Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam and the deep depravity of Western foreign policy

The execution of Saddam Hussein today brings to a close a period in recent Middle Eastern history that requires the highest and most stringent form of downright condemnation.

It begins in the eighties. Iran had turned Islamic. And so the West decided to support Saddam, even though they knew that he was the ruthless dictator as he has been described today in numerous obituaries. They sold many weapons to him during this period including chemical weapons which he used against the Iranians first and then the Kurds later (if you check the press of 1988, there was hardly any coverage - the death of thousands becomes important according to political utility). Approximately 1 million people died in the Iran-Iraq war.

After the failure of his war against Iran, he looked to Kuwait and April Glaspie - the American ambassador at the time - arguably gave him the green light with the infamous 'we have no opinion on border disputes' line. He invaded Kuwait and the US led a liberation of Kuwait funded by the Saudis.

Then began the sanctions which have lead to the death of about half a million people which continued through the nineties. These sanctions were only lifted after the invasion of Iraq itself in 2003. This was the third time Baghdad was bombed by the US in twelve years.

Today Saddam is dead. But he was not the last dictator in the Middle East. Today's obituaries mention his crimes. There are many others whom the West continues to deal with who use torture, for example, of the most extreme and despicable sort.

The West failed the people of Iraq because it sought their wealth. They are owed something more than an apology. Arms were sold in order to keep disgusting industries alive. This again continues, and here we can see within the infrastructure of non-failed states how they work their systems: arms industries, foreign policies, governance and warfare. All of which has lead to the transfer of wealth and the destruction of a country, all in pursuit of a man who was made in their own image, only more crude and a few favours short of a friendship.

I was in sixth form during the first Gulf war and nobody cared. Jokes were made about the 'mother of all battles' and people continued with their lives, not realising that part of their success was dependent upon the murder of others. I was at university when the sanctions were in place and again no one cared. Many in my generation have grown up with the Western treatment of the Iraqi people as a major concern. More are aware today. Saddam has gone, but will this deep depravity that calls itself progress and civilisation continue?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Racists in uniforms, march on

A story was leaked to the media today about one of the men involved in the murder of PC Beshinevsky escaping from Britian through wearing the niqab. 'Today' covered it, 'Sky News' covered it (it was a quiet sports day) and 'Newsnight' discussed it just now, except that 'Newsnight' is wondering whether this is a fabrication. So:

Who leaked this story? 'Today' should know.

How credible is it?

And what is going to happen to those who have been wronged by racists in uniforms?

The war on terror marches on. And the state wishes to continuously expand its powers to control against a trerrorist threat. But these powers are handed over to anyone who applies to join those services that function in these areas, including racists. So what checks are in place?

I think we should pursue Cardiff airport and its security personnel and find out who these two D/C 3022 and D/C 3933 are, and we should demand an investigation into their behaviour and their previous record. I also think it's time we had one place that we can complain to when someone is so appallingly treated in the name of the terrorism act.

Meanwhile, in case you have forgotten, the 'war on shampoo' continues. Except that the mastermind of the plot bigger then 9/11 has just had his anti-terrorism charges dropped. So we will wait for the outcome of this ongoing investigation, but it is not looking good. The head of the MI5 resigned on the same day as the charges were dropped. The chaos at the airports due to the security measures is said to have cost BAA 100 million and many families had their summer holidays ruined.

And still no news on the largest haul of chemical components found at a house in this country. A case of some shampoos being more dangerous than others?

Counter-terrorism will only be effective and viable if it is credible and fair.

We watch and wait.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More injustice in the name of the 'war on terror'

People are constantly being harrassed at airports. Here is another example. We need to figure out a way of controlling against racists in uniforms.

Monday, December 11, 2006

A little mistake

Sometimes, it is in the little mistakes that the bigger disasters are revealed.

Tony Blair gave his speech on multiculturalism on Friday, a kind of rowing back from the throw away remarks of Trevor and ilk. The speech was an improvement on LA, but still some way to go.

Anyway, Newsnight covered this. Kirsty Wark hosted a discussion between Tariq Ramadan and Ann Cryer - a rather odd concoction. The little mistake was Kirsty's reference to British society as a 'host society' while discussing people like me, second generation British Muslims. Tariq picked up on it, and said that she was wrong to have referred within this context to British society as a host society. Her immediate response should have been an apology, instead we got more of Ann Cryer. Our parents may have been guests, but in what way are most of my generation 'guests' to this 'host' society (a strange kind of hosting if you ask me)? This little mistake highlighted the problem is its prejudicial core.

Kirsty Wark is the cultured one on Newnight, she occasionally hosts Newsnight Review and has also presented various arts related programmes - a thoughtful liberal, and I mean this with sincerity. Yet, even she, even Kirsty Wark, inadvertendly uses 'host society' while referring to me and my friends. And here lies the problem.