Cheering UP 98


Unfortunately my plans for a weekend of drinking and watching golf were foiled on Friday by a really acute attack of illness, which by 3am Sunday morning had become quite alarming. Happily I feel a good bit stronger now. I did watch the golf all day yesterday, but I felt so unwell that when I awoke this morning I could not recollect any of it.

I am much cheered to learn that Sheikh Raed Saleh was released from jail on Friday. It is quite incredible that he could be imprisoned on the word of the Home Secretary – as grubby third rate politician – for his political opinions, but without clearly definable cause, and after he had already given on this visit a couple of public speeches in which he had said not one word which anyone claimed as constituting an offence.

Both the UK and US governments encouraged the Greeks to prevent the Gaza peace convoy from sailing. This from the invaluable Mary, who should take over writing this blog:

Anas Sarwar (Glasgow Central, Labour)
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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Greek Government on the Gaza Aid flotilla.
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Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 13 July 2011, c385W)
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David Lidington (Minister of State (Europe and NATO), Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Aylesbury, Conservative)
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Officials from our embassy in Athens have discussed the matter of the Gaza flotilla with the Greek authorities and have relayed to them the United Kingdom’s position on this. Our travel advice for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories gives clear guidance against any attempt to enter Gaza by sea. We continue to advise against participating in flotillas or overland convoys to Gaza because of the risks involved.

So between Saleh and that, it seems any attempt to support Palestine is simply to be blocked by the force of the state. What astonishes me is that so few people seem to care about this growing fascism.

When you have a fever, thoughts run though your head insistently, in a different pattern of thinking to the normal. Anyone know why this is? While I was ill this morning, I kept remembering one incident. When I stood as an independent anti-war candidate against Jack Straw in Blackburn, the large body of New Labour supporters inside the count booed and jeered me like a football crowd when my result was read out. The BNP candidate – who had been booed a little – turned to me in some astonishment and said “They hate you more than they hate me.”

I did record that in Murder in Samarkand, but had only ever thought of it as an amusing incident. While I was sweating last night, it kept hammering at my brain as important. Now I feel a bit better, it still seems important.


98 thoughts on “Cheering UP

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  • dreoilin

    This is well worth watching:
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    “Lockerbie: The Pan Am bomber”
    An investigation that raises fresh doubts about the conviction of the Lockerbie bomber.
    english.aljazeera.net/programmes/general/2011/06/201169134738626549.html

  • mark_golding

    Agent Cameron – Currently in *South Africa* 😉
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    “I don’t think it was right to show compassion to a mass murderer [Abdel Baset al-Megrahi] like that I think it was wrong”
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    bullshit!

  • mary

    @Azra and Suhayl on drones. Reprieve today –
    18 July 2011
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    CIA drone strike photos published for the first time
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    Legal action charity Reprieve and Islamabad human rights lawyer Shahzad Akbar today announce the publication of the first large array of photographs depicting the devastating impact of US unmanned aircraft (‘drone’) attacks on innocent civilians in Pakistan
    http://www.reprieve.org.uk/press/2011_07_18_drone_photos/

  • Azra

    @Suhayl, in Yemen it was supposed to be the military with of course the blessing of A A Saleh, couple of good articles one in Guardian yesterday and on in FAJ today, as well as one in Guadian today (paper copy, or so my husband tells me, but have not had a chance to look at it yet..just back from work, maybe first I will have some More Pinot Grigio first to help Craig out in his quest to bring few more down 🙂
    By the way thanks for sharing that very personal experience, it really touched me.
    http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2011/07/18/predator-drones-and-the-international-mafia/
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/17/us-drone-strikes-pakistan-waziristan?INTCMP=SRCH

  • Azra

    Mary, Thanks for this link, I just sent a comment which I believe awaits moderation, with couple of links one from Guardian of yesterday and one from FPJ online today.
    My husband tells me that there is a couple of pages in Guardian today regarding drones, and now your link .. maybe people can be shaken out of their apathy, towards something else besides their pockets or their interest of who is sleeping with who..

  • mark_golding

    OMG Thanks Mary – your hard work won the day on that link which I certainly will use on ‘citizencam’ to update on ‘drone’awareness including ‘police drones’ that Clark made me aware of.
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    Well put Azra – apathy – that shameful indifference.
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    Clark and Courtenay I notice have commented on disinformation and I hope to expand on that subject to include the ‘planting’ of moderators and even board members of major activist groups to divide and break the common aims and vision of the group.
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    The intelligence services have within them a small group, people with good degrees in sociology/psychology who are experts in the art of disinformation. New recruits pass through the group and are then put tested on their ability to infiltrate and divide online.
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    [Anon. source but reliable graduate contact known to my family]

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Thanks, all, Azra, Mary, Mark, for your kind and informative words.
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    Mark, I’m afraid my insider knowledge is virtually non-existent in relation to Lockerbie. We – the A and E and various Surgical guys – were there for only one day, really to help find/pronounce all the bodies. I and a colleague got to helping with the PMs sometime in the afternoon because we’d returned from going round the fields and so I only dealt with (assisted two pathologist) in around 4-5 PMs, so it’s not a representative sample. The other bodies I saw, I didn’t examine in detail. Remember, too that I’m not a pathologist.

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    The four poor souls I helped with (this is not breaching medical confidentiality, since I am not identifying individuals and indeed have no way of doing so) all appeared clearly to have died simply from classic impact and deceleration injuries, both internally and externally, i.e. from falling to earth from a great height and landing at terminal velocity on trees, on roofs, or on the earthen/grass ground. I didn’t see any blast injuries (but of course there were over 200 people, so that may not mean anything). The PMs all seemed quite routine, I mean as far as I could tell, the pathologists seemed to be doing all the usual things that pathologists do at PMs. I was asked to take samples of fluids from various sites, as is normal, just like you see nowadays in ‘CSI’. It would all be written-up on a sheet on a clipboard. I don’t think there were any audio recordings made of findings, but on this point, I may be wrong.

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    The staff there seemed to a mix of Medical Services (mainly RAF and also one or two USAF, the latter presumably people based in the UK or maybe Germany) people – pathologists, other doctors, paramedics, Army Medics, etc. – and civilian volunteers – eg. a retired Professor of Pathology who seemed pleasantly eccentric like Magnus Pike (remember him?) – woolly hat and all – had volunteered to help and I helped him with one PM. The RAF medical guys seemed pretty shocked with the scale of it all – remember, this was post-Falklands, right enough, but very much pre-Iraq/Afghanistan, etc. One – I mean a team of four people – one to incise and report, one to take samples, one to help move the body around and one to scribe – remember this was a mass PM, not the usual sedate single one with a bright light and greens in a hospital mortuary – could do only around 4-5 PMs at a time and then needed to take a break, in spite of one’s professionalism and diversionary tactics – talking about scientific stuff, etc. – it was emotionally intense. I’m so relieved I was there for only one day, to be honest – we had to get back to our regular duties. There were enough helpers, really, on-site and of course with the exception of the actual plane crash when almost no-one came in to A and E except the few Lockerbie residents who’d been relatively mildly injured (rather than killed outright), thereafter other people didn’t stop falling off ladders, falling down drunk, knifing one another, crashing into one another in automobiles, taking overdoses and snagging their thumbs with fish-hooks, etc.!
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    There were Army and Police Cadets aged 17 or 18 who were there for days. I remember thinking, these guys gathering-up body parts have probably never seen a dead body before. What kind of effect would it have had on them?
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    Now, when we think of all this carnage and then realise what our armed forces and weapons made in our factories do to other people, day-in, day-out, it makes you think. Well, Mark, of course, you have thought very deeply about it all and have taken action and good on you for that, man.
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    I agree with you, Mark, from my reading over the years, Lockerbie is extremely suspicious in almost every respect. I think it likely there was SIS interference and a miscarriage of justice. I think it likely there was something very big – as you suggest – which the CIA didn’t want exposed, a sort of heroin-Iran-Contra-level of ‘bigness’. Those people in the ice-rink with whom I had the honour and privilege of dealing and their relatives have not got justice. Nor, I suspect, has Mr Megrahi.
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    Well then, so I was the guy who was on duty the night Lockerbie happened. We’ve come many circles since them, haven’t we? And yet, still, no real answers. It remains as dark as it was that rainy, December night.

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