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, September 28, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

Heidi snoozing to live Taraweeh prayers from Makkah

Heidi all snuggly and warm

Gorgeous George

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Iraq 2

Two million displaced inside Iraq
Nearly two million Iraqis have fled their homes for other parts of Iraq since the US-led invasion, creating a "human tragedy without precedence," the country's Red Crescent said.

Most of them are women and children - poor, sick, suffering from malnutrition - with little access to the country's health infrastructure or basic services.

The United Nations estimates that a further two million have fled their homeland completely, travelling to Syria, Jordan and other neighbouring countries.

According to the Red Crescent report released on Saturday, the number of displaced people increased by some 71 percent in August compared to the previous month, with most of the rise taking place in Baghdad.

The capital now had nearly one million displaced people for an estimated total population of four to five million, it said. There are 1,930,946 internally dispaced
Nice going Bush Junta! Over a million Iraqis dead and another billion displaced.

In fact I'm surprised there are any Iraqis still in Iraq

What with the cholera, starvation, lack of basic services, daily car bombings, being shot to death by US Forces or the various militias, driven out of their homes, kidnappings etc.


Willard: It's a way we had over here with living with ourselves. We cut 'em in half with a machine gun and give 'em a Band-Aid. It was a lie. And the more I saw them, the more I hated lies.
Apocalypse Now (1979)

U.S. Paratroopers Seek to Win Hearts
BAGHDAD (AP) - Six Humvees rolled into one of the poor neighborhoods that share Baghdad's northern fringe with groves of date palms, and school teacher Mustafa Hassan climbed out to tears, hugs and kisses.

Hassan had been detained by the U.S. military for five months on suspicion of involvement in insurgent activity, but his innocence was championed by an American paratrooper lieutenant and now he was being delivered home with respect.

In this remote corner of Baghdad, soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade, many on their third Iraq tour, are trying to leave their mark in a war defined as much by perceptions of conduct as by battlefield exploits.

Hassan's case illustrates the competing needs of quelling violence and reaching out to Iraqis.
Yeah reaching out to Iraqis - Babel, Sept 22, 2007 (VOI) – U.S. forces killed a family of seven members including women and children on suspicion they belonged to one of the militias in al-Iskandariya district, 50 km north of Babel province, an official police source in Babel said. Best of luck with that!

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

Gorgeous George

'I spy a yellow pipe cleaner'

'I have you now, yellow pipe cleaner'

Heidi in a heightened state

Catnip making Heidi a bit loopy

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Thursday, September 20, 2007


Iranian leader refused permission to lay wreath at Ground Zero
The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has triggered a diplomatic furore over his request to lay a wreath at the World Trade Centre site to commemorate the September 11 attacks.

Even before setting foot on US soil for the upcoming UN general assembly, the Iranian leader has managed to ruffle American feathers by asking to visit what is considered a sacred site.

Mr Ahmadinejad, who is to due to arrive on Sunday to address the assembly, had asked New York city and the US secret service earlier this month for permission to visit Ground Zero.
So whats the issue with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad not being allowed to visit the memorial?

I know he's crazy but his country had nothing to do with 9/11, nor is the USA at war with Iran (but probably soon) yet its head of state gets banned from visiting the memorial. It would be pointless to say that Iran isn't an Arabic country and the majority of its populace are Shiites.

I don't get the controversy, logic is not a strong point of the Bush Junta nor their Neocon fellow travelers, I wonder if they will try and trip up Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and therefore creation a casus bellis to attack Iran?

Its all very puzzling

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007


It be...

and to celebrate this, an excerpt from Le Corsaire
Le Corsaire (The Pirate) is a ballet in three acts, with a libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges derived from the poem The Corsair by Lord Byron. Originally choreographed by the Ballet Master Joseph Mazilier to the music of Adolphe Adam. First presented by the Ballet du Théâtre Impérial de l´Opéra in Paris on 23 January 1856.

The ballet has many celebrated passages which are often extracted and performed independently - the Grand ballabile known as Le Jardin Animé; the Pas d'action known as the Pas d'Esclave; and the classical trio known as the Grand Pas de Trois des Odalisques. The most celebrated excerpt is the so-called Le Corsaire Pas de Deux, which is among classical ballet's most iconic and performed excerpts.

The poem also inspired Verdi to write his opera Il corsaro

Can't forget Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance

"Oh, Better Far to Live and Die" sung by Jon English (The Pirate King)

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Music Video Blogging

The KLF - America: What Time Is Love

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Brave New Iraq

A few more 'successes' for the Bush Junta and their fellow travelers:

IRAQ: Ethnic violence forces more Arabs to flee Kirkuk
KIRKUK, 16 September 2007 (IRIN) - Iraqi Arab residents of the northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk, some 250km from Baghdad, say scores of Arab families are fleeing the city as ethnic violence increases there.

“The attacks on our community have worsened since February 2007. We are being forced to leave the city almost empty-handed and the government isn’t taking any action to support us,” said Ali Akram Mahmoud, a spokesperson for Kirkuk’s Arabs Association (KAA), formed in 2003 with the aim of safeguarding the rights of Arabs who had settled in the city.

“The number of [Arab] families fleeing the city has increased by 20 percent on previous years. Their flight will seriously affect the upcoming referendum in which Kurds will have a majority not because of their numbers but because, with guns in their hands, they will have forced all Arabs to flee the city. It is absolutely unfair,” he said.

The December 2007 Kirkuk status referendum is due to decide whether the city becomes part of the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

“The most common scene in Kirkuk is of families filling cars with their relatives and fleeing the city in the early morning,” said Jihad Muhammad, a political analyst at Mustansiriyah University.

IRAQ: Diyala the worst province for basic services
BAQUBAH, 16 September 2007 (IRIN) - Diyala province, on Iraq’s eastern border with Iran, is the scene of some of the worst violence in Iraq today, making the province’s shortages of basic services worse than anywhere else in the country, according to the local council and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

“Few schools are functioning properly, with few numbers of teachers and students. Hospitals lack essential supplies as the militants and insurgents fight over them. On top of that, some police stations are under the control of local militias,” Fatah Ahmed, a spokesman for the Iraq Aid Association (IAA), said.
Again I ask how can you pro war people contiue to support this occupation?

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

The British Government and the Human Rights Act

Reid to step down at next poll
Former home secretary John Reid has announced that he will quit Westminster at the next general election.

After 20 years as a Labour MP, Mr Reid informed his Airdrie and Shotts constituency party that he would not be seeking re-election.

The 60-year-old stood down from the Cabinet alongside Tony Blair in June.

He used the announcement to criticise the Human Rights Act, writing in the News of the World it was hindering the UK's fight against crime and terrorism.

Mr Reid called for a review of human rights laws at a "British and European level".

He said: "Too often we are fighting crime and terrorism with one hand behind our back."
Anything a thug in a suit like John Reid is against, has to be good.

The government doesn't want any form of a written constitution, because it would move power away from them.

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Saturday Photo Blogging

A long time Palestinian friend of mine, Handool, send me a couple of photos he took in and around Bethlehem and asked that I blog them.

St George Slaying the Dragon

Entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Where Jesus was born

Outside the Church (with the Mosque of Omar in the background)

The Mosque of Omar, this was build by Saladin's son to commemorate Caliph Omar's visit to Jerusalem in 638, when Omar prayed on the steps of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre instead of inside so that it could remain a Christian holy place.

Photos of 1920s Bethlehem

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Funny Pic of the Day

Giant pandas at the China Panda Protection and Research Centre in Wolong, in the Sichuan province. Photograph: Reuters


Friday Opera Blogging

Anna Netrebko, Verdi: Rigoletto, quartet

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Friday Cat Blogging

Heidi and George in a rare moment of social harmony

A 'arty' shot of George and Heidi

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

News Stories That Make Me Angry

US government urged to free Al-Jazeera cameraman in Ramadan gesture

Joint appeal with International Committee for Release of Sami Al-Haj
oday, on the first day of Ramadan, Reporters Without Borders reiterates its appeal to the US authorities to free Al-Jazeera cameraman Sami Al-Haj, a Sudanese national who has been held at the US military base at Guantanamo, Cuba, since 13 June 2002 without being tried and without any precise charges being brought against him.

Al-Haj has tried to stage several hunger strikes since January and his physical and psychological condition has deteriorated a great deal. His lawyer, Clive Stafford-Smith, is due to travel to Guantanamo on 26 September.

“Ramadan is traditionally the month of self-denial and forgiveness and for the individual to confront his own humanity, but how much humanity remains when someone is detained arbitrarily and deprived of all contact with his family for more than five years?” Reporters Without Borders asked. “And what remains of the rule of law, when a prisoner is denied a fair trial, denied treatment and tortured? The Al-Haj case is a legal scandal, as is the Guantanamo prison camp itself.”

The press freedom organisation added: “Together with the International Committee for the Release of Sami Al-Haj, we call on the United States to free him immediately. We also urge the US congress, where the camp’s existence is increasingly criticised, to press for his release. And we call on the US federal courts, which have ruled that it is unconstitutional to try the Guantanamo ‘enemy combatants’ before military tribunals, to impose their decisions.”
They haven't even charged him with anything or shown any proof and the poor guy remains locked up.

It makes me so angry when I read news stories such as these, cause to me it shows the US and UK have forfeited whatever political and moral responsibility they had. What a sad state of affairs we have today when torture has become the norm and governments had no qualms about locking people up without trial.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cats in Power

Introducing Sybil, Downing Street's first cat for a decade

Sybil in the garden Photograph: Clara Molden/AP
In the latest break with the Blair era, a cat is back in residence at Downing Street for the first time in a decade. The job of official mouser has gone to Sybil, a black and white cat owned by the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, and his wife, Margaret.

She follows in the famous paw-steps of Humphrey, who served Margaret Thatcher and John Major before being mysteriously "retired" in 1997 amid rumours that Cherie Blair was allergic to cats.

The Darlings have brought Sybil, named after the character played by Prunella Scales in Fawlty Towers, from their Edinburgh home to live in their flat above 10 Downing Street. It is understood that the Darlings will be footing the bill for the Government's newest recruit.

Sybil will be given privileged access to the heart of government to help fulfil her task of keeping the building free of vermin.
I think I shall vote for Sybil at the next election! /jk

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Latest Wingnut Pin Ups from Belgium

Photo taken from here

I mean whft? 'Islamisering' isn't even a real word

Arrests at Brussels Islam protest
Police in the Belgian capital, Brussels, have arrested two far-right political leaders at a protest against the "Islamisation of Europe".

Police clashed with some of the 200 demonstrators and dozens more people were reported to have been arrested.

The mayor of Brussels had banned the protest, held on the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the US.

Frank Vanhecke and Filip Dewinter of the Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) party were arrested.

Vlaams Belang has been critical of Muslim immigration to Belgium.
Talking about the ignorant, at Gilwell Park, London (a Scouting training centre) there are plans to build a mosque in the grounds, as Muslim Scouts didn't have a place of worship there but the BNP councilors of the district have blocked it, and insist there be no minarets.

What a bunch of bigoted wankers.

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Tuesday Ballet Blogging

Marianela Nuñez dances Myrtha's variation in Peter Wright's production of Giselle for the Royal Ballet.

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Money, Money, Money

Numbers seeking debt advice soar
The number of people seeking advice on how to meet their debts has hit record levels, the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has warned.

The CAB said 1.7 million people sought debt counselling last year, up 20%. CAB is handling 6,600 debt enquiries a day.

Those with problems paying credit card bills and other unsecured loans accounted for 40% of all enquiries.

But CAB reported a "worrying" rise in the number of people struggling to meet day-to-day outgoings like phone bills.
Amazing, the sheer irresponsibility of loan companies who lend money to people on low incomes.

They don't check a person's credit history or their financial details because it would cost money, they just don't care, they have a target 'lend money' and thats that and every time the government talks about oh I don't know setting down rules and regulations, the loans companies say 'oh but it'll effect the economy, stop it growing' and bingo the government will get cold feet and drop the proposal.

Its a vicious cycle

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Iraq and Iran

US plans military base near Iran
The Pentagon plans to build a military base near the Iran-Iraq border, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper quoted a senior US army commander as saying that the base will be used to try and prevent the flow of weapons by Shia fighters into Iraq.

Major-General Rick Lynch, the commander of the US army’s 3rd Infantry Division, said that the Pentagon also plans to build checkpoints on major highways leading from the Iranian border to Baghdad.

X-ray machines will be installed, as well as explosive-detecting sensors, the paper reported.
Well this news is pretty ominous, time to find my tinfoil hat. I think its a dead cert that Iran is going to be bombed, if not by the USA then by Israel and probably Saudi Arabia will give it tacit support, as they dislike Iran challenging their position in the Middle East.

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Friday, September 07, 2007


Britain 'backed US decision to disband Saddam's army'
The British Government and military high command fully supported the controversial US policy of disbanding Saddam Hussein's armed forces after the 2003 invasion, according to Washington's former proconsul in Baghdad, Paul Bremer.

Stung by remarks from President George Bush that he alone had been responsible for one of the most disastrous mistakes of the war while running the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), Mr Bremer went to some lengths to set the record straight yesterday and provided previously unknown details of British support for the US policy.

British military officers were also enthusiastic supporters of the policy of de-Baathification – or sacking members of Saddam's Baath party from the security services, according to Mr Bremer. The policy, which he still defends, has been blamed for creating a security vacuum which enabled a Sunni as well as an al-Qa'ida insurgency to take hold. In a searing opinion article in yesterday's New York Times, Mr Bremer tried to defend himself from becoming the scapegoat for the administration's failures in Iraq.
No shit sherlock! I've blogged many times about how disbanding the local elites will only cause trouble for a occupying force. The Iraq Occupation sowed the seeds of its current problems in the first few days after the invasion, with policies like De-Baathification.

Riverbend on Arriving in Syria: The first minutes after passing the border were overwhelming. Overwhelming relief and overwhelming sadness... How is it that only a stretch of several kilometers and maybe twenty minutes, so firmly segregates life from death? How is it that a border no one can see or touch stands between car bombs, militias, death squads and... peace, safety? It's difficult to believe- even now. I sit here and write this and wonder why I can't hear the explosions. I wonder at how the windows don't rattle as the planes pass overhead. I'm trying to rid myself of the expectation that armed people in black will break through the door and into our lives. I'm trying to let my eyes grow accustomed to streets free of road blocks, hummers and pictures of Muqtada and the rest... How is it that all of this lies a short car ride away?

Syria recently has decided to close their border to Iraqi refugees, a consequence of the badly run occupation.

If Iraqis find selling their blood doesn't make them any money, then they can turn to the drug trade in the New and Improved Iraq -
BAGHDAD, 6 September 2007 (IRIN) - Abu Teif, 52, is a drug seller. Previously unemployed and living in poverty, he got into drug dealing to support his family - three children and a handicapped wife.

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Music Video Blogging

MC5 - Kick Out The Jams

This song was far ahead of its time (1972)


Swiss Politics

Switzerland: Europe's heart of darkness?

Switzerland is known as a haven of peace and neutrality. But today it is home to a new extremism that has alarmed the United Nations. Proposals for draconian new laws that target the country's immigrants have been condemned as unjust and racist. A poster campaign, the work of its leading political party, is decried as xenophobic. Has Switzerland become Europe's heart of darkness? By Paul Vallely

This is quite sad to read but not a total surprise, Switzerland seems to be competing with Poland for nutty behaviour.

It is a shame because I really enjoyed holidaying there a few years back, I adored the mountains of the Bernese Oberland and the efficient and clean trains.

This is one of the SVP's posters, not very subtle

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The Recent Foot and Mouth Outbreak

Leaking drains 'caused outbreak'
The recent foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Surrey was probably caused by leaking drains, heavy rain and building work, a report has found.

The Health and Safety Executive said it was not clear which of the two labs at Pirbright, four miles from where the disease was found, were responsible.
These cretins should be fired.

This outbreak happened because two departments could not agree on who should repair and look after the drains.

Instead of you know perhaps working together or one side accepting responsibility, they chose to squabble, leading to this outbreak, which cost farmers.

I mean this is a worst example of Government bureaucrats showing no imagination, only caring out their quotas or targets, their graphs and charts.

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Friday Cat Blogging

Heidi out in the garden, on a lead

a close up shot of George

Heidi snoozing on a rubbish bag in my room

Heidi taking it easy

George saying 'look at me I'm very handsome, all lesser beings bow before me'

George sideways

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