Friday, December 17, 2010


Racist, colonial language is still all the rage amongst British diplomats. Just one more wikileaks leaked cable confirms the sun just won't set on the British Empire.

The following is from RABBLE.

Wikileaks: Colonial limbo a deliberate attempt to keep islanders from homeland

The Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System (GEODSS) facility at Diego Garcia is one of three operational sites worldwide. Photo: United States Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. John Rohrer/Wikipedia.
Six months ago, I wrote a piece for describing the appalling treatment of the people of the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean by the British government. 
The islands were purchased by the government of Britain in 1966 from Seychellois Chagos Agalega Company, with the initial intention of running them as a U.K. government-owned plantation enterprise. This proved less profitable than the establishment of Cold War strategic military bases, so the islanders were removed.
Last spring, amid the campaigning and bombast of the U.K. elections which booted out Labour and returned a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, a historic announcement was made about the establishment of a marine protection zone (MPZ) around the islands. It was controversial because it killed the hopes of the islanders of ever returning home. Many now live in poverty in Mauritius and Britain.
The islands are small pieces of land, the islanders are powerless and dispersed. They are not written about often.
When it comes to the Chagos Islands, successive British governments have engaged in ignoble conduct. When the British government produced a feasibility study which suggested the islands were inhabitable and were in fact sinking, it was swiftly followed by plans announced by the U.S. government to expand their base on Diego Garcia
Then, on Dec. 3, the saga took a new turn.
Whistleblower website Wikileaks confirmed the worst of suspicions by releasing a document, as part of the U.S. diplomatic cables leak, that stated the marine reserve was established primarily to legally block attempts by the Chagossians to return to their homeland. 
When they read the document, those at the heart of the situation became even more angry, thanks the tone of British bureaucrats.
In the leak, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office director of overseas territories, Colin Roberts, was reported to have used hugely offensive language when describing the Chagossian community as being comprised of "Man Fridays." It was shocking that even in these days, Roberts, who was also commissioner for the British Indian Ocean Territories would use language that echoed a predecessor called Dennis Greenhill, who in 1966 described the indigenous islanders as being a "few Tarzans or Man Fridays." 
Equally offensively, Roberts went on to state:
"We do not regret the removal of the population." 
These comments by Roberts were recorded in the cable under a sub-section entitled "Je Ne Regrette Rien." 
This was directly in conflict with his boss at the time, U.K. foreign minister and Labour MP David Miliband, who remarked shortly after the House of Lords judgment in Oct. 2008 that: "...I should repeat the government's regret at the way the resettlement of the Chagossians' was carried out."
Another damning admission by Roberts in the document was the comment that the "environmental lobby is far more powerful than the Chagossians' advocates [in this case]," ensuring that the two sides would be at odds and presuming the islanders' claims were less significant. 
During Miliband's consultation on the proposals, a submission was received from Greenpeace which strongly supported the plans to set up the MPZ. While stressing that they opposed the presence of a U.S. base, they were in complete support of the zone and felt that there was:
" overwhelming case that the British government should declare a full no-take marine reserve for the whole of the territorial waters." 
Ben Fogle, joint patron of the U.K. Chagos Support Association (UKCSA) who was supportive of the MPZ, wrote in a letter last week that he had been "duped" and was particularly angry during an open letter to the Guardian newspaper when he wrote:
"I now regret my support of the marine sanctuary and look forward to joining the islanders in their campaign to return home." 
The Chagos Islands officially became an MPZ at midnight on 1st Nov., just weeks before the Wikileaks releases, and much to the delight of environmentalists. The development infuriated Mauritius and led to a diplomatic spat where Princess Anne was snubbed during her visit to Mauritius by the Navin Ramgoolam, that country's prime minister. 
But why did the British take this route to begin with? To help the U.S. to a military base in the centre of the Indian Ocean, a place as strategic today as it was when the U.S.S.R existed? To shut down all claims from a people who would live alongside such a base?
According the The Guardian newspaper the answer is "yes."
"In May 2009... Roberts... told the Americans Diego Garcia's value in 'assuring the security of the US and UK' had been 'much more than anyone foresaw' in the 1960s, when the plan to set up the base was hatched."
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour MP for Islington North and long time friend of the Chagossian cause, was furious following the revelations from the leaked documents. He said that "Colonialism is alive and well in the Foreign Office" and called it a "disgraceful abuse of the Chagos Islanders." 
Six months ago, I condemned the creation of the MPZ as being an attempt to "pre-empt the forthcoming judgment" from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which has been expected in the latter part of this year and is now due to take place in early 2011.
At the time of writing this, Greenpeace has yet to formally respond to the submission that the world's largest marine park was actually part of a wider ploy to deny the Chagossians their right to return home. 
The leaked documents reinforce the idea that nothing the British government says in relation to the Chagos Islands can ever be taken at face value.
I am thankful for the Wikileaks revelations. My friends and I dread to consider what helplessness we would all have felt had this information come out in a few years' time. As angry as Chagossian supporters are, there is a feeling of hope that perhaps it is still not too late for the sins since 1966 to be finally addressed and for an exiled indigenous community to be finally allowed a return home.
Clency Lebrasse is a U.K.-based freelance journalist, activist and second-generation naturalized Mauritian citizen living in Nottingham, England.
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Thursday, December 16, 2010


It wasn't okay in the Middle Ages and it isn't okay today...

From People's World (dirty commie revisionist rag)-

Sudanese protest lashing of woman

Scores of Sudanese women's rights activists and their allies descended on the offices of Sudan's Ministry of Justice, Dec. 14, to protest the beating of a young woman by laughing police officers that was captured on video and circulated around the world.
The video is availablehere, but be warned: it is extremely graphic and disturbing.
"The protesters were in the hundreds, planning to present a memorandum to the Minister of Justice," the Sudanese Communist Party said in a statement. "The security forces surrounded the protesters and demanded that they disband immediately. The peaceful protesters refused, demanding that the security forces respect their constitutional rights of peaceful assembly."
Sudan has a troubled political situation. Government-backed militias have targeted and killed many in a bloody civil war in the south, especially around the Darfur region. In certain areas of the country religious extremists have sought to take control.
The current controversy began when police officers found a young woman, covered head-to-toe in an Islamic robe, to be "mixing with men." According to them, this was "un-Islamic," and the woman was immediately lashed. The officers are shown in the video laughing as the woman was attacked.
The video sparked outrage around the world, but the fury started in the Sudan itself, forcing even columnists in government newspapers to call for an investigation.
Though done in the name of Islam, Sudanese Muslims seem appalled. In the video, some Muslim passersby told the officers, "God is the only authority" - not police officers.
The Sudanese government answered the protests with repression.
"Without warning, the police attacked the protesters, injuring a number of them and detaining 33 activists," said the Sudanese Communist Party statement. Among the arrested were SCP leaders and members.
As of press time, the protesters were still in prison. The Sudanese Communist Party is looking for international solidarity. Its statement says, "We call upon [you] to immediately protest to the Sudanese [government] or the nearest Sudanese embassy, demanding the immediate release of all detainees and respect [for] women's dignity and their rights and individual freedoms as well as to abolish all the laws that discriminate against Sudanese women.
Image: Scene from the shocking video.


It's happening in Turkey. Throw an egg at an official go to jail for a few years. Hold up a sign demanding a free education and go to jail for six to fifteen years.


Student Protests Continue in Turkey Despite Police Force, Jail Threats
Thursday, 16 December 2010
Student protests against government officials showed no signs of abating in Turkey on Wednesday despite continued harsh responses from police and politicians and ongoing threats of jail time for those participating in demonstrations.

One student is facing up to two years and four months in prison for throwing an egg at State Minister Egemen Bağış at a protest in Ankara, while two others have been under arrest for nine months pending trial for holding up critical posters during an appearance by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Istanbul.

Erdoğan was also the target of the latest student protest, which took place Wednesday at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, where the prime minister was chairing a Science and Technology High Council Meeting to determine the country’s science policies.

Student demonstrators chanted slogans against Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, protesting the police presence at the university and saying they had not been allowed to enter the hall where the meeting was being held.

Lack of participatory rights was also at issue in a Dec. 4 protest in Istanbul, where student groups demonstrated outside a meeting between the prime minister and university rectors, demanding their right to be present at the talks. Ankara University students who later protested the excessive use of police force in that incident were pepper-sprayed by police.

Pepper spray was likewise used at the METU protest Wednesday, where police took into custody 21 students who refused to disperse. Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Uğur Yıldırım said they were demonstrating against the earlier police actions in Istanbul and Ankara. The protests at METU were ongoing when the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review went to press.

While some of the protesters at METU threw snowballs at the police, hurling raw eggs has been a more common tactic at recent demonstrations. One student, Nihal Çarıkçı, is being charged with insulting State Minister Bağış for throwing eggs at him during a conference in September at Ankara University, reportedly ruining the left shoulder of his jacket.

Ankara Prosecutor Fuat Hazer is seeking a prison term of between one year and two years and four months for Çarıkçı, daily Milliyet reported Wednesday. Her egg throwing was deemed an attack on a public official’s honor, pride and prestige, allowing it to be prosecuted as a crime. The first trial in the indictment against Çarıkçı will be held at the sixth criminal court in Ankara on Feb. 10.

Two Roma students who held up posters saying “We want free education” during Erdoğan’s meeting with the Roma community in March were ordered Tuesday to remain under arrest, daily Milliyet reported. The students are accused of “being a member of a terrorist group” and “making terror propaganda,” crimes that carry a penalty of six to 15 years in jail.

The arrested suspects, Ferhat Tüzel, a mechanical-engineering student at Trakya University, and Berna Yılmaz, an anthropology student at Ankara University, participated in the trial held at the 10th High Criminal Court along with fellow suspect Utku Ayar, who is being tried without arrest.

During the trial, the suspects’ lawyers said their clients did not belong to outlawed organizations and that asking for free education is not a crime.

Supporters of the suspects protested the order that Tüzel and Yılmaz remain under arrest until the trial resumes May 24, 2011, chanting, “They only opened posters. May God give those vampires punishment.”


Greed, money, power, big pharmaceuticals, and DEATH...this stinks!

From New Scientist

Call to reopen drug trial suicide 
After a man killed himself while taking an antipsychotic drug, the psychiatrists at the University of Minnesota who had given it to him were investigated. Now their colleagues are asking for the case to be re-examined.
The call, made in a letter sent last week to the university's board of regents, centres on a 2004 clinical trial in which Dan Markingson, a mentally ill man, committed suicide. The conduct of the trial may have been affected by financial conflicts of interest and the failure of the university to address warnings from the man's mother, claim Carl Elliott and colleagues at the university's Center for Bioethics in Minneapolis. Both the university and the researchers involved in the trial strenuously deny the allegations.
Markingson stabbed himself to death in the bath around six months after being enrolled in a university-run study of Seroquel, an antipsychotic drug marketed by AstraZeneca. He was being treated with the drug for delusions, including the belief that he was about to be summoned by a secret group and asked to murder people.
Elliott and colleagues claim that Markingson may not have been in a position to consent to joining the trial. They also believe that university psychiatrists did not respond adequately to letters from Markingson's mother, who for several months before his death had warned that her son was suicidal and asked to have him removed from the trial. In an article for US magazine Mother Jones, published this autumn, Elliott noted that researchers involved in the trial performed paid advisory and speaking work for AstraZeneca – although this is common practice in the research community. The company also funded the trial itself.

No influence

Charles Schulz, head of the university's department of psychiatry, says that he and colleagues were in no way influenced by AstraZeneca's funding for the trial, which was paid to the university, not the researchers themselves. He adds that the US Food and Drug Administration investigated the case in 2004 and cleared the institution of wrongdoing.
A lawsuit filed by Markingson's mother against the university also failed. "The case was dismissed by the judge in court, and has been reviewed by the Minnesota Medical Board and dismissed," says Schulz.
Elliott and colleagues acknowledge these previous investigations, but say that the suicide needs to be revisited in the light of the evidence about the financial relationship between AstraZeneca and the university, some of which has only come to light in the past two years.
"While it is understandable that some of our colleagues will have little interest in revisiting this case and the ethical issues it raises, we are persuaded that there is a disturbing and unjustifiable gap between how the university has responded to this death and the careful, critical investigation it warrants," the researchers write.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Capitalism will destroy the earth unless we destroy it first.  The race may already be over, who knows, but as long as we are still here we owe to all the species of plants and animals to keep trying.  Below is a link to a   paper that might be of some interest to some of you.  It is too long so I'll just print the abstract here and a link to the place where you can read it.  Unfortunately to do this you'll have to become a Facebook friend of mine and read it as a note at my FB site (here)
 or in the alternative Google"The 21st Century Crisis: Climate Catastrophe or Socialism" and check it out yourself.

The abstract

:The 21st Century Crisis: Climate Catastrophe or Socialism

Dr. Minqi Li, Assistant Professor
Department of Economics, University of Utah

July 2010, Salt Lake City
Paper prepared for the David Gordon Memorial Lecture at URPE Summer Conference 2010

Under the current trend, the world is on track towards an extreme greenhouse state that threatens to destroy the human civilization and nearly all forms of life on the present earth.   Without an end of economic growth, it is virtually impossible for meaningful climate stabilization to be achieved.  However, both capitalist enterprises and states are constantly driven to expand production and consumption.  The climate change crisis is but one of several long-term historical trends that are now leading to the structural crisis of capitalism.  The resolution of the crisis and the survival of the humanity require the building of a fundamentally different social system.


Everyday another European capital is the scene of a bloody rebellion of one form or another.  It is hard to keep up.  In America, well, we get Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.  What do you suppose the trouble is with Americans anyway?

From BBC News of all places.

Clashes as Greece gripped by fresh strike

Greek police have clashed with protesters in the capital Athens as unions stage a general strike against government austerity measures.
Demonstrators threw petrol bombs and police responded with tear gas as the violence flared outside parliament.
A former minister was chased and beaten by a mob and forced to seek shelter in a building.
The day of action has grounded flights, disrupted public transport and closed schools across the country.
It is the seventh general strike this year following tough reforms needed to receive a 110bn euro (£84bn) bail-out from international organisations.
Police said about 15,000 people were taking part in marches in Athens.
Protesters started fires around luxury hotels in Syntagma Square, outside parliament, and cars were set ablaze. Riot police fired several rounds of tear gas in response.
The BBC's Malcolm Brabant in Athens says the scenes are some of the ugliest in a year of protests marking the country's economic crisis.
He says a lynch mob atmosphere developed as former conservative minister Kostis Hatzidakis emerged from parliament and was chased by dozens of protesters.
Click to play
Former conservative minister Kostis Hatzidakis was surrounded and beaten by a crowd
The opposition MP was pictured surrounded by a mob and with blood pouring from a head wound. Mr Hatzidakis's office said he was unable to reach hospital because of the crowds.
Witnesses said demonstrators shouted at him: "Thieves! Shame on you!"
Police said at least 10 people had been detained and three had been injured.
Roads jammed
With public transport at a standstill, major roads connecting the centre of Athens were jammed as motorists struggled to get to and from work.
Journalists were also on strike, affecting news bulletins on TV and radio.
Teacher Anastasia Antonopoulou, 50, travelled from the Ionian island of Zakynthos to join thousands marching through Athens on Wednesday.
"I can't sit on the sofa and watch my country go down. I'm here to shout and struggle," she said.
"Many of my students' parents are jobless."
On Tuesday, the Greek parliament voted through key economic reforms stipulated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Union, which are funding the bail-out.
The new legislation will cap the salaries of workers in state-run companies such as the public transport networks.
In the private sector, employers will no longer have to abide by union-negotiated agreements and can set their own wages.
Riot police in Athens
Prime Minister George Papandreou said the measures were designed to keep struggling companies afloat.
But union leaders have condemned the moves.
"We need to send the government a message that we will not accept measures that lead us only to poverty and unemployment," Ilias Iliopoulos, general secretary at the civil servants' union Adedy, told Reuters news agency.
Our correspondent says opposition groups are angry with the government for taking just 10 hours to debate such major changes to employment law.
However, as a result Greece is now more likely to receive its fourth instalment of financial aid due in the New Year, he adds.
Wednesday's strike is part of a European day of action against economic reforms.
Workers have been rallying against austerity measures in countries including Spain and Belgium, ahead of a summit of EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.
Are you in Greece? Are you taking part in the general strike? Send us your comments using the form below. You can also send us your pictures and video by following the instructions below.