Archive for the ‘American Watch’ Section

Posted on June 21, 2005 in Bush Effect by Andy @ Yellow SwordfishComments Off

Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Phan Van Khai, is to meet the Shrub today in Washington. On the Bush agenda are calls for an improvement in Vietnam’s human rights and religious freedom.

There are estimated to be around 100 religious prisoners in Vietnam jails. New Jersey Republican Christopher Smith said:

There is an incongruity between the “ever-closer” US-Vietnamese relations, and Vietnam’s appalling lack of respect for the basic human rights of its citizens.

Hang on a moment. ‘Lack of respect for the basic human rights of it’s citizens’? ‘100 religious prisoners in jails’. Sounds like Mr. Phan Van Khai should be raising the same issues with the Bush administration’s record.

Posted on June 20, 2005 in Bush Effect by Andy @ Yellow SwordfishComments Off

OsamaThe BBC reports today that CIA director Porter Goss
has told Time magazine that they have an ‘excellent idea’ where Osama Bin Laden is hiding out but has not said when they expect to capture him.

He told Time magazine there were “weak links” in the US-led war on terror. His remarks follow recent US criticism of Pakistan’s role in hunting suspects.

Mr Goss said:

It was unlikely Bin Laden would be brought to justice until “we strengthen all the links” in the chain in the US-led hunt for terror suspects.

“When you go to the very difficult question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you’re dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play.

“We have to find a way to work in a conventional world in unconventional ways that are acceptable to the international community.”

Did he just say ‘international obligation’ and ‘fair play’? Since when has the Shrub and his gang of thugs worried about such diplomatic niceties?

Regardless of whether you believe Osama is the threat or whether he is just the money man, there is no doubt that this guy needs rounding up and rounding up fast. And there hasn’t been much doubt that the Americans have known all along where he has been. Being the cynic that I have become, I’m putting my bets on the Americans ‘capturing’ Bin Laden when the Shrubs popularity rating hits the bottom of the barrel. If he were allowed a third term as President (and I wont get started on that one) then I would bet on a Bin Laden capture of around August 2008.

Photo: AP via the BBC

By the way, the whole ‘Bin Laden and al-Qaeda’ thing was documented brilliantly in the documentary ‘The Power of Nightmares made by Adam Curtis. This should be enforced viewing for all Americans. More information and, I believe, download available at The Internet Archive.

Posted on June 15, 2005 in Bush Effect by Andy @ Yellow SwordfishComments Off

My wife and I have been invited by some American friends to visit and stay with them later this year. I’m a little worried about this and could do with some reassurance. Specifically:

  • Our friend lives in Tennessee and I just learned that lynching is allowed in this state. I read that the Republican Senator, Lamar Alexander thinks it’s OK to form a mob and go and hang someone up. I read that they beat them up first, sometimes castrate them and while they’re hung up, even set fire to them. I wouldn’t want that to happen to me! I guess the fact that I’m white and English might save me. But when I was a student I did share a house with a black guy. And, my God – I just realised that I have a gay nephew. Will I get out of Tennessee in one piece?
  • I need to be blunt here. I’m not a Christian. There I said it. But my wife is a Quaker – does that count? Wasn’t that nice Mr. Nixon a Quaker. And he was a Republican wasn’t he? I know Quakers like to sit in silence and my wife tells me it often lasts for about 18 minutes so that suggests I’m right about him. I don’t have ‘I’m not a Christian’ tattooed on me or anything but it’s easy to tell as I am a tolerant, happy sort of person – a pacifist even. But what happens if I meet a member of the American Taliban that I’ve read so much about? I read all these things they’ve said and it’s pretty scary. I mean, my Mum and Dad remember the Nazi years and this all sounds like Nazi talk to me. I must be wrong because I know America is the land of the free and is strong on liberty and democracy. And that nice Mr. Bush seems so harmless.
  • What if I get suspected as being a terrorist? I know from Fox News that there are thousands of Muslim terrorists stalking the streets of America. And we are thinking of taking in Washington DC. I’m sort of darkish skinned although I tend to wear T-shirst and trainers. I suppose terrorists try to blend in as well don’t they? So perhaps that’s not a good idea. I read about what they do to terrorists at Guantanamo and I don’t want to end up there. I don’t want to get blown up either although I haven’t heard about s single act of terrorism on US soil since 2001. Even Fox News hasn’t reported one I think although I’m sure they’re on the lookout.
  • I understand that I will be photographed and fingerprinted at customs and generally treated like shit. That’s no bother. I’ve landed at Newark airport before.
  • This one may be a problem. I once voted Socialist. Oh of course it doesn’t matter. I wrote about this myself (Why Are These Two Men Holding Hands). I’m forgetting that nice Mr. Bush and our nice Mr. Blair are such good friends. And he’s a Socialist. So I guess I’ll be all right there.

So – given lynch mobs abetted by US Senators; Christian Fundamentalists who want to kill me in most unchristian ways; hordes of Muslim terrorists trying to blow me up; airport security looking for any excuse to refuse me entry; homeland security looking for any excuse to lock me up and torture me; oh yes – and the NRA – is it safe for me and my wife to make a visit?

Posted on May 30, 2005 in Bush Effect by Andy @ Yellow SwordfishComments Off

Us Brits are a bit confused about America today. We still hear the buzzwords like democracy and slogans like land of the free and constitutional rights and we see The Shrub defending freedom and human rights and then we find an interesting article on Wired News: Big Brother Tries to Muscle ISPs which throws us into a state of unbelievable confusion.

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration asked a federal appeals court Friday to restore its ability to compel Internet service providers to turn over information about their customers or subscribers as part of its fight against terrorism.

OK – I can concede that there may be a time when this may seem necessary. But this isn’t really the curious bit. The really Kremlin circa 1968 bit is the NSL. The National Security Letter. This is what gets sent to the ISP demanding they turn over their data. And they are not allowed to tell anyone they have received it! Which means, in effect, they can’t take it to a court for a good public fight.

Except someone did. Who can’t be named. But they won, which is why the Shrub and the KGB – whoops sorry – the FBI – are so upset. So you can see why us Brits, and the rest of the world, are so confused.