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Ghost Dog

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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 01:59 PM
Number of posts: 16,692

About Me

A Brit many years in Spain, Catalunya, Baleares, Canarias. Cooperative member. Geography. Ecology. Cartography. Software. Sound Recording. Music Production. Languages & Literature. History.

Journal Archives

"Schedule 7": Drawn into the UK anti-terror net...

Owen Jones, The Guardian

My twin sister, Eleanor, is not a terrorist. It is absurd to have to write this. Three months ago – after travelling to Scotland to attend our grandfather’s funeral – she was detained at Edinburgh airport under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. She was forced to hand over her passwords for her mobile phone and computer; she was interrogated about the political beliefs of her relatives (myself included); and then was driven from the airport to a police station to have her DNA sample and fingerprints taken. After being detained for four hours, she missed her flight back to Berlin, where she lives: the police refused to even pay the cost of a ticket for a new flight.

Here’s the background. My sister took part in July’s protests at the G20 summit in Hamburg. She was sprayed by water cannon and tear gas, witnessed police brutality and, in the melee, fell and injured her legs. She was later arrested on suspicion of being in the anarchist black bloc (she wasn’t), detained for 36 hours and released without charge.

Her first arrest itself represented an attack on the civil liberties of a peaceful protester. The second detention can hardly be construed as anything other than an attempt to intimidate and harass someone exercising their fundamental democratic rights – using legislation supposedly designed to prevent would-be murderers committing atrocities. The Labour MSP Neil Findlay has written to Scotland’s justice minister with a series of questions about my sister’s case: including whether the detention was fair, justified or proportionate; about the tactics Police Scotland used against “a wholly innocent UK citizen”; and asking who authorised the action.

No one rational disputes the need for laws to protect people from the threat of terror. It is not unreasonable, after all, to expect anti-terrorism legislation to be used to target terrorists. When such laws were introduced, critics suggested they would threaten civil liberties and infringe on the rights of the innocent. They were smeared as scaremongers, and yet they were vindicated...


Malta car bomb kills Panama Papers journalist

Monday 16 October 2017 18.33 BST First published on Monday 16 October 2017 18.09 BST
The journalist who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption in Malta was killed on Monday in a car bomb near her home.

Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday afternoon when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device which blew the vehicle into several pieces and threw the debris into a nearby field.

A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers, Caruana Galizia was recently described by the Politico website as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”. Her blogs were a thorn in the side of both the establishment and underworld figures that hold sway in Europe’s smallest member state...

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/16/malta-car-bomb-kills-panama-papers-journalist

Capitalist? Socialist? Meaningless labels.

... (S)hould we describe the Netherlands as socialist because its rail system is state-owned? Is France socialist because it has a national energy company? Is Germany socialist because it has rent controls?

In fact all these countries are social democracies – a variety of developed-world market-based economy. Britain has another variety. So does Japan. So do the Scandinavian nations. These are all mixed economies, where markets coexist with some degree of state ownership and intervention. Even America, with its state-funded scientific research programmes and New Deal-era social security system, is really a mixed economy.

The idea that Theresa May and the Conservatives are offering a set of policies that can be usefully summed up as “capitalism” and Labour are offering something entirely distinct called “socialism”, is fatuous. There are certainly differences between the two major parties in their view of the proper borders between market and state within our mixed economy (bigger differences than there have been for several decades) – but their positions plainly still lie on a recognisable continuum.

Theresa May herself says she wants a louder voice for workers in company board rooms, and stresses that markets must operate “with the right rules and regulations”. And Jeremy Corbyn, for all the attempts by the right-wing press to portray him as a bloodthirsty revolutionary, is not calling for the nationalisation of supermarkets and car manufacturers...


"The smart money is on the butterfly breaking the wheel." (Marina Hyde)


"... And yet here we are today. Much is written about some Tories’ enduring search for a new Iron Lady to fantasise about. Just after the election was called, a few old-school Tory MPs were precipitously referring to Theresa May as Mummy. They will always have to live with the shame of what we all know they did at least a couple of times before they realised May wasn’t The One..."

Europe Sheds Its Brexit Baggage and Aims for a Bold Relaunch


... Globally, with Trump challenging the trans-Atlantic order and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un testing nuclear bombs, the EU is presenting itself as a bastion of stability.

To be sure, the EU has its fair share of lingering risks. The southern flank -- Italy and Spain included -- features weak governments and banks (*), Macron must deliver on a domestic economic overhaul that Germany is demanding and Poland has provoked unprecedented concerns about democratic backsliding in the bloc and a rift with western neighbors.

But these realities aren’t spoiling a more optimistic mood in EU circles.

“Some are even talking about a renaissance of Europe,” said Janis Emmanouilidis, director of studies at the European Policy Centre in Brussels. “We need to be careful not to cheer too early and too loud.”...

(*) - Spanish bank Banco Santander is rated as the strongest bank in Europe, and probably in the world.

Caroline Lucas speaks clearly re. Irma & Climate Change (in Parliament & the Independent)


... “Gaston Browne, the leader of Antigua and Barbuda, is talking about climate change today. Will the Minister reassure the House that we will not have to wait for a hurricane to hit the UK before we have the policies we need from this Government to tackle climate breakdown? Without that, we will not see the climate leadership that his Government like to claim in theory being shown in practice.”...

... Because the truth is that the Government doesn’t want to admit that its reckless attitude toward climate change has real effects. The most powerful people in the UK right now don’t want to acknowledge that our failure to sufficiently cut climate changing emissions contributes to sea levels rising, and oceans becoming warmer. They don’t want to face up to the fact that warmer oceans and higher sea levels make storms like Irma even more devastating, and more frequent.

Gaston Browne put it perfectly on the radio this morning when he said: “The science is clear. Climate change is real – in the Caribbean we are living with the consequences of climate change. It is unfortunate that there are some who see it differently.”

I hope that Minsters heard him. Because when they cut support to solar energy, plough ahead with fracking or effectively ban onshore wind farms, they might comfort some of their backbenchers and the more right-wing sections of the press – but in doing so they condemn people across the world to suffering the worst effects of climate breakdown...

UK Neolib Deregulation: Tearing apart what remains of the living world (Monbiot)

The less you care, the better you will do. This has long been the promise of conservative politics on both sides of the Atlantic. People who couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss about the consequences of their actions are elevated to the highest levels of government. Their role is to trash what lesser mortals value.

This describes the position of almost everyone in Donald Trump’s cabinet. In the UK, I feel it applies, among others, to Jeremy Hunt at the Department of Health, Boris Johnson at the Foreign Office, Priti Patel at international development and now Michael Gove at the environment department: the worst possible candidates are given the most sensitive portfolios.

Gove has attacked the two main pillars of protection for wildlife and ecosystems in this country, the European habitats and birds directives. As education secretary, he sought to erase climate change from the geography curriculum. Now, at a time of great environmental hazard, as the Brexit talks commence, he has been granted an opportunity to make his dream – and our nightmare – of destroying public protections come true...

... In 2011 David Cameron launched a “one-in, one-out” rule: any new regulation could be introduced only if an existing measure, with equal costs to business, was revoked. In 2013 it was escalated to one-in, two-out. This was the doctrine cited in 2014 by the then Conservative housing minister to justify his refusal to insist that sprinkler systems be fitted to new buildings to prevent fires from spreading. In 2015 the government ramped up the ratio to one-in, three-out, and locked it into law through the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act. As Christine Berry of the New Economics Foundation points out, this more or less bans new regulations. It ensures that business costs are transferred to society, where they remain, under this formula, uncounted...


May's UK will crash out of EU

With this analysis I concur.

... The first piece of reality to bite was when the President of the European Council Donald Tusk ruled out striking a UK-EU Free Trade Agreement within the two year divorce proceedings. Mr. Tusk, backed up by the European Council, European Commission and all 27 loyal members of the European Union made it quite clear before any talks could even begin on the subject of a future UK-EU Free Trade Agreement the issues of «people, money and Ireland» would have to be sorted out. The divorce bill for Britain to leave the EU and honour it's budgetary and contractual obligations has risen sharply and now Brussels is calculating it could be anywhere between 80-100 billion Euros. I think this will be the sticking point at which no deal is reached given the slippery nature of the British State in honouring its financial commitments...

... Last weekend the 27 EU leaders - Theresa May was not present - approved within a minute or so the guidelines for the EU's negotiation of Brexit first issued on 31 March by President of the European Council Donald Tusk. EU officials said leaders burst into applause as the negotiating stance was waved through. The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said: «We are ready... we are together». As outgoing French President Francois Hollande said there would inevitably be «a price and a cost for the UK - it's the choice that was made». This is after all, what the British people voted for, so let them have it. I suspect there will be no deal at the end of the two year talks due to my belief that I can not envisage the UK honouring its financial contractual commitments. Thus, the UK will come crashing out without any deal.

If the EU chooses to subject the UK motor industry to tariffs and decides to institute an EU border between Northern and Southern Ireland, there will be nothing the UK can do to stop it. If the EU decides to make life difficult for the millions of British people who holiday on the glorious European continent each year to escape the miserable British weather and sour, passive-aggressive behaviour of their countrymen, there is nothing the UK will be able to do to stop it. There could be huge queues of cars at Dover and a plethora of customs checks. This is why the Leave campaign was such a fantasy, telling people that the UK could vote to leave the EU and still enjoy access to the Single Market.

This was one of the biggest lies told by Leave, just as big as their pledge to spend the extra money saved from EU budget contributions on the NHS. That pledge has quickly evaporated because it was based on lies and I doubt very much once the UK finally exits the EU in 2019 there will be any new money available to spend on the NHS. Indeed, it will be interesting to see what happens to the NHS which is staffed heavily with EU nationals and internationals because of the UK’s inability to train and retain home grown talent...


Interesting website btw.

Maldives police arrest two suspects over blogger's murder

... Social media activist Yameen Rasheed was stabbed to death on April 23. He had fronted a campaign to find a journalist presumed abducted in 2014, and his death has increased concerns over free speech in the Maldives.

The tropical Indian Ocean archipelago of 400,000 people has been mired in political instability since its uneasy shift to democracy in 2008, and critics accuse President Abdulla Yameen of autocratic behavior.

"Through this arrest and several leads uncovered by the investigation team, the Maldives Police Service is confident that the investigation into this case can be successfully concluded in the coming days," the police said in a statement.

The government has faced international pressure to investigate Rasheed's murder, the fourth such crime in the Maldives in the past five years...


An American empire rendered reckless as its hegemony disintegrates

The following is a comment made this morning at the Guardian:

tempestteacup  Thestinger

Trump is merely the latest, most corrupt iteration of problems that long predated his successful exploitation of the political system for personal profit.

For understandable reasons, the problems that have received greatest attention are those that most directly impact the lives of voters: education, healthcare, social security, police oppression, a capitalist system in crisis. Bernie Sanders, for example, made a clear strategic decision to avoid serious engagement with American foreign policy. Looking to Britain or France and the media's treatment of Jeremy Corbyn and Jean-Luc Melenchon, perhaps he perceived that it is in this area that the establishment is most unanimous and therefore most likely to mobilise against anything that challenges their dogma.

(Even then, however, Bernie was on the receiving end of significant bile - he was criticised for being "soft" on America's most enduring boogeyman, Fidel Castro, as well as being forced to explain fake news reports that he had honeymooned in the Soviet Union.)

This is, in my opinion, a mistake. The increasingly dangerous positions adopted in foreign affairs by an American empire rendered reckless as its hegemony disintegrates, along with the inherent concern when any area of policy is subject to virtually no criticism or serious dissent is becoming obvious. The entanglement of corporate interests with defence spending, and therefore the ways America conducts itself abroad, have turned over the most deadly military power in the world to those whose aims are inimical to those of the nation's citizens. The long-term erosion of accountability and oversight that went into overdrive under George Bush Jnr and were institutionalised under Obama. Thus, despite overwhelming evidence that their policies do more to produce instability than contain it, they are subject to increasingly weak opposition.

From Syria to the Baltic, American-Russian relations are at their worst for a generation. NATO expansion is cheered on in the media while its consequences are completely unacknowledged. Aggression has become a default mode; disregard for long-term planning a sign of patriotism. And criticism is treated as a form of treason by everyone from the Trump Administration to the corporate leaders of the Democratic Party, all ably abetted by their stenographers in the press.

Trump's lack of grace or etiquette, along with his Bannon-inflected nationalism, may have repulsed the Washington DC establishment and their permanent state of war fever. But they've clearly brought him to heel with the help of war criminals (Fallujah, Afghan special operations) HR McMaster and Mad Dog Mattis. He, like Obama before him, has been taught, by flattery and intimidation, not to challenge the imperatives of American imperialism, to speak with the forked tongue of the world's policeman, and to bask in the praise it elicits from a media as corrupt as the state-controlled press under any one-party rule.

So there we have it. You may have noticed that in America's current bout of jingoism, the one thing almost totally absent has been any interest whatsoever in the wishes of American citizens. Do they want to bleed the federal budget dry in the pursuit of endless war while an axe is taken to every other aspect of government spending? Do they want to see their leaders wreak death and destruction on far-flung nations? Do they believe that American foreign policy should be at the behest of corporate interests and profit-seeking?

Nobody seems interested in asking, just in hectoring and conflating patriotism with the fetishising of a military that has been controlled, for decades, by warlords as bloodthirsty, as venal and as stupid as any that brought the empires of Rome or Byzantium to the point of collapse.


Accurate, imo.
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