Tuesday 21 December 2010

Madam Miaow commended in blog round-up: leftie love-in

The left notoriously is often a rats-in-a-sack scenario, all sectarian spats and spite-fuelled hacks sucking up precious bodily fluids that would be better spent on challenging the system. It is therefore always cheering to receive support from fellow socialists.

Andy at Socialist Unity, one of the big beasts of the left blogosphere, has written up his end of year blog round-up and given Madam Miaow Says a big thumbs-up.
Anna’s blog “Madam Miaow Says” in particular is always both edgy and concise: her articles about Julian Assange have been very good. Anna’s strength is in never accepting the moral superiority of the West, while avoiding the trap of cheerleading for the West’s opponents.

Yay!. That's one for the hard-of-comprehension who write me those charming stalker notes on why my foreign-looking boat-race is inferior to aryan blondes, and demanding to know how often I pop over to the PRC for tea with Uncle Mao. (Not since I was a kid, as it happens. Visited China, that is, not hob-nobbed with world leaders. No-one's going to be bringing no fifty-carat dirty pebbles to my door at "what time d'ya call this?" o'clock in the small hours. Sadly.)

I'll second Andy's endorsement of Harpy Marx in particular, a principled comrade from whom I've learnt much about parliamentary politics. Elsewhere, Gauche has caught my eye, I'm waiting for the brilliant Dolphinarium to get into her stride, Laurie Penny is striding away in seven-league boots, and Jack Of Kent alternately delights and exasperates with his come-hither slappety-slapdowns of US-offending maverick males every time you think he's on the side of the angels.

2010 sees the end of Tory blogger Ian Dale (now moved to Total Politics) and Labourite Tom Harris, and I hope that the current hiatus over at Splintered Sunrise is only a temporary one.

Remember, guys, it's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it, so it might as well be us.

Reminder: it's time for bloggers to get their submission in for the Orwell Prize 2011. Ten links to your favourite blogposts by the 11th January deadline.

Tuesday 14 December 2010

Bradley Manning: Wikileaks hero was outspoken at school

The child was father to the man even back at school. Bradley Manning, perhaps the real hero of the massive Wikileaks saga, was outspoken in his challenge of authority as a schoolboy in Wales, according to a Channel 4 News report. He'd stand up for what he thought was important and knew he would "right a big wrong" one day.

Manning moved to Wales from the US in 2001 at 13, later joining the army where his impressive computer skills put him at the heart of government skullduggery as an intelligence analyst. Disillusioned with what he found there, such as the Iraq video designated "Collateral Murder", he released a repository of classified foreign policy so that the public could make informed decisions.

Prometheus was an ancient Greek mythical character, a Titan who stole the secret of fire from the gods and gave it to humanity, and was then punished by having his liver pecked out every day by an eagle, growing back each night so his torture was never-ending. In the same way, Bradley's prospects are looking pretty grim what with the American eagle being so mightily pissed off.

His fearless attitude is needed even more now that the large swathes of the media opinionati still in thrall to our political masters slip the truth a rohypnol, rationalising outrages and naturalising horrors. In Britain and the UK, with any luck, the student protests will be a fertile ground for Bradley's brand of integrity and idealism to take root once more.

Website: bradleymanning.org

Jack Of Kent speaks to Mark Stephens, Julian Assange's lawyer.

Glenn Greenwald on Manning being kept in inhuman conditions in Salon.com.

Monday 13 December 2010

Wonderful protest pic and PIL's Order Of Death

I don't know who took this great image of the recent student protests at Parliament but thanks to Charles Shaar Murray and Jon Savage for circulating it.

Meanwhile, here's a leedle sumthin' for everyone who voted for the LibDems: Public Image Limited's Order Of Death. "This is what you want, this is what you get."

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Free Assange: China should nominate Wikileaks founder for Nobel Prize

"FREE JULIAN ASSANGE!" declaims my mate Gauche on Facebook, to which the reply, surely, can only be, "... with every packet of condoms."

"Try our new Assange range. So featherweight, you'll never know it's on."

With US politicians calling for Wikileaks whistleblowing founder Julian Assange to be abducted and assassinated and not necessarily in that order, and his current incarceration in Her Majesty's Wandsworth Prison for alleged todger offences, one way or another this blond beast is being brought down for his Promethean release into the public domain of knowledge about the behaviour and attitudes of the people we pay for. At least he's not getting his liver pecked out every day by the US eagle, but don't tell Sarah Palin and start giving her ideas ... even if she does need a few.

It's like we've switched realities or someone has put a hallucinogen in the water supply. Or perhaps we're in the Matrix and this is the best story the system controllers can come up with: a sub-James Bond plot as life imitates schlock. There's even a sex subplot and a fine treacherous role for Sharon Stone as cooked up by Joe Esterhas in five coke-frenzied minutes.

Meanwhile, back at the funny farm: in another bit of cold war gamesmanship, Chinese Charter 8 dissident Liu Xiaobo gets his Nobel Peace Prize in a couple of days, joining that noble Nobel firmament of famous peaceniks such as Henry Kissinger and Tony Blair. While it is an utter disgrace that he should be imprisoned for disseminating ideas that challenge the government – and his wife shouldn't be banged up, either – I'd like to know exactly for which services to world peace Liu is being honoured.

I was hoping that China would nominate Julian Assange, as he really does seem to have ruffled hawkish feathers around the globe. But the Chinese have gone one better and created their own ceremony: the Confucius Peace Prize. Nominees include Bill Clinton (Somalia!), Bill Gates (oh dear!) and the Panchen Llama (cue Dalai hissy-fit). But they do seem to have missed a trick here and ignored the West's most persecuted dissident.

Which brings me back to America. In a further irony, the US will be hosting Press Freedom Day in 2011. Wow. ONE WHOLE DAY!

China should offer Julian Assange political asylum.

UPDATE: Tariq Ali on Liu Xiaobo.
For the record, Liu Xiaobo has stated publicly that in his view:
(a) China's tragedy is that it wasn't colonised for at least 300 years by a Western power or Japan. This would apparently have civilised it for ever;

(b) The Korean and Vietnam wars fought by the US were wars against totalitarianism and enhanced Washington's 'moral credibility';

(c) Bush was right to go to war in Iraq and Senator Kerry's criticisms were 'slander-mongering';

(d) Afghanistan? No surprises here: Full support for Nato's war.

Monday 6 December 2010

China should offer Julian Assange political asylum: Wikileaks dissident persecution

So the powers that be are circling like whitetip sharks at a Sharm el-Sheikh eat-all-u-can scuba feast, and are about to round up Julian Assange (thought to be hiding out in South East England — my bet's Brighton) on an extraordinary charge of refusing to wear a condom during consensual sex.

There must be many blokes out there shuddering at the thought of their own irresponsible sex-lives and fearing the midnight knock at the door. Wimmin, ladies, gurls, if you really care about Julian and freedom of information, go to Sweden with a sweetie, have unprotected sex and then shop your beau to the authorities, yelling, "I am Spartacus. And so is he. We shall not rubber up." Clog up the machinery, bruthas and sistahs.

China should give the Wikileaks dissident political asylum before he is arrested on trumped-up rape charges. (More about the charming Ms Anna Ardin and her unfortunate CIA connections here and here.) So what if he stirred it up between China and its spoilt child, North Korea? Offering asylum promises a few laughs and an embarrassment of riches — or a treasure trove of embarrassment.

Amazon and PayPal have played politics with their business, dumping their client, and now the Swiss Post Office has shut down one of Julian's bank accounts (this is Switzerland, fer cryin' out loud) — so much for market forces. Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin calls for him to be hunted down like a bear-shoot from a helicopter, and senior Republican Mick Huckabee demands his execution. Thank heavens I don't live in China where they shut down internet dissidents and freedom of speech.

What's the betting that the next Bond movie has a pussy-stroking villain eerily similar to our eccentric Antipodean idealist? (That pussy will get you into trouble every time!)

Talk about breaking a butterfly on a wheel.

UPDATE Tuesday 7th Dec 2010: Julian Assange has been arrested. It'll take a couple of days for the UK courts to decide whether or not he has a case to answer and whether he'll be extradited. Given the pressure from the US, it'll be a brave judge who frees him.

No condom Assange sex smear.

UPDATE 2: An interesting comment by Harpy Marx with links to some strong counterarguments, such as at Feministe.

China should nominate Assange for Nobel Peace Prize.

Sarah Palin done by John Mendelssohn

Tee, hee! A brilliant paeon/peony/pain/pee-on of praise for next US president Sarah Palin by my mate John Mendlessohn.

"How a long-time political progressive saw the light and came to embrace common-sense conservatism of the sort promulgated by Gov. Sarah Palin."