Beware of Bankers Bearing Gifts

As the Greek debt crisis continues apace (here) we are reminded that the western world hinges entirely around debt; or to be more precise, interest on debt, and interest on interest on debt, and interest on interest on interest on debt, ad infinitum. Interest, of course, is Alice In Wonderland stuff, and is all about screwing as much out of the debtor as possible. Most people in the western world are chained by debt. It’s how the system works. In the case of Greece, though, Stavros Public has actually been quite prudent with their money and there’s far less personal debt than countries like the UK and US (here). It’s the Greek government that borrowed recklessly on the open markets. In fact, Greece has been effectively another bank bail-out, because the ECB and IMF lent the Greek government enough money to pay-off the banks, and thus the ECB and IMF transferred the debt upon themselves.

Which brings me to an Oxford Union debate back in November 2013. The motion was ‘This House Believes Socialism Does Not Work’. There were eight speakers, and here are the last four of them: Daniel Hannan, British journalist, author and a member of the European Parliament; Robert Griffiths, leader of the British Communist Party; John Redwood, a leading figure of the New Right wing of the Conservative Party; and Jeremy Corbyn, one of the most left wing and rebellious Labour MPs who’s now running for leadership of the party. After the debate the motion was voted down by the House.

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The Arab Spring and ISIS

On 17th December 2010 a young Tunisian street vendor called Mohamed Bouazizi had his wares confiscated by a corrupt municipal official. It was the latest in a long line of run-ins that Bouazizi had with the authorities. One hour after having his wares confiscated, the impoverished Bouazizi doused himself in petrol outside the regional governor’s office and struck a match, shouting: “how do you expect me to make a living?” Bouazizi barely survived and suffered severe burns to over 90% of his body. He died 18 days later in hospital. The circumstances around Bouazizi’s death sparked a series of protests which soon spread across Tunisia. The protests became so massive and violent that 10 days after Bouazizi’s death President Ben Ali fled Tunisia with his family.

These protests against corrupt, autocratic regimes and poor living standards quickly spread across the Arab world, and within the space of a year rulers were also forced from power in Egypt, Libya and Yemen, while civil uprisings had erupted in Bahrain and Syria, and major protests had broken out in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco and Sudan. These popular uprisings became widely known as the ‘Arab Spring’.

The Arab Spring caught everyone completely by surprise. Governments in both the Arab world and the West were a bit like rabbits caught in car headlights. The reaction of the US Government was highly amusing, because of course many of these vile Arab regimes were close allies of the United States. As events unfolded during 2011, in public the US spouted the usual ‘freedom and democracy’ rollocks, whilst behind the scenes doing everything possible to assist some of the vile regimes in quashing popular uprisings. The reason for this is simple: the vast majority of Arabs dislike the USA (here) and democratically elected governments which reflected the will of the people would mean an end of US power and presence in the region.

After the Arab uprisings in 2011 the region spiralled into widespread chaos and violence, most notably with civil wars in Libya, Syria and Iraq, and it continues to this day (and it’s caused the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War, with most of the refugees heading for Europe). Revolution is seldom a quick and clean process. The French Revolution lasted 10 years, and the revolutions in Russia spanned a period of some 18 years. However, there was one dynamic missing from the French and Russian revolutions, and that dynamic is the modern-day United States of America, which now has the most powerful military machine ever seen on this planet. Fifty eight cents of every American tax payer’s dollar feeds this monster (the US military budget is almost three times that of Russia and China combined – here). The key point here is that real democracy in the Arab world will mean an end of US hegemony in the region. Thus, outside interference in the Arab uprisings (in the form of the US) is at a level never seen before in a major revolution. The antithesis of this is the bunch of nutters known as ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (also known as ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). ISIS came out of the al-Qaeda brigades during the chaos that followed the American and British invasion of Iraq in 2003. Like al-Qaeda, ISIS are Salafist, an ultra-conservative movement within Sunni Islam, and are funded by elements in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. ISIS have also been funded and supported by Britain and the United States. Last month a terror trial collapsed at the Old Bailey. The defendant, Swedish national Bherlin Gildo, was accused of possessing terrorist information, attending a terrorist training camp and receiving weapons training. Gildo was defended by Henry Blaxland QC, who stated that:

If it is the case that HM government was actively involved in supporting armed resistance to the Assad regime at a time when the defendant was present in Syria and himself participating in such resistance, it would be unconscionable to allow the prosecution to continue.

If government agencies, of which the prosecution is a part, are themselves involved in the use of force, in whatever way, it is our submission that would be an affront to justice to allow the prosecution to continue.

And here’s how the Guardian covered the case:

And also just recently:

A declassified secret US government document obtained by the conservative public interest law firm, Judicial Watch, shows that Western governments deliberately allied with al-Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups to topple Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad.

The document reveals that in coordination with the Gulf states and Turkey, the West intentionally sponsored violent Islamist groups to destabilize Assad, and that these “supporting powers” desired the emergence of a “Salafist Principality” in Syria to “isolate the Syrian regime.”

It’s no secret that the US and UK governments want to topple Assad’s vile regime in Syria (and note that Assad is Alawite, a branch of Shia Islam). However, in August 2013 the UK Parliament voted against military intervention in Syria (here). Shortly after this, Obama failed to get Congress to vote for military action. Ever since then there’s been a constant ramping up of the ISIS threat, with ‘Jihad Johnny’ and beheading videos and all that. In last week’s terrible massacre in Tunisia the ISIS nutters appear to have deliberately targeted British tourists. This week we’ve had Michael Fallon, the UK defence secretary, calling for military action against ISIS in Syria (here).

It’s not in the interests of America and the UK to have real democracy in the Arab world, because if that happens the US and UK will be shown the door. The game plan has been to keep in place autocratic regimes, which is why we are close allies with countries like Saudi Arabia, which has a disgusting human rights record. However, the Arab Spring completely upset the apple cart, and now Plan B appears to be to create as much turmoil and mayhem as possible in the Arab world. Cue ISIS and sectarian strife. But let me get back to Syria, which is ruled by Shia Muslims, and why the US and UK want a compliant regime in this country. Shias are a minority in the Middle East but by an accident of history most of the region’s oil lays within Shiite areas, these being eastern Saudi Arabia, southern Iraq and southwestern Iran (incidentally, the Shia government in Iran came about because of more American and British meddling in the 1950s – here). If these Shiite regions became independent and formed some kind of alliance (an alliance that would be very hostile to the US and UK) they would control most of the world’s oil.

The actions of the US and UK in the Middle East are not to protect the interests of their own people, it’s not to ‘keep the petrol flowing’. It’s all about large corporations making bucketloads of money out of other people’s natural resources; and the US and UK governments don’t give a jot about how many innocents get slaughtered in the process.

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M’lud is Demented

On Sunday, Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, announced that Lord Greville Janner will be prosecuted for historical child sex abuse offences (here). Saunders was forced to reverse her earlier decision not to prosecute Janner following an independent review, conducted by David Perry QC, which concluded that it was in the public interest to bring proceedings before a criminal court. It’s the first time that a director of public prosecutions has been made to overturn a major decision. The announcement on Sunday took everyone interested in this case by surprise, and it’s perhaps not a coincidence that it came at a time when the media was saturated with stories about Friday’s massacre in Tunisia.

At this stage it looks like Lord Janner could face a ‘trial of the facts’, in which a jury hears the evidence against an individual considered too ill to stand for trial (it is claimed that Janner has dementia). The charges relate to alleged offences of buggery and indecent assault committed against children between 1963 and 1988 by the former Labour MP. ‎The youngest alleged victim was an eight-year-old boy at the time of the alleged offence. Janner is charged with indecently assaulting him between 1969 and 1970, and of buggery against him between 1963 and 1969. Another alleged victim was nine at the time. The others ‎were aged between 12 and 16.

The following is an interview done last Saturday by George Galloway on his Sputnik programme (broadcast by Russia Today), before the surprise announcement that Janner will now be prosecuted. Galloway is interviewing Mark Watts, Editor of Exaro News, which has been in the forefront of exposing the Westminster child sex abuse scandal. This clip has been taken directly from RT, but notice that at about 3.30 into the clip, where Galloway starts naming names, the sound goes down for a while.

Even Putin & Co are too afraid to say it out loud.

The complete RT show can be found here:

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The Times They are a Changing

I’m not going to go into the three ‘terror attacks’ that happened today in France, Tunisia and Kuwait, except to offer my condolences to the friends and family of those who were killed in these terrible incidents. The facts about how ISIS came about, who funds and manipulates it, and the role of the mainstream media in propagandising the public, I’ll go into another time. Suffice to say that the public in the West are being conned, big time.

But there’s hope:- depending on who you believe, the anti-austerity demo in London last Saturday drew a crowd of anywhere between 100,000 and 250,000 people. The demo culminated in Parliament Square (and incidentally, this demo was organised long before last month’s UK General Election), where a number of high profile people gave speeches. One of them was Charlotte Church…

Also speaking was Jeremy Corbyn, who is one of the few remaining real left wingers in the Labour Party and is running in the leadership contest (incidentally, Craig Murray made a good post recently about Corbyn, and how electable the left are, on his blog)…
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An Ocean Dies

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The mass die-offs of wildlife on the west coast of North America continues apace. From Mexico up to Alaska there’s a toxic algae bloom, the like of which has never been seen before, and there’s now huge numbers of red crabs washing up on the beaches…

The die-offs go all the way up the food chain and include seals, sea lions, walruses and birds…

For the last few years increasing numbers of whales have also washed up dead on west coast beaches. The latest is 10 fin whales found dead in Alaska…

West coast waters are now so transparent it’s possible to see the sandy bottom below (here). This is because the plankton has all died off, and plankton of course is the basis of the food chain (plankton also produce 70% of the world’s oxygen). It’s a catastrophe of epic proportions, and most of the human race are still in complete denial about it; and in particular, about what’s causing the death of the Pacific Ocean. All these news reports have a kind of surreal quality about them, because they never mention the fact that on the coast of Japan there are three nuclear reactors in complete and ongoing meltdown, and every single day thousands of tons of radioactive water is being discharged into the Pacific Ocean (here). The west coast of North America is directly downwind and downstream of Fukushima. This horror story has been going on for more than four years now, and will continue indefinitely unless the human race gets its act together and tries to do something about it. With our present state of consciousness, don’t hold your breath on that one.

chicken conspiracy

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The past is a foreign country

I was recently doing a search for something totally unrelated to Citroen 2CVs and North America, when, for some reason, I came across a blog post on the Ottawa Citroen Club web site. The blog post is by a guy called Bob McLeod, and it’s about when Jose and I met Bob and his family near Ottawa all those years ago in 1999. In his blog post, Bob mentions the two books I originally wrote about the 2CV Alaska Challenge, called I’ve just had a brilliant idea!, which was about the 2CV Alaska Challenge, and Down and out in Duncan and Port Hardy, which was about the aftermath of the Alaska Challenge. Both books sold reasonably well. However, some readers didn’t like the fact that what is really one continuous story had been split into two parts. Hence I went on to publish the original two books as The Yukon Queen, as both a paperback and an e-book.

From The Yukon Queen here’s my description of Ottawa…

Ottawa has three major claims to fame: it’s the capital of the second biggest country on the planet, it’s the western world’s coldest capital, and popular opinion holds that it is one of the world’s dullest capitals. It’s all Queen Victoria’s fault. In the 19th century, Ottawa was a boozy, brawling lumber village. Then Queen Victoria saw some rather pretty watercolour paintings of the area and was so inspired that she declared Ottawa the capital, leaving Montreal and Toronto smarting at their rebuff. Converted by royal mandate into a political cockpit, Ottawa immediately started cleaning up its act and government investment was poured in to redevelop the area. The result is a prim, boring place with a small-town atmosphere, a city dubbed ‘too perfect for excitement’ which cost the long- suffering Canadian tax payer millions and millions of dollars. No one knows where the boozy lumberjacks fled to.

The following photo is one of 11 from Bob’s blog post. It shows Jose and I and Bob and his wife Claudine outside their home in a pleasant suburb near Ottawa. The 2CV we’re all standing around was known as the No.1 car (which I later re-christened the ‘Yukon Queen’). The 2CV behind it was known as the No.2 car. The No.2 car only went as far as Winnipeg, a two day drive from Ottawa, whereas the No.1 went all the way to arctic Alaska, a two week drive from Ottawa.


During the two months it took to complete the 2CV Alaska Challenge, I posted regular bulletins and photos to our web site. It was ‘almost live reportage’. Back then the internet was still in its infancy and it wasn’t easy to get internet connection during our journey, particularly in places like northern British Columbia, the Yukon and Alaska. Here’s my younger self on Bob’s computer, sending off the latest Alaska Challenge bulletin. Quite a few people, all around the world, followed our journey via the internet.
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Five Reasons the MI6 Story is a Lie

Reproduced from Craig Murray’s blog, with permission:

by craig on June 14, 2015 10:06 am in Uncategorized

The Sunday Times has a story claiming that Snowden’s revelations have caused danger to MI6 and disrupted their operations. Here are five reasons it is a lie.

1) The alleged Downing Street source is quoted directly in italics. Yet the schoolboy mistake is made of confusing officers and agents. MI6 is staffed by officers. Their informants are agents. In real life, James Bond would not be a secret agent. He would be an MI6 officer. Those whose knowledge comes from fiction frequently confuse the two. Nobody really working with the intelligence services would do so, as the Sunday Times source does. The story is a lie.

2) The argument that MI6 officers are at danger of being killed by the Russians or Chinese is a nonsense. No MI6 officer has been killed by the Russians or Chinese for 50 years. The worst that could happen is they would be sent home. Agents’ – generally local people, as opposed to MI6 officers – identities would not be revealed in the Snowden documents. Rule No.1 in both the CIA and MI6 is that agents’ identities are never, ever written down, neither their names nor a description that would allow them to be identified. I once got very, very severely carpeted for adding an agents’ name to my copy of an intelligence report in handwriting, suggesting he was a useless gossip and MI6 should not be wasting their money on bribing him. And that was in post communist Poland, not a high risk situation.

3) MI6 officers work under diplomatic cover 99% of the time. Their alias is as members of the British Embassy, or other diplomatic status mission. A portion are declared to the host country. The truth is that Embassies of different powers very quickly identify who are the spies in other missions. MI6 have huge dossiers on the members of the Russian security services – I have seen and handled them. The Russians have the same. In past mass expulsions, the British government has expelled 20 or 30 spies from the Russian Embassy in London. The Russians retaliated by expelling the same number of British diplomats from Moscow, all of whom were not spies! As a third of our “diplomats” in Russia are spies, this was not coincidence. This was deliberate to send the message that they knew precisely who the spies were, and they did not fear them.

4) This anti Snowden non-story – even the Sunday Times admits there is no evidence anybody has been harmed – is timed precisely to coincide with the government’s new Snooper’s Charter act, enabling the security services to access all our internet activity. Remember that GCHQ already has an archive of 800,000 perfectly innocent British people engaged in sex chats online.

5) The paper publishing the story is owned by Rupert Murdoch. It is sourced to the people who brought you the dossier on Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction, every single “fact” in which proved to be a fabrication. Why would you believe the liars now?

There you have five reasons the story is a lie.

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A Brave Man

Shigeaki Koga was once a high level official in the Japanese Ministry of Trade. In the immediate aftermath of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima meltdowns, Koga was highly critical of the bad practice and corruption in the Japanese energy industry, and in particular his ire was directed at the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which runs the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Koga put together a report outlining the reforms that he felt were needed, but he was shunned by his colleagues in the ministry and his superiors told him to resign, which he eventually did in September 2011 (here).

Since then, Shigeaki Koga has continued to be outspoken about energy policy in Japan and the government’s muzzling of the media. Koga became a regular commentator on TV Asahi’s evening news programme Hodo Station, one of the most popular programmes in Japan. Earlier this year, Koga abruptly departed from the scripted conversation during a live broadcast to announce his resignation as a commentator. “I have suffered intense bashing by the prime minister’s office”, Mr Koga told his visibly flabbergasted host, saying he had been removed as commentator because he had been critical of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (here). Later in the programme, Mr Koga held up a sign saying “I am not Abe”, a play on the “Je suis Charlie” slogan of solidarity for journalists killed in January at French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

I am not Abe (2)

Watched by millions, Koga committed career suicide on live television to highlight the present appalling state of democracy in his country. What’s going on in Japan at the moment, everything from the secrecy law passed in December 2013, to the incineration of radioactive waste, to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, is a case of you-couldn’t-make-it-up.

In April, following the incident on live tv, Shigeaki Koga gave a talk to the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan titled ‘The Chilling of Freedom of Expression in Japan’. The following is the first part of his talk. Please note that I’ve only included the opening sentences of each segment of Koga’s talk, and then go straight into the complete English language translation.

The complete talk can be found here.

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Au Revoir Simone

The world continues to go to hell in a handbasket, so let’s have some music instead… Au Revoir Simone is a ‘dream pop’ band consisting of Erika Forster, Annie Hart and Heather D’Angelo, all on keyboards, which is a tough one to pull off in order to make the music interesting. Their latest album is called ‘Move in Spectrums’ and it was released in 2013. This track from the album is called Just Like a Tree

Erika, Annie and Heather hail from New York and although Au Revoir Simone was formed in 2003 they have only released four albums since then. Their first album, released in 2006, is called ‘Verses of Comfort, Assurance & Salvation’. The name came from the title of a book that Annie was given, and the group felt that the name completely fit their music and the way it made them feel. The first track on the album is called Through the Backyards
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Morality the Media and Megan Rice

I’m not going to go into a rant about the result of the 2015 UK general election, which in the ‘first past the post’ system gave the Conservative party a slim majority with just 37% of those who could be bothered to vote (and only 23% of those eligible to vote). This general election was the most extraordinary I’ve ever seen, not least because the Scottish National Party (SNP) won 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland (previously they had just 6 seats) with just 5% of the overall UK vote, and UKIP won 13% of the vote but under the first past the post system obtained only 1 of the 650 seats at Westminster; and the Labour Party committed political suicide, by continuing to present itself as Tory-lite, and is now a spent force in terms of forming a government, gaining just 30% of the vote (most of the seats gained by the SNP in Scotland were taken from Labour).

This general election has been analysed to death, so I’ll just say that the lurch to the right among voters in England and Wales will probably result in the break up of the United Kingdom, with Scotland becoming an independent country (which might well be joined by parts of northern England), and the rump UK might leave the European Union and sail off into right wing la la land, just like America, with corporations making bucketloads of money out of a privatised health service, appalling human rights, a massive disparity between rich and poor and endless war.

The 2015 UK general election was in essence a corporate coup d’état, facilitated by an almost completely right wing mainstream media. The barrage of propaganda makes many people ‘vote against their best interests’, and this brings me onto an octogenarian nun by the name of Sister Megan Rice, who in 2013 was sentenced to three years in prison for breaking into and vandalising a nuclear weapons facility in Tennessee. Last week, 85-year-old Megan Rice, along with fellow activists Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, was released by a federal appeals court after serving two years of the sentence (here). The following is an interview Megan Rice gave to the Washington Post in 2013, shortly before she was sentenced…

(The complete Washington Post video can be found here)

One striking thing about the 2015 UK general election is that the issue of nuclear weapons had a rare outing in the media. This was because the Scottish National Party want to remove Trident nuclear weapons from Scotland (amongst other things the SNP also want to preserve the National Health Service and abolish the House of Lords – Ha, who’d vote for the SNP!). Of course, the greatest disaster in human history, aka Fukushima, was not mentioned at all, and hardly ever is in the media. Earlier this month, Libby HaLevy interviewed Dr Celine-Marie Pascale, Professor of Sociology and Affiliate Professor for the School of Communication at American University in Washington DC. Pascale researched the mainstream media coverage of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, and came to an obvious conclusion; and of course media bias does not only extend to nuclear matters. During the UK general election the stuff the media came out with about immigration, Scotland, Europe, the financial crisis, etc, was a wonder to behold. When it comes to brainwashing, the West is little different from North Korea.

The original Nuclear Hotseat broadcast can be found here.

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