America, land of the free?

No. Not really.

A recent trip to America yielded the usual jokes about rendition and being sent to “Guacamole Bay” as one of my mates called it but I was not concerned, that was until I approached the immigration desk and saw that they were taking everyone’s biometric data (retina scans and fingerprinting) I was not amused.

Having never been in trouble I was miffed as to why I, along with the thousands of others, was being arbitrarily finger printed just to enter the land of the free. I entered into a lengthy debate with my immigration officer, my first question being: “Why are you taking my fingerprints?” The answer: “So that we have your prints on record incase anything happens during your stay.”

What happened to being innocent until being proved guilty?

I tried to explain the absurdity that they were taking people’s finger prints on the assumption that they may be a (shh) “terrorist” or a criminal of some sort. Would they then destroy my records if I left the country without incident I asked? “No, we will now have your records on file and so will others.”

So not only do they steal your biometric data but they then palm it off to every man and his dog. If you are concerned about identity fraud and shred your papers on a weekly basis, don’t bother. At the rate they are stealing your information it is already open source.

The lady at the immigration desk was pleasant enough, although she seemed mildly amused at my agitation for having never been in trouble and yet still having to be vetted like a criminal. I asked if she thought it was bad that in the year 2013 we treat everyone as an enemy of the state but she declined to comment.

I tried not to let it sour my experience of what was a relatively pleasant journey (minus the coach ride but that’s another story) and reluctantly put my hand on the scanning device. As I was doing this I wondered how the public have allowed themselves to be railroaded and sleep walked into this 1930’s Germany style security checking. Would these people be as happy to do their finger printing if say they had to get thick black ink on their hands and have it pressed into paper like they did not so many years ago? Probably not. Technology has advanced our lives in so many ways yet at the same time, due to the actions of war criminals and the worst purveyors of violence – our governments, we are having this technology turned against us and the simplicity of it is convincing us it is fine.

People will say if you have nothing to hide then you should have nothing to worry about, that these are fantastic ways of ensuring people are who they say they are and getting their data onto file. If that is the case shall we just start finger printing children when they start school? After all, it is the children that go on to become criminals and “terrorists” when they grow up, so we might was well get them young and get them early! I do not agree with the idea if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about. I feel that is the apologist’s way of bending to the will of the state and justifying blatant, daylight attacks on our liberties.

“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever” ~ George Orwell -1984

boot stamping on a human face forever

MLK had a dream, now I have a nightmare – 2013

Martin Luther King (MLK) spoke of a dream, a dream whereby the content of someones character becomes more important than the colour of their skin. In Washington this week thousands gathered to listen to three Presidents; Carter, Clinton and Obama, along with members of MLK’s family to pay tribute to his speech that has transcended the ages. Unfortunately that dream, regardless of what Obama and Clinton said yesterday, is yet to be realised for billions on this planet, including Americans and of course us Brits.

The ghetto looks the same from the front of the bus and now people are being left behind from all cultures at a phenomenal rate.

We live in a time where a country that supported Saddam Hussein whilst he gassed a million Kurds, selling him chemical weapons, now finds itself prepared to start a war with Syria over an allegation via YouTube that the government used chemical weapons on its own people. Unwilling to wait for a United Nations inspection report, the Nobel Peace Prize winning President Barack Obama, is preparing public opinion and wants to get on with it ahead of his trip to Petersberg on Tuesday for the G20. His lap-dog David Cameron is upset that the opposition, Labour, have vetoed any action until such time as the UN inspectors report has been digested. Labour of course were the puppets in charge when Tony Blair lied through his teeth with Jack Straw and told us Saddam was stock piling Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) and so have steadied the surge for action, conscious of a backlash from the people of the UK for condoning another illegal war. I have a nightmare.

We live in a time where America, the land of the free, use depleted uranium in their munitions that left thousands of Iraqi children deformed and with cancer, they reigned down white phosphorus on  civilians, said nothing when Israel did the same and yet they find the alleged actions of the Syrian regime unacceptable. The Syrian civil war has been waging for over two years and at no time have the American or UK government been interested in anything other than selling arms to a rebel group that has not been properly vetted and that has served only to perpetuate and escalate the war. I have a nightmare.

We live in a time where America, who dropped an atom bomb on the people of Hiroshima just to flex their military might, speak out against the Israeli right to retaliate against indiscriminate bombing, who will now chastise the Syrians when they retaliate to any intervention carried out by the axis of peace. I have a nightmare. We live in a time when Madeline Albright said it was justifiable for the U.S. to be responsible for the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children through sanctions and bombings and now claim to care about Syrian children, I have a nightmare. I have a nightmare of a UK pilot being shot down by Syrian forces using a surface to air missile sold to them by Russia, which will result in ‘boots on the ground’ and the Middle East spontaneously combusting. I have a nightmare. I have a nightmare that Russia and China will take an exception to the world police mobilising to annihilate Assad and will offer their services to stop them. I have a nightmare that Hezbollah will see any action by the West as an act of aggression and that this will result in the Syrian civil war spilling on to the streets of the UK and America. I have a nightmare.

We live in a time where in the UK we have go home vans driving around the streets, 50 years on from the I have a dream speech by MLK in America. The UK has not had a Civil rights struggle the same as America but the cry is the same, we all want to be free. I have a nightmare. I have a nightmare of the black shirts, police, stopping people in the streets and asking them if they have the correct paper work. I have nightmares that doctors will ask to see our paper work to ensure we have the right to medical treatment. I have a nightmare that the fire and ambulance service will end up privatised and we will only receive their help if we have the correct insurances, I have a nightmare.

We live in a time where America and the UK attack China and Russia for vetoing the option for action on Syria until the UN inspectors results are in, when somewhat hypocritically they veto any decisions taken that involve Israel.

We live in a time where Tony Blair, who has the blood of men women and children on his hands, should be arrested for his war crimes but instead has been appointed a Middle East Peace envoy and now we have to listen to him bleat on about how we should resolve the conflict and his talk of intervention. It is like asking a heroin addict for advice on the best way to dispose of methadone. 30-50 people a day dying in bombing incidents Tony Liar, well done!

We live in a time where MLK had a dream but Barack Obama has a drone and they operate out of America, the UK and a host of other airbases across the planet and they kill people indiscriminately without trial. They focus on first responders because they too may be ‘the bad guys’. When it is American or British first responders to scenes of ‘terror’ on our streets, they are commended for their bravery; in Yemen, Pakistan and soon to be Syria, they are regarded as the enemy. I have a nightmare.

MLK’s dream is one that changes with each generation, today we have civil partnerships and gay marriage, or as I like to call it, marriage. I have a dream was a call to mobilise on the back of peaceful direct action and civil disobedience that has been lost in the MTV generation, but it is one that I feel is being slowly regained as more and more people are becoming aware of the deceit and corruption of the power principle personas at the head of our states. If we want freedom to ring across the continents and throughout the ages we must rise up together against the tyranny and corruption of these people in position of influence and stand for each other across the variety of issues that face us all. There are no problems but human problems.

“We can bomb this world to pieces but we cannot bomb it into peace” ~ Michael Franti

The Nuremberg defence, Bradley Manning and the transference of evil

“I was only following orders”, the phrase that was used that many times during the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi officers for war crimes following World War Two that it became known as “The Nuremberg Defense”.

Nuremberg trials defence

That was 1945-1949. Why then in 2013 is Bradley Manning, who at this time has had 1162 days of consecutive detention pending his recent trial, facing a sentence of 136 years. Bradley Manning clearly decided that what he had witnessed working for the American government was not worth following orders, superior orders or any orders and so released ‘some’ documents to Wikileaks.

The prosecution for the Bradley Manning case had a jumped up charge of ‘aiding the enemy ‘ which he was later found not guilty of. They cited the release of this sensitive information as the reason and that the actions of Bradley Manning endangered American lives. They do not however seem to think that the apache attack helicopter murdering children as being a cause for concern or the reckless endangerment of American lives, both military or civilian and least we forget the poor souls of Iraq and Afghanistan who have had our ‘liberation forces’ terrorising them daily since the Bush and Blair lies took us to war in 2002/2003. I do not believe that anyone is born evil, people are products of their environment from the moment they have an environment to be affected, but the despicable acts that are carried out by our governments daily and since the dawn of time can only be described as acts of evil and terror, of which Tony Blair, George Bush and their policy advisors are chief.

Speaking the truth today has now become an almost revolutionary act and we have slept walked into a totalitarian state of Newspeak readers of George Orwell’s Times. The establishment have managed to convince the majority of us that Bradley Manning was wrong, that he broke the law and so deserves every one of his 136 years, we are the self-appointed guardians of the status quo as such. The truth is that as we drift further from the freedoms and the liberties that we have fought for so long, the more those members of the status quo will hate those of us still willing to stand for and protect them and the easier it will be for the establishment to scapegoat and use their transference of evil to punish a 25-year-old man.

Bradley Manning

What Bradley Manning did may not be to everyone’s taste but there is a larger issue here and that is the accountability of the people we elect and the decisions they make on our behalf. In not standing up to them en masse we are as guilty as the soldiers and officers that are “just following orders” and with this we leave a young man, still 25 despite 1162 days of confinement, facing a further 136 years in prison for not following those orders, for standing his ground and governments, responsible for war crimes, being allowed to walk away without a care in the world whilst they plot their invasion and liberation of their next country.