Archive for September, 2005


The mounting propaganda that we are forced to wade through is ever-increasing and in a world dominated by a small number of extreme right-wing media moghuls the control of the media is one akin to the iniquitous control of the land.

The Iraq war is but one example though it is all wrapped up with a total saturation policy which whilst it has often been used has rarely been as successful as in the present day. Many may be under the impression that their opinion of events from the facts they receive is one based on substance because they see so many sources all of which give a similar version of events with a slightly different flavour. They rarely hear any genuine dissent and mistakenly believe that this may mean there is none. The truth is so very different.

John Pilger here touches on the complete whitewashing of the facts to suit the occupying forces in Iraq’s needs and the continued use of the devil-like figure. The invasion of Fallujah, much of the early fighting in Sadr City were all put down to supposed Saddam-loyal insurgents and names like Moqtadr Al Sadr and Al-Zarqawi have been bandied about with little or no analysis or questioning as to where the facts come from. There have been many reports outside the mainstream media that Al-Zarqawi either does not exist or has already been killed. One might initially think this may preclude his use by the US as a universal scapegoat for insurgency but actually it fits their purposes very well because as Pilger describes he can be an elusive Scarlet Pimpernel-like figure, even more effectively than Osama in the caves of Tora Bora.

It is all very easy to deny this is going on, where is the proof etc. and whilst it would be equally easy for me to turn around and level the same criticism back I prefer to try to at least establish a genuine element of doubt in people’s minds. It is more effective if you find these things out for yourself rather than just take my word for it. What I can do is show that at almost every stage of this process the US administration and their UK counterparts have sought to cover up their real agendas with populist claptrap in a vain attempt to get the public not to scrutinise too carefully. At each point their rhetoric has been deconstructed it has been shown to be at best a poor interpretation of sketchy facts and at worst outright lies. The governments have used all their tricks to avoid being held to account on this including sewn-up judicial enquiries to exonerate them from blame whilst placing the onus on the public broadcaster for “mistakes” in reporting. Mistakes which have been shown over time to be in fact truths.

The recent spate of attacks against internal civil liberties clearly show that this government is not going to piss about. You will not deviate from the prescribed view and if you think of doing so we reserve the right to lock you up for 3 months after which time you will not deviate from the prescribed view. If you think of HMP Belmarsh as Room 101, Guantanamo Bay as the Ministry of Fear, then perhaps the parallels are more obvious. Yes, 10-15 years ago things could be bad and I know all too well of the old days of the British justice system “Where a man is innocent until proven Irish” but we never faced such a concerted co-ordinated onslaught on what little freedoms still remain.

If you choose to resist you must face up to what your limits are and how far you wish to push it. Personally I go on marches where I am filmed and photographed by the police, I write this blog which can be viewed by many that may or may not agree with my views. I receive and send emails that I know can be read at any time by either the UK or US authorities, likewise my mobile phone conversations will all go through that same rigorous screening process at listening stations like RAF Menwith Hill. I have perhaps the fortune not to have to adhere to some of the proposed ID legislation in this country because I do not hold a British passport, but it is quite likely that “foreigners” like me who have lived here most of our lives may well be required to sign up to some of it if we wish to remain resident here. Furthermore since I am intrinsically opposed to the whole process I hope I will be able to fight with the same vitriol as if I was in the same parlous state as the British ‘Subjects’, after all, back to Pastor Niemöller, if we don’t all fight now there will be simply less of us for next time.

Song Of The Day ~ Hard-Fi – Hard To Beat

Original Comments:


guile made this comment,
nice, cozy place you got here :)..
-Redbaron responds – Ta, works for me!-

comment added :: 12th October 2005, 09:00 GMT+01

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So now we see Gordon Brown’s vision of the future, this man who would supposedly bring the governmental policies back a little toward the left. Brown’s dream is to create a nation of “home-owning, share-owning, asset-owning, wealth-owning democracy,” all £££, Brown is clearly as New Labour as his predecessor as if he thinks that the key to a successful country is one where everything continues to be based on what you have rather than what you are then he is a true capitalist.

Frankly I would have hoped for a better vision of a world than that. One where we have what we need but that is merely incidental to having established a fair society. To judge oneself on what we have is a world wherein lies the road to madness. It perpetuates the gap between rich and poor and, contrary to what certain sources would have you believe, this is not in inexorable path.

It is a hell of a break from the traditional Labour vision of old, one where the watchword was equality for all. This departure from such noble objectives make a mockery of any hypothesis that Gordon Brown is in any way going to depart from the New Labour direction. Since Brown is likely to go into the hotseat unopposed he will be the first non-elected Prime Minister this milennium, John Major being the last to have held such an ignominious honour after he succeeded that caustic bitch and before his election victory in 1992, (which was more down to Labour losing the election than the Tories winning it.)

I suspect those who think Brown may be the saviour of the more traditional Labour party will be as disappointed as they must have been when the Cassandra theory was proven untrue in 1997. For those unfamiliar with the theory it was reported before the election in 1997 in Tribune, a paper dominated by the more old Labour style, that although the New Labour viewpoint being projected by the then opposition under Tony Blair was an anathema to most grass roots Labour supporters, this was a smokescreen, a way simply to get back into power and when that objective was achieved the real work of an intrinsically old Labour government would begin.

Much as that theory would have been nice to believe, most of us non-Labour affiliated on the Left did not give it a great deal of credence. It seemed like a last tree standing in the midst of the gales that those who didn’t want to leave the Labour party were clinging to for dear life. The great pity is that had the Labour party remained genuinely true to its roots and campaigned on a proper Socialist manifesto they would still have been a shoo-in in 1997 and who knows what might then have been the situation by 2001, certainly there would have been no support for the US war on Afghanistan or Iraq and that alone would make the country a profoundly different place to be.

It makes no difference to speculate on it now, for the day after Gordon Brown outlined in his speech that he would continue the Blair legacy, Blair made it quite clear he would not be going anywhere for a while – I don’t know which was the more tragic revelation.

Song Of The Day ~ China Crisis – Wishful Thinking

Original Comments:


Anonymous35 made this comment,
This is really a great blog. Keep up the good work. I envy how you have managed to get so many people to come and read. You have inspired me to get back to my political philosophical roots and write much more about capitalism, globalization and the social condition. More of us should be writing about these deseretely important subjects, especially in my fascist country, the United States.
-Redbaron responds – Good to have you aboard Christopher, if you write they will come, to paraphrase a film I remember.

I started out with some politics and some diary stuff and over time it became almost all political, you lose some of your readers that way but the ones that stay repay in kind with comments and critiques.

If I’ve in any way inspired you to write and read and criticise then truly I can have no better epitaph. –

comment added :: 28th September 2005, 16:03 GMT+01 :: http://www.madoptimist.blog-city.com
Cancergiggles made this comment,
It’s a damn close call. Blair is such a consumate politician that I some times forget that as a consequence I should ignore everything I am told by him. I actually find myself listening to what he says and judging him based on that. Am I a Dumbo?
More worrying however, is the prospect of the equally duplicitous and bible thumping Jock being able to interfere with more than my wallet. He’s already mucked that up, but give him Law and Order and god forbid, the international stage to play with and we’re all off to hell in a hand basket.

Let’s just hope Tony Benn gets better soon – it’s our best bet!

Cass

comment added :: 29th September 2005, 19:38 GMT+01 :: http://www.cancergiggles.blog-city.com/
moog made this comment,
where is that wall? its great! i loved having that good old protest the other day! it was a lovey meander through london! haz said he really enjoyed it too, which is a boon.its always nice to see labour turfing out grumpy old men, it remeind me of why i didnt vote them in last time.
-Redbaron responds – That is your actual Berlin Wall that is. How I got some retrogressive graffitti on it is another story!-

comment added :: 30th September 2005, 16:00 GMT+01

So an historic day for Irish history. The IRA has decommissioned its weapons, in the words of the head of the decommissioning body retired General John De Chastelaine, “We are satisfied that the arms decommissioned represent the totality of the IRA’s arsenal.”

Furthermore the 2 priests one Protestant, one Catholic, observers demanded by the Democratic Unionist Party, also stated that this was the complete dismantling of the IRA’s weapons. “At the end of the process it demonstrated to us – and would have demonstrated to anyone who might have been with us – that beyond any shadow of doubt, the arms of the IRA have now been decommissioned.” -Rev Harold Goode (Protestant). I do not know how more unequivocal Rev Goode could possibly have made this statement.

The decommissioning body has had to be sensitive that the process be carried out without giving the impression of surrender or defeat, this has long been something Unionists have attempted to exploit even when IRA ceasefires have held and decommissioning has been discussed. I have heard Unionists drop what might seem like throwaway comments about the IRA’s surrender etc. in interviews. Make no mistake this is very calculated it is designed to inflame tensions and mistrust.

Of course today finally unmasks the reactionary and obdurate nature of the Unionist parties who have used the lack of total decommissioning as a method of avoiding the power-sharing institutions. They no longer have this option and their rhetoric now is very transparent indeed. Their criticisms are now not of the IRA having not decommissioned but of the lack of transparency of the process. Jeffrey Donaldson of the DUP tried to claim that the party would have been satisfied with photographic evidence as well as an inventory of weapons. Eddie Mair interviewing him on the BBC at the time pointed out that neither photographs nor a static inventory would prove irrefutably that all the IRA’s weapons were gone nor would it guarantee that the IRA would not buy any more. This is therefore a complete red herring. The Unionists are clearly bereft of a idea with substance consequently they are clinging to whatever fragment they can to deflect attention from the fact that they now have no further reason to obstruct the movement towards genuine peace and devolution in Northern Ireland. Perhaps now the real reason will come out that the hardline Unionists never did want devolved government in the 6 counties, they want to remain a small part of a larger UK because their protestant aims are better served in this environment rather than ceeding any sovereignty to the Catholics.

The Unionists are making the point that there are still dissident Republicans, there is still an issue of criminal behaviour and the Provisional IRA as an organisation has not formally disbanded. This is a cynical sidestepping of the issues at hand because the Unionist paramilitaries are still very much active. Unionist paramilitaries are also still involved in criminal activities and sectarian fighting and in-fighting.

The job of the decommissioning body is now done as far as the remit was for the Republican paramilitary side. Now attention centres on the loyalist paramiltaries and unsurprisingly the Unionists remain silent on this issue.

As per usual the British government are content to humour the extreme Unionists in a way that does not extend to Republicans. When the IRA were suspected of the Northern Bank robberies Sinn Fein, a party with democratically elected representatives was banned from any part in the governing process of Northern Ireland. However the Unionists will be allowed a great deal of time to cogitate on this and formulate their latest grounds for objection. The objection will happen and you will not find the British government threatening to allow Ulster’s self-rule to continue without the Unionist extremists. Why is this, because the British have everything to gain from an Ireland in turmoil. After all this detracts from the rememberance that it was their screw up in the first place – whether you trace it to the partitioning of Ireland in the first place or further back to the positioning of the protestant blue Scots.

Why is it that the world wants reunification in Germany or Korea etc. but not Ireland? Why should Ireland remain partitioned when it is a wholly artificial socio-political construct? It is a debate which will continue to rage until the matter is settled and I can see no other way to do so than the option of a united Ireland.

Song Of The Day ~ Rory Gallagher – Don’t Know Where I’m Going

Original Comments:


John made this comment,
I’m with you for a united Ireland Baron, but I fear that ‘King Billy’ will live on.
comment added :: 27th September 2005, 14:45 GMT+01 :: http://bigjohn.blog-city.com/
Mark Ellott made this comment,
During the nineteen seventies, the idea of a reunited Germany seemed a pipe dream. When it happened, it happened suddenly due to a critical mass of popular opinion among German people. I would like to see a united Ireland in the same way – although the groundswell just doesn’t seem to be there at the moment. So, too, a reunified Cyprus.
Until the raving bigots such as Paisley are removed from the political scene, things will not move forwards. We can only hope that a new generation will see through his odious bluster and vote him out. Well, one can hope…

comment added :: 27th September 2005, 18:39 GMT+01 :: http://longrider.blog-city.com

As if to garner up all the waiverers, as if any more reason were needed to convince people to have taken to the streets yesterday Jamal alerted me to the following story which has just been released by David Mery who was recently picked up and arrested under the terrorism laws for looking allegedly suspicious whilst at an Underground station. The actual facts of this case are staggeringly banal and go much of the way to show how the tragic murder of Jean Charles De Menezes at Stockwell station occured.

For those of you outside the UK, I suspect you may not be aware of the plight of the Brazilian man who was the wrong colour and in the wrong place at the wrong time and paid for it with his life.

The initial reports on the day in question were that a man had been shot in London having been thought of as a serious terrorist suspect. Eye-witness accounts were quick to come out that the man was of Middle Eastern origin and that he had been carrying a rucksack with wires coming out of it.

A great deal of this information turns out to be what people wanted to see, the truth is rather different.

On the morning in question at 9.30 Jean Charles De Menezes left home from his flat in South London a building which was being watched by police. At that particular moment in time the on duty surveillance officer was having a piss so unable to give report on whether De Menezes was the suspect they were looking out for. De Menezes boarded the number 2 bus to Stockwell tube station, a surveillance officer reported that whilst he could not identify him positively as Osman Hussein, the man under police surveilance he claimed De Menezes had distinctive “Mongolian eyes”.

The “gold command” was issued at this point, this macabre directive gave armed officers the authority to stop de Menezes from going into tube station and the powers to apprehend using any means necessary specifically allowing police to kill the suspect.

Initial reports directly after the event suggested that de Menezes had run into the Tube station thus giving police officers the impression that they were going to have to stop him by force. Eye-witness reports claimed that a man of asian extraction had a heavy jacket on with a rucksack that some claimed had protruding wires. They say that warnings were given and the man tried to escape police. This all turns out to be far from the case, as can be seen from CCTV footage de Menezes did not run into tube stn. in fact quite the contrary he stopped to pick up a Metro free newspaper, did not vault ticket barriers as had also been suggested but used oyster card to operate barriers. De Menezes was not wearing a heavy jacket, not running away from Police, he only quickened step to catch the arriving train and it was at this point that armed officers were given positive identification and authorisation to shoot to kill. No warnings were given – De Menezes was grabbed round the arms and torso and shot 7 times in head from 12 inches.

It is therefore not only extremely disturbing that the police are pursuing a shoot to kill policy but all the more so that there should be such a slapdash process in the leadup to such a terminal and tragic outcome. It is almost as uncomfortable that due to the nature of the propaganda war that so many people can have been duped into believing they saw precisely what the establishment wants them to see. Sadly this is not the truth and exposes the danger of this ficticious war. You only have to look at Charles Clarke, desperate to make link between 2 London incidents in July despite evidence suggesting they were not linked. One has to seriously question the 2nd incident, there are many factors that do not add up.

If the propaganda is properly deconstructed it becmoes patently obvious how they are continually trying to ferment fear, mistrust and anger so as to erode every last piece of costly civil liberties that we have. They will use any weapon of the modern times to do so. To try to limit the damge from the de Menezes fiasco the right-wing prief received briefings that apparently de Menezes had overstayed his visa and was therefore working here illegally. This was designed to off-set the fury of the liberals and the left with the idea for those on the right that this was the killing of an illegal alien. This was a callous and cynical smokescreen from the truth which was that the “war on terror” has led the operations of the state to murder one of its citizens. Will Tony Blair stand trial for the murder of Jean Charles De Menezes? After all Chief Comissioner of the Metropolitan Police claims that the shoot to kill policy was authorised at the highest level. No, the likelihood is that the officers responsible will get out of it under the defence that they were “just following orders”. The government will lament the failures in intelligence and announce an investigation to be carried out by a ‘safe pair of hands’ Lord. That’s the current modern way. You have 2 choices: accept it as an inevitablity and shut the fuck up for fear of being shipped off to Belmarsh, or do something about it with the possibility that if you become too much of a threat you’ll be shipped off to Belmarsh. So, book me in for a bed in D Wing by the window. Just call me Prisoner 57819!

Song Of The Day ~ Bloc Party – So Here We Are

Original Comments:


jamal made this comment,
To be honest, when that cell door closes on you, bang on the wall and you may find its me that replies!
The continous erosion of our liberties in this country is a joke. It will continue as the majority will believe the propaganda and therefore support it in one way or another. What it will really take to overcome the injustice spurred on by the terrorist hype will not stop unless people are prepared to experiance some hardship to achieve change. The state has substantial control and I cant realistically see it decreasing in the near future. These day even the “radical” protestors have to apply for a permit before they march! I read recently an article about the detention terror laws which is effectively imprisonment without trial or reasonable guilt. Nonetheless, many will sit in their houses thinking this is just. personally i think there are graver times ahead!

-Redbaron responds – I’ll make sure I bang on the wall, Jamal, it’ll be nice to have a chat with someone! I think indeed you may be right about the grave times ahead but I think this may have the effect of forcing a galvanisation of support one way or the other. There is no longer much space in the middle ground so extreme are the policies. Whether or not those of us against the system as it stands can unite against our common enemy in which case we would win easily, or whether in-fighting allows us to be picked off by that enemy group by group, that I cannot say. –

comment added :: 26th September 2005, 00:25 GMT+01 :: http://opinionated.blogsome.com/
Mark Ellott made this comment,
I think most of us who are concerned about our liberties picked up on the David Mery story. Welcome to Britain, land of free speech, expression and movement.
-Redbaron responds – I wish I hadn’t known about it before the w/e, made for a slightly uncomfortable tube ride into Central London what with me all decked out for the march and carrying a small black rucksack! –

comment added :: 26th September 2005, 15:52 GMT+01 :: http://longrider.blog-city.com
Mark Ellott made this comment,
As an addendum to that, I’m not convinced that this is a straightforward left/right divide as you imply. Rather, it is authoritarian/libertarian. The folk over at Samizdata are as far to the right as you could imagine – they frighten me sometimes – but they are equally horrified by the Mery and Menezes stories. Their solution is an armed populace that shoots back…
-Redbaron responds – It’s worth exploring, but I think I have my authoritarian moments, I am not after all an anarchist and the system I favour has more structure. I think that those on the right who may consider themselves libertarian are not being realistic as to the causes of this problem. Samizdata’s answer to it is a prime example. –

comment added :: 26th September 2005, 15:58 GMT+01 :: http://longrider.blog-city.com
Mark Ellott made this comment,
Indeed – and no, I’m not in favour of a gun wielding populace either… It’s worth bearing in mind that the Samizdatas will regard this behaviour as epitomising the left in much the same way as you have referred to it as being of the right. Left and right are more to do with one’s position on economics rather than big government and overbearing state control. This is very much about a government that has gone off the authoritarian scale. Consequently, we find ourselves on this issue at least, sharing the same platform as the gun totin’ Samizdatas and the hunting lobby. Big Brother is making strange bedfellows for us…
comment added :: 27th September 2005, 17:49 GMT+01 :: http://longrider.blog-city.com

<img src=’p737.gif‘>
Time to stand up and be counted.
This is a Global day of action so there may be events near you, please take part if you can.

Oh and for those of you in London, there’s a minor chance you might see Moog and The Baron!

Song Of The Day ~ Guster – Amsterdam

Original Comments:


Shane made this comment,
Almost worth the flight from Edinburgh to London to bump into you and moog..actually..No..on second thoughts it isn’t. Good luck though. Shane
comment added :: 22nd September 2005, 17:53 GMT+01 :: http://thegagreflex.blog-city.com
Padme made this comment,
Did you ever go on a site called studentuk? Hope you dont mind me asking!
comment added :: 24th September 2005, 17:58 GMT+01

I watched a program recently on the genocide in Rwanda. It came slightly before the hurricane in the US and yet it was the events surrounding the aftermath of the hurricane that made me think of the program again because of the shared ambivalent reaction by those that could genuinely have helped.

Both events have a parallel in this area and also the fact that they show a continuing lack of having learnt from history, partially because of economic factors but primarily because the will simply wasn’t there to do so. Whether in Africa or America the poor and particularly the black disenfranchised are of no political or economic expediency and there is an institutionalised tacit racism that allows a policy almost of socio-darwinian proportions.

Taking Rwanda as an example, Rwanda was formerly a Belgian colony along with the Congo. During Belgian colonial rule ID cards had the bearers ethnicity on them, a lot of this was to do with patrician colonial anthropological studies and the demarkation of studying different races etc. Also during the Belgian occupation in 1959 Hutus attacked Tutsis -20,000 killed thus establishing a precedent for what we later witnessed in 1994.

In 1994 as a response to threats of unrest the UN sent a mission with 60 soldiers but no funding, they often did not have the money to make the calls back to head office in New York and they did not have a remit as such. The force was bolstered by Belgian UN soldiers (former colonial nations not normally involved but the Belgians were the only decently trained troops on offer) and Bangladeshis.

(1993/94 French, Belgian and Italian intelligence knew there was going to be a disaster of apocalyptic proportions, this was known across the board including at UN level.)

The UN forbad Gen. Dallaire the mission’s Canadian commanding officer from his plan to remove arms caches from Hutu militia before what was looking like an inevitable slaughter. They were instructed not to get involved to this extent. Shortly after this the Hutu moderate ministers and Tutsis taken away by Hutu militia (Interhanwe) and the incumbant President’s plane was shot down. Dellaire describes the actual point of the takeover as having been clearly both well-planned and well-executed.

The Interhanwe knew that glue holding UN force together was Belgian contingent so struck at that first resulting in the ambushing and brutal killing of 10 soldiers. Dallaire has taken criticism from Belgian quarters for not getting involved in trying to get the Belgians out, his defence is that they were ill-equipped to do so and any attempt could have resulted in the entire force being overrun.

First 3 days of hostilities the Italians Belgians etc. sent forces to remove ex-pats – total armed force of over 2000 trained troops was sent to carry out the evacuation, these troops could perhaps have been used to prevent bloodshed but they were not put at disposal of Gen Dellaire. They were under orders to simply remove all their own foreign nationals, thus leaving the Africans to die.

Gen. Dallaire asked UN for more troops, and was originally supported by the Belgian contingent but when it became clear the mission was not to be reinforced the Belgians ordered their troops withdrawl on Apr 19 1994. On Apr 21 1994 a specially convened session of the UN voted to withdraw all but 300 troops from Rwanda. This was effectively to ensure the genocide that was to follow and what happened is documented in much gory detail.

It is worth inserting here that the Catholic church could have stopped whole thing before it ever happened – it was the largest church in Rwanda by a long way. Had the church said that the killings and subjugation of Tutsis was a sin it would have drastically weakened the stength of the Interhanwe but the church refused to issue implicit condemnation. In my view this, as in so many other circumstances makes the church complicit in atrocities.

You can’t help but have enormous respect for Dallaire, a man described by the Medecin Sans Frontieres Dr. as having done everything in his power and personally by his actions and his presence having saved thousands of lives. Yet Dallaire still finds no comfort in this saying that he can see so many that he couldn’t get to. He clearly still feels a degree of responsibility for this happening ‘on his watch’ and yet the fault is clearly not his in so far as he is only the patsy. You can blame the General for following orders but that is tantamount to arresting the street drug dealer and thinking you’ve solved the narcotics problem. What he might have done had he been afforded the forces he both needed and requested is of course another story no-one will ever know.

And compare the shambolic response in Rwanda with the operations in Yugoslavia where so many thousands of troops were sent, where we heard the phrase ‘ethnic cleansing’ where the security of Europe was under threat, where the clash of religions came to the bloody fore. The US spent millions bring Milosevic to trial amidst much hype and media coverage. Funny that the media covered the prosecution comprehensively until Milosevic’s defence started to appear a little too powerful and then suddenly it isn’t news anymore. The whole notion of victor’s justice was brushed under the carpet. That is not to say Milosevic is a good man, he patently isn’t, but there are many others in power across the world who are as bad, but because they haven’t pissed off the wrong people they are allowed to continue unabated.

In 1994 what do people in the West remember most of? Genocide in Rwanda or the OJ Simpson trial which was going on at the same time?

On the 10th anniversary of the genocide on 7th April 2004 a ceremony was held to commemorate the dead. There was little or no media coverage and the delegations sent hardly even justify the tag ‘Junior’

It took Clinton 4 years before he went to Rwanda to try to wash the blood off the hands of the US. His attempt to justify the ambivalence of the time by saying that they were not aware of the full horrors rang as hollow as indeed it was.

The fact that the world can have so little regard for something that happened in Africa, the fact that they have chosen to brush as much of their culpability under the carpet only serves to prove that the pledges made in 1945 to prevent a holocaust happening as it had done in Germany were mere political expediency. it was the expected mantra of the day but it meant nothing. The genocide in Rwanda not only happened, it was allowed to do so. The world stood by and averted its eyes because the struggle was in a country where black was fighting black, a country of no strategic importance or mineral reserves. A country in a part of the world where the perception of the West is that a decrease in population can only be a blessing.

So, what has the world done now, since no-one can deny any more that the genocide took place? There are still tens of thousands of women being raped on the Eastern Congo – Rwanda border coming in at a rate of 50 per week and ages ranging from 18 years to 10 months. The Interahanwe are still very active in this region though they are not the only militia there. Of course Congo is a country without any proper roads and ordinary people are subject to the monopoly barge captains for transport. Small wonder that it is an ideal place for paramilitary hideouts, again there is no move to alleviate this problem for either the Congolese people or with a view to ridding the area of war criminals.

We have seen through recent times that it is our apathy to the idea of changing things not our inability to do so that is the greatest weapon against us. It is all very well to make overtures that we have learnt the lessons of history but when this is vacuous rhetoric it will always be found out in the end.

Song Of The Day ~ Sisters Of Mercy – This Corrosion

Original Comments:


moog made this comment,
arg, wheres your blog board gone??? just wondering if you are buys on saturday, and fancy meeting up to go on the rally? i hope to be going with a few people, but it would be great to see you if you are about. 🙂
-Redbaron responds – The blog board is temporarily suspended until such time as the risk from spamming is reduced. I don’t wish to have a time delay on the board because then people just post multiple times because they don’t realise equally I don’t want every 2nd entry to be something about Texas Hold’em which I can play quite adaquately enough at home without risking wagering my shirt on online! –

comment added :: 19th September 2005, 19:49 GMT+01
rayts made this comment,
I only learned about this thing when I saw Cheadle’s movie and one episode in a tv program that tackles the 1994 Rwanda genocide…and back then , I never really understood why the Tutsis have to die or why there is even a separation in the first place.
-Redbaron responds – I think it would be worrying if you were to understand it, there is no reason for the Tutsis to die. The sepearation is tribal and one exploited by the colonial masters who had their own agenda and simply allowed a wedge to be driven between the 2 groups. –

comment added :: 21st September 2005, 06:01 GMT+01

<img src=”tmtch_manchester_22.jpg” title=”Live At The Rescue Rooms” border=”0″> Live At The Rescue Rooms

The Men They Couldn’t Hang

Date: 17/09/05   —   £14.50   —   Other

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Rating:

The Baron’s tours of live acts returns to the more intimate venue and the more ‘old school’ act. The Men They Couldn’t Hang have been around a while now, which hasn’t blunted their enthusiasm, nor that of the audience.

I first got into TMTCH with the single ‘The Colours’ which was reviewed on Saturday morning telly when I was about 14. It was a cracking single, passionate and folky and clearly not destined for chart success. I bought the album ‘How Green Is The Valley’ and ‘The Domino Club’ whilst I was a student and thoroughly enjoyed both. I like the political nature of songs like ‘Ghosts Of Cable St.’ and the folky nature of ones like ‘Shirt of Blue’. They had split up in 1991 and I kind of thought that was that which was a shame but not unlike so many decent groups before them. I was pleasantly surprised when I moved North to find that they were out on the road again and had in fact reformed in 1996.

The Rescue Rooms is a small venue for a much more close-up gig. It’s been many years since I saw a live act in such a venue, 1992 The Sugarcubes at the Munich Theaterfabrik I think which is after all 13 years ago. ‘The Men’ were all drinking in the bar with the rest of us before the gig which lended to a more matey atmosphere, no aloofness here.

The gig started with local punk band Eastfield supporting. I found it quite amusing to hear punk songs about the state of the railways and against Burt Reynolds, Mobile Phones and the Revolution bars, it seemed rather like punk coming to the 21st century in one form or another. It wasn’t fantastic but enthusiastically played and they obviously had a local following present.

‘The Men’ came on around 8.45 and played an initial set including ‘Shirt Of Blue” and ‘Ghosts Of Cable St.’ and then Philip Odgers played some accoustic numbers, followed by Cush doing some too. The whole band then returned for the second part of their set playing tracks predominantly from ‘Waiting For Bonaparte’ and their latest album ‘Cherry Red Jukebox’. They played ‘The Colours’ which kind of made my night really! They did 4 songs in the encore and finished up, mainly because the curfew demanded it at 10.15.

The reason TMTCH and groups like them are always worth seeing because they are in it for the music. You got the feeling they were just warming up and could happily have carried on all night, and the audience would have happily gone on listening as long as they played. There was some passionate moshing in the middle at the front and if you’d wanted to go right up against the stage there was little to stop you doing so.

For those outside Europe I suspect you will never get the chance to see The Men They Couldn’t Hang which is a shame, for those in Europe and particularly in Britain, what else are you going to spend £15 on, a couple of beers in a shit bar or a good old fashioned folk-rock gig. I made my choice and have no regrets.

Oh this really is the thin end of the wedge. Not content with arresting and detaining 7 people yesterday following raids in London and Manchester under “Immigration laws”. Charles Clarke, a home secretary who appears to be attempting to model his tenure on that of his predecessor who in turn modelled his on Himmler, defended the detention as the men were thought “not conducive to the public good”. Well, fuck me that’s a new one!

Some of those detained were reportedly amongst the 8 individuals cleared in a British court in April having been accused of plotting to spread poison in Britain. If these reports are true then it outlines the policy that by hook or by crook if the government doesn’t like you then it’s going to get you by any means necessary. We are told that they are being held on grounds pertaining to the Immigration Act 1971 but rarely are these cases allowed to be deconstructed in public to determine what these grounds are and what leads up to them. One might be excused for thinking that if they held 8 men in custody that that knew to be already in infrigement of some immigration laws it is highly unlikely that these men would have been released following their acquital on terrorism charges.

Initially my response to the statement from Charles Clarke was one of disbelief coupled with a frisson of fear, it was then that the Paster Niemöller quote came back to me and I was reminded of just what a precedent this sets and how easily it lends itself to comparison to totalitarian regimes we have known in the past.

“First, they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I did not speak out because I was not a Catholic. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

I found that quote kind of chilling when I was studying modern German history some 16 years ago. I find it all the more chilling now for its resonance with the modern day. There is clearly now a systematic attempt to remove certain types of people from society, not only that but the branding of these people is sufficiently ambiguous that if the laws designed to purge said “undesirables” proceed it will only be a matter of time before any group of people deemed a threat by any government in this country is in serious trouble.

Charles Clarke is currently attempting to get laws passed in Parliament to allow the arrest of people for “acts preparatory to terrorism.” This term is so wishy-washy that you could find yourself at Paddington Green police station having done no more than bought sugar, alcohol, baking soda, a dishcloth and something in a bottle within the same shopping expedition.

“There are only four ways in which a ruling group can fall from power. Either it is conquered from without, or it governs so inefficiently that the masses are stirred to revolt, or it allows a strong and discontented Middle group to come into being, or it loses its own self-confidence and willingness to govern. These causes do not operate singly, and as a rule all four of them are present in some degree. A ruling class which could guard against all of them would remain in power permanently. Ultimately the determining factor is the mental attitude of the ruling class itself. … From the point of view of our present rulers, therefore, the only genuine dangers are the splitting-off of a new group of able, under-employed, power-hungry people, and the growth of liberalism and scepticism in their own ranks. The problem, that is to say, is educational. … and … the level of popular education is actually declining.”

-George Orwell ~1984

Song Of The Day ~ The Dead 60s – Riot Radio

Original Comments:


Mark Ellott made this comment,
Once again, Orwell says it so well.
I am deeply ashamed to have campaigned for this government in two elections. My only excuse is that I believed they would be better than their predecessors…

Well, you live and learn.

comment added :: 17th September 2005, 10:30 GMT+01 :: http://longrider.blog-city.com

Live At Nottingham Arena

Stereophonics

Date: 14/09/05   —   27.50   —   Other

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Rating:

Don’t ever go to gig’s with me, I’m a fucking nightmare, ask Moog she knows! After the debacle of forgetting my ticket for U2 and almost missing the gig I was anal about having the Stereophonics ticket about my person for the whole day to ensure I didn’t forget it because that would have been very stupid. When I got to the arena and removed my receipt but not my ticket from my pocket, I had one of those moments where you stand still and the camera rushes towards you very fast! One very swift trip back to the car revealed it on the front seat and I made my way to the gig again with just about enough time to spare.

So anyway hoo-wah, the Baron’s tour of quality live acts continues

The gig wasn’t as expensive as U2 but the Arena isn’t as big as a U2 stadium sell-out and I was in the standing area about 20 rows of people back. I could have fought to get even nearer, as some did, but being long-sighted I was in a pretty decent place, quite near the front but not too in your face viz the lights.

Support act The Dead 60s came on nearish 8pm, I hadn’t come across before, they were pretty vibrant, very Clash-like, a fusion of some reggae, ska, rock and funk. The lead singer was very animated, I got the feeling they were Mancunian, that was the aura of confidence that they exuded. It was a good support act to have, little is going to compare to U2s support but where else do you get 2 bands you’d pay to see as headliners as support?! The Dead 60s debut album comes out later this month and is probably worth a listen.

I was pretty surprised that even after the Dead 60s did their set the arena was still pretty empty, I thought maybe the gig wasn’t as much of a sell-out as had been suggested. People did arrive just before the ‘main event’ and it was full to bursting. This happened at the U2 gig as well, I don’t really understand the reasoning, if you’re going to pay what is quite a substantial amount of money, surely you’re going to watch the whole show not just the final part of it whether or not that is the most important bit.

The ‘Phonics themselves didn’t come out until 9ish, they played a combination of old and new, mostly the hard rock stuff they did do a couple of acoustic numbers but I think for the venue and the people there we were in it for the heavy stuff. They did Devil and Deadhead from their latest album Language, Sex, Violence, Other? From Just Enough Education to Perform we had Mr Writer, Step On My Old Size 9s and Vegas 2 Times; from Performance & CocktailsHurry Up & Wait and Just Looking (in the encore) I think You Gotta Go There to Come Back was the album least served, I think there may have been a couple from it though, but it’s the album I know the least and there were a few songs I didn’t recognise. There was some of the old stuff as well which went down very well with the crowd. A Thousand Trees, Local Boy in the Photograph and Same Size Feet all off their first album Word Gets Around They finished at around 10.50 with Dakota and the crowd by this point were well into it.

Kelly Jones is very personable, he regaled the crowd with a generic story of pulling down the local when he was working on the market. He said ‘thanks’ a great deal and applauded the crowd at the end and thanked everyone for coming. This was the part unlike a U2 concert, U2 are big and more detached, this gig was more intimate in feel. You dod get the impression that the group are still a pretty genuine bunch based on this performance.

I had forgotten that whilst standing down for a gig is good for the atmosphere etc. it is murder on the feet. I had to move around a bit when my left foot started complaining quite a bit. There was also the matter of navigating the inevitable dickheads that come and stand right in front of you, at least they don’t tend to do that to me, they just gradually try to sidle across and you have to disuade them! Oh, and I dropped one of my rings during a particularly zealous mosh, which fortunately I found later in front of a rather tasty looking lady!

All in all, yes I think they did live up to the price of the ticket, pity the merchandise is more geared to those of a svelt bent so no tour t-shirt for me.

Original Comments:


moog made this comment,
im glad you had a cool time mate! 🙂 next time, im coming with you!!!!
comment added :: 18th September 2005, 20:27 GMT+01

I have recently come across the Impeach Bush campaign and have to give it my full backing. Basically the notion is that to drum up support everyone in support posts and links using the phrase Impeach Bush as much as possible. This way it will be prevalent in recent searches and search engine results all over. I like that use of technology to encourage a campaign, not to mention the fact that the Impeach Bush campaign is very justified in calling for said impeachment. There are some links for you to look at Vote To Impeach, Impeach Bush.tv and The Four Reasons

If you support the campaing then please post about it, feel free to use my links or entry as you wish for it. There is also mobilising for the demonstration in Washington coinciding with the global Anti-War action day on Sept 24th. Details of the demonstration can be found here. This is the first demonstration in a while to be able to demonstrate in Pennsylvannia Ave. itself so if you’re anywhere near there I strongly urge you to lend it your support.

For those in the US who may want further details of the demo you can get from the Act Now To Stop War & End Racism A.N.S.W.E.R. website. A.N.S.W.E.R. and Impeach Bush are working together regarding the co-ordination of the demo.

For those in the UK the date is the same, for details of the march in Central London you can look at the Stop The War Coalition and all being well I may see you there.

Original Comments:


Kristie made this comment,
Brilliant. I’m behind this. Of course, in this country, only a blow job in office gets you impeached, of course. That’s a national scandal. Selling off the government and selling out the citizens? Why, that’s just “bidness.”
Soooooo bitter am I.

comment added :: 14th September 2005, 16:02 GMT+01
Chris made this comment,
Glad to see another who supports impeaching Bush. You should join the coalition here: http://impeachbushcoalition.blogspot.com
Peace, Chris

“I wish the world was run by love, and absolutely nothing more.”

comment added :: 17th September 2005, 09:30 GMT+01 :: http://frenchcafe.blogspot.com
Tabacco made this comment,
Open Invitation To The Red Baron from Tabacco
Red Baron:

I already emailed Hillary Clinton that I would support a 3rd Party Candidate if she supported the War into 2008. But I may have found another candidate, whom I can support without reservations. His name is http://redbaron.blog-city.com/

PS I am available for campaign manager!

-Tabacco

-Redbaron responds – Ha ha ha ha, excellent, yes I can just see myself in that office telling all the NSA guys to fuck off and pack up their stuff! Sadly whilst we Irish have conquered much in the US we are not allowed to run for president not if we’re still Irish anyway, and me being a few thousand miles away doesn’t help either! Nice thought tho’ I shall ponder on that a while and hypothesise about all the wars I could stop.-

comment added :: 28th September 2005, 22:22 GMT+01 :: http://tabacco.blog-city.com/