So the world’s going nuts. Maybe I should write “more nuts”, as I can’t think of any time when the world hasn’t been nuts. But now serious nuttiness is seriously kicking off in Ukraine, which isn’t that far away. Right-wing extremists claim that Russian-backed forces are abducting, torturing and killing Ukrainian politicians. Moscow says that’s bollocks, but they’ve been saying that everything they’ve been accused of is bollocks, including shit we know they did in Crimea. They seem to deny everything automatically, then carry on regardless. Ukraine isn’t in NATO, but there are NATO members in the region. And if one NATO member state is attacked, the rest of NATO jumps to its defence, like if you hit a Hells Angel you end up fighting the entire club. Only these outlaw bikers have tanks and planes and missiles and nuclear bombs. Maybe I’m just being paranoid. Maybe I’m right to be paranoid.
I thought the internet would help usher in an age where truth and propaganda would be more easily differentiated, where it might be easier to see what is actually happening. Instead, news sources everywhere just trumpet their propaganda lines louder, and the only way to find out what’s been going on is to either go there and witness events with one’s own eyes, or to wait for the dust to settle when the “truth” will be whatever the winner says it is.
I can’t go to Ukraine just now, but I really would like to know what’s going on. Not that the knowledge would make any difference: if I went and reported what I saw I would be dismissed as a Nazi or Neo-Soviet puppet, and whatever’s going to happen would happen anyway. No one who really matters cares what international opinion is. So sad: the world has become smaller, in that events a continent away will have more rapid and severe influence on my life; yet in this smaller world my opinion doesn’t matter. I can’t do anything, except post my irrelevant shit here.. In the 1930s I could have gone to fight for the International brigades or Franco, or at least deliver morphine to field hospitals and write home truthfully what I saw. If I tried to do anything like that now I’d probably end up in some Gitmo or other, or shot in the back of the head for being an interfering Europhile. Please, someone tell me no crazy NATO/Russian Federation crap is going to happen. That’s another problem with our modern smaller world: gunfire in Ukraine can blow back big time here.
I don’t actually believe anyone’s going to nuke anyone over this; not right now anyway. Bt there is plenty that could happen that would make life pretty crappy. You know how much natural gas we get from Russia? You know how long our emergency reserves would last if Putin and/or Gazprom decided to turn off the supply? I don’t know: I’m too lazy and fucked to bother asking Google. But I do know that we do not want that to happen. And that’s not even thinking about what effects a shooting war in Eastern Europe could have.
I wish I was one of those survivalist nuts with a fully-stocked nuclear bunker to hide in. Honestly, I do not think anyone’s going to nuke anyone any time soon. But it would be nice to have somewhere to sit and hide. You know, just in case… 😦
Here’s a little globule of info that I discovered today and thought I should share with the blogosphere:
Between June 2004 and September this year, according to research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, drone strikes killed between 2,562 and 3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom between 474 and 881 were civilians, including 176 children. (Guardian, 23 Oct 2012).
So many civilians… so many children… and this is supposed to be targeted strikes of known insurgents? We need to stop the use of drones, now. The operators back in America obviously have a problem remembering that they’re killing real people, that it isn’t a video game. Yet the RAF are planning to acquire more drones. Insanity.
Interesting story in the Guardian today – one which demonstrates how much of a dick is “Justice” Antonin Scalia on the US Supreme Court. A few years back, Scalia said “There has not been a single case – not one – in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit. If such an event had occurred … the innocent’s name would be shouted from the rooftops.” Hope you’re up on the roof right now, Scalia, shouting the name “Carlos DeLuna”.
The Guardian article tells us:
Carlos DeLuna was arrested, aged 20, on 4 February 1983 for the brutal murder of a young woman, Wanda Lopez. She had been stabbed once through the left breast with an 8in lock-blade buck knife which had cut an artery causing her to bleed to death.
From the moment of his arrest until the day of his death by lethal injection six years later, DeLuna consistently protested he was innocent. He went further – he said that though he hadn’t committed the murder, he knew who had. He even named the culprit: a notoriously violent criminal called Carlos Hernandez.
But the police and prosecution made a mockery of that claim: they declared that they’d searched high and low for this “Hernandez” character didn’t exist. And it’s only thanks to the diligence of Professor James Liebman and 12 students (plus the one, repeat one private investigator Liebman hired to find Hernandez, which he did in one day!) that we now know Carlos Hernandez does exist, that he was an alcoholic with a history of violence, who was always in the company of his trusted companion: a lock-blade buck knife. Whereas DeLuna had no history of carrying a weapon.
I’m not going to repeat the entire article here – go read the story in the Guardian (here’s a link for ya) – all I’m trying to do is show that capital punishment is A Bad Thing; people get executed for stuff they didn’t do; and if the truth ever does surface (thanks to folk like Liebman and his colleagues) there ain’t a damn thing you can do to right the wrong. Carlos DeLuna’s dead, and he’s staying dead regardless of what the courts do about Hernandez. Now go see if you can wash that blood offa your hands, “Justice” Scalia and friends.
This is one crazy story, but I swear it’s true – have a look at http://juliasblog-the-fight-of-our-lives.blogspot.co.uk/ if you don’t believe me…
Basically, British citizen Richard O’Dwyer, who lives in Britain and hasn’t been to the US since a trip to Disneyworld when he was five, has been running a website where he provides links to various TV shows and movies. Remember that: he doesn’t host the video files himself, he merely provides links to other sites, which he has no connection with. He was arrested for this in the UK, but not taken to court because, basically, he has not broken the law in the UK, and any trials based on providing links have failed.
But that’s not good enough for the US government. They are trying to extradite Richard to America to put him on trial… even though it’s not clear that his actions are criminal in the USA! Bsically, they want to bang him up in a hellhole of a federal prison and force him into some kind of plea-bargain. And this is all too possible, as we have an insane extradition treaty with the USA, hurried through parliament after the 9-11 thing. According to the treaty, UK citizens can be extradited to the US on the flimsiest charges, whereas there’s no way at all that America would extradite their citizens here for such a ridiculous “crime”.
I swear, this is all true – check out the blog I linked to above, and also have a listen to the 28 March episode of the radio show Off The Hook, which is available as a podcast at www.2600.com. Absolutely crazy…
Full story here
I’m really angry about the lopsided extradition agreement with the USA. A UK citizen allegedly commits a crime, in the UK, and the USA can have the person gift-wrapped and delivered to America, where Richard O’Dwyer could be sent down for ten years; but it doesn’t work the other way: no way would the US extradite a US citizen to the UK when that suspect has not allegedly committed a crime on UK soil.
I think that the extradition treaty should be scrapped. Screw our “special relationship” with the USA. What has the US done for us lately? Oh yes, they’ve made British troops in Afghanistan even more a target by allowing a drunk, mentally-unstable soldier to leave his base after curfew and murder several women and children. Thanks, USA. And I almost believed that the USA would improve with Obama supposedly at the helm…
I hate rich people who use their wealth to try and silence critics. In the UK, there are so-called “super-injunctions” which stop the media from printing stories and also stop anyone from revealing that the injunction was taken out! And of course, all over the place there is the threat of libel suits, which usually bankrupt the poorer party long before the case actually gets heard. One rule for the rich, another for the poor. I know, that’s how it’s always been… but it still pisses me off, and that is justification enough for me to rant about it on here.
Anyway, this Vandersloot is a right dodgy one who needs an eye kept on – after all, he’s bankrolling Republican nut Mitt Romney’s attempt to become the next president of the USA. If Romney wins, he’s gonna owe Vandersloot a hell of a lot – and when the most powerful person on earth owes you favours, that doesn’t bode too well for those who’ve exposed his evil deeds in the past.
I’m a Brit, and I don’t know much about Vandersloot. But Salon writer Glenn Greenwald does – so I urge you to take a look at what he’s written about the puke. My unfortunately very cursory look into Vandersloot makes it look like he’s into running pyramid schemes, he sells “cure-all” quack medicine products and diet supplements, and, the one thing that really enrages me: he uses intimidation to silence his critics. As Greenwald says in the linked article:
In the last month alone, VanderSloot, using threats of expensive defamation actions, has successfully forced Forbes, Mother Jones and at least one local gay blogger in Idaho to remove articles that critically focused on his political and business practices (Mother Jones subsequently re-posted the article with revisions a week after first removing it). He has been using this abusive tactic in Idaho for years: suppressing legitimate political speech by threatening or even commencing lawsuits against even the most obscure critics (he has even sued local bloggers for “copyright infringement” after they published a threatening letter sent by his lawyers). This tactic almost always succeeds in silencing its targets, because even journalists and their employers who have done nothing wrong are afraid of the potentially ruinous costs they will incur when sued by a litigious billionaire.
Numerous journalists and bloggers in Idaho — who want to write critically about VanderSloot’s vast funding of right-wing political causes — are petrified even to mention his name for fear of these threats. As his work on the Romney campaign brings him national notoriety, he is now aiming these tactics beyond Idaho. To allow this scheme to continue — whereby billionaires can use their bottomless wealth to intimidate ordinary citizens and media outlets out of writing about them — is to permit the wealthiest in America to thuggishly shield themselves from legitimate criticism and scrutiny.
Please please please, check out this Vandersloot. And if you can vote in US elections, do not vote for anyone who might be a Vandersloot glove puppet. It’s already been established he’s got his hand up Romney’s ass… who knows where else his wandering mitts might have been?