Saturday, 31 May 2008
Stop paying Taxes to the War Criminals!
During the Vietnam war, over 10,000 Americans went on tax strike in protest over their government's actions.
Today with the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a group of people arguing that to pay tax is illegal as it is assisting the commissioning of war crimes.
In this video, a woman who works for William Hill book keepers explains the steps that she took to stop her taxes being paid to the government.
For more information on how to write to your employer regarding tax deductions, please visit:
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
An ugly face of Europe
This article was originally published in Spanish El PAIS on 26-05-2008
The Europe which lingers in the air these days over the charred remains of the gypsy camps on the outskirts of Naples is an ugly Europe, one in flagrant contradiction to the principles and values which supposedly unite us and which have taken shape in the Treaty of Lisbon which we are preparing to ratify and implement. The first symptoms of economic slowdown is all it has taken for the same Europe which never misses an opportunity to proclaim its values around the world, which constantly moralises, preaching democracy and human rights wherever it goes, and even threatens to impose humanitarian aid on endangered populations thousands of miles away by force, to quickly bolt the doors of its borders, refusing to reduce and even increasing detention periods for irregular immigrants, modifying laws to make immigration a punishable crime, or increasingly calling for the suspension of the free movement of people, a cornerstone of the common European home.
That being said, the causes of this xenophobia should be not sought so much in the economic slowdown as in a moral crisis manufactured by populist leaders who have turned immigration into the flagship of a political discourse devoid of real solutions to people's problems. As a majority of European governments lurch to the centre right, with political parties hypnotized by immigration's electoral impact, and with a political agenda obsessively centered on security, the prospective common immigration policy beyond that of mere policing with which it seemed Europe was finally going to endow itself, has also largely gone up in smoke. In contrast to a very necessary immigration policy which emphasizes solidarity and integration in Europe on the one hand, and cooperation with countries of transit and origin on the other, we are faced with a policy which is increasingly committed to arresting, identifying and deporting those who arrive on our shores, and of criminalising and persecuting those already amongst us.
Making immigration a punishable crime, raising detention periods and prohibiting re-admission into a country for five years, which is what Italy aims to do, not only amounts to unjustly criminalising and locking away vulnerable people, in many cases with minors in their care, but indeed lays the groundwork for the controlled demolition of European asylum policies, so crucial to the well being of people who have fled countries where human rights are systematically abused. Yet another example of the bluntness of the populism which has swept Italy recently is the ignorance that the gypsies of Rumanian origin are EU citizens, which thankfully rules out their detention or any re-admission restrictions, measures which have been contemplated against them.
In defense of European institutions, it is worth making the point that the directive which led to the controversy of the last few days, dating back to 2005, was not meant to facilitate deportations, legislation already being in force which allows for rapid expulsions on security grounds, which is to say, for those who have committed criminal offenses, but instead was aimed at harmonising policies of return, equipping them with more safeguards and, in short, making them more efficient and transparent. It is also only fair to point out that xenophobia and racism are latent or openly on display in all member states, not just in Italy.
To go no further than Spain, incidents in El Ejido a few years ago showed us in all their harshness what happens when the state buries its head in the sand regarding immigration and integration obligations. But Spain, which has learned from its mistakes and has put intelligent immigration policies into place, finds itself more and more isolated in the European context. The Spanish government, which requires European policies that will deepen and complement those adopted at home, is swimming against the tide.
Europe likes to boast about its soft power, that appeal which a particular social model and life style exercises on other societies, leading to an enhanced legitimacy and greater acceptance of its policies. But this ugly, introverted and xenophobic Europe can hardly hope to play a positive role in the world, much less be a beacon of progress or inspiration for anybody else.
Translated for ECFR by Douglas Wilsonhttp://tinyurl.com/5cmoz7
La Europa más fea
La Europa que humea estos días en los rescoldos de los campamentos gitanos de Ponticelli, en las afueras de Nápoles, es una Europa fea, en abierta contradicción con los principios y valores que supuestamente nos unen y que hemos plasmado en el Tratado de Lisboa que todos nos aprestamos a ratificar y poner en marcha. Han bastado los primeros síntomas de crisis económica para que esta Europa, que no pierde ocasión de proclamar sus valores por el mundo, que constantemente imparte lecciones de moralidad, democracia y derechos humanos por doquier, e incluso amenaza con imponer por la fuerza la ayuda humanitaria a poblaciones en peligro a miles de kilómetros de distancia, corra rauda a echar el cerrojo en sus fronteras, negándose a reducir, o incluso ampliando, los períodos de detención de los inmigrantes irregulares, modificando los códigos penales para criminalizar la inmigración o llamando con cada vez más frecuencia a suspender los acuerdos de libre circulación de personas, clave de bóveda de la construcción europea.
Con todo, las causas de la xenofobia no deben buscarse en la crisis económica, sino en una crisis moral manufacturada por políticos populistas, que han hecho de la inmigración el buque insignia de un discurso político vacío de ideas sobre cómo resolver los problemas reales de los ciudadanos. Así, con una mayoría de Gobiernos europeos volcados hacia el centro-derecha, con partidos políticos hipnotizados por la conexión electoral de la inmigración y con una agenda política obsesivamente centrada en la seguridad, se difuminan en gran parte las perspectivas de que Europa se dote de una política de inmigración común que vaya más allá del mero ámbito policial. Frente a una muy necesaria política de inmigración, que enfatice, a este lado, la solidaridad y la integración, y del otro lado, la cooperación con los países emisores, nos encontramos con una política cada vez más volcada en el proceso de detención, identificación y deportación de los que llegan, y de criminalización y persecución de los que ya están entre nosotros.
Convertir la inmigración en un delito, elevar los periodos de detención y prohibir la entrada en el país durante un período de cinco años, como se pretende hacer en Italia, no sólo supone criminalizar y recluir injustamente a poblaciones vulnerables, en muchos casos con menores a su cargo, sino sentar las bases para una demolición controlada de las políticas europeas de asilo, cruciales para la seguridad de las personas provenientes de países donde se violan sistemáticamente los derechos humanos. Además, en una muestra más de la ineficacia del populismo que campa estos días en Italia, se ignora que los gitanos de origen rumano son, afortunadamente, ciudadanos comunitarios, lo que excluye que les puedan ser aplicadas medidas de detención o prohibición de retorno como las que se plantean.
En defensa de las instituciones europeas cabe argumentar que el objeto de la directiva que ha suscitado la polémica estos días, que data del año 2005, no era facilitar las expulsiones, puesto que la legislación vigente ya contempla las expulsiones rápidas por motivos de seguridad pública, es decir, para quienes hayan cometido delitos, sino armonizar las políticas de retorno, dotarlas de mayores garantías y, en definitiva, hacerlas más transparentes y eficaces. También en justicia, hay que decir que la xenofobia y el racismo están latentes, o manifiestos, en todos los Estados miembros, no sólo en Italia.
En España, sin ir más lejos, los incidentes de El Ejido mostraron hace unos años con toda crudeza lo que ocurre cuando el Estado se desentiende de sus obligaciones en política de inmigración e integración. Pero España, que ha aprendido de los errores y ha puesto en marcha unas políticas de inmigración inteligentes, se encuentra ahora cada vez más sola en el contexto europeo. El Gobierno español, que necesita políticas europeas que profundicen y complementen las políticas aquí adoptadas, rema contra corriente.
Europa gusta de presumir de poder blando, aquél basado en la atracción que un determinado modelo social y de vida ejerce sobre otras sociedades, lo que lleva a una mayor legitimidad y aceptación de sus políticas. Pero esta Europa fea, cerrada y xenófoba difícilmente puede desempeñar un papel positivo en el mundo ni ser un factor de progreso e inspiración para nadie.
Friday, 16 May 2008
A New Dark Age is Upon Us
Just how oppressive must a government become before we can justifiably say that it has turned a country into a police-state? Midnight knocks on the door? Security squads in black uniforms? The indefinite imprisonment of innocent individuals in prison cells and the immediate assumption of their guilt until proved innocent? Imprisonment for thought crimes? The use of torture to extricate information which may never otherwise be given? The permanent surveillance of a population at large?
If these were the criteria then there can be no doubt that Britain has become a police-state. Using the pretence of 'Anti-Terror' laws, themselves the product of an entirely fabricated 'War on Terror' which resulted from a false-flag incident involving the mass-murder of over 3000 innocent people, 911, and again 52 innocents in another false-flag incident involving Britain's secret services, 7/7.
People have been dragged out of their beds in dawn raids --not only under 'Anti-Terror' but under immigration laws-- by violent, often racist, thugs hiding behind police uniforms. Uniforms which are a shade closer to black than the supposed blue serge and caps whose peaks are more reminiscent of the Gestapo.
People (mostly people of colour or Muslims, or both) have been banged-up for long periods of time with most then being allowed to go free. At least two British Muslims, Mohammed Siddique in Scotland and another fancifully called the Lyrical Terrorist have been given long prison sentences for nothing more than thought crimes. And in the case of Siddique's lawyer, Ahmed Anwar, even he is now being terrorised by the judge, Lord Carloway, whose behaviour and appearance is more reminiscent of a ruthless redcoat determined to control the judiciary of Scotland with an iron heel.
Torture is by export order and thousands of CCTV cameras endlessly surveil the public. And all this under the pretext of a security which the average prole has meekly accepted as something good for her and him. Aldous Huxley was quite right to predict that totalitarianism would come, not with a fight but by invitation. Using their insidious techniques, the British government has persuaded the average prole that these 'security measures' are actually in his interest, that there's a Muslim terrorist just around the corner waiting for him and so "we must step up security."
"Stepping-up security" is the fatuous description that the talking heads on the BBC News gave it today in announcing our Stalinist Premier-by-appointment, Brown's, announcement of a raft of draconian new laws which pull Britain even deeper into the depths of a police state.
The face of Britain will now be changed to look like a country under armed occupation. Now railway stations will be given baggage surveillance, hence making it at last possible for the State to know what every one carries in their suitcases.
Only the countryside, as in Orwell's 1984, will seem to be free of surveillance.
First airports, now railway stations. But it doesn't stop there:
Mr Brown said guidance would be sent to thousands of cinemas, theatres, restaurants, hotels, sporting venues and commercial centres, as well as all hospitals, schools and places of worship to advise them on how to keep visitors safe against terrorism.
So, you see, it's going to be everywhere. The whole country is to be turned into a super-Belfast open internment camp for the entire population. We are all suspects now!
But it doesn't stop there for,
The prime minister also outlined measures to counter the influence of radical fundamentalists in Britain's schools, universities, mosques, youth clubs and prisons, as well as on the internet.
The long-expected attack on the freedom of the internet has thus begun. My predictions that blogs like mine will be banned and pulled-down off the Net within the next five years was, after all, perhaps optimistic. It could be very much sooner than that.
The legislation for just that kind of thing has been prepared in the US with HR1955. Like a nightmare unfolding predictably, chapter by chapter, the new fascist totalitarianism that was behind 911, Madrid, Bali and 7/7 is now rapidly gaining ground, moving fast at the speed that Hitler's panzer divisions overran a bewildered western Europe in 1940.
As with that attack, the battleplans were laid a long time ago by people like Samuel Huntington, the guru of Washington's neocons, ex-spook and writer of the seminal Clash of Civilizations, the intellectual cover for Islamophobia and the fake 'War on Terror.'
Just as Bush and Blair agreed to attack Afghanistan and Iraq a long time before 911 (of course they did, 911 was the excuse they both knew about) so the plans for the implementation of police states in the English-speaking countries can be taken a long while back before the events which were calculatedly manufactured to terrorize and bully a passive western population into submission.
Utilizing a blueprint of commonality the tin-pot Atlanticist Hitlers and their quislings are working to a schedule to take our remaining freedoms and bury them in a deep grave before the next Oil and Resource wars are launched. It is no accident that only days ago, Britain's Number One Traitor and Quisling, Gordon Brown, once again swore allegiance to his bosses in Washington DC whilst condemning all those who in Britain dare to criticise the death-pact of the Anglo-Saxon Alliance to be "anti-American."
That death-pact is nothing less than the totalitarian gauntlet which Brown threw down not only to declare his unending allegiance to the dark forces in the White House but as a deliberate taunt against his own people, do as you're told or I will punish you horribly! An arrogant, paunchy, feudal robber-baron making public his scorn for the peasantry over which he rules as a divine right.
And the new "stepping-up of security" announced by the lying Big Brother Cooperation (BBC) is only a further tightening of the fascist ratchet as per orders issued to the English-speaking countries by Washington DC.
It is no accident, either, that the so-called review issued by the idiot Lord West, Britain's Sicherheitsminister, used the false-flag bombings of London and Glasgow Airport as the grounds for the new draconian laws. I have no doubt whatsoever that those incidents, using the classical methods of secret services' entrapment, were deliberately caused in order to justify what has now been announced. Anyone naive enough to think I am talking nonsense should look at how all this was prepared-for and given a testbed in Ireland a long time before it started in earnest in mainland Britain.
The comparison with Nazi Germany is perfect, even to the everyday persecution of Muslims by both the police and by thugs on the streets. Not only Muslims are being attacked but so are all people of colour. A new wave of racist violence is growing in the USA, Britain and Australia where even the aboriginal people are under a fresh wave of attacks. In continental Europe, fascism together with racism has raised its ugly head once more.
And 8 million Muslims have died as a direct result of USUK imperialism in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 16 years. The comparison is complete.
The shadow of a New Dark Age is upon Us.
First published, 15 November 2007, CHIMES OF FREEDOM.
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
A new Euro-star is born
No, I am not talking about a new train (although the London-Paris Eurostar is about to be moved from Waterloo to King’s Cross, which is very exciting for me, since I live within walking distance of the station), but about a new pan-European initiative, headed by Mark Leonard, and staffed with lots of young bright things: the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).
Its purpose? Amongst others, to develop a more coherent and vigorous European foreign policy, in order to tackle an increasing number of global challenges, including climate change, world poverty, nuclear proliferation and the surge of violent extremism.
There haven’t been many interesting reactions to the birth of the ECFR within the blogosphere so far. Mark Leonard set the tone a few days ago as a guest-blogger on the Economist, while others - including the Dubliner Magazine, the Cult of the Dead Fish and Infowars - simply followed his lead, reproducing the press-release from the launch. Personally, I think the blogosphere should be more about opinion-making than info-replication, so here is my personal take on the new initiative.
Three things excite me about the ECFR. First: its young leadership and unreserved Europhilia, which brings a breath of fresh ideas and enthusiasm to a political debate about the future of Europe that has recently been - to say the least - soporific. Second: its decision to base its headquarters at the heart of the eurosceptic London and its satellite offices in Berlin, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Warsaw and Sofia. This will bring a truly pan-European perspective to the debates, allowing in particular the voices of the South and East to be heard, as opposed to the claustrophobic and incestuous rants of most Brussels-based think-tanks. Third, its very interactive website, blog-inspired, simple to access and to navigate, a sign that the ECFR is serious about taking to people, and is generally a modern, forward-looking organisation.
But while there are many reasons to celebrate, two aspects at least concerns me. The ECFR is heavily-backed by Soros, and while I personally like the man and his ideas, he has certainly made quite a few enemies across the European Neighbourhood. His involvement in the initiative is welcome, for it gives it financial viability, but the ECFR should also ensure it maintains a degree of separation between the issues it’s trying to tackle and the political interests of those who are backing it, lest it be quickly dismissed as Soros’ Council on Foreign Relations.
In addition, it is supported by a string of European politicians and analysts who are all-too-keen to see a stronger Europe in the world. While a more vigorous foreign policy might be the right answer to many of today’s global challenges, it should never come at the expense of Europe’s aimed neutrality, and of the recognition of its responsibilities towards the developing world, which call for caution every time we are tempted to undermine their sovereignty. Preventing genocide is of course admirable, but the last thing we need is another baton-wielding US, bullying nations into doing what we think is right (more often for us than for them). A respect for diversity should, above all, remain at the core of Europe’s foreign policy.
Having said that, I very much look forward to seeing the new star rise high above the other European constellations and I wish good luck to Mark and to all this team!
In Search of British Values
By Tom Nairn - An extract from a feature in Prospect Magazine, October 2007
Since Gordon Brown’s appearance as United Kingdom premier, assorted premonitions have surfaced in the gloom. Britlanders now inhabit a haunted house on the edge of a cemetery, where such terminology seems appropriate. Brown was not of course elected or installed by an indignant mob: over many years he materialised in fits and starts, glimpsed intermittently like a ghost from times past, brooding but saying almost nothing. Then suddenly the spirit was there, seated all too comfortably in the Anglo-Brit living room, account books and Britannic sermons to hand. The armchair’s previous occupant had left for Jerusalem.
Such is death-in-life. The funniest sequence in Edgar Wright’s movie Shaun of the Dead (2004) was where Shaun, seeing that the living were now besieged by zombies, organises a pretend-resurrection class at which people learn to stumble and stare properly, groaning in broken graveyard English. But that was just prediction: reality is worse. No Shaun has appeared to rally the English. David Cameron seems convinced the mausoleum can be maintained by New-Dawn-speak—itself another trait of the late-Brit times, perfected by Blair. “Better yesterday” had long been the UK’s chosen route to modernity. Under Brown it has reached its terminus.
The key zombie aim is graveyard peace: a new consensus to leave the sacred essence unaltered amid ritual round-table acclaim, all-change orations and deference-tours of the Washington Beltway. Serious constitutional commentators like Anthony King and Vernon Bogdanor have been appalled not by Brown’s radicalism but by his timidity. However, what the famed indecisiveness masks is death wish: Posthumous greatness at all costs, including Trident and two new super-super-aircraft-carriers.
In Shaun the graveyard ghouls came back for another try—and set about devouring the living to do so. Brown’s immediate aim will be a funerary binge, at which the creaking Westminster gates will be locked up for many years: general election is the term. Such is the man’s appeal for everything times-past that under 20 per cent of voters might pull it off (in 2005, 21.5 per cent got him where he is today). All Brown-Britland needs is enough non-voters—plus just enough Lib Dems to furnish a reluctant alibi for the gnarled gatekeeper, as the rusting bolt grinds home.
Could it have been different? Well of course, had thorough reform of the central apparatus accompanied devolution—and all that. In hypothetical retrospect, perfectly modest changes like a fairer electoral system might have partly freed the English people. Now, however, the sole possible answer is condemned by all true Brits as completely unthinkable. Which merely returns one to the point, the only one that matters. Plausible as a confederated Council of the Isles (or something like that) might have been, it’s now too late. Failed states can reach the buffers at the end of their track, Brownism is zomboid victory, and that’s that.
This has begun to dawn on both the Scots and the Welsh, and (even more surprisingly) the Northern Irish. Michael Fry argued in Prospect a year ago that for Scots the only way out from Britland Cemetery is out; and I wholeheartedly agree with him. But what about the English? Well ... Shaun, Shaun, where are you?
Saturday, 3 May 2008
As a federalist European I never thought I would see the day when I agreed with UKIP's Nigel Farage, let alone admire his eloquence. That day has come.
It seems that his experience as a Europarliamentarian has made Farage into a worthy critic of the Brussels Eurocracy and that he now represents the views of a constituency far greater than that of UKIP or his own. It is, at the same, time a matter of shame that Europarliamentarians who should know better appear ready to abandon democracy quite so easily as they have.
The Treaty of Lisbon is fatally flawed. It should be rejected and something more representative of the democratic process replace it. I do not agree with the chauvinist view of national sovereignty that the anti-EU brigade reflects. Nor do I support the Machiavellian manoeuverings of the 'neoliberal' Eurocrats behind this Constitution-cum-Treaty. Let us hope that the expected Irish NO vote will throw open the question once more of what kind of a Europe it is that we, as its people, really want.