12.11.14

[New Word] Liminonymous

Identity partially witheld, at biting point, to mitigate narcissism.

see also: 

Luminonymous, more suitable to describe adherents of the sacred tradition of giving with one hand so that the other doesn't know

9.11.14

The 1st November Bangladesh Blackout

This is a straight cut and paste from The Weekly Holiday periodical from Dhaka published on Friday 7th November 2014, which has no indexing facility. It is an important, though hardly technical, analysis of a significant power outage in Bangladesh one week ago. Power outages are fairly common place in Bangladesh, but this one highlighed the strategic vulnerability regarding interconnectivity with India.

It also spoke symbolically about the actuality of Bangladesh's independence today and every day since it was acheived with the resources and initiative of the Indian Armed Forces nearly 43 years ago. It is Bangladesh's unfortunate national riddle, The Liberation Mortgage, and it is hard to speak openly and publically investigate dues to its powerful Liararchical Structure.

For the record, pro Shahbag folks on social media are at pains to push the Bhramara station failure account given by an alleged engineer. This reminds me of how the nephew of Sheikh Hasina, Radwan Mujib Siddiq deployed 'expert journalistic opinion' to deny that any massacre had taken place in Dhaka on 6th May 2013.

The politics of the blackout unfold in Bangladesh amongst the current regime's beneficiaries and victims, but more interesting would be India's working goals given their dubious higlighting of JMB and the pace of execution verdicts delivered last week.

If the action actually was purposeful and from India, it would constitute and act of war.


Structural damages to bleed the nation for generations


M. Shahidul Islam

Not all damages are repairable. A slew of structural damages are set to bleed the nation of Bangladesh for generations. Precedents have been anchored that elections can be arbitrary, non-inclusive and devoid of voters' participation while democracy can be defined as the will of the mighty.

In economics, best interest of the nation can be sacrificed to satisfy the hunger of a regional hegemon while the rule of law can mean one thing for the ruling coterie and quite another for the rest.

Worst still, the definition of power politics has undergone a tectonic shift; the mainstay of domestic power now hinging on the inconsiderate backing of an external hegemon that applies one set of rule within (democracy) and quite a different set to its weaker neighbours.

Sovereignty at stake
Bangladesh's sovereignty is now at stake. In economic diplomacy, sovereignty is circumvented in the realm of a perception that must be prophesized only, not upheld. Starved of the input to produce electricity, our powerful neighbour can get the input (gas) from Bangladesh, produce electricity and sell it back to Bangladesh. Bangladesh, on the other hand, must not use its input to produce electricity and sell it to India, if requested.

But follies and selling off has a price tag that comes to hound time and again. That is what had happened lately. Burnt by the lesson of a 12-hour long power shut down across the country last Saturday, Bangladeshis now mull helplessly why and how this could happen.

Reliable reports claim a failure in India caused the disruption which affected all the existing grids and transmissions in  Bangladesh. If true, this also denotes that the entire electricity transmission system of Bangladesh has been linked with India without someone knowing much about it, or keeping mum for mysterious reasons.

Source of power
The source of the failure was across the border in India, according to a BBC report that had quoted an Indian official. This begs another question: how this dependency on Indian electricity matured so much in the first place.

According to available literature, it followed from an inconsiderate deal struck in January 2010 during PM Sheikh Hasina's visit to India, resulting in the setting of 130 km power transmission that had connected Behrampur of India with Bheramara in Bangladesh. Under the deal, India agreed to supply 250 MW of power to Bangladesh with the provision of another 200 MW to be supplied on Bangladesh's special need.
The deal also encompassed a joint venture scheme between India's state-owned National Thermal Power Cooperation and Bangladesh Power Development Board to set up a coal-fired power plant in Khulna to produce1320 MW of power that can be transferred back to India through a transmission link to be set up by Power Grid Corporation of India Limited.

The sordid lessons of last Saturday notwithstanding, the dependency on India is increasing further as Dhaka strives to get another100 MW electricity from the ONGC-run 726.6 MW Palatana gas-run power plant set up lately in Tripura for which equipments were transported through Bangladesh (without paying tax) and the gas too will flow from Bangladesh. A new transmission line is being installed that will run for 12 miles within Bangladesh to connect with the 22 miles-long Indian transmission line to bring electricity to greater Comilla region. Simply put: Bangladesh is looped, scooped and spooked from all directions.

In these three projects, environment-spoiler coal-generated power plant is set to be based in Khulna while less harmful gas-generated plant went to Tripura. That's not all: sources of power remain in India near the Bheramara transmission link as well as near the Agartala border. It's our gas that will produce electricity for us in the foreign soil. What a pity! Is that how we have learnt to define national interest?

Testing-testing
The nation is immersed in a cloak and dagger theatric and the Bheramara shut down seems like a testing-testing gaming to see how effective the dependency on India is. Pending to an investigation reportedly being conducted by the very people in charge of putting the deal and its execution in motion, nothing much is known as of now. Yet, the fact that all the existing power grids and transmission linkages within Bangladesh collapsed in what seemed like a cascading effect is very worrying. Is our entire electricity transmission system integrated with the Indian system? We wonder.

While the possibility of that being the case is very strong, an answer is not expected to be forthcoming from a regime that sees no harm to the country's national security due to such unexpected disruption coming from a neighbor which is touted as a 'trusted friend.'

But trust without verification can lead to dreadful spectacles. Already perennial power failure is bleeding the economy to the tune of $1 billion a year, reducing the GDP growth by about half a percentage point, according to studies. If major disruption of similar nature can be affected frequently from outside the border, one must be convinced that our national security will have been punctured irreparably through irrecoverable economic damages.

And, this will occur at a time when the total transmission and distribution losses amount to one-third of the total generation; the value of which is over US $247 million per year, according to a World Bank study.
As well, why should Bangladesh depend on India for electricity when India remains gas-starved and over 80 natural gas wells in Bangladesh produce over 2000 m cubic feet of gas per day (MMCFD) to help produce over three-quarters of the nation's commercial energy; besides catering for around 40% of the power plant feedstock, 17% of industries, 15% of captive power, 11% of domestic and household usage, 11% of fertilizer production, and, 5% of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) output.

Vulnerability
Bangladesh's commercial energy consumption being mostly natural-gas -depended (around 80%) -- followed by oil, hydropower and coal,  ­how does gas-drenched India fits into this equation is a conundrum that must be answered soon.

We feel the nation has 'ascended the back of a rowdy camel,' to paraphrase poet laureate Shamsur Rehman, and, the policies of the AL-led regime have made the nation, its economy, national security and the sovereignty vulnerable to external manipulations.

Despite per capita energy consumption in Bangladesh being as yet one of the lowest (321 kWH) in the world­ fire wood fuel, animal waste and crop residues accounting for over half of the country's energy consumption ­remains the major source of power for most of the economic activities. The vulnerability to economic independence and national security hence looms large if this vital sector is tied with India from all directions.

Before the situation gets worse, it will be wise to rethink the options available for energy security and ward off all the perceivable and real vulnerabilities stemming from across the border. This is more important because, although installed electric generation capacity has reportedly reached 10,289 MW in January 2014, only three-fourth of that is available for consumption and only about 62% of the population has access to electricity, as of now.

National security
This is a serious national security matter too. From Delhi's perspective, energy connectivity with Bangladesh is laced with national security considerations which Bangladesh seems not to recognize. Delhi thinks, Bangladesh dominates the lines of communication with the north-eastern states of India and interconnecting the national grids in India with those in Bangladesh can enable transfer of economically viable power to various energy starved parts of Assam, Mizoram, Tripura and other north-eastern Indian states.

Added to Delhi's desire to use Bangladesh as a corridor to ferry goods and military hard wares to insurgency-infested seven north eastern states, the power connectivity scheme has become something indispensible to Delhi. This reality, however, got overshadowed when Bangladesh's present government was made to believe that, since it brings electricity to the western part of the country from the east, it should bring from across the border in India.

Our national interest guides us to opposite direction: an integrated energy scheme with India is not an answer to Bangladesh's energy afflictions. Rather, a viable energy policy for Bangladesh will be not to bank too much on connectivity with India alone.

Policy alternative
Instead, sucking in bulk foreign investment in the energy sector to help the economy sustain and grow further shall be the focus. As well, the economy must be integrated fully with the full potential of the power sector. To do that, the rate of investment must be increased to 34-35 percent of the GDP from the existing 28 percent to ensure persistent 7 percent annual growths.

Quite the opposite is happening now. Instead of seeking ways and means to attract more FDI in the sector, obsessive cronyism has choked off domestic investment too; taka 25,000 crores already having washed away from the four state owned banks to loyalist defaulters while FDI in the most lucrative power sector still hovering below $1 billion due to reckless hobnobbing with a neighbor which is considered a competitor by most of the desirous Western energy companies.

The energy policies sunk into further chaos due to taka 32,000 crores subsidy being doled out annually to the quick rental power plants set up under partisan patronization of the power that be. The sector is infested with cronyism, corruption and heinous conspiracy to wipe out anyone critical of the scheme, like the murder of journalist couple Shagor-Runi.

All these realities are parts of an overall structural damage of the nation and its fabrics which succeeding regimes might find impossible to mend. It's also alarming to know that India had proposed to set up another 1,000 MW liquefied natural gas terminal in Bangladesh to open up Bangladesh's gas market to Indian private sector while increased demand on gas is likely to drench Bangladesh of this veritable resource within a decade or so, unless new fields are discovered and explored using foreign experts.

Lest we forget, it is on such considerations that the previous BNP regime said no in 2003 to Indian request for gas import from Bangladesh. Many still wonder whether that decision has had anything to do with the BNP's lingering and painful plight toward oblivion.

3.11.14

Muhammad Kamrazzaman's impossible situation and the problem of knowing what happened

The Government of Bangladesh has seized momentum from the recent death of Ghulam Azam to advance its War Crimes Trials Agenda on the remaining leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh. In recent days former Minister Matiur Rahman Nizami and media pioneer Mir Quasem Ali have been given death sentences. Perhaps most tragically, the reformist Muhammad Kamarazzaman's appeal was quashed and he looks likely to be executed soon, in time for the ruling party's National Independence Day celebration.

A Rare Reformer
I haven't met any of the Jamaat official leadership, but Kamarazzaman is one figure I would like to . Last year I wrote about his Strategy for Changea lengthy document circulated among Jamaat's leadership, rejected, then leaked by supporters. Weirdly, its one of this 10 year old site's most read posts.

The Strategy recommends a number of measures to lift the party, rather its interpretation of the socio-political cause of Islam to a better situation. Written before the Arab Sting, it seems very inspired by Turkey's AKP experience, as Shah Abdul Halim narrates on a Muslim Brotherhood blog, It engages with party nepotism, clearing out 1971 era dinosaurs and social shrapnel, demands that the party cease manipulating its student wing and proposes organisational gender justice.  Personally, I'd like to know more about how a new party would implement and maintain the social justice focus his writes of and steer clear of narrowing shariah politics.

short analysis of the charges and evidences brought against Kamarazzaman can be found on the Kaagoj blog collective, which is sympathetic to the politics of the accused. The BBC's Sabir Mustafa, (an ex Daily Star hack) is maintaining an editorial line in favour of the Government of Bangladesh as we saw throughout his cover up of the massacre of protesters in Dhaka last May. David Bergman, whose white privilege works differently, has organised court transcripts and his own analysis on his war crimes blog, and the original court judgement can be accessed here.

The Problem of Knowing
The conditions for knowing (reliably and exactly) what happened during the Bangladesh war year do not exist. This is no thanks to the gravity of the Bengali Nationalist motanarrative and the epistemic autism of its victims, but also the failure of Jamaat-e-Islami's misleadership to honour the public's right to know their detailed side to the story, and the stories of their own dead. The public sphere is closed to empathy for situational environment for 'loyalist' auxilliaries to the late East Pakistan.

It is really hard to know what really happened, even if you want to as the assemblage of institutions, informations, human's and knowledge supply chains perpetuates dubiosity. I'm not saying that everybody needs to eat themselves up over this, but some need to investigate thoroughly, against the grain.

The practice of fabricating and manipulating people prosecution witnesses during these tribunals has been established with the (apparent state) abduction, disposal and detention (in India) of prosecution witness Shokranjan Bali and new video evidence suggesting malpractice from Investigating Officer Abdur Razzaq Khan . The lack of integrity, judgement and competence of the judges involved, given their coaching by diehard ideologues and manipulation by the state has been evidenced by leaked or hacked skype conversations and emails.

On the other hand,  crimes are committed, selectively remembered, represented and mobilised with deadly and debilitating political effects, like we saw on 28th February and 5-6th May 2013.

Advocates of the 'these trials are fine, messy, but fine, line of thinking' which dominates the small and inbred elite establishment voice in Bangladesh commonly argue that there needs to be justice for the victims as well as the alleged perpetrators. This may be a rhetorical tool, but there are many who are sincere who hold this line and the legalistic and lobbying defence doesn't touch the core of the matter, which is ' If you didn't kill X , then who did? what was your role?'


Shohagpur
One of the terrible events Kamrazzaman stands accused and condemned for is the case of the Shohagpur massacre. We might connect the event with the war machine operating in the area and time, comprising the Lt Col Sultan Ahmad's Army garrison at Jamalpur,  the army riverbank killings at Shashan Ghat on 21 June, and the Mukti Bahini attack on Capt Ahsan Malik's Kamalpur border outpost on 31st July.

This is not Dhaka, or the beginning and end of the Dhaka-centric experience of the war, it is north Bangladesh, and the middle of the monsoon near the borderlands. Its not the suffering of the globalised urban elite, it is the forgotten rural poor.

Born on 4th July 1952, the condemned is just a few months older than Pakistani cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan. He would have just turned 19 at the time of the 25th July/10th Srabon Shohagpur Massacre. He wasn't to finish his A-level equivalents until 1972, before graduating in 1974 and completing a masters in Journalism at Dhaka University in 1976.

Years ago, establishment columnist and 1971 film maker Afsan Choudhury wrote a piece on Shohabag, which he first visited in 2000 after UBINIG's Farida Akhter's efforts to highlight the truly awful and continuing plight of the village of widows whose 120 menfolk were massacred at dawn, and who suffered all sorts of deprivation.

Kamarazzaman is absent from the scene recreated by the journalist who focuses instead on a local quack Kader Daktar, who, enraged at miscreants raiding his storehouse full of ill-gotten items, took out his vengeance on the villagers by playing the War on Terror card of those times, reporting them to the local Pakistani garrison ( presumably connected with Jamalpur headed by Baloch 31 Regiment's CO Lt Col Sultan Ahmad )

Absence in previous accounts is a recurring theme in this tribunal, but one which is summarily dismissed by the jurisprudence upon which it runs. Hasan Iqbal, the son of the condemned made the point today, that no book on the subject before 2011 includes the name of Kamarazzaman in connection to this shaytanic event. Indeed, this absence can be noted when googleing around the usual areas of knowledge production, of mukto mona and uttor shuri. Given this, the vulnerability of witnesses to prosecution inducement suggestion and manipulation, and the degree of influence that a 19 year old could have on such a situation even if they were in the fray, and it requires a leap of faith or calousness to assign Kamrazzaman command responsibility and guilt for genocide.

Because the tribunals are so singularly about destroying the current leadership of Jamaat, they do not connect with the ebb and flow of the war and the two (main) military establishments experiences of the place. Unless these knowledges are interacted, reconciliation and understanding will be incomplete. Without accounts from the JI accused's experience, how might their presumed guilt be unproven to the court of kangaroos?

Don't talk to me about heroes
At the time of the massacre, there was Mukti Bahin and Pakistani auxiliary activity in the area, but the Indian account, so far that I can tell, doesn't really attribute much effectiveness to Mukti operations at this time (July). Much later however, banter between Indian and Pakistani commanding officers at the siege of Jamalpur garrison in December, reproduced here, is relevant. MachoPaks extoll Sultan Ahmad as an 'unsung hero' for 'fighting talk', despite his post cowardly escape 'gallantry award'. I think it points out a key lead and potential villain.

Just like in Sarmila Bose's multiple angle account of a handful of war situations, the precision, arrogance and helicopter bragishness of military accounts, stands in sharp contrast with the narrative of human sorrow of the survivors. It is really unfair, but legal epistemologies (sorry) privilege the most established and familiar forms of knowing, mitigating the weird, the alarming and strengthening the powerful.

So my questions for now are.
  • What kind of investigation is possible in Shohagpur?
  • Who will invest resources there?
  • What does restorative justice look like?
  • Will Imran Khan's PTI agree with proposals for truth and reconciliation with the truths?
  • What to Farida Akhtar and Afshan Choudhury have to say?
  • When will Bengali Nationalists officially be able to bear razakar historiographies?


Fratricide + Politicide = 0?
Most people will not have heard of Kamarazzaman before these tribunals started because he was never picked out as a specific figure of hatred. This is because of the underlying intention of the tribunal,revealed by its rough sampling strategy of pin the crime on the Jamaati. However, there is something more holistic going on if we consider the capabilities, psychic impact and public perception of each individual. Given supportive public pronouncements and actions from the Awami League government and its supporters, the term politicide is very appropriate.

Late Ghulam Azam was singled out by the Shahriar Kabir and the  Nirmul Committee in 1992 as he and his party decided that his leadership would be a good idea given his seniority during the Bangladesh war. Delwar Hussain Sayeedi, who it transpired wasn't even in the Jamaat party during the war, was targeted by BRAC's Asif Saleh and his now defunct Drishtipat "Human Rights" organisation, to align the Islamophobic UK press with the Awami League's political imperative to disarm Jamaat's most charismatic connector and mover of the masses.

Nizami and Mujahid's inclusion in Khaleda Zia's cabinet and reportedly good individual performances as ministers for Agriculture, Industry and Social Welfare must have provided strong motivation amongst the disgruntled urban elite. In the case of Mir Quasem Ali, his innovative Diganta media outfit challenged the idea that Islamists were destined to remain poorly presented and inarticulate in this media driven age. That was until the TV station was shut down on the morning of the May 6th Massacre.

It seems to me that it is Kamarazzaman's reformative approach to political practice, frustrated by internal opposition that completes the sense of politicide of Jamaat. Contrary to some opinion, the personality-cult politics of Bangladesh does operate in its biggest Islamist party and it is unfortunate for him, his family, party and the general society that it is doing him wrong. He presented a transformational option with Strategy for Change a continuing good deed proportional its eventual unfolding, inshAllah.



14.10.14

[Political Tragicomedy Alert] A Diary of a Bad Man does PREVENT

Today around lunch time a piece of weird news was circulating the social media, that the maker of the YouTube phenomenon A Dairy of a Bad Man had sold out to Prevent, the UK government's deradicalisation programme. Sure enough, the BBC article, then the Leicester Mercury piece furnished us procrastinators with the sad tidings and a vivid of Muslim cultural degeneration's latest wrong turning.

We learn that PC Rizwaan Chothia, of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit's Prevent team coordinated the project on the same day as a secret trial of a terrorism suspect possibly alludes to an attempt to bring Tony Blair to a belated and worldly account via some kind of Bollywood dance move. Its worth noting that we might have expected better, as PC Rizwaan was subject to Islamophobic humiliation a few years back. I wonder if he 'gets' any of this?


A Dairy of a Bad Man has made me belly laugh at times, especially in its early physicality. Who can forget the classic tribute to the 'Roti or Rice?' dilemma, or Humza's Rap Battle with His Mum? Yet its not hard, even for a comedically challenged miseryguts like me, to notice how he found it hard to grow beyond the slapstick and toilet humour of the facebook/iphone degeneration. Salafis turned on him once they were guilt tripped by their seniors into disapproving of the fellow. His political commitments were admirable, appealing to followers to sign the Babar Ahmad petition, and objecting to Boris Johnson's hair in the run up to his recent reelection.


Think for Yourself is a royal bumwave of epic proportions

His Deradicalisation episode 'Think for Yourself' (above) is very unconvincing. See for yourself, he said, patronisingly. I'm struggling whether to rank it above or below that  #HappyMuslims video earlier this year. But its not just appalling cultural product, by any standards, its menacing. Think for Yourself appeals to viewers to snitch on their close ones, which is deeply Stasi-esque.

Perhaps the Muslim Oaf is an important dumbographic, but I think its been a mistake from Humza, who would appear to have sold himself, and his efforts out to the prevent agenda. Perhaps he made it all the more awful as an act of subversion, or was institutionally bullied into it - sixty eight excuses to go. I hope somebody close to him raises these issues and he considers his community with enough respect to dialogue on the issue.

Analyse the whole A Diary of a Badman experience, with ISIL's most recent propaganda offering 'Flames of War' (liveleak URL here, watch it carefully if you dare), and the whole problem of Muslim Ridiculisation is revealed.


1.10.14

Moazzam Begg to be freed, and why these issues should matter more to us

Moazzam Begg is an articulate, intelligent and justice hungry individual who has been locked up by the British authorities for 7 months. In parallel, CAGE the human rights organisation he works for has been targeted for harassment, in all manner of devious ways by the British deep state, from its right to keep a bank account, to its right to organise a public event.

Their crime is just being Muslims standing up for Muslims rendered into meat by the War on Terror Industry and investigating the British state's complicity in abuses of human rights. It is okay for a white middle class organisation to be in the business of documenting these kinds of things, but heaven forbid that the victimised pull their thumbs out of their arses.

Recently, CAGE published an analysis of the cradle to grave police state created for British Muslims by the Government's PREVENT strategy (Preventing Violent Extremism). It is a rare intellectual and legal push back for Muslims in the UK, but also globally empowering to the wider ummah, oppressive interests and frameworks from the core of the world system are readily exported and appropriated by cloned elites in the periphery and semi periphery.

A campaign image from Ramadan, within communities struggling 
with fear, mistrust, paranoia, pettiness and division

CAGE, which now has a branch in South Africa, is a bit of a departure from the script, most human rights organisations in the Muslim world are there to serve overseas interests and promote an exclusive, elitist secular liberal strategy. For example, the Dhaka based Ain O Salish Kendra, is virtually entirely funded from abroad and covers up, even justifies atrocities committed by 'secular liberal' friendly government. CAGE is good news in this respect.

The assembly of interests, personalities, ideas and objects responsible for Begg's recent internment ordeal wanted to send a clear message to the Muslim community. At the centre is the Conservative Home Minister Theresa May, but it is wider and more systemic than her. Moazzam was kidnapped by the state around the same time as the 'ISIS threat to UK' was being mediatised and the Trojan Hoax in Birmingham was staged to occupy a lot of people's time.


Theresa May at the Conservative Party conference yesterday, 
she is very interested in being Prime Minister, 
and abuse heavy insecurity is her forte

It is not unreasonable to assume that the state decapitation of effectively the only Muslim organisation standing up to the government's smothering and community disabling, co-opting and dehumanising prevent agenda was strategic.

Today all charges have been dropped against him and he is set to be freed from Belmarsh prison. We wish him a joyous reunification with his dear ones and listen eagerly to what he will say, or write, next. I remember that just before he was ripped out from his family home in a dawn raid, he tweeted along the lines of having come to know of something particularly sickening in the world.

He has the mind, spine and the exposure to put together important pieces of the jigsaw of tyranny. This 2010 article written by him gives a flavour of how the BS machine works.

There are a lot of people very unjustly detained and the muscles to campaign for them must be supported by more and more muscles. Shaker Amer remains in Guantanamo Bay and last week Samiun Rahman, a young Londoner visiting Bangladesh to settle a family land dispute was stitched up by the police and the government (and some rogue family) in order to provide an 'UK-Bangladesh ISIS recruiter' story just in time for the UN General Assembly meeting.

The moral and intellectual bankruptcy of this kind of internment politics must be challenged at every level.




28.9.14

[Caption Competition] Nawaz and Hasina at the UN

New York, or Loserville, filled up with global ruling elites last week. The Pakistan Prime Minster's Office thought it a good idea to release this image showing close relations with their Bangladeshi counterpart.


27.9.14

British MPs vote for the 3rd Attack on Iraq

The fossil fuels will have the last laugh
Yesterday British MPs voted overwhelmingly in support of the third war on Iraq, in my lifetime. In doing so they further endanger the people of Iraq, Syria and Britain, and simultaneously strengthen the white supremacy that they are groomed and encultured to service. It feels like a horrible rerun of 2003, with no lessons learnt and a weaker, wearier opposition.

ISIS do seem to go out of their way to conveniently stamp bastard on everything that they touch, so you really need a decolonial humanic backbone to see through the smoke and mirrors here. The whiteous;y indignant, yet hypnotic 'So what's your solution' disqualification of dissent sung with the war drum creates a false urgency (like the 45 minute Weapons of Mass Distraction lie). Beneath this, the general shallowness of MPs, who are consumers like the rest of us, can be relied upon to deliver the most foolish verdict on the most dubious information. (Remember Jeremy Bowen and The BBC are embedded with Assad The Dog.)

Like in 2003, the anti war opposition is pushed will be marginalised by the masters of this war as they make a dog's dinner out the dogs dinner they co-produced since 2003 out of the dog's dinner they co-produced since 1991.


Beneath There Is No Alternative, lies White Supremacy
Of course there are always a myriad of alternative options to the violence on the table, the thing is that they wont make white structures of power feel like they are saving the world, and that is how they want to feel. Nevertheless, yesterday Caroline Lucas of the Green Party articulated a decent alternative vision of the issue here, while the Stop the War Coalition protests unfolded in multiple locations. The gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, another Green,  proposed that the secular liberal-left PKK be armed up for the occasion.

White supremacy is at the heart of this matter, as evidenced by the comparative value accorded to human life. Non white life is waste, trash, unless an agenda can be wrapped around it. It is also a crying shame that we in parts deploy such devaluation of life. Apologies for the commodification-thinking that using such quantities, devoid of soul as we enumerate.

According to Iraq Body Count, since 2003 invasion of Iraq 195 000 humans have been killed. An academic, cluster -sample based effort put the 2003-11 war caused figure of death at 500 000. It is thought that another 500 000, mainly children were killed due to the US imposed sanctions.

Who can forget former US secretary of State Madeline Albright's words that this 'difficult price' was 'worth it'? What, in her mind, was the prize for such a price.


The acts of Saddam remain inscribed on the Iraqi power elite and population. If we attributes all the deaths of the Iran-Iraq war to him, as well has his internal 'contributions' , of Anfal in 1988 against Shia Kurds who sided with Iran, the chemical gas attack on Halabja in 1988  and attacks to suppress uprising Kurds and Shia after the 1991 Gulf War the figure of death may well rise to the million scale.

For reference, 1988 Iraq's official population was 17 million, 1991 18 million and 2013 33 million.

..and its Death Sciences
Technologies of death, domination and transfer develop. From chemical war of the 80s, and stealth 'precision' bombing in the 90s, to daisy cutters and drones more recently. During the Iran-Iraq war George W Bush's Secretary of Attack Donald Rumsfeld met in secret with Saddam to assist him fight Iran, linking him to US suppliers of anthrax and bubonic plague.

During the post 2003 occupation;s disbanding of Iraq's defeated army and debaathification of the civil services armed and empowered inept, corrupt and largely sectarian elites, who couldn't in the end fight for shit and ran away from ISIS leaving their American supplied weapons for free.

This is important to recall the moral high ground that the protagonists of this war assemblage leverage off ISIS, having just recently helped Israel get away with mass murder.

This foolishness is a multi-agent plaza, and I feel awful that my taxes are funding this Coalition government's hi-tech savagery. The deadly hypocrisy of it all is not lost on the Mirror, who provide the following contextualising cost loss estimates (which do not of course account for the damage done to Iraqi life and property by said munitions).
Every £33,000 hour a Tornado flies is equivalent to hiring a nurse for a year. 
Fire a £1m Tomahawk missile and it takes out a school full of teachers. 
Drop a £2m Storm Shadow guided bomb and bang goes the annual bedroom tax of 2,750 households.
I can't help but feel that there would have need no macho posturing if the Scottish referendum had resulted in a successful Yes. But the malaise that makes the Iraqis so vulnerable is refracted within our own communities nearer to home.

Interummahtics
I am a long way from figuring out the internal dynamics of this but Muslim narratives on Iraq vary enormously if you pay attention and don't zone out when the other sect is talking. Fundamentally, I believe our problem is with Ridiculisation and not the War on Terror industry's framing of Radicalisation, and that we must be creative, ecological and decolonial in thought, partnership and political practice.

My focus in recent years has not been on Syria, but Bangladesh, but some things are pretty obvious. It is the self-immolatingly anti-shia scaredy pants of the Arab petroSunnis who seem to have done most to sectarianise the battle for justice in Syria, and the idea that one can overthrow a professionally trained army state with some AKs, has weakened the Palestinian cause. The Arab Sting has really hurt and its beneficiaries are laughing.

Back to Iraq, and we know that a section of Iraqi Shia ex-exiles and kids have always been pro US invasion since before 2003, for valid practical reasons like not wanting their heads kicked in by Saddam any longer.  This year especially, the broader Shia part of us, better articulated by young up and coming middle class friendly journalists in the MSM, and not dulled by fucking lobotomising impacts of salaphication has participated, along with Iranian religious authorities in helping to put ISIS at center stage, and backgrounding the legitimate resistance to the Syrian regime.

Social media, though not influential as it thinks itself, is an important space for self affirmation and a kind of forumulaic and visual political dhikr. In many ways the UKbased #No2ISIS campaign resembled the 2013 #SaveBangladesh one, however it was shitter and its alignment with establishment agenda gave it an additionally naff character.

In the field, several brave young Muslim and non Syrian medics like Shaheed Isa Abdur Rahman have been martyred assisting people's humanitarian needs. Our community is open handed, alhamdulillah, and Aid convoys have come and gone (some more clueless than others). Many young people, sociopaths included, now find themselves in the theater of war.

Qualitatively and quantitatively, it feels insufficient, and much of the Ummah probably feels this way. Perhaps only Turkey has done the M word justice as a whole, and it is outfits like their IHH that we could support rather than DIY approaches that will be surveilled and disrupted the shit out of. There are long term resettlement issues in Turkey, and they will be challenged for years to come.

How do we know?
A much loved Shayk was speaking to a gathering of educators recently, he warned people not to meddle on the internet in things they knew nothing about. Perhaps he meant trying to find out whats going on in a non consumptive way, which carries the hazard of being state recrimination.

Unlike during the Chechen wars, the post 9/11 clampdown on physical vitality on the internet makes it harder for systematic alternative and fact based news services to establish themselves. It is a pity that this conflagration has rendered the otherwise great Robert Fisk absolutely useless. Instead we have been 'treated' to all manner of narcissistic and bloody minded rudeboy warriors trying insane methods to redeem their pasts as well as the much discussed ISIS antiporn.

Its not impossible to  find out some things though, even officially. An Essex born ambulance driver told Channel 4 earlier this week that a Brit, not fighting for ISIS, had been killed in US airstrikes and the American Muslim journalist, Bilal Abdul Raheem (blog) remains an unusually awesome and reflectful source on these matters. VICE, that annoying, lewd hipster outfit has really raised its reporting game. Its recent feature, The Ghosts of Aleppo gives us an insight into the day to day life of the resistance of the Islamic front in one of humankind's oldest continuously occupied cities.


Ummahtic heteregoneity
There are probably British Muslims fighting on all three (basic) sides of the Syria conflict with all manner of different ethical commitments, capabilities and motivations. However, they are, as they were in Bosnia, a minor part of the battlefield theater, despite the hulabaloo.  One of Bilal Abdur Raheem's recent reports suggested that Western fighters may be trapped in ISIS, a friend of mine who went on a convoy or two said that Syrians were so happy to see Muslims from the West, since most of them would get taken away by ISIS as soon as they arrived. Gatekeepers wherever you turn ey?

Like I said earlier, Iraq features very differently in the Shia sacred and civilisational geographies than it does in the world of the Arab Sunni. The prevailing view is that Maliki wasn't so bad, and that Syria was a case of external destabilisation in Israel's favour. At the Gaza protests, letterers dotted Hyde Park building equivalences between the ISIS and Israeli agendas. After all, ISIS did sweet fuck all to counter Israeli aggression.

Many of the more excitable Sunnis, were initially pro turning the tables on Assad The Dog, in those heady days of the Arab Sting, we were stung hard with a non critical spirit and unhelpful emotional stoking from certain saudi 'scholars' inexplicably allowed into the UK to bait people. (Duas to all the real scholars in Saudi who have lost position and social mobility for their commitments to truth.) Not to mention the deranged Shia Kuwaiti whose bumsexology pushes the envelope in human worm relations ( erm courtesy of MEMRI).

The lazy days of illusions of a Muslim bloc thinking need to be put back in the draw and the practical politics of transnational heart to heart decolonial alliance building embarked upon. I think most people, save those vying for attention would be inclined to agree.


Labour Efnic Politricks?
Unusually, the Labour member for Bethnal Green and Bow, Rushanara Ali, well known as a thoroughly compromised person of colour, abstained from the vote yesterday and resigned her position in the shadow cabinet. An admirable looking position to take on the face of it.

I must confess that I normally love Mulberries ( ITs a school in the ganj) because these begums are so awesome and are a vital part of the future. But perhaps this one got lobotomised at Oxford during her enwhitening PPE there and reprogrammed into an anodyne new Labour vessel. The investigation continues.

I remember the Altab Ali park protest rally at the beating of Rizwan Hussain at Dhaka Airport in 2008, a noble venture which was in the process of being coopted by the sheer numbers of loser unclejis. Ms Ali was very interested to know which of us were local residents she  could 'enrol', and we thought she was a tactless schmoozer. However, she made an interesting attempt to hash out and dignified diasporic position on what the Bangladesh government had effectively and violently told the younger generation of Brilhetis ( British-Sylhetis).

Later in 2010, Rushanara Ali was voted into power as part of joint British Labour Party - Bangladesh Awami League's power games, and her silence on that government's massacre, and the British government's silence about the massacre, in Dhaka last May is despicable. Until she addresses this as she should I do not believe that her self interested gesture politics should be taken at face value.

There are plenty of manageable persons of colour on the conveyor belt.

For more on this unsavoury episode of Bangladesh's recent history here is an article and survivor interview one year on.

24.9.14

Deciphering David Cameron's Cli[e)mate Talk

An annotated transcript of the speech of British Prime Minister to the UN Climate Summit in New York yesterday.
It would be a pity were the rest of the world to take David Cameron at face value.
Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing our world. And it is not just a threat to the environment. It is also a threat to our national security [because the securitisation my primary lens, forget the huskies, check out my resilience speak], to global security, to poverty eradication and to economic prosperity.
And we must agree a global deal in Paris next year [Weaker countries must submit to the neoliberal order] . We simply cannot put this off any longer [I probably wont be in power then so you can switch off now. Hey! where is everybody? ] .
And I pay tribute to Secretary General Ban for bringing everyone together here today and for putting real focus on this issue [And my respect for parroting Israeli talking points during their attack on Gaza last month] .
Now my country, the United Kingdom [ just about, pending investigations of referendum rigging] , is playing its part [yet as a key industrial originator of petro urban industrialisation] .
In fact, it was Margaret Thatcher who was one of the first world leaders to demand action on climate change, right here at the United Nations 25 years ago [That great environmentalist! of course that was why she closed the coal pits!].
Now since then, the UK has cut greenhouse gas emissions by one quarter [not when you consider indirect carbon emissions] . We have created the world’s first Climate Change Act [That was Labour] . And as Prime Minister, I pledged that the government I lead would be the greenest government ever [ah the huskies, nobody believed you by the way] . And I believe we’ve kept that promise [Liar, your cuts and policies have moved us backwards is that was even possible. Local authorities have slashed their climate work, the green deal retrofit scheme was intentionally stupid and failed, cutting the feed in tariff by half for renewables effectively killed that scheme, your approval of fracking is disgusting and your first environmental minister Caroline Spellman was a lobbyist for the flippin GMO industry]
We’ve more than doubled our capacity in renewable electricity in the last 4 years alone. We now have enough solar to power almost a million UK homes [no thanks to you. if you want to shift to renewables try Good Energy and Ecotricity] . We have the world’s leading financial centre in carbon trading [which is a failed idea, like raping your way to chastity] . And we have established the world’s first green investment bank. We’ve invested £1 billion in Carbon Capture and Storage. And we’ve said no to any new coal without Carbon Capture and Storage [wow did you just offset your last sentence?] . We are investing in all forms of lower carbon energy including shale gas [Fracking, which we will resist] and nuclear, with the first new nuclear plant coming on stream for a generation [in our great post Fukishima wisdom] .
Now, as a result of all that we are doing, we are on track to cut emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 [no we are not, even excluding indirect emissions from consumption] . And we are playing our role internationally as well [Climate Change is UK PR, especially after we helped to destroy Iraq], providing nearly £4 billion of climate finance over 5 years as part of our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of our Gross National Income on aid [which invariably goes to subsidies the lifestyles and brainwashing of sections of the overseas upper middle classes]. And we are one of the only countries in the advanced world to do that and to meet our promises.
We now need the whole world though to step up to deliver a new, ambitious, global deal which keeps the 2 degree goal within reach [We certainly wont be investing much political capital in it] . I’ll be pushing European Union leaders to come to Paris with an offer to cut emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030.
We know from Copenhagen that we are not just going to turn up in Paris and reach a deal. We need to work hard now to raise the level of ambition and to work through the difficult issues. To achieve a deal we need all countries, all countries to make commitments to reduce emissions. Our agreement has to be legally binding, with proper rules and targets to hold each other to account [How do we hold you and those you serve to account?].
We must provide support to those who need it, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable [That's why you've cut welfare, housing provisions and poverty and foodbanks are rampant in the UK]. It is completely unrealistic to expect developing countries to forgo the high carbon route to growth that so many Western countries enjoyed, unless we support them to achieve green growth [ sounds ominous] . Now, if we get this right there need not be a trade-off between economic growth and reducing carbon emissions [false notion to support status quo, with a few solar panels and double glazing, nice one dave].
We need to give business [riight....because the only solution is a market solution] the certainty it needs to invest in low carbon. That means fighting against the economically and environmentally perverse fossil fuel subsidies which distort free markets and rip off taxpayers [ Why does fracking remain subsidised in the UK?]. It means championing green free trade [preventing indigenous technological development in the decolonising world yipee!], slashing tariffs on things like solar panels [and feed in tariffs you berk]. And it means giving business the flexibility to pick the right technologies for their needs.
In short we need a framework built on green growth not green tape [ false god of growth].
As political leaders we have a duty to think long-term. When offered clear scientific advice, we should listen to it. When faced with risks, we should insure against them [so why are you foot dragging on flood insurance?]. And when presented with an opportunity to safeguard the long-term future of our planet and our people [ Who are your people really?] , we should seize it.
So I would implore everyone to seize this opportunity over the coming year. Countries like the United Kingdom have taken the steps necessary. We’ve legislated. We’ve [play]acted. We’ve [dis]invested. And I urge other countries to take the steps that they need to as well so we can reach this historic deal.
Thank you.

23.9.14

Hasina, the New York Climate Summit and Developmentia as Usual

And so it was, a Prime Minister from Bangladesh flew to the United States of America, days after a substantial display of global street protest at the lack of seriousness global leaderships have assigned to Climate Change. At this summit she would press the flesh, enjoy the privileges of the (s)elect and reiterate the "Bangladesh Position" which says it all.

 "Continue to fund my government, and your clients that comprise 'civil society'".

Nice little earner.

Its what we call Developmentshire As Usual, and developmentshire is illustrated below. It is a nest of subordinating and privileging relationships that grow whenever the 'd' word is invoked.
Climate Adaptation Hush Money negotiated at the Climate Circus, strengthens the ties of developmentshire,
but also makes them more stark and ridiculous for all to see.

It beggars belief that Sheikh Hasinahas any moral authority, or legitimacy, to speak on behalf of Bangladesh and Bangladeshis. She and her party, the Awami League have spent the last few years annihilating the opposition though use of armed cadres, government machinery and security services, not to mention rigging her re-election last January. For many people for who Bangladesh provides a home, it is the government's massacre of innocent and unarmed protesters in the early hours of 6th May 2013 in central Dhaka, and the subsequent international hush up and purdah of fear that enveloped the state crime, that revealed the true nature of Bangladesh ( See: Ceasefire article).

So how one can in good conscience talk Climate Adaptation without addressing whats really wrong here is beyond me. But hey, (educated) man's gotta eat!

NGO folks might be tempted to applaud the Prime Minister's resilience, a value that is very much part of the neoliberal state repertoire of laughing 'I'm not going anywhere woohoo!' It is self-evident that the effect of climate adaptation financing in desh is largely to depoliticise the issue, pay off the lifestyles of the upper middle classes and provide a fig leaf of reassurance to polluting developmentors that resistance will indeed not be fertile.

.... In the slipstream we feel alternatively about transformation, imagining and preparing for what could be. We watch them waste resources, not least time and talents, running like hamsters in someones else's wheel, with the wigs of colonised judiciary, the kilts and bagpipes of the Scottish marauders and the gatekeeping greed to dominate and effectively delegitimise the space for public challenge.