Monday, 31 May 2010

Israel attacks aid ship, kills at least 10 civilians

Late last night, Israel attacked a flotilla of ships in international waters carrying food, medicine and other aid to Gaza, killing at least 10 civilians on board and injuring at least 30 more (many reports now put the numbers at 19 dead and 60 injured).  The Israeli Defense Forces is claiming that its soldiers were attacked with clubs,  knives and "handguns" when they boarded the ship without permission, but none of the Israeli soldiers were killed while two are reported injured.  Those on the ships emphatically state that the IDF came on board shooting.  An IDF spokesman said:  "Our initial findings show that at least 10 convoy participants were killed."  
The six-ship flotilla was carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid along with 600 people, all civilians, which included 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland, European legislators and an elderly Holocaust survivor, Hedy Epstein, 85.  In December, 2008, Israel, citing rocket attacks from Hamas, launched a 22-day, barbaric attack on Gaza, bombarding a trapped population, killing hundreds of innocent civilians (1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed), and devastating Gazan society.  A U.N. report released earlier this month documented that, as a result of the blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel and Egypt (the two largest recipients of U.S. aid), "[m]ost of the property and infrastructure damaged . . .  was still unrepaired 12 months later."  
The flotilla attacked by Israel last night was carrying materials such as cement, water purifiers, and other building materials, much of which Israel refuses to let pass into Gaza.  At the end of 2009, a U.N. report found that "insufficient food and medicine is reaching Gazans, producing a further deterioration of the mental and physical health of the entire civilian population since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead against the territory," and also "blamed the blockade for continued breakdowns of the electricity and sanitation systems due to the Israeli refusal to let spare parts needed for repair get through the crossings."
It hardly seemed possible for Israel -- after its brutal devastation of Gaza and its ongoing blockade -- to engage in more heinous and repugnant crimes.  But by attacking a flotilla in international waters carrying humanitarian aid, and slaughtering at least 10 people, Israel has managed to do exactly that.  If Israel's goal were to provoke as much disgust and contempt for it as possible, it's hard to imagine how it could be doing a better job.
It is appropriate that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with President Obama on Tuesday in Washington, because -- as always -- it is only American protection of Israel that permits the Israelis to engage in conduct like this.  Initial reports speculate that Netanyahu would cancel that meeting in order to return to Israel in light of this attack.  But there would be something quite symbolically appropriate about having the U.S. stand at the side of Israel in the aftermath of this latest massacre, because it is only the massive amounts of U.S. financial and military aid, and endless diplomatic protection, that enables Israel to act with impunity as a rogue and inhumane state.  So complete is the devotion of the U.S. Congress to the mission of serving and protecting Israel that it even overwhelmingly condemned the Goldstone report, which found that Israel and Hamas had both commited war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity during the Israeli attack on Gaza (the U.S. Congress, of course, never condemned the Israeli war crimes themselves -- only the Report which documented those crimes).  Israeli actions are a direction reflection on, and by-product of, the U.S. Government, because it is the U.S. which enables and protects the behavior.
The one silver lining from these incidents is that the real face of Israel becomes increasingly revealed and undeniable.  Not even the most intense propaganda systems can prettify a lethal military attack on ships carrying civilians and humanitarian aid to people living in some of the most wretched and tragic conditions anywhere in the world.  It is crystal clear to anyone who looks what Israel has become, and the only question left is how will the rest of the world -- beginning with their American patrons -- will react. 
As Americans suffer extreme cuts in education for their own children and a further deterioration in basic economic security (including Social Security), will they continue to acquiesce to the transfer of billions of dollars every year to the Israelis, who -- unlike Americans -- enjoy full, universal health care coverage?  How is the revulsion justifiably provoked by this latest Israeli crime going to impact American efforts in the Muslim world (as but one of many examples to come, Al Jazeera reports that "Moqtada al-Sadr has called for a large anti-Israel rally across from the Green Zone in Baghdad")?  How much longer will Americans be willing to pay the extreme prices for its endlessly entangled "alliance" with its prime Middle Eastern client state, whose capacity for criminal and inhumane acts appears limitless?  
* * * * * 
On a day when the meaning of "heroism" is often discussed, the people on these ships who tried to deliver aid to Gazans, knowing that they could easily find themselves in a confrontation with the Israeli Navy but doing it anyway in order to bring attention to the extraordinary injustice and cruelty of the blockade, are pure, unadulterated heroes.

UPDATE:  Regarding the blockade of Gaza itself -- about which "Dov Weisglass, an adviser to Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister [said when it was first imposed]: 'The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger'" -- this post documents just some of the effects, with ample links to U.N. reports, including:
* since the intensification of the siege in June 2007, "the formal economy in Gaza has collapsed" (More than 80 UN and aid agencies [.pdf])
* "61% of people in the Gaza Strip are … food insecure," of which "65% are children under 18 years" (UN FAO)
 * since June 2007, "the number of Palestine refugees unable to access food and lacking the means to purchase even the most basic items, such as soap, school stationery and safe drinking water, has tripled" (UNRWA)
 * "in February 2009, the level of anemia in babies (9-12 months) was as high as 65.5%" (UN FAO)
The Washington Post's Jackson Diehl, whose entire political world view is shaped by his devotion to Israel, today criticizes President Obama for rejecting "Bush's conclusion that the promotion of democracy and human rights is inseparable from the tasks of defeating al-Qaeda and establishing a workable international order."  That's ironic, because if "human rights" played any role whatsoever in American foreign policy, the massive American aid and other protection for Israel which Diehl cherishes above all else would instantaneously disappear.

UPDATE II:  Just ponder what we'd be hearing if Iran had raided a humanitarian ship in international waters and killed 15 or so civilians aboard.

UPDATE III: One of the ships attacked by Israel belonged to a Turkish aid organization, and it's been reported that among the dead are at least two Turks.  Turkey today "warned that further supply vessels will be sent to Gaza, escorted by the Turkish Navy." Among other things, Turkey is a NATO member with increasing tensions with Israel.  Its Prime Minister today condemned the Israeli action as "state terrorism."  Amidst worldwide protests aimed at Israel, along with possible internal unrest if (as has been reported) an Israeli Arab leader was among the wounded or dead, it's possible that this incident could produce some serious unforeseen consequences for the Israelis.

UPDATE IV: So, to recap what seems thus far to be the central claim of Israel apologists:   Israel is the official Owner of international waters (which is where the flotilla was when it was attacked).  As such, they have the right to issue orders to ships in international waters, and everyone on board those ships is required to obey and submit.  Anyone who fails to do so, or anyone in the vicinity of those who fail to do so, can be shot and killed and get what they deserve.
What's so odd about that is that the U.S. has been spending a fair amount of time recently condemning exactly such acts as "piracy" and demanding "that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes."  When exactly did Israel acquire the right not only to rule over Gaza and the West Bank, but international waters as well?  Their rights as sovereign are expanding faster than the BP oil spill.

UPDATE V: Israel's foreign minister is now actually claiming that attempts to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza are "an attack on Israel's sovereignty."  Is that supposed to be some kind of a joke?  The only claim that I can recall that's remotely comparable is when the U.S. General serving as Commander of Guantanamo condemned suicides by three detainees there as an "act of asymmetric warfare waged against us."  The U.S. and Israel are very adept at claiming victimhood:  even when they're killing large numbers of civilians and locking people up in cages with no charges, they're the ones who are the suffering, wronged parties.
Thus, there are at least 10-20 dead passengers and 50-60 wounded on those ships -- compared to no Israeli fatalities and virtually no wounded -- but it's the passengers, delivering humanitarian aid in international waters when Israel seized their ships, who are the aggressors and were "attacking Israeli sovereignty."  The only thing worse than this claim is how many apologists for Israel will start parroting it (see Andrew Sullivan for more refutation of the claim that it was the passengers who were somehow the "aggressors").

UPDATE VI: Among the countries condemning Israel for its attack are Russia, Turkey, India, China, Brazil, France, Spain and many more.  By stark contrast, the White House issued a statement which conspicuously refused to condemn the Israelis (Obama "expressed deep regret at the loss of life in today’s incident, and concern for the wounded"), while the U.S. State Department actually hinted at condemning the civilians delivering the aid ("we support expanding the flow of goods to the people of Gaza.  But this must be done in a spirit of cooperation, not confrontation").
Obama's call for "learning all the facts and circumstances" is reasonable enough, but all these other countries made clear that this attack could never be justified based on what is already indisputably known:   namely, that the ship attacked by Israel was in international waters and it resulted in the deaths and injuries to dozens of civilians, but no Israeli soldiers were killed and a tiny handful injured.  In any event, Obama's neutrality will have to give way to a definitive statement one way or the other, and soon.

UPDATE VII: The formal statement submitted to the U.N. by the U.S. Ambassador today rather clearly seeks to blame everyone -- from Hamas to those attempting to deliver the aid -- for what happened:  everyone, that is, except for the party which actually did the illegal seizing of the ship and the killing (Israel):

As I stated in the Chamber in December 2008, when we were confronted by a similar situation, mechanisms exist for the transfer of humanitarian assistance to Gaza by member states and groups that want to do so. These non-provocative and non-confrontational mechanisms should be the ones used for the benefit of all those in Gaza.  Direct delivery by sea is neither appropriate nor responsible, and certainly not effective, under the circumstances. . . . We will continue to engage the Israelis on a daily basis to expand the scope and type of goods allowed into Gaza to address the full range of the population’s humanitarian and recovery needs. Hamas’ interference with international assistance shipments and the work of nongovernmental organizations complicates efforts in Gaza. Its continued arms smuggling and commitment to terrorism undermines security and prosperity for Palestinians and Israelis alike.
Given that the Israelis refuse to allow anything other than the most minimal "necessities" to enter Gaza, I'd love to know what "non-provocative and non-confrontational mechanisms" exist to deliver humanitarian assistance?  And it's extraordinary that we refuse to condemn a blockade that, as classic "collective punishment," is a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions, and even refuse to condemn today's violent seizure of ships in international water.  But, of course, the central rule of American politics is that Israel cannot be criticized, even as the rest of the world condemns it.  How do you think the rest of the world will perceive the U.S.'s extreme, out-of-step protection of the Israelis, while subtly (or not-so-subtly) heaping the blame on the victims of its aggression?

Glenn Greenwald @'Salon'

Spank!!! # 19

Israeli PM rejects "flawed" U.N. nuclear declaration

War Crimes and French Fries - M.I.A. Continues Attack on New York Times Journalist, Posts New Song


Photo by Jaime Martinez
M.I.A.'s attack on The New York Times and journalist Lynn Hirschberg continues. After the paper published a not-altogether-flattering M.I.A. feature story written by Hirschberg, Maya hit back by posting Hirschberg's personal cell phone number on her Twitter on Thursday. Later that day, M.I.A. Tweeted, "NEWS IS AN OPINION! UNEDITED VERSION OF THE INTERVIEW WILL BE ON neetrecordings THIS MEMORIAL WEEKEND!!! >>>>"
As promised, M.I.A. has posted clips of that interview on the blog of her record label N.E.E.T., under the heading "War Crimes and French Fries". She also posted a new song.
On the internet, one of the most hotly discussed aspects of the piece was what M.I.A. ate during one of the interviews, which took place at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Hirschberg wrote, "Unity holds no allure for Maya — she thrives on conflict, real or imagined. 'I kind of want to be an outsider,' she said, eating a truffle-flavored French fry. 'I don't want to make the same music, sing about the same stuff, talk about the same things. If that makes me a terrorist, then I'm a terrorist.'" This could be interpreted as Hirschberg trying to frame M.I.A. as a hypocrite, talking about wanting to be an outsider while munching on exotic delicacies at a posh restaurant.
In the first sound bite that M.I.A. posted on the N.E.E.T blog, it is revealed that it was Hirschberg herself who ordered the fries. And she told Maya that The New York Times would pay for them.
The second sound bite concerns this piece of the article:
"In January 2009, while the civil war in Sri Lanka was raging, Maya repeatedly referred to the situation as a 'genocide.' 'I wasn’t trying to be like Bono,' Maya told me. 'He's not from Africa — I'm from there. I'm tired of pop stars who say, 'Give peace a chance.' I'd rather say, 'Give war a chance.' The whole point of going to the Grammys was to say, 'Hey, 50,000 people are gonna die next month, and here's your opportunity to help.' And no one did.'"
In the recording that M.I.A. posted, this is what she actually says:
"It wasn't just about me, and me getting to the Oscars, or me going to the Grammys. That doesn't mean anything. The whole point of the journey was so you can go, 'Hey, 50,000 people are going to die next month. Here's your opportunity to to help.' And no one did, and they still died. It wasn't about accolades or fame."
On the N.E.E.T. blog, M.I.A. also posted links to several New York Times articles covering the war in Sri Lanka, as well as a link to Amnesty International.
In addition, M.I.A. also posted a new song, which is tagged as being called "Haters", and interpolates the Various Production track "Hater". It begins "So you wanna hear about my politics / Yeah, I could show you things that could make you sick" and goes on address America, the army, racists, and, of course, journalists.
Amy Phillips @'Pitchfork'

No Secrets

Julian Assange’s mission for total transparency

'Operation Garden Party' 1994



Israeli forces storm Gaza aid ship

Picture appearing to show injured passenger TV footage appeared to show injuries on board the ship
The Israeli navy has stormed one of six ships carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza strip, with at least two people reported killed.
Israel's Channel 10 private TV puts the death toll at about 14. Israel has so far declined to comment.
The exact location of the interception is unclear. Israel had warned the ships not to enter its territorial waters.
The ships are carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid to the Gaza Strip in an effort to break an Israeli blockade.
Turkish TV pictures taken on board the Turkish ship leading the flotilla show Israeli soldiers fighting to control passengers.
The footage showed a number of people, apparently injured, lying on the ground. The sound of gunshots could be heard. It is not clear whether the fighting is ongoing.
Al-Jazeera TV reported from the same ship that Israeli navy forces had fired and boarded the vessel, wounding the captain.
The Al-Jazeera broadcast ended with a voice shouting in Hebrew, "Everybody shut up!"
Organisers of the flotilla say at least 30 people were wounded in the incident.
"Provocation' The six-ship flotilla left international waters off the coast of Cyprus on Sunday and was expected to arrive in Gaza later on Monday.
Israel has said it would stop the boats, calling the campaign a "provocation intended to delegitimise Israel".
An economic blockade was imposed by Israel after the Islamist movement Hamas took power in Gaza.
Israel says it allows about 15,000 tones of humanitarian aid into Gaza every week.
But the United Nations says this is less than a quarter of what is needed.
Hamas, a militant palestinian group that controls the Gaza strip, has fired thousands of rockets into Israel over the past decade.

NSFW

Don't do 'em kids!

Metropolis

The Black Shadows

Fugn cool or what...
At 10:06 am today, the direct costs of the war and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan hits $1 Trillion. http://bit.ly/aPTZHR

Sunday, 30 May 2010

♪♫ Zwischenwelt - Shadow Being

HA!

How much do you really want an iPad?

As an example of organised hypocrisy, the Communist party of China beats all the world's religions. Article number 1 of the Chinese constitution states that China "is a socialist state under the people's democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants". Every word is a lie and yet in Britain you hardly ever come across criticism of Chinese communism, satires of its pretensions or demonstrations against its rule.
Consider the opportunities. For the right, China is a continuation of a system they have been fighting against since 1917, a communist tyranny with militaristic ambitions. To make matters worse, China is, in terms of the hundreds of millions affected, the most determined opponent of religious liberty on the planet. As conservatives have always been better than leftists at defending the freedom to worship, you might expect them to protest. But the overwhelming majority stay silent.
As for the left, go back to the sick joke of the Chinese constitution. The corrupt party hacks, who run the supposedly socialist state, allow domestic capitalists and foreign corporations to impose on workers the conditions that Engels and Zola railed against in the 19th century, while denying them the rudimentary protections offered by free trade unions, which even the Victorians could not bring themselves to suppress entirely.
The suicides at the vast Foxconn plant in Shenzhen ought to shake outsiders. They ought to make them wonder about the human cost to the 420,000 workers who make those nifty iPhones and iPads which so delight savvy westerners. Workers sleep in corporate dormitories, where an ever-shifting population of migrants makes it hard to form friendships, let alone relationships. The basic pay is $130 a month and overtime is essential. Most work 12 hours a day under the eyes of a fanatical management. One man killed himself after supervisors allegedly tore into him for losing a prototype iPhone.
Liu Zhiyi, who went into the plant undercover for a Chinese newspaper, said the lives of workers were mind-numbingly tedious. "As they make the world's finest gadgets," he said, "it seems that while they are controlling the machines, the machines also dominating them; the parts gradually come together as they move up the assembly line; at the same time, the workers' pure and only youth also disappears."
Liu Zhiyi emphasised, however, that there are worse places to work than Foxconn. So, too, do the activists at the China Labour Bulletin, which keeps the spirit of the Tiananmen Square protests alive from its Hong Kong offices. For millions of young people seeking to escape mass unemployment, a job in Shenzhen is not the worst option.
The employers who feature in the pages of the China Labour Bulletin do a little bit more than turn their workers into assembly line automatons. They set thugs on independent union reps. Since the start of the global recession, there have been ever more cases of employers, including "respected" European companies, cutting rates or just closing factories and running off without paying back wages.
Here we have the workshop of the world, which is also the sweatshop of the world, where even the practices of "good" employers would be unacceptable in the west. And yet the citizens of the world, particularly Europeans, do not care about the use of the one-party state to deliver a rigged market economy in which there is freedom for the rich and authoritarianism for the poor.
It is not as if there is a strong China lobby in the west. If you write anything critical about, say, Castro's Cuba or the increasingly authoritarian conditions in Chávez's Venezuela in a leftwing paper, admirers of dictatorship will try to shout you down. If you criticise Saudi Arabia in a rightwing paper, Arabist diplomats and the friends of arms dealers will say you do not understand the virtues of the "stability" the Saudi royal family brings. The Chinese dictatorship has no ideological lobby behind it beyond a couple of bereft old communists, who transferred their loyalties from the Soviet Union to China after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
For all that, I cannot imagine Stephen Fry stopping his drooling over the iPad – "Just to see this is fantastic!" he burbled as crowds gathered for its launch at the Apple headquarters in London – and showing some common decency by expressing a little concern for Apple's workers. More to the point, I am not sure that anyone would listen to him if he did. China is too big, too powerful, too impervious to criticism for Europeans to think about. The scale of the Shenzhen plant is beyond our imagination. A boycott of Foxconn's products would not just mean boycotting Apple, but Nintendo, Nokia, Sony, HP and Dell too. Boycott China and you boycott the computer age, which, despite the crash, effectively means boycotting the 21st century, as we so far understand it.
True, since 2008, everyone realises that the reserve army of labour in China pumped up the bubble of globalisation by flooding the world with cheap goods. Although China's entry into the global market kept working-and middle-class wages in the rich world down, it also kept interest rates low.
Although we can now see the disastrous consequences of the asset price inflation in everything from sub-prime mortgages to villas on the Costa del Sol that followed, no one is yet thinking about how to rebalance world trade. We are still dependent on Chinese products and cannot imagine a future where they would matter less to us.
Nor is communist rule quite bad enough to stir the sluggish conscience of the west. Journalists can print exposés, as Liu Zhiyi showed. Strikes and demonstrations are not always repressed. Owen Tudor, head of international relations at the TUC, told me that as the recession took hold the state ordered its tame official trade unions to be a little more robust "and like good communists, when they were told to be independent, they obeyed orders".
Like good consumers, we obey too. Not that we should. It would be heartening if people could shake themselves and say that the iPad is just another computer, which we do not need and will not buy unless Apple persuades its suppliers to improve workers' conditions. Until we do, the hypocrisy of the Chinese communists is our hypocrisy as well.
Nick Cohen @'The Guardian'
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Very interesting...The surprising truth about what motivates us

10 Oldest Trees in the World

Recognise this?

IT IS THE SOLDIER

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.


©Copyright 1970, 2005 by Charles M. Province

Sarah Palin doesn't understand the meaning of stalking either!

Dennis Hopper on Art

A visionary bad boy

In a world of fake bad boys, he was the true article — a natural-born rule breaker, a Hollywood rebel who took midnight rides on the wild side with James Dean, a scraggly-haired hippie too hip (and too dark) to let the sunshine in. Dennis Hopper, who died today at 74, was an actor and a filmmaker who tore through boundaries not just because he didn’t like them; most often, he didn’t even see them. I’ll never forget the one time I got to be in a room with him. It was August 1979, at the Saturday morning press conference after the very first American showing of Apocalypse Now. The screening had taken place the night before, at the Ziegfeld Theatre in Manhattan. I was a bratty college journalist who’d squeezed my way in and was still reeling from the movie: its hallucinatory power and majesty and violent strangeness. (The “Ride of the Valkyries” sequence was so indelible that it kept popping back into your mind’s eye, like your very own searing cinematic Vietnam flashback.) At the press conference, they were mostly all there, the maverick artists who had toiled away on this movie for half a decade: Francis Ford Coppola, who took the opportunity to make his first feverish pronouncements on the brave new world of technology we were all about to enter (he called it “the communications revolution,” and though few knew what he was talking about, 30 years later, it’s clear that he was right); Robert Duvall and Martin Sheen, the latter of whom had priceless tales of working with the elephantine and eccentric Marlon Brando (who, naturally, hadn’t bothered to show up to talk to a bunch of journalists); and Hopper, who instantly took on the role of flaked-out druggie court jester of the press conference. The more stonerish and cosmic, and the less coherent, he was, the more that he ended up dominating the questions and answers, cracking up everyone in the room, though whether we were laughing with him or at him was, by the end, an open question.
To this day, I have no idea if he was actually high, but it almost didn’t matter: His rambling declarations on everything from filmmaking to the state of America made it sound as if he had never quite stopped playing the jittery, blitzed-out-of-his-noggin, war-fragged photographer in Apocalypse Now. Or, just maybe, that his performance in the movie wasn’t really a performance at all. There’s no denying that Dennis Hopper made himself a bit of a joke that day. Listening to him was like looking at the last joint ash of the ’60s, hanging in the air and ready to fall. At the same time, you couldn’t take your eyes off him. He was a court jester and a train wreck, and he was also every inch a star. In his very dissolution, he played his own legend like a bad-trip virtuoso.
Blue-Easy-Rider-Hopper
The thing is, even his drugged-out fall from grace only served, in the end, to set up one of the greatest acting comeback/triumphs in the history of Hollywood. Seven years later, in what would be — in my view, at least — the single greatest film of the 1980s, David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, Hopper gave a performance that was more than “dark” and “scary” and “creepy” and all the other words that you could appropriately hurl at it. He gave a performance that shocked audiences with its down-to-the-bone knowledge of evil. Hopper’s Frank Booth still showed the actor’s 1950s roots. He was a greaser out of your nightmares, a delinquent all grown up into a dirty old daddy-uncle. But when he pulled out that drug canister, snapped on the gas mask, and began to inhale, we saw what he had curdled into — a man out of period, a true modern monster, not just an addict but the ultimate addict, a guy who got high on things we had no idea of, because somewhere along the way, he had gone that far past being able to get pleasure out of normal pleasure. Frank Booth was a ’50s nightmare meets ’60s nightmare turned very ’80s nightmare: a gothic pervert sadist hooligan whose spirit whispered to the hero, “You’re just like me!” And so, on some level, that’s what Hopper (and Lynch) were whispering to the audience, too.
Those are frightening thoughts, to be sure, but when Dennis Hopper talks in Blue Velvet, with that melodious snarl, he’s not just a walking menace, a guy who’s going to get in your dreams and stay there. He’s a villain with his own bad dreams, a terrifyingly grown-up greaser-psychotic who has become enslaved to his demons — his drug canister — and adores them all the more for that reason. Hopper didn’t just make himself into a small-town underworld boogie man. He laid himself bare on screen, fusing his own dark side with that of the character, the way Brando did it in Last Tango in Paris. Hopper’s performance is an electric bolt of malevolence shot straight from the soul. It was the catharsis his whole career had been building toward.
Of course, Dennis Hopper really had two careers. He was an actor who became a filmmaker, and what you see when you look at the movies he directed is extraordinary promise, embodied in one fresh blast of organic brilliance, and then a great deal of colorful fallout. Easy Rider, the two-hippies-on-a-ride-to-find-the-real-America chopper odyssey he directed in 1969, is not only, along with Bonnie and Clyde, the formative film of the New Hollywood. It’s a movie that stands the test of time in exactly the way that a drama about two rambling longhairs out to find freedom on the highway should not.
Watch Easy Rider today, and you’ll see that every glinting panoramic shot, every toked-up dialogue rhythm, every situation and jagged dramatic back-alley dovetails as only the work of a born filmmaker can. Hopper, who was in his late teens when he made his screen debut in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), came of age in the outwardly strait-laced, buttoned-down Hollywood of the 1950s, but as a compatriot of the moody, emotionally voluptuous (and bisexual) James Dean, he was already writing the first chapter of the revolution that was to come. When he got the chance to make Easy Rider, he poured a decade’s worth of desire, liberation, nihilism, despair, and hunger into it, and the freedom of the movie is there in every image. It’s there in the air of discovery that the characters breathe. As an artist, Hopper showed the instinctive sophistication to portray himself and Peter Fonda, the two scruffed-out hippie-biker antiheroes, not just as crusaders but as tragicomic fools. I first saw Easy Rider when I was 11 (it was the first adult movie I ever snuck into), and the end of the movie — that falling-away roadside-crash helicopter’s-eye death shot that you realize has already been glimpsed in an acid hallucination — spooked and possessed me like nothing I had ever seen. This wasn’t just a trendy youth-drug-culture movie. It was filmmaking on drugs.
At that point, having kicked the door of the New Hollywood wide open, Dennis Hopper could have written his own ticket. And he did — by quickly flaming out and writing a ticket to oblivion. Hopper had a singular knack for mythologizing himself, and two years after Easy Rider, when he entitled his followup effort The Last Movie (1971), it was an invitation to the counterculture audience to see it as the product of a system that was already breaking down. A hodgepodge of native-chic message mongering, psychodramatic dithering, and apocalypse…wow! indulgence, all shot in Peru, The Last Movie was Hopper, in effect, trashing the Hollywood-meets-the-new-youth-generation alliance that he had helped to bring about.
There’s a whole cachet surrounding The Last Movie — that it’s a flawed “visionary” work, too pure and daring for the system that had allowed it to be (so the system, therefore, couldn’t allow it to be). But I had a rare chance to watch it on the big screen in the late ’80s, and the movie I saw was, frankly, a borderline unwatchable mess: images strung together with haphazard abandon, and Hopper treating himself as an icon who no longer wanted to bother being an actor. The Last Movie is a real messianic-complex disaster, like the films Alex Cox made right after Sid & Nancy. The movie’s “lastness” signifies nothing — except, perhaps, Dennis Hopper’s withdrawal from the world of moviemaking. There’s one moment of oddball fascination, though: Making love under a waterfall (or, at least, that’s my memory of it), Hopper spills forth some of the same queasy noises of horny torment that he does in the sadomasochistic sex scenes of Blue Velvet. Which makes you wonder how much of Frank Booth he really did pull out of himself.
Ultimately rejoining the world, and the system, Hopper directed a couple of pretty good films: the end-of-the-’70s curio Out of the Blue (1980) and, of course, Colors (1988), the L.A. cop drama to which he brought a real grit and flash and tumultuous atmosphere, guiding Sean Penn and Robert Duvall through some of their most likable Method-lite fireworks. He played some pretty cool wily and bug-eyed villains, too, notably in Speed (1994). Overall, though, it’s safe to say that he almost couldn’t help but drift back to playing the role he knew best: that of Dennis Hopper, visionary-turned-casualty-turned-survivor-of -the-’60s. Right to the end, in those Ameriprise boomer-retirement commercials (which are truly ingenious, with a subtext that says: If goddamn Dennis Hopper can plan for his future, than so can you!), he never lost his craggy-ghostly, fine-planed handsomeness, or the playful glee that so often animated his flights of stoner fancy. In Apocalypse Now, he’s actually quite brilliant, using his crackpot jabberiness as knowing, burnout comedy. As in all his best movies, whether behind or in front of the camera, he puts his demons right out there, as if to conquer them by exposing them, and for that, he’ll always be an artist on the side of the angels.
Owen Gleiberman @'E.W.'

HA!

According to the LAPD, this man is armed and dangerous. And apparently has man boobs so appalling that they're not fit for public viewing. It's a deadly combination, not to mention a recipe for the perfect mug shot.
@'Fark'

Dennis Hopper by Terry Richardson




Dennis Hopper: A Career In Clips

Dennis Hopper in 2007. Photograph: David Levene
"Sometimes he goes too far. He's the first one to admit it." That's Dennis Hopper's ranting photojournalist character in Apocalypse Now (1979), talking about Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), the homicidal megalomaniac to whom he is in thrall. In his half-century acting career, Hopper himself acquired a reputation for going over the top, both on screen and off – a notoriety with plenty of justification but one, he once told me, that limited his performing options and overshadowed his moving ability to play straight when the role demanded. "I don't have a problem playing bad guys," he said, "but it would be more interesting if I had a variety of roles to play."
After studying with the Actors Studio and appearing on television, Hopper got roles in two of James Dean's three features. In this clip from Rebel Without a Cause (1955), the 20-year-old Hopper is recognisable as the gang member leaning on top of Jimmy's car wearing a familiar-looking red jacket, though he has little to do in the movie.
The story is that Nicholas Ray slashed Hopper's part after discovering that, like Ray, he was sleeping with Natalie Wood.
He had more to do in Giant (1956), as Jordy, the son of Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor's Bick and Leslie Benedict. Not that he needed dialogue: in this music-dominated scene, the naively excited Jordy shocks his parents by turning up a party with the Mexican-American wife they didn't know he had.
Over the next decade or so, Hopper worked solidly on crime, cowboy and drama shows on TV, including The Twilight Zone, and took supporting roles in movies, including Cool Hand Luke (1967) and the westerns Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957), Hang 'Em High (1968) and True Grit (1969). He took up art collecting and photography in the 1950s, providing landscape shots for the cover of Ike and Tina Turner's River Deep – Mountain High in 1966.
There was perhaps more in his art and photography careers than in his early acting work to anticipate Easy Rider (1969), the counterculture classic he created with notorious passion and which will certainly stand as his most singular film-making achievement. It's worth noting that he seems less manically driven on camera than we know he was behind it – his Billy is in many ways the film's straight man. This clip, set to Steppenwolf's Born to Be Wild, shows the loving attention Hopper paid to the American landscape, as well as the formal experimentation and combination of fatalism and joie de vivre that made the film so compelling.
Following the failure of his even more radical followup as director, The Last Movie (1971), Hopper established the line in charismatic loons that would increasingly define him as a performer. There was significant ambiguity in such roles as Patricia Highsmith's Tom Ripley, in Wim Wenders's The American Friend (1977), and that photojournalist in Apocalypse Now (1979).
Initially welcoming to the squad led by Martin Sheen's Willard – "I'm an American!" – he turns out to be an evangelical apologist for slaughter, barking animatedly at Willard trapped in a cage. Audiences would increasingly know how Willard felt.
Hopper's industry-friendly direction of Out of the Blue (1980) brought a degree of Hollywood rehabilitation, followed up with memorable appearances in Rumble Fish and The Osterman Weekend (both 1983) and River's Edge. Only with David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986) did he deliver a performance to eclipse Apocalypse Now.
It's hard to say what's more terrifying – his mesmerically psychopathic, eye-popping, gas-huffing, gut-punching, mommy-pleading performance as Frank Booth or his insistence to Lynch that "I am Frank Booth". Whether telling Isabella Rossellini "Baby wants to fuck" or reminding Kyle MacLachlan that if "you receive a love letter form me, you're fucked forever", this portrait of sexual and violent mania would remain Hopper's outstanding achievement as an actor.
He went on to direct Colors (1988), and then directed and appeared in Catchfire (1990), from which he dissociated himself. There were also strong turns in Paris Trout (1991), Red Rock West (1993) and True Romance (1993), in which he played the sympathetic straight guy during a bravura face-off with Christopher Walken.
More common were rabid villain roles in the likes of Super Mario Bros (1993), Speed (1994) and Waterworld (1995).
In 2000, when I spoke to Hopper by phone at his California home about his role as the bad guy in a TV version of Jason and the Argonauts, he was philosophical about typecasting, animated about art and preoccupied with keeping his German shepherd, Otto, from stealing his lunch. "I've been in a lot of really bad movies that I think I gave some of my best performances in," he maintained. "And there were some movies that I've really been bad in … It's shaky material a lot of the time but I try to do the best job that I can under the circumstances."
He continued to take villainous roles, including Victor Drazen in the first season of 24 (2002) and as a smug plutocrat ("Zombies, man. They creep me out") in George A Romero's Land of the Dead (2005).
His most recent performances included a continuing character in the TV adaptation of Crash (2008-9) and as the voice of reason in Elegy (2008), in which he played George, the best friend of Ben Kingsley's priapic professor David Kepesh ("You gotta stop worrying about growing old and worry about growing up"). The character's death left Kepesh blindsided and bewildered.
Of his onscreen work, Hopper will undoubtedly be best remembered for his most antic turns – the extraordinary energy and menace he brought to Apocalypse Now and, especially, Blue Velvet remain standout elements of cinematic masterworks. But it would be a shame if those accomplishments shouted out his quieter performances, not to mention his work as a director and visual artist. "People," as he insisted to me, "can do a lot of different crafts and a lot of different arts and still be one person."

Können Sie haben einen Hoden?


Germany's 'Dr. Death' sells body parts

Gone...

Hong Kong’s rooftop shanty towns

In South America the slums are attached to the outskirts of mega-cities such as Caracas and Mexico City like wasps’ nests on a cliff face. In a hilly island city like Hong Kong, however, living space is limited. Here you only see the laboriously constructed huts made of corrugated iron and planks of wood in which the poorest of the poor live if you look upwards – they occupy, to put it in cynical terms, a penthouse location.
Some of these rooftop shacks, which in the year 2006 after the government’s first slum clearance programme still housed 3962 people in 1554 households, are up to three storeys high. Improvised structures made of ladders and bits of furniture create connections between the individual parts of the buildings and join these impoverished dwellings into complete rooftop settlements – sociologists even talk of a “self-organising niche architecture” and point to the utopian aspects of this urban way of life.

Donald Cammell, Dennis Hopper, Alejandro Jodorowsky & Kenneth Anger in London in 1971

Nazi scum

English Defence League members attend a march
English Defence League members attend a march in January this year. The group is attracting interest from convicted football hooligans and violent far-right splinter groups. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
In the back room of a sparsely decorated pub in Bolton a man with a shaved head and a tattoo poking out above his shirt collar hands out what look like wraps of cocaine to his friends. It is just after 11am but behind him the pub is already packed with young, mainly white, men. Suddenly it erupts.
"We want our country back. We want our country back … Muslim bombers off our streets." The chants ring out as tables are thumped and plastic pint glasses are thrust into the air.
"It is going to be a good 'un today," says the shaven-headed man, leaning across the table towards me to make himself heard. "We're going to get to twat some Pakis – I can feel it."
The pub, a few hundred yards from Bolton railway station, is the latest gathering point for the most significant rightwing street movement the UK has seen since the heyday of the National Front in the 1970s.
For the past four months the Guardian has joined English Defence League demonstrations, witnessing its growing popularity, from protests attracting just a few hundred hardcore activists at the end of last year to rallies and marches which are bringing thousands of people on to the street – and into direct conflict with the police and local Muslim communities.
The EDL plans to step up its campaign in coming weeks, culminating in marches through some of the UK's most high-profile Muslim communities, raising the spectre of widespread unrest.
With the British National party beset by infighting and recriminations after its poor showing in last month's local and national elections, the UK is facing the prospect of rightwing activists turning away from the ballot box and back to the street for the first time in three decades.
The English Defence League sprang up in Luton last year in reaction to a demonstration by a small extreme Islamist group during a homecoming parade by the Royal Anglian Regiment.
Since then this chaotic organisation – based largely around existing football groups and hooligan networks – has mobilised thousands of people against what it terms "Islamic extremism".
In telephone conversations and face-to-face meetings, members of the EDL's secretive leadership team repeatedly told the Guardian that the group is not racist and just wants to "peacefully protest against militant Islam".
But at each demonstration I attended while making an undercover film for the Guardian's investigative film unit, Guardian Films, I was confronted by casual – often brutal – racism, a widespread hatred of Muslims and often the threat of violence.
It was only possible to film some of the most alarming scenes with a hidden camera. Inside a pub in Stoke in January about 3,000 EDL supporters gathered for the first demonstration of the year. They had spent the past four hours drinking. The balcony around the top of the cavernous pub was draped in flags bearing the names of different football clubs – Wolves, Newcastle, Aston Villa – and the chants "We all hate Muslims" and "Muslim bombers off our streets" filled the air. The atmosphere was tense, and not just because of the growing anti-Islamic rhetoric. The pub was packed with rival football gangs from across the Midlands and the north of England. Twice, fighting broke out as old rivalries failed to be subdued by the new enemy – Islam. "They're just kids," said one man. "That is not what we are here for today."
As we moved outside for the EDL protest – during which supporters became involved in violent clashes with the police – a woman asked me for a donation to support the "heroes coming back injured from Afghanistan". I put a pound in the bucket. "Thanks love," she said. "They go over there and fight for this country and then come back to be faced with these Pakis everywhere." She paused, before adding: "But to be honest it is the niggers I can't stand."
This kind of casual racism is not hard to find on EDL demonstrations. The Guardian has also identified a number of known rightwing extremists who are taking an interest the movement – from convicted football hooligans to members of violent rightwing splinter groups. The EDL says it is doing what it can to keep them away but acknowledged their influence.
"At previous events, we have had far-right groups like Combat 18 turning up," the EDL's self-proclaimed leader, who uses the pseudonym Tommy Robinson, said in a local newspaper interview. "It's naive to guarantee no violence."
Nick Lowles, of the anti-fascist group Searchlight, says these groups have a growing – and dangerous – influence.
"What we are seeing is more organised fringe elements – the National Front, old networks of Combat 18 people and members of the BNP – who are getting involved specifically to try and use the EDL to spark serious disorder," says Lowles. "This is a serious development; we just need one of these demonstrations to go wrong – for there to be a serious incident – and it won't just lead to disorder in Dudley, Bolton or wherever, it will spread to towns and cities across the country."
Strange coalition
But the EDL is not a simple rerun of previous far-right street groups. On each demonstration there is a smattering of non–white faces and one of the group's leaders is Guramit Singh, a British-born Sikh. The organisation's core support appears to be young white men who are often fuelled by drink and sometimes drugs. But its Islamophobic message seems to have acted as a lightning rod for a strange coalition – from rightwing Christians who see it as being on the frontline in the "global fight against Islam" to gay rights activists.
At the front of the EDL demonstration in Bolton in March, among the banners decrying Islam, was a man holding up a pink triangle. He looked nervous when I asked him what he was doing there. "This is the symbol gay people were made to wear under Hitler," he said. "Islam poses the same threat and we are here to express our opposition to that." It turns out he is a member of the EDL's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender division, which has 115 members.
Many of the people I met said they had never been involved in rightwing politics before. "I finished my night shift at 5am and we got on a coach down from Wigan about six," says Steve as the Victoria line tube train rattles along towards Pimlico and the EDL's London demonstration a few weeks later. "Reckon I should be back in time for it to start again at 10."
The carriage is packed with around 50 EDL supporters who set off from the north-west that morning. They launch into one of the EDL's favourite songs: "There were 10 Muslim bombers in the air." Steve explains over the din how his factory is being "overrun by immigrants". Like others on EDL demonstrations, he exudes a sense of excitement that "something is happening". "We have had enough, no one is taking us seriously … about anything – but they are going to have to listen now."
But the EDL is not only attracting disaffected working-class men. On a chilly evening in early March, Alan Lake settles into his seat in a cafe in central London. This smartly dressed man in his mid-40s has emerged as a key figure in the organisation and is quickly into his stride – warning that the UK will have Sharia law in the next 40 years "unless something is done".
A London-based IT consultant, Lake has spoken at several EDL rallies and sees himself as one of the organisation's thinkers. "The middle-class intellectuals are coming forward and also American speakers – some of them quite famous, although I can't give you names yet … they love the fact that we can have people that can go on the streets."
Addressing a far-right anti-Islam conference in Sweden last year, Lake told delegates it was necessary to build a united "anti-Jihad movement" and spoke of the need for "people that are ready to go out in the street", boasting that he and his friends had begun to build alliances with "more physical groups like football fans". Lake says he is opposed to violence or confrontation but regularly returns to the importance of the EDL's physical presence.
"The EDL has a lot of support and is growing quickly and crucially what it has done is deliver an activist movement on the streets," he tells me subsequently. Pressed on the levels of violence at the demonstrations, he replies: "These people are not middle-class female teachers … if they continue to be suppressed it will turn nasty in one way or another … We have put bodies on the street, writing letters to the Times does not work … if we are going to have a mess that is so much grist to the mill."
Lake says he is exploring a political future for the EDL – and argues it should consider throwing its weight behind the UK Independence party. He later introduces me to Magnus Nielsen – a Ukip candidate in the general election – who has agreed to speak at forthcoming EDL rallies. Nielsen describes Muhammad as a "criminal psychopath", "the first cult leader" and "psychiatrically deranged". Lake says there is "some synergy" between the two groups.
A few weeks later Lake tells me that he is no longer an EDL spokesman. "I am really working on the Ukip thing so we can offer people an alternative," he says.
A spokesman for Ukip said it would not form any alliance with the EDL or any other "extremist" group.
However, these efforts appear to be part of tentative steps by the EDL to expand its reach beyond its street demonstrations. In March a delegation of activists travelled to Berlin to take part in an anti-Islam rally in support of far-right anti-immigrant Dutch politician Geert Wilders. It is also forging tentative links with the US anti-Islam group Stop the Islamification of America, whose New York demonstration was advertised on the EDL website in April.
Growing unrest
The upshot appears to be a movement that, although chaotic and beset by infighting, seems to be growing in scope and sometimes violence. At a protest in Dudley last month, demonstrators threw missiles at the police before ripping down barriers and rampaging through the town in an attempt to confront anti-racist protesters and local Asian youths. In Aylesbury a few weeks later they again clashed with police.
And despite the group's protestations to the contrary, the prospect of serious unrest is growing. The list of towns the EDL plans to hit this summer is lengthening – Newcastletomorrow, Cardiff, Dudley and Bradford over the next few weeks. According to Lowles the stakes are high. "What we are seeing now is the most serious, most dangerous political phenomenon that we have had in Britain for a number of years," he says. "With EDL protests that are growing week in, week out there is a chance for major disorder and a political shift to the right."
But the appeal of the EDL is not just down to the extreme opinions expressed by people such as Lake and Nielsen. In Stoke a group of teenagers who were on their first EDL demonstration said they had come after reading reports that "the Muslims" were planning to march through Wootton Bassett with 500 coffins. The proposed march was called by Anjem Choudary and his small extremist group Islam4UK. The group is reviled by the majority of Muslims and the demonstration did not go ahead. But this was lost on the outraged teenagers who turned up in Stoke and subsequently travelled to two of the next three EDL events.
Outside the Morpeth Arms on the banks of the Thames in March supporters gathered for the EDL's London demonstration. One who had travelled down from Blackburn was eager to know who had seen a television documentary that he thought showed how a Muslim group were taking over politics in east London. The EDL had carried a link to the film on the front of its website and most of the supporters drinking in the sunshine knew about it.
For Matthew Goodwin, an academic who specialises in far-right politics at Manchester University, this is a crucial difference between the EDL and previous far-right street movements.
"The reason why the EDL's adoption of Islamophobia is particularly significant is that unlike the 1970s, when the National Front was embracing antisemitism, there are now sections of the media and the British establishment that are relatively sympathetic towards Islamophobia," says Goodwin. "It is not difficult to look through the media and find quite hostile views towards Islam and Muslims. That is fundamentally different to the 1970s, when very few newspapers or politicians were endorsing the NF's antisemitic message."
"The point for your average voter is that if they see the EDL marching through their streets shouting about how the neighbourhood is about to be swamped by Muslims or how the UK is going to be Islamified by 2040, they are also receiving these cues from other sections of British society … the message of the EDL may well be legitimised if that continues."
The people on the sharp end of the EDL's message echo this view. Mujibul Islam, chair of the youth committee of the Muslim Council of Britain, says the foundations for the growth of the EDL have been laid not just by extremists but by countless political speeches and newspaper articles. "It simply would not be acceptable to say the things that are being said on these demonstrations about any other group – black people, Jewish people. But we are now in a position where it seems almost acceptable to say these things about Muslims."
He said the growth of the EDL was having a real impact on the way ordinary Muslims were being treated. "A woman I know got on to a tube train which had a lot of EDL supporters on recently and was really badly abused; another man was attacked as he made his way home on the train. These are the consequences of what we are seeing now. It is not just a theoretical debate about freedom of speech."
Matthew Taylor @'The Guardian'

English Defence League: Inside the violent world of Britain's new far right


The English Defence League is planning a series of demonstrations this summer.
Warning: video contains very strong language and nazi scum.

Formed less than a year ago, the English Defence League has become the most significant far-right street movement since the National Front. The Guardian spent four months undercover with the movement, and found them growing in strength and planning to target some of the UK's biggest Muslim communities.
MPs expressed concern tonight after it emerged that far-right activists are planning to step up their provocative street campaign by targeting some of the UK's highest-profile Muslim communities, raising fears of widespread unrest this summer.
Undercover footage shot by the Guardian reveals the English Defence League, which has staged a number of violent protests in towns and cities across the country this year, is planning to "hit" Bradford and the London borough of Tower Hamlets as it intensifies its street protests.
Senior figures in the coalition government were briefed on the threat posed by EDL marches this week. Tomorrow up to 2,000 EDL supporters are expected to descend on Newcastle for its latest protest.
MPs said the group's decision to target some of the UK's most prominent Muslim communities was a blatant attempt to provoke mayhem and disorder. "This group has no positive agenda," said the Bradford South MP, Gerry Sutcliffe. "It is an agenda of hate that is designed to divide people and communities. We support legitimate protest but this is not legitimate, it is designed to stir up trouble. The people of Bradford will want no part of it."
The English Defence League, which started in Luton last year, has become the most significant far-right street movement in the UK since the National Front in the 1970s. A Guardian investigation has identified a number of known rightwing extremists who are taking an interest in the movement – from convicted football hooligans to members of violent rightwing splinter groups.
Thousands of people have attended its protests – many of which have descended into violence and racist and Islamophobic chanting. Supporters are split into "divisions" spread across the UK and as many as 3,000 people are attracted to its protests.
The group also appears to be drawing support from the armed forces. Its online armed forces division has 842 members and the EDL says many serving soldiers have attended its demonstrations. A spokeswoman for the EDL, whose husband is a serving soldier, said: "The soldiers are fighting Islamic extremism in Afghanistan and Iraq and the EDL are fighting it here … Not all the armed forces support the English Defence League but a majority do."
Following the British National party's poor showing in this month's local and national elections anti-racist campaigners say some far-right activists may be turning away from the ballot box and returning to violent street demonstrations for the first time in three decades.
Nick Lowles, from Searchlight, said: "What we are seeing now is the most serious, most dangerous, political phenomenon that we have had in Britain for a number of years. With EDL protests that are growing week in, week out there is a chance for major disorder and a major political shift to the right in this country."
In undercover footage shot by Guardian Films, EDL spokesman Guramit Singh says its Bradford demonstration "will be huge". He adds: "The problem with Bradford is the security threat, it is a highly populated Muslim area. They are very militant as well. Bradford is a place that has got to be hit."
Singh, who was speaking during an EDL demonstration in Dudley in April, said the organisation would also be targeting Tower Hamlets.
A spokesman for the EDL confirmed it would hold a demonstration in Bradford on 28 August because the city was "on course to be one of the first places to become a no-go area for non-Muslims". The EDL has already announced demonstrations in Cardiff and Dudley.
The former Home Office minister Phil Woolas said: "This is a deliberate attempt by the EDL at division and provocation, to try and push young Muslims into the hands of extremists, in order to perpetuate the divide. It is dangerous."
The EDL claims it is a peaceful and non-racist organisation only concerned with protesting against "militant Islam". However, over the last four months the Guardian has attended its demonstrations and witnessed racism, violence and virulent Islamophobia.
During the election campaign David Cameron described the EDL as "dreadful people" and said the organisation would "always be under review".
A spokesman for the Home Office said that although the government was committed to restoring the right to "non-violent protest … violence and intimidation are wholly unacceptable and the police have powers to deal with individuals who commit such acts. The government condemns those who seek to spread hatred."
He added: "Individual members of EDL – like all members of the public – are of course subject to the law, and all suspected criminal offences will be robustly investigated and dealt with by the police."
Matthew Taylor @'The Guardian'
(Thanx Fifi!)

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