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Aliran Monthly contributor John Hilley arrested near Glasgow

The Glasgow-based political scientist and activist, John Hilley, who writes on global justice issues for Aliran Monthly, was among over 170 peaceful protesters arrested in Faslane, 25 miles from Glasgow, on 1 Oct 2007, at the culmination of a year-long protest against the siting of Trident missiles at a naval base there. He tells me it was an “uplifting experience” and you can see why from the video clip above.

Attack on Iran foiled?

While our attention was focused on Burma, a dramatic incident took place in the Middle East: Israel’s air-strike on a reputed Syrian nuclear facility on 6 September. The Israelis appear to have coordinated the raid with the White House, says Jonathan Cook. “The reasoning was simple: before an attack on Iran could be countenanced, Hizbullah in Lebanon had to be destroyed and Syria at the very least cowed. The plan was to isolate Tehran on these two other hostile fronts before going in for the kill.”

Well, we know that Bush and the neo-cons have been itching to take on Iran – and it could happen sooner than we think.

But the Wayne Madsen Report makes a stunning claim:

A major US attack on Iran using nuclear and conventional weapons was scheduled to coincide with Israel’s 6 Sept strike on the reputed Syrian facility in Dayr az-Zwar, near the the Turkish border. Israel’s attack, code named Operation Orchard, was to provide a reason for the US to strike Iran. But it was apparently foiled when the US Air Force and intelligence community allegedly refused to fly cruise missiles with nuclear war heads to the Middle East. But was there even more to this than met the eye?

Have the generals won in Burma?

So thousands of heavily armed soldiers are patrolling the streets of the Burmese capital, Rangoon, forcing the peaceful protesters off the streets.

Have the hopes and prayers for democracy in Burma been totally crushed? Have the pro-democracy protesters been defeated?

Not by a long shot.

When a government resorts to bullets and clubs to suppress peaceful demonstrators, you know they have lost all moral authority and it is just a matter of time before the regime is dumped into the ash heap of history.

PGCC: It’s 40 towers, not 37

So the latest count is 40 towers of more than 10 storeys each, higher than our earlier estimate of 37 towers.

This is the count, based on the permission plan. Download the plan below by clicking on the link and note the 5-storey podiums for car parks in this “zero-carbon” city.

PGCC permission plan

PGCC: There go the angsana trees


My sources tell me that the PGCC developer’s consultants said yesterday they would avoid cutting down the trees along Scotland Road but admitted that some angsana trees would have to make way for the road widening/flyover work, especially near the Jalan Batu Gantong junction, to cope with the extra traffic anticipated.

These trees are actually heritage trees. Some concerned Penangites pasted posters (see picture above) on the trees likely to be affected. One person who has seen the plan told me that perhaps a few dozen trees would have to be chopped down.

By this morning, the posters had disappeared.

The threat to the trees flies in the face of the assurance given by PGCC master-planner Nasrine Seraji, which was reported in the New Straits Times:

Paris-based architect Nasrine Seraji also gave the assurance that the angsana trees along Jalan Scotland would not have to make way for the project.

“Residents in the neighbouring Jesselton area can also expect a better view, improved air quality and enhanced property values,” she said here yesterday.

(Have I taken her comments out of context?!)