Devizes Melting Pot

“Protection. Conservation. Restriction. Deep ecology. Give me deep technology any day. They don't scare me. "I'm damned if I'll crawl, my children's children crawl on the earth in some kind a fuckin' harmony with the environment. Yeah, till the next ice age or the next asteroid impact." (Moh Kohn, The Star Fraction)/ "This is the fight between God and the Devil. If His Grace is with God, he must join me, if he is for the Devil he must fight me. There is no third way" King Gustavus Adolphus

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Location: Devizes, Wiltshire, United Kingdom

University graduate, currently working as an Information Assistant for the NHS. Interested in politics, history, sci fi etc.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Go Home Condi!

Boos and smiles for Condi
MORE than 300 anti-war protesters greeted American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at a Blackburn school but the visit was still hailed a massive success.

Boos rang out from many parents and around 150 children as Dr Rice arrived at the school with Foreign Secretary and Blackburn MP Jack Straw.

They were joined by banner-waving anti-war protesters outside the school, chosen for the visit as an example of a top-performing ethnically-mixed school.

Some parents yesterday had demanded that headteacher Robin Camp-bell, withdrew his invitation for the US Sec-retary of State.

Around 70 per cent of the 1,200 pupils at Pleck-gate are Muslim and parents were furious they were not consulted about the visit by someone they blame for the war in Iraq.

I wonder if Condi will have time to fit in some shoe shopping while she is touring the north west of England!

Be sure to check out - a response to Jack Straw's invitation of Condoleezza Rice to the North West of England in March/April 2006

Good News

American hostage released in Baghdad

· Jill Carroll survived two deadlines in 82-day ordeal
· No deal made to secure release, says ambassador

Eighty-two days after she was dragged from her car at gunpoint, the American journalist Jill Carroll was free yesterday, walking unharmed into the branch office of an Iraqi political party in one of the most dangerous suburbs of Baghdad.

Carrying a slip of paper in Arabic identifying her as a kidnapped American, Carroll, 28, a freelance journalist who had been working in Baghdad for the Christian Science Monitor, arrived at a branch office of the Iraqi Islamic party in the western neighbourhood of Amiriya at about midday.

It is great news to hear about Jill Carroll being freed, yet those in the Wignut blogosphere felt the need to attack her and what she stands for, her only crime is going there to help Iraqis (remind me why we are in Iraq again?), clearly the wingnuts wanted her dead so they could crack horrific jokes like what they did to Rachel Corrie.

Instead of being grateful for her release all they can do is hurl insults at her. Bunch of cowards, are 101st Keyboarders of the world brave enough to go to Iraq? Thought not, they would rather cower behind their big daddy protector (Bush) than sign up for their war they spend hours masturbating over.

How can I put this - Wingnuts are fucking scum

Friday Cat Blogging

George brushing up on his Qu'ran reading skills

George observing

Heidi asleep (again)

Heidi chilling out

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Turning a Corner?

Baghdad police find 14 bodies shot in head
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Baghdad police found the bodies on Tuesday of 14 men who had been shot, execution-style, in the head, a police source said.

Some were also blindfolded. The identities of the men found in the Hay al-Adil district in the mainly Sunni west of the Iraqi capital were unclear.

U.S. and Iraqi officials say dozens of people are being killed daily in sectarian violence that has increased since the bombing of a major Shi'ite shrine a month ago in Samarra.

Another one of those Negroponte's trained death squads?

Iraq is bedlam, there is no getting away from that despite how the war cheerleaders try and spin it.

People Power

March has definitely been the season for direction action what with the recent anti war demos around the world to mark the third anniversary of the Iraq War, the ongoing protests in France, the recent demostrations in the US against the immigration bill and the strikes by council workers over pensions here in the UK.

It give me hope that all is not lost yet.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Extra Sunday Cat Blogging

Heidi, Queen of all she surveys

George showing off his gorgeous caramel tummy

Friday, March 24, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging


George with a ribbon

George looking at the ribbon

Cheeky Heidi

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Three Years On

Iraqi honeymoon long over, three years after war
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Hawra and Haider began their married life cowering under the "shock and awe" American bombardment of Baghdad in March 2003.

When it was over, and Saddam Hussein had fled, they believed "Operation Iraqi Freedom" had delivered a bright new future, free of fear and the economic sanctions that impoverished them. Three years on and Iraq is a vortex of instability, a place full of fear and death.

Three years on, as they celebrate their third wedding anniversary, those dreams have died as insurgency and rising sectarian violence have brought new fears, and more poverty.

Three years on and what to the coalition of the willingly bribed have to show for it?

A country riven with sectarian strife, a country with little or no infrastructure, where it is hard to get the basics in life like clean water or electricty.

This weekend was also marked by anti-war protests around the world.

Image Hosted by

In London, crowds filled Trafalgar Square to demonstrate their opposition to the war.

For an on the ground perspective of the march you can see photos here

A great post by Riverbend - Three Years...

Makes Bush's speech seem vapid
The US president has urged Iraqi leaders to form a government of national unity as quickly as possible, insisting that progress had been made on the political and military fronts in the country.

In a radio address on the eve of the third anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq on Saturday, George Bush urged Americans growing increasingly impatient with the war to resist a temptation to retreat, even as he acknowledged the prospect of more bloodshed.

"I urge them to continue their work to put aside their differences, to reach out across political, religious and sectarian lines," he said of Iraqi politicians, still deadlocked over who will lead a new government three months after polls.

Fuck you Mr. Bush and your on purpose immoral war!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Movie Review - V for Vendetta

"People shouldn't be afraid of their government, their government should be afraid of its peoples" - V

*disclaimer: I have never read the original graphic novel so I came to this movie with a clean slate

A movie which makes you think, which shows you a future very near our own yet not quite real.

It refreshinly non-American centric yet its themes are universal - Totalitarianism, vs. Freedom. Lies vs. the Truth.

The issues it addresses are very much in the now, the use of fear to repress a population, we are seeing here with Blair and NuLab who want to take away our civil liberties and use 'terrorism' as an excuse to do so, those who agree with the government that their rights should be taken away will be the first to cheer a fascist government.

The film also had some very touching moments as well and a beautiful ending.


Hugo Weaving did very well to convey V's emotions considering he spent the entire movie wearing a Guy Fawkes mask.

Natalie Portman was very good as Evey, showing her change from being held in the grip of fear to finally becomming free of it.

John Hurt's character Sutler was suitibly fightening as the leader of a totalitarian Britain

Stephen Rea was also excellent as Finch who is left to connect the pieces of the puzzle of V.


If you want to see one political action packed thoughtful movie this year check out V for Vendetta.

Chasing Shadows

US-Iraqi forces find few rebels in air assault operation
AL-DAWR, Iraq (AFP) - Under the watchful eye of drone spy planes, joint US-Iraqi patrols surrounded and entered hamlets near Samarra on the second day of a major operation to root out insurgents.

Around 50 suspects were detained during the first 24 hours of "Operation Swarmer" which kicked off Thursday morning in Al-Jalam, a large flat area of farmland and desert north of Samarra, but a third of those arrested were later released.

US officials also admitted that of the six weapons caches found, none were substantial.

"The individual caches are not huge," said Major John Callahan of the 101st Airborne Division.

By the time the US army got to Al-Jalam the insurgents have long since scarpered, this is what happens when you rely on firepower alone.

How much did this dog and pony show cost? Its spin all the time with the war whores, Bush must be really having a bad week if he hopes a anticlimactic raid is going to keep people distracted for long.

Friday Cat Blogging



Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ides of March

The day Julius Caesar committed suicide by stepping back onto a knife 23 times!

44 BC - Julius Caesar, Dictator of the Roman Republic, is stabbed to death by Marcus Junius Brutus, Decimus Junius Brutus and several other Roman senators on the Ides of March.

The Roman Republic have produced a great many figures who stand out - Cato the Elder, Scipio Africanus, Scipio Aemilianus, The Gracchi, Marius, Sulla, Pompey and Cicero are just a few I mention here but one ancient Roman who does stand out is Julius Caesar, forever immortalised by Shakespeare's play, a military and political genius who had lots of ambition.

Caesar came from a patrician family (gens Julia), who claimed they could trace there ancestry all the way back to Venus, by Caesars time they had fallen on hard times politically.

When Sulla marched on Rome for the second time and was proclaimed dictator, Casear was in a percarious position because his father-in-law was Cinna a supporter of Marius, Sulla was busy putting up proscription lists of his enemies and taking his revenge on Marius' supporters. Caesar refused Sulla's request to divorce Cinna's daughter Cornelia and wisely chose to leave Rome and hide.

Sulla eventually pardoned Caesar, according to Suetonius he said "Very well then, you win! Take him! But never forget that the man whom you want me to spare will one day prove the ruin of the party which you and I have so long defended. There are many Mariuses in this in this fellow Caesar".

Caesar saw his first military service in the east, he spent time in the provinces of Asia and Cilicia. When Sulla died in 78 BC, he began his career as a advocate, which required his oratory skills.

On his way to Rhodes to see the famous teacher Apollonius Molo, Caesar was captured by Cilician pirates. According to Plutarch when Caeasar's ransome was paid, he gathered a fleet and captured the pirates. He was unhappy with they way their trial was going and personally went to their cells, took out the pirates and crucified them.

In 70 BC Caesar was elected quaestor so gaining a foothold on the cursus honorum. This position brought him memembership of the senate. Caesar's second wife was Pompeia, a granddaughter of Sulla, he would eventually divorce her over the Bona Dea incident where Clodius, a republican thug had disguised himself as a woman in order to infiltrate the all female ceremony, this caused great scandal in Rome, Caesar divorced Pompeia because his wife had to be 'above suspicion'.

Caesar largely stayed in the background during the ongoing rivarly between Crassus and Pompey. Crassus was jealous of Pompey's military glory, despite his enourmous wealth and political influence, the victor of Colline gate and the hero who crushed Spartacus's slave rebellion was being overshaowded by Pompey's militry triumps in the east, he took advantage of Pompey's absence from Rome to build up his own political power based, Caesar lent him his support for his intrigues but was more friendly to Pompey but he saw Crassus as a key stepping stone to political advancement, the Optimates (led by men such as Catalus, the Metelli, the two Luculli and Hortensius) were wary of Pompey's return however they did not make any overtures to Crassus or Caesar.

In 65 BC Caesar became Aedile and with the finacial backing of Crassus managed to secure the aquittal of Catiline who had been brought before the court for what he got up to during Sulla's proscriptions.

Caesar formed the First Triumvirate with Pompey and Crassus where they effecitly they ran the Roman Republic covertly, Caesar was able to get a comission to go to Gaul, he knew to truly become a powerful figure in politics he needed military glory and Gaul provided this.

Crassus death at the hands of the Parthians removed a buffer between Caesar and Pompey who began to see each other as rivals.

Caesar began to be seen as a rival by Pompey and the Optimates were frightened of his ambition and the wealth he was reaping from his Gallic campaigns. His final break with Pompey was the death of his daughter Juila who had married him, Pompey rejected Caesar offer of a wife from his own family and instead chose to accept the hand of Cornelia Metella, daughter of Metellus Scipio an enemy of Caesar.

The Senate under the leadership of Pompey demmaned Caesar return home and disband his army. They forbid him to to stand for a second consulship in absentia. Caesar felt his Dignitas dearer than life itself and felt insulted by the senate who wanted to brand him a victiorious military general a criminal. He took the decision to cross the Rubicon and march on Rome to restore his honour, he was prepared to plunge the Later Roman Republic into another civil war over the insult to his Dignitas .

Caesar would emerge the winner in this bout of civil war, Pompey was defeated in Greece at the The Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC, hd fled to Egypt where he was beheaded on the orders of the three counselors of the boy-king Ptolemy XIII, they wanted to curry favour with the Roman Republic and hoped decapitating Pompey would please Caesar, how wrong they were, he was angry so he deposed Ptolemy XIII, executed his regent Pothinus and established Ptolemy sister Cleopatra as the ruler of Egypt. After spending many a pleasurable months in Egypt he realised there were still a few lose ends to deal with, he defeated the remaining elements of Pompey's army and returned to Rome triumphant.

He was made dictator for life and embarked on a busy period of reform of the Roman political instutions and various building projects. His total power worried both his friends and his enemies who saw him as a threat to his position. Caesar unlike Sulla chose to pardon his defeated enemies, one of which was Brutus. On the Ides of March 44 BC Caesar was assassinated and stabbed 23 times, his assassians had hoped that with the tyrants death the whole of Rome would rise up and the old order restored sadly they misjudged the mood of the mob who were whipped up into a furious rage by Caesar's friend Mark Antony who read out Caesars very generous will. They were chased out of the city and fled to Greece pursued by the combined armies of Mark-Athony and Caesar's great nephew Octavian.

All Caesar's death did was plunge the Roman Republic into another bout of civil war which brought an final end to the Roman Republic. Ocatvian would defeat with the help of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Anthony and Cleopatra at the naval Battle of Actium in 31 BC.

Octavian founded the principate and by the time he died there was nobody left who could imagine a time without a Roman emperor.

Further reading

Suetonius - The Twele Caesars
H.H. Scullard - From the Gracchi to Nero: A History of Rome from 133 BC to AD 68
Plutarch - Roman Lives
Caesar - Conquest of Gaul
Ronald Syme - The Roman Revolution
H.H. Scullard and M. Cary - A History of Rome
Appian - The Civil Wars

Book(s) Review - The Baroque Cycle by Neal

A wonderful series of books with rich detail.

I really enjoyed the way Neal Stephenson manages to draw in a series of fictional and actual historical characters to a historical backdrop which manages to feature the Thirty Years' War, the The Great Plague and The Great Fire of London and the War of the Spanish Succession.

He brings historical detail to life, provides a window to a world same yet different to our own, he brings historical figures like Isaac Newton, Gottfried Leibniz and Robert Hooke to life. He describes wondefully the diplomatic intrigues of Europe.

through his three novels he manages to feature an array of important historical figures of Europe, a few I shall mention here:

Elizabeth of Bohemia also known as the Winter Queen

her daughter Electress Sophia of Hanover

Elizabeth of Bohemia's nephew Charles II

Charles II brother James II of England

King Louis XIV of France

John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough who is considered one of the most brilliant military geniuses Britain has produced.

Across his he brings the 17th and early 18th century alive, the transformaton of medieval ideas of feudalism to the modern society we have today. It brings together historical action with cryptography.

The Baroque Cycle I recommend reading if you wish to explore a different avenue and enter into an different world, it encourages you to find out more about the topics the books discusses.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Heads in the Sand

80 bodies found in Baghdad heighten sectarian fears
BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraqi police found 80 bodies, shot or strangled to death, in and around Baghdad over the past two days, security officials said, amid fears of a new outbreak in sectarian killings.

The surge in bloodletting followed closely on Sunday's car bombings of market places in a Shiite district of the capital which left 46 dead and wounded 200.

Early Tuesday, 15 men, who appeared to have been hanged, were discovered in the back of a pick-up truck parked in the capital's western Al-Khadra district.

One of the victims, who still had identity papers on him, was identified at the Baghdad morgue as a 22-year-old Sunni student whose first name was Laith.

Just a week ago, 18 men killed in a similar fashion were found crammed into a minibus parked in the city.

The war whores have their heads in the sand if they think Iraq is some 'haven of democracy'.

Monday, March 13, 2006


Met chief apologises for taping phone call
The attorney general today accepted an apology from Britain's top police officer, Sir Ian Blair, for secretly recording one of their private telephone conversations.

A statement from the attorney general's office said Lord Goldsmith - who was last night said to be "incredibly cross and very disappointed" - had heard Sir Ian's explanation and now regarded the matter as closed.

A later statement from Scotland Yard said Sir Ian used a tape recorder because "he thought that they would be discussing a complex issue and as he was without a note-taker it would be helpful to have a record".

We would not want to think Sir Ian Blair was paranoid or anything!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

Heidi all snuggly

Queen Heidi aka her Heidiness

George looking cuddly

George taking it easy

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Hard To Believe

Report: Human Rights Situation in Central Asia Still Unsatisfactory
The U.S. State Department says Kazakhstan's human rights record remained poor in 2005. It says the government continued to commit numerous human rights abuses, including arbitrary arrests and aggressive persecution of independent media and political opposition.

In neighboring Kyrgyzstan, the annual report notes improvements in several areas following the March overthrow of President Askar Akayev, although some problems remained.

The report describes the human rights situation in Tajikistan as poor. It says corruption hampered democratic and social reform, while the government continued to restrict basic human rights.

The State Department report says Turkmenistan is a country of particular concern. It says arbitrary arrests, torture, denial to due process and fair trial are rampant, and the government continues to restrict basic freedoms.

Hard to believe that these are the countries the key powers of the East and West are courting!

Iraq contiues its spiral into civil war and more bloodshed - Bomb blasts shake Iraqi capital
At least 8 people have been killed and 21 injured in a series of bombings in the west of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

In the first attack, six civilians were killed when a roadside bomb exploded close to an Iraqi army patrol in Amiriya, an insurgent stronghold.

A second roadside bomb, targeting a police patrol in Jihad, injured three civilian bystanders.

Later, two people were killed and 13 wounded when a car bomb exploded in a busy street outside Yarmouk hospital.

Mystery Iraq abduction raises new security fears

Confusion over Iraqi guards' fate
There is confusion about the fate of 50 security firm employees in Baghdad who were reported to have been seized by people wearing police uniforms.

Reports said they were either arrested by police or kidnapped by militants posing as police officers on Wednesday.

Officials at the Iraqi interior ministry has denied involvement and called the operation a "terrorist act".

The incident followed the discovery of the bodies of 18 men in a van in a western, mainly Sunni area of the city.

The Bush Junta and their lackeys must really live in some fantasy land if they think Iraq is a 'haven of democracy', they attack the media (and anyone who speaks of reality) for reporting what goes on daily there, does them no good to blubber about it, this is their mess they caused, they blundered in the first few months of the occupation and now they are paying the price.

What is even more hilarious is that China is lecturing the US on human rights, now China hardly has a sparkling human rights record but the US has lots its moral finger wagging since they started locking people up without trial and abusing them.

China rejects US rights 'hypocrisy'
China has rejected US criticism of its record on human rights in an official rejoinder which says racial discrimination and crime are still rife in America.

The State Council, China's cabinet, denounced America on Thursday for what it called rampant violence and widespread discrimination against minorities, especially blacks, in its annual response to the US state department's report on human rights worldwide.

"As in previous years, the state department pointed the finger at human rights situations in more than 190 countries and regions, including China, but kept silent on the serious violations of human rights in the United States," the Chinese report said.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Gunmen seize 50 Iraq security men
Gunmen dressed in Iraqi police uniforms have raided the offices of a security firm in Baghdad, seizing 50 employees.

The incident happened in the eastern Zayouna district of the city. Among those captured was the head of the private firm, al-Rawafed.

It came after the bodies of 20 men were found dumped in the Iraqi capital.

Eighteen were left strangled or shot in a minibus in a western area populated mainly by Sunni Arabs. Two were found in east Baghdad tied up and shot.

I would sure love to know what corner number we have turned in Iraq!

US envoy to Iraq: 'We have opened the Pandora's box'

· 80% of Americans think civil war likely
· Rumsfeld accuses Tehran of fomenting conflict

The US ambassador to Baghdad conceded yesterday that the Iraq invasion had opened a Pandora's box of sectarian conflicts which could lead to a regional war and the rise of religious extremists who "would make Taliban Afghanistan look like child's play".

Zalmay Khalilzad broke with the Bush administration's generally upbeat orthodoxy to present a stark profile of a volatile situation in danger of sliding into chaos.

Rummy it does you no good to blame Iran, Liberals or the Media for your fuck ups in Iraq, in the end you will only have yourself to blame when Iraq slips into full scale civil war.

You can try and spin this clusterfuck anyway you want but Zalmay Khalilzad can see what a vortex of instability Iraq has become.

The US meanwhile is losing the plot - State's abortion ban fires first shot in a long war over women's rights

As conservatives eye new supreme court case activists gear up to do battle across the US

Activists on either side of the abortion divide - the great faultline of American politics - were gearing up for an epic confrontation yesterday after South Dakota passed the most sweeping ban on terminations in more than 30 years.

The law, which would ban nearly all abortions, was signed into law on Monday by a Republican governor, Mike Rounds, who embraced the ban with the intention of provoking a direct challenge to legalised abortion across the country.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

George and Heidi enjoying some afternoon sun


Heidi likes Marks and Spencers food (I do too!)


This morning on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme John Humphrys interviewed the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, Colleen Graffy, about this Guantanamo man tells of 'torture'
A Kuwaiti man being held at Guantanamo Bay has told the BBC in a rare interview that the force-feeding of hunger strikers amounts to torture.
The BBC submitted questions for Fawzi al-Odah to his lawyer, Tom Wilner, who has access to the camp, but was unable to challenge Mr Odah's responses.

Mr Odah was one of 84 inmates at Guantanamo who went on hunger strike in December. Just four remain defiant.

Now reading this news story makes me depressed but then I read this piece of news - Tunisia denies holding political prisoners

Tunisia has expressed regret that the US State Department seemed to be giving credence to claims by human-rights groups that the North African country holds political prisoners.

The State Department said on Wednesday that the US welcomed Tunisia's decision to free or grant conditional parole to more than 1600 prisoners.

Adam Ereli, the State Department's deputy spokesman, said some had been described by human rights groups, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and independent observers as political prisoners.

I don't think at this precise moment at time the US is in any position to lecture about 'upholding human rights' when they are ignoring them at home.

It makes me even more angry when the US (and the UK) think they can take the moral highground on matters such as this, when they are locking people up without trial and force feeding them back home.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Many die in Iraq attacks

Baghdad official who exposed executions flees

Faik Bakir, the director of the Baghdad morgue, has fled Iraq in fear of his life after reporting that more than 7,000 people have been killed by death squads in recent months, the outgoing head of the UN human rights office in Iraq has disclosed.

"The vast majority of bodies showed signs of summary execution - many with their hands tied behind their back. Some showed evidence of torture, with arms and leg joints broken by electric drills," said John Pace, the Maltese UN official. The killings had been happening long before the bloodshed after last week's bombing of the Shia shrine in Samarra.

Clearly Negroponte has been having an effect in Iraq, after all he was invovled with the death squads in Central America, so he is an expert on the subject.

This is just another example of why the ever decreasing 'coalition of the willing (or bribed)' have failed in Iraq and neglected Afghanistan, a country carved up by the warlords who fund their armies with money made from growing opium poppoies which is then made into heroin.

Meanwhile feel the love for Bush - Suicide bomb in Pakistan kills US diplomat ahead of Bush visit

All India protest marks Bush visit

This man is hated the world over and is polling at 34% in his own country, when will he get the message that he is not welcome anymore!