ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for March 11th, 2011

More Thugery, Newcastle EDL Attack Meeting.

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English Defence League members and supporters were in court this week after their attack on an SWP meeting at Tyneside Irish Centre, Newcastle, the Chronicle reports:

“TEN suspected right-wing extremists have appeared in court charged with violence.

The men, from across Tyneside, are accused of attacking doormen at the Tyneside Irish Centre during a rival political meeting.

The alleged attack is said to have happened on September 22 last year, when the left-wing Socialist Workers’ Party were meeting at the centre on Gallowgate, Newcastle city centre.

The SWP had called the meeting to discuss ways to counter far-right groups.

Rebecca Gibson, prosecuting, told Newcastle Magistrates Court that the 10 men, all believed to be members of the far-right English Defence League, allegedly gathered in nearby Rosie’s Bar.

She claimed they then descended on the Irish Centre, hurling abuse and attacking the doormen. “

Protesting in Saudi Arabia, Live Fire.

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If you listen to this clip you will hear the sound of live fire, real bullets being shot at people in Saudi Arabia.

On the Atlantic Wire:

“According to several news wire reports, Saudi Arabian police opened fire on Thursday at protests occurring in the kingdom’s east, specifically in the city of Qatif. The hundreds of mainly Shiite protesters were confronted with gunfire and stun grenades as police tried to clamp down on activists calling for democratic reforms. Groups had pegged this Friday for a “Day of Rage” aimed at bringing awareness for greater freedom in Saudia Arabia, even though the nation banned public protests last week.

As of this morning, western media outlets noted that the impact of the Saudi protests on oil prices has so far been minimal. “Here’s What The Market Thinks About Your So-Called ‘Day Of Rage,'” noted Joe Weisenthal’s headline at Business Insider, Weisenthal pointing to rising stocks and falling oil prices. That all changed in the afternoon as the price of crude oil jumped in what appeared to be a response of the scattered reports coming from the police shootings.”

BBC News covers yesterday’s protests in the city of Katif.

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11/03/2011 at 16:48

Bradley Manning’s Treatment.

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I suppose that the appalling treatment of Bradley Manning is to break him, to make him confess and more, this is so wrong, the Guardian reports:

“Bradley Manning, the US soldier being held in solitary confinement on suspicion of having released state secrets to WikiLeaks, has spoken out for the first time about what he claims is his punitive and unlawful treatment in military prison.

In an 11-page legal letter released by his lawyer, David Coombs, Manning sets out in his own words how he has been “left to languish under the unduly harsh conditions of max [security] custody” ever since he was brought from Kuwait to the military brig of Quantico marine base in Virginia in July last year. He describes how he was put on suicide watch in January, how he is currently being stripped naked every night, and how he is in general terms being subjected to what he calls “unlawful pre-trial punishment”.

It is the first time Manning has spoken publicly about his treatment, having previously only been heard through the intermediaries of his lawyer and a friend. Details that have emerged up to now have inspired the UN to launch an inquiry into whether the conditions amount to torture, and have led to protests to the US government from Amnesty International.

The most graphic passage of the letter is Manning’s description of how he was placed on suicide watch for three days from 18 January. “I was stripped of all clothing with the exception of my underwear. My prescription eyeglasses were taken away from me and I was forced to sit in essential blindness.”

Manning writes that he believes the suicide watch was imposed not because he was a danger to himself but as retribution for a protest about his treatment held outside Quantico the day before. Immediately before the suicide watch started, he said guards verbally harassed him, taunting him with conflicting orders. “

Update 1: One of Hillary Clinton’s officials even acknowledges the mistreatment of Manning, calling it counterproductive:

“Hillary Clinton’s spokesman has launched a public attack on the Pentagon for the way it is treating military prisoner Bradley Manning, the US soldier suspected of handing the US embassy cables to WikiLeaks.

PJ Crowley, the assistant secretary of state for public affairs at the US state department, has said Manning is being “mistreated” in the military brig at Quantico, Virginia. “What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the department of defence.”

Crowley’s comments are the first sign of a crack within the Obama administration over the handling of the WikiLeaks saga in which hundreds of thousands of confidential documents were handed to the website.

It is the first time anyone within the administration has expressed concern about Manning’s treatment, which has included being held for 23 hours in solitary confinement in his cell and being stripped naked every night. Until now the US government had presented a united front, promising to aggressively pursue anyone involved in leaking state secrets. Clinton herself described the WikiLeaks material as “an attack on America” and said “we are taking aggressive steps” to hold those who leaked it to account. “

Update 3: I can understand being concerned for a potential suicide, but it appears that Manning is shackled most of the time and why he can’t be given an equivalent pair of plastic prescription glasses, with unbreakable lenses I don’t know, the Beeb has more:

“Private Manning is being held in solitary confinement at a maximum security US military jail.

He is shackled at all times and has been on suicide watch at the Quantico marine base in Virginia.”

I would like someone to explain to me, how someone shackled at all times and in his underpants, under constant supervision should have his glasses taken away?

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11/03/2011 at 15:12

Shot, Protesting In Eastern Saudi Arabia.

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Events have reached Saudi Arabia as the Washington Post reports:

“DAMMAM, SAUDI ARABIA – Three people were injured when police opened fire during a protest in eastern Saudi Arabia on Thursday, according to a witness and a Saudi official.

The witness, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals by authorities, said police at first fired over protesters’ heads but then began shooting directly at them during a march in central Qatif, a predominantly Shiite town in oil-rich Eastern Province.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said police fired over the heads of protesters after demonstrators attacked them, the Reuters news agency reported. He did not say how the injuries were caused but said one of those hurt was a policeman.

At the time of the shooting, “the police were maybe 50 meters away” from the protesters, who were calling for the release of prisoners, the witness said. It was not immediately clear whether the bullets were live or rubber.”

The BBC adds:

“Protests are illegal in Saudi Arabia, which has had an absolute monarchy since its unification in the 1930s. “

Bloomberg has more background information:

“Saudi Arabia has seen protests in the kingdom’s Eastern Province this month, though nothing approaching the size witnessed in Bahrain and Egypt.

Shiite Muslims held two demonstrations on March 3 to call for the release of prisoners. About 100 people staged the first protest in the Shiite Muslim village of Awwamiya in the Eastern Province, while a similar number of people later demonstrated in the neighboring city of Qatif.

Security forces broke up another protest yesterday in Qatif. Police fired above the crowd of 120-150 people to end the rally after a policeman taking video to document the event was attacked, Major General Mansour al-Turki, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said in an interview. Three people were injured, two protesters and one policeman, he said. “

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11/03/2011 at 02:12

Noam and Obama.

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This revealing clip is from the Stop the War Coalition Youtube channel:

Obama is worse than George Bush and Tony Blair says Noam Chomsky.

And this is Chomsky’s previous statement, which he contradicts in the video.

If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged. By violation of the Nuremberg laws I mean the same kind of crimes for which people were hanged in Nuremberg. And Nuremberg means Nuremberg and Tokyo. So first of all you’ve got to think back as to what people were hanged for at Nuremberg and Tokyo. And once you think back, the question doesn’t even require a moment’s waste of time. For example, one general at the Tokyo trials, which were the worst, General Yamashita, was hanged on the grounds that troops in the Philippines, which were technically under his command (though it was so late in the war that he had no contact with them — it was the very end of the war and there were some troops running around the Philippines who he had no contact with), had carried out atrocities, so he was hanged. Well, try that one out and you’ve already wiped out everybody. “

I think Chomsky should stick to linguistics and avoid politics as his judgements are often simplistic, trite and other worldly.

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11/03/2011 at 01:38