Eviction, deportation and fairtrade


by Sunny
24th May, 2006 at 3:06 pm    

Just a quick roundup. Anti-war protestor Brian Haw was evicted by 25 police officers in the middle of the night, BBC reports. [via MatGB] This is a bloody outrage. Tim Ireland has more. Also covered by Peter Black and Cllr Aylin. Protests are planned.

Meanwhile, the government is trying to deport British citizen Saqib Almas back to Pakistan because he has dual-nationality. [via Lenin]

Lastly, Supersaps finds out that London Mayor Ken Livingstone is trying to make the city into a Fairtrade Town.


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  1. mirax — on 24th May, 2006 at 4:30 pm  

    So how did the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, its intent (accoding to the BBC) clearly being Mr Haw’s removal, get passed? Where was the protest then?

  2. Roger — on 24th May, 2006 at 4:55 pm  

    SOCA is almost entirely concerned with serious organised crime. It created a Serious Organised Crime agency- the “British FBI”-and changed the police’s powers of arrest a little.
    As an afterthought it also banned public demonstrations within one mile of parliament unless they had the prior permission of the commissioner of Metropolitan Police.
    In short, Mr Haw is as big a threat to British society- or Mr Blair’s self-esteem- as the mafia or the triads.

  3. Roger — on 24th May, 2006 at 5:12 pm  

    I think the plan to deport Mr almas is almost certainly a cock-up, not a plot. If he’s a British citizen he can’t be deported. Mind you, some of the eighteenth century transportation acts could still be in force…

  4. Refresh — on 24th May, 2006 at 5:14 pm  

    Sunny, Thanks for raising these very serious issues.

    Deporting someone with dual-nationality takes us into a frightening arena.

    It really does undermine any safety a dual national can expect from their state(s). Imagine Pakistan, India or any other country in turn deporting people from over there to here.

  5. sonia — on 24th May, 2006 at 5:17 pm  

    golly gosh! poor brian..this needs to be headline news!

  6. sonia — on 24th May, 2006 at 5:21 pm  

    Brian hasn’t been evicted though..

  7. sonia — on 24th May, 2006 at 5:24 pm  

    “If he’s a British citizen he can’t be deported.”

    ? have you never heard of ‘taking away’ citizenship – any nation-state reserves the right to ‘strip’ an individual of citizenship. oh yes…after all, we are reminded that we are ‘lucky’ and ‘favoured’ that a great nation-state has decided to include us in its membership. and they can revoke that right if they so choose.

  8. sonia — on 24th May, 2006 at 5:26 pm  

    refresh – it highlights the dodgy nature of the nation-state fullstop.

    whilst people who don’t have dual nationality are probably ‘unlikely’ to have their citizenship taken away, theoretically it is still possible. if you piss the ‘state’ off enough – its the ultimate power they have over us.

  9. sonia — on 24th May, 2006 at 5:27 pm  

    i’ve noticed not too many people ( or try no-one) has much to say about my ideas about nation-states.

  10. Roger — on 24th May, 2006 at 5:40 pm  

    Can you deprive someone of their citizenship under British law? I think that if someone gained British citizenship under false pretences or illegally they are deemed never to have been a British citizen, but I don’t think you can be deprived of British citizenship once you’ve got it legally, no matter what you do. Countries that don’t permit dual nationality do automatically strip people of citizenship if they become citizens of another country but thast doesn’t apply here. What happens if both Britain and Pakistan strip him of citizenship- endlessly shuttling between the two countries?
    There’s only been ten minutes since you posted sonia- give people time to notice what you’ve written.

  11. mirax — on 24th May, 2006 at 5:49 pm  

    >>i’ve noticed not too many people ( or try no-one) has much to say about my ideas about nation-states.

    Sorry but what exactly are these ideas? World government (I used to be quite susceptible to this one being an ex- Bahai)? An neo-colonial empire or caliphate? Personal fiefdoms? An extension of the EU and other regional arrangements?

  12. sonia — on 24th May, 2006 at 5:49 pm  

    sorry roger this isnt a ‘real-time’ back and forth ill write down what i think quickly and the rest of you have endless amounts of time to pore over.!!

    re: your questions -the person would become stateless that’s what. and well britain generally doesn’t go around doing unpleasant things to people that would result them in being stateless. ditto other countries. that wasn’t my point though – my point is that the nation-state has the right.

  13. sonia — on 24th May, 2006 at 5:54 pm  

    mirax – my ideas were simple in that nation-states perpetuate inequality and foil global human rights. i didn’t say i had a solution! but until we all acknowledge the problem there isn’t much point bleating about ‘oh why are there so many problems in the world’

  14. Kismet Hardy — on 24th May, 2006 at 6:09 pm  

    Now you all understand how poor Shahbaz feels

  15. mirax — on 24th May, 2006 at 6:22 pm  

    >>my ideas were simple in that nation-states perpetuate inequality and foil global human rights.

    That is a very broad (and meaningless) statement Sonia, you need to flesh out the reasoning behind such a statement before anyone responds to it seriously.

    >> if you piss the ’state’ off enough – its the ultimate power they have over us.

    Being stateless is not the worst fate that can befall a person (pls notice that this is NOT meant as excuse for Mr Almas’sudden loss of civil rights). Isn’t the death penalty the ultimate state sanction?

    All human societies and groupings have the ‘casting out’ option -it is the logical corollary of being a ‘group’ in any form. Families disown kids, religions excommunicate apostates, clans/tribes literally kick you off the land.

    What I would ask for is that the casting out option is not arbitrary (adherence to rule of the law and due process)nor life threatening.

  16. leon — on 24th May, 2006 at 7:57 pm  

    Sonia, if I’m reading you right you’re plainly talking about some form of [social] libertarianism (sometimes called Anarchism). For those that find Sonias words a little unclear a good starting place is Noam Chomsky: http://www.chomsky.info/

    Regarding Brian Haw. This is indeed a fucking outrage but not a surprising one. I expect things like this will increasinly become the norm until we wake up one day and literaly find ourselves in a country not disimilar to V for Vendetta’s.

    The Blairites and Euston Manifestites must be rubbing their collective hands with glee that another anti war irritation has been disposed of…

  17. John Browne — on 24th May, 2006 at 8:14 pm  

    ASBO culture.

    If someonw has TWO nationalities, and is a criminal in ONE of those nations, Society has the ability to assign that individual (due to his special circumstances) an asbo from ONE of them.

    Seems fair-ish to me….As long as at some point the asbo is ended or it is proved that this person is a career criminal or only had a fake-id in the first place.

    If you make a SPECIAL decision to have two nationalities then nations should also be allowed to make SPECIAL decisions about you otherwise there is no equality in this arrangement.

    John

  18. Ismaeel — on 24th May, 2006 at 8:14 pm  

    Sonia,
    the imposition of the nation-state on much of africa and asia has been responsible for many of the ills of the last century especially for those people whose nation do not form a majority anywhere- like the Kurds for instance. The creation of Israel was partly a reaction to the sudden need for nations to have states. The chaos that nation states has created in Africa needs not much elabaoration but look at Rwanda and the Congo.

  19. Zak — on 24th May, 2006 at 8:41 pm  

    A lawyer friend of mine who studied immigration law once told me never to take dual nationality because the states obligation to me reduces..

  20. John Browne — on 24th May, 2006 at 8:49 pm  

    Zak,
    EXACTLY. You are giving yourself “pooled” nationality, you are making youself into a MINI-EU.

    Even though Brits are, in a sense, pooled-germans (via EU), the Germans will DEPORT UK football hooligans back to England (even though the Brits are, in a sense part-german via the EU).

    Dual nationality is very similiar IMHO.

    John

  21. Amir — on 24th May, 2006 at 9:26 pm  

    Sunny
    I disagree entirely with what the police are doing to Brian Haw (another example of oppressive state power under New Labour). And I’d support any appeal on his behalf that’s forthcoming.

    And yet – if I’m entirely honest with myself – I have no sympathy whatsoever. Brian Haw is one of the most loathsome, hypocritical, and ill-informed pacifists I’ve ever had the displeasure of hearing. For instance, one of the badges on his cap says this:

    (I) Keep my Muslim neighbours safe

    Piffle. This is the man who gets all high-and-mighty about the welfare of Iraq’s people in the vortex of violence (and every death is painful tragedy) – but curiously enough, a majority of these brave Iraqis supported Bush’s war in the first place!? I don’t recall Brian Haw protesting against the monstrous brutality of Saddam’s regime (or celebrating its removal). Imprisonment, exile, torture, rape, disfigurement, amputation, execution, and forced cannibalism – the list of the horrors experienced by Iraqis at the hands of the Ba’athist regime goes on. The thousands buried, sometimes alive, in mass graves; the barbaric tortures involving acid baths and wood chippers, electricity, power tools, and ravenous dogs.

    In any case, why should it matter that they’re ‘Muslim neighbours’? What about other religious and non-religious groups that live in the Middle East, Asia, the Caucasus, and the horn of Africa? To quote something that my father used to say: ‘A fool is a fool whether he’s an Arab or a Jew. A victim is a victim whether he’s a Muslim or a Christian.’ Haw’s stupidity panders to the basest form of ‘worthy’ and ‘unworthy’ victims, good guys and bad guys, black hats and white hats. It’s the fact that they’re ‘human’, not Muslim, which counts. At any rate, if Brian actually cared about his Muslim neighbours he would have supported the interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan – which he didn’t. Remember this… selective blindsight is always politically motivated.

    (II) What gives them the legal right to remove 40 metres of evidence of genocide

    Okay, Brian. Are you referring to Noam Chomsky’s imaginary genocide of 4 million Afghans in Afghanistan, or are we talking here about a ‘real’ genocide? Ya’ know,… the Al-Anfal Campaign of the 1980’s or Saddam’s ecocide against the Marsh Arabs? Maybe you’re referring to mass purges against Shia Iraqis before (and after) the Persian-Gulf war? One mass grave near Hilla may contain as many as 30,000 bodies. Or maybe you’re referring to those poor Iraqi and Iranian conscripts who were gassed during the Iran-Iraq war? How many of those ‘heroic’ placards of yours are directed against the violence wielded by the cells of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the militias of Muqtada as-Sadr, or foreign jihadists from Iran, Syria, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia? Not one, eh? Cos, ya know, Bush is no.1 terrorist in the world [sarcasm].

    (III) They have left me with just one placard. All of my personal belongings have been taken and dumped in a container along with nearly all the displays…They have completely destroyed all the expressions of people who opposed the war in Iraq

    If Brian Haw wasn’t such a contemptible man, I’d be angry. But my anger is mitigated by the fact that he is a contemptible human being (ditto in the case of David Irving). Leaving aside his obvious self-pity (‘true’ revolutionaries (i.e. the Suffragettes), by the way, never wallow in their own self-pity), I’d like to ask him a pertinent question: If you were arrested in Saddam’s Iraq, or today’s Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt – how, in your opinion, would you be treated? In pre-war Iraq, the Republican Guard would tie you to a chair or hang you from the wall with meathooks, thrash your body in the most sensitive of areas (testicles, kidneys, ribs, jaw), and keep you awake for hours and hours upon end. You’d be deprived of food, water, and medicine, left to fester in your own blood, sweat, and urine. The guards would then proceed to rape you (continuously) in the tightest orifice, causing you to bleed extensively (via the ripped anal tissue). After constant verbal abuse and questioning about your family, friends, and ‘co-conspirators’, they might then decide to attach electrodes to your gentiles or, perhaps, insert sharp vines under your fingernails. The pain is, so I’m told, unbearable. The screaming of a tortured man/woman is un-human. Literally… un-human. I once spoke to an Iraqi ex-pat, and he told me… ‘it’s like a squealing pig spliced with a baboon. Crank up the volume by 1000 decibels’. If Brian Haw tried to plead with his captors about the virtuousness of pacifism, his captors would laugh in his face and then beat it to a bloody pulp.

    [If you can’t be bothered to read the above, then let me summarise it for you: Brian Haw is a cunt.]

  22. Ravi4 — on 24th May, 2006 at 9:32 pm  

    Sunny – have you got any corroboration for that article from Socialist Worker about the British Citizen being deported? Because it seems really fishy to me. Yet it’s kicked off a major discussion here.

    As far as I know, a UK national can’t be deported. (eg Abu Hamza is not being deported, he’s being extradited) The rules for deprivation of someone’s nationality (which can only be done in REALLY extreme circumstances) and deportation are complex and full of appeals procedures – see:

    http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/ind/en/home/laws___policy/policy_instructions/nis/chapter_55/deprivation_of_citizenship.html

    http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/ind/en/home/laws___policy/immigration_rules/part_13.html

    The Socialist Worker article that you’ve linked to above has NO corroborating information – it’s basically a bald statement of allegations from the sister of the alleged deportee. She doesn’t say anything about the reasons for arrest/deportation. It doesn’t say anything about whether the person went through any of the procedures set out in the legislation.

    If the lady who wrote the article was a “lifetime supporter” of Labour, why didn’t she give her article to the Guardian, Mirror or Independent? all of them would have been very happy to print a story of this sort. Why give her story to SW – the organ of an organization which is currently in league with the Islamst Muslim Brotherhood/MAB? I wouldn’t trust anything put out in this way by SWP without credible corroboration.

    Please show us some corroboration Sunny! If this story is untrue then carrying it on Pickled Politics risks fuelling the very cult of victimhood that you consistently and correctly rail against. (And another reason not to count “Stalin’s Tomb” as a comrade.)

    If the story IS true, then it’s a total disgrace and you guys at PP should do a major campaign on it which we should all join. But is it true? And why isn’t the mainstream (anti-Blair) media running with it?

  23. El Cid — on 24th May, 2006 at 9:35 pm  

    Ha ha. Like your style Amir. Thanks for the summary.

  24. Ravi4 — on 24th May, 2006 at 9:38 pm  

    By the way, please correct the post about Brian Haw. He HASN’T been evicted. But most of his posters have been moved, whch is wrong. It’s a real outrage that Parliament passed this one mile protest exclusion law. Apart from being a bit incoherent (whenever I’ve heard him speak I’ve wondered if he’s got mental issues…), and even though I disagree with him on the Iraq war (albeit with reluctance and uncertainty), Haw seems totally harmless to me and he should be let alone.

  25. Sid — on 24th May, 2006 at 9:44 pm  

    Amir

    Good hotblooded stuff. But you’re not suggesting that because Mr Haw doesn’t protest against the Al-Anfal campaign and the Marsh Arabs genocide, he condones them., are you? You’re presuming a lot about the man to be calling him a “cunt” if you are.

    I don’t see any Pro-war demonstrators do what Mr Haw has done to protest against al-Anfal and the Marsh Arabs genocide either. Could they too be “cunts”?

  26. Amir — on 24th May, 2006 at 10:00 pm  

    Sid
    Yes, some pro-war people are cunts. And hypocrites. But not me (I’ve been involved with Kurdish groups for nearly four years now). I hope Saddam Hussein gets to hear his throat snap (crackk!) as he’s hung in Baghdad. Not a scintilla of sympathy from me. 8)

    The fact that these people are planning a ‘protest’ on Brian Haw’s behalf demonstrates the contemptible egoism of the anti-war movement. If they had any dignity whatsoever, they’d use this time to do something for Iraqis themselves: support women’s organisations, trade unions, NGOs, raising money for Iraqi charities, campaign on behalf of the Turkmen, protest against those murdering, thieving Jihadists (euphemistically labelled ‘insurgents’), etc. But, no, no… in their twilight battle against Dick Cheney and President Bush, they continue to act in this puerile fashion. I mean, let’s be honest… it’s not like the US invaded Switzerland, is it? Baghdad was hardly Belgium! Regardless of one’s thoughts about the wisdom of regime change, we should – as a matter of basic principle – unite with Iraqis in their quest for a stable, democratic polity. This is a horrible world. And horribly, it will take more blood and treasure to secure a brighter future for Iraq’s children.

  27. Ravi4 — on 24th May, 2006 at 10:15 pm  

    So here we are, back in Iraq. It’s the real elephant in the room of progressive politics.

    Amir, your last two sentences are spot on. (I sympathise with the rest of that para, but I just can’t bring myself to be quite as certain as you are…)

  28. Sid — on 24th May, 2006 at 10:27 pm  

    Amir

    If you’re worried about the Haw protests and the antiWarOrg protesting Haw’s right to protest, you’re doing a disservice a basic democratic right: protest. Besides, why does NooLabour and Prowar people complain if Mr Haw gets a little in the way of “oxygen of publicity” when you “remove “placards”? Either legislate him off the streets or ban the guy – whats with running off with his placards?

  29. Don — on 24th May, 2006 at 10:38 pm  

    How many people would ever have seen those placards?

    How many are now aware of them only because of attempts to silence Mr Haw?

    I’ve been trying to see intelligence, or at least low cunning, in the governments tactics. But it just keeps adding up to stupid.

  30. Sid — on 24th May, 2006 at 10:43 pm  

    Amir

    If you’re also worried about “these people” – and I presume you meant anti-War types – not celebrating the rise of a healthy democracy in Iraq – then you are also plain wrong. We are anti-War but now that thats over the real war is giving Iraqi people create a stable and healthy representative democracy.

    Don’t you think its now imperative for Blair and Bush, rather than the private citizens of the decidely manky AntiWar movement, to show the world instances of real growth and capacity building in post-Saddam Iraq? I don’t see shit about real life stories, as you’ve mentioned: “support women’s organisations, trade unions, NGOs, raising money for Iraqi charities, campaign on behalf of the Turkmen”.

    In regard to working for a brighter future for Iraq, I would urge folks to support Basra Oil Workers Union

    Other suggestions on other Unions/Organisations in Iraq would be welcome.

  31. Amir — on 24th May, 2006 at 10:57 pm  

    Sid, re-read my first paragraph. I disagree with what the police are doing.

    But at the end of the day, Brian Haw is a cunt: placard or no placard. The anti-war movement’s priorities should lie with the welfare of the Iraqi people (well, I say ‘should’).

    If people want justice for poor old Brian, then you guys/gals should use Shami Chakrabarti at Liberty, or holler the Lib Dems and Tories to take up the case in Parliament. Or even better: vote Tory next election for a minimal state and no more silly anti-terror laws.

    Save the protests for Muqtada as-Sada and Musab al-Zaraqawi. But wait… Salma Yaqoob and George Galloway actually support these murderers, don’t they?

  32. Katy Newton — on 24th May, 2006 at 11:01 pm  

    I am annoyed about the Brian Hawes thing. I object to the concept of a permit to protest on state-imposed conditions. He wasn’t committing any offences, or stopping anyone from entering the square or going about their daily business, and he should have been left to get on with it. Whatever you might think of his political views, the public places in Britain belong to the public, not the government, and if the public wants to use them to mount a peaceful protest the state should not be able to stop them or cut their protest back.

  33. Ravi4 — on 24th May, 2006 at 11:04 pm  

    Sid – what do you really think would happen if US/UK etc forces pulled out of Iraq now as the Basra Union wants? Do you really think there’d be immediate peace? Or reduction in violence? Most violence now is not even directed at the occupation forces. Even those who are against occupation in Iraq still seem to rely on the US forces for security. See Ghaith Abdul-Ahad’s excellent most recent article

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,1779418,00.html

    I don’t know why the Basra union wants US/UK forces out now. I don’t know if they’ve got any connection with eg the Sadrists, who’d be pretty well placed to fight the kind of all out civil war which an immediate withdrawal might see. Maybe that’s what Iraq will go through in the end. But at the moment, in spite of all its incompetence and the continuing brutality, I can’t see how the occupation can responsibly be brought to an end now.

    PS – Iraq’s oil has NOT been privatized yet. Iraq’s constitution guarantees that Iraqi oil must remain in Iraqi hands. If the Iraqi Govt does decide to allow private foreign investment in their oil industry, they’d be putting their industry on the same footing as the oil industries of all rich Western countries (as well as Russia).

  34. Amir — on 24th May, 2006 at 11:05 pm  

    Katy,
    According to Ravi, Mr. Haw has not been evicted. He’s only had his posters moved.

  35. Sunny — on 24th May, 2006 at 11:10 pm  

    We’re in danger of getting into silly discussion territory. It doesn’t matter what Brian Haw’s politics are or whether he supported or opposed Saddam Hussain. What matters here is that the state is trying to erode our right to protest. That is a fundamental attack on democracy let alone anything else.

    No wonder poor Shabaz from Big Brother wanted to kill himself. It’s just not right.

    Ravi4 – No I don’t have corrobarating evidence for the SW article, but I’ll keep an eye on it and keep you guys posted. Or our readers can do that.

    You’re right in that we don’t want to perpetuate victimhood but we also need to highlight stories where the government is infringing on our rights as British citizens.

  36. Ravi4 — on 24th May, 2006 at 11:14 pm  

    If you follow the link, the BBC article is pretty clear that it’s Haw’s placards, not his person, that’s been shifted. There are apparently conditions to his demonstration set by the Police. I still think they should let him alone though – shambling ill-informed borderline whacko that he is.

    And that’s me done for tonight.

  37. Sid — on 24th May, 2006 at 11:15 pm  

    And in any case, protesting the removal of the right to protest should never be seen as perpetuating victimhood.

  38. Katy Newton — on 24th May, 2006 at 11:19 pm  

    Amir – I know, baby. But it had been going at the size that it was for years and had caused no one any harm once they’d taken his megaphone away.

    Even I thought the megaphone was a bit much.

  39. Katy Newton — on 24th May, 2006 at 11:21 pm  

    To clarify, that was “baby” as in “sweetie”, not “baby” as in “you are an infant under 2″.

  40. Sid — on 24th May, 2006 at 11:22 pm  

    are you sure?

  41. Amir — on 24th May, 2006 at 11:30 pm  

    Well Katie,
    [Joe Tribiani gaze] How you doin’?

    Sid – LOL :-)

  42. John Browne — on 24th May, 2006 at 11:36 pm  

    Talking about evictions,
    I’ve been looking at the money side of Big Brother.
    Tonights show had 27 advertisrs!
    Thats a lot of dosh.
    (I put all the names on my blog in case anyone whats to try and work out the profile of the average viewer by the average advertiser: it appears to be a trend towards adverts aimed at young men: phones, sony, DVDs, cars, FKC
    etc)… Weird that as I thought it would be more a teen girl program.

  43. Sunny — on 24th May, 2006 at 11:41 pm  

    Amir – attacking his politics or calling him names is typical of a smear campaign to distract from the real issue at hand.
    You keep talking about consistency – then be consistent in how you think the law should be applied.

  44. Amir — on 24th May, 2006 at 11:56 pm  

    I am consistent.

    But that doesn’t mean, mutatis mutandis, I have to like the guy, agree with his politics, or stop myself from pointing out the obvious: that the man is a bleeding hypocrite – which he is.

    Ditto in the case of David Irving. I was outraged by Austria’s decision to imprison him, but – at the same time – I enjoyed the mocking of his right-wing politics and historical ‘revisionism’ (aka Holocaust denial ) on Question Time.

  45. Katy Newton — on 24th May, 2006 at 11:58 pm  

    I will not hear a word against Amir, who appears to have marvellous taste in women.

    *fiddles coyly with hair*

  46. Sunny — on 25th May, 2006 at 12:01 am  

    Heh Katy.

    Amir – there is no comparison with David Irving.

  47. Amir — on 25th May, 2006 at 12:17 am  

    Sunny – no, there isn’t. Sorry. Irving is beyond contempt.

    Katy – ‘Marvellous’ is an underestimation of gross proportions,… don’t be so modest (fiddling with his packet of zig-zags coyly)

  48. Jay Singh — on 25th May, 2006 at 12:24 am  

    So a guy holding up placards against the war in Westminster is on a moral level with a Holocaust denier and Nazi apologist?

  49. Sid — on 25th May, 2006 at 12:27 am  

    not to mention a cunt ;-)

  50. Amir — on 25th May, 2006 at 12:29 am  

    Jay Singh, I never said that.

    I was criss-crossing to a recent example of illiberal state power (not proposing some dismal moral equivalence).

    But it was wrong, in any case, to mention Irving in the same breath as Mr. Haw – as much as I revile Mr. Haw.

  51. raz — on 25th May, 2006 at 12:29 am  

    Katy: *fiddles coyly with hair*

    *raz gets excited*

  52. BevanKieran — on 25th May, 2006 at 12:42 am  

    One fact that is not made obvious from the coverage of Brian Haw was the reason he began his protest; the effect of sanctions on Iraq. Though it might be argued why did he not protest earlier (Albright’s “worth it” pronouncement on the death of half million Iraqi was made back in 1998(I think)), he was a feature of an anti-sanctions movement which never got off the ground in comparison to the anti-war movement. As late as the Feburary
    2003 march claims for “Stop the War, End Sanctions” rather than “Stop the War, Free Palestine” were ignored. Though I disagree with most of his opinions, in particular the seamless transition from vociferous anti-sanction to anti-war position, his removal is a disgrace. I thought a loud nuisance outside Parliament had some metaphorical value: that the “people” were always, in some shape or form, had the liberty to protest close to the corridors of power.

    OT

    On BB, anyone else found the repeated description in the press (self) of Shabbaz as a “wacky, Paki poof” a little irritating. It reminds me of the racism by proxy this fat shite used to use at school, you know, like French for packet, pacquet (repeated many times during class).

    Jay, you enquired about Matisyahu a few weeks ago. He is awesome (best gig I have ever been to), stuff the Hari article, go out and buy his album, now!

  53. Amir — on 25th May, 2006 at 12:51 am  

    BevanKieran,
    The Hari article was perniciously misleading in any case (and I’m a huge fan of Johann’s).

    Matisyahu is amazing. Pure magic.

  54. Jay Singh — on 25th May, 2006 at 12:54 am  

    Bevan

    I downloaded his album. Some really good tracks. Somehow, hassidic roots reggae seems like the most natural thing in the world.

  55. Katy Newton — on 25th May, 2006 at 1:00 am  

    Should I admit that I had never heard of Matisyahu until I started reading this blog?

    No. No, I probably shouldn’t.

  56. BevanKieran — on 25th May, 2006 at 1:07 am  

    True Amir and Jay

    I might to wait till the weekend thread to ramble on endlessly about Matisyahu. However, I think Hari is less willing than many other non-religous people (myself included) to appreciate religously imbued music, art, architecture etc in spite of the prejudices that were alluded to in his article.

    The fact that N-Fat agreed with the fatwa on Salman Rushdie doesn’t make his music less wonderful, and racist statements by Eric Clapton and Bluetones aren’t gonna stop me appreciating their music. (Stuff Clapton but Bluetones were brilliant back in the heady, coke*-filled days of “Britpop”.)

    *Coco-Cola, I was 15.

  57. BevanKieran — on 25th May, 2006 at 1:11 am  

    On Thread

    Obviously, the Fairtrade stuff is a good idea, but how many PP’rs buy fair trade stuff. I admit I don’t.

  58. BevanKieran — on 25th May, 2006 at 1:36 am  

    From the article, fairtrade seems to be gain some momentum. There is one anniversary next year that might push the fairtrade agenda ahead. It will be 200 years since the abolition of the British slave trade. The bicentennial, if it is to be commemorated properly, should give some impetus to campaigns such Fairtrade and/or tackling modern-day slavery. The campaign for the abolition of slavery involved boycotting sugar from the slave plantations. Awareness of the conditions of slavery prompted this action. I think faced with similar “health warnings” (analogous to cigarette packets; food parcels may be labelled as bluntly,”the farmer who produced the ingredients for this produce wasn’t paid enough to send his children to school”) would encourage the shift.

  59. Sunny — on 25th May, 2006 at 1:36 am  

    I buy fairtrade when I have the dollars, so there. Always fairtrade bananas, I try and stick to that at least. I don’t really drink coffee.

  60. Amir — on 25th May, 2006 at 1:40 am  

    Sunny, you are bananas! :-)

    Katy – I bet you like Norah Jones. You seem to be that type of gal?

  61. Katy Newton — on 25th May, 2006 at 3:09 am  

    Someone tagged me for a meme about music recently and I’ve been trying to do it all evening, but I’m only allowed 10 tracks and I keep changing my mind. I do quite like Norah Jones, although I also think there are lots of Norah Joneses around (Kate Melua and Madeleine Peyroux as well).

    I do also like the odd bit of reggae, I just have this weird mental block about a frum Jewish bloke doing it. Must get over that, it’s the sort of thing that would really annoy me if someone who wasn’t Jewish said it.

  62. Kismet Hardy — on 25th May, 2006 at 5:49 am  

    Is there a fairtrade version of poppies?

    Now that the Americans disposed of the Taliban (who deemed the growing of poppies un-islamic) and the mafia are forcing one in eight people to be involved in the opium industry and bullying farmers to grow poppy instead of rice (much like the British Raj did in Bengal) and killing their children if they don’t, what I want to know is this:

    Can I get my heroin fairly and squarely?

  63. Vikrant — on 25th May, 2006 at 6:46 am  

    One less hippy in Westminster whats the big deal??

    They might as well deport that Israeli guy who has been outside the parliament for over 5 years…

  64. Vikrant — on 25th May, 2006 at 6:47 am  

    Or did they remove the Israeli as well?

  65. Rakhee — on 25th May, 2006 at 10:36 am  

    Katy / Amir / Jay, have read rave reviews about Matisyahu though haven’t been exposed to his music yet. Maybe one for the weekend. http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/music/articles/22674028?source=Evening%20Standard

    Amir – I’m upset. What happened to my poems? Such a blog tease.

  66. Chris Stiles — on 25th May, 2006 at 11:54 am  


    But not me (I’ve been involved with Kurdish groups for nearly four years now).

    In which it’s in order to ask you how old you really are – not out of malice, but purely in order to establish how far back your credentials of being a staunch anti-Saddamist actually go. And presumably you’d like to add a rider stating that you are a pro-democrat, given that the two main Kurdish factions in Iraq are fairly non-democratic. [We shall ignore for a moment the fact that your Kurdish groups might only have a tenuous link with either of them].

    That’s the reductio ad absurdum of that approach – and only serves the bury the real issue under a stream of ad-hominem insults, Yalta versus Prague, etc. In any case, most people are uninformed most of the time, and sudden epiphanies are allowable.

    [Also ignoring for a moment the possibility that I might actually agree with you re Brian Haw - even if it doesn't make him, in my opinion, a part of female anatomy].

  67. StrangelyPsychedelic — on 25th May, 2006 at 4:36 pm  

    Havn’t been able to read most of the comments here but I spoke with Brian Haw and Co. the day of the removal operation, they had quite a few student sympathisers paying them visits and there were a few hangers on, I expected more crews from the anti war brigade to be turning up.

    I did hear a few folks praising the actions of the police – they were rather well heeled civil servanty types going ‘the whole charade was allowed to go on for far too long! ‘ etc

    The police presence was amusing – transit vans parked all over the place with regular armed police drivebys. Some of the younger officers in their vehicles did pass the odd remark as they drove past….hmmmmmmmmm

    The word ‘Nazi’ was used quite liberally too. Whats new eh!

  68. StrangelyPsychedelic — on 25th May, 2006 at 4:37 pm  

    They might as well deport that Israeli guy who has been outside the parliament for over 5 years…

    I photographed this dude too – will post a link to the photos when I have the time.

  69. MatGB — on 26th May, 2006 at 1:01 am  

    Re the apparent deportation, I haven’t seen corroboration either, but that it’s possible bothers me. Re stripping of citizenship? Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill, SpyBlog covered it briefly last year, very worrying. Dual citizenship would mean you can be stripped of British citizenship at the whim of the Home Secretary. Can’t find a timetable to see where it’s got to in the House though, if anyone finds something give us a shout?

    Katy? Behave yourself girl, I dunno.

  70. Amir — on 27th May, 2006 at 12:40 am  

    Rakhee, my sweet
    All you had to do was ask:

    [cough, cough...]

    Rakhee, you killed me with your beauty
    As I spied on you from a tree
    Looking at your figure in the conservatory
    Your sari was see-through, fortunately for me!

    Rakhee, you excite me with your bootie
    Wagging it hither and thither like a tamboroonie
    Big, bouncy, and curvy
    Just like the Conservative Party

    Amir

  71. Amir — on 27th May, 2006 at 12:50 am  

    Rakhee, don’t get mad with me
    Blame society
    The police call it a ‘restraining order,’ but I call it ‘love’
    Between you and me, Rakhee

  72. Sajn — on 27th May, 2006 at 10:27 am  

    “Yes, some pro-war people are cunts. And hypocrites. But not me (I’ve been involved with Kurdish groups for nearly four years now). I hope Saddam Hussein gets to hear his throat snap (crackk!) as he’s hung in Baghdad. Not a scintilla of sympathy from me.”

    This begs the question of why you didn’t get involved with the Kurdish groups in 1988 when they were gassed? Similarly why did the pro-war group wait for so many years before they decided that Saddam had to be removed?

  73. mirax — on 27th May, 2006 at 12:57 pm  

    >This begs the question of why you didn’t get involved with the Kurdish groups in 1988 when they were gassed?

    …on account of being in kindergarten then? Your questions are not very reasonable ones, S.

  74. Amir — on 27th May, 2006 at 5:45 pm  

    Sajn
    I’m 22 years old – meaning, that in 1988, I was 4. Unfortunately, at this time, I was too busy watching Postman Pat and Danger Mouse to care about the horrible realities of the Al-Anfal campaign (such is the blissful ignorance of young children).

    Similarly why did the pro-war group wait for so many years before they decided that Saddam had to be removed?

    What do you mean by ‘the pro-war group’? Are you referring to Norman Geras, David T, Harry Hatchet, Christopher Hitchens, Nick Cohen, or David Aaronovitch? I’m sorry to brake this to you, but these people are writers, academics, and lawyers – not Presidents or Prime Ministers. They do not pull the rickety strings of foreign policy (unless, that is, you believe that Zionists control the world).

    Amir

  75. Roger — on 27th May, 2006 at 6:08 pm  

    Well- as someone who wasn’t a member of the pro-war group- I’m not biased in their favour and I think the prowar group of writers and polemicists only started supporting Saddam’s overthrow out loud when it looked as if they’d persuade governments to do it and governments only decided to do so when they’d convinced themselves that no-one else in Iraq would, that Saddam was a real and continuing threat and that it wouldn’t have even worse results if they overthrew him.

  76. Sajn — on 28th May, 2006 at 3:04 pm  

    “…on account of being in kindergarten then? Your questions are not very reasonable ones, S.”

    My bad, I just assumed that he was a bit older from some of his comments.

  77. Sajn — on 28th May, 2006 at 3:07 pm  

    By the “pro-war” group I mean all of those that supported the invasion of Iraq including the politicians and writers that you mention. Yes, some of them are not “decision makers” but they do influence public opinion. Why has Saddam become such an evil man over the last 15-16 years when he killed or was responsible for many more deaths in the 10 years prior to that?

  78. Sajn — on 28th May, 2006 at 3:09 pm  

    Roger Saddam could and probably would have been overthrown after the first Gulf “War” if the West had been consistent and honest.

  79. Roger — on 29th May, 2006 at 11:20 am  

    Could, yes. Should is another matter. The US encouraged Iraqis to overthrow Saddam after the first war. The Iraqi army and security forces stayed loyal to Saddam and massacred tens of thousands of rebels.For years afterwards the USA encouraged everyone who rebelled against Saddam- including “plots” invented by saddam’s own agents. At the same time Saddam outmanouevred the USA in propaganda and made the US, the UN and official sanctions carry the blame for Saddam’s own refusal to allow food and medicine to the Iraqi people. After the WTC attacks Bush and his advisers seem to have convinced themselves that Saddam and bin Laden were connected and allied and the rest followed.
    As for the toleration extended to Saddam before the invasion of Kuwait, I think that was partly because he might have been a bastard but he was a bastard with – apparently- purely local ambitions, mainly because the soviet Union still existed and extended toleration and protection to him. Possibly the USSR advised Saddam on what he could and couldn’t get away with as well.

  80. Sajn — on 29th May, 2006 at 4:58 pm  

    Which basically confirms what I have been trying to say. The whole invasion and it’s justification have nothing to do with Saddam was doing to Iraq and it’s people but all about western political and economic interests.

  81. Roger — on 30th May, 2006 at 12:24 pm  

    The problem with your argument, Sajn, is that if that were the case, why didn’t the US do with Saddam as they did wigh Ghadaffy- announce that all was forgiven and leave him in charge? I think that the US government actually convinced themselves that Saddam was a genuine threat, so dangerous that he had to be overthrown by direct intervention.

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