Category Archives: Terror

The Imperial Universtiy: Academic Repression and Scholarly Dissent

 

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Pantomime Terror: Music and Politics

A welcome boost to sales numbers last month – some booksellers are doing it right. get them here

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Key ring terror distractor trinket

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Tucked in a side street in London Bridge today, a police stand handing out devices which I suspect.

I suspect an effort to distract from this evening’s BBCLondon report that Scotland Yard’s heavily redacted Operation Tiberius investigation covers up the exposure of 42 senior cops (and 19 former cops) for close links with drug crime and contract killings.

It is our duty, we are told: if you suspect it, report it.

J’suspect!

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On offer: this little show-bag of stuff from the dodgy non-uniform suits who refused to be photographed. I guess the key ring for terror is handy because I so want to be carrying that number around with me as a permanent anxiety reminder. That it came in what seems to be a used gram bag may only be coincidentally linked with the – let me repeat – exposure today that 42 members of the senior police were well paid crime syndicate stooges – as revealed in documents from Operation Tiberius previously heavily redacted by Scotland Yard but exposed tonight by BBCLondon.

The pen speaks for itself, was it previously used to sign payola cheques perhaps? I suspect it, so I report it.

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And this one just really is the perfect Fathers Day Trinket, no?

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FFS, I say, for fucks sake. Get these people a water cannon as soon as possible. Anyone need a news item to distract from the – did I mention – massive exposure of senior cops linked to crime syndicates?

Trinketization as damage control.

Hand Picked Stimulus Respond

I’ve two short bits of writing in this elegant little book from Jack Boulton, Stimulus Respond and Pavement Books. ‘The Politics of Cats’ and the bus part of the intro to ‘Pantomime Terror

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hand-Picked-Stimulus-Jack-Boulton/dp/0957147031

stimulus

Arun Kundnani The Muslims Are Coming!

The contrivers and conspirators of political surveillance (c.o.p.s.) – in Arun Kundnani’s new book p155.

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Pantomime Terror: MIA as Provocateur. Keynote address at International Centre for the Study of Culture, Giessen. 21 Nov 2013

Click on the image to get to Daily Motion to play. 55 mins. Thanks Raul Gschrey: it is on the same material as the last section of the book Pantomime Terror

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Pantomime Terror #music #politics

There’s a whole section on Wagner in this, and some humour. For the record… (you can order by clicking the cover to get to Zero then look for the sales tab lower right):

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Terrorism gone to pot (not that kind) #trinket #trinketisation #crimbo

Sophie keeps on finding pantomime crimbo trinkets – these one’s on special – mustn’t be selling so well.

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Pantomime Terror: Music and Politics

Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 11.22.40Click here to order: http://www.zero-books.net/books/pantomime-terror

 

Pantomime Terror trinket of the day.

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talk at RMIT Melbourne

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John Hutnyk
.
Pantomime Terror: MIA’s lyrical opposition to Capital, Google and the Border Patrols.

 .
Monday 16 December 2013 4:30PM (room tbc)

Within the prevailing ‘keep calm and carry on’ conditions of the UK security regime, those who find safety in repressive complicity are also necessarily disabled from criticism of the war-effect as it appears everywhere. At best this turns anti-war opposition into performance, staged protest and the lyricism of music, song, drum and video. In this talk I examine the culture-inflected, low-intensity war alongside the shooting war. The video provocations of artists like M.I.A. (Mathangi Arulpragasam) can be read as dramatising difficulties that have occupied British South Asian musicians, writers, filmmakers and commentators in the context of a domestic civil liberties crackdown that replicates detention and terror security repression elsewhere.

talk is on the same day as one by Sophie Fuggle…

Flyers with room details:

GRC Seminar John Hutnyk 161213

GRC Seminar Sophie Fuggle 161213

 

Guardian keeping up appearances of a war on terror – 3 item count in today’s edition:

It seems like that fatigue has set in with the regular news item slot that supports the war on terror, so now new angles need to be found – mothers/geeks, aspergers/Loughborough, Mao/tourism – to bolster this bogus paranoia-inducing low-level constant anxiety under which we ‘live’.

NasateenaspterrorTiannenmen

(all from the Guardian, today 30.10.2013 -

what bets there will be Halloween-themed ones tomorrow?)

We are all terrorists…

Screen shot 2013-07-03 at 16.02.08The recent revelations of Snowdon and the cartoon today from Bell don’t really seem that new. Though the following is also another paragraph from the Panto book to fall as a cutting to the floor, I remember the report where MI5 decided that we were all suspect:

If MI5 say there are no particular characteristics of a terrorist, nothing marks them out, all of us are suspect – and indeed, the contemporary nation state is increasingly only one of armed power. Jankel armed police vans in the streets of Britain, attack helicopters in Afghanistan, taps on your phone and inside your ipod. The people with beards are not all terrorists, and people without beards are not all terrorists, rather, all those with or without beards should be investigated, kettled and corralled – the terrorists are everywhere. They are, you are, we are – at risk of the wrath of Slavoj Žižek – all terrorists while actual attacks on particular sectors of the public, and with new legislation, new legal and administrative powers (detention, DNA, CCTV), Extraordinary Rendition (see Paglin 2006), expanded prison population, deportations, exclusions and a Whitehall Research Information and Communications Unit to counter Al Qaida brand ‘spin’ (Guardian August 26 2008) just some of the wide-spectrum targeting that runs cultural cover for political control.

The Hanging Channel spin offs

A new satellite service from the people who brought you ‘Captive Camera (Gitmo)’, ‘America’s Funniest NSA Surveillance Videos’, the YouTube viral sensation ‘LiveScream direct from the heart of Bhagram’ prison, and ‘The Hanging Channel™’ (the one with the ‘real’ – accept no substitutes – Saddam Hussein billion dollar drop – hosted by Devilish McCall).

Must see screen moments on this new service include (live links to be provided later):

- George Bush snr golfing

- George W reading stories to children when the TT were hit

- Obama watching the snuff film from Abbottabad with Hilary

- Hilary saying ‘wow’ to her blackberry when Gaddafi was killed

and other gems. Do not miss this. Parental misguidance recommended.

 

(essay on the Hanging channel see here)

 

 

GERMANY, THE FAR RIGHT AND THE NSU TRIAL

Written by IRR European News Team

Attacks in Germany linked to the NSU trial demonstrate that the far Right does not need a stimulus for violence.

Following the brutal murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich and attacks on several mosques, the government-funded Tell MAMA project warned of the dangers of cumulative extremism, tit-for-tat violence between Islamists and counter-jihadists and a ‘spiral of violence’ seemingly without end. Government counter-extremism programmes in other European countries, which tend likewise to locate all violence within a cumulative extremism framework, have been hotly contested by anti-fascists who point out that violence is central to the far Right’s modus operandi and needs no stimulus. Since the trial of the sole surviving member of the NSU and four suspected accomplices started at the Munich Higher Regional Court on 6 May (the trial is expected to last for two years) journalists from a number of newspapers, and organisations like the Media Team of the Munich Alliance Against Nazi Terror and Racism have been documenting acts of far-right intimidation and violence associated with the trial. And the Coordination Council of Muslims in Germany (KRM) have called for better protection of mosques during the NSU trial period as, according to KRM spokesman Aiman Mazyek ‘Democracies are supposed to ensure security for places of worship’.

For instance, as the trial began, between 10 and 20 May, four mosques were vandalised, in Bullay, in the Rhineland-Palatinate state, as well as its capital, Mainz; in the town of Lengerich in Steinfurt and Düren in North Rhine-Westphalia. In the Duren attack, the perpetrators scrawled on the mosque the words ‘The NSU is alive and you will be the next victims’. Many acts of political intimidation have taken place in Bavaria where the NSU trial is taking place in its capital Munich. The Bavarian Refugee Council has had its building repeatedly vandalised and the Kurt-Eisner-Verein and the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung offices have also been attacked. Residents at the housing project Ligsalz8 (which has also been repeatedly vandalised) were pelted with eggs on 8 May and, on 13 May the door of the Munich office of the legal team representing family members of a victim of the NSU was ‘extensively’ daubed with excrement and urine. The Süddeutsche Zeitungcomments that this ‘is unlikely’ to be a ‘coincidence’. The Spiegel also took the same line when it reported on 16 May that the home of anti-racist activists was pelted with paint bombs. ‘They want us to feel unsafe’, one of the activists told the paper. ‘We won’t allow ourselves to be intimidated.’

RELATED LINKS

Media Team of the Munich Alliance Against Nazi Terror

NSU Watch

Extended coverage! #Woolwich

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tf4eXbk7ME&feature=share

Who remembers Ibrahim?

Ibrahim-Al-MarashiIbrahim al-Marashi was the guy whose article was plagiarised from the Middle East Review by Blair and Labour in 2003 to justify the start of the second Iraq war against Saddam. al-Marashi complained about not being cited properly, and one hopes, much else. It seems he went on to be a pretty cool history professor if you go by the comments on Rate My Professor: here.

Trinkets in Camps

Doc Richard Iveson is a harvester of obscure snippets and curios, none escape his ability to comb through the detritus of philosophy for gems to hold up to the gloaming (apols to Benjamin and Kracauer):

Hi John. I’m in the middle of writing a paper on Catherine Malabou and along
the way I came across an unusual use of the word “trinket” which (if
you don’t already know) I thought you might find interesting -
according to Wolfgang Sofsky (in ‘The Order of Terror’), in the Nazi
concentration camp at Ravensbruck (a women’s camp), the prisoners who
were beyond any possibility of surviving (i.e. the ‘Muselmanner’) were
known as ‘trinkets’. Odd, but provocative, don’t you think?

Protest 5.10.2012

Friends of Al-Aqsa

EMERGENCY PROTEST in support of Babar and Talha

Babar Ahmad

This is the last stand. Join us tomorrow.

When: Friday 5th, 10am -12pm   Where: Strand, London, WC2A 2LL, Map

Tube: Holborn Underground Station – Temple Underground Station

We Are Babar Ahmad, Stop The War, Muslim Council of Britain, London Transport Region – RMT, Enough Coalition, IHRC, Cage Prisoners, British Muslim Initiative, Muslim Association of Britain, Friends of Al Aqsa, Islamic Forum Europe, FOSIS, Muslim Safety Forum, iEngage and MDUK.

 

  Friends of Al-Aqsa Donate to Friends of Al-Aqsa Friends of Al-Aqsa Facebook Friends of Al-Aqsa Twitter

Details from We are Baba Ahmad campaign:

PRESS RELEASE

Emergency Protest in support of Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan on Thursday 4th and Friday 5th October 2012

Thursday 4th October 2012

The ‘We Are Babar Ahmad Campaign’ along with partner organisations, is holding a protest outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Thursday 4th and Friday 5th October from 10am asking for an immediate stay of extradition for Syed Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmad.

As the Judges decide on representations from the lawyers of both men, it is important to note that their cases are very different from the others. Both are British Citizens accused of wrongdoing in Britain who have been held collectivey in maximum security prisons for 14 years without trial nor with any evidence being presented to them. The Home Affairs Select Committe which reviewed their cases has expressed grave concern. Boris Johnson, The Mayor of London has backed their right to be tried in Britain.

Dr Ismail Jalisi, speaking on behalf of ‘We Are Babar Ahmad’, said, “The extradition of these men to the United States must be stopped by the Home Secretary. The incarceration of these two men without trial and then carting them off to a country that does not need to provide any prima facie evidence even when it agrees that the allegations are based on actions that occurred here in Britain is quite frankly farcical.”

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) declared in July 2004 and December 2006, as did the UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith in September 2006, that there was ‘insufficient evidence’ to charge Babar Ahmad with any criminal offence in the UK. Since then in 2011 the CPS revealed for the first time that evidence had been sent to the US without ever having been reviewed by them. The Director of Public Prosecution has refused to prosecute the men despite being able to call on the Metropolitan Police to show them evidence that it deliberately witheld and sent straight to the United States.

As the Judges determine whether a stay of extradition should be granted to Babar and Talha the Shadow Justice Secretary, Sadiq Khan MP has backed the campaign saying “If there is evidence against them they should be tried in the UK”.

Partners for the protest include: Stop The War, Muslim Council of Britain, London Transport Region – RMT, Enough Coalition, IHRC, Cage Prisoners, British Muslim Initiative, Muslim Association of Britain, Friends of Al Aqsa, Islamic Forum Europe, Muslim Safety Forum, iEngage and MDUK.

ENDS

Details from the Free Tahla Ahsan Campaign site [now slightly dated, since extradition is immanent, see above]:

Talha Ahsan is a British-born poet and writer with Asperger syndrome facing extradition to America.

If convicted he will spend 70 years in “supermax” solitary confinement in ADX Florence.

Read on and help stop this injustice.

Who is Talha Ahsan?

Talha Ahsan is a British citizen born in London in 1979. He was educated at Dulwich College before receiving first class honours in Arabic from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). In the week of his arrest he had job interviews to train as a librarian. His mother describes him as “a serious, bookish young man… a very gentle, softly spoken and thoughtful boy.”

Talha has Asperger Syndrome (a form of autism). In a medico legal report of June 2009, a consultant psychiatrist described him as “an extremely vulnerable individual who from a psychiatric perspective would be more appropriately placed in a specialist service for adults with autistic disorders.”

He is also a keen poet and has received acclaim from novelist A.L. Kennedy amongst others.


Why is he in prison?

Talha Ahsan was arrested at his home on 19 July 2006 in response to a request from the USA under the Extradition Act 2003 which does not require the presentation of any prima facie evidence. He is accused in the US of terrorism-related offences arising out of an alleged involvement over the period of 1997-2004 with the Azzam series of websites, one of which happened to be located on a server in America.

He has never been arrested or questioned by British police, despite a number of men being so from his local area in December 2003 for similar allegations. All of them were released without charge.

One of them, Babar Ahmad, was later compensated £60,000 by the Metropolitan police after a civil case in March 2009 for the violent physical abuse during his arrest. It was evidence from this incident which formed the basis of Talha’s arrest two and a half years later.

Talha is currently making a final appeal to the European Courts of Human Rights (ECHR). He has now served the equivalent of a 12 year sentence at high security prisons without trial. He has never visited America. He denies all charges.

What is ‘Supermax’?

Imagine being confined in a 75.5sq feet cell with only a concrete slab and a thin mattress for a bed for 23 to 24 hours a day for every day of your life – the only window three inches wide looking out to a concrete pit…

This is the prospect Talha faces if extradited and convicted in the US – life without parole  in solitary confinement at ADX Florence, Colorado.

Virtually all of an ADX prisoner’s daily activities occur within the confines of his single cell. Food is delivered through a slot in the door, and he eats his meals alone. He receives educational and religious programming – and some medical care – through a black and white television in his cell. When an inmate is moved outside his cell, he is shackled behind the back, and subject to a strip search.

His cell window looks out onto the concrete pit that serves as an outdoor recreation area. The sun is never visible. Prisoners at ADX  rarely have contact with any other living thing, except the gloved hands of the correctional officers. Prisoners never touch soil, see plant life or view the surrounding mountains.

Prisoners in ADX receive one 15 minute social telephone call per month. Any call that is “accepted” (even by an answering machine) is considered “completed” regardless of the duration. Visits with family members are separated by a glass screen with only a telephone to speak through. The inmate is shackled throughout the visit.

In 2006, the U.N. Committee Against Torture expressed concern about “prolonged isolation periods” and “the extremely harsh regime” in US Supermax prisons.  It is little wonder that the former warden of ADX Florence described the prison as a ‘clean version of hell.’

What do his supporters want?

Talha deserves freedom or a fair trial in the UK. He has received a wide coalition of support. They include his local MP and shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan; novelist, A L Kennedy; former Guantanamo detainee, Moazzam Begg, and the civil rights organisation, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC).

The Government accepts the possibility for the case to be resolved by a domestic prosecution as the ECtHR highlights in their admissibility judgement of July 2010. In November 2011, his co-defendant, Babar Ahmad, initiated a parliamentary debate with over 149,000 signatures in an e-petition for a UK trial demonstrating the will of the British public for these cases. There are many legal precedents to try these charges in the UK.

One case is R v. Sheppard and Whittle (January 2010), in which the appellants were charged with possession, publication and distribution of racially inflammatory material on websites hosted in California. Lord Justice Scott Baker ruled the UK was the appropriate forum for prosecution as the substantial measure of activities constituting the crime, such as the writing and maintenance of the websites, took place in the UK.

The Home Secretary should also give special consideration to his medical condition. In the USA 97% of defendants plead guilty under pressure from prosecutors. A decision to try Talha in the US will only ensure his trial is as unfair as prosecutors can make it.
How does this affect me?


The Extradition Act 2003 devalues the sovereignty of British citizenship. It was fast-tracked into UK legislation without proper scrutiny. Under the current provisions, British judges have no opportunity to decide which country is more suitable for prosecution and nor can they assess the quality of evidence from the requesting state.

In June 2011 the cross-party Joint Committee on Human Rights called for the implementation of a ‘most appropriate forum’ safeguard. This would allow a British judge to refuse extradition where the alleged offence took place wholly or largely in the UK.

The committee of MPs and peers also recommended that the Government ‘urgently’ renegotiate the US-UK extradition treaty to exclude granting requests in cases where the UK prosecution authorities have already decided not to investigate the individual on the same evidence adduced by the US authorities. These calls were reinforced by a cross-party consensus after parliamentary debates in November and December 2011, as well as the Home Affairs Committee report on extradition in March 2012.

A country that has demonstrated such a flagrant disregard for human rights in recent years is not the proper forum for justice. David Blunkett, the home secretary who was responsible for the act, now expresses regret at its consequences. Any concerned British citizen must work against such a law.

 

Poetry After Guantanamo

a piece on MIA, now available as a pre-print citable version on email request (first 50 only). Shoot me a line to get the code.

 

link PoetryafterGuantanamo

Poetry After Guantanamo

a piece on MIA, now available as a pre-print citable version on email request (first 50 only). Shoot me a line to get the code.

 

link PoetryafterGuantanamo

Downing Street. Detain the Detainers.

Terror as Usual – in your face.

This was a strangely relevant welcome to the ‘Terror as usual’ workshop held at Birkbeck – a huge on topic poster in the foyer. pic.twitter.com/SdVeM1kN (thanks Shaku, Jodi, Saleh, Judy, Chris, Rachel, and others for turning out). 

Can anyone name this piece of State Terror kit shown in the poster? – it really dominates the room – bet they are topgun proud. [Alan adds: 'it's one of the RAF's many Tornados, currently being phased out and replaced by the Eurofighter Typhoon (that cost more than 10 times as much) and soon the F-35 stealth fighters' - thanks... Such a great poster - 30 feet by 20. I want. (A tornado I mean, not the poster)]

My ‘terror as usual’ talk was from an article in much expeanded format – here – I’ll send a pdf on request.

More Pantomime Terror

More Pantomime Terror – always on the case, protecting the Security of the Homeland near and far, the CIA seem to have found a pair of hot knickers in Yemen. They found no bomber, no plane, no ticket, they have no idea who built the panty-bomb… and there is no threat to the public. So it could be the perfect media story for the one-year-anniversary of the no body-shot snuff-film-watchin’-POTUS re-election bid:

‘The would-be suicide bomber, based in Yemen, had not yet picked a target or bought a plane ticket when the CIA stepped in and seized the bomb, officials said. It’s not immediately clear what happened to the alleged bomber.’
http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/us-cia-thwarts-new-al-qaida-underwear-bomb-plot-1.3704402

US: CIA thwarts new al-Qaida underwear bomb plot

Originally published: May 7, 2012 5:03 PM
Updated: May 7, 2012 6:11 PM
By The Associated Press  ADAM GOLDMAN (Associated Press), MATT APUZZO (Associated Press)

Photo credit: AP | FILE – This undated file photo released Oct. 31, 2010, by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior purports to show Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri. [Dubious link to person in photo redacted by JH, see the above alleged knickers pic instead if you really must have a picture]

The CIA thwarted an ambitious plot by al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner using a bomb with a sophisticated new design around the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, The Associated Press has learned. (AP Photo/Saudi Arabia Ministry of Interior, File)

WASHINGTON – (AP) — The CIA thwarted an ambitious plot by al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner using a bomb with a sophisticated new design around the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, The Associated Press has learned.

The plot involved an upgrade of the underwear bomb that failed to detonate aboard a jetliner over Detroit on Christmas 2009. This new bomb was also designed to be used in a passenger’s underwear, but this time al-Qaida developed a more refined detonation system, U.S. officials said.

The FBI is examining the latest bomb to see whether it could have passed through airport security and brought down an airplane, officials said. They said the device did not contain metal, meaning it probably could have passed through an airport metal detector. But it was not clear whether new body scanners used in many airports would have detected it.

There were no immediate plans to change security procedures at U.S. airports.

The would-be suicide bomber, based in Yemen, had not yet picked a target or bought a plane ticket when the CIA stepped in and seized the bomb, officials said. It’s not immediately clear what happened to the alleged bomber.

White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said President Barack Obama learned about the plot in April and was assured the device posed no threat to the public.

“The president thanks all intelligence and counterterrorism professionals involved for their outstanding work and for serving with the extraordinary skill and commitment that their enormous responsibilities demand,” Hayden said.

The operation unfolded even as the White House and Department of Homeland Security assured the American public that they knew of no al-Qaida plots against the U.S. around the anniversary of bin Laden’s death. The operation was carried out over the past few weeks, officials said.

“We have no credible information that terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the anniversary of bin Laden’s death,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said on April 26.

On May 1, the Department of Homeland Security said, “We have no indication of any specific, credible threats or plots against the U.S. tied to the one-year anniversary of bin Laden’s death.”

The White House did not explain those statements Monday.

The AP learned about the thwarted plot last week but agreed to White House and CIA requests not to publish it immediately because the sensitive intelligence operation was still under way. Once officials said those concerns were allayed, the AP decided to disclose the plot Monday despite requests from the Obama administration to wait for an official announcement Tuesday.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security acknowledged the existence of the bomb late Monday, but there were no immediate plans to adjust security procedures at airports. Other officials, who were briefed on the operation, insisted on anonymity to discuss details of the plot, many of which the U.S. has not officially acknowledged.

“The device never presented a threat to public safety, and the U.S. government is working closely with international partners to address associated concerns with the device,” the FBI said in a statement.

It’s not clear who built the bomb, but, because of its sophistication and its similarity to the Christmas bomb, counterterrorism officials suspected it was the work of master bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri or one of his protégées. Al-Asiri constructed the first underwear bomb and two others that al-Qaida built into printer cartridges and shipped to the U.S. on cargo planes in 2010.

Both of those bombs used a powerful industrial explosive. Both were nearly successful.

The operation is an intelligence victory for the United States and a reminder of al-Qaida’s ambitions, despite the death of bin Laden and other senior leaders. Because of instability in the Yemeni government, the terrorist group’s branch there has gained territory and strength. It has set up terrorist camps and, in some areas, even operates as a de facto government.

But along with the gains there also have been losses. The group has suffered significant setbacks as the CIA and the U.S. military focus more on Yemen. On Sunday, Fahd al-Quso, a senior al-Qaida leader, was hit by a missile as he stepped out of his vehicle along with another operative in the southern Shabwa province of Yemen.

Al-Quso, 37, was on the FBI’s most wanted list, with a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture [erm, and assassination?]. He was indicted in the U.S. for his role in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in the harbor of Aden, Yemen, in which 17 American sailors were killed and 39 injured.

Al-Quso was believed to have replaced Anwar al-Awlaki as the group’s head of external operations. Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. airstrike last year.

___

Contact the Washington investigative team at DCinvestigations(at)ap.org

Associated Press writers Kimberly Dozier and Eileen Sullivan contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. [though it does need to be rewritten, quite bad journalism always deserves an edit, or 'contribution tot he report']

That free-thinking even-handed paper of record

Even handed as always, the Guardian media ads pages today carries two ‘provocative’ ads for Torturer and Abuser. Ironic ‘sick joke’ ads that eventually ask us to log on to the website for the rehabilitation NGO Freedom from Torture. So far so transparent, a senior human rights abuser is needed for ‘A militia group in Central Africa’ and a senior torturer is needed by the ‘Government of a Middle East state’. Oh the wit. I guess the Guardian copy editor thought these would be ok, and not grotesque renderings of undifferentiated Middle East and Africa as land of despots, because the next page, or tomorrow, or all next week, there would be exposés of USA tortures in Guantanamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib, etc and British abuses via deportations, immigration raids, complicity with the US and all that. But, undermining such even-handedness, today’s edition clearly ran out of space for anything acknowledging Western abuses. Only in the darker nations, where presumably irony is not lost, and prejudice excused, does Freedom from Torture want to operate its humour. When the international criminal court indicts Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy, and has already locked up the Bush boys, Gunshot Cheney and Tony Bliar, for good, will we look back and say, well done vigilant Guardian editors, your objectivity is sound, and the name of your paper not a cipher for panto.

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Update: the freedom from torture website helpfully completes the geo-imperial slur framing with its third ad, for a kidnapper in South Asia. Excellent – a return to growth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Update 2: And if you do click on the link, look for their video with its seeds metaphors and its water torture feature in their reception room. ‘Torture is bad’ – they campaign to tell people that. I can only agree.

Terror as Usual

‘Terror as Usual’ – Media cultures in an age of terror

Symposium

Media@LSE and Birkbeck College with London Screen Studies Group

Friday 25 May 2012

Venue: Clore Management Centre, Torrington Sq, Birkbeck, University of London

Map: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/maps/interactive

10.00 Arrive

10.15 Introduction to the day

Session One 10.30-12.00

John Hutnyk, Goldsmiths – ‘Sexy Sammy and Red Rosie': from burning books to the war on terror

Mina Al-Lami, LSE – Members to martyrs: crossing the line from online to offline jihadism

12.00-13.00 Lunch

Session Two 13.00-14.30

Marc Hobart, SOAS – ‘Terror As Performance’ The Bali bombing on the news

Cristina Archetti, Salford – A communications perspective on terror

14.30-15.00 Coffee/Tea

Session Three 15.00-16.15

Guy Westwell – Queen Mary – Terror and conspiracy in post 9/11 US film

Open Discussion: all speakers – What’s old and what’s new?

Registration: Registration is Free but places are limited, so please pre-register by May 23rd at terrorasusual[at]gmail.com

Two moments of trinketization spotted by Simon, with thanks

this first one is especially relevant the day after Lenin’s birthday (is it Danish? :)

and this one belongs in the Sept 11 file:

Disarm DSEI


Confront “Counter Terror Expo”: Confront the real terrorists!

Posted on Friday 23 March 2012

April 25 2012, 6.30pm
at the Royal Garden Hotel,
2-24 High Street Kensington:
nearest tubes High Street Kensington and Knightsbridge.

As “counter-terrorist experts”—many better known as armament companies—gather at the Royal Garden Hotel to guzzle champagne followed by four course dinner. Pausing only to gaze over Kensington Gardens. (At a mere £156 a ticket—guess who isn’t suffering from “austerity”?)

Join Disarm DSEi as we confront exhibitors at the so-called Counter Terror Expo—an event showcasing the latest equipment used by states to spy on, restrict and murder their citizens under the guise of “preventing terrorism”. Let’s help them choke on it! (Remember the DSEi dinner demo at the National Gallery!)

Dinner guests include:

General Dynamics
British arm of US-based firm agreed deal to upgrade military equipment for an elite Libyan government security brigade.
Chemring Defence
British contractor produced CS gas canisters fired at civilians by Egyptian security forces in Tahir Square.
L-3 Security & Detection Systems
A division of $15bn surveillance and communications giant L-3 Communications.
Thales
French aerospace and defence company paid fine of €630m in 2010 over bribes to win contract for 1991 sale of frigates to Taiwan.
Northrop Grumman
US global aerospace company, world’s fourth largest defence contractor.

(Check out the full list of exhibitors)

Across North Africa and the Middle East, dictatorships have, and still are using equipment supplied by UK companies to spy on and attack demonstrators, and yet some of these countries will be shopping for more equipment at the Counter Terror Expo, along with other repressive regimes from around the world.

The UK is a major market, where police are widening their surveillance and repression to even the mildest dissidents. As the government relentlessly destroys the welfare state and drags our wages to rock bottom, it continues to subsidise and promote the arms and “security” industries

The event hosts hundreds of exhibitors, not only leading arms companies, who make huge profits from conflict and repression. It is officially supported by a vast range of military, police and private security organisations, and is endorsed by state agencies such as the MoD and NATO.

Surveillance systems will be a major focus, with companies again promoting biometric and data gathering/mining technologies; promoting “freedom” through ever greater control and documentation of our daily lives, not to mention drones (coming to a demo near you shortly!)

The event is organised by Clarion, which also runs DSEi—the world’s largest arms fair. What with governments everywhere looking to increase control of their citizens, and the industry exaggerating threats to increase their profits, Clarion must think they’re onto a winner. Let’s show them they’re not.

www.dsei.org / www.corporatewatch.org

Born Free – MIA’s Poetry After Guantanamo

A piece written before this week’s release of Bad Girls, coming out soon in Social Identities.

Abstract: The recent work of the Sri-Lankan-British musician and sonic ‘curator’ known as M.I.A. (real name: Mathangi Arulpragasam) is considered as a commentary on atrocity and read alongside the well known essay ‘The Storyteller’ by Walter Benjamin and comments on Auschwitz by Theodor Adorno. The storytelling here is updated for a contemporary context where global war impacts us all, more or less visibly, more, or less, acknowledged. It is argued that the controversy over M.I.A.’s Romain Gavras video Born Free is exemplary of the predicament of art in the face of violence, crisis and terror – with this track, and video, M.I.A.’s work faced a storm of criticism which I want to critique in turn, in an attempt, at least, to learn to make or discern more analytic distinctions amongst concurrent determinations of art A careful reading of Adorno can in the end teach us to see Born Free anew.

 

Keywords: Benjamin, Adorno, Gavras, M.I.A, music, terror, racism, orientalism.

PDF Here Poetry After GuantanamoFinalDraftSocialIdentities.

US Weather Report

NDTV 24 x 7 The Hanging Channel

A text on NDTV 24×7.

NDTC x 24 Hanging Channel – click for pdf scan.

 ‘NDTV 24 X 7, the Hanging Channel: News Media or Horror Show?’ in Contemporary Indian Media and the Politics of Change, London: Routledge.  Published 2011.
* A study of 24 hour Delhi based news channel NDTV’s reporting of the case of Mohammed Afzal Guru, framed for the Dec 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament and sentenced to hang. This chapter is 9000 words and was published at the start of 2011. Based on substantial television research, viewing and reading or reports, screen analysis of station idents etc. Was originally a conference keynote at a Asian Media conference at SOAS and given once as a talk at the prestigious National Indian Research Institute Shimla.

We are all Troy Davis (well, hardly, but its a fucking outrage that the USA executed over a thousand people since 1975, and then some)

A cartoon made for Troy Davis by the activist known cartoonist Carlos Latuff

Since I have been writing about this in relation to MIA, maybe its worth noting for the record, that the cited (is this only ‘citation’?) image cartooned here appeared in its original gross form in several films, including in full in the Monkees’ Jack Nicholson and Bob Rafelson ‘Head’ (dir. Rafelson 1968), and in what is arguably the first extended music video (shot on 2 inch quadruplex video in PAL format and transferred after production to film stock) ‘200 Motels’ (dir. Frank Zappa and Tony Palmer 1971). It was used as background visuals for the song ‘The Story of Isaac’ by Leonard Cohen on his 1972 tour – as seen in the long lost and recently reassembled film Bird on a Wire (dir. Tony Palmer 2009) and the still was a backdrop in Woody Allen’s ‘Stardust Memories’ (dir. Allen 1980). Details: South Vietnamese national Police Chief Nguyễn Ngọc Loan executes alleged communist Nguyễn Văn Lém – the picture taken by Pulitzer prize winner Eddie Adams on 1 February 1968, with film by Vo Suu – original footage now available on google video:

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=2390091327094425662&hl=en&fs=true

We should not cave into PREVENT

A very disturbing email this morning – latest in a series of ever longer shrill missives on data protection that come in, and add to our workload. Not that I do not take them seriously, but it is not welcome news in between dealing with crap from UKBA (today, a note from a prospective visiting student funded from China for two years who, after ten or twelve letters back and forth between us, is finally refused entry because Home Office only issues visas for 12 months to visiting students, so now she can’t come at all! – Chinese Govt more flexible, will amend their funding to a year, and of course more work for us to try and fix this, basically by inviting her for two lots of 12 months. Cretinization!).

The point is, UKBA and terror programmes like the racist PREVENT must be exposed and resisted. It is distressing that we are even discussing this in relation to the PREVENT agenda, or rather, it is distressing that our esteemed retentional data manager is forced to discuss this and not just spit back an angry ‘no’. Still, the inference is that written data is all that matters here (the alternative – rumours that we are a part of the moral collapse/broken society/criminal decline and so on, are not subject to this ‘policy’ and cannot be passed on unless written down – though I guess now I’ve written it down it is obviously possible – HA!).

Enjoy. Weep. Despair.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: {snip}
Date: Fri, Sep 2, 2011 at 8:33 AM
Subject: [HoDAcademic] Third party disclosures of personal data

Dear All -

Further to reports in the press of a new initiative within the government’s “PREVENT” strategy concerning the covert surveillance of Muslim students – on what appears to be potentially rather scant evidence (http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/aug/29/university-inform-vulnerable-muslim-students) it seems timely to ask you to remind staff of the procedures for disclosures of personal data to third parties: http://www.gold.ac.uk/data-protection/data-third-parties/

The individuals within the College who are authorised to make disclosures of personal data to the police (or in fact anyone who wishes the disclosure to be made without data subject consent) are the Director of Student Services, the Data Protection Officer and the Registrar and Secretary. (The Director of HR is added to this list – in practice only for staff data – although of course there is currently a vacancy.) Disclosures to the vpolice are in the vast majority of cases not compulsory but at the discretion of the College, and the College must accept legal liability for any challenge to its decision from the data subject (should he or she discover later that the disclosure has been made). Recently police tactics of investigation have tended to become more intrusive and one hears of more instances of refusals by universities to cooperate than a few years ago. This is not confined to the anti-terrorism agenda but is more general. Approaches adopted by the policy are inconsistent and do not always go through the institution’s obvious channels for personal data disclosure.

The procedures for disclosure of personal data in the Goldsmiths Data Protection Policy strictly only apply where there is written (or otherwise recorded) information involved at some point in the process (as there often is). However it would be helpful if I could be kept informed of any approaches made by the police to obtain information from you or your staff under their current initiative, as this contributes to a general overview of the risk environment in terms of potential invasion of privacy. Over the next two weeks I shall however be away, {snip}

Shopping Žižek – a commentary on a commentary (an addendum to ✪ 11 more notes 12&3 on #LondonRiots etc)

Slavoj Žižek’s commentary on the #LondonRiots indented, with my intemperate interjections interspersed in smaller italics (not indented). i – i – i – i. What I have done is copied the entire text from his LRB article (available free) and entered that here, in original order, nothing excised, so I could then add my own commentary, in italics, between the lines, So to speak. If you want to read the unadulterated version go direct to theLRB link here. Why do this sort of interruption – especially of someone from whom we learn a lot? Maybe I thought the joke title was only a little bit funny…

Shoplifters of the World Unite

Slavoj Žižek on the meaning of the riots

You are invited to read this free essay from the London Review of BooksSubscribe now to access every article from every fortnightly issue of the London Review of Books, including the entire archive of over 12,500 essays and reviews.

Repetition, according to Hegel, plays a crucial role in history: when something happens just once, it may be dismissed as an accident, something that might have been avoided if the situation had been handled differently; but when the same event repeats itself, it is a sign that a deeper historical process is unfolding. When Napoleon lost at Leipzig in 1813, it looked like bad luck; when he lost again at Waterloo, it was clear that his time was over. The same holds for the continuing financial crisis. In September 2008, it was presented by some as an anomaly that could be corrected through better regulations etc; now that signs of a repeated financial meltdown are gathering it is clear that we are dealing with a structural phenomenon.

So this is a familiar and yet slightly weird start. SZ has this bit about the much beloved Hegel, but he well knows the Marx routine from the Eighteenth Brumaire, which glosses the repetition of events and adds ‘but Hegel forgot to say that they happen the second time as farce’. SZ used this quip as a book title: ‘First as Tragedy, Then as Farce’ in 2009, and explained the gloss on Marx as an IQ test for those who might think a discussion of a return to communism after a century of totalitarianism was bad comedy – of course anyone who reacted like that should be forcibly dealt with, and he suggests confiscating the book from them. It turns out the book was a thoughtful commentary upon Sept 11 2011 and the 2008 financial crash… along the way providing some choice critiques of Hardt and Negri, democracy, liberals and so on, teaching us that: ‘we live in apocalyptic times … each of the three proceses of proletarianization refer to an apocalyptic end point: ecological breakdown, the biogenetic reduction of humans to manipulable machines, total digital control over our lives … at all these levels, thinGs are approaching a zero-point: “the end of times is near”‘ (p92-93)

We are told again and again that we are living through a debt crisis, and that we all have to share the burden and tighten our belts. All, that is, except the (very) rich. The idea of taxing them more is taboo: if we did, the argument runs, the rich would have no incentive to invest, fewer jobs would be created and we would all suffer. The only way to save ourselves from hard times is for the poor to get poorer and the rich to get richer. What should the poor do? What can they do?

Yes, nice words, nice questions. In an earlier commentary, on the French youth uprising in 2005, SZ mocked the ‘‘search for deeper meaning or messages hidden in these outbursts’ as an ‘hermeneutic temptation’ that ‘needs to be resisted’(Žižek 2008:65). Well and good. Do not offer us the meaning of the riots then – something like Mao’s advice to the Vietcong when they asked for assistance, Mao said ‘tighten your belts’. Ho Chi Minh replied ‘please send us belts’. Some advice misses the mark, but of course we are on the way to Paris…

Although the riots in the UK were triggered by the suspicious shooting of Mark Duggan, everyone agrees that they express a deeper unease – but of what kind? As with the car burnings in the Paris banlieues in 2005, the UK rioters had no message to deliver. (There is a clear contrast with the massive student demonstrations in November 2010, which also turned to violence. The students were making clear that they rejected the proposed reforms to higher education.) This is why it is difficult to conceive of the UK rioters in Marxist terms, as an instance of the emergence of the revolutionary subject; they fit much better the Hegelian notion of the ‘rabble’, those outside organised social space, who can express their discontent only through ‘irrational’ outbursts of destructive violence – what Hegel called ‘abstract negativity’.

This rabble comment – intentional cheap provocation – is pretty unwelcome alongside the reference to Paris, which is surely there to remind us that after the death of Bouna Toure and Zyed Benna, Sarkozy had called the rioters a rabble – or racaille. And why is it so hard to grasp the uprising in ‘Marxist terms’ – as if these were some fixed codec, always the same, never to be worked out anew in each contingency. Here we have people – well, so-called ‘rabble’ – breaking the bond between exchange value and commodity and its hard to see a Marxist angle? I find that pretty strange. Best look more closely for what is really going on. Let us how we don’t get some smuggled in parable about perception and the jedi mind-trick parallax wheelbarrow syndrome… oh no, its roll out number 346 of the barrow gag:

There is an old [old and worn - ed] story about a worker suspected of stealing [spurious accusation against the worker here] : every evening, as he leaves the factory, the wheelbarrow he pushes in front of him is carefully inspected. The guards find nothing; it is always empty. Finally, the penny drops: what the worker is stealing are the wheelbarrows themselves [the worker makes the wheelbarrows, the theft is by the factory owner who employs guards to ensure that the worker offers labour for free]. The guards were missing the obvious truth [truth, or 'hermeneutic temptation at play here], just as the commentators on the riots have done [yes, we can agree perhaps that the commentators are the guards... stupid guards] . We are told that the disintegration of the Communist regimes in the early 1990s signalled the end of ideology[votextual shift of analytical level - I like it] : the time of large-scale ideological projects culminating in totalitarian catastrophe was over; we had entered a new era of rational, pragmatic politics. If the commonplace that we live in a post-ideological era is true in any sense, it can be seen in this recent outburst of violence. [here comes the zero-degree point again] This was zero-degree protest, a violent action demanding nothing.[nothing?] In their desperate attempt to find meaning in the riots, the sociologists and editorial-writers obfuscated the enigma the riots presented.

At one level, anything becomes enigmatic if you squint at it long enough. But I have been looking at this Zero degree point a long time and SZ has said some enigmatic things that keep on repeating. We should ask how the riots are a ‘violent action demanding nothing’? We can go back a bit to and earlier ‘event’ horizon and hear SZ say something that is now becoming very familiar. In his book ‘Welcome to the Desert of the real’, again citing Hegel, he had discussed New York on Sept 11 2011, suggesting ‘‘the ultimate aim of the attacks was not some hidden or obvious ideological agenda but – precisely in the Hegelian sense of the term – to (re)introduce the dimension of absolute negativity into our daily lives’ (Žižek 2002:142). Basically, the attackers had no message, and no list of demands:  “The spectacular explosion of the WTC towers was not simply a symbolic act (in the sense of an act whose aim is to ‘deliver a message’): it was primarily an explosion of lethal jouissance, a perverse act of making oneself the instrument of the big Other’s jouissance” (Žižek 2002:141). Later, in the book ‘Violence’, SZ calls terrorist attacks and suicide bombings a ‘counter violence’ that is a ‘blind passage a l’acte’ and an ‘implicit admission of impotence’ (Žižek 2008:69). We might pass over the curiosity that Žižek chooses the infirmities of blindness and impotence to characterise the terrorist suicide bomber, as if the twin towers indicated a doubled scene of masturbation (too much and you lose your sight) and castration (impotence, symbolic castration of the towers, mummy daddy, invocation of old psychoanalytic staples). But the task of a critical commentary is not just to stop and stare at the primal scene of nothing.

The protesters, though underprivileged and de facto socially excluded, weren’t living on the edge of starvation. People in much worse material straits, let alone conditions of physical and ideological oppression, have been able to organise themselves into political forces with clear agendas. The fact that the rioters have no programme is therefore itself a fact to be interpreted: it tells us a great deal about our ideological-political predicament and about the kind of society we inhabit, a society which celebrates choice but in which the only available alternative to enforced democratic consensus is a blind acting out. Opposition to the system can no longer articulate itself in the form of a realistic alternative, or even as a utopian project, but can only take the shape of a meaningless outburst. What is the point of our celebrated freedom of choice when the only choice is between playing by the rules and (self-)destructive violence?

No organization? And ‘the rioters have no programme’? ‘Opposition to the system can no longer articulate itself”. This blind acting out, deployed to the WTC in New York or to London, and similar to SZ’s view of the slums, where people are  ’in dire need of minimal forms of self-organization’ Parallax View (Žižek 2006:268),  is deeply problematic – why would we not diagnose this as a distortion of a kind of vanguardism, as an ego-driven projection on the part of the commentator who wants to critique the commentators, in a sub negative dialectic?

Alain Badiou has argued that we live in a social space which is increasingly experienced as ‘worldless’: in such a space, the only form protest can take is meaningless violence. Perhaps this is one of the main dangers of capitalism: although by virtue of being global it encompasses the whole world, it sustains a ‘worldless’ ideological constellation in which people are deprived of their ways of locating meaning. The fundamental lesson of globalisation is that capitalism can accommodate itself to all civilisations, from Christian to Hindu or Buddhist, from West to East: there is no global ‘capitalist worldview’, no ‘capitalist civilisation’ proper. The global dimension of capitalism represents truth without meaning.

Badiou? He too thinks there is no message: Badiou writing of September 11, 2001, starts his essay on ‘Philosophy and the War on Terror’ by saying ‘It was an enormous murder, lengthily premeditated, and yet silent. No one claimed responsibility’ (‘Polemics’ 2006:15). The fundamental lesson is not to see any of this as programmatic, until I tell you too. The main contradiction is here – no to the mute terrorists, rabble, rioters, commentators, yes to wordless world ‘events’ as interpreted by the blind jouissance of those who would still, despite all this, draw fundamental ‘lessons’ from globalization. Indeed, lessons, but not truth without meaning – rather, an analysis of contemporary capital that cuts.

The first conclusion to be drawn from the riots, therefore, is that both conservative and liberal reactions to the unrest are inadequate. [Yes, agreed]. The conservative reaction was predictable: there is no justification for such vandalism; one should use all necessary means to restore order; to prevent further explosions of this kind we need not more tolerance and social help but more discipline, hard work and a sense of responsibility. What’s wrong with this account is not only that it ignores the desperate social situation pushing young people towards violent outbursts but, perhaps more important, that it ignores the way these outbursts echo the hidden premises of conservative ideology itself. [yes,and with reactionary ultra-punitive 'fightback retribution when the ideological goes wrong].When, in the 1990s, the Conservatives launched their ‘back to basics’ campaign, its obscene complement was revealed by Norman Tebbitt: ‘Man is not just a social but also a territorial animal; it must be part of our agenda to satisfy those basic instincts of tribalism and territoriality.’ This is what ‘back to basics’ [is this a cimena reference to the Christina Aguilera video?] was really about: the unleashing of the barbarian [Conan!] who lurked beneath our apparently civilised, bourgeois society, through the satisfying of the barbarian’s ‘basic instincts’ [more film refs!] . In the 1960s, Herbert Marcuse introduced the concept of ‘repressive desublimation’ to explain the ‘sexual revolution’: human drives could be desublimated, allowed free rein, and still be subject to capitalist control – viz, the porn industry [see, its was always heading to video]. On British streets during the unrest, what we saw was not men reduced to ‘beasts’, but the stripped-down form of the ‘beast’ produced by capitalist ideology [and some sort of 'Wild in the Streets' scary Zombie movie]

What SZ surely means is not what ‘we’ saw, but what the press and the commentators and the conservatives saw. What we saw was a lot different. From looting and violence to laughter and excitement, from community solidarity and euphoria to reactionary not in my back yard nimbyism. Maybe SZ means ‘what we were made to see’ when he refers to the stripped-down beast here. Surely he is not saying this was the ontological status of the streets at the time. This so-called beast was laughing, chanting, organized…

Meanwhile leftist liberals, no less predictably, stuck to their mantra about social programmes and integration initiatives, the neglect of which has deprived second and third-generation immigrants of their economic and social prospects: violent outbursts are the only means they have to articulate their dissatisfaction. Instead of indulging ourselves in revenge fantasies, we should make the effort to understand the deeper causes of the outbursts. Can we even imagine what it means to be a young man in a poor, racially mixed area, a priori suspected and harassed by the police, not only unemployed but often unemployable, with no hope of a future? The implication is that the conditions these people find themselves in make it inevitable that they will take to the streets. The problem with this account, though, is that it lists only the objective conditions for the riots. To riot is to make a subjective statement, implicitly to declare how one relates to one’s objective conditions.

Who is this ‘we’ you talking about white man? David Starkey and the stench of bourgeois race supremacy lines up alongside this kind of comment – what we can imagine about them others, them beasts, them out on the streets. Time to take a walk outside SZ. Am I too ‘cynical’ [its coming] in thinking that the madness of actually hearing from the youth is possible, necessary even. A grime track listing anyone? For starters. Who ‘we’?

We live in cynical times, and it’s easy to imagine a protester who, caught looting and burning a store and pressed for his reasons, would answer in the language used by social workers and sociologists, citing diminished social mobility, rising insecurity, the disintegration of paternal authority, the lack of maternal love in his early childhood. He knows what he is doing, then, but is doing it nonetheless.

Imagine a protester.. you may say I am a dreamer, but I’m not the only one who thinks it might be possible to do more than offer an easy mind game that does ventriloquy for social work – the catch here is the last clause of the above paragraph – the fetishists dilemma – knowing what’s going on and doing it nevertheless.

It is meaningless to ponder which of these two reactions, conservative or liberal, is the worse: as Stalin would have put it, they are both worse, and that includes the warning given by both sides that the real danger of these outbursts resides in the predictable racist reaction of the ‘silent majority’. One of the forms this reaction took was the ‘tribal’ activity of the local (Turkish, Caribbean, Sikh) communities which quickly organised their own vigilante units to protect their property. Are the shopkeepers a small bourgeoisie defending their property against a genuine, if violent, protest against the system; or are they representatives of the working class, fighting the forces of social disintegration? Here too one should reject the demand to take sides. The truth is that the conflict was between two poles of the underprivileged: those who have succeeded in functioning within the system versus those who are too frustrated to go on trying. The rioters’ violence was almost exclusively directed against their own. The cars burned and the shops looted were not in rich neighbourhoods, but in the rioters’ own. The conflict is not between different parts of society; it is, at its most radical, the conflict between society and society, between those with everything, and those with nothing, to lose; between those with no stake in their community and those whose stakes are the highest.

They are ‘both worse’ is Lenin, not Stalin – ‘both are worse’  from ‘What is to Be Done’ part 1, where Lenin is talking about two competing resolutions of the Jewish Workers Union in 1901. Surely a good Leninist should not mischievously be laying traps like this – checking to see if we are paying attention, misattributing classic quotes from the Vlad to Jo. SZ had already attributed this to Stalin in ‘Welcome to the Desert of the Real’ so I suspect its a moment of digital apocalypse cut and paste. The demand to deliver text in a rush. And I am doing it here – cut and say, paste and pay. But this is in the LRB, for which we are encouraged to subscribe. 

Zygmunt Bauman characterised the riots as acts of ‘defective and disqualified consumers’: more than anything else, they were a manifestation of a consumerist desire violently enacted when unable to realise itself in the ‘proper’ way – by shopping. As such, they also contain a moment of genuine protest, in the form of an ironic response to consumerist ideology: ‘You call on us to consume while simultaneously depriving us of the means to do it properly – so here we are doing it the only way we can!’ The riots are a demonstration of the material force of ideology – so much, perhaps, for the ‘post-ideological society’. From a revolutionary point of view, the problem with the riots is not the violence as such, but the fact that the violence is not truly self-assertive. It is impotent rage and despair masked as a display of force; it is envy masked as triumphant carnival.

Perhaps the problem with the commentaries are that they are not riotous enough, not triumphant, not able to see a revolution in carnival, in a moment, in assertion, even if not the ‘true self’ of the ideology carrying (where did you get that lovely outfit) demonstration of ‘irony’ is lagging behind.

The riots should be situated in relation to another type of violence that the liberal majority today perceives as a threat to our way of life: terrorist attacks and suicide bombings. In both instances, violence and counter-violence are caught up in a vicious circle, each generating the forces it tries to combat. In both cases, we are dealing with blind passages à l’acte, in which violence is an implicit admission of impotence. The difference is that, in contrast to the riots in the UK or in Paris, terrorist attacks are carried out in service of the absolute Meaning provided by religion.

This is a cut and past of the exact words from SZ’s book ’Violence’ that I discuss as note 20 in the second of 11 Notes (here). I could cut and paste to here, but then, nah. I repeat often enough as well. Its also not a crime, nor blind act, and certainly not religion.

But weren’t the Arab uprisings a collective act of resistance that avoided the false alternative of self-destructive violence and religious fundamentalism? Unfortunately, the Egyptian summer of 2011 will be remembered as marking the end of revolution, a time when its emancipatory potential was suffocated. Its gravediggers are the army and the Islamists. The contours of the pact between the army (which is Mubarak’s army) and the Islamists (who were marginalised in the early months of the upheaval but are now gaining ground) are increasingly clear: the Islamists will tolerate the army’s material privileges and in exchange will secure ideological hegemony. The losers will be the pro-Western liberals, too weak – in spite of the CIA funding they are getting – to ‘promote democracy’, as well as the true agents of the spring events, the emerging secular left that has been trying to set up a network of civil society organisations, from trade unions to feminists. The rapidly worsening economic situation will sooner or later bring the poor, who were largely absent from the spring protests, onto the streets. There is likely to be a new explosion, and the difficult question for Egypt’s political subjects is who will succeed in directing the rage of the poor? Who will translate it into a political programme: the new secular left or the Islamists?

This, though it might seem so to some, is not off message. The link to Egypt is not over cooked, the implications are important, there is something to learn. The pity might be that we do not also get a commentary on Libya, where another part of this struggle is being played out, not between Islamists and army in cahoots, but NATO imperialism and an opposition, a cruel twist on the colonial project, very useful for those keen to not, especially not, allow any links between the spirit of Tahrir Square, and Tunisia, Yemen, Syria, … Athens… Madrid… Malaysia… Do you remember how very very keen the British police were to not permit a Trafalgar Square occupation? However rife with contradictory forces these events were, they have meaning, and meanings struggled over, and changing, on the streets and in the commentariat, but also, perhaps, too early to tell.

The predominant reaction of Western public opinion to the pact between Islamists and the army will no doubt be a triumphant display of cynical wisdom: we will be told that, as the case of (non-Arab) Iran made clear, popular upheavals in Arab countries always end in militant Islamism. Mubarak will appear as having been a much lesser evil – better to stick with the devil you know than to play around with emancipation. Against such cynicism, one should remain unconditionally faithful to the radical-emancipatory core of the Egypt uprising.

Yes. Zindabad! But also the radical emancipatory core of the London uprisings. Even if this is still to come (yes, reference to Derrida intended – we are not abandoning reading theory, of course we are not – we will read it in the afternoons, between the square and the shops, in the breaks between the meetings.

But one should also avoid the temptation of the narcissism of the lost cause: it’s too easy to admire the sublime beauty of uprisings doomed to fail. [special pleading]. Today’s left faces the problem of ‘determinate negation’: what new order should replace the old one after the uprising, when the sublime enthusiasm of the first moment is over? [change of tone?]. In this context, the manifesto of the Spanish indignados, issued after their demonstrations in May, is revealing. The first thing that meets the eye is the pointedly apolitical tone: ‘Some of us consider ourselves progressive, others conservative. Some of us are believers, some not. Some of us have clearly defined ideologies, others are apolitical, but we are all concerned and angry about the political, economic and social outlook that we see around us: corruption among politicians, businessmen, bankers, leaving us helpless, without a voice.’ [How is this apolitical? THe 'square' is doomed when it become a paragde ground for the trooping of uniform ideas. The square is a debate, and struggle, a contest of interpretations. SZ has a role here]. They make their protest on behalf of the ‘inalienable truths that we should abide by in our society: the right to housing, employment, culture, health, education, political participation, free personal development and consumer rights for a healthy and happy life.’ Rejecting violence, they call for an ‘ethical revolution. Instead of placing money above human beings, we shall put it back to our service. We are people, not products. I am not a product of what I buy, why I buy and who I buy from.’ [Who calls this? A Manifesto? There are many - were there not many different calls? What is the emancipatory core here?]  Who will be the agents of this revolution?[Indeed]. The indignados dismiss the entire political class, right and left, as corrupt and controlled by a lust for power, yet the manifesto nevertheless consists of a series of demands addressed at – whom? Not the people themselves: theindignados do not (yet) claim that no one else will do it for them, that they themselves have to be the change they want to see. And this is the fatal weakness of recent protests: they express an authentic rage which is not able to transform itself into a positive programme of sociopolitical change. They express a spirit of revolt without revolution.

Yes, this gets towards the core problem of the square. The need for a vanguard party. But what sort of party? A party of the celebrity academics interested in parading the ‘idea’ of communism? Or a communist party made in the square (the square, you hippy dip, is a metaphor, gettit?]. I’ll be for the political party, though perhaps I won’t join, and I’ll not want to join the sectarian slagging match of fraction and faction, or rather, waferism – ever smaller slices of who has got the quotes on the Krondstadt (or on what Lenin said when) just so. But still, a party of the new type, I’ll support. Also of the old type. Get out your Mao. Read it in the square, fellow travellers.

The situation in Greece looks more promising, probably owing to the recent tradition of progressive self-organisation (which disappeared in Spain after the fall of the Franco regime). But even in Greece, the protest movement displays the limits of self-organisation: protesters sustain a space of egalitarian freedom with no central authority to regulate it, a public space where all are allotted the same amount of time to speak and so on. When the protesters started to debate what to do next, how to move beyond mere protest, the majority consensus was that what was needed was not a new party or a direct attempt to take state power, but a movement whose aim is to exert pressure on political parties. This is clearly not enough to impose a reorganisation of social life. To do that, one needs a strong body able to reach quick decisions and to implement them with all necessary harshness.

I’m sorry. Are there not also contradictions in Greece? Is there not also a racist, rightist, nationalist element in Syntagma Square? This ending is weird, not because of the call for a Party and the denunciation of ‘putting pressure’ on other parties – yes, yes, of course, of course – but that this scene of self-organising is more promising than Spain or Egypt or London. Why? Is it because there are no Islamists as there are in Cairo? (I am sure there are some). Is it because there are no overly inclusive manifestos as in Spain? Ha. Is it because the Greeks are not shopping as in London? bargain! No, I think there are deeper reasons as to why the commentators are concerned with their distance from meaning. I have learnt a lot from reading these laments, but I think the special pleading to be allowed to say – the ego investment in having a sponsored paywall ad say – is to be studied as well. This too is a question of the kind of organization and kind of leadership there must be in the party to come. Yes, take a ticket and wait your turn. I took mine, in italics. Thanks.

Crusader – white supremacy in Norway

Breivik is identified as a self-declared ‘anti-Muslim crusader’ with a 1500 word [sorry page!] manifesto and links to the English Defense League.[i]

That the terrorist self-styles as crusader is no surprise, but again media attention focuses upon the lone-wolf, rogue element, and individuation so as to engender control, in the same way that the manufacturing process divides items, and persons, for management on the assembly line and market.[ii] This trinketization ignores, even as we see it on screen, the intimate connections and overall tendential movement that should be diagnosed as a new and vicious military-informational complex, modeled and sold with glossy brochure News Corp and ‘dot.gov’ publicity campaign. It starts with so-called humanitarian bombing, moves through years of attritional combat, and extortion, assassination, murder-death-kill, and at best ends up with construction contracts and ongoing client state dependency, at worst, dissolution, despair and destructive neo-fascist entropy. A form of privatization over scorched earth – the policy choice of the crusades, colonialism and now fully global as World War Three – this blowback only begins to show as breaking news if you are not actually watching.

And on his list of to do things was to start a Norwegian EDL. Gah.


[i] http://t.co/ScCFovi  and http://t.co/dYRUtgk  – last accessed 26 July 2011

[ii] See Adorno, Theodor 1952[2005] In Search of Wagner, London: Verso, p39.

Re-post: review of Where there is Light, 2004

Since today in Bradford there is the 30 years commemoration of the struggles around the case of the Bradford 12, and next saturday (23rd July 2011) a similar event in London (see here), I repost this review of ‘Where there is Light’, a novel by one of the perpetrators – an appreciation of the quietly explosive writing of Tariq Mehmood:

Weekly Worker 512 Thursday January 22 2004
‘Face up to the fight’ – by John Hutnyk Review of:
Tariq Mehmood, ‘While there is light’, Manchester, 2003, Comma Press, pp220, 7.95

Face up to the fight

Tariq Mehmood, ‘While there is light’, Manchester, 2003, Comma Press, pp220, �7.95

The travails of those who fight imperialism are long and brutal. Families torn asunder, friendships stretched and broken, lives crushed against the bars of prisons and the kicks of cops.

Tariq Mehmood’s novel mixes clarity of reflection with bittersweet agonies and a pained lament for loss. The loss is not only consequent upon the cruel conditions of an updated and as yet unfinished Raj – though the ways the legacy of colonialism plays out on the workings of northern England and north Punjab are not simply contemporary – and the lament is not just for the family, but for the stalled and failing political movements that would be a possible resistance.

Against the several significant historical backgrounds that shape the (so-called) post-colonial condition, Where there is light recounts the tale of Saleem Choudry returning to his parental village in north Punjab. The novel utilises three texts to tell its multi-sited tale – the first: a letter the disgruntled labour-migrated worker son writes to his mother, but which she cannot read; the second: the cassette tape recording the heart-torn and weary mother prepares for her son as she faces death, to which he cannot listen; and the third: the police-violence-extracted ‘confession’ which identifies Saleem as the ringleader of the Youth League fighting racist skinheads in Bradford in the early 1980s.

In these contexts, characters recount – more or less lyrically – various predicaments. The legacy of the partition violence with which England left a parting gift of train-filled bodies, hacked to death in sectarian frenzy, is one memory. An unrelated consequence is the position of disaffected youth, whose heritage could be the anti-colonial and workers’ movement but who, through seduction and distraction, are disconnected from their romantic and revolutionary roots. In place of the movements they try to build are the old religious hypocrisies that are but the first cry of an oppressed mass, misled by a self-interested leadership with thought only for comfort.

Saleem is arrested as a ‘terrorist’. This is a fictionalised account of what came to be known as the case of the Bradford 12, when Asian youths were charged with conspiracy after the discovery of petrol bombs. Saleem, out on bail, is flying back to Punjab to see his mother. A letter he had posted in a drunken rage the day before follows him through the post. He arrives too late to meet his mother (hospitals full of shit while the government builds atomic bombs). Scenes of lament and a difficult homecoming to a place that is no longer home are punctuated by a harrowing account of the arrest scene in Bradford and the interrogation, with full English police-style beatings, in the lockup before the trial.

The story works in these multiple places and concurrent times, along the way providing a meditation – angry, not passive – on a range of difficulties that are the lot of the ‘returnee’ to the site of colonial extraction. Saleem was sent to England as a boy to earn money for the family, from that country where the streets were paved with gold (but they were not). Returning to Pakistan, the sex scene in the movie The saint is censored, the passport and customs officers impose their delays and extract their percentage cut, the dilemma that values the life of a fly but not of kin relations is matched by the alacrity with which friends, and devout community leaders, pursue the duty-free booty with which Saleem returns. A well read tourist might recognise this lot, but not likely.

Self-mocking mockery of mock pieties, perhaps the portrayal of the whisky running business scam is the most blatant example of a hostility to religious hypocrisy that must be replaced by a more organised resistance. There are positive portrayals: the old mates from school who have not forgotten the one who left – even as they make merry with the desire to go themselves. In one sequence the contract that requires one both to give and take is considered fair trade for the prize of entry to Valaiti (Britain), despite full knowledge of what the prospective migrant will be forced to endure. Foreign, Vailaiti poison (cigarettes) is even better than local lung-rasping pleasures.

The one who inducts Saleem into the subtleties of communist solidarities – poignantly a white father who rescues him from a beating at the hands of his fascist son – is clear and insightful in his analysis of the mill workers and who profits most from those who labour under capital. Payara Singh tells of the heroes of the Punjab: of Uddam Singh and Baghat Singh, who fought the colonials with no thought for their own gain – a history that Saleem has to struggle to preserve – if you do not understand your past, how can you have hope for your future? The Manifesto is quoted, thought the words are mislaid.

Solidarities become a major theme. In the end those interrogated in the youth movement betray each other under duress, but we know the wider campaign mobilised a larger alliance and won the case for the Bradford 12, establishing self-defence as a legal defence in law. This is particularly important to remember today, as alleged ‘terrorists’ are routinely detained in the UK, profiled again as the enemy by the jihadis, Bush and Blair. By the end of the novel Valaiti has become England, Saleem is not a Trot but he reads, the cops know they are not going to win the case (but they make the charges in any case) and the movement continues.

Saleem does not know all that yet, but his personal resolution – he plays his mother’s tape, reads the letter, signs the forms – mean a realisation: that his history is one that requires him to face up to the fight (while there is light). He will return to struggle again.

John Hutnyk

______

come to the 30th Anniversary of the Bradford 12 meet.: Details here.

Pantomime Paranoia in London, or, ‘Look Out, He’s Behind You’

The book version of a commentary on various things Fun^da^mental (plus stuff on the Kumars at No. 42, Jean Charles de Menezes, Forest Gate, and the general mayhem of war-on-terror culture) is now out in a volume edited by Ian Peddie. Some of this material first appeared in various places across this blog, and was my inaugural lecture.

Now the pdf of my chapter is available on this link: 011 Hutnyk Ch 4 Peddi, by grace and favour of the publisher.

Jodi

Having the assassination cheer squads on heavy rotation on the Jingo channel (BBC news) is embarrassing us all. No critical voice yet on tv, as far as I’ve seen. Worse than the Saddam execution on the Hanging Channel. Who needs media critique when they cartoon it up so bad by themselves? And to think that the rest of the election campaign just inaugurated is gonna be built up on this four-fronts-war led by the Geronimo-killer Kool-aid seller. Thank Obiwan for Jodi Dean, who can at least think past the ‘barbarous variant’ of ‘capitalist anarcho-fascism':

Cheerleaders, chants, and beach balls are barbaric responses to the announcement of a political assassination.

Political assassination is not an act of justice. It does not bring about justice in some kind of cosmic tit for tat.  It is not the doing of justice. Justice is not done when another is killed in retaliation.

Retaliation, retribution, revenge–are these now the common terms through which justice is understood in the US? Do we think that victims are avenged when their assailant is killed? The victims are still dead, still gone, still mourned. Are they brought back in the acts of terror, torture, and imprisonment enacted in their name? Are they memorialized daily in airports as we take off our belts and shoes, as we put our hand behind are heads, spread-eagled, and searched, as we are x-rayed and scanned?

For a moment, the twenty minutes or so when the intertubes were alive with the news and before the president spoke, I felt something–something like relief, the sense of an end, perhaps even hope. It was, I think, the anticipation of an end to the disaster of the last ten years of ritualized humiliation, electronically stimulated fear, widespread surveillance, and the enjoyment of camps and torture.

The television media quickly made it clear that this sort of anticipation has no place: the war on terrorism is endless, total. It won’t stop. We are not the same people. We have been reconfigured in a massive psycho-political experiment in transforming democracy into fascism, or a new barbarous variant of fascism, capitalist anarcho-fascism.

We are now the sort of people who cheer for death and murder, who repeat mindless lies, who glory in inequality–not bread and circuses but cheetos and reality tv. Everything is a game, yet we don’t even recognize the levels on which it is played, the levels on which we aren’t players at all but the targets captured or shot as the real players, hot shots, move on up.

Can we glimpse post-terrorism? Can we use it as an opening to something else, a focus not on war but on global capitalist exploitation? Can it be a chance to remake the decade’s choice for barbarism into a new choice for socialism?

http://jdeanicite.typepad.com/i_cite/2011/05/post-terrorism.html

For those that hounded Hasan Elahi

I offer you this documentation of last night’s dinner. I do this in solidarity with Hasan Elahi who, as I read in Amitava Kumar’s excellent new book (mentioned below in the Ruthless post), was detained for questioning after visiting an Artist’s Residency program in Senegal and subsequently became subject of a 6 month FBI investigation after being falsely accused of having fled the country leaving explosives behind in a locker… ‘In order to prove to his interrogators, over the course of dozens of interviews, what he had been doing on that particular day as well as the days that followed, Elahi showed them all the information he had on his PDA … And when the investigation was over, Elahi began working on documenting publicly his every move … His aim is to overwhelm those who have him under surveillance … [he says] “If 300 million people were to offer up the details of their private lives, you would need to hire another 300 million people just to keep up”‘ (Kumar -2010, p28-29 A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb).

It seems to me this is the entire rationale of Facebook, but it is also another example of the Scheherezade complex I discuss here and here, and in the new book soon.

Universities UK and the hidden hand of terror/freedom of speech



In a convulsive act of responsive policy and positioning, a new publication on freedom of speech in Universities has hit the shelves. This, I suspect, is going to be interesting reading – it is from the Vice-Chancellor’s cabal we know and love as ‘Universities UK’ – a name for the infinite escalation of ego and salary combined.
I’m thinking repressive tolerance, containment and plea-bargain all in one neat dialectical formula – ‘freedom with constraints’. The context is – as ever – the security of the West but I suppose we could think of this as an example of touching base with the alumni gone wrong. In a fully understandable move given that a 2010 review cleared UCL of any role in radicalizing its students, it seems a working party was set up ‘following the arrest of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in the United States on Christmas Day 2009 for an attempted act of terrorism. Eighteen months previously he had graduated from UCL’
Let’s check that all the buttons have been pressed:
- Islamophobic identifier in the name ✔ [no mention of underpants]
- wholesome ‘our side’ values reference to christian consumer festival
- attempted act of terrorism, clearly foiled by our intrepid allies the US ✔
- absolution in the passage of time (eighteen months)✔
Another fine production by Crusader spin inc. ✔

And because no-one, simply no-one, can do anything without a podcast these days, there is also a youtube video, with the UCL Provost talking about how we dont want students spying on each other and the best way to ensure freedom of speech is to have ‘openness, publicity, transparency and challenge’. Hear Hear!

.
In the report, then, there is the mysterious hand of not-at-all openness (my italics):

Indeed, the setting up of the Working Group behind this report was prompted by the events of Christmas Day 2009 when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was apprehended in attempting to blow up a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. Eighteen months previously he had graduated from University College London, where he had also been president of the student Islamic Society. An independent inquiry chaired by Professor Dame Fiona Caldicott concluded unequivocally that there was no evidence to suggest that he had been radicalised during his time as a student, and MI5 see the hand of the Yemen-based preacher Anwar Al Awlaqi in his conversion to violent extremism

The front cover of the report pictures a woman with a megaphone in a green jumper, and in front of her another woman reaching into her back-pack… [just sayin', see here]
.
And then on Page 39, for those not wanting to read the entire thing, is a diagram about accepting bookings for rooms on campus. The shorthand box is that bookings will be referred to security and could be refused if the booking or group involves/raises:

Potential Controversial Issues:
• subject to adverse media attention
• Associated with a campaign or political pressure group
• A faith or belief group whose views may be deemed as being discriminatory or inflammatory to others

Great material here for my Pantomime Terror book!
.
Because there needs to be a critical voice on this, here is an invitation to comment on a few choice snippets from the press release that indicate the stakes in terms of knowledge production:

Prevent is the element of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy that has been most visible to universities. The Prevent strand aimed to support community cohesion and thereby deter or divert people away from violent extremism. The strategy is currently being reviewed by the Coalition Government and it is clear that its focus and approach will alter over the next few years

Universities UK, working with the sector, has also been examining issues relating to entirely legitimate research by academics into potentially sensitive areas, such as terrorism and extremism. The work has been looking at the handling of sensitive research materials, and how institutions might need to adapt practices and processes. UUK will publish a guidance note for institutions later in 2011

An independent review (headed by Dame Fiona Caldicott) into Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s time at UCL published its final report in  in October 2010. The central conclusion of the report was that there was no evidence to suggest either that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was radicalised while a student at UCL, or that conditions at UCL during that time or subsequently were conducive to the radicalisation of students

Universities UK is the representative organisation for the UK’s universities. Founded in 1918, its mission is to be the definitive voice for all universities in the UK

More to come…

Keep Calm talk at Kent – 4:30.21.10.10

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Keep Calm and Carry On:
Low Level Anxiety in World War Three London
.
- John Hutnyk
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Video provocation – we will watch Sri Lankan Tamil rapper Mathangi Arulpragasam’s recent Romain Gavras-made video promo for her track ‘Born Free’ from the new album /\/\/\Y/\ – so as to discuss the way stereotypes that are knocked down just get up again. We can then consider the efforts, and difficulties, that have occupied South Asian musicians, writers, filmmakers and commentators in the context of the permanent repetition of an ideological “terror” that has to be called World War Three. The talk surveys some of the absurd and worrying scrapes South Asian musicians have gotten themselves into under the new civil (un)liberties environment of the contemporary city.
.
Consideration of transliteration and repetitions in music – from Edgard Varese’s (mis)understanding of Hinduism, through Adorno and Twelve Tone, the work of Zappa, South Asian Hip Hop, up to Slavoj Žižek’s appreciation of Freudian witticisms – can set the political context of the track in relief. In the video the reference is to immigration crack-downs in the USA; on the album the association is with Sri Lankan army execution of Tamils. Can we think music (musicology, hip hop scholarship, pop) without addressing a wider syncopation? The predicament of Samina Malik, the UK’s ‘lyrical terrorist’, arrested in 2007, will also be noted.
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Venue: Corwallis North East bldg, University of Kent – 4:30-6pm Thursday 21st October 2010

Afzal farce in Delhi

Gadkari not sorry about ‘son-in-law’ remark on Afzal Guru
Press Trust of India, Updated: July 09, 2010 13:04 IST

Dehra Dun/New Delhi: Taunting the Congress over the delay in hanging Afzal Guru, BJP President Nitin Gadkari asked the party whether the Parliament attack death row convict was its “son-in-law”.

In comments that could stoke a controversy, Gadkari thundered at a BJP rally in Dehra Dun last night asking Congress leaders “Is Afzal Guru the son-in-law of Congress? Have you (Congress) given your daughter to him (Afzal). Why is he being given special treatment?”

Congress reacted with disdain to Gadkari’s remarks saying he has lost his mind and scoffed at the BJP chief.

When asked by reporters today whether he would apologise for his controversial remarks, Gadkari said he stuck to his stand.

“I have said nothing wrong. I stick to my stand and so there is no need (to apologise),” Gadkari told reporters in Dehra Dun.

In this regard, Gadkari said Congress government of Delhi was sitting on the file related to execution of hanging of Afzal Guru for four years and when asked Chief Minister Sheila Dixit said it was done on the instructions from the then Union Home Minister.

Now the decision is pending with the President, he said.

“I have not made a wrong statement. They (Congress) should rather give the reply as to why they are not executing the orders of the Supreme Court,” he said.

Gadkari made a reference to the Afzal Guru issue while slamming the Congress and the UPA for the delay in the hanging of the death row convict, bringing the focus back on the Afzal case file.

Congress said Gadkari has lost his mind and sarcastically said he needed serious help.

“The remark smacks of obscenity, obnoxiousness and obtuseness,” Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari said in New Delhi

Tiwari further said, “it is very obvious that the esteemed president of the BJP has lost it completely. The BJP should take pity on him and deposit him into a psychiatric facility. The man needs serious help.”

Targeting Congress, Gadkari had said, “It (Congress) is a party full of fearful people. They can never fight with terrorists and can never get rid of terrorism. It is a party which will bow down in front of terrorists and can never protect India.”

The Supreme Court upheld Afzal’s death penalty in 2005. Since then, the Opposition has attacked the Congress for delaying his hanging, saying if Afzal is not hanged India will be seen as a soft state. Afzal is on death row for over eight years after he was convicted of masterminding the December 13, 2001 attack on Parliament.

Four years after its opinion was sought, the Sheila Dikshit government in Delhi finally gave its opinion to Lieutenant Governor Tejinder Khanna recently saying that it supports the Supreme Court’s decision to give death sentence to Afzal Guru, but added a rider saying that the implications of the execution must be taken into consideration.

Within hours of this, Khanna returned the file asking the Delhi government’s stand on Afzal’s mercy petition. The Delhi government sent back Afzal’s file saying that it stood by the Supreme Court verdict.

Story first published:
July 09, 2010 12:59 IST

Free Gaza

Any surprise that Israeli commandos might ‘botch’ a raid on the boats of the Free Gaza flotilla should be tempered by the recognition that they planned this provocation, at night, with guns.

In response, a new Dunkirk? Another Malta convoy? Send all boats, Send in the navy, The Trident subs to find a use at last. To have the Gaza blockade broken for good would be the only viable response – and a show of what people organised can do against Military Muscular Zionist State Crazies.

Thinking of Ewa J from Goldsmiths, Edda M from the Border Infection event, and many others on the convoy.

(Pic of Lewisham STW on the way to Embassy with thousands – not the hundreds reported in tamed and insipid press)

Inaugural – Tues Sept 30th, 5.30pm IGLT

You don’t need to print out the ‘enclosed card’ but please do phone or email the address below (and me) if you wish to come. The text, in case its not clear on your screen, reads:

The Warden of Goldsmiths, Professor Geoffrey Crossick, invites you to the Inaugural Lecture by

Professor John Hutnyk
Professor of Cultural Studies

Pantomime Terror: the Paranoid Commuter
and the Danger of Music

30 September 2008 at 5.30pm
Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre

Refreshments will be served after the lecture in the Staffing Dining Room. Acceptances to the Warden’s Office via email: inaugurals@gold.ac.uk or telephone 020 7919 7033

[update: Lecture version: http://dai.ly/uBArM4]

Metropolitan Police, “Working Together for A Safer London” Performance Information Bureau: Borough Breakdown of Stop and Search under the Terrorism Act in March 2008, released 17/7/08

The Full Report Here, lets you compare Copper’s view of ethnicity with Victim’s declared ethnicity. I include this text with a nod to the Lewisham bus dragnet around the same time, as mentioned previously here.

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