Thursday, August 31, 2006

Crimes against Peace

I'm reading a compelling book called Eichmann in Jerusalem. Extremly apt for modern times on many levels not least the Bush administration as totalitarian regime, and the problems of current political systems with their Leviathan soul's which put the power of millions of people into single individuals. However the point i learnt at the end i did no know before concerns Crimes against peace. One hears of crimes against humanity - Rwanda, the Balkans and currently in Dafur, but crimes against peace is not something often put out there. Yet it is an international law inacted at the sametime as the crimes against humanity, both were incoporated at the International Military Tribunal in London in 1946. Article 6 reads: 6(a) Crimes against peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing "

"Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan."

The tribunal at the time called it the 'supreme international crime. '
In a world increasingly prone to premptive strikes i am surprised and concerned this ultimate crime is not spoken of more.

State crimes or crimes against peace by the state Messrs Bush and Blair might say using Hannah Arendt's words "are considered emergency measures, concessions made to the stringencies of Realpolitik, in order to preserve power and thus assure the continuance of the exisiting legal order as a whole." But we know that's bollocks right. Diversions from alternatives and finding new ways to live together. nations, politics, laws, religions all are subjective viewpoints none are neutral.

Trinidad Draft Constitution

Jeremy Taylor over at his blog makes some important comments regarding the future political landscape of Trinidad and Tobago.

"Last week, prime minister Patrick Manning presented Trinidad and Tobago's parliament with a new draft constitution. A discussion document, he said, though it's one he clearly wants to move quickly on, with a government "Green Paper" ready by the end of the year.

So far there hasn't been much public reaction, or even much public interest. But there are some very strange things in this draft, which would have the effect of increasing the power of the country's political leader at the expense of the judiciary and the parliament. Since the parliament long ago conceded its power to the political directorate, and the judiciary's standing and independence have already been severely eroded by two governments, this new constitution is not an encouraging prospect."

read more here

Yorke's coming home

Well not home, home, cus that would be tobago. But he's coming back to the land where his football career took off. And he's playing for Sunderland. How's that for silly. But hey the old grenger cums probably aint complaining. Not for 1.5 million a year. Mmmm. more partying for him. He's the only man i've ever seen put a bottle of vodka to his lips and down the whole thing with a open gullet. Inspiriation if ever i've seen it.

there's that smile


Cluster bombing of Lebanon 'immoral' UN official tells Israel

"What's shocking - and I would say to me completely immoral - is that 90% of the cluster bomb strikes occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict, when we knew there would be a resolution," Mr Egeland said. "Every day people are maimed, wounded and are killed by these ordnance."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Iran vs US - Score draw

What do we think about US coverage of Tehran?

is this not a contradiction?

"even as the government grows more authoritarian, it is openly criticized and challenged on its performance."

naomi klien on Katrina

Disaster capitalism: how to make money out of misery

"Here's a snapshot of what could be in store in the not-too-distant future: helicopter rides off rooftops in flooded cities at $5,000 a pop ($7,000 for families, pets included), bottled water and "meals ready to eat" at $50 a head (steep, but that's supply and demand), and a cot in a shelter with a portable shower (show us your biometric ID, developed on a lucrative homeland security contract, and we'll track you down later with the bill).

The model, of course, is the US healthcare system, in which the wealthy can access best-in-class treatment in spa-like environments while 46 million Americans lack health insurance. As emergency-response, the model is already at work in the global Aids pandemic: private-sector prowess helped produce life-saving drugs (with heavy public subsidies), then set prices so high that the vast majority of the world's infected cannot afford treatment."

Bush and his cronies at it again

I've met Venezuelans who don't like Chavez, they say he's started a class war that results in murder. so we can't say he's all good. But Bush is a war monger fullstop, and trying to buy his way into the destablisation of venezuela isn't pretty. Just evil.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Aching on Minshall

"[T]he nation as a whole does not suffer from self-contempt. Lodged somewhere between its desire to distance itself from the lower classes, upon whose cultural production it depends, and to emulate a cosmopolitan elite that invariably reminds it of its location in the third world, only the Creole middle class suffers from a discomfort about its ambivalent position that might resemble what Minshall calls self-contempt." - Gerard Aching

What does it mean when middle-class space grows and takes over social areas, remaking them solely in its image? What does it mask and hide?

has me thinking right now

Friday, August 25, 2006


A friend says to me quoting a line from film Pinero (about the poet/playwright Miguel Pinero: "you know, lately I forget every wonderful thing I want to remember. Things like - things that hapen when you're in a cab or at the doctor, or just walking and watching because that's all you can afford emotionally - and you say, you say, 'i'm gonna remember this and place it where it fits'...I don't know about you, but I always forget them."

It sparks more connections. Im reminded of Walter Benjamin and his pal Hannah Arendt who spoke of the phantasmorgoric and the mode of a storyteller whose real gift is not to reproduce the world as it makes sense, but to make a new world through building it up from the little bits and pieces people often overlook. Life isnt about what makes sense but about what doesnt.

As another friend points out. Any arsehole can see what's in front of their eyes. it takes more to see what's hidden from us. And its those little things we can't hold onto that hold the solution for different times. Instead we walk from here to there pursuing a global system whose only certainties are that it is unsustainable and that it carries us toward our lesser selves.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Savage Minds

Savage Minds is a cool blog written by 7 or 8 Anthropology professors from around the world. Yesterday they had an interesting post about non-infection as a social relation. Their point being that advertising and certain medical campaigns create groups and cohesion between peoples where formally they did not exist. This also means exclusion for others and in the worst cases pariah status - never a good thing. worth a read.

My Lovely Tobago

Now Tobago has always been dear to me - a place i go and have never felt anything else but recharged and wanted. As many diferent spaces collide the one thing i thought would never intersect would be terrorism (defined as people who like to blow up planes, and governments who want to create climates of fear) and Tobago.

But here it is. The gentlemen detained - for what we still don't know, apart from looking Muslim which i believe is now a crime if youre near an airplane - love Tobago too.

"Sarat Menon, a Dutch-speaking Indian who works in Brussels, said he had chatted to the group, all men, in an airport coffee bar before take-off. They told him they had been on holiday in Tobago."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Quotes that stood out to me today

This first one is by Walter Benjamin - one of the most compelling writers i have ever come across. Here he notes the folly of linear progress and a narrative structure which always moves in one direction.

"This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe that keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress." -Walter Benjamin

This second one is by my favourite philospher Gilles Deleuze(who incidentally jumped out of a window and killed himself about 20 yrs ago) and as usual is somewhat convuluted - but that is the purpose to make us try to discover new ways of understanding what he says. The art of philospohy is always about creation, creating new concepts and sometimes these new ways of thinking are the only ways we can understand what we haven't thought yet. Here he's talking about the art of becoming a much clearer understanding of the art of writing if you ask me. Imagination or rather creation is always about change, as Tully always reminds me, so is life too.

`To write is certainly not to impose a form (of expression) on the matter of lived experience...Writing is a question of becoming, always incomplete, always in the midst of being formed, and goes beyond the matter of any liveable or lived experience. Writing is inseparable from becoming: in writing, one becomes-woman, becomes-animal or vegetable, becomes-molecule to the point of becoming-imperceptible.' (Gilles Deleuze, `Literature and Life')

From Anxiety Newsletter

Tony Blair is a crafty bugger

8 August 2006 - Last year, Tony Blair said: "our system starts from the proposition that its duty is to protect the innocent from being wrongly convicted. Don't misunderstand me. That must be the duty of any criminal justice system. But surely our primary duty should be to allow law-abiding people to live in safety. It means a COMPLETE CHANGE OF THINKING." (Our emphasis)

It's true the foundations of the legal system (eg trial by jury) were put in place to protect people from abuses of power. But what does Blair imagine has CHANGED since the system was founded?

He seems to be implying that the threat from crime (but not from authoritarian government) is greater now than at any other time since, presumably, Magna Carta. There's no evidence to support this (even if "terrorism" is included as a subset of crime). On the contrary, scholarly consensus holds that over the long-term, society has become more peaceful, with massive falls in violent crime. For example:

"In Britain the incidence of homicide has fallen by a factor of at least ten to one since the thirteenth century [...] The long-term declining trend evidently is a manifestation of cultural change in Western society." (Ted Robert Gurr, 'Historical Trends in Violent Crimes', 1981)

"Serious interpersonal violence decreased remarkably in Europe between the mid-sixteenth and the early twentieth centuries." (Manuel Eisner, 'Long-Term Historical Trends in Violent Crime', 2003)

"Personal violence - homicide - has declined in Western Europe from the high levels of the Middle Ages. Homicide rates fell in the early modern era and dropped even further in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries." (Eric Monkkonen, 'Homicide: Explaining America's Exceptionalism', 2006)

Missed you

Why hello there blog of mine. Been to the Caribbean for the last month and well - they just dnt have internet access like the London or DC. Anyways, here's some more things to keep our minds fulfilled.

Danah Boyd is a very cool cat doing some important things. Worth checking her pages. Loads of stuff to look at.

Also this article back from Feb 06 in the UK Guardian makes the point we should always remember - It's capitalism or a habitable planet - you can't have both.