Friday, February 22, 2008


So, you think prison is where the good guys put the bad guys? Sometimes, maybe there are those who need to be off the block for a while, but by and large, history shows that prisons are often used by the rich and powerful to ;
Dispose of foes.

Most people probably think that prisons are run by the government. Well, they used to be, but there is a new phase in the evolution of incarceration.
This is where the "stock market" gets involved, and the corporateers move in to that gap between the taxpayer, and the infrastructure of their state.

Bridgend, here in Wales is a town that feeds the balance sheet of a company known as group 4 securicor.
They have an institution known as PARC PRISON.

Now most folks would sooner not know the ins and outs of prison life, understandable, there are some rather nasty characters therein.
But it turns out that the management at Bridgend prison have strong links with another group, Wackenhut, whose most nefarious project perhaps, is the jail at Guantanamo bay.
Oh, and some of the prisons in Iraq are under the control of this group...

Here is a quote from a report, which catalogues some of the excesses carried out by these privatised prisons....

"..There is a particularly disturbing theme in their custodial institutions; brutality including sexual abuse. At the New Mexico prison, a 17 year old youth was beaten so badly his intestines leaked into his colostomy bag. While in another Wackenhut establishment, the State of Texas indicted twenty guards for sexually abusing prisoners..."

More here.

In prisons, as many as 90% of the prisoners are suffering from mental disorder. Which often means that the crime they have committed may well be a manifestation of their illness.
Drunken behaviour, use of drugs, teenage high jinx.

Report here.

Today, Parc prison houses around 1,000 young prisoners., who if the statistics hold true, will mostly be suffering from mental disorders and are generating profits for a less than socially constructive corporation.

The local politician, himself a former criminal lawyer, (aren`t they all?)
has a website, and speaks highly of this enterprise, ...

"....Prisons are noisy, claustrophobic institutions where personal privacy counts for nothing. That’s not a criticism but a statement of fact. They are not after all meant to be cushy. Our prison service is professional, and has within it many people who have the welfare and rehabilitation of prisoners at heart while maintaining a necessarily strict regime within the walls.

To me, that’s the way prison has to be..."

Mr Jones`s Jail.

He seems not to see a thousand young people, mostly with mental illnesses, serving sentences for menial crimes, but most of all .. "doing time, making money for the rich."
Either Mr Jones is unaware of the actualities of mental health within the prison, or he does know, and chooses to ignore the issue, whichever the reason, the lives of those inside the jail should not be wasted in the name of corporate profit and political point-scoring.

Taking the train from here in West Wales to Cardiff, always involves a few moments waiting at Bridgend. If you`d like to see the railway station, on a depressingly drunken and violent afternoon then click the title, "Prisons".
Sometimes I wondered if any of those who alighted and boarded had been at the jail, all those young prisoners would have families, from all parts of Wales.
Most would be unaware that the incarceration of their loved ones was considered an asset on a balance sheet.
Indeed, even Deutsche bank reaps a part of the profits, 11%, to be exact.

Bridgend, as many here in Wales are painfully aware, has its` fair share of troubles, could the prison, and the personal stories of heartache and suffering possibly be a part of the problem, rather than the solution?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Changing of face.

Obama, or Obie , as his friends might call him has certainly got some interesting faces.
At least two, according to Bill Van Auken, a writer with Global Research.

He has picked up on the statement from Obie, that if elected, he will increase military spending, recruit over 60,000 new soldiers, plus 27,000 more marines and a promise to increase "the war on terror.."
Seems like war, war, more more war.

How wonderfull. A pox upon him and his intentions.
No intention of "change", just more of the same?

The picture is from Leftpost.,

The website, with the original article is Global Research.

My appreciation to them both.

Obama is shouting "change", but just what does he mean? Is he begging for coins? Or perhaps he wants to keep his campaign simple and uncluttered , and no words above two syllables.

So is Obama interested in changing America, or does he just fancy a change of adress, and a new job for himself?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Economics of comics.

Saw this earlier, as the sun was rising, and I was " surfing".

Click the title for a link to the blog/biography of the cartoonist, Jen Sorensen.

The cartoon really cuts away at illusions the of captalism, mainstream media and religion, all in one little strip.
As an aside, and as I "publish" her work; When bloggers and others publish, is the item copyrighted, or is the world at a stage when copyrights and patents are "not what they used to be".
So, for now, I`ll just be thanking Ms Sorensen for her work , and trust that she won`t be sending lawyers over to examine my wallet.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Axis of trade.

From the New York Times.....

........ In these days of overburdened, frustrating transportation systems and drop-of-a-hat delays, it’s a headline to stun and gladden the heart: On the maiden voyage of a new cross-continental direct rail service between China and Germany, the first trainful of freight containers made it to their destination in Hamburg five days ahead of schedule.

Click to rest of the article here.

So what might this occasion mean to the rest of the world. The Chinese and the Germans have made a pact, to henceforth trade in peace.

Isn`t that nice now, that in this age of terror, at least the Chinese and the Germans are not interested in waging war.

The peoples of Marx and Mao, finally united by a band of steel, with the land of Lenin enabling the union.

It doesn`t take long to realise that if the Germans manage to operate this railway with their typical teutonic efficiency, then the journey of 10,000 kilometers will soon be done in a lot less than 15 days.
It will also mean upheavals in the current migration and trading patterns around the globe. China, and indeed most of Asia, will be just a train journey from Europe, and vice versa.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Upon whose orders?

During wars, orders are given, and contrary to the thoughts of most people, they are not to be obeyed without question.
In fact, service personel are by law required to examine and quantify every single order.

A terrible story is emerging from Iraq, about british soldiers said to have been involved in the torture and killing of prisoners in their care , most of whom may have been just ordinary civilians. Not so frequently as the americans perhaps, but for the families of those they killed, there can be no rest, until these men, and their commanding officers are tried in court.

Click on the title, for a link to the guardian.

So who gave the order that Iraqui prisoners should be strangled to death , or have their eyes gouged from their heads.
Who was it who ordered that young Iraquis should be beaten about the testicles and killed, or was it just another day in the story of Blair, Bush and the barrels of crude.

No doubt all senior officers will claim that they knew nothing, in which case they too should be tried for negligence and professional incompetence.

It was a terrible day, when Blair sent the british army into Iraq. He assured the nation that he had sound reasons to go into war, and the soldiers who went, for the most part, may have believed him.

After this debacle it is surely time for the british people to consider an inquiry into the size and purpose of the british armed forces.
Are they serving to defend us , or to impose contractual control upon the mineral deposits of other nations.

We have now reason for shame, are we going to find and punish the guilty ones? Or once again will the pressure of war be given as an excuse?

"War is a profession by which a man cannot live honorably; an employment by which the soldier, if he would reap any profit, is obliged to be false, rapacious, and cruel." — Niccolo Machiavelli.

Is there really any need for an army? Is it time to emulate the Swiss, and to give every home a rifle and ammunition? Is the military no more than a bunch of psychos who without a war to fight would have no reason to live?

Would we, the "british" tolerate soldiers from another nation, coming here, detaining protesters, and then torturing them to death? No, of course not.
Even less then, should we allow British soldiers to behave in such a foul and murderous manner.

The soldiers concerned are said by the Guardian to have come from a regiment known as "The princess of Wales".
If these are Welsh soldiers, then I am more than ashamed to say that I too am from Wales.

The restrictions on reporting the case have been lifted. One has to ask, how much more shame will be heaped upon us by the time the Iraquis are left to manage their own affairs.

It turns out that the regiment involved is known as "The Princess of Wales Royal Regiment".
Except that she resigned, and the regiment now is commanded by the queeen of Denmark. (Seriously, I`m not making this up!)
The regiment has little to do with Wales, and recruits mainly in the Southern counties of England.

"WIKIPEDIA " Click >

Of no comfort to the Iraquis involved, nor to myself or anyone else.


A few posts back, I posted a poem by Dylan Thomas, about how death renders us all to the same point.
The monotheist would disagree, arguing for the existence of an ordered afterlife, with a ruler and a set of rules.
The atheist existentialist might tend to agree with Thomas, that indeed;

"Dead men naked they shall be one",

or was the point perhaps, as made by religionists as well as poets, of an eternal spirit, with his lines:
"Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion."

Well that was then, and now is now.

The above video is taken from the deck of an ocean liner.
Not a passenger liner, but a long-liner, where miles of baited hooks are laid into the ocean, and a few hours later are hauled in, and the catch is killed, gutted and placed on ice.
Here the fishermen capture a shark, there is a poetry to the video.
It mirrors closely, I believe, a scene from "The perfect storm", except that these guys are not actors, and unless they capture and kill the sharks, they will earn no money at all.
The way the shark moves from master of its environment, to helplessly squirming upon the deck, then to be dispatched by a sharp blow to the skull.

I couldn`t help thinking about Bush and Blair.
Are they the sharks that took the bait, have now been hooked, and are now gasping for breath, sensing that soon, they will be nothing more than a corpse on ice?

I have begun to wonder if the internet will somehow diminish the activities and profits of mainstream entertainment.

By the way, the background music to the film is hauntingly beautiful.
Both the video and the music were made by fishermen from the Basque fishing village of Ondourra, for which I thank them. It will take a few seconds to load, but I assure you, that it is
much better than Clooney and Hollywood, and far less expensive.

As my old granpappy used to opine,

"En cuando huele mal el pescado, hay que tirarlo a la basura."
"Si huele bien, tomatelo , y comemos."