner's laudable excavations, and, also tbc, Geras on the Holocaust, mutual indifference, Nuremberg, etc means perhaps he is coming at things from a different perspective to Wolf and although i don't know if some critics might query if his long-time initially pro-war stance underpins this, i would certainly think not, because he has always articulated a commitment to universal rights, that has included a complete opposition to all forms of torture.

Geras is also, i would argue - though i may be entirely wrong here - consistently more morally serious on world affairs than Wolf, a partisan woman, who, utterly ludicrously after all, in a column for a mass-circulation American chattering class organ foresaw the forthcoming "Palin-Rove police state", after coming into power, denying their subjects any subsequent proper elections.

(i couldn't resist.)

also tbc, in many respects i remain something of a Wolf fan-boy, as she has a lot of worthwhile things to say, eg on pornography.
it is not that the 'shames us all/all guilty' argument is entirely without foundation, after all - eg where does one draw the line on the guilt/complicity of mobile phone users in wealthy democracies and their investment funding horrors associated with the mining/exportation of coltan - but just that, as Geras surely correctly points out, the wooly practical aspects of this argument run into problems.

the framing above re "some critics might query" deliberately alludes to, say, certain SWP-types, not because i necessarily agree with the SWP programmatically, but because i thought i would anticipate the daftest possible leftist or social-liberal counter-argument to Geras and demonstrate its innate lack of merit.

(the daftest possible counter-argument in general would clearly be from some conservative cunt who could care less about people getting tortured in a vast network of illegal, clandestine sites by the USA or her allies.)

Monday, 27 April 2009

the amazing No Good Boyo on some other charities

"Waugh on Want. Dyspeptic High Tories rove the wretched places of the Earth - The Levant, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Scotland - telling the slovenly locals to shut up, leave the livestock alone, read some hardback books and restock their wine cellars with decent but affordable claret."
Russell Blackford has a pop at Terry Eagleton, and i must say, the final sentence of the penultimate paragraph (the stuff about colorful hyperbole and the OIC) is well worth supporting

Sunday, 26 April 2009

the situation has developed.

it is moving.

things are moving.

it is not good.

the situation is grave.
what, you're just going to let him bleed out on the table?

that'll kill him.

you need to think this through, son.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

i honestly never fail to be amazed (not yet, anyway) by the frequency with which Simon Jenkins chats out of his arse.

how does he do it?

this blog has linked to pieces of his in the past (at least one i can recall) that have showed sense, but more often than not, it is the reverse.

Monday, 20 April 2009

he's not interested in what that fat cunt has to say.

i wouldn't waste my piss.
why you be all up in their shit anyway?

it is a retreat from your old comrades.

a deal has been cut.

it is no use protesting through any channel.

we cannot guarantee the safety of any of your people if you choose to continue, and this even after we have given you our advice!

what are you going to do?

turn up to an international donor meeting, raise a few cuss words, and tell everybody to go fuck themselves?


why, what happened to your uncle there?

i did not know that.
something has to give.
from a narrow British media view - quite unusual to see even by the standards of Britain's two finest news strands, these near simultaneous offerings - there has recently been two similar programmes on BBC2 and Channel 4 in under the past two weeks regarding North Koreans attempting to escape to the South, with the arduous busman odyssey through China and parts of southeast Asia that this entails: a risk-fraught, dangerous enterprise.

This World's Escaping North Korea showed families ripped apart, whilst reporter Oliver Steeds - for episode 6 series 2009 of Unreported World - noted, in one Chinese border town, there is a reward equivalent to twenty pound UK for those Chinese citizens who grass up escapees to their local authorities.

(related: another Mick Hartley h/t.)

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Saturday, 18 April 2009

if you don't know the context i admit this will mean nowt, but this one gets me every time.

i love Dutch.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Oliver Kamm appropriately rubbishes Edward Herman's latest daft intervention into your cornflakes.

incidentally, one need hardly add, on the subject of the Rwandan genocide, Herman is a total disgrace.
call me on your way back home

Ryan Adams
god damn

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

high-powered Japanese business-person.




they don't seem to realise the seriousness of their position.

you want to kiss her, don't you?

punch him in the stomach.
if you get jammed up in the back, out there, you are in trouble

they will send bombs over

the children are in the fields

this woman is at the Lebanese Embassy.

she is in her 40s.

you are doing a stupid thing.

you are drunk.

you are putting your four comrades under enormous pressure.

think about what you are doing, son.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

give it up

otherwise this will go badly for you

you have no choice

Those who ‘abjure’ violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf
ABC (not) in Fiji: "total censorship"
Vim on Solzhenitsyn

Saturday, 11 April 2009

stab at it with fingers
sent home from work sick, walking down Oxford Road in central Manchester once, a sozzled rough sleeper barged up to me and barged in to me, assuring me 'i'll have you, cunt'. (or such.)

this serves one right for killing that spider.

something is badly wrong here.
the people are here, and spirits are good.

the people are up in here.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Rome under Sulla was like a bus, with half the passengers trying to drive, and the rest trying to collect the fare.

- F E Adcock
do not speak of these things again.
Takashi Shimura (志村 喬) in Ikiru (生きる)

do not do that shower a favour again.

it is a sign of weakness.

they all despise us, anyway.
pink bedding plants.
Rüdiger Vogler and Hanns Zischler in Im Lauf der Zeit
looks like rain. miserable.
Bette Davis in The Letter

try not to cry.
Bruno Ganz in Der Amerikanische Freund

drink some water.
you know when you see an airplane sometimes - i don't mean any old airplane, i mean, you know, a passenger jet airliner - anyway, you see one, in the air, clearly having recently taken off from the angle it is curling up into the sky at.

well i don't mean now for any environmental reasons, i don't mean unease because you are - and you would be quite correct, good on you - concerned regarding the impact on the planet that this passenger jet airliner in your field of vision will have (if you have the ability of sight, to see is to have sight, by one reckoning, a common reckoning, and certainly correct), but for other reasons, well, say you see one, and you are near a fairly busy airport, so a minute or so later you might see another one, totally by accident, you just happen to look up at the right spot, you're not looking for them deliberately.

anyway, that happens sometimes, and sometimes it sends you under.


a link to an article at the Guardian website by Paul Collier dated Friday 3 April 2009, headed 'Beyond the begging bowl' and sub-headed 'Haiti need not be a failing state. Its problems are fixable if only the world community co-ordinates'
the almost flip manner, the cursory air, in which this blog describes crimes, violence, war, mangled body parts, tragedy, crimes, monstrous crimes, crimes at the behest of clean-shaved men in suits, or viciousness perpetrated at the behest of bearded men, bodies asunder, any rent, hellish crimes, all this blood, tragedies and errors, vile hell, the almost flip manner, the cursory air, must cease, or be modified.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

When you see a swordsman, draw your sword. Do not recite poetry to one who is not a poet.

Chán proverb.

there was a letter to The Guardian a few weeks ago (here), from Marc Glendening, the campaign director at a body called ICCwatch.
the letter concerned the highly imperfect arrest warrant the International Criminal Court had issued for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, a warrant which certainly deserves criticism (though not on the grounds Glendening chose to pitch his tent).

ICCwatch state - on their website -

"ICCwatch exists to monitor and provide a critique of the International Criminal Court and the broader movement towards transnational governance.

The experience of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY), together with its Rwandan counterpart (ICTR), have left many real advocates of human rights, democracy and international peace extremely anxious concerning the activities of
the ICC."

the letter is of a piece with ICCwatch's raison d'être: fair play to them.

but contrast their approach with that of leading rights agency Human Rights Watch, who note - whilst acknowledging the many mistakes of the ICC to date, in a piece from last summer regarding the court's first five years - that "Since then, the ICC has made significant progress."

Glendening's letter (after some initial Westphalian guff that - completely inexcusably - totally neglects fundamental debates about the responsibility to protect) finishes with what is obviously supposed to be a stirring flourish, an at-first-glance-reasonable point regarding Robin Cook famously saying the court was not created to put powerful Anglo-American leaders in the dock.
(of course, given the UK is party to the court, it is possible a Prime Minister might one day be in the dock. pigs might fly, of course, but that is down to the fact there are many more worse leaderships - sadly - in the world than the British PM.)

there are important debates to be had about in particular the USA and international justice (they are not members of the ICC, for starters, and recall the disgraceful American carrying on after the ICJ's Nicaragua case, weakening the ICJ with their appalling antics), but to drag up a fairly useless aside about two other countries (and the USA is not party to the ICC, let's not forget; it should be, but it isn't at the moment) when the subject under discussion should be the Sudanese regime is disingenuous to say the least; does a discussion about Sudanese crimes not merit exclusivity?
(at this point Glendening should be congratulated for noting some of the other countries - including those paragons of virtue Russia and China - that, unfortunately, do not agree with the ICC.)

would a (hypothetical) indictment for the Chadian leadership on human rights abuse grounds need to be met with an ICCwatch letter to The Guardian about (the undoubted sins of) Françafrique?
a letter on the same subject, in the same link, from the Amnesty UK director, is entirely different in character, and all the better for it.

the truth of Glendening's project is laid bare in a shameful sentence in the middle of his letter: "It is revealing that the ICC does not list among its elastically drafted list of offences the supreme international crime of waging aggressive war."


no, no, no.

this will not do.

the supreme (international) crime is, of course, genocide.

to state otherwise is a sin of omission, and a sin that needs to be loudly exposed and constantly rubbished for the muddle-headed cobblers it is.

(tbc, it should be added one can see what Glendening is getting at with his usage of "international" above - one state doing violence to another is deeply offensive to the order of state sovereignty, to say nothing more here - but the Westphalian underpinning of ICCwatch means that, for all sorts of implications that anybody sane should be able to work out for themselves, my characterisation stands as fair comment.)

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Brian Barder helps to put a boot - i think deserved - in toward Dambisa Moyo.

(she has recently been in an interesting Standpoint piece with Richard Dowden.)

Monday, 6 April 2009

and more so

'ISAF Contributing Nations'
Kirsty Wark on BBC2's Newsnight - with reference to this awful law-in-waiting (a moral crime, because appalling outrage, in-waiting) - asking, if you scrape to the bones of her phrasing, does Afghanistan deserve the support (and, so, anyone living in Afghanistan) of other countries, and, so, thus unpicked, Kirsty Wark actually asking do the error-ridden efforts of ISAF and so on - with their often tragic blunders, but also fine successes worth lauding, and the names of each and every fallen human needing appropriate commemoration - need to be taken away because of this despicable law-in-waiting, Kirsty Wark - either devil's advocate or believing what she says - appearing to articulate that parts of Afghanistan be handed over, as it were, to some of the most extreme and barbarously reactionary forces on the planet because Kirsty Wark - yes, in common with anyone with a heart that functions correctly - is rightly disgusted with an ethical crime-in-waiting that is bad law.

(whilst acknowledging that food and pervasive, toxic corruption are fundamental issues.)
Joshua Foust.

"The crime here is not that a law is being passed to normalize a routine practice; it is that this was a routine practice and we chose not to care about it in the first place."

here in full.
about this time last year:

"Since the Taliban era, there are 8,000 more schools and 140,000 more teachers, he added.

About 70 percent of the girls and 97 percent of the boys in RC-East now have access to a state-sponsored education, as well as access to basic healthcare that has increased to nearly 80 percent, resulting in a 25 percent reduction in infant mortality, adding up to about 90,000 lives, Maj. Gen. Rodriguez said."


Sunday, 5 April 2009

presenter Seyi Rhodes went to Sierra Leone for series 2009 episode 4 of Unreported World to investigate the psychological after-effects of the war on some people.

Rhodes meets Patrick, who has memory problems.

the end credits rolled as the camera focused on a young person who had their head buried between their legs.
they were sat among some rocks.

go jogging.

for this you need running shoes, trainers.


going jogging.

buy some trainers.

go jogging.
The container carrying around 110 people, believed to be migrants, was found about 15 miles south of Quetta..."The death toll is 46," said a police official, Ghulam Dastagir.
Survivor Nizar Ahmed, 15, told AFP from hospital that he came from...Paktia..."We have all come from Afghanistan and we were going to Iran," he said, without being able to explain why they were bound for the Islamic republic or when they left home.


I sit in the middle of them. Kune, to my right, speaks French. He speaks loudly and is keen on reporting his story. To my left, Bilal is whispering in English. He is shy and scared. When he finds out I am Italian, his face brightens and he starts naming the Italian soccer players he knows.

When Kune understands what Bilal is saying, he starts shaking his head and says: "les enfants…avec tous les problems il a, il pense au foot…"
fuck this for a laugh
How can I be sure that none of your jewelry contains conflict diamonds?

Do I know where the diamonds you sell come from?

Can I see a copy of your company's policy on conflict diamonds?

Can you show me a written guarantee from your diamond suppliers stating that your diamonds are conflict-free?
the new



and to take this advice and learn to live with

the drinking of milk

DON'T be a crack addict

Saturday, 4 April 2009

'for them to accuse is unthinkable'

get yer scrips
Ad Reinhardt - - > Bridget Riley

also to be clear

There! I have reverted to the Eliot lecture metaphor, but it seems peculiarly appropriate in this situation. Arendt jumps up and down on it at the safer edges of the pond. Kertész treads light where it is thinnest.
My Cousin went to a Walter Pater dinner party and all I got was this lousy 'Naomi Wolf LOLZ CATS' tee-shirt

When, as LS mentions, Virginia Woolf suggests in 1938 that it doesn't matter whether women support liberal democracy or fascism because middle class women like her are having such a dreadful time, I feel a rising hatred for her. Privileged and racist, I think. But then I reason she didn't know what was happening, how could she have known?

The fact is, I think the camps are now treated as an old horror story, something of a bore. Let us move on to other matters. By all means let us move on to other matters.

Arendt and Refugees.
In dealing a product of fine art we must become conscious that it is art rather than nature

- Kant

Friday, 3 April 2009

some highlights from the Mai '68 edition of Prospect (somedisco antecede)

From the 1970s onwards, a new figure of the “spirit of capitalism” emerged: capitalism abandoned the hierarchical Fordist structure of the production process and developed a network-based form of organisation founded on employee initiative and autonomy in the workplace. Instead of the hierarchical chain of command, we get networks with a multitude of participants, organising work in the form of teams or projects, intent on customer satisfaction. In this way, capitalism is transformed into an egalitarian project

Astrid Proll (Baader-Meinhof)
We lived a kind of armed existentialism.

Rudi Bogni
1968 in Italy was more about hormonal growth than about politics. It brought us the Red Brigades, but not democratic maturity. I mistrusted from the outset a movement based on megaphones and one-liners.

P.J. O'Rourke
Mind-altering drugs were the best part of the 1960s.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

"Defense officials said the Army troops inflicted heavy damages on the rebels as they put up resistance, adding that 19 bodies of LTTE fighters were found in subsequent search operations."

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

the poster who has put this up calls it One of the Greatest Scenes of The Sopranos.

damn right.

an instrumental of Xzibit's Paparazzi is the tune, and i must admit i was flashing on this when i saw Il Divo yesterday, which makes very effective usage of Fauré's Pavane at one stage