Category Archives: war

The Imperial Universtiy: Academic Repression and Scholarly Dissent

 

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Anthropology and the War Machine, winning.

It seems very wrong to classify this ‘jobs.ac.uk’ post under ‘social care':

Anthropologist
Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) – Behavioural and Cultural Systems Team
Location: Fareham, Portsmouth
Salary: £23,500 to £33,500
Hours: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Placed on: 13th June 2014
Closes: 18th July 2014
Job Ref: 1415972
Dstl is responsible for designing, developing and applying the very latest in science and technology for the benefit of UK defence and security, across government. We work with the best people with the best ideas around the world – from very small companies to world-class universities, huge defence companies and sometimes other nations. Together we develop battle-winning technologies, based on deep and widespread research, to support UK military operations, now and in the future.

This is a genuinely involving, unusual and rewarding anthropology role – it’s an opportunity to apply your expertise to inform the way the UK responds to security and defence threats.

You will be joining the Behavioural and Cultural Systems team within Dstl’s Strategic Analysis Group, a 50 strong group of specialists drawn from diverse backgrounds such as psychology, theology, war studies and law. Anthropology is an important element in the mix, as the UK’s ability to tackle future challenges depends on in-depth, accurate insight into populations and societies.

You will be supporting analysis at strategic and operational level, by drawing on a wide range of established and emergent human and social science theories. Your analysis, assessment and advice will be crucial to aiding our understanding of individuals, groups and organisational systems – relating to a wide range of social and cultural issues confronting Her Majesty’s Government. Ultimately, your contribution can help shape and influence government policy and UK Armed Forces operations.

It’s essential that you have an Honours degree in Anthropology or a related subject, and membership of a relevant professional body.

You need a proven record of using a variety of structured social science analysis / research methods to support decision making, together with practical experience of applying Anthropological principles in problem-sets.

You will be a customer-focused researcher who works well both independently and collaboratively.

An understanding of UK defence and security environments or experience of analysis on counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism is an advantage.

Dstl is responsible for designing, developing and applying the very latest in science and technology for the benefit of UK defence and security, across the government. We work with the best people with the best ideas around the world – from very small companies to world-class universities, huge defence companies … even other nations. Together we develop battle-winning technologies, based on deep and widespread research, to support UK military operations, now and in the future.

In return for playing your part in the UK’s defence and security, we offer extensive benefits that include everything from a pension and generous leave, to excellent learning and development opportunities – all in addition to a competitive salary. Our sites are equipped with gyms and restaurants. But it’s not just your working environment that we’ve thought about. Your home life is important too, which is why we offer childcare vouchers, a flexible work-life balance and even discounts on everything from bus tickets to the cost of a new bicycle. In short, we’ve done our best to ensure that our rewards reflect your talents.

To find out more about this role and the work of Dstl, please go to Civil Service Jobs https://jobsstatic.civilservice.gov.uk/csjobs.html/ and search for the vacancy reference 1415972. Follow the instructions to apply.

Due to the reserved nature of this role, it is only open to UK Nationals who have lived in this country for more than five years. All posts require standard Security Clearance (SC).

Closing date: 18 July 2014.

M.I.A.; The Partysquad – Double Bubble Trouble official music video Unc…

DIY Anti War Drones and more:

Bougainville: shareholders v board

Radio Australia, 8 May 2014

Bougainville Shareholders support corporate review

Updated 8 May 2014, 9:30 AEST
The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility says it is encouraged that most Bougainville Copper shareholders are in favour of appointing an independent jurist to investigate the company’s involvement in counter-insurgency activities during the Bougainville civil war.

The Centre’s resolution, put to the Bougainville Copper annual meeting in Port Moresby was overwhelmingly defeated.

Presenter: Jemima Garrett

Caroline le Couteur, Executive Director of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/pacific/radio/program/pacific-beat/bougainville-shareholders-hsupport-corporate-review/1307728

hybridity-talk

A paragraph or two… i dunno how useful… on hybridity-talk… [possible reprint of Debating Cultural Hybridity 1997 in the works]:
.
There was a time when ‘hybridity-talk’ seemed shiny and new. It is still important to question this of course, but the shifts that were already underway in 1997 have made the critique all the more pertinent. Today we are living in an age of unparalleled fluid and all-pervasive war. A cultural project that runs alongside the military project has infected everyday life, breeding anxiety and paralysis together. A cocktail that circulates culturally coded fears, hardly hidden, and weaponised streets always present. On the one hand bombing campaigns, assassinations, drone strikes, rendition, detention, deportation, police violence, deaths in custody, on the other hand a discursive deployment of sociologists, musicologists, anthropologists, educators, social workers, designers, media pundits and lifestyle gurus. A military-cultural mash-up – we can not see these fields as separate. The railway station announcement warns you to check your baggage, the television soothes with Thelonious-era jazz as the soundtrack to a spy drama called Homeland. Comedy cartoons cause fracas, insults fly, Rushdie delivers another doorstop of a book to shore up the facade of crisis-ridden Capital. Syria stews in an orgy of death already rehearsed in Libya by NATO when the Arab Spring became the Arab Sting. In Britain the Conservative Party invites immigrants to go home and offers hollow talk of ‘us’ being all in it together. The English Defence League looks towards the electorate, the UK Border authority sweeps the streets in dragnet formation.

OK OK, we were only talking culture here, but there was always that backdrop of murder and death – and culture and killing are connected even if the words we have to describe what is going on seem to have lost their analytic purchase. What shifted critical thinking? It was never Islam versus the West, but bombing, militarism, exploitation and its excuses and alibis versus a critique of these things. We wanted to rethink hybridity critically, and it still seems so necessary, even if the stakes are higher, and mere talk is never enough.
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My chapter from DBH 1997 was updated as the first chapter of Critique of Exotica 2000

Filthy bastard mining corp Riotinto slips the (legal) noose once again (the law is an ass)

Rio Tinto wins end to human rights abuse lawsuit in U.S.

Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:47pm EDT
* Bougainville residents sued over activity linked to mine
* 9th Circuit rules after top U.S. court narrows law’s reach
By Jonathan Stempel
June 28 (Reuters) – Benefiting from a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Rio Tinto Plc has won the dismissal of a nearly 13-year-old U.S. lawsuit accusing the Anglo-Australian mining company of complicity in human rights abuses on the South Pacific island of Bougainville.
Friday’s ruling by a majority of an 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ends litigation begun in 2000.
Roughly 10,000 current and former Bougainville residents had sought to hold Rio Tinto responsible for human rights violations and thousands of deaths linked to polluting a copper and gold mine it once ran.
The ruling follows the Supreme Court’s April 17 decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co, where the justices limited the sweep of a 1789 U.S. law that lawyers had used for roughly three decades to fight human rights abuses worldwide.
Five justices said the Alien Tort Statute was meant to cover international law violations occurring in the United States, and that violations elsewhere must “touch and concern” U.S. territory “with sufficient force” to displace that presumption.
The Bougainville residents alleged that after workers in 1988 began to sabotage the Rio Tinto mine, the company goaded Papua New Guinea’s government to exact retribution and conspired to impose a blockade, leading to thousands of civilian deaths.
On April 22, the Supreme Court threw out an earlier 9th Circuit ruling that let the lawsuit proceed, and asked it to revisit the matter in light of Kiobel.
Steve Berman, a lawyer for the Bougainville plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
He had asked the 9th Circuit to send the case back to the Los Angeles district court so that his clients could try to proceed with other claims, “sans invocation of the ATS.”
Kiobel was also cited this week by a Virginia federal judge who dismissed a lawsuit accusing defense contractor CACI International Inc of conspiring to torture detainees a decade ago at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
The judge in that case said that because the alleged abuse occurred outside the United States, he lacked jurisdiction to consider claims by four former detainees. They plan to appeal.
The case is Sarei et al v. Rio Tinto Plc et al, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 02-56256.

Iraq AC/DC

AC/DC http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FX05dWBoeUs – accessed April 7 2008

Marilyn Manson http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOWmTyrz1RA – accessed April 9 2006

Doco http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=related&v=1ljXnV4Ibpk  – accessed April 7 2008

Comic stuff: http://gocomics.typepad.com/the_sandbox/2008/03/5-years-1-year.html – accessed March 27 2008

IPWA

Rustom Bharucha reports that the Progressive Writers Association has its origins, according to ‘its most distinguished founder- member Mulk Ray Anand’ in ‘the expatriate community of India students in London, who had charted their first manifesto as “progressive” writers in 1935 in a Chinese restaurant’ (Bharucha 1998:29)

Bharucha, Rustom 1998 In the Name of the Secular: Contemporary Cultural Activision in Inidia Delhi: Oxford UP

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.

ANTI-WAR RETROSPECTIVE OF THE LAST DECADE – 15.3.13 Goldsmiths

Ten years since the invasion of Iraq, what is the state of the anti-war movement?

TriContinental Anti-Imperialist Platform

image

TriContinental Anti-Imperialist Platform is a newly set up organisation that seeks to champion the causes of the peoples of the GlobalSouth through GlobalSouth Diaspora leadership for people-centred progress and the central challenges to the GlobalSouth which remains western military and cultural hegemony. On the panel at this event will be spokepersons of some of the countries and people impacted by imperialist wars. We will be reflecting on the failures, successes of the anti-war movement of the last decade, and the continuing challenges of the anti-war movement, especially in the light of the collapse of the anti-war movement especially in relation to the nato war on Libya, now Syria, Mali, Algeria and open imperialist war strategies of in relation to China, Russia (“pivot to Asia”) and other sections of the Global South which what passes as the anti-war movement in england fails utterly to address.

Location: 137a, Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths College, University of London
Cost: free
Website: www.facebook.com/events/212155682257314/
Department: Centre For Cultural Studies
Time: 15 March 2013, 18:30 – 21:30

stream will be here at 6:30: http://www.gold.ac.uk/live-stream/high/

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.

 

The Education Commission. :: a militant inquiry into privatisation and immigration controls in education ::

Students, lecturers, admin workers and anybody else interested in education are invited to join a new group aiming to research and take action around the current conditions in the education sector.  In the wake of the UK Border Agency’s revocation of London Met’s Highly Trusted Sponsor Status and consequent plans to deport potentially thousands of international students along with further plans for privatisation across the sector, we propose to investigate and take action around the changing nature of the education in the UK since the abolition of the EMA and mass increase of university tuition fees in 2010. We aim to draw together student, parent, and education workers’ experiences as well as available data in order to produce and disseminate as accurate a picture as possible of the current state and trends in higher education in the UK.  We do so in support of and solidarity with current and future struggles in education. Our next meeting is on Wednesday 26th September at 6.30pm at London Met Holloway Road campus (the tower building next to Holloway Road tube station). Here is a link:http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/about/buildings/tower-building.cfm

Anybody interested in participating should contact: contact.edu.comm[at]gmail.com. This project has been initiated by Plan C London, it is however open to individuals and groups to get involved.

More UKBA crap

This is despicable:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19650640

‘There is drug-taking here’ – UKBA round-up of Punjabis in Hounslow

Well well, profiled as welfare scrounger drug addict illegal Indian layabouts. The sensitive and thoughtful UKBA (DisUnited kingdom border agency) again doing its utmost to reveal the seamier side of enforced poverty in the so-called welfare state. ‘We are all in this together’ – so detain and deport. Its pogrom-bait. I don’t recall, say, Alex from Blur, getting done for drug-use (‘cheese’ is just a metaphor) and of course am so enamored by the even-handed approach to other students, like the Internationals at the MET. Clearly this item is a teaser to set another theme for the PROTEST AGAINST THE UKBA on friday.

Rest of the story from the BBC with video here.

PROTEST AGAINST THE UKBA on friday.

London Met Demo Friday 28 Sept 2012

From London Met UCU:

London Met – Defend Our Students – London Demonstration Friday 28/9

Dear all,

London Met UCU, London Met Unison, and London Met SU have called a London-wide mobilisation and march from ULU (Malet Street) to the Home Office (Marsham Street, Victoria) for Friday 28th Sept. Assembling at Malet Street for 1pm. Under the banner: ‘Amnesty Now – Save London Met – No to Privatisation’. This initiative is supported by London Region UCU, and University of London Union (ULU).

This Friday (21/9) the High Court will consider granting an immediate injunction (an effective ‘stay’) in favour of London Met Uni and against the UK Border Agency (UKBA). Such an injunction should allow for a full Judicial Review of the UKBA’s decision to revoke London Met’s Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) Tier-4 licence – an action that has condemned over 2,500 of our students to either forced university transfer or deportation.

However, even if an injunction is granted it will only be a temporary reprieve until the outcome of the Judicial Review itself – which is expected to take at least several months to be heard. Meanwhile, our license to recruit international students is still suspended, our current international students are still in limbo – particularly if they have more than this academic year to complete, and our courses/jobs still threatened.

If an injunction is not granted then we will be in the fight of our lives – not only for all our international students against an immediate and very real deportation threat but for the very survival of London Met as a public university.

We are refusing to sit on the sidelines and by mere observers of our destiny as others shape it. We are therefore fighting as hard as we can for our students, our university, and for real justice. We will have much more chance of winning that fight with your support and solidarity – as wonderfully expressed during last Friday’s UK-wide solidarity events.

Last week’s TUC Congress in Brighton unanimously supported the call for an immediate amnesty for our students

We now need your support once more – particularly, if you are based in London. We want as many trade union banners as possible on next week’s march/demonstration – along with as many colleagues as you can bring. This is not just a fight for London Met – this is a fight for public education as a whole.

Please send messages of support to mark.campbell_home [at] btopenworld.com

In solidarity

Mark Campbell
London Metropolitan University UCU (Chair)
UCU National Executive Committee (London and the East HE)
SERTUC Public Services Committee (Vice-Chair)

New Scanner for Student monitoring to be introduced (by your border-agent-tutor)

Trinketization must-have item of the week! this new electronic gadget from Opticon: website http://www.opticon.co.uk is a barcode scanner about to be rolled out at Queen Mary, to be used by seminar leaders to register attendance at seminars by scanning students’ ID cards.

[i am reliably informed from deep inside the administrative apparatus]

forget the new iphone five, this is the trinket you need for the proper management of scholarship in the knowledge economy

its sleek design makes it an oh so slick silver status object, with curved corners™

first an arm and a leg in fees, then electronic tagging as the staff are made agents of UKBA. FFS.

A reminder of the Centre for Cultural Studies position against being agents of the Border regime here.

Update:

—– Forwarded Message —–

MESSAGE FROM CCLS Director and Head of Dept, Laws

Dear all,

As a result of the tightening of immigration rules, from this academic year
onwards all universities must monitor students’ lecture attendance on an
ongoing basis. This encompasses students from all postgraduate taught
programmes. The attendance monitoring exercise will require the assistance
of academic staff members and guest speakers teaching postgraduate modules.
We have purchased scanners that read students ID cards. There is one scanner
per module. Each module convener must ensure that the person responsible
for the weekly lecture brings the scanner into the class, gives it to
students to record their attendance and brings it back to CCLS/Mile End
reception as appropriate.

It is VITAL that this is done every week as continuity is required when
checking for absence.

Scanner control

Modules taught at LIF OR CH SQ can collect and return scanners to LIF
reception.
Modules taught at Mile End OR at IALS by department staff can collect and
return scaners to Mile End Law Reception

We will start the monitoring exercise from week one, although for the first
two weeks it is trial run as class lists are not yet known. Your help in
implementing this is very important. As you know, foreign students are vital
for us and we must do what is required by the authorities to ensure our
right to sponsor student visas is not affected.

If you have any queries please contact Aqib (Ext. 8091 A.Khan@qmul.ac.uk or
Wendy Ext 8104 ccls-helpdesk@qmul.ac.uk).

There are some basic guidance notes attached -

Many thanks in advance for your collaboration with this task.

Kind regards,

Spyros and Valsamis

Australia tries out new cleansing immigration form…

A friend is applying for residency in Australia – the glorious points based immigration system.

She writes:

“I included a picture of this because I could not stop laughing when I saw this,  the government requires a “character assessment” to insure that you are “of good character”.  They have you get police reports for the last 10 years, and all sorts of nonsense.  Among the biggest pieces of nonsense is the form itself.  Question number 6,  after name, gender,DOB, and  the like is “Are you of Arabic descent?”.  RIght after asking you if you are a Chinese businessman.  Whether or not you are of Arabic descent is apparently crucial for the Australian government to determine if you are of good character”

 

Here is the relevant page of the form:

Military Realism on TV – more detail than you need I am sure

The good people behind South/South are more informative than most TV Listings pages. Want to know what your co-hosts have been up to? Well, here’s a former Rhodes Scholar – and NATO commander – Wesley Clark now kitted out with all the tricks of the military TV trade… and there’s Terry Crew from The Expendables, and football (Gridiron I presume) strutting his stuff. Add a boxer, an Olympic Gold Medalist and a few others, and Ka-Pow! You really don’t need to watch much of this to realise its the bright new shiny future of TV. You thought a Cathode Ray was a weapon the Martians had – well, scifi or BB never got this real. Set your scheduler to record (or to the vomit setting – its already on stun).

By South/South. This first appeared at The New Inquiry.

Stars Earn Stripes is a freshly pressed NBC drag show reality television series which debuts its two-hour premiere on 13 August, or ‘Monday after the Olympics at 8/7c!’ as its promotional spots blared all throughout the station’s Olympic Games coverage. The emphatic promise of militarytainment—a real NATO ex-general, real ex-Navy SEALS, real ex-Delta Force commanders, real ex-Green Berets, real celebrities, etc.—outranks previous shows of its ilk. It also makes the Pentagon Channel look like the army version of the perpetuated congressional yawn that is C-SPAN. Here is the show’s self-description:

Hosted by General Wesley Clark (retired) and Samantha Harris, “Stars Earn Stripes” is an action-packed competition show that pays homage to the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and our first-responder services. The star-studded cast includes four-time undefeated world boxing champion Laila Ali, actor Dean Cain (“Out of Time,” Five Days of War”), actor and former National Football League player Terry Crews (“The Expendables 2,” “The Newsroom”), multi-platinum recording artist, actor, producer and television personality Nick Lachey (NBC’s “The Sing-Off”), Alaska businessman and four-time Iron Dog snowmobile race champion Todd Palin, NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” trainer Dolvett Quince, Olympic gold medalist Picabo Street, and WWE diva, Eve Torres.

In this fast-paced competition, the eight celebrities will gather at a remote training facility where they will be challenged to execute complicated missions inspired by real military exercises. From helicopter drops into water to long-range weapons fire, the contestants will be tested physically, mentally and emotionally. Each will be paired with a special operative from a military branch or one of our first-responder forces, including former U.S. Army Delta Force and Green BeretsU.S. Navy SEALSU.S. Marines and police officers, who train alongside their partners and compete in the missions with them. Each of the teams is competing for a cash prize on behalf of a military, veterans or first-responder charity.

Take any of the day’s popular television series and you’ll notice they have one claim in common: authenticity. Reality shows based on human affect fundamentally rely on ‘drama’ (let’s imagine it on a spectrum ranging from Dostoevsky to 1980s Mexican soap operas) and not a single one fails to remind viewers how authentic the drama is. Real people generate real emotions that generate real drama. (For a contemporary paragon look no further than Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, and its paratexts.)

Yet unlike other reality shows Stars Earn Stripes cannot and does not aim for authenticity. It can only aim for realness. Realness is the perfect execution of an imitation of the real. Toward that goal, SES has spared no prop nor expense, even hiring retired General Wesley Clark as a co-host. As Supreme Allied Commander Europe Clark commanded the NATO air bombing campaign of Yugoslavia. He is also a former Rhodes Scholar, Democratic Party presidential candidate, and author of Waging Modern War and Winning Modern Wars. He is not filled with hay as some reports suggest. Clark is an essential realness ingredient, and gravely assures viewers, ‘There are no stunt doubles. This is real.’ Then he punctuates that promise: ‘Real ammunition. Real explosives. Real danger.’ Skier Picabo Street was quoted on the show’s Twitter feed: ‘I rode a real fine line between show & reality. What defined that line was the live ammunition.’ In case you needed more reassurance (after all, how could we trust that Wesley Clark is not some silver-haired cardboard simulacrum if the show’s advertisement spots didn’t constantly remind us he was a ’real’ general?) producer Mark Burnett says:

As you know I am a veteran and served in the [British Army] Parachute Regiments. I love the military. What this show is, and what you’ll see, is a love letter, in a fun way, to those who protect and serve us, showing how hard it is to do their job.

Since SES bills itself as a competition show, it could favor a little theatrical pre-game we might call Real v. Realness. I chose three items, but the possibilities are nearly limitless.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Real: Ušće Tower, the tallest skyscraper in Belgrade, as it caught fire during Operation Allied Force’s large-scale air bombing campaign in 1999 under General Clark.

 
Realness: The show’s promotional photos show (top) a giant explosion behind all eight celebrities and (bottom) Dean Cain, Terry Crews, Laila Ali, and Nick Lachey (curiously the only contestant without a rifle in both pictures, as though not carrying a gun was stipulated in his contract). An unidentified blast mushrooms in the background next to the tagline, ‘They’re not in Hollywood anymore.’

Read the whole post, and indeed, watch the trailer: here.

Suicide Without Fame, without Responsibility

I have mentioned before the Joy Devotion picture book out by Jennifer Otter (launched last week) – It is a study of the things left by Joy Division/Ian Curtis fans at Curtis’s graveside in Macclesfield. A year of trinkets:

http://www.blurb.co.uk/bookstore/detail/3364538?utm_source=badge&utm_medium=banner&utm_content=140×240

Makes me think of the media frenzy over a the Batman deaths in Texas, and about having watched footage on Syria and Libya back to back with documentaries on Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain recently… What would the various Death devotions around Curtis and Cobain be if not the industrial remnants – turned trinket commodity detritus – of people spat out by the individualization machine, in which there are no longer actual individuals, only icon figurines of abjection that come to stand in their place – ie, stand in for actual expressive individuality. All the while mass death at the hands of the weapon system barely raises a murmur. This is trinketization, expressive if dysfunctional personality and creativity is turned into a mass produced semblance of a false individuality – and it must be embodied in a fallen idol who is then unable to remain alive inside this brutalizing system. The myopic fans (we?) cling on to this brutal departure because as fans/we are unable to find a way out ourselves – somehow both caught wanting to leave, but with no-where to actually go, because suicide without fame is nothing. This, sadly, also gives a hint as to why someone might style themselves the Joker and shoot a dozen people at a movie screening. Think Brievik in Norway too – these are also the people that the Curtis and Cobain cults create. Along the way distracting from NATO’s more gruesome wars, which are barely opposed by STW or anyone.

Immigration themed Op Ed from India that should be noticed.

This Op Ed appeared in The Statesman newspaper in Kolkata, and skewers the madness of Tory immigration/xenophobia/economic jingoism on this boggy Isle. The writer is a staffer on that paper – jolly good to see that the rest of the world notices your crap Cameron. ‘Independent ethics advisor’ my arse – he is called Sir, which means he’s hardly independent, nor ethical. And anyway, as an advisor, his job is to tell Cameron what he can and can’t get away with. Not a brake, more an alibi.

The moral netherland

2 June 2012

UK’s increasing non-EU visa restrictions and requirements are symptomatic of a country that has not yet found the means or the will to articulate its ever-decreasing position in the world pecking order, writes lara choksey

Of all the things that the Leveson Inquiry into the ethics of British Press has exposed, perhaps one of the most remarkable is that British Prime Minister David Cameron has an ethics advisor. Responding to the possibility of being called up in front of the Inquiry, Mr Cameron said that should any evidence against him suggest the breaking of ministerial codes, he will call in Sir Alex Allan ~ his independent ethics advisor ~ for consultation.

On one level it seems sensible to have someone in or around Downing Street who can determine the ethical dimensions of political quandaries. On another, it is disturbing that the leader of a country that has not ceased promoting itself as a moral leader in the world needs someone else to distinguish between right and wrong.

In terms of the international Press, there are two stories dominating discussions of the UK. The first is the Leveson Inquiry, which started off as a simple matter of investigating the hacking of celebrity phones by itinerant news agencies, and which has now begun to expose the sordid nature of Downing Street’s relationship with the Murdochs under the Cameron, Brown and Blair leaderships.

This in itself is nothing new; anyone who has watched an episode of Yes, Minister! would expect nothing more. But when placed parallel to the second story circulating across the globe ~ that of implemented and threatened restrictions on UK visas for those who do not meet specific economic requirements ~ the hypocrisy and shortsightedness at Westminster’s rotten core becomes ever clearer.

There are two issues at stake here. The first concerns Downing Street’s idea of Britain as a moral leader in global politics. The second concerns Downing Street’s idea of what constitutes Britain’s nationhood. The discursive frame through which Mr Cameron and his ministers frame Britain domestically and internationally reveals a central administration willfully ignoring the economic and cultural heterogeneity of the population under its control, as well as the hypocrisy of its justifying its actions to the rest of the world on the grounds of moral superiority.

Above any other nation ~ in terms of pure numbers ~ India is the country likely to be most affected by the UK’s increasing non-EU visa restrictions and requirements. According to the International Passenger Survey, Indian nationals made up the largest percentage (11.9 per cent) of immigrants granted entry to the UK in 2010-11. Of these Indian nationals, a large number entered the UK on student visas. Those entering in 2010 would have been granted a two-year post-study work visa.

Fast forward a year, and there has been more than a 30 per cent drop in the number of Indian nationals applying for student visas, with many choosing the United States, Australia and Canada as alternatives. This is partly because the post-study work visa was scrapped this April, and partly ~ according to some British university professors ~ due to the increasing hostility and suspicion shown by the UK border agency towards non-EU students, particularly those from South Asia. This observation is compounded by the fact that the total number of student visas granted by the UK to non-EU residents dropped by 62 per cent in the first quarter of 2012.

We could easily leap to charges of xenophobia, and speculate about a small island closing its borders as a four-year recession refuses to budge. The residual prejudices of post-9/11 homeland security become an increasingly convenient justification for reinforcing national borders. Yet, this logic ignores the pre-Olympic pro-investment road show that various British foreign diplomats have been charged with promoting in their respective countries over the last 12 months, encouraging non-EU businesses to invest in the UK.

In February, the UK immigration minister Mr Damien Green announced that from 2016, people not from the EU and not earning at least £35,000 will not be able to apply to be a permanent resident in the UK. The message is clear: the UK welcomes big business and high salaries, regardless of ideology or investment ethics. Diversity is embraced, as long as it comes with a thick cheque book. In return, multinational companies benefit from tax evasion and low borrowing costs on international financial markets. It is undeniably ~ at least for the moment ~ a mutually beneficial arrangement. Prosaic questions of ethics are put out of the window ~ Britain is in a recession, and dog will eat dog.

Why does this matter to India? Apart from the fact that Britain is still considered to be a desirable place to visit, study and live (although this view is undoubtedly changing), this matters because Britain is behind the times. Specifically in the context of India’s increasing importance on the world stage ~ both economically and diplomatically ~ Britain’s restrictions on non-EU immigration seem ridiculous. Such restrictions are symptomatic of a country that has not yet found the means or the will to articulate its ever-decreasing position in the world pecking order.

For the sake of argument, let us just speculate that Britain once had a right to claim moral superiority over other nations (we need not go very far back in history to look at the violence of such a claim). But as the Cameron government decimates the welfare structures that might have once allowed Britain to claim a certain moral superiority with regard to providing the infrastructure (if not always the materialisation) of holistic care for its population, the claim becomes increasingly fragile.  A national heath service, financial support for people at the bottom of the food chain, and ~ perhaps most pertinently in the context of the visa discussion ~ open borders for economic migrants and political refugees: these are some of the structures that might convincingly constitute the discourse of moral superiority.

Yet, in the last twenty years, these structures have become dirty words in Downing Street, replaced by privatisation, austerity and border security, seemingly in direct spite of the increasing scale of global poverty and warfare: so many people have never been so poor, and genocide has never been simpler. India should take heed: there is a fast-appearing vacancy in the global moral high-ground market that needs prompt filling. In an interview published in The Daily Telegraph on 25 May, 2012, British home secretary Ms Theresa May responded to a question on curbing immigration by saying: “The aim is to create here in Britain a really hostile environment for illegal migration.” We might ask, what constitutes an illegal migrant? The term suggests an international law preventing movement between countries. However, while the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights decrees that a country should grant entry to its own citizens, there is no international law that prevents a person from entering a country in the first place.

Immigration laws are national laws, coded by national interests and national understandings of who should be allowed entry. Thus, we learn much about the way in which a country understands itself by the way in which it categorises those who arrive on its shores. In the UK, the terms of ‘illegal migration’ are clear: it has everything to do with economic status. Those who are not considered fit to make a significant economic contribution to the UK, quite simply, become illegal ~ outside legitimacy ~ and vulnerable to any form of physical or mental subjugation. The right to claim access to Britain is based on purely economic terms: this is the new model of national belonging.

Downing Street has thrown off the mantle of social responsibility, both domestically and internationally. Internationally speaking, its participation in Libya on the grounds of humanitarian intervention is laughable when we consider that there is a British Ambassador ~ Nicholas Ray ~ permanently stationed in Khartoum, Sudan. His purpose is to perform diplomacy with the al Bashir government, an administration currently carrying out ethnic cleansing operations on its borders. Domestically, the British government’s claim to provide for its population (as opposed to its citizens) is being made forfeit by the systematic destruction of structures built on the ideas of a common right to life, and the responsibility of government to provide for its population. The Cameron government’s policies are regressive to a Dickensian degree, and increasing internal unrest ~ characterised by last year’s riots ~ will only be kept at bay by Jubilee morale boosting for so long.  With the removal of welfare structures, Downing Street would model Britain as nothing more than a vast, transnational bank, complete with hordes of the hungry standing outside. From an international perspective, this is the only form of diversity Cameron’s government is currently interested in promoting.
The writer is on the staff of The Statesman

 

[10.6.2012 Lara adds: Clarification: I take it for granted that ‘morals’ are socially-inscribed codes, whereas ethics - broadly speaking - are a means of defending concepts of right and wrong actions. My use of the phrase ‘moral superiority’ is therefore performative - the description or impression of a national discourse, as opposed to ‘ethical behaviour’. A longer piece might make this distinction clearer, but I did not feel it was necessary to point out the ethical importance of, for example, the NHS etc.

To clarify my argument and take it forward: firstly, that Britain’s claim to moral superiority is being made forfeit not because it ever had a right to make this claim in the first place, but because the infrastructure supporting this claim (class/gender/race equality and equal opportunities and so on) is being dismantled: the discourse, or performance, can no longer support itself.

Or so it would seem from one perspective. However, taking this forward, I would suggest that if Britain maintains its performance of ‘moral superiority’ on an international stage, then the discourse (and infrastructure) of ‘moral superiority’ is now based on codes of economic viability. To be ‘moral’, in the context of Downing Street’s national aspirations, one must be financially solvent. Foreign investors are invited to buy a stake in moral superiority.]

seven minutes away

- walking distance from my house… The militarisation of London was well in place before the Olympiss, so I am hoping the appearance of these toys in the park up the road gets people more interested. Its not like Britain doesn’t also already sell plenty of these babies worldwide. Scumbag Lords of Death Piggy Pollies. Cute puppy too – I bet your Guardian editor was rapt when they found this pic in the proof sheets – oblique little reference to Bliar/Cameron as Bush/Obama’s lackey-in-chief. Not sure the fence is secure though – joy riders anticipated, does the new Camry even come with a tow-bar these days?

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.

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

22 March 2012 Iran – Goldsmiths

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.

Train Research Group

This Wednesday 1st Feb, 4pm G3 Laurie Grove Baths is the second Goldsmiths meeting of the Train & TubE Research Section (ahem, I am not really suggesting we call the group ‘tatters’! Its just that the abbreviation TRG also does not scan).
all welcome.
The following few things sent in may also be of interest:
The Olympics Premium (aka buying off the workers with Uncle Tory’s fast cash bribes):
Russian art group Voina have done the ‘lunch on the metro’ stunt too (you need to scroll down to the third image):
Also, in Belgium they are making the point somewhat more directly.  This is the latest and most dramatic action on the Brussles Metro following an unpopular fare rise:

And a few things circulated from the UFSO:

 – here’s some inspiration – AD Block Sweden:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_w4tFMbUSo

Here is a link to a documentary about the struggle of tube cleaners from a few years back,
if you haven’t seen it: http://v2v.cc/v2v/Underground_Londoners
or: http://www.mediafire.com/?ixmtvvela3ia56e

And here is a great Hungarian Metro thriller ;)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kontroll

New Taussig

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/I/bo11637787.html

US Weather Report

Protesters confront battleships en route to world’s largest arms fair

10.09.2011 10:49

For immediate release:

Protesters confront battleships en route to world’s largest arms fair

HMS Dauntless is Daunted

Today, warships en route to the world’s largest arms fair were disrupted by protesters angry at a trade that inflicts untold misery and death across the planet. Protesters, including locals, manoeuvred six kayaks in front of the ships to prevent them gaining access to Royal Victoria Dock.

At a time of austerity and government cuts, East London will be hosting Defence Systems Equipment International (DSEi) from 13th – 16th September, with much of the cost borne by the taxpayer.

Every 2 years the ExCeL centre in London’s dockyards welcomes dictators, arms dealers and suspected war criminals in an attempt to persuade them to buy British weaponry. Many of the weapons used by dictators to kill demonstrators during the Arab spring were procured from DSEi exhibitors.

This year DSEi falls on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. It is worth remembering that (according to the British Medical Journal) nearly 400,000 people die every year from armed conflict.

A spokesperson for Disarm DSEi stated “The same politicians that shed crocodile tears for the 9/11 victims are fuelling the fires of war and armed conflict around the world. It is up to ordinary people to intervene to stop the obscene traffic in arms. DSEi, the world’s largest arms fair, must be stopped.”

This is just one action in a concerted campaign. Protesters have vowed to disrupt DSEi throughout the week, including a day of action on the 13th to blockade the DLR and prevent delegates attending the event.

For further information and pictures contact – 07592 769 907 or 07415 810 637

Notes for Editors:

Several warships will form part of this year’s DSEi – hosting receptions and showcasing military technology, including HMS Dauntless, the pride of the British Navy.

Over 1200 arms companies will be selling their wares to 25,000 buyers from around the world, including military delegations from some of the world’s most repressive, human rights abusing regimes.

DSEi is held in Newham, one of London’s most impoverished boroughs. Whilst the government has subsidised DSEi by £320,000 and paid up to £4million for policing, Newham council are being forced to cut
£116 million from their budget over the next four years.

For years leading up to the “Arab Spring”, arms companies have exported equipment to the regimes which are now being condemned by governments rapidly backtracking on their support. A report issued in April this year confirmed that since 2009 the UK have exported components for military helicopters to Algeria, sub-machine guns and tear gas to Bahrain, machine guns to Egypt and hand grenades to Jordan. British defence contractors have also sold small arms ammunition to Syria, hand grenades, sniper rifles and tear gas to Saudi Arabia and shotguns to Morocco.

DISARM DSEi
Stop the world’s largest arms fair!

Photos of Kayaks vs The Dauntless here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/67368949@N04/

Disarm DSEi
- Homepage: www.dsei.org

Chalk and Cheese

The University is the last uneasy comfortable place that is not yet in 100% total denial of the white supremacist neo-imperialist war-mongering social privilege and violence that is, frankly, the condition of the whole of Western capital, the ruling class State, and its many comprador clients, including, of course, the University itself (approx 2% of 100 makes the total pretty thin). The circular sentence and bad math does not mean anything is ok. Everywhere else there is also denial, but perhaps the ongoing complicity of the critic is the most jarring. That said, I don’t think giving up the possibility of teaching jar-heads a critique of everything is the best next move. A ruthless critique of everything that exists, said Marx, in his famous Letter to the Rube. Where else will those one day a year adventurers (two days this year already, stop and admire) get their fill or fillip and citation to carry to the afterparty?

I am waiting to hear more of the anti-war movement. The raids on Libya continue unabated. The French are arming the Rebels, from whom we hear less and less. Britain’s Apache attack helicopters raid the city. Saudi Police snipers are UK-trained with a ‘it will save lives’ rationale. A vast war apparatus at home services the military effort – a cultural industry itself – worse than Mother Courage in Brecht’s old play, selling her kids to service the troops – ‘war will find a way’, and for 30 years the battle for the Holy Roman Empire rages. The present war effort for Empire stalls in Afghanistan, and Iraq is a twisted failed and abandoned building site. Yet more and more money is ploughed into the profit making venture of arms sales and the reckless escalations are bantered palab katakata style by William Hague in the Parliament, while the so-called opposition leadership of Millibrand can only gurn and insult. The burning issue (ouch!) that will only be glossed as an inconvenience to parents when the teachers defend their pensions is as far from an adequate politics that can win as chalk is to cheese-sticks.

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

Gaza protest: Saturday 14 May 2011

Join the protest: Saturday 14 May

12 noon opposite Downing Street

Called by: Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Palestinian Forum in Britain

End the siege on Gaza Supported by: Amos Trust, Association of the Palestinian Community in the UK, Communications Workers Union (CWU), Fire Brigades Union (FBU), Friends of Lebanon, Friends of Al-Aqsa, GMB, The Green Party, ICAHD UK, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Lib Dem Friends of Palestine, Pax Christi, Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), The Russell Tribunal on Palestine, Twinning with Palestine, UNISON, UNITE the Union, University & College Union (UCU), War on Want, Zaytoun
Support the Freedom Flotilla: Follow‘Britain 2 Gaza’ on Facebook or@britain2gaza on Twitter Britain to Gaza logo
To sign the petition to end the siege click here.
Join the PSC:www.palestinecampaign.org PSC logo
‘Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians’
— Nelson Mandela
PSC is campaigning to end the siege on Gaza, is demanding that the right of Palestinian self-determination is respected, and that Palestinians finally achieve freedom, peace and justice. Together, we can change the future. Join the PSC today!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Global Day of Action on Military Spending

Memorandum to the Malaysian Defence Minister

By Malaysian NGOs on the Global Day of Action on Military Spending,

April 12, 2011

In 2009 alone, global military spending rose to an all-time high amount of $1.53 TRILLION! Because we encounter countless crises in today’s world -poverty, hunger, lack of education, poor health care, and environmental issues – it is essential that we come together and create a global movement focusing on what IS important: human lives and their needs. It really is up to us… if not, then who? But we must act NOW!

Global Day of Action on Military Spending on April 12, 2011 has been organized to coincide with the release of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) new annual figures on world military expenditures. On this day, people on all continents will join together in joint actions to focus public, political, and media attention on the costs of military spending and the need for new priorities. Such events will help us to build the international network around this issue.

Join us in this historic Global Day of Action on Military Spending. This day of action has been coordinated by:

The International Peace Bureau (IPB), dedicated to the vision of a World without War. IPB are a Nobel Peace Laureate (1910); over the years, 13 of its officers have been recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. They have 320 member organisations in 70 countries, together with individual members from a global network, bring together expertise and campaigning experience in a common cause. Their current main programme centres on Sustainable Disarmament for Sustainable Development.

The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. They work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power. As Washington’s first progressive multi-issue think tank, the IPS has served as a policy and research resource for visionary social justice movements for over four decades.

Statement by Malaysian NGOs on Military Spending, 12 April 2011

Malaysian NGOs on Military Spending are concerned about the carte blanche given to the Ministry of Defence for arms purchases while health, education and other social services are still so deplorable. The total security allocation under the Tenth Malaysia Plan is RM23 billion. Through the years, the allocation for security (internal security + defence) has been as high as 15.9% and 15.0% under the 3rd and 6th Malaysia Plans while the allocation for health has been as low as 1.6% and 1.0% under the 4th and 5th Malaysia Plans respectively. The Education Minister said recently that 600 schools in the country are in critical condition, most of these in East Malaysia.

The arms race among the Southeast Asian countries seems the most pointless after all the talk at conferences on ASEAN integration. Even so, each country’s attempt to be ahead in the race is self-defeating.

In 1997, Malaysia was described as one of “East Asia’s Big Eight” countries devoting “lavish resources” to develop its military industries. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said that these countries – China, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia – were enhancing their capabilities in military organization, arms purchases, and military industrialization.

Malaysia’s rivalry with Singapore springs not from ideological differences but from the latter’s forced separation from the Malaysian federation in 1965, after a crisis emanating from the racial politics of their ruling classes. From this rivalry we can see how the ensuing arms race has burdened the peoples in the two countries with billions in arms spending.

Many are not aware of the rapid growth of Malaysia’s domestic military-industrial complex. The top brass of the military guard their power and privilege and this is nourished by easy access to the defence budget and the simple justification of “national security”. Today we have seen the growth of such a complex in many countries, including Malaysia. An offshoot of the arms purchases is the race to develop domestic defence equipment industries in each of the S.E. Asian countries.

It is clear that the BN Government could get away with such huge defence budgets during the last few decades because of the erosion of these safeguards in our democratic system, viz. dominance of the executive over parliament; loss of public accountability; absence of Freedom of Information legislation; inadequate separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary; poor safeguards for civil rights. The National Defence Policy is as good as giving a carte blanche to the Ministry of Defence for “deterrence and forward defence”.

The Non-Aligned Movement was founded upon the principles of peace, neutrality and impartiality to the Superpowers. A genuine non-aligned policy can therefore go a long way toward ridding us of the need to procure expensive arms.

Disarmament must ultimately be inclusive of all the nations within ASEAN. The peoples in ASEAN deserve a better quality of life compared to the status quo which is committed to an irrational arms race among the ASEAN countries themselves and deprives their peoples of valuable resources for social development.

Minimising the defence budget in Malaysia and throughout ASEAN can free more valuable resources into urgently needed social services and socially useful production. Wasting money on arms prevents it from being spent on health, education, clean water or other public services. It also distorts the economy and diverts resources, such as skilled labour and R&D away from alternative economic activity.

Leaders have the responsibility to initiate that fundamental change and involving everyone in that peace-building process. It involves overcoming the fears, prejudices and other contradictions that give rise to misunderstanding, violence and conflict. It involves re-ordering our financial priorities away from wasteful and destructive arms to the social well-being of all our peoples.

Facilitating greater democracy in our society also creates a culture of peace since the more that citizens have the opportunity to participate in the running of their society and the freedom to express their aspirations and criticisms, the less likely are they to take up arms to overthrow the government.

To achieve a culture of peace would require a profound reformation but reform we must. Cooperating in shared goals and nurturing positive interdependence can help to build this culture of peace. A culture of peace should be our nation’s vision. It is a vision that is only attainable in a society that respects human dignity, social justice, democracy and human rights. It is an environment that can settle conflict and differences through dialogue and democracy and not through threats and repression.

Social change will only happen when the people are mobilised in a movement for peace. Only such a movement and consciousness can divert the billions spent on unnecessary and wasteful armaments to peaceful and socially useful production.  Malaysian NGOs on Military Spending have a responsibility for initiating this movement.

Libya: immediate ceasefire call.

PRESS RELEASE

CIVILIANS FOR PEACE

7th April, 2011 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BRITISH PEACE DELEGATION HEADS FOR LIBYA TO CALL FOR AN END TO THE KILLING

LONDON – ENGLAND A twenty-five person peace delegation made up of academics, lawyers, journalists and

professionals will be departing for Libya on 9th April, to call for an immediate ceasefire in Libya and an end to all hostilities. This is the first half of a two stage process that will involve reconciliation talks with tribal leaders, government officials and key opposition fig- ures.

After almost three weeks of continual bombing by Coalition forces and heavy fighting in key cities, countless civilians have lost their lives and there appears to be no end in sight to the untold suffering of the people. An immediate end to the conflict and the protection of civilian lives is the aim of this mission.

The Civilians for Peace Delegation will be meeting with key officials and parties to the conflict and calling for:

1. An immediate ceasefire and an end to hostilities from all sides, including NATO. 2. Immediate peace talks between representatives of government and the opposition. 3. Fair and honest arbitration between the opposing forces. 4. The immediate positioning of credible and impartial International Observers to monitor a possible ceasefire. 5. Humanitarian corridors to provide Medical assistance, food and water to civilians in the affected areas.

In addition, the Civilians for Peace delegation will be calling on the African Union to take a lead role in arbitrating peace and for the United Nations to call an immediate meeting of the General Assembly to discuss the Libyan situation and the broadening crisis in the region.

The delegation will be leaving on Saturday 9th April @ 5.45pm from Terminal 4, Heathrow Airport. There will be a press statement made from Terminal 4 @ 2.30pm and members of the public are encouraged to attend and to support the delegation.

 

On the technical difference between a No Fly Zone and a U.N.-backed military attack on a third world nation.

David ‘Desert Rat’ Cameron

As we watch appalled as the UN decides to declare war with No Fly Zone and more, this is the onward march into the new crusades on the part of David ‘Desert Rat’ Cameron. With his arms-trader interest in weapons sales and colonial intervention as a sideshow, he can secure his ‘legacy’ with the every-leader-must-have-one bespoke middle east war. Its clearly not just daft daft daft, its criminal – and it worked out so well for his twin Thatcherite brother Bliar. Both of a type…

so, as we watch this car crash unfold…

…a reminder to read the Vijay Prashad piece on Ghadafi in The Paper.

Libya’s Lost Promise

Write me for actual paper copies while they last.

STW: 10 Reasons to say no to western intervention in Libya

By Andrew Murray National Chair, Stop the War Coalition 14 March 2011 The political campaign to launch a military intervention in Libya – ostensibly on humanitarian grounds but with patently political ends in sight – is gathering steam among the NATO powers. A “no-fly zone” has now been urged by the Arab League – for the most part a collection of frightened despots desperate to get the US military still more deeply involved in the region.  That would be the start of a journey down slippery slope. 

Here are ten reasons to resist the siren calls for intervention:

  1. Intervention will violate Libya’s sovereignty.  This is not just a legalistic point – although the importance of observing international law should not be discounted if the big powers in the world are not to be given the green light run amok.  As soon as NATO starts to intervene, the Libyan people will start to lose control of their own country and future.
  2. Intervention can only prolong, not end the civil war.  “No-fly zones” will not be able to halt the conflict and will lead to more bloodshed, not less.
  3. Intervention will lead to escalation.  Because the measures being advocated today cannot bring an end to the civil war, the next demand will be for a full-scale armed presence in Libya, as in Iraq – and meeting the same continuing resistance.  That way lies decades of conflict.
  4. This is not Spain in 1936, when non-intervention meant helping the fascist side which, if victorious in the conflict, would only encourage the instigators of a wider war – as it did.  Here, the powers clamouring for military action are the ones already fighting a wider war across the Middle East and looking to preserve their power even as they lose their autocratic allies.  Respecting Libya’s sovereignty is the cause of peace, not is enemy.
  5. It is more like Iraq in the 1990s, after the First Gulf War.  Then, the US, Britain and France imposed no-fly zones which did not lead to peace – the two parties in protected Iraqi Kurdistan fought a bitter civil war under the protection of the no-fly zone – and did prepare the ground for the invasion of 2003.  Intervention may partition Libya and institutionalise conflict for decades.
  6. Or it is more like the situation in Kosovo and Bosnia.  NATO interference has not lead to peace, reconciliation or genuine freedom in the Balkans, just to endless corrupt occupations.
  7. Yes, it is about oil.  Why the talk of intervening in Libya, but not the Congo, for example?  Ask BP.
  8. It is also about pressure on Egyptian revolution – the biggest threat to imperial interests in the region.  A NATO garrison next door would be a base for pressure at least, and intervention at worst, if Egyptian freedom flowers to the point where it challenges western interests in the region.
  9. The hypocrisy gives the game away.  When the people of Bahrain rose against their US-backed monarchy and were cut down in the streets, there was no talk of action, even though the US sixth fleet is based there and could doubtless have imposed a solution in short order.  As top US republican Senator Lindsey Graham observed last month “there are regimes we want to change, and those we don’t”.  NATO will only ever intervene to strangle genuine social revolution, never to support it.
  10. Military aggression in Libya – to give it the righty name – will be used to revive the blood-soaked policy of ‘liberal interventionism’.  That beast cannot be allowed to rise from the graves of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Middle East Arms Fair Oil Panic Crisis Endgame.

Note with contempt and scorn the efforts of the British Prime Minister to appear relaxed walking through Cairo’s Tahrir Square on the way to his important gloat over the first Gulf War, accompanying his arms-trader mates heading to a Lords-of-War fest in Abu Dhabi. View the PMs itinerary in the context of over a thousand UK weapons and ‘defense’ contracts signed in Kuwait since 2003, and recall that it was US tear gas used recently against protesters in Egypt, and that Libya’s Colonel was so recently embraced by Blair, Obama and, no surprise given the Pretorian angle, Berlusconi. Be amazed, but understand that with the current apoplectic convulsions of the Western elite vis a vis the people’s uprisings across the world – of course the right, just and timely thing to do now is visit a weapons sales conference! The consequences of the financial crisis, banking bailout and housing mortgage collapse means repressive gun-belt-tightening cut-backs at home, but it also entails a frantic drive for quick fire investment in unstable markets. Its an old play called cowboy capitalism, and the infamous likes of Halliburton, Blackwater (now Xe) and Aegis (formerly Sandline), are joined by the PMs own arms-‘trade delegation’ that includes manufacturers of attack planes, Riot control vehicles and CS gas, armaments and other radar, surveillance and secret ops specialists. Alongside Cameron on the trip are decorated scions such as: Ian King of BAE Systems; Charles Hughes, of defense/security service communications systems specialist and top 100 defense contractor, the Cobham Group; Douglas Castner of Ultra Electronics Airborne bomber designers with radio communications interests; and the managing director of military ‘nuclear market leader’ Babcock International, and more. Yes, of course these are the travelling companions you want with you when you head into Kuwait to commemorate 20 years of war with Iraq. Along the way, the discussion must turn to the volatile oil price, which bucks and trends with more than a little in-flight turbulence. What was conceived in one crisis plays out as a scramble for contracts during another – and the alibi of meeting a few ‘genuinely inspiring’ people who ‘have risked a lot for what they believe in’ while flanked by dodgy security grunts in Tahrir only reinforces the disingenuous hypocrisy of a man who believes in nothing but the short-term advantage for his gunslinger mates. If any tyrannical regime needs urgently to be defeated and changed, it is the ongoing market imperialism of the British Arms Industry, financed by bank bailouts and opportunist-militarist sales-talk even amidst cuts and crisis. These travellers should be kicked off the plane, the plane should be refused reentry and ditched, the PM dumped at sea. We need a Tahrir of our own, and it surely starts in Parliament Square SW1. -TW.

WikiRebels

This is the documentary to watch, harrowing stuff, do not put an axe through your screen – though it may seem to suggest you need to do this.

watch the video here: http://svt.se/embededflash/2258254/play.swf

Apparently this vid version is only going to be up till January or so.

http://wikileaks.ch/

A search engine for wikileaks would of course be handy and lo and behold: But apparently the searches are a bit ‘hit and miss’. Nevertheless, developing search engines for the leaks is clearly good – the issue will be algorithmic I suppose as the volume of leaked pages rises… do add more search options as you find them:
Wikileaks ‘Cablegate’ search engine: http://cablesearch.org/

Release Assange

RELEASE ASSANGE – Letter to the Australian High Commissioner London to be delivered Mon D13 (original location here)

Australians in UK for Immediate Release of Julian Assange, 12.12.2010 17:07

*If you are an Australian based in UK, or presently travelling through,
and wish to sign this letter.
Make contact through…..releasejulianassange at gmail.com Ph.079 392 90 576
**This letter will be hand delivered to the Australian Embassy, London, Monday December 13th. 2010.

High Commissioner to the United Kingdom

Australia House
Strand,
London WC2B 4LA

Dear Mr Dauth,

We Australians, here in London and from further afield, ask you to convey our urgent and emphatic request to the Gillard Government to do its utmost to defend Julian Assange?s human rights and the free and lawful operation of Wikileaks.

Australians around the world watch with grave concern as an Australian citizen is vilified by his own Prime Minister and Attorney-General, experienced lawyers whose words display a shocking disregard for the human right to the presumption of innocence, and risk prejudicing any legal proceedings Mr Assange may face.

We welcome the Government?s subsequent assurance that Mr Assange?s passport will not be cancelled and that your embassy will afford him ?all appropriate consular assistance.?

We learn from an Australian Government website[1] that the High Commission has a duty to ensure Mr Assange ?is treated no less favourably than local citizens detained for similar offences.? UK citizens, of course, enjoy the protection of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantee their right to freedom of expression, presumption of innocence and fair trial. That is, UK citizens enjoy a significantly higher degree of legal protection than do Australians, and the Australian High Commission must ensure Mr Assange?s treatment by UK authorities accords with those more stringent standards.

May we remind all consular staff and the Australian Government that Mr Assange ?has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers?[2] and to do so ?without interference by public authority.?[3]

Further, Mr Assange has a human and legal right to be ?presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law? and to be given a fair trial.[4]

As you must know well, it is unlawful under s104 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 for anyone intentionally or recklessly to cause death or serious harm[5] to an Australian citizen outside
Australia. And yet the Australian Government has voiced no objection to the death threats levelled against Mr Assange by high-profile US citizens and others.[7]

In light of the above, we, the undersigned:

1. Ask that Ms Gillard publicly and unequivocally withdraw her statement alleging illegal conduct on Mr Assange?s part, explain to the public why it was wrong for her to say that, and to apologise to Mr Assange.

2. Call on the Gillard Government to robustly defend Mr Assange both at home and abroad and to respect and defend his right to receive information and impart information freely, without interference by any public authority.

3. Ask the Attorney-General to initiate investigations into threats of violence against Mr Assange by persons in the United States and Canada, including Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, in violation of Australian law.

4. Urge the Gillard Government to oppose strenuously any application to have Mr Assange extradited to the United States, because it is unlikely he would receive a fair trial there.

We thank you for your attention to these matters of fundamental importance to a free and democratic society.

[1] ?Consular services: Arrested, detained and jailed overseas? ( http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/faq.html)

[2] Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (emphasis added). The same is stated more fully in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Australia is a party, and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which also applies to Mr Assange.

[3] ECHR, Art. 10(1)

[4] ECHR, Art. 6 and elsewhere

[5] Including ?harm to a person?s mental health (whether temporary or permanent) [including] psychological harm to the person;? and conduct that ?endangers, or is likely to endanger, a person?s life? (s146)

[7] See  http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/41914.html

Sincerely, your compatriots,

- John Pilger (from Sydney, Australia)  http://www.johnpilger.com/
– Peter Tatchell, (from Melbourne, Australia) London based, Human Rights Activist
http://www.petertatchell.net/
– Michael Dutton, (from Brisbane, Australia) Professor of Politics,
Goldsmiths University of London.
– Deborah Kessler, (from Brisbane, Australia) concerned citizen.
– Ciaron O’Reilly, (from Brisbane, Australian), London Catholic Worker/ Ploughshares.
http://www.londoncatholicworker.org/
– Eden Boucher, (from Adelaide, Australia) musician “Lovers Electric”.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovers_Electric
– David Turley, (from Adelaide, Australia), musician “Lovers Electric”.
– Sharon Turley, (from Adelaide, Australia) classical musician.
– David Warburton (from Adelaid, Australia), Coffee Brewster
– Saul Newman, teaches Political Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London.
– John Hutnyk, (from Melbourne, Australia) Professor of Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths Univrsity of London.
– Peter Thomas (from Rockhampton, Queensland) teaches History of Political Thought at Brunel University, London.
– Maria Albrecht, (from Melbourne, Australia) Catholic Worker Farmhouse
http://www.thecatholicworkerfarm.org/

- e-mail: releasejulianassange at gmail.com

Ben Watson applauds Edgard Varèse

Ben Watson is pretty much on the money here when he writes (in an antidote to most of the half-digested theory and rad-posturing drivel written about war and music of late):

Edgard Varèse brought the noise of sirens and bombs into music in the 1920s, a response to the terrors of World War I. His Hyperprism predicted the Nazi strategy of the Blitz, when civilian populations first became long-distant targets of military hardware. Unlike his ‘objectivist’ follower Iannis Xenakis, Varèse bent the shapes he heard into organic ovaloids which speak for the suffering ear. This is why, of all the pre-war orchestral composers, only Varèse has a non-salon, yet humanist ruggedness: a realism that moves the blood and shakes the entrails. Sonically, Varèse can stand comparison to Coltrane and Hendrix, who provided lasting testimonials to a different noise: a struggle against racial oppression in America and genocidal war in Vietnam.

Read the entire piece again here or here [ie. read it twice more!]

Stop the War, 20 November 2010

THE TIME TO GO FROM AFGHANISTAN IS NOW

National Demonstration • Afghanistan: Time to Go
Saturday 20 November • Assemble 12 Noon
Speakers’ Corner • Hyde Park • London
Called by: Stop the War Coalition, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, British Muslim Initiative. Supported by: War on Want, UNITE the union, University and College Union, Pax Christi, Islamic Forum of Europe, The Cordoba Foundation and Friends of Al Aqsa
Speakers will include Tony Benn, Eric Joyce MP, Guardian journalist Seumas Milne, rap artist Lowkey, human rights’ lawyer Phil Shiner and academic Terry Eagleton (more to be announced soon).
Defend the democratic right to protest

We will defy the ban on the demonstration assembling at Speakers’ Corner.
More details and how to complain here

The war in Afghanistan has entered its tenth year, making it longer than World War I and World War II combined. Both prime minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband support continuing the war, at least till 2015. Thousands more Afghan civilians and Nato soldiers will be killed in a pointless and unwinnable war, when over 70 per cent of the British public want all British troops withdrawn now. Join this crucial demonstration which will give voice to the anti-war majority in the country and tell the politicians the time to go is now.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Call 0207 801 2768 or email office[at]stopwar.org.uk

1. Volunteer. Everyone can make a difference. Volunteers are needed to prepare for the demonstration.
2. Publicise in your neighbourhood. Publicity for the demonstration should be visible in every city, borough, town and village. Posters, flyers and stickers are available to use now from the Stop the War office.
3. Get involved with a local Stop the War group. In towns and cities around the country, local groups are booking transport, organising meetings, leafletting and campaigning to mobilise the widest possible support. Contact the Stop the War office for details of a group in your area.
4. Spread the word online. Online media can reach millions. Use Facebook, Twitter, your email, website, blog etc. Our online resources page has banners, images, Facebook and Twitter avatars, counters etc.
5. Donate. Demonstrations come with a price tag. Help make this one a success – donate to Stop the War Coalition.

 

Bosnia – A Painful Peace – doc by Aki Nawaz ….parts..2-4..in comments…

Sonic Warfare

Steve Goodman’s book Sonic Warfare (2010) is full of interest and a vibrant new language for making sense of the sonic politics and affect – perhaps we should/must say attention – economies of contemporary capitalism. It also offers a useful note of prudence for those who too readily celebrate the sonic underground as opposition. ‘Global ghettotech’ is the agential site of an important potential, it remains to see whether Kode9 or the role of lecturer carries the day. I am not able to judge the inner dynamic of bass stylings over against scholarly erudition, but I have enjoyed much of the book. Especially so, where the discussion at the end takes up the thematic of piracy, just where perhaps the questions of solidarity and Party organization might have been placed in another kind of analysis. Nevertheless, as I prepare for a different kind of party tonight – at the Black Flag anarchist branded drinking house alongside Goldsmiths – Goodman’s examination of the pirate metaphor for business deserves a listen.

‘piracy… some commentators have noted … has become just another business model. When the most banal popular music is simultaneously mobilized as a weapon of torture, it is clear that sonic culture has reached a strange conjuncture within its deepening immersion into the environments of the military-entertainment complex’ (Goodman 2010:190)

The proposal Goodman has in mind here is the suggestion by Matt Mason that we think of piracy as the business model of choice for late capitalism (he means very late capitalism). This argument, more fully manifest in The Pirate’s Dilemma, sounds to me as if it is a logical extension of the capacity if Capital to adapt to hybridity by hybridizing itself. We have head this routine before. Romantic attachment to the newest so-called innovations of expanding capital has a pedigree as old as capital itself. Not for nothing was old beardo sticking it to the bourgeois professors who deserved nothing less.

Today, the attention economy is the pedestrian versioning of an explanation for hybrid or pirate capital, a development perhaps advancing on the neo-liberal parrot-talk of accellerationism and speed fetishism, but still unable to provide a diagnostic adequate to an opposition that could win. Insert details of Mao’s Party programme here/disregarding any disconnect consequent of the Badiou and Žižek auto-poetic personality cult (see the comradely love-letter to SZ at the end of Badiou’s latest Communist Hypothesis 2010).

Piracy of the creative high-seas low-fees kind is of course the navigation beta chart of future commerce lanes.

Indebted to Mike Davis’s problematic books Ecology of Fear and Planet of Slums, Goodman is at least full of interesting detail when he links pirate radio, pirate media, online file sharing, and ‘ubiquitous, decentralized insurgency networks such as al Qaeda under the slogan ‘piracy funds terrorism’, deciding that ‘the early-twenty-first century is a strange time to be an audio pirate’ (Goodman 2010:179). But this is a broad and abstracting brush nevertheless. The trouble with the import of Davis’s ideas on slums and cities is the undifferentiated mass flow perspective of the source commentator – like Žižek’s gloss on the slum as well, there is no nuance of distinction – the mass remain a mass of the old type, or even less organized. Hardt and Negri’s multitude are waiting in the wings and all we are left of wonder from afar at the coming conflagration. The migration of the ghetto-tech massive is celebrated as a threatening mutation of the global nervous system, a ‘rhythmachinic takeover of space-time’ (Goodman 2010:173) but not much more. Where this is dangerous is that there is an elevation of the commentary over the participation – the cult status of the DJ over the crowd, the named glory of the author is not far away. Badiou proclaims himself the last Maoist in France – a frankly Quixotic gesture. Davis does about the same for L.A. The real ecology of fear is, I think, a guilty anxiety of those intellectuals interpreting, while also wanting but unable to organize, that greater mass of those who will change the world. What we get here is a strangely familiar distanciation of the commentary, which of course then is readily lined up to do duty for the transformation and restoration of a new mode of capital.

‘Youth culture has reinvented, or rejuvenated, capitalism to the point that piracy has now become just another business model, a mutation from subversive cultural weapon to business plan; the situationist projection of art into the everyday becomes merely branding’ (Goodman 2010:181)

It is to Goodman’s credit that he is fully alert to these dangers: ‘sonic war machines’ he says,  ‘may emerge out of turbulent, underdeveloped urban ecologies, but their bottom-up nature does not in itself constitute an index of a moral or political higher ground. Caution should be shown … in celebrating the pirate economies of music cultures’ (Goodman 2010:194).

The caution here should be about whether or not we trust the rendering of youth culture mouthed by the academy (including ventriloquist exhibit a: yours truly). A similar note of caution might be useful for all those scrapping around for a metaphor or a diagnostic code for making sense of the new war economy attention and acceleration hype of hybridized mutant youth digital sonic shared p2p capital2.0 today. To coin the terminology of appreciation is still merely to coin – that is, to offer up a market coding currency to those that will thrive on the ideological mismatch of critical commentary and institutional stasis. New formations of the eversame do not move us towards an alternative to capital; only joining the mobilization of the ghettotech troop surge, the creation and mobilization of the people’s army, can.

Badiou, Alain 2010 The Communist Hypothesis London: Verso.

Davis, Mike 1999 The Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster New York: Vintage.

Davis, Mike 2005 Planet of Slums London: Verso.

Goodman, Steve 2010 Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect and the Ecology of Fear Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Masson, Matt 2008 The Pirate’s Dilemma: How Youth Culture is Reinventing Capitalism New York: Free Press.

Dragnets of London

Dragnets of London (for Raul).

John Hutnyk

I was on my way home on the number 436 to Lewisham recently when a woman did something I thought was both impressive and unusual – she spoke out against the delay caused by the 20 police who had boarded our bus. She scolded them for wasting her time and for picking on certain passengers that, she said, should be left in peace to get on with their travel.

We have become accustomed to these all-too frequent Metropolitan Police (MET) dragnet style interruptions. Such hold-ups are now quite common in my part of London, a predominantly black suburb, where ticket checks are used as a cover for an immigration shakedown – itself justified as part of anti-terror vigilance. I watched the police officers explain to the woman, in escalating aggressive tones, that her demand to know why the bus was being delayed was misplaced because officers were ‘assaulted every day by people without tickets’. This seems a strange and disproportionate response to a legitimate query from a member of the public. Travelling in a uniformed strength-in-numbers group of (more than) 20, some of whom were armed, suggests an excess enthusiasm of the transport police for ‘ticket inspection’.

We might be concerned that such policing will soon again result in further deaths like that which was visited upon Brazilian commuter Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station in 2005 (shot seven times in the head by officers, no-one charged). There have been other unexamined incidents of deaths in police custody and the UK has an appalling record in terms of prosecution of official crime (see the 1999 film Injustice directed by Ken Fero and Tariq Mehmood). Another tragedy is primed to happen especially where commanders readily deploy disproportionate aggression if challenged by an impatient commuter. She was young, white, articulate, and had the sense to back down when the Officer in charge raised his voice and muscled up to her. No need to guess that any other appellant might not have got off the bus so freely. We other passengers, a few anyway, applauded her courage, but somewhat meekly. It does seem that a new anxiety pervades the streetscapes of the metropolis – a consequence of dubious foreign wars and suspect geo-politics, conjoined with institutional racism and a creeping resignation. Not many complain, but at least in this instance, someone did.

I was glad to have met her. We exchanged a few words:

Me: ‘That was great, well done.’

Her: ‘How can they do this, its intolerable.’

Me: ‘What is your name?’

Her: ‘Scheherazade’

This response is hilarious and smart – she identifies herself, sensibly choosing an alias, as the fabled storyteller who tames a despot with patient narrative over many many nights. Speaking truth to power, in coded repetition, Scheherazade offers a moral discourse through fantasy tales, Sinbad the Sailor and so on. Eventually the despotic ruler relents his power. The trouble is, I never saw Scheherazade again. But I remember her lesson – you do have to speak up.

Several months after the above incident, the MET have assigned dedicated public relations personnel to their inspection teams. Whenever I have seen the dragnet I have made a point of following that woman’s earlier tactic, and each time experienced the full force of MET customer relations, extending to a total bureaucratic run-around when trying to get a complaint about this heard. This is documented below in brief conversations where, while asking the most obvious questions, I find something very provocative – the ways speaking out can be channelled and contained are also to be examined.

In this first exchange, the ‘team’ were wrapping their operation up when I came by, so there was a sense of mild irritation with my questions, a kind of ‘shows over, on your way sir’ tone – which of course I took as an invitation to linger.

Me: [polite, ironic] ‘What’s all this then?’

Cop A: ‘We are looking for people without tickets, you’d be surprised how many we can arrest in a day.’

Me: [politely] ‘Hmmm, why do you need so many police, isn’t this over policing?’

Cop A: ‘Most people around here welcome this.’

Me: [politely] ‘No, no, no, we all think its outrageous. You don’t need to do this, you should go catch some real crooks, you know, corporate types, politicians, the Speaker of the House of Representatives….’ [the controversy over MP’s expenses was current news]

Later, to a different officer:

Me: ‘Why do you need so many police to check tickets on one bus?’

Cop A: ‘This is a message to people, we are being noticed. You noticed.’

Me: ‘Even when just one ticket inspector gets on the bus we notice.’

Stand around a bit, watch the slow process of a lad get a caution for riding his bicycle on the footpath:

Cop B: ‘Why are you riding on the footpath, its against the law.’

Bike-boy: ‘Its getting dark and my light is broken.’

… [some meaningless blather, bike-boy rides off]

Cop C to Cop B: ‘They’ll make up anything round here.’

I asked another cop who was in charge:

Me: [formal] ‘Who is the ranking officer?’

Cop D: ‘Why, do you need something?’

Me: ‘I want to make a complaint?’

Cop D: ‘Why?’

Me: ‘I think this is over policing.’

Cop D: ‘People think this is the free bus.’ (the 436 aka the free bus).

Next to him, a female cop:

Cop E: ‘You could talk to the sergeant.’

Me: ‘Him there?’

Cop E: ‘Yes, but he is busy now.’

[time passes]

Me: ‘He’s not that busy now?’

Cope E: ‘Just tap him on the shoulder.’

Me: ‘Surely that’s more your style than mine.’

I meet the ranking officer:

Me: [polite formal] ‘This is over policing, how do I make a complaint?’

Cop F: ‘Where do you live?’

Me: [taken aback] ‘Why do you want to know?’

Cop F: ‘You can complain to the duty officer at your local station.’

Me: [insistent] ‘Don’t you think this is over policing?’

Cop F: ‘Most people don’t think so.’

Me: ‘I disagree. Most people here probably don’t think this is a good thing.’

Cop F: ‘You are entitled to disagree.’

Me: [exasperated] ‘Not for long it seems.’ [gesturing to the 25 uniformed cops hovering around the bus]

And so yet another micro moment of the creeping fascism of contemporary Englan’ passes at 6.05PM on a monday night on Lewisham Way.

Another day, another routine: Stopping to quiz yet another bus dragnet gang with a colleague, this time we are referred immediately to the public relations London Transport operative ‘Daniel’. This sort of discussion, reproduced below, has become a perverse kind of sport. I know it does little, and now I know the cops see public complaints as a kind of sport as well. Nevertheless, as they say in the Homeland – ‘If you see something, say something’.

A conversation between ‘Police Liaison Operative Daniel’ and two unidentified subjects of the realm, designated as ‘US’:

US: ‘[polite] Why are you stopping this bus here today?’

Daniel: ‘We are arresting people without tickets, booking them for crimes.’

US: ‘Is it an arrestable crime to go without a ticket?’

Daniel: ‘Most people without tickets commit other crimes.’

US: ‘So this is a kind of entrapment? You could just hand out fines.’

Daniel: ‘We are keeping the buses safe.’

US: ‘They are not unsafe because people don’t have tickets. Why are these officers armed? Are those guys immigration officers?’

Daniel: ‘Look, we could be out catching terrorists in the ethnic suburbs.’

US: [incredulous] ‘Sorry, which suburbs, how could you tell? Do they teach you about profiling?’

Daniel: ‘Oh, I know the profile very well thank you. Is there anything more I can help you with?’

US: [exasperated] ‘How can we make a complaint about over policing?’

Daniel: ‘You can complain to me.’

US: ‘sigh’

There is no question that the border and border policing has moved from the airport and ferry terminal to the centre of the city and the micro-moments of everyday life. The border is right there on the street, caught between mild-mannered individuals and institutional authority, uniforms on the bus, exclusions and deportations before your eyes. A million minute forms of repression that amount to a generalized war economy. Always under suspicion, ready to have you tickets checked, your bags examined (announcements remind you to never leave them unattended), security fear becomes everyday and the power of the authorities to detain anyone that ‘looks the part’ becomes routine. A border has been crossed, a border has been crossed… we run willingly into battle.

Points-Based Immigration System in Context: 16 October 2010

Points-Based Immigration System in Context: Research and Campaign Strategies
10am-6pm, Saturday 16 October 2010, University of London Union, Malet
Street, London WC1

This conference will present new research on issues related to the
points-based immigration system (PBIS) as it affects Further and Higher
Education. The conference will assess:
a) the wider significance of immigration;
b) the full consequences of PBIS;
c) the characteristics  of new systems of regulation and surveillance in
universities and colleges.

The conference aims to offer both expertise in
research but also a focus for campaigners who object to the fundamentally
discriminatory nature of the rules.

Supported by UCU, ULU, Centre for Cultural Studies, Department of
Politics, Department of Media & Communications (all at Goldsmiths)

Speakers:
Les Back (Goldsmiths)
Tom Hickey (Brighton)
Georg Menz (Goldsmiths)
Liz Fekete (Institute of Race Relations)
Edgar Whitley (LSE)
Valerie Hartwich (Manifesto Club)
Joel Heyes (UKBA worker and PCS rep)
Susan Robertson (Bristol)
Andy Goffey (Middlesex)
Su-Anne Yeo (Goldsmiths)
Clare Solomon (ULU)

Facebook event:
http://bit.ly/PBISconference

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)

Barbaric Poetry – notes for later…

Theodore W. Adorno Quotation:

To write a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric”
(to 1969 Herbert Marcuse interview about Adorno)
From the web site of Evelyn Wilcock, http://members.aol.com/eandcw/adquotes.htm,

accessed July 28, 2003
People who ask about Adorno want to know the source of his dictum about writing poetry after Auschwitz. Providing them with the date (written in 1949 for a festschrift) and source (published in “An Essay on Cultural Criticism and Society,” in Prisms, p.34) of the quotation may only increase their mystification. The sentence is part of the conclusion to an essay, and reading it on its own may be as fruitless as attempting to understand the last act of Hamlet without having first seen the rest of the play. This is the opening of the essay, ‘Cultural Criticism and Society,’ the whole of which may be read in Prisms, trans. Samuel and Shierry Weber (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1967), p.19.
To anyone in the habit of thinking with his ears, the words ‘cultural criticism’ (Kulturkritik) must have an offensive ring, not merely because, like automobile, they are pieced together from Latin and Greek. The words recall a flagrant contradiction. The cultural critic is not happy with civilization, to which alone he owes his discontent. He speaks as if he represents unadulterated nature or a higher historical stage. Yet he is necessarily of the same essence as that to which he fancies himself superior.



source: <http://lists.ccil.org/pipermail/philnet/2002-June/002663.html>, accessed July 28, 2003On June 24, 2002 Frederik van Gelder of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research (where Adorno worked), answered a query on Philnet as follows:
> I wonder if anyone can tell me the precise location of Adorno’s

> comment that it is impossible to write poetry/produce art after

> Auschwitz? Much quoted, but apparently from a little-known piece of
> writing.
> From: Andy Hamilton
> Dept. of Philosophy
> Durham University
> Durham DH1 3HP
> UK
Original quote in *Prisms*, 1955, MIT Press. Reprinted London, 1967.
It’s a misquote, in as much as it’s a phrase inside of a sentence which is usually left out:

The critique of culture is confronted with the last stage in the dialectic of culture and barbarism: to write a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric, and that corrodes also the knowledge which expresses why it has become impossible to write poetry today.”
Adorno came back to this topic on three different occasions: in the Negative Dialectics, in Ohne Leitbild, and in Noten zur Literatur IV.
Page references are to the Gesammelte Schriften, where more details can be found:

Original: Prismen, vol. 10a, p. 30.
Kulturkritik findet sich der letzten Stufe der Dialektik von Kultur und Barbarei gegenüber: nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben, ist barbarisch, und das frißt auch die Erkenntnis an, die ausspricht, warum es unmöglich ward, heute Gedichte zu schreiben. (1955)
Negative Dialektik, 06, p. 355/356:

Das perennierende Leiden hat soviel Recht auf Ausdruck wie der Gemarterte zu brüllen; darum mag falsch gewesen sein, nach Auschwitz ließe kein Gedicht mehr sich schreiben. Nicht falsch aber ist die minder kulturelle Frage, ob nach Auschwitz noch sich leben lasse, ob vollends es dürfe, wer zufällig entrann und rechtens hätte umgebracht werden müssen.
Ohne Leitbild, 10a, p. 452/453:

Weniger stets verträgt jener Schein sich mit dem Prinzip rationaler Materialbeherrschung, dem er die gesamte Geschichte von Kunst hindurch sich verband. Während die Situation Kunst nicht mehr zuläßt – darauf zielte der Satz über die Unmöglichkeit von Gedichten nach Auschwitz -, bedarf sie doch ihrer. Denn die bilderlose Realität das vollendete Widerspiel des bilderlosen Zustands geworden, in dem Kunst verschwände, weil die Utopie sich erfüllt hätte, die in jedem Kunstwerk sich chiffriert.
Noten zur Literatur IV, vol.11, p. 603

Der Satz, nach Auschwitz lasse kein Gedicht mehr sich schreiben, gilt nicht blank, gewiß aber, daß danach, weil es möglich war und bis ins Unabsehbare möglich bleibt, keine heitere Kunst mehr vorgestellt werden kann.
best,

Dr. Frederik van Gelder
Institut fuer Sozialforschung
Frankfurt University
Senckenberganlage 26 60325
Frankfurt am Main
gelder@em.uni-frankfurt.de



page by Harold Marcuse, July 2003, uploaded June 8, 2005, updated:

back to top, to Herbert Marcuse Adorno Page,
Marcuse Publications PageHerbert Marcuse website

A recipe for w-o-t-w-e

Seumus Milne’s last two paragraphs in his Guardian article on Gaza today are worth noting:

“The British prime minister tried this week to claim that the growth of al-Qaida in Yemen and Somalia showed western strategy was “working”, because the escalation of the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan had forced it to look for sanctuaries elsewhere. In reality, it is a measure of the grotesque failure of the entire war on terror. Since its launch in October 2001, al-Qaida has spread from the mountains of Afghanistan across the region, to Iraq, Pakistan, the horn of Africa, and far beyond.

Instead of scaling down the western support for dictatorship and occupation that fuels al-Qaida-style terror, and concentrating resources on police action to counter it, the US and its allies have been drawn inexorably into repeating and extending the monstrosities that sparked it in the first place. It’s the recipe for a war on terror without end”. (Guardian 7 Jan 2010)

This Much is True

demenezesI will be attending this important bit of theatre:

THIS MUCH IS TRUE
By Paul Unwin and Sarah Beck

On 22 July 2005 Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by the Metropolitan Police at Stockwell tube station. It was a defining moment in London’s history yet too many questions are left unanswered.

Award-winning writer and director Paul Unwin’s (co-creator of Casualty and Holby City) and Sarah Beck’s play is a shocking, electrifying, insight into what really happened before, during and in the years following Jean Charles de Menezes’ death.

Weaving together new and personal testimonies from senior police officers including Andy Hayman (Metropolitan Police former head of counter terrorism), Brian Paddick, Jean’s family, his friends, the legal team (including Michael Mansfield QC), THIS MUCH IS TRUE brings the tragedy to the stage and reveals much that has never been said publicly before.

Cast: Amber Agar, Stefano Braschi, Alice Da Cunha, Gerald Kyd, Beatriz Romilly, Justine Waddell.

Directed by Tim Roseman with a multi award-winning creative team including Paul Wills, Mike Walker, Knifedge, Richard Howell and Daniel Pemberton.

http://www.theatre503.com/whatson/detail/144/
www.theatre503.com
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