Saturday, June 28, 2014

Out of the mouth of babes - the racism of Michael Gove

It was a heartening evening on Thursday night to hear so many committed souls speak to a packed audience of 700 on the Trojan Horse hoax letter. The Bordesley Centre became standing room only. Well that was all right because when seven year old Ben finished his speech the whole assembly was on its feet. You must watch this short video.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The hypocrisy of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs

Support for Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, has been consistent over time. But where you would expect the most enthusiastic campaign, from his native country, Australia, the government has been least inclined to offer assistance. Dilatory is a word that comes to mind. Myself and two colleagues in Sweden, Okoth Osewe and Rafik Saley have co-written letters to Bob Carr, when he was Minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the most recent foreign minister, Julie Bishop, about the plight of Mr. Assange, and to inform the government that the ambassador from Sweden to Australia, Sven Olof Petersson, has knowingly been involved in handing individuals to the CIA to be rendered and tortured abroad.

We did not expect much from Bob Carr because of his known ties to America and all things American but Julie Bishop, at least while in opposition and while seeking to resonate with public Australian sentiment, suggested she was ashamed of Australia's neglected treatment of Assange by Carr.

Julie Bishop says as Foreign Minister she would re-examine the government’s conduct towards WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who remains unable to meaningfully exercise his right to asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Bob Carr's memoirs published this year show that Mr. Assange was right in criticizing the lack of meaningful assistance by the Gillard government. Like the previous government, the current Australian administration has not made any representations to Sweden and the United States in order to uphold Mr. Assange's rights. Carr in fact admitted to misleading the public with his false statement that Assange had received more assistance than any other Australian abroad.

It is a fact that the United States is seeking the prosecution of Mr. Assange, most recently confirmed by the Department of Justice in a submission to the court in the EPIC case (April 2014).

Julie Bishop said that, if elected to office, she would take advice on whether anything should change in the government’s position towards Julian Assange:

“We have differed with the government in a number of respects, particulary when Prime Minister Julia Gillard said that Julian Assange was guilty of an illegal act. I took issue with that at the time for he has not been  charged with any breach of laws in Australia and it was irresponsible for the prime minister to make such a prejudicial claim particularly given the circumstances he was in overseas. So, I would look at the matter carefully at the time, but in January 2013 it is hard to say what the situation will be at the time of the election, should we be privileged enough to be elected by the Australian people.”

In our letter to Julie Bishop we reminded her of her commitment in opposition and expected at long last a positive response. Instead we got a very similar reply to the one we received from Bob Carr's letter writer. Although the reply did not actually say so the interpretation was that the Australian foreign office does not mind if Sweden sends over ambassadors with a record for the approval of, and complicity in, torture and rendition. And rather than the challenging words she made as a potential Minister of Foreign Affairs, now she is in office the whole tenor is one of acceptance that Australia does not care about one of their most influential citizens.

Here is the response:

Thursday, June 12, 2014


The wild west is still wild. Cowboys are still ruling the roost. They have mostly done away with the chaps, gun-belts, neckerchiefs and hats (except in Texas) but they still have the guns and still put up bounties "Wanted, dead or alive" but mostly alive, because how else would they be able to torture their quarry? All revealed here.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Better vote YES together

Barack Obama endorsed a better together campaign yesterday for Scotland. Not that Scottish affairs have anything to do with the US, or do they? Well yes they do. Scotland is home to Trident nuclear weapons at Faslane, as far away from London as possible. US naval ships long used Holy Loch for their nuclear submarines and would not doubt like to know those facilities were still available in times of conflict.

Here is an idea for bringing the YES campaign to the forefront using adverse publicity created by the BetterTogether campaign, a London-funded attempt to scupper independence.

I believe in unity, I also believe anybody should be able to travel freely and live anywhere in the world they choose, like the grey necked phalarope which nests in Scotland and winters in Chile. So why do I support the Yes vote? Scotland is more progressive than England. In Scotland education, particularly higher education is still free, and of a high standard. England is fast becoming a tool of US economic as well as military policy and all the sacred institutions like the NHS, rail, and public utilities have been stolen from the people to make a few people exceedingly rich. Scotland gave us Keir Hardie, Alexander Graham Bell, John Logie Baird and a whole host of other pioneers. But the important thing today is with the success of a progressive government it gives the rest of these sceptred isles something to look up to, an exemplar of how elected representatives of government can work for those who elected them, instead, like in Westminster, for themselves.

Good luck Scotland! We can all benefit from your initiatives.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

BBC - Is it worth the licence fee?

What has been going on in Ukraine over the last week has been terrible for the poor people of the Donbass region. There is no water in some of the cities and many women and children have fled across the Russian border to refugee camps there. Ukrainians were not involved in a civil war with one another when Yanukovich was President. Since Yatsenyuk and the two right-wing parties of Right Sector and Svoboda there have been so many deaths like those in Odessa, and now in the Donbass Oblast'.

The BBC has been worse than sinful in its omission of reporting this news. My colleague, Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli, a human rights’ activist living in Sweden, who was himself imprisoned under Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile, depicts the stark reality of what has not been reported on any mainstream media channel. WARNING: There are images in this blog which are not for the squeamish. The BBC, as ever, is as disgusting as it was during the Iraq war. What do we pay our licence fees for?

None of this has been reported. My information is that the lady who was a victim of Yatsenyuk's air strikes who is talking to rescuers in the third video died in hospital. Her name I believe was Inna. What abject cruelty! We are the only animals who delight in killing for killing's sake.