Category Archives: Europe

TPP – ever heard of it?

 

Apparently it’s something like the Death Star. Need I say more?

Follow the links and find out for yourself:

ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION

TECH DIRT

AVAAZ.ORG

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The Truth is…

Beyond the bitter laugh is the bitter truth.


The Chagos Islanders and the War on Democracy

I posted a poem some time ago, “Rounding Up the Dogs of the Children Who Died of Sadness,” but a recent article from John Pilger that appeared in The New Statesman made me remember it. Here’s the poem’s link – https://matangmanok.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/rounding-up-the-dogs-of-the-children-who-died-of-sadness/

And here is Pilger’s article link: http://www.newstatesman.com/global-issues/2012/01/pilger-obama-war-britain

A snippet:

Lisette Talate died the other day. I remember a wiry, fiercely intelligent woman who masked her grief with a determination that was a presence. She was the embodiment of people’s resistance to the war on democracy. I first glimpsed her in a 1950s Colonial Office film about the Chagos Islanders, a tiny creole nation living midway between Africa and Asia in the Indian Ocean. The camera panned across thriving villages, a church, a school, a hospital, set in phenomenal natural beauty and peace. Lisette remembers the producer saying to her and her teenage friends, “Keep smiling, girls!”

Sitting in her kitchen in Mauritius many years later, she said: “I didn’t have to be told to smile. I was a happy child, because my roots were deep in the islands, my paradise. My great-grandmother was born there; I made six children there. That’s why they couldn’t legally throw us out of our own homes; they had to terrify us into leaving or force us out. At first, they tried to starve us. The food ships stopped arriving, [then] they spread rumours we would be bombed, then they turned on our dogs.”

In the early 1960s, the Labour government of Harold Wilson secretly agreed to a demand from Washington that the Chagos archipelago, a British colony, be “swept” and “sanitised” of its 2,500 inhabitants so that a military base could be built on the principal island, Diego Garcia. “They knew we were inseparable from our pets,” said Lisette. “When the American soldiers arrived to build the base, they backed their big trucks against the brick shed where we prepared the coconuts; hundreds of our dogs had been rounded up and imprisoned there. Then they gassed them through tubes from the trucks’ exhausts. You could hear them crying.”

Lisette, her family and hundreds of the other islanders were forced on to a rusting steamer bound for Mauritius, a journey of a thousand miles. They were made to sleep in the hold on a cargo of fertiliser – bird shit. The weather was rough; everyone was ill; two of the women on board miscarried.

Dumped on the docks at Port Louis, Lisette’s youngest children, Jollice and Regis, died within a week of each other. “They died of sadness,” she said. “They had heard all the talk and seen the horror of what had happened to the dogs. They knew they were leaving their home for ever. The doctor in Mauritius said he could not treat sadness.”

This act of mass kidnapping was carried out in high secrecy. In one official file, under the heading “Maintaining the Fiction”, the Foreign Office legal adviser exhorts his colleagues to cover their actions by “reclassifying” the population as “floating” and to “make up the rules as we go along”. Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court says the “deportation or forcible transfer of population” is a crime against humanity. That Britain had committed such a crime – in exchange for a $14m discount off a US Polaris nuclear submarine – was not on the agenda of a group of British “defence” correspondents flown to the Chagos by the Ministry of Defence when the US base was completed. “There is nothing in our files,” said the MoD, “about inhabitants or an evacuation.”

Today, Diego Garcia is crucial to America’s and Britain’s war on democracy. The heaviest bombing of Iraq and Afghanistan was launched from its vast airstrips, beyond which the islanders’ abandoned cemetery and church stand like archaeological ruins. The terraced garden where Lisette laughed for the camera is now a fortress housing the “bunker-busting” bombs carried by bat-shaped B-2 aircraft to targets on two continents; an attack on Iran will start here. As if to complete the emblem of rampant, criminal power, the CIA added a Guantanamo-style prison for its “rendition” victims and called it Camp Justice.

 


“Pet” / “Aso sa Tabi” featured on Modern Poetry in Translation website

My poem, “Pet” (Filipino original “Aso sa Tabi”) has been featured on the Modern Poetry in Translation website (UK). My copy of the issue arrived safely in the post recently and it looks amazing.

I translated four of my own poems and two from a good poet friend back home, Noel Romero del Prado.

CLICK HERE to get to the Modern Poetry in Translation website.


The Music is the Same, Just a Different Dance Floor

This is from William Blum’s December 2011 post:
-o-
USrael and Iran

There’s no letup, is there? The preparation of the American mind, the world mind, for the next gala performance of D&D — Death and Destruction. The Bunker Buster bombs are now 30,000 pounds each one, six times as heavy as the previous delightful model..

But the Masters of War still want to be loved; they need for you to believe them when they say they have no choice, that Iran is the latest threat to life as we know it, no time to waste.

The preparation of minds was just as fervent before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. And when it turned out that Iraq did not have any kind of arsenal of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) … well, our power elite found other justifications for the invasion, and didn’t look back. Some berated Iraq: “Why didn’t they tell us that? Did they want us to bomb them?”

In actuality, before the US invasion high Iraqi officials had stated clearly on repeated occasions that they had no such weapons. In August 2002, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz told American newscaster Dan Rather on CBS: “We do not possess any nuclear or biological or chemical weapons.”1

In December, Aziz stated to Ted Koppel on ABC: “The fact is that we don’t have weapons of mass destruction. We don’t have chemical, biological, or nuclear weaponry.”2

Hussein himself told Rather in February 2003: “These missiles have been destroyed. There are no missiles that are contrary to the prescription of the United Nations [as to range] in Iraq. They are no longer there.”3

Moreover, Gen. Hussein Kamel, former head of Iraq’s secret weapons program, and a son-in-law of Saddam Hussein, told the UN in 1995 that Iraq had destroyed its banned missiles and chemical and biological weapons soon after the Persian Gulf War of 1991.4

There are yet other examples of Iraqi officials telling the world that the WMD were non-existent.

And if there were still any uncertainty remaining, last year Hans Blix, former chief United Nations weapons inspector, who led a doomed hunt for WMD in Iraq, told a British inquiry into the 2003 invasion that those who were “100 percent certain there were weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq turned out to have “less than zero percent knowledge” of where the purported hidden caches might be. He testified that he had warned British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a February 2003 meeting — as well as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in separate talks — that Hussein might have no weapons of mass destruction.5

Those of who you don’t already have serious doubts about the American mainstream media’s knowledge and understanding of US foreign policy, should consider this: Despite the two revelations on Dan Rather’s CBS programs, and the other revelations noted above, in January 2008 we find CBS reporter Scott Pelley interviewing FBI agent George Piro, who had interviewed Saddam Hussein before he was executed:

PELLEY: And what did he tell you about how his weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed?

PIRO: He told me that most of the WMD had been destroyed by the U.N. inspectors in the ’90s, and those that hadn’t been destroyed by the inspectors were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq.

PELLEY: He had ordered them destroyed?

PIRO: Yes.

PELLEY: So why keep the secret? Why put your nation at risk? Why put your own life at risk to maintain this charade?6

The United States and Israel are preparing to attack Iran because of their alleged development of nuclear weapons, which Iran has denied on many occasions. Of the Iraqis who warned the United States that it was mistaken about the WMD — Saddam Hussein was executed, Tariq Aziz is awaiting execution. Which Iranian officials is USrael going to hang after their country is laid to waste?

Would it have mattered if the Bush administration had fully believed Iraq when it said it had no WMD? Probably not. There is ample evidence that Bush knew this to be the case, or at a minimum should have seriously suspected it; the same applies to Tony Blair. Saddam Hussein did not sufficiently appreciate just how psychopathic his two adversaries were. Bush was determined to vanquish Iraq, for the sake of Israel, for control of oil, and for expanding the empire with new bases, though in the end most of this didn’t work out as the empire expected; for some odd reason, it seems that the Iraqi people resented being bombed, invaded, occupied, demolished, and tortured.

But if Iran is in fact building nuclear weapons, we have to ask: Is there some international law that says that the US, the UK, Russia, China, Israel, France, Pakistan, and India are entitled to nuclear weapons, but Iran is not? If the United States had known that the Japanese had deliverable atomic bombs, would Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been destroyed? Israeli military historian, Martin van Creveld, has written: “The world has witnessed how the United States attacked Iraq for, as it turned out, no reason at all. Had the Iranians not tried to build nuclear weapons, they would be crazy.”7

It can not be repeated too often: The secret to understanding US foreign policy is that there is no secret. Principally, one must come to the realization that the United States strives to dominate the world. Once one understands that, much of the apparent confusion, contradiction, and ambiguity surrounding Washington’s policies fades away. Examine a map: Iran sits directly between two of the United States’ great obsessions — Iraq and Afghanistan … directly between two of the world’s greatest oil regions — the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea areas … it’s part of the encirclement of the two leading potential threats to American world domination — Russia and China … Tehran will never be a client state or obedient poodle to Washington. How could any good, self-respecting Washington imperialist resist such a target? Bombs Away!


END IMPUNITY

 

 

English translation attempt. Original Filipino follows – for those who are interested in seeing the random rhymes that got lost in translation.

November 23: No One Can Bury Shadows
remembering those slain in Maguindanao and other places

1
The door is a gaping mouth,
the afternoon’s final gasp
before it goes dark.

Those footsteps
that left this morning
will never again
come knocking. In their place
news of violence
drags the weight
of darkness encroaching.

2
Is it a miracle, a blessing, or a ghastly
burden to escape
the piercing of bullets?

How heavy the echoes of silence
in pursuit of the last
drop of lead?

Pretending to be dead
in order to live.

3
What kind of joy
was set free
by those who pulled the trigger?

Whose voice unleashed
the dogs?

4
Dear President,
I presume you feel
loss such as this?

Your clan bears the stain
of those who usher darkness.

5
Tomorrow, as we turn
the day’s paper,
new names will darken
the pages, our fingers.

-o-

Nobyembre 23: Walang Makapaglilibing sa mga Anino
paggunita sa mga pinaslang sa Maguindanao at iba pang bayan

1
Bukang bibig ang pintuan,
nasa bingit ang huling hininga
ng hapon bago dumilim.

Hindi na kailanman papalapit
ang mga hakbang na pumalayo
kaninang umaga. Sa halip
kaladkad ng marahas na balita
ang mabigat at papalaganap
na karimlan.

2
Himala, biyaya, o malagim
na pasanin kaya ang makaligtas
sa pagtagos ng mga bala?

Gaano kabigat ang alingawngaw ng katahimikan
kasunod ng pagbagsak sa lupa
ng huling tingga?

Pagkukunwaring bangkay
upang mabuhay.

3
Anong uri ng ligaya
ang pinalaya ng mga pumisil
sa gatilyo?

Kaninong tinig ang nagpakawala
sa mga aso?

4
Kagalang-galang na Pangulo,
inaasahan kong dama mo
ang mga ganitong pagyao.

Maging ang iyong angkan
may bahid
ng tagahatid ng karimlan.

5
Bukas, pagbuklat ng pahayagan
iba na namang mga pangalan
ang magpapadilim
sa mga pahina, sa ating mga daliri.

-o-

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Maguindanao_massacre

Please tell me if the translation works? Or if the poem itself works? The date has been declared International Day to End Impunity – after this massacre.


Gibson Guitar Plucks Tropical Trees

 

 

 

 

From RAINFOREST RESCUE:

On August 24th, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, a federal government agency, raided Gibson guitar’s offices and factories in Nashville and Memphis – for the second time in a two-year period. The federal authorities confiscated guitars made of tropical hardwoods, pallets of wood from endangered trees and delivery documents. Gibson is accused of having twelve deliveries of ebony and rosewood illegally imported from India in the course of two years. In November 2009, federal agents had already paid Gibson a visit and their search had been a success: Back then, Gibson had imported illegally logged rosewood from Madagascar.