:: Thursday, November 27, 2003 ::

Sow War and Reap Terror

This article, in the Asia Times, by K Gajendra Singh, former Indian ambassador to Turkey examines the tangled connections between Islamic extremist groups, Afghan mujahideen and the US, who supported them during the Bosnian war. He looks at the historical links between Turkey and Bosnia and argues that the appalling bombings in Turkey may have their origin with the thousands of fighters who were given a base in Europe.

Sow War and Reap Terror: "During 1992-95, the Pentagon helped with the movement of thousands of mujahideen and other Islamic elements from Central Asia, even some Turks, into Europe to fight alongside Bosnian Muslims against the Serbs.
'It was very important in the rise of mujahideen forces and in the emergence of current cross-border Islamic terrorist groups who think nothing of moving from state to state in the search of outlets for their jihadi mission. In moving to Bosnia, Islamic fighters were transported from the caves of Afghanistan and the Middle East into Europe; from an outdated battleground of the Cold War to the major world conflict of the day; from being yesterday's men to fighting alongside the West's favored side in the clash of the Balkans. If Western intervention in Afghanistan created the mujahideen, Western intervention in Bosnia appears to have globalized it.'
This is a quotation from a Dutch government report after investigations, prepared by Professor C Wiebes of Amsterdam University, into the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995, entitled 'Intelligence and the War in Bosnia', published in April 2002.
It details the secret alliance between the Pentagon and radical Islamic groups from the Middle East and their efforts to assist Bosnia's Muslims. By 1993, a vast amount of weapons were being smuggling through Croatia to the Muslims, organized by 'clandestine agencies' of the US, Turkey and Iran, in association with a range of Islamic groups that included the Afghan Mujahideen and the pro-Iranian Hezbollah. Arms bought by Iran and Turkey with the financial backing of Saudi Arabia were airlifted from the Middle East to Bosnia - airlifts with which, Wiebes points out, the US was 'very closely involved'. "

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:: Tuesday, November 25, 2003 ::

CIA and Iraq

In this article (PDF format) the Communist Party of Iraq reveal documents from 1999 that allegedly show links between the regime and the CIA. Imagine.

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:: Friday, November 21, 2003 ::

Frontline 11

Frontline 11

Frontline 11 is out now. In this issue we take up the debate on the independence convention in Scotland and we take a detailed look at the national question in Western Europe. Gregor Gall writes on the future of trade unions and we answer the question "what is a 'Trot' anyway?". We also examine the developing movements in Bolivia and Venezuela and take a cultural look at Sergei Eisenstein and William Morris.

Read it here.

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:: Thursday, November 20, 2003 ::

UK Indymedia | Scotland says No to Bush's War

UK Indymedia | Scotland says No to Bush's War

Nice to see that Indymedia Scotland are using one of my pix (that I uploaded to them) for their report on the anti-Bush demos. (Pic below).

bush demo pic

Also today Kevin Williamson, blogger and activist was lifted at the Scottish Parliament for a protest.

First minister's questions was disrupted by a protest:

BBC Scotland political correspondent Glenn Campbell said the man, Kevin Williams, was better known for his protests about the use of cannabis.

Mr Williams had been signed into the parliament by the Scottish Socialist Party, whose MSPs clapped as he made his protest, our correspondent said.

When parliament resumed, Presiding Office George Reid rebuked the MSPs who had applauded the demonstration.

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Edinburgh Unwelcomes Bush

Edinburgh Anti-Bush demo

More Pictures Here

The biggest demo in Edinburgh since the war ended was held as George Bush arrived in London. The demonstrations in London promise to be huge. The failure of US and British strategy in Iraq has vindicated opposition to the war. The building of a democratic Iraq in which the rights of women and trades unionists are protected can only be undertaken by the Iraqi people themselves. The occupiers can never grant these, nor do they want to. The occupation only serves to strengthen the forces of reaction amongst the resistance. Far from bringing peace the war has caused only conflict which will continue for many years.

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:: Monday, November 17, 2003 ::

Á Paris

ESF demo

Our world is not for sale. But our tasty sandwiches are.

Photos - The SSP at the European Social Forum

Photos - Demonstration in Paris, Saturday 15th November 2003.

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:: Monday, November 10, 2003 ::

DVD Catastrophe Waitress

I can recommend the new belle and sebastian album 'Dear Catastrophe Waitress' which is certainly their strongest since 'The Boy with the Arab Strap', which should be re-recorded by Dundee United FC as 'The Boy with the Arabs Tap', get it? Never mind.

Also out now is their DVD 'Fans Only' which is also pretty great. Unfortunately my DVD player doesn't like it and continually sticks at the same points, despite changing it, cleaning the DVD player etc. It's fine on the computer. Maybe its the regional settings or something. Anyway, anyone who stumbles across this who has the same problem please let me know the solution!

The image below is the band on Brazilian TV, one for the Brazilian Belle and Sebastian fans who sometimes show up around here.

Belle and Sebastian on brasilian tv

And I particularly liked the Perthshire Advertiser t-shirt.

perthshire advertiser rules

Here's more of my live Belle and Sebastian pics here and here. And I'll be off to see them at the Usher Hall in December.

Off to the European Social Forum in Paris tomorrow, so be good till I get back.

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:: Friday, November 07, 2003 ::

KPRF 'Flash Mob' Hits Movie Premiere

KPRF 'Flash Mob' Hits Movie Premiere: "In a bid to win the youth vote for the Communist Party, or KPRF, young Communists floated several hot-air balloons featuring photos of their leaders into the gray skies above Moscow on Wednesday.

In the evening, the agitprop action switched to the Pushkin movie theater, as three dozen young Communists staged a flash mob event on the steps of the movie theater ahead of a showing of 'The Matrix Revolutions,' which was being premiered simultaneously in 80 countries.

'People think of the Communist Party as a pensioners' party, but we set out to change this perception with our program 'Upgrading KPRF' or 'The New Left,'' said Oleg Bondarenko, the director of youth projects at the KPRF.

'We want more young people to join our ranks. And we want to convey to them that the KPRF is cool.'

In a PR stunt that owed as much to Hollywood sci-fi as to Soviet movie icon Sergei Eisenstein, the party dispatched 32 'cool,' suitably attired young Communists to hold what it described as a flash mob at the movie's Moscow premiere.

A flash mob, according to the New York creator of the concept, is supposed to be about strangers responding to an anonymous e-mail who meet in a public place and do something inexplicable. But the KPRF's flash mob appeared to be about as spontaneous and unscripted as a Soviet party congress.

The activists donned KPRF T-shirts and 'Budennovka' helmets, of the type used in the 1918-1920 Civil War, and trademark Matrix sunglasses, as worn by Keanu Reeves' character Neo. The neon letters on their T-shirts read 'We Are Neo-Communists' and 'Destroy The Matrix.'

But police appeared not to share the KPRF's view that its flash mob was a cool, harmless event, and it took organizers some time to convince them that the Neo-Communists, along with about 100 of their supporters, were not holding an unsanctioned rally or demonstration.

'Our law enforcement bodies have yet to learn what a flash mob is,' Bondarenko said. 'But in the end they let us go ahead with the event and everything went fine.'

Communist Party of the Russian Federation

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:: Wednesday, November 05, 2003 ::

Get Militant


This skater backpack is called Militant. Superb. Hopefully one of a line of clothing based on leftist papers past and present including Newsline 'pants', Workers Hammer 'beanies' and Socialist Organiser 'hoodies'.

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Straight (Edge) to DVD

Minor Threat

Excellent news. Out this month Minor Threat live DVD.

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Once More, George.

Bow down and worship me Interesting piece from the indefatigable Dave Osler, over at Harry's Place.

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:: Tuesday, November 04, 2003 ::

Tu-Libs from Amsterdam

Councillor held in Holland

The story of Bristol Lib-Dem councillor John Astley is an odd one. Charged with vote-rigging, he fled the country and was picked up in Amsterdam. Bloody hell, explain that one in your Focus newsletter.

Now a mysterious web-site has sprung up giving his side of the story, sort of.

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French left get it together

Cartoon in Le Monde

Above: Cartoon on the front page of Le Monde shows babyfaced postie and LCR Presidential candidate Olivier Besancenot and Arlette 'the starlet' Laguiller of Lutte Ouvrière placing a wreath on the grave of the 'plural left'.

I attended the conference of the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire in Paris at the weekend. The conference took a number of important decisions including running a joint slate with the other large Trotskyist group Lutte Ouvrière (LO) for the regional and European elections next year. But further to this it also agreed to appeal for the launch of a new party which would bring together all the anti-capitalist forces in France. Read the appeal.

LCR conference

Polls in Sunday's 'Journal de Dimanche' showed substantial potential backing for the joint slate. The FT reported "An opinion poll published yesterday in Journal de Dimanche showed 22 per cent were ready to consider voting for the first time for the hard left next year. This was in addition to 9 per cent who said they had already cast such a vote and would do so again."

A joint party in France would have enormous potential. Although LO are likely to refuse such an appeal, the LCR would be correct to proceed anyway. This was the strategy that led to the creation of the SSP, with other forces who initially opposed the creation of the party, eventually having little choice but to climb on board.

What was the conference like? They do a good lunch but the meetings go past midnight, so you need it.

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Politics and the Web.

The Scotsman - Politics - Labour bid to copy US internet campaign crashes This Scotsman article rubbishes the idea that British political parties can use the internet as effectively as the Howard Dean campaign did in the US. There are clearly differences between the UK and the US - the US is a bigger country so using services like meet-up makes more sense. There is also wider internet usage. But there are also similarities and the trend towards using the web to organise will not be reversed. The web is used more by the young than by those over the age of 30. So that is one reason why the Dean campaign and the anti-war movement was able to use the web more successfully than Blairs Labour Party. Still if it puts off the day that Tony Blair has a blog, then maybe it's not all bad.

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