A brief round-up of interesting stuff that either happened while I was on holiday or just after I got back....
* Thursday 12th - 46th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first space flight in Vostok 1
. I remember it quite vividly from my childhood, as indeed I do the American catch-up missions by Alan Shepard (first American in space) and John Glenn (first American to orbit the Earth). Leaving propaganda aside, Gagarin was a true hero: the first human being to go into space (and remember at this time the only other Earth creature to do it was Laika the dog in Sputnik 2, and there was never any intention of bringing her back alive).
* This report
from Bt'Selem, the renowned Israeli human rights organisation, focusing on the indignities and abuses heaped on Palestinians working in Israel. Oh, I'm sorry: for "renowned Israeli human rights organisation" read "self-hating Jews"; after all, they're critical of some aspects of Israeli policy, ergo they must be SHJs. Sometimes I think we need to update Godwin's Law
to broaden its scope beyond Nazis.I'd suggest adding "Islamofascists" and "Self-hating Jews" (and for that matter "Zionazis") to the list of first-mention-loses-the-argument. And given the frequency of its recent abuse by "9/11 neocons" and other white supremacists, I'd consider adding "Jihadis" in there as well. What do you think?
fascinating article in the Guardian last Thursday on being a jury member on a rape trial. I have railed in the past against the low conviction rate for rape in the UK, but this article goes some way to explaining it, and not only as a result of police incompetence. Some of the measures hich have been introduced to protect victims, such as presentation of evidence via video, seem to have a downside in terms of reduced credibility compared with witnesses physically present. Which seems obvious once one's attention is drawn to it, but I'd never looked at it that way before.
* For a government mostly renowned for the unthinking adoption of all things American, our agriculture ministry
seems uncharacteristically reluctant to accept that British beehives may be suffering from the same malady (Colony Collapse Disorder) which has wrought so much havoc across the Atlantic.
*Blair's Philistines raiding the arts budget to pay for sport
. Well, what a surprise.
*Blair invites black community leaders to No. 10 to discuss crime; ignores them; misrepresents what they said; insults their communities
. No surprises there. American neo-cons think this is wonderful
. No surprise there either, though they must have been disappointed
he didn't mention "nappy-headed hos".
*The United States is planning to release from jail a terrorist
who is wanted in Cuba for the murder in 1976 of 73 people on a Cuban airliner he blew up. State-sponsored terrorism, anyone? Yet we're still supposed to believe that America is fighting a "war on terror". Aye, right.
*Following a successful lawsuit four years ago by an Iranian against the U.S government for supporting terrorism, it's had its embassy in Teheran seized
to settle its unpaid debts. One can only hope that other nations whose citizens have been arbitrarily and unjustly imprisoned and tortured by the Bush regime will seek similar redress. Meanwhile: go Iran! (The rule of law, and all that.)An aside: we couldn't seize the US Embassy in London to compensate British victims of US torture, nice though that thought might be, because the Yanks don't in fact own it. The reason why Grosvenor Square is the only US Embassy not actually owned by the US government is that when they negotiated with the Duchy of Westminster to purchase the freehold, the Duke replied that he would be happy to enter into negiotiations on the basis of the restoration of some family property in what is now the United states which had been confiscated at the time of the American Revolution. What might that be, asked the US Govt. Miami, responded the Duke. The US government continues to lease its Grosvenor Square premises from the Duchy of Westminster. (:>)
* After Rumsfeld, Bolton and Libby, another corrupt Bush apparatchik
seems to be about to get his deserts; and the sooner the better. Of course, he won't have the moral fibre to resign before he's fired (he's a Bush appointee, for God's sake!), but I doubt that can save him now his fingers have been actually caught in the till.
*Iraq 1: nobody in the military wants to be associated with Bush's craziness any more
. So there IS such a thing as military intelligence!
*Iraq 2: see what a tremendous improvement
the replacement of Saddam's regime by that of Bush has brought to the Iraqi people. Here's
what one of Saddam's victims has to say about it. Congratulations, George: you've managed to topple a genocidal maniac and replace him with something far worse. How proud you must be.