Monthly Archives: July 2010

Just why are we at war?

Just why are we at war? We continually ask our elected leaders that very question, but we are told what we are told. Everything is shrouded in secrecy. The transparency that politicians continually spout is its self totally invisible. You look through the window but there is nothing but dense fog – the “Fog of War” – obscuring the truth.
Dame Eliza Manningham Buller told the Chilcott inquiry into the Iraq war that reasons for involvement were fabricated. We were told it was necessary to meet the threat of terrorism when actually it created the very conditions to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Blair drew a big target on our chest and said “shoot here”. They duly obliged. As Manningham Buller said it was after we went to Iraq that MI5 found itself investigating reports of terror plots, not before the invasion but as a result of it. As a result the Muslim population has found itself on the receiving end of unwanted attention. “I always thought I was a British citizen” a very dear Muslim friend told me. “Now I’m made to feel like an alien”. Intolerance is rife as politicians like Jack Straw intones his dislike of the veil. Now a Tory MP has taken up the rant. Terrible.
The direction I am looking is at the lobby system. Who does want war if not us, the people? As in so many areas of our existence we are overruled by the profit motive. War is a lucrative business and sellers of increasingly high tech and deadly hardware don’t pussyfoot around when it comes to business. Countries that ill afford and don’t need it end up with sophisticated systems in the name of defence. First of course there has to be an enemy. Unhelpfully the Communists went away so new bogey men had to be invented. The search was on long before 9/11 helped George W Bush re-invent “terrorism” to which the concept Al Quaeda was exceptionally well suited. If the “terrorists” didn’t exist in significant numbers before 9/11 and the subsequent decision to tackle Iraq in spite of no proven connection, as the MI5 experience attests there were those who willingly obliged as a result. G.W. well supported by his friend Tony went to war anyway having, with the help of the paid-up media did the rest. Blair showed the strength of his support for the arms industry with his backing of British Aerospace right or wrong. He went to extreme lengths when their were treasonable suggestions that the firm was into bribery and corruption.

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Birmingham snookered?

Has BIrmingham missed a trick or two? I was surprised to read that an early victory for snooker champion Alex Higgins, who has just died, was at a venue in Birmingham. This was 1972 it is reported in the Guardian in a now demolished British Legion Hall, 10 years later snooker became a major spectacle and Higgins had moved to the Crucible in Sheffield for his victory.
Birmingham prides itself in being a major centre for national and international events so how did it miss out on being a major venue for this after early tournaments had been hosted here? Higgins was a highly entertaining player who earned his nickname “Hurricane” for the speed of his play. None of the hanging around contemplating the next mistake for him. Like other celebrities fame did him no good and later appearances showed him as something of a wreck. He still managed to entertain but we were left with a feeling of pity to see a one-time champion struggling. No doubt the throat cancer which finally killed him at just 61 was a factor and that he had struggled with this for some 10 years draws out our deep sympathy.

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Zimbabwe’ diamonds

“There is no such thing as a clean diamond” was a comment made by a Canadian when talking about the way that First Nation land is being exploited there for this over-rated commodity. In Zimbabwe individuals are making themselves extremely wealthy while Zimbabweans fight extreme levels of poverty. We talk of the benefits of globalism but who is going to get a grip on reality?

Worse than Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Iraq today

The people of Iraq have suffered. They continue to suffer with the legacy of a needless war with effects comparable to atomic bombs dropped on them. Birth defects and cancer incidence in Fallujah are high. Could Saddam himself inflicted worse on the people?
The people of Iraq have had to endure disaffected troops completely out of control, murderous privateers and profiteers answerable to no one not to mention insurgents as deadly as anyone else fighting there. As Dame Eliza the effect of going to war in Islamic countries had the exact effect of what we were told it was to prevent of creating the UK as a target. Iraq had no connection with 9/11 but the US administration backed by the Holy Blair went in guns blazing anyway supposedly to liberate the downtrodden people of Iraq.

Police above the law

Jennifer Cooper arrest
Jennifer Cooper lies still on the ground after a savage beating from two police officers seen standing over her. They are not tending to her multiple injuries they have just inflicted one is about to put handcuffs on her. She was taken to the police station for questioning about serious allegations about her, apparently from a totally unreliable source.
We continue to believe that the police force is a service intended to protect us from harm, that is unless the law is broken, If, however, members of the police force act unlawfully harming members of the public, us, what redress is there? The answer time after time is there is none as the case of the striking to the ground of a man on his way home from work, The video shows him to be struck with considerable force. Why? Was the officer wound up. By him? By someone else? The Crown Prosecution Service says there would be little prospect of a prosecution succeeding. Is this just an opinion, an informed opinion or what? How do we know unless it is put to the test? That is of course if members of the CPS like the rest of us believe the police are untouchable.
Time after time it is agreed that mistakes are made as the Met said after Jean Charles de Menezes was unlawfully killed at Stockwell tube station five years ago today. Has anyone been held to account for this horrific act? Just read the link. Here’s a message from one family to another.
Last year the cause of the death of Mikey Powell in police custody in Birmingham found after 5 years that the cause of death was the way Mikey was placed in the police van. Any one prosecuted? No. Anyone likely to be prosecuted? Refer to the CPS statement above.
On 30th June Jennifer Cooper was forcibly kicked to the ground so that she had injuries said to resemble a car accident. More than by luck than judgement she didn’t die. While the police took her to the police station and then because of her injuries to hospital, they have not recorded the incident as a crime against her. It appears that the police were tipped off, by someone they know to be totally unreliable, that she was dangerous. If you know Jenny that is laughable. The police will merely say that they are continuing investigations into allegations against her. Not a word of concern has been expressed about her injuries. No crime number has been issued to her so anyone trying to investigate what happened gets nowhere with the police. She cannot apply for compensation from Criminal Injuries. She appears to have no rights.
Jennifer Cooper injuries
Jenny was kicked forcibly in the back so was unprepared for the attack by a male officer of large build. She was then kicked in the most vulnerable parts of her body with the officer standing on her throat. A woman police officer was said to have joined in and they were heard to be laughing as they carried out the assault.

Well done?

Caution rules whether the newly capped oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico is a total success. Personally I have mixed feelings of admiration for those who grappled with this enormous problem, which seemed incapable of a solution and complete scorn for the executives of a company that allowed profits to override proper precaution in the first place.
A Guardian article on the oil spill is rather less optimistic and sees no end to the saga. Until we see a world where people are considered first and the profit motive is relegated then we are likely to see many repeats of this kind. The lesson that it will cost rather more to clear up, does it lead to a more sober approach. Capitalism seems always to revert to kind not minding how labour is exploited even if it involves slave and child labour. Elected governments actually facilitate companies to move around their operations to benefit the business without regard for those employed. So unemployment leading to the breakdown of communities becomes more acceptable. This is progress? Victorian times was seen to be characterised by Dickensian figures and we suppose that we have progressed. Doesn’t look that way as right wing governments proceed with draconian cuts resulting in increased unemployment, loss of public services and regressive taxation.

Serious assault by police on Wolverhampton woman

On 30th June, 2010 Jennifer Cooper of Wolverhampton, was walking down the street outside her home taking some food to her diabetic mother who lives just a few doors away. Without any warning she received a forceful kick in the back so that she fell forward sustaining injuries,
This is her account to us. As she lay curled trying to protect herself she was repeatedly kicked by her attacker, a well built Asian male. She was struck on the head, the genitals and other parts of her body. He put his boot on her neck and applied his full weight making it difficult for her to breathe. A white woman joined in the kicking as Ms Cooper lay on the ground, and both were laughing while they carried out their brutal assault. Ms Cooper tells us she was terrified and screamed out for help. She felt that her attackers intended to kill her. The male attacker was heard to say “you can’t win” and “it’s not going to go anywhere. No one is going to take it to anyone”. The two attackers were not wearing uniform but were seen to use radios to call for support as a number of onlookers had assembled. One witness took a picture on their mobile phone. Ms Cooper said that another witness tried to intervene, protesting at the violence. He was punched by the male attacker. The police were also called by onlookers who dialled 999.
When two armed police officers arrived the attackers went to their separate cars and left the scene hastily after having spoken to the officers. They then took Ms Cooper to Bilston Road Police Station. Ms Cooper was taken to New Cross Hospital because of her injuries. She says that one of the officers who took her told her that her attackers were police officers from Stafford/Brownhills. After treatment returned to Bilston Street where she was questioned about a woman she knew of. She understood that the woman was alleging that Jennifer Cooper “was a dangerous woman” and intended killing police officers, herself and Jenny’s own grandchildren.
Ms Cooper told us about an earlier incident on 24th June when she was at KFC in Wolverhampton, By chance she met her housing manager who took a contact card out of his brief case and handed it to Ms Cooper. While she was waiting in the queue to be served a white woman with two children approached her calling her name. Ms Cooper identified her as the woman making allegations about her. This was not the first occasion when she had tried to contact Ms Cooper. On this occasion she was expressing remorse about being party to the arrest and imprisonment of Ms Cooper’s son because of allegations she made against him. Ms Cooper told her she should tell this to the police or to a solicitor. It appears that the woman did phone the police but to tell them of a man taking a gun from his brief case in KFC and handing it to Ms Cooper. It is our understanding that the woman was put under police protection and taken away from the Wolverhanpton area because she is at risk. Ms Cooper also told us that the woman was requesting money from her. She also seems to know about Ms Cooper’s son’s current circumstances. Who has informed her?
Ms Cooper can only walk with crutches and is experiencing considerable pain as a result of the assault on her. She subsequently went to Russell Hall Hospital and to her own GP. Her GP has made a detailed note of her injuries and has expressed grave concern at how she came to be in this state.
Ms Cooper continues to be in considerable pain due to the multiple injuries. One of those who examined her said that it looked as if she had been in a car crash. Her GP has recorded the injuries in detail. When she went to Russells Hall Hospital her left leg was encased in plaster from her thigh to her ankle. It appears that there are fractures to the ankle and the knee. Her ribs are hurting. She can only walk with the aid of crutches.
To date the police have not taken a statement from Ms Cooper nor from any of the many witnesses who were horrified and shocked by what they saw. a complaint has been made to the Chief Constable of West Midlands police about their inaction in following up such a serious incident.

Alan Rudge, the ultimate Victorian

Birmingham City Council seem to have a knack of putting the unlikeliest people in charge of a key area of its operations: human resources and equality. When I was serving on Birmingham City Council Cllr Rudge joined the Lawrence enquiry under Judge Ray Singh. Equality it then appeared was something he had little time or inclination for. Who then better for the ConDem “progressive” regressive partnership to place in charge of its work force.
And now it’s pay cut time for the lowest paid, but key personnel in terms of care for the most vulnerable in our society. Victorian times are back under the Scrooge-like figure of Alan Rudge.
At the monthly council meeting I used to dread the time Rudge – more like Drudge – rose to pontificate on this matter or that, I never understood a word as he droned on in a monotone for what seemed an age. We grew visibly older and greyer by the hour. So put such a character without an ounce of imagination up for the job and works’ done. These are Tory values with a capital “T” but the Lib Dems seem to relish being better still in rivalling them. Now with both local and national government we having a winning combination. Take the shirts off the backs of working people, close down public services for the most vulnerable in society. Rudge is in charge of equality. Shouldn’t that read “inequality”?