Sunday 23 February 2020

Roger Waters of Pink Floyd - "Everthing will be remembered"


Roger Waters on Julian Assange


I have four names on this piece of paper.

The First and last of course is Julian Assange, A journalist, a courageous shiner of light into the dark places from which the powers that be would dearly like to have us turn away.

Julian Assange. A name to be carved with pride into any monument to human progress.

Julian is why we are here today, but this is no parochial protest. We are today part of a global movement, a global movement that might be the beginning of the global enlightenment that this fragile planet so desperately needs.

Second name is Aamir Aziz, a young poet and activist in Delhi involved in the fight against Modi and his rascist Citizenship law.

Everything Will Be Remembered

Kill us, we will become ghosts and write
of your killings, with all the evidence.
You write jokes in court;
We will write ‘justice’ on the walls.
We will speak so loudly that even the deaf will hear.
We will write so clearly that even the blind will read.
You write ‘injustice’ on the earth;
We will write ‘revolution’ in the sky.
Everything will be remembered;
Everything recorded.


This outpouring of the human spirit from India is taking place in a time of revolt, when the fetters of propriety are set aside.

As we meet here in London, across the Atlantic in Argentina thousands of women are taking to the streets to demand the legalization of abortion from President Fernandez.

It’s not just Argentina. This last year we have seen major protests erupt across the whole world against neoliberal/facist regimes. In Chile, The Lebanon, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti,France and now, of course also in Bolivia fighting the new US imposed military dictatorship there.

When will we see the name of England appended to that noble list? I sense the scratching of heads in drawing rooms across the home counties, “What’s he talking about, the man’s a bloody pinkopervert, bloody anti semite, what’s he talking about? We don’t live in a dictatorship, this is a free country, a democracy, with all the finest traditions of fair play, pah!”

Well, I’ve got news for you Disgruntled of Tunbridge Wells. We’d like to think this is a free country, but are we really free? Why, when Julian Assange is brought to the dock in the tiny magistrates court inside Belmarsh prison are so many seats occupied by anonymous American suits, whispering instructions into the attentive ear of the prosecution’s lead barrister, James Lewis QC?


Because we don’t live in a free country, we live in a glorified dog kennel and we bark and/or wag our tails at the bidding of our lords and masters across the pond.

I stand here today, in front of the Mother of Parliaments, and there she stands blushing in all her embarrassment. And just upstream from here is Runnymede, where in 1215, we, the English, laid out the rudiments of common law. Magna Carta, ratified in 1297 article 29 of whichgave us Habeus Corpus. Or did it? It stated:


The body of a free man is not to be arrested, or imprisoned, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way ruined, nor is the king to go against him or send forcibly against him, except by judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”

Sadly, Article 29 is not enforceable in modern law. Magna Carta is only an idea, and in this propaganda driven modern world, it provides no check in principle to Parliament legislating against the rights of citizens.

We do however have an extradition treaty with the USA and in the first paragraph of article 4 of that treaty it states. “Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense.” Julian Assange has committed no crime but he has committed a political act. He has spoken truth to power. He has angered some of our masters in Washington by telling the truth and in retribution for the act of telling the truth they want his blood.

Yesterday in front of Battersea Power Station I did a TV interview for SKY news to promote this event, there was no visual link, so my only contact with the lady asking me questions was via an ear bud on a curly wire. I learned something about telling truth in the phrasing of her questions to me. She came at me like some crazed Don Quixote every question laced, thick with the smears and innuendo and the false accusations with which the powers that be have been trying to blacken Julian Assange’s name. She rattled off the tired, but well prepared narrative, and then interrupted constantly when I made reply. I don’t know who she is, she may mean well. If she does, my advice would be to stop drinking the Kool-aid, and if she actually gives a fig for her chosen profession get her sorry ass down here and join us.

So England. I call upon our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to declare his colours, does he support the spirit of Magna Carta? Does he believe in, democracy, freedom, fair play, free speech, and especially the freedom of the press? If the answer to those questions is yes, then come on Prime Minister be the British Bulldog you would have us all believe you are? Stand up to the bluster of American hegemony, call off this show trial, this charade, this kangaroo court. 


“The evidence before the court is incontrovertible.” Julian Assange is an innocent man. A journalist doing very important work for “we the people” by exposing the crimes of powerful sociopaths in the corridors of power.

I call on you to free him today.

I cannot leave this stage without mention of Chelsea Manning, who provided some of the material that Julian published.

Chelsea has been in a federal prison for a year incarcerated by the Americans for refusing, on principle, to give evidence to a grand jury specifically convened to make an example of Julian Assange. What courage. They are also fining her $1,000 a day. Chelsea yours is another name to be carved in pride, I’ve been reading the latest on your case, it looks as if your legal team are finding light at the end of the tunnel, please god, you get out soon back to your loved ones, you are a true hero. You exemplify the bulldog spirit that I was talking about a few moments ago.

Also Daniel Hale

Daniel is a whistle-blower you may not know yet. He was in a great documentary movie National Bird, made by my good friend Sonia Kennebeck. He was part of the US drone program targeting Afghans in their own country from some mobile command center in Navada. When his stint in the USAF was over. Daniel’s good heart refused to edit out the burden of remorse he carried and he very bravely decided to tell his story. The FBI/CIA have pursued Daniel remorselessly ever since and he is now in prison awaiting trial. Daniel’s is another name to be carved in pride.

Those of us who have never compromised our liberty in the cause of freedom, who have never picked up the burning torch and held it trembling over the crimes of their superior officers, can only wonder at the extraordinary courage of those who have.

There are other speakers here, so I will make way, I could stand here all day railing against the dying of the light should we not stand Bulldog like, with arms linked, ranks closed in front of our brother and comrade Julian Assange. And when the lackeys of the American Empire come to take him, to destroy him and hang him in the hedge as a warning to frighten future journalists, we will look them in the eye and steadfast with one voice we will intone.

“Over our dead fucking bodies.”


Roger Waters Feb 22nd 2020

(Thank you Craig Murray for posting this here)

Friday 21 February 2020

Corbyn is 'hopelessly out of date'

Tony Blair, with his wife and children, own ten houses and twenty seven flats. Their London house in Connaught Square is worth over £8 million.


Yesterday he emerged from Connaught Square to do the rounds of the studios and tell us that The Labour Party must "build a new progressive coalition" with the Lib Dems. 


He attacked Jeremy Corbyn for advocating policies "which are hopelessly out of date and not suitable for addressing the problems of the 21st Century." He went on to warn us that "Labour's aim is not to trend on Twitter or to have celebrities temporarily fawn over us, our task is to win power".


This from the man described by the BBC as “the arch-exponent of celebrity endorsement.”


Amongst those who ‘fawned’ over Tony at No 10 when he was PM, were Sting, Sir Elton John, Bono, David Bowie, Bob Geldof, Mick Hucknall. Joan Collins, Dame Judi Dench, Cilla Black, Clive Anderson, Rosie Boycott, Delia Smith, Sir Richard Branson, Melvyn Bragg, Kevin Keegan and not forgetting Phil Redmond, the creator of Brookside. The theatre director Trevor Nunn, the conductor Sir Simon Rattle and the architect Lord Rogers, also sipped and supped with him. The full list is boringly longer.


Here is what is out of date. Tony Blair’s personal ‘fortune’ is, according to that left-wing newspaper, The Daily Telegraph an estimated £60 million.


This in the context of a country where the richest 1% of own more than twenty times the wealth of the poorest 20%.


An Oxfam study concluded that “more than 20 times” is an understatement with The Office for National Statistics emphasising that information on wealth inequality in the UK is "seriously incomplete" and that it’s particularly hard to measure the wealth of the very rich.


In the world as a whole the richest 1% have more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people. 


While people at the top get influence, opportunities, power and invitations to pontificate in TV studios , people living in poverty miss out on the basics - like a decent education, healthcare, food and jobs. The ‘out of date’ Corbyn has been there to remind us of these facts.


On the same day that Blair was cabbing it from Connaught Square to Sky News and on to the BBC, Jeremy Corbyn was visiting flood victims in Rhydyfelin in Pontypridd. Two days earlier he was helping feed the homeless in Slough while the shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, was at Belmarsh visiting the imprisoned truth-teller, Julian Assange.


Fuck knows where Boris Johnson was and I doubt we want to know!

Are we really sure the right person is in No 10 today?

Friday 14 February 2020

Time for our Ådalen 31

In the 1930s Norway and Sweden “fired” the top 1 percent of people who set the direction for society and both countries went on to build economies that eliminated poverty, expanded free university education, abolished slums, provided healthcare available to all and created a system of full employment.

They had realized that, with the 1% in charge, electoral “democracy” was stacked against them, so nonviolent direct action was needed to exert the power for change.

In both countries, troops were called out to defend the 1 percent; people died. (Bo Widerberg told the Swedish story in Ådalen 31, which depicts the sparking of a nationwide general strike.) The 1% had become increasingly desperate as militancy grew among workers and farmers. The misery of the poor became daily more urgent, and the Labour Party felt increasing pressure from its members to alleviate their suffering, which it could do only if it took charge of the government.

This it did. They expanded the economy and started public works projects to head toward a policy of full employment that became the keystone of economic policy.

The 1% thereby lost its historic power to dominate the economy and society. Not until three decades later could the Conservatives return to a governing coalition, having by then accepted the new rules of the game, including a high degree of public ownership of the means of production, extremely progressive taxation, strong business regulation for the public good and the virtual abolition of poverty.

When Conservatives tried a fling with neoliberal policies, Labour stepped back in, seized the three largest banks, fired the top management, left the stockholders without a dime and refused to bail out any of the smaller banks.

Scandinavian society’s high level of freedom and broadly-shared prosperity began when workers and farmers, along with middle class allies, waged a nonviolent struggle that empowered the people to govern for the common good.

Does this resonate with you and will Ken Loach still be alive to make our Ådalen 31

Much of this information is taken from this article

You can view Ådalen31film here

Wednesday 12 February 2020

UK today - shackled & deported

Of the 17 deported from the UK to Jamaica this week. only five had a criminal conviction. one came out of prison 17 years ago and has not re-offended, the other four had faced charges for minor misdemeanours. 


They were shackled with reports that one deportee tried to commit suicide as they were being detained. Of the 25 that were taken off the plane at least one was in his teens and came here when he was two years old because the UK did a major recruiting in Jamaica for teachers. His mother is a teacher. He knows no-one in Jamaica.


Boris Johnson has confessed to imbibing Class A drugs and he was born in NYC. What time does his deportation flight depart?

Wednesday 5 February 2020

Liverpool, Paris & Mostar

Every year I go to Bosnia Herzegovina to stay with my Mostar ‘family’ who I have known since I was there at the time of the Bosnian war in the 90s. 


I recently wrote to them, “If I was well and 30 years younger I would be a revolutionary. Now I just wanna come and chill with you all. Did you ever think we here in the UK would think nostalgically of Mostar as a place of life and sanctuary. Everything is upside down or, as we say, topsy-turvy!”



Yesterday (4 February) a man climbed on the roof of a Liverpool Jobcentre and had to be coaxed down.


He was shouting that he was hungry and ‘You’re not fucking getting me.” A Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesperson said: “The welfare of customers and staff is paramount.” Of course it is.



My son receives DWP ‘Personal Independence Payment' (PIP) benefits and yesterday rang the DWP to enquire about the next payment date. He waited for half an hour before anyone would talk with him. 


His PIP benefits were withdrawn three years ago and he had to take the DWP to court to win them back. He only succeeded because he has a cousin who is a lawyer and took on his case pro bono.



Meanwhile and on the other side of the tracks, The Guardian reports that, “The UK is the world’s greatest enabler of corporate tax avoidance and has done the most to break down the global corporate tax system, accounting for over a third of the world’s corporate tax avoidance.”


They fully intend to keep it that way. Theresa May’s comment to Jeremy Corbyn in 2017 about his chances of being PM, “We will never let it happen” now chills my bones. 


As do the words of Roberto Saviano, anti-Mafia lawyer when he said, “Britain is the most corrupt country in the world.”


Meanwhile, and are you surprised, May’s husband Philip has a reputation for tax-avoidance


Talking of fiddles, how much ‘fiddling’ goes on with our voting? I have already written about the private companies who organise the postal ballot.


Then there is the incessant fixing of information carried out by the tax-avoiding billionaire-owned media.

Part of their campaign to not let a Corbyn-government ‘happen’ have been the anti-semitism slurs. Not made against the party with a long history of racism, but against one led by a man who is proud that his mother fought fascists in Cable Street.

As my witness on all this I give you John Bercow, the Jewish and Tory ex-House of Commons Speaker.


The London Economic dealt with this a year ago and the Morning Star located the ‘charity’ at the heart of anti-Corbyn propaganda.

As someone who has depended for my continued life on the NHS, there is its galloping privatisation to consider while we look at the smiling face of Richard Branson. 

Austerity is what lies behind the problems so many of us face while the very few benefit. Noam Chomsky defines it as "Just a fancy word for class war”. 

Back to Liverpool where its mayor has called time on austerity. The Scousers are famous for banning The Sun from their shops and remaining solidly Labour. There is hope.


Further south too, in France, there is hope.


But I am off to Bosnia, but before I go am looking forward to the Dubioza Kolektiv gig at London’s Electric Ballroom next week.


Great music and great politics. What a mix. 

Saturday 1 February 2020

Spring is on its way

Here is Nigel Farage in celebratory mood and joyous Brexiteers in Parliament Square last night. 

Our (but not my) PM was nowhere to be seen. He has already done his flag stunt. 


We have to settle for his video message which opens with these words, "For many people this is an astonishing moment of hope”. 

There is only one true word in that sentence - ‘astonishing’. I am astonished that this country has moved so fast from hope to despair. When I woke up this morning I thought of this picture from Mel Brooks’ ‘Springtime for Hitler’. 

Unfortunately we are going to have to get down and dirty before we can mock and laugh. We are going to have to learn from the French and that will be no joke.