Wednesday, November 09, 2005

French Riots, State Torture and Socialist Sci-Fi

I don't have much to say about the current situation in France which hasn't been said elsewhere in the lefty blogosphere. So, it seems rather pointless to go into it. Here, via ZNet, is an excellent article by Doug Ireland. Via the Tomb, here's a statement (on The Red Pepper site) 'from various trade unions, left political parties and civil liberties groups in France.'

Ken MacLeod has an excellent (and terrifying) post on his site focusing on the US's secretive 'torture flights' - the secret service kidnaps people suspected of terror connections (often on the slenderest of 'evidence'), bundles then onto unmarked jets and flies them to one of a number of 'ghost prisons' around the world (Guantanamo is the tip of the iceberg) or to countries such as Syria so that they can be interrrogated under torture. It's frightening and it's happening.

Ken MacLeod is a socialist sci-fi writer and he's interviewed here about his work. I read one of his books, The Star Fraction, a while ago and was very impressed. The interview points out that MacLeod's books are often very scathing about the Green movement, and this was very much in evidence in the book of his I read in which the Green militia fighters of his utopian/dystopian near-future are presented as regressive barbarians. I suppose I agree with him up to a point, but I was rather uncomfortable with some of the anti-Green sentiments in the book. I also got the impression that MacLeod is highly sympathetic to ultra-libertarian arguments - and again, I felt rather uncomfortable with this. MacLeod's presentation of a futuristic ultra-libertarian, ultra-free market principality (Norlonto) - think Robert Nozick's ultimate wet dream - suggested substantial authorial approval, but seemed, in many respects, rather nightmarish to me.

I'm sorry, by the way, that this post is so badly written. I'm having one of those days when you can't write in anything other than horridly bad sentences. I'm going to stop now.


If you don't believe it, there was a chilling article in the Observer (the liberal bombers' favourite - wonder how that one slipped through), detailing America's 'Ghost Prisons' across the world and showing how the CIA deliver abductees to regimes such as Egypt and Syria for interrogation under torture. See also, these articles (pay per view) in the Indie.

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