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Equal Or Not?

The Courtroom

Still hard to believe “At Last” has never been released on CD. At least this track (and “In Time And Space”  are now available on YouTube. But not my favourite, “Picture Of Blue” alas. This was released in 1973. And not too much has changed. Anyway, enjoy. 🙂

In The Eyes Of The Law


Planted evidence
The anonymous tip-off
Your conscience is clear

Statement By Julian Assange On Verdict In Bradley Manning Court-Martial


Today Bradley Manning, a whistleblower, was convicted by a military court at Fort Meade of 19 offences for supplying the press with information, including five counts of ’espionage’. He now faces a maximum sentence of 136 years.

The ’aiding the enemy’ charge has fallen away. It was only included, it seems, to make calling journalism ’espionage’ seem reasonable. It is not.

Bradley Manning’s alleged disclosures have exposed war crimes, sparked revolutions, and induced democratic reform. He is the quintessential whistleblower.

This is the first ever espionage conviction against a whistleblower. It is a dangerous precedent and an example of national security extremism. It is a short sighted judgment that can not be tolerated and must be reversed. It can never be that conveying true information to the public is ’espionage’.

President Obama has initiated more espionage proceedings against whistleblowers and publishers than all previous presidents combined.

In 2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama ran on a platform that praised whistleblowing as an act of courage and patriotism. That platform has been comprehensively betrayed. His campaign document described whistleblowers as watchdogs when government abuses its authority. It was removed from the internet last week.

Throughout the proceedings there has been a conspicuous absence: the absence of any victim. The prosecution did not present evidence that – or even claim that – a single person came to harm as a result of Bradley Manning’s disclosures. The government never claimed Mr. Manning was working for a foreign power.

The only ’victim’ was the US government’s wounded pride, but the abuse of this fine young man was never the way to restore it. Rather, the abuse of Bradley Manning has left the world with a sense of disgust at how low the Obama administration has fallen. It is not a sign of strength, but of weakness.

The judge has allowed the prosecution to substantially alter the charges after both the defense and the prosecution had rested their cases, permitted the prosecution 141 witnesses and extensive secret testimony. The government kept Bradley Manning in a cage, stripped him naked and isolated him in order to crack him, an act formally condemned by the United Nations Special Rapporteur for torture. This was never a fair trial.

The Obama administration has been chipping away democratic freedoms in the United States. With today’s verdict, Obama has hacked off much more. The administration is intent on deterring and silencing whistleblowers, intent on weakening freedom of the press.

The US first amendment states that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”. What part of ’no’ does Barack Obama fail to comprehend?

Danger Words


Listen close, there, in the air
Not a blaring Tannoy, oh no
But sibilant, subliminal, insidious
Crawling in under the radar
The words are simple
But in context …


Snakes, spiders, formication
Echoes of jackbooted lockstep
They saw what was happening
And looked the other way

Another drop in the ocean
Human beings, human doings
Living like temporary strangers
Another brick in the wall
Building, brick on brick on brick
A prison for people who will never go home again

And in agony those final words
Those simple words
Let my people go

Liars And Thieves


Today I walked
into Barclays’ Head Office
and called them
liars and thieves.
They rustled their papers
and looked ashamed.

Today I walked
into Scotland Yard
and called them
liars and thieves.
They shifted on their chairs
and seemed contrite.

Today I walked
into Murdoch’s offices
and called them
liars and thieves.
They shuffled their feet
and showed remorse.

Today I walked
into Parliament
and called them
liars and thieves.
They wrung their hands
and appeared chastened.

Of course
it was only a dream.


This was written by a friend of mine. I asked her if I could post it here. She said I could. Thanks, Flic.

Jubilation (In Wonderland)


They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace –
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
“The life of the poor and the life of the Queen
When looked at in contrast both seem quite obscene,”
Says Alice.

With apologies to A A Milne.

Identity And Resolve


Remembering those who eat well
Remembering also those who are starving
And those who work to prevent it
And those who work to create it
And if all is one (which it is)
Then where are you
Or I?
And what’s next to do?

A Living Mahatma (“Great Soul”)

If you have ever enjoyed any post here at “Ben Naga” then please do me the courtesy of spending a few minutes reading this wonderful and vital article. Thank you.

International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day. This post is my small contribution. A poignant song, which has been a favourite for many years. Paul Siebel wrote the lyrics; Leo Kottke performs them with great feeling. Oddly enough I watched an old episode of “Ashes To Ashes” last night in which a sex worker decided it was not worth going through the ignominy of trying to prosecute her rapist since there was only a 5% likelihood of him being found guilty in court.


They said Louise was not half bad
It was written on the walls and window shade
And though she’d act the little girl
A deceiver, don’t believe her, that’s her trade
Sometimes a bottle of perfume
Flowers and maybe some lace
Men brought Louise ten cent trinkets
Their intentions were easy to trace
And everybody knew at times she’d cry
Ah but woman like Louise well they get by

And everybody thought it kind of sad
When they found Louise in her room
They’d all put her down below their kind
Still some cried when she died this afternoon
Louise rode home on the mail train
Somewhere to the south I heard them say
Too bad it ended so ugly
Too bad she had to go this way
And the wind is blowin’ cold tonight
So good night, Louise, good night

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