Daily Archives: November 7, 2007


Ian Blair Must Go

The elected London Assembly has passed a motion of no confidence in Sir Ian Blair. If he had any honour (which being New Labour he doesn’t) he would go now. I watched much of his appearance before the Assembly. The result was no foregone conclusion, but his arrogance and rudeness swayed the Assembly against him. He effectively taunted them that they had no power to remove him. I do hope a transcript of this amazing meeting will be available.

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500 Million Vanishing White Elephant

Today saw the launch of the design for London’s 2012 Olympic main stadium, which has risen in cost estimate from £260 million to £500 million in the last nine months – and they haven’t started building yet.

I enjoy the Olympics, and they are obviously a major boost to the pharmaceutical industry. But I am perplexed by the concept of this stadium, which is to be part disposable. Most of it – 55,000 out of 80,000 seats – will be thrown away after the Games.

I can’t understand this. After the main tier is removed, what will remain is a stadium for just 25,000 people. What is the use for a stadium of that size? It is too small for top tier football, or even West Ham, and London already has a little used athletics stadium like that. It will be too small to be of use for a future World Cup bid.

It appears as expensive to build a disposable stadium as a permanent one. In fact, with eventually just 25,000 seats, that’s a staggering £20,000 per seat!! Think about that. Is this Gordon’s Millennium Dome?

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Autobiography of an Uzbek Political prisoner

Muhammadsolish Abutov’s brief memoir is harrowing but well worth reading through:

Every day after work Bechkanov and I dragged water, and watered the flowers around the unit and cleaned the toilet. We worked together on the crusher and there I witnessed yet another example of barbarism against Muslims in the history of mankind. In the work zone there was a toilet with a pit underneath that you could climb to the bottom of by steps. Usually prisoners bring the shit out of their in buckets when it rises up. I saw how from the work zone headquarters they brought four prisoners, leaders of Hizb-ut-Tahrir. And in broad daylight, right in the work zone, several activists headed by the brigade leader of the work zone Shakir lowered them into the pit, right on the shit. It was a terrible sight. The crusher was about 100 metres from the toilet ?” I saw how they lowered them into the pit, and how they lifted them up, all stinking and in shit, wet from head to toe. They were taken to the washing area, washed, dressed and put in the punishment cells.

Later, when I asked Khafizuli about this he said that the head of the work zone had demanded that he write Karimov a letter and he’d refused. For that those four got beatings and were then put into the toilet pit. But when you’d only just arrived at the colony, everybody wrote in quarantine after all, didn’t they? , I asked. He answered that yes, he’d written, but that now they wanted him to do it again, and this time he’d refused.

. Bekchanov and I dragged the crushed stone in barrows from the crusher to the concrete mixer, 200 metres. Bekchanov was around 50, a simple man. He spoke his Khoresm dialect of the Uzbek language, and not in the Tashkent form which is regarded as a sign of being cultured. He did not, as I noted, make his prayers and was not a religious man. And he was afraid of the brigade leaders. Just on seeing them, he would try to work faster. He was stronger than I was, but when those brigade leaders abused or beat him, he was silent. I on the contrary tried to also abuse them or yell.

Bekchanov is the brother of Uzbek opposition leader Muhammad Salih. It is worth noting the scale of Karimov’s labour camps – over 5,000 in one alone. Also the continued presence in the gulags of some of Karimov’s internal party opponents from Soviet days. Abutov’s final camp is the notorious Jaslik, where Avazov and Alimov were boiled to death.

Not sure how the formatting and footnotes will survive, but full text here.

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