Monthly Archives: February 2009

Lords becomes a sorting office

Peter, sorry Lord Mandelson. He’s a determined guy. He’s putting a bill in the Lords to part-privatise the Post Office. So once again the unelected chamber is putting one over the commons with plenty of Labour’s elected members hopping, including deputy leader Harriet Harman and the Health Secretary, Alan Johnso9n, former leader of the post office workers’ union.
How is it New Labour can’t do without his lordship? As we know he talked to TB before returning to “join Gordo at the hip”. One of the architects of New Labour he’s like a virus which affected the labour movement. New Labour no longer represents working people who have been conned into thinking that a privatised world will see them alright. Well it’s they who are paying the price. Their pensions are not protected, but bankers’ bonuses must be. For all the sham breast beating tax payers money is being handed out, and if they can’t get bonuses their salaries must be doubled, tripled quadrupled to maintain their lavish lifestyle,

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Obama’s First Address to Congress

Clips of Obama’s first address to Congress shows him translating his abilities as an orator into his new role. Although the chips are down he exudes confidence and determination to deal with pressing issues. Education and health care get an honourable mention and this appears to go down well with those assembled.
The promise to close down the adventure in Iraq was a relief, but U.S. foreign policy continues as before in Afghanistan and Pakistan. So once again there’s the promise of change belied by flashbacks to Bush and before, an imperialism which seeks to dominate and impose U.S. values across the globe.
It remains to be seen what response the U.S. will make, or indeed is making, to the emerging socialist states of Latin America. While Gitmo is closed in Cuba, presumably the U.S. will hand on to the base like glue. What will happen to the sanctions imposed on Cuba and the falsely imprisoned Cuba Five?

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“We don’t do torture”

As David Miliband paraphrasing Alastair Campbell might have put it “we don’t do torture”. Campbell’s comment “we don’t do God” might have referred to himself, but turned out not to be true of TB who if he didn’t certainly does now. He turned up in his Holier-than-Thou role to the prayer breakfast at the White House with Obama.
When Obama announced change we thought he meant it, but the continued denial of right to trial for terror suspects makes it harder to spot the difference in New America. Now we learn – no surprise I’m sorry to say – that British agents have been complicit in torture of British subjects in Pakistan. The murky role played relating to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay is also emerging slowly through the mist with ever increasing efforts of governments, regrettably including Obama, to keep the lid on.

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Guatamala’s President in Cuba

The President of Guatamala was in Cuba to see aspects of the technical and scientific developments there. He spoke of the value of the co-operation between the Latin American states which were making significant progress in improving health and education.
The president, Alvaro Colom, “thanked the island for its permanent solidarity with Guatemala and its support in the reconstruction of the Central American country. This support, he highlighted, is visible today in the reduction of the infant and neonatal mortality rates, achievements in education – including the enrollment of 1.4 million children in the school system this year – and the practice of social justice.”

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Escapology capitalist style

Not a day goes by without a missing million or two. After Madoff made off more went missing in Iraq, and now it seems Afghanistan where prestidigitation seems to have made money intended for a hospital vanish into thin air. Yesterday’s big story has spilled over. Not only did the money disappear but so did Sir Allen Whatshisname. Tried to use a credit card to pay for an air ticket out of the U.S. Meanwhile back at the ranch(es) – in Antigua, Venezuela and Lords Cricket Ground panic set in with punters queuing for their money.
So much money has gone offshore that the banks say we need to print more. Blimey I thought that was the problem in the first place. We all thought that it was backed up by something tangible like gold reserves, but hey it’s only paper. In Zimbabwe though they can’t get enough paper to print their currency as it devalues exponentially by the day. You need U.S. dollars or Rand to get by, something that most of the population can’t access.

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Looks as if Bin Laden has relocated to the mid-Atlantic

Silently lurking in the depths of the Atlantic, silently they stalk. Are they looking for Osama here? Two atomic subs laden with small arms (enough nuclear arsenal for over 1,000 Hiroshimas), one French, one British, collide.
All this going on is supposed to be top secret, but when incidents like this happen then we get to know about how we are being kept safe. Safe from what. Dunno how these arms could be triggered but suppose there had been an explosion, what exactly could have been the consequences? Would Britain have been detached from its anchorage offshore Europe and transported to become another American state?

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Come and show your support for Gaza

Come and show your support for Gaza on this amazing night! (what better way to spend your friday…) Salaams all…..Over 1000 Gazan people are dead and thousands more injured. Although there has been a ceasefire, the siege still continues. The people of Gaza are in desperate need of our support. We can’t just forget about them, because the rockets are not being fired and the attacks have stopped.These people need our help more than ever to rebuild their lives. just because we don’t see Gaza in the news anymore, it doesn’t mean we should forget. We can’t forget. Come along to our event where we will be talking about ways you can get active and stop the people of Gaza going through this again. Also, give money to those innocent children who have had not only their homes destroyed but had their lives ruined due to having their parents killed. The people of Gaza need your help now more then ever. Give aid to heal the wounds and take action to stop the wounds in the first place. Event Details Date: Friday 20th February 2009 Time: 6.30-10pm Venue: Regent Park Road Small Heath Birmingham, B10 0QP Agenda for the Night!! – Live phone link to Gaza – Auction – Bazaar – Confirmed Guests speakers and Entertainment are: Ken O’Keefe Lauren Boothe Abdullah Rolle Maryam, Spoken word artist – Full course meal!! And much more!!! BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW! You can buy tickets by using the following options: a) By phone – Call the secure hotline 0870 7605594 option 6 and speak to one of our senior ticket advisors. b) By Email: email providing us with below details: – Your name – Address – Email address – Telephone number – Number of tickets required-specifying adult or child Once you have sent your request, you will recieve an email will on how to obtain your tickets.

Squandering squillions

After Bernie Madoff made off with an extraordinary amount we now learn that cash intended for the reconstruction of Iraq has vanished into a black hole. No one knows what has happened to it. At the same time Obama is talking billions to bail out the banks with Brown in the UK making similar proposals.
There is a problem throwing money around as I found out when I was on Birmingham City Council with responsibility for transport in the city. There was quite a lot of money on offer for various schemes. The problem was the capacity to be able to deal sensibly with large amounts suddenly coming on tap. The idea that Obama had was that there would be many schemes that had been shelved in the past. They need doing yes, but first you have to make sure that there is adequate means of translating schemes into purposeful value for money projects. The fear expressed by some is that the money will be squandered.
Clearly the other problem in the free, unfettered world that is global Capitalism even with regulation supposedly in place ways and means will be found to make a quick buck or two, well running into millions and billions. The word trillion now crops up so we are talking about unimaginable amounts – squillions in fact.
What are the banks deciding to do with the money? Well one of the things a banker can’t do without is a massive bonus rain or shine. Doesn’t matter that huge losses have resulted from your risk taking – with other people’s money – you still come up smelling of roses. As far as the public is concerned the stench is not of the rose but the rotting stench of corruption by those who have the means of control. Who in the political parties is there to challenge? Who can because all of them supported the system unconditionally and now only propose the very minimum of reform and control.

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“Still poor, but we feel different”

This is Bolivia under Evo Morales, while peasant farmers are no better off materially they feel differently: that they are the equals of anyone in society. However the rich and former political elite don’t share that view.
Fidel Castro met with the elected socialist leader of Chile, Michelle Bachelet. This is another country with a long history of exploitation and interference from imperialist powers which has turned a corner for the majority of oppressed indigenous people. Education, literacy, health care has been achieved from the nationalisation of oil and other valuable commodities hitherto syphoned off for the benefits of the international Capitalists.
Meanwhile in Caracas Hugo Chavez has managed to turn the tide by winning a referendum allowing him to buy time to consolidate real socialist achievement affecting the poor and dispossessed

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Mikey Powell 6 years on

6 years after Mikey Powell’s still unexplained death in Handsworth following the attendance of police there is still no answer to why he died. The following are questions that the family want answered:
Mikey died on 7th September 2003, in Handsworth, Birmingham, UK. He had been arrested outside his mother’s house in the Lozells area of the city.
Recent News
As we approach the long awaited inquest, here are some of the issues we’ll be putting to the coronor:
This is a fairly basic response as I still haven’t had time to go through all of the papers circulated after last months meetings:
Some of the things (in brief) as notes for concern from me (Mikey’s cousin) are –
Initial police attendance
• Concern that the initial response to Mikey was aggressive and it appeared that there was little attempt to calm him down. That response in turn triggered an aggressive response from Mikey which only served to escalate the problem
• None of the initial attending officers considered the families concerns about his ‘state of mind’
• We felt that the officers attended in ‘Lozells mode’, assuming the worst case scenario from the onset, and that this almost guaranteed that the encounter and approach by attending officers would be ‘full-on’ and unnecessarily harsh
Police car driving at Mikey
• The ‘justification’ for driving at Mikey only became apparent following a leaked (and highly contentious) report to the local press that the officers thought Mikey might be carrying a gun
• Again, it is an easy scenario to ‘sell’ to the reading public given gun related incidents in the area in the months prior to Mikey’s death. Would this ploy have been adopted if the police were called to an incident of similar nature in a more affluent area of the city?
• I’m unclear whether the police have ever confirmed whether prescribed procedure was followed by the officers who claimed to have see a ‘possible’ gun (for all the deadly consequences that could have implied); and I don’t believe that in such situations that it is standard practise to drive a car at some one suspected of having one.
CS gas and batten beating
• There has always been dispute about the issue of battening and how many times Mikey was struck, but it has always been our position that use of batons was not justified as Mikey did not pose a major physical threat.
• Even at the point of initial contact I recollect that Mikey would have been outnumbered by the attending officers anyway. Also there were family members present whom could have had a calming influence on him had they been allowed to
The Custody Suite
• Of course the biggest issue for us on this matter has been the CCTV footage, and more significantly a) it’s poor quality and b) the use of secondary audio equipment
• Custody suites can be likely places to capture evidence (both in relation to detainees and police officers), this was clearly the case with Mikey and other notable cases such as Christopher Alder. It really is unacceptable that the police, one of the biggest institutions in the country, cannot provide equipment that is fit for purpose
• It is our understanding that West Midlands stations are now strongly advised not to have secondary audio equipment where CCTV is in operation, but I don’t believe this to be mandatory (Joyce may have a view on that)!
• During the trial it seemed obvious that the officer on duty at the desk was unclear about how (or indeed who) to call for emergency aid, which raises serious training and competency issues in my mind
• Personally I feel that if the police medic felt qualified enough to ascertain that the injuries sustained by Mikey outside Aunties house did not warrant hospital treatment, how then did he fail to notice Mikey’s deteriorating condition at Thornhill Road and therefore failing to get timely assistance that may have saved his life.
Tippa Naphtali
Watch this group and the Mikey Powell Campaign website for news:
many thanks to all supporters!

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