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

23/10/2012

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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UFO hacker Gary McKinnon beats US attempts at extradition

16/10/2012

So who’d a thunk it?  Gary McKinnon, intrepid UFO-conspiracy theory nut who skilfully hacked into NASA and US Department of Defence (robustly protected with no, I repeat no passwords, has finally won his appeal to home secretary Theresa May.

Then again, a cynic (who, me?) might argue that the government really needed the PR boost this decision has given them.  For a long time people have been protesting the blatantly skewed US/UK extradition.  Britain recently extradited the half-blind (heh) Abu Hamza to America. May says her decision was made solely on medical grounds, but it was obviously a sop for those who say that Britain is just the USA’s poodle.  I doubt very much that America will make much fuss over this – after all, it ain’t like McKinnon is an al-Qaeda operative who beat state-of-the-art intrusion systems to access military secrets – he’s a UFO nut who got into unprotected computer systems looking for evidence of LGM at Area 51 or somesuch crap.  So now May and her successors can point to the McKinnon case whenever someone accuses the UK government of extradition to America on demand.  Because we all know that’s what the US/UK treaty amounts to really, don’t we?  Well, don’t we?  Please don’t tell me anyone’s actually fallen for this theatre!

It’s also important to remember that McKinnon has been under threat of extradition for over eight years!  That’s a long time to sit worrying that you might soon be on the way to Gitmo.  As Gary’s mother wrote in an open letter in September:

My son has now been under arrest for longer than any British citizen ever has. He hasn’t raped anyone, he hasn’t murdered anyone, so can’t understand how this can be happening to him, as no matter how much anyone may choose to exaggerate his crime, the fact is that his crime was tapping on a keyboard in his bedroom in north London in search of information on aliens from outer space.

Gary rarely ever leaves his home as he is traumatised to the core. A boy who cycled, swam, composed music and sang, now sits in the dark with his cats and never wants to see or speak to anyone.

He has no life, and is broken, like a wounded animal with no outlet and no hope, seeing only the dark side and the cruelty that exists in the world. My only child has lost 10 years of his youth and has aged and died before my eyes.

Also spare a thought for the families of Babar Ahmad, and others who have been extradited to the US by virtue of our “special relation” no matter how flimsy the evidence.  Ahmad’s family released a statement:

We strongly welcome the decision not to extradite Gary McKinnon – we would not want his family to experience the pain and suffering we have all been enduring since Babar was extradited.

However, questions do need to be asked as to why, within the space of two weeks, a British citizen with Asperger’s accused of computer related activity is not extradited, while two other British citizens, one with Asperger’s, engaged in computer related activity are extradited. A clear demonstration of double standards.

That Theresa May felt compelled to postpone both the McKinnon decision on several occasions and the introduction of the forum bar (which would have prevented Babar’s extradition) demonstrates her willingness to make vulnerable individuals like Gary suffer in her determination to extradite others.

Many of our supporters are angry at what appears to be blatant old-fashioned racism under which all British citizens are equal but some are more equal than others.

It looks like the McKinnon decision is a victory in a war we’ve already lost.

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What ya gonna do about Syria then, NATO?

25/06/2011

Western powers, operating under the NATO flag, have involved themselves in the Lybian civil /war, on the grounds that Gadaffi is using his armed forces to terrorise and kill civilians in his own country. This is very laudable and all that; but governments frequently use terror to silence their people.

I could break open the history books to demonstrate how often this has happened without any outside interference. But I don’t need history to show I’m right – cos it’s happening right now. Look, for instance, at Syria. Yesterday (Friday 24 June) up to a thousand civilians have fled across the border to Lebanon after demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorial regime. Troops used tear gas and live ammo to disperse the crowds of demonstrators. It is estimated that 20 people were killed by troops – at least 6 Syrians died in Lebanese hospitals after they were taken across the border. It’s very difficult to get reliable figures from inside Syria. Syrian state-run TV has claimed that the shootings were carried out by “unidentified gunmen”.

So here we have a situation very much like that in Libya – government forces are trying to kill critics and demonstrators. So will US/UK and its NATO allies going to involve themselves in Syria like they have in Libya, carrying out air strikes against government forces? And what about all the other places in the world where governments use terror to silence their critics?

I guess it depends on whether or not there’s oil in the region. Because, believe it or not, that’s why the US/UK “intervened” in Libya – and before that, in Iraq – and, before that, in _______ (insert country of choice). There’s nothing “humanitarian” about the West’s involvement in these places. It’s time to wake up and smell the crude oil.

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