British Muslim teacher removed from US-bound plane… in Iceland!

February 22, 2017

Juhel Miah is a British citizen, a teacher accompanying students on a trip to Iceland and then, the plan was, to fly on to America.  But it was not to be.

Mr Miah, aged 25, was born in Birmingham and brought up in Swansea.  He attended Swansea University, where he got a first class degree, was one of five adults from Llangatwg community school near Neath, south Wales, who were accompanying a party of 39 children to New York via Iceland last week.  He had no problem entering Iceland.  But when it came to the next leg of the trip, flying on to the USA, everything changed.

At  Keflavík international airport near Reykjavik, Mr Miah was immediately targeted by US officials.  He told the Guardian:

I gave one of the American officials there my passport. My first name is Mohammed. It felt as if straight away she looked up and said: ‘You’ve been randomly selected for a security check.’

“Deep down I thought: ‘Here we go’ but I was polite and followed all the instructions. She took me into this room. There were five or six other officials. Two of them checked me. They made me take my jacket off, my hoodie off, they opened my bag, I took my shoes off. They made me stand on a stool. They rubbed me all the way down. They even pulled my trousers down to check my boxers. They rubbed their hands under my feet. They got a swab and wiped me all over. Eventually they let me go through.”

So he made it onto the plane.  But that was not the end of his ordeal. Not at all.  He was followed onto the Icelandair plane by an American official who told him he had to get off again.  And he was refused permission to reboard the plane and fly on to the USA – without even being given a reason for this treatment.  Instead he was forced to return to the UK, rather than being allowed to  do his job and accompany his students to America.

The US officials refused to give a reason why he was being treated this way.  And Mr Miah cannot think of a good reason.  He has never posted anything at all inappropriate on social media. He has not been to any of the seven countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya – whose citizens were the subject of Trump’s overturned travel ban. His parents are of Bangladeshi origin. His brother had no trouble visiting Florida last year.  But now, with Trump in office, suddenly Mr Miah is persona non grata in the USA.

He said:

“I hope this isn’t true, I really don’t want this to be true but it all started with the first American official I met and the moment she read Mohammed.

“I just hope this doesn’t happen to anyone else. That’s my number one goal now. I want a reason, an explanation. If it was a mistake someone should just put their hands up and say it was a mistake and it won’t happen again. I would still like to go to America one day. I just hope it boils down to human error and someone says sorry.”

The Welsh first minister, Carwyn Jones, has written to the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, asking for “urgent clarification”. The US has not commented.

Mr Miah has been very kind in his comments, but to a detached reader it is obvious he was targeted and removed from the flight – even though he had a valid travel visa – because he is a Muslim.

This might have an effect on his career.  He was subjected to a humiliating, pointless search before boarding the plane – and then he was removed from the plane as if he was a criminal, with his colleagues and students watching.  Through no fault of his own, Mr Miah has been stigmatised.  The Donald Trump “No Muslim” policy is being enacted, even though it has been suspended by the US court.  But, because no reason was given for his treatment, some might claim there was another reason for it.  The “no smoke without fire” principle.  Donald Trump’s ugly, bigoted, ignorant attitude is threatening an honest teacher’s life.

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The bigot and the whore – you decide which is which

Why hasn’t the foreign secretary Boris Johnson summoned the US ambassador to explain this outrageous behaviour?  Is the clown too busy bumbling around, trying to conceal his extreme right-wing politics from the British electorate?  He is a vile man – but he is our vile man, and should be giving the US ambassador a harsh dressing down.  But no, he won’t get a response – he won’t even ask for a response – because the Tory government’s “hard Brexit” plan means the country must prostrate itself before the eminence noir of “President” Trump.  And good, hard-working people like Mr Miah count for nothing in the dangerous game our government are playing.  Theresa May is getting into bed with Trump, literally as well as figuratively, and when she emerges bow-legged from the monster’s den she will pass the syphilis onto the rest of us.  A syphilitic economy – that’s all we need – financial madness, removal of all the human rights we managed to gain from the EU – a political and moral sickness that is already dirtying our nation when our government connives with Trump to discriminate against British citizens on the basis of religion.


Is Bercow a hypocrite for banning Trump parliamentary address?

February 7, 2017

John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, has barred US prez Trump from addressing Parliament.  Apparently this has pissed off many MPs, and Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi says Bercow is a hypocrite as he has let the likes of China’s president Xi Jinping and the Emir of Kuwait address Parliament in the past.

So is Bercow a hypocrite?  Of course he is – there’s always a stench of hypocrisy in Westminster. But I don’t think this particular decision is especially hypocritical.  China and Kuwait have never claimed to be beacons of liberty and equality; whereas the USA constantly claims ownership of those ideals.

Anyway, Trump’s a dick.  He wants to bar people from visiting the USA on such arbitrary grounds as religion – and even on grounds of someone’s appearance – so why don’t we bar Trump from even entering Britain?  The guy’s an isolationist; so let’s isolate him.

 

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Victoria Cross hero Johnson Beharry who was delayed for hours and humiliated by US border guards when he flew into the USA


Blowing Whistles

February 18, 2016

If you’re at all interested in the case of NSA whistle-blower Ed Snowden, you may be interested in watching the excellent documentary film Citizen 4.  You can download it from here.  Well worth checking out.

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Ed Snowden.  Image from Wikimedia.


Ain’t no time to wonder why; whoopee! we’re all gonna die!

April 24, 2014

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… 😦

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Snowden Q & A

June 28, 2013

Sorry, I didn’t spot this when it first came online. Other stuff going on… Anyway, here it is now: Guardian readers asking the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden all about PRISM, the other secret documents he leaked, and of course why did he blow the whistle? The USA and its buddies are now claiming he gave juicy secrets to China and Russia, why else would he have been allowed to travel to Hong Kong and Moscow? Just shit-throwing, but when they throw enough shit at you some will stick and you’ll smell pretty bad. Snowden will likely be considered a hero in the future. But the heroes of history are often reviled in their own time. I just hope the USA doesn’t get hold of him; if they do, he’s a dead man. Killed for telling us that our own governments spy on us just cos they can.

We gotta stop acting like the dumb jackasses our governments treat us like. In the words of RATM we gotta take the power back! Cos it’s our power, not theirs; they have it right now cos we lent it to them. Some of us thought they could be trusted; some of us have acted like idiots. But that doesn’t mean we are idiots, and we should be real pissed off what’s been going on. FFS, what more will it take before we see this set-up as the house of cards it really is and kick the foundations out from under it?

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UN votes to recognize Palestine as an “independent state”… and?

December 1, 2012

So, the United Nations voted to recognize Palestine as an “independent state”. The vote was overwhelmingly in favour of the motion. As the Guardian says:

The 193-member assembly voted 138 in favour of the plan, with only nine against and 41 abstentions. The scale of the defeat represented a strong and public repudiation for Israel and the US, who find themselves out of step with the rest of the world

But this is very much just a symbolic gesture. Palestine still isn’t a full member state of the UN with voting privileges. It is now a “non-member observer state”, on a par with the Vatican; but its new status gives Palestine more rights, such as acceding to the International Criminal Court. And the word “state” means a lot to the Palestinians, who see this as support from all round the world for its ambitions to become a fully independent nation.

Of course, the vote has not led to any changes on the ground. Israel is still right in the face of the Palestinian authority, and authorising the illegal building of settlements in occupied territory. In fact, Israel just authorised the building of new housing for Jews in occupied East Jerusalem, where Europe and the US have long called on Israel not to build, and where Israel wants to diminish the Palestinian percentage of population. “New housing for Jews”… that phrase makes my blood run cold. This is bare-faced apartheid, for which most of the world shunned South Africa for many years. How can anyone support such a fascist Israel? Yes, Israel has genuine security issues – but so does the rest of the world. That can’t be used as a just reason for such belligerence.

And it gets worse. Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, told the BBC that the Palestinian move was a “massive violation” of the Oslo peace accords, and that if the Palestinian Authority attempted to use the new status to declare an independent state then Israel would have to act and may go so far as “annexing territory” – ie invasion and waging war. It’s obvious that Israel has no wish to make peace with the Palestinian people; it wants to wipe them out, like a gardener might destroy a troublesome ants nest. When will the US stop supporting this belligerent, fascistic Israel?

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Thousands of people killed by drones? Don’t know if I wanna go out today…

October 23, 2012

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.

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