More Memoirs

I’ve been quiet on this blog for the last month, because: A) my internet connection has been up the wall, and B) I’m writing the third volume of my memoirs, which is called The Iberian Job, after a mad business scheme I launched in 2003 (I do like a mad business scheme). The Iberian Job covers the years 2000 to 2007, which was a time of great upheaval and turbulence for me. Anyone reading the finished book will probably think I’m making it all up. I’m not, as those who were there at the time can testify.

The biggest problem I’m having with this memoir is that it’s the first one to deal directly with family members who are still alive. That’s always a tricky balancing act. This is particularly so with my family, whom Channel Four could make a documentary about. I’ve always said that you could write a book about my family, and one day I probably will.

But this memoir is not it. The Iberian Job is about my own somewhat extraordinary story, when I left London in 2003 bound for Portugal. I’m trying to keep as neutral as possible about the part family members had in it all. I’ve also changed a lot of the names of other people and places to avoid getting my arse sued-off. I’m on schedule to complete the final draft of the book early in the new year.

IBcover04c_small

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UKIP surfe sur la misère

Last Thursday, 9th October, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), won its first parliamentary seat. The winning candidate was Douglas Carswell, who shortly before the by-election had defected from the Conservative party (here). I’m not going to bang on about UKIP, because readers of this blog will be well aware what my thoughts will be. Instead I will try to give a French perspective on it all; and bear in mind that in the Front Nationale, France has their own version of right wing, bigoted a-holes. The following English translation is from a piece in Le Monde, one of the major French newspapers. The press in France very much tow the establishment line, and I think I can safely say that Le Monde is on the left side of things. The original article is titled A Clacton-on-Sea, le UKIP surfe sur la misère

In Clacton-on-sea, the UKIP prospers on misery.

It’s hardly believable at first glance. How reality can be so close to a grotesque caricature? On Pier Avenue, a stoned tramp totters by an old, toothless chap hunching over his Zimmer. Over the almost deserted wharf, rows of tawdry fruit machines wobble in the beat of ancient disco tunes interspersed by blaring ads for retirement houses. In the Jaywick quarter, shabby bungalows shelter, on the seashore, the outcasts of the English economic surge, over a background of marine breeze and seagull chirps. Welcome to Clacton-on-Sea, the seaside resort north of London where nobody spends their holidays anymore since the 80’s. The most hoary and most forlorn English town, center of the constituency which elected Thursday the first MP of the UKIP, an anti-european and xenophobic party.

Douglas Carswell, aged 43, has been ruling over this town, torn between poor retired and disgraced young people, for ten years. This charismatic MP, elected in 2005, has tantalized the party of the PM David Cameron when it announced, August 28th, that he would resign his charge and wholeheartedly join, together with his supporters, Nigel Farage’s UKIP, thereby causing a new election. Comfortably confirmed by 60% of the votes, his triumph represents a perilous precedent at eight months of the general elections.

Matter of fact, it is difficult, in the streets of Clacton, to find a pedestrian that does not vote for Carswell. “He’s unlike any other politician. He tackles our problems,” explains Bryan Marshall, 37 years old, a security officer with decayed teeth, who sees in “immigration and indue claims for social allowances” the major evils plaguing his town. “The flow of Romanians
and Poles who overcrowd the place just to draw on the dole,” adds Peter Even, about sixty, wearing a tracksuit. Hurry-scurry, one blames the EU “that funnels the English money”, the potholes never fixed, “the politicians who have forgotten us”, the street lightning that goes off every day between midnight and 4 am and increases nocturnal fears.

Right in front of the station, in his brand new GQ, the MP handles the gaggle of journalists with the quietness and authority of a general on the field. A photo of Gandhi, inviting the watchers to put words and acts in accordance, stands as a foil amidst various maps of the constituency highlighted with fluorescent markers. If one dares to relate the UKIP to the French “Front national”, Douglas Carswell chokes: the comparison seems “wrong, offending and lazy” to him. Ultraliberal, he doesn’t expect much from the State and plaids for a “radical localism”. “I’m neither a warmonger nor a protectionist. I love McDonalds, modernity and free trade.” Nativism? ”A trash concept, particularly when it consists in rousing people to fight against each other in order to be elected. No country can win without immigration,” he brags, while he still demands that “the government chooses who can ingress and who must egress. The UK is a big nation, but it is ruled by a clique of Conservatives, an oligarchy that cannot be punished when they are derelict in their duties,” says the defector who believes “passionately” that the UK must quit the EU.

This straddling stance, betwixt ultra-liberalism and the defense of Clacton’s indigents – eking out their lives on pensions or allowances – does not seem to nag the local population. “People follow Carswell like sheep,” dares a seventy years old, conservative-friendly man, speaking anonymously. “I dislike the EU, but I despise what the UKIP upholds, that populism which reeks of Marine Le Pen [the leader of the French National Front]. Carswell has canvassed the town, unfortunately, and I don’t see how he could be defeated.”

Back on the shore, the calicos of the UKIP candidate have blossomed above a rundown hotel. His conservative adversary, Gilles Watling, formerly a sitcom actor, has a more lukewarm position on Europe, recalling how much the EU represents in Britain’s economy. But, he notes, especially targeting the eurosceptics, that only the Conservatives have promised a referendum on the exit of the UK from the EU. ”Douglas is quite a local figure. People vote for him, rather than for his party,” he puts forward, trying to comfort himself.

Indeed, Mr Carswell had gained popularity as a Tory MP, constantly badgering for greater local powers, so as to recruit more practicians or hinder the settlement of families living on the dole. He had his hour of glory when he pinned a thief against a wall and congratulated the police on Twitter for rushing in. In some building entrances, stickers with his face show the motto: “I help you to fight crime.”

A huge building stands right in downtown Clacton: the former theater “Century”, now transformed into the “Gala bingo”. Inside, pervaded in a rancid odor, a few old ladies spend the afternoon in a vast and almost empty playroom. Without even looking at each other, they listen to a recorded voice that drones on and on the various figures they check on their bingo cards. Outside, a bevy of young unemployed slouch against the walls. A tattoo salon neighbors a wheelchair shop. In Clacton, the UKIP has found its promised land.

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Assassins and Asylums

This is now my third post about Dana Durnford’s ‘Expedition for Life’, a voyage around the coast of British Columbia to document how much of the flora and fauna has been damaged by Fukushima. The funding for the expedition has come via donations from the public, people who are concerned about the ongoing horror story that is Fukushima, and the cover-up by the mainstream media. If you want more background to it all, and it is a fascinating story, see my previous post, Intrepid II Goes Forth.

By far the biggest donor has been a guy called Geoff Palko, who describes himself as a ‘nutty artist’ and, like Dana, is an invalid. Palko has not only bought the boat for the expedition but also much of the ancillary equipment. His donations run to tens of thousands of dollars. The Expedition for Life got under way in early September. All well and good, but then a few weeks back, Geoff Palko posted a series of videos on his YouTube channel about a ‘Saturn Cube’ on the moon, that was coming to earth to destroy all mankind (here). For those of us who have been following the Dana saga, alarm bells started ringing, because there was obviously something not quite right with Mr Palko. Then, just recently, he posted three videos proclaiming that Dana & Co were all scammers and con artists, and he used very strong language. Here’s a still from one of Geoff Palko’s recent videos. Read on to find out why I’ve changed my mind about including any actual video footage.

Palko_photo02

I did originally include an excerpt from one of these videos in this blog post, and I felt uncomfortable doing so because at the time of writing I knew that Geoff Palko had been committed to a mental hospital. It’s always a difficult balancing act when you’re reporting on something, because you have to give the readers some evidence of what you’re saying, and sometimes that evidence is not very pleasant. At the request of his family, most of Geoff Palko’s videos have now been removed from his YouTube channel. I will respect the wishes of Geoff’s family, and can only hope that the other two videos that follow in this post show the veracity of what I’m saying.
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Rentakill

Just over one year ago the 51st state of America voted against military intervention in Syria (here). British MPs came under intense pressure from their constituents to vote no. Shortly afterwards, America followed suit. Now, today, America has started bombing targets in Syria and Iraq, with military contributions from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Jordan, beacons of human rights one and all. It looks like the UK Parliament will vote on Friday on whether to join in the fun.

The Islamic State thang is so obviously contrived and manufactured, including YouTube videos showing the lead-up to grizzly beheadings, complete with ‘Jihad Johnnies’ speaking in British and North Amercan accents; and as planned, the mainstream media has whipped it all up into a frenzy: the Muslim bogeyman is coming to get yer! DA, DA, DAH! Those who pull the strings knew the public wouldn’t fall for another ‘weapons of mass destruction’ stunt, so instead they’ve come up with what looks like a bad Hollywood B-movie; but USUK has become so immoral and corrupt that I can barely be bothered talking about this aspect of it.

The only question is: how can we remove the vermin from positions of power in USUK? Well, it almost happened in Scotland last week, when 45% of the electorate voted for independence. When the 55% who voted to stay in the union suffer the inevitable betrayal of promises from Westminster, the momentum for independence will probably become unstoppable. Perhaps surprisingly, since last week’s referendum the Scottish National Party (SNP) has had a huge surge in membership (at the time of writing they’ve attracted nearly 20,000 new members), making them now the third largest party in the UK, in membership terms (here), which is remarkable for a small nation like Scotland. It shouldn’t be overlooked, though, that the independence movement in Scotland goes way beyond the SNP. Both the Greens and the Scottish Socialist Party have also had a big surge in membership. SNP policies – such as staying in NATO, cutting corporation taxes for big businesses, retaining the Queen as a head of State and sharing the Pound – do not sit well with many nationalists. Thing is, the SNP has to be a broad church, in order to get as many people as possible on board for independence. Although the nationalists are very much a grass roots movement, and there’s a lot of different political parties, they have to rally around the SNP in order not to split the vote. Even Tommy Sheridan, one of the leaders of the far left Scottish Solidarity Party, has called for everyone in Scotland to vote SNP at the General Election next May (here). Labour’s support for continuing the union is seen as a complete betrayal by the nationalists. There are presently 41 Labour MPs in Scotland. Come next May they might all be looking for another job.

If a large number of SNP MPs are returned to Parliament next year, one of the first things they’ll be pushing for is another referendum on independence. This one’s not going away, and when independence finally comes (as I believe it will) we will have the juicy prospect of a socialist Scotland right next door to the 51st state of America.

ScotRef_hope_snuffed

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Perfidious Albion

If the Scots had voted for independence yesterday, the following three things would have been constitutionally banned forever in Scotland:

1. Weapons of mass destruction.
2. Unelected representatives (House of Lords).
3. Privatisation of the NHS.

Of course, the British Establishment would never allow this to happen and inevitably some people today are saying that the vote was rigged (here). There’s even a petition up on change.org called We the undersigned demand a revote of the Scottish Referendum. This petition has only been online for a short while and at the time of writing it’s already garnered 38,000 signatures.

The Scottish referendum was rigged. It was rigged mostly by the mainstream media, which were entirely on the side of the No vote (with one honorable exception: the Glasgow Herald) and went all out to discredit the Yes vote. Apart from the usual suspects such as the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail (here), the BBC’s coverage of the referendum was also an absolute disgrace. Considering the unprecedented barrage of propaganda, an amazing 45% of Scots voted for independence. I think many people in Scotland have now woken-up to the fact that the mainstream media does not exist to report news, but instead to control and manipulate the masses… but I’m going over the same ground that I covered in my previous post.

So, let’s go to South America, and in particular Ecuador. Rafael Correa, the left wing populist President of Ecuador, is often criticised for his harsh treatment of the media, which he describes as “mediocre, incompetent, inaccurate, lying and a part of the structure of corruption and accomplice of the national disaster”. Correa’s track record on press freedoms was used to hit Julian Assange over the head, when Correa granted him political asylum in August 2012. Just three months before then, Assange interviewed Correa on his Russia Today show, The World Tomorrow. The following is a short excerpt from this interview, in which Correa talks about his relationship with the media…

The complete 25 minute programe is well worth watching, and it’s fascinating to see the chemistry between the two men (Julian Assange is still holed-up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London); and incidentally, Correa, who has a PHD in economics, was re-elected for his third term as President in February 2013.
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Independence Day

As I’m writing this there’s a big Yes vote rally going in in Glasgow, against BBC bias (livestream here). I doubt if any of the mainstream media will cover this rally, just as they haven’t covered many other Yes vote gatherings, which all draw large crowds; unlike No vote rallys, where you’ll be lucky to find more than 20 people (this is one of the reasons why I think the Yes vote will win next Thursday). There’s been a barrage of pro-unionist propaganda from the media and politicians – even in Scotland itself, out of the 30 or so daily newspapers not one supports independence. It was much the same with the previous two referendums (which were about devolution, not full independence). The difference this time is that we now have social media on the internet, which paints a very different picture from that of the alternate reality known as the mainstream media.

Of course, what I’m getting at here is just how controlled and manipulated the UK media are by the Establishment. One obvious and glaring example of this was last year, when the Guardian started publishing the Snowden revelations. In the weeks and months that followed, the rest of the UK media did nor say a peep about any of it. Remember, it was being revealed that British citizens were under mass surveillance, all done illegally, and their computing devices were completely infiltrated by the security services. Welcome to police state Britain. The media did eventually start reporting it, but it was all very subdued. Likewise in the political arena, and to this day there’s been no real debate about it in Britain, outside of the pages of the Guardian newspaper (the unprecedented harrassment the Guardian has received, as a result of the Snowden revelations, is covered in this post).

The former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, has an insider’s view of just how corrupt and immoral the British Establisment is. Murray lives in England, and today, on his blog, he said this:

I am heading for the train back to Scotland for the final, frenetic stretch of campaigning to achieve national independence. Rather strange feeling on leaving the house, because I know that if we succeed I shan’t be coming back here to live, but rather staying to help build the new Scotland, in however minor a way…

… I think the greatest achievement of the campaign has been that half the population of Scotland has awoken to the fact that the mainstream media, and the BBC in particular, pump out a stream of propaganda in collusion with the state and corporate interests, and that much of it is untrue.

If Scotland becomes independent next week, Murray won’t be the only one fleeing the totally corrupt right wing lunatic asylum that England has become (that we, the people, have allowed it to become). Many of those who understand the illusion of chocolate box England, peddled by lunatics like Nigel Farage, will head north of the border. If the propaganda doom and gloomers are proved wrong (which they will be: Scotland is the 12th richest country in the world, with more oil reserves than any other country in Europe), I can also envisage counties in northern England wanting to become part of Scotland (the north of England is largely neglected by the Westminster elite). If there’s a Yes vote next Thursday it really will be a seismic shift in the political make-up of the British Isles.

Here’s Craig Murray giving a speech last month, about both Westminster corruption and Scottish independence…
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From King James to McDonalds

Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603. The unmarried Virgin Queen had no successor. The Parliamentarians, and chief minister Sir Robert Cecil, had already decided how to deal with the situation. For the previous three years, Cecil had been in secret correspondence with King James VI of Scotland (son of Mary Queen of Scots), grooming him for the succession. James was proclaimed King of England on the same day that Elizabeth I died (Coronation celebrations were restricted that year due to an outbreak of the Black Death). James took over a kingdom that was not without its problems. High taxation to fund wars in Ireland and France, the ongoing debate about how much power the monarchy should have and perceived inequality all led to a widespread sense of grievance.

Thus, a little over 400 years ago, the union between England and Scotland began (although the Act of Union was not actually signed until 1707), and it did so in a political atmosphere not too much different from that of today. Next week, if the Scots vote Yes for independence, the union will end, which will be a major turning point in the history of the British Isles. South of the border, the English only seem to have grasped this fact very recently, and there’s now a massive campaign underway to persuade the Scots to vote No. It’s been quite surreal watching the debate in England, because what the independence stuff is really about is hardly ever mentioned. Chunky Mark (real name Mark McGowan), the artist and London taxi driver, expressed it very well in a recent video he posted on YouTube. Here’s the relevent bit…

(the complete video can be found here)

Much of Chunky Mark’s rant is about an ideology we call ‘neo-liberalism’, which started three decades ago under Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Since then the gap between the rich and the poor has continued to widen in the anglo world (expressed by activists as the 1% and the 99%) and we are now living in societies where inequality abounds. Increasingly, the politicians no longer served the people, instead they served big business, and so the inevitable happened: the spivs and barrow boys of Wall Street and the City of London were now totally unencumbered, and of course they trashed the world economy, leaving us with the crash of 2007/2008. The corporate coup d’etat was completed when no one was held to account for this, and the banks were given eye-watering amounts of tax payer’s money as a bail-out. Since then, big business has been consolidating its position, leaving people in the anglo world living in societies that are a travesty of all notions of social justice. If the Scots vote for independence next week it will be the first major crack appearing in this new order.

I’ll finish with an excerpt from Michael Moore’s 2009 documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story. It shows how the financial institutions were bailed-out in America, totally against the wishes of the people, and it’s quite breathtaking stuff (and watch closely for hints about how Obama became President)…

Note: this excerpt appears to be blocked in the USA. The complete documentary can be found here. The above excerpt starts at approx. 1 hour 25 minutes.

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The Gift of Idleness

Earning a living in middle-of-nowhere France used to be fairly easy. The housing boom in the UK produced a wave of Brits who came over here and bought rural properties, which were comparitively dirt cheap. Many of these properties needed doing-up, which provided lots of work for bods like me. Then of course came the crash of 2007/2008 and this sort of work all but dried up. I should perhaps add that I’m not one of the Brits who came here and bought property. I was on my way to Portugal in 2003 and my car blew-up on the autoroute just south of Tours. I won’t go into the long story that follows, suffice to say that’s how I ended-up in south west France.

So, following the economic crash, there I am in the middle-of-nowhere and I needed to earn some kind of a living (even for the French there’s very high unemployment in this area). There were still a large number of Brits here, many of them unable to sell their French property for the sort of price that would allow them to move back to the UK. A captive audience, and so I came up with the idea of an internet radio station, English language, to cater for them. The timing was right, because by the late 2000s the technology had moved on enough to make it fairly easy for someone like me to produce radio on the internet, and for the audience to receive it. The income would come from businesses advertising on the radio station. Eureka!

But there’s always a ‘but’, because although the start-up costs were relatively small, I was still looking at a couple of thousand euros (much of which would have to go on advertising the venture), and at the time I didn’t have much more than that in the bank. I didn’t want to take the risk, and so my internet radio station became a radio production company, Local Radio France, with the idea of selling programmes to other broadcasters.
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Intrepid II Goes Forth

In a previous post I was talking about a YouTube user called BeautifulGirlByDana, real name Dana Durnford. Well, earlier this month, using 600 bucks of donations from his YouTube followers, Dana and his friend Terry spent nine days photographing the tidal zone on 16 beaches along the Sunshine Coast, the mainland and chain of islands that stretches for a hundred miles or so north of Vancouver, in western Canada. Although many of the photos are of poor quality they do appear to show that much of the tidal zone wildlife has disapeared. A few weeks back, Dana did a live stream presentation of it all called HORROR ” Pacific Ocean Now Dead From Fukushima Radiation “ (see my post The End Of The World Show). Following this presentation, loads more donations flowed in, as Dana announced that he’s going to mount an ‘Expedition for Life’, in which he and his friends will spend 60 days exploring the coast further, this time taking better quality photos, and also samples and geiger counter readings (the west coast of North America is directly downstream and downwind of Japan). Dana will be streaming it all on YouTube.

By far the biggest donor has been a guy called Geoff Palko, who describes himself as a ‘nutty artist’ and, like Dana, is an invalid. Palko has bought the boat for Dana’s expedition, which at a cost of 8000 bucks was a large act of generosity. He also keeps stepping up to fill in holes in the donations, so far to the tune of 12,000 bucks. Apparently, Palko is not that wealthy and has sunk his pension into Dana’s venture. Bear in mind that not only does this guy admit that he’s a bit of an eccentric, he’s also disabled…

The boat that Palko bought has been named Intrepid II by the Hounds of Fukushima who have also collectively donated a lot of money towards Dana’s expedition. Other individuals who have made donations are Geoff Palko’s fellow artists and anti-nuke activists, Thomas Ackermann and Kevin Blanch. Here’s the three of them at a recent ‘Salt of the Earth Summit’ at Geoff Palko’s Studio…

(the complete video can be found here)

Obviously, to mount a 60 day expedition, with not just a boat but all the associated expenses, is going to cost mega $$$ (about 1000 bucks a day, and about 30,000 bucks has been raised so far). In the hope of getting more donations, Dana has now put off the start of the expedition twice. He’s now saying that whatever the money situation it’s definitely going to get under way this coming weekend.

There’s been a lot of controversy generated with regard to what Dana is saying about the tidal zone, and he’s received a lot of hate mail and death threats (you can hear him talking about it in this excerpt from a recent radio interview). There’s also been much speculation about the large amount of donated money slopping around, and in the last few weeks certain people have come out and attacked Dana. One such is a young lady called Claire Stanhope, who seems to have recently set-up a YouTube channel to specifically steam into Dana. Here’s the start of one of the videos she’s posted…
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The End Of The World Show

In a previous post, Nuke Wars and Nuns, I mentioned a YouTube user called BeautifulGirlByDana, real name Dana Durnford. Dana has been on YouTube for years and uses his channel to promote indie music artists (here). He also posts his own rants about current affairs, including a couple of pieces about Fukushima when it kicked off in 2011. Since then, Dana was largely silent about Fukushima; that is, until 9 months ago, when he started doing 1 hour YouTube live streams about all things nuclear, and he’s been doing a live stream almost every day since then. To give you a flavour of Dana, here’s an excerpt from one of the pieces he put out this week (warning: contains bad language)…

Dana’s rants about Fukushima, et al, has caught people’s attention and his YouTube channel now has thousands of subscribers. He recently put up a web site called The Nuclear Proctologist which has got a ‘donate’ button, which pulled in 600 bucks. Dana lives on the Sunshine Coast, the mainland and chain of islands that stretches for a hundred miles or so north of Vancouver, in western Canada. Using the 600 bucks, Dana and his friend Terry spent 9 days visiting 16 beaches from one end of the Sunshine Coast to the other. They took loads of photographs of the foreshore on these beaches, and, despite the fact that many of the photos are of poor quality, they do appear to show that much of the wildlife has disapeared. On Sunday, Dana did a live stream presentation of it all called HORROR ” Pacific Ocean Now Dead From Fukushima Radiation “ (it follows at the end of this post). The day before, Dana posted a trailer. He ended the trailer with this…

The full length trailer can be found here.

The presentation on Sunday has attracted so much attention that this week thousands of dollars have been donated. Dana is going to use this money to mount an ‘Expedition for Life’, in which he and his friends are going to explore the coast further, this time taking better quality photos, and also samples and geiger counter readings (the west coast of North America is directly downstream and downwind of Japan). Dana will be streaming it all on YouTube.
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Pity the Palestinians

With this latest assault on Gaza, any remaining shred of sympathy I might have had for the Israelis has completely gone. The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) are quite blatantly committing war crimes in Gaza, on a large scale, and the rest of the world stands back and says barely anything about it. Even worse, the Arab governments are now part of this blind-eye approach; but I’ll get on to all that in a minute. First, let’s go back 30 years, to the 1984 bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton. The attack was carried out by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and came very close to wiping out the entire British Cabinet, including the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. In the event, 5 people were killed by the bomb and 34 injured. Trust me, the Brighton bomb is highly relevent to what’s going on in Gaza right now. The following is a brief news report about the events in Brighton 30 years ago…

So, how did the British Government react to the Brighton bomb, or the mortar attack on Downing Street, or the Bishopsgate bomb, etc, etc..? Did the British Government bombard West Belfast using artillery? Did they drop massive bombs on Dublin? No they didn’t. Instead they waged a totally ruthless war against the IRA in the shadows, much of which was illegal under British law (such as assassinations), but they never killed huge numbers of non-combatants; because to do so would have been totally counter-productive, for obvious reasons.

Compare this to the Israel – Palestine conflict, which often involves that hoary old phrase: ‘a proportionate response’. The fighting is now approaching its fourth week, and so far there have been 64 Israeli deaths against 1418 Palestinian deaths (here). The Gaza Strip is about 25 miles long and 6 miles wide and contains 1.8 million Palestinians, making it one of the most densely populated areas of the world; and due to the Israeli blockade it’s also one of the poorest parts of the world. The Gaza Strip is governed by Islamic Hamas, who were democratically elected by a large majority in 2006 (the Israeli blockade started the following year). Don’t get me wrong, Hamas are a bunch of religious headcases who are corrupt, cynical and totally ruthless. The Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, numbers more than twenty thousand fighters. They don’t have tanks, aircraft or any kind of heavy weaponry. The Qassam Brigades are not an army in any sense of the word. Most of the ‘rockets’ they fire into Israel are homemade devices that have very little impact (since the rocket attacks started in 2001 they have killed 28 people – here).
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The Cassier Highway

Google Street View are now just about everywhere (which probably includes your gastrointestinal tract), which once again allows me to do a re-run of one of the Pacific Northwest wilderness roads I drove back in 1999 (last year, via Street View, I did a rerun of the Dalton Highway, which is 500 miles long and goes up to the Arctic Ocean in Alaska).

Out of all the roads I drove in the far north, the Cassier Highway was the best, both for its awesome scenery and real ‘wilderness experience’, not to mention the bears. From Watson Lake, in the Yukon, the Cassier Highway runs due south into British Columbia for 450 miles to the Skeena Valley, east of Prince Rupert. You get the usual warnings before setting out on the Cassier Highway: don’t contemplate the journey unless your vehicle’s in top condition, take at least two spare tyres and spare fuel containers, blah, blah, blah After doing the Dalton Highway such warnings were old hat. I wasn’t the least bit worried about tackling the Cassier Highway, the first part of which runs through endless, silent birch trees; an enchanted forest…

Cassier03

The Cassier Highway then climbs up into hills that are the tug of war between the Cassier and Skeena Mountains. All along the highway there is a never ending chain of lakes, rivers and streams..
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Salami tactics – the end of Democracy

Last year, on a newspaper comment thread, someone called me a ‘nitwit’ because I said that civil liberties in the UK and USA are starting to resemble those found in places like China and North Korea. I’m not going to argue the toss in this post, because I’ve gone into it many times before (such as here). All I will say is that you only have to look at the laws the bastards have been passing to realise that we’ve had it; and that’s what this post is about: realisation.

In 2007, the journalist and activist Naomi Wolf published a book called The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. Amongst other things, in the book Wolf outlined ten steps in which an open society becomes a closed society:

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
2. Create a gulag
3. Develop a thug caste
4. Set up an internal surveillance system
5. Harass citizens’ groups
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
7. Target key individuals
8. Control the press
9. Dissent equals treason
10. Suspend the rule of law

(the Five Eyes countries – America, Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand – are now approaching step 9)

The End of America was written during the presidency of George Bush junior. When Obama was elected president many people had high hopes, but of course things have got even worse under Obama; which brings us back to that word again: realisation.

Earlier this year, Naomi Wolf gave an excellent talk at the New Hampshire Liberty Forum. It was titled The End of America revisited, and for the first hour she goes into detail about the ten steps leading to a police state. Wolf then gave a 10 minute summary before doing a Q & A with the audience. It’s the summary that I’m going to hone in on here, because Wolf does an excellent job of describing where we are now at. She gets very emotional during this part of her talk, with the realisation of the enormity of it all…

The complete talk and Q & A runs to 1 hour and 45 minutes and can be found here.

In her summary, Wolf mentions the TTIP, which stands for the ‘Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership’, which will allow companies to sue governments that introduce new laws that could damage company profits. The TTIP might not, at first glance, appear to be startling stuff, but it’s yet another example of the corporate take-over that’s going on, all behind the scenes, in the shadows, with the general public barely aware of it (you can find more information about the TTIP here).

Last Sunday the Monty Python team gave their final performance at the London O2 Arena. You might be wondering what this has to do with what I’ve been talking about here. I dunno, it just seems appropriate to end this post with the Python’s final song…

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USS Reagan update and an interview with a dying sailor

Earlier this year the Asia-Pacific Journal published a detailed report called Mobilizing Nuclear Bias: The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis and the Politics of Uncertainty, which amongst other things shows clear evidence, from the American Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that the USS Ronald Reagan and its Carrier Fleet were exposed to levels of radiation that were 30 times greater than normal (and by the way, ‘normal’ is worldwide elevated levels of radiation as a result of decades of atom bomb tests and nuclear disasters like Chernobyl). In response to a request from Congress, this month the US Navy published its own report, which, of course, says stuff like this:

The estimated radiation doses for all individuals in the Operation Tomodachi registry, including sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan, were very small and well below levels associated with adverse medical conditions.
(here)

‘Operation Tomodachi’ (‘Friendship’) was a humanitarian relief effort carried out by the US Navy, in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. It put the USS Reagan and part of its carrier fleet right by the Fukushima Daaiichi nuclear power plant, just as it was blowing-up and melting down. The sailors, marines and airmen on these US warships (some 12,000 in total) received large doses of radiation, and many of them are now sick and dying. This makes the following video clip absolutely heart breaking to watch. It was shot at the time, onboard the USS Reagan. All doors leading to the flight deck were sealed, except for the one shown in this clip, where they were testing the sailors for radiation exposure as they came down from the deck (you can hear the warning beeps from the geiger counters they were using)…
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Paedos and Perverted Justice

In the immediate aftermath of Jimmy Savile’s death, I don’t think too many people were surprised to learn that he was a prolific paedophile; after all, Savile was generally perceived to be ‘a bit weird’ and rumours had been flying around for decades (folks might have been shocked when it was later revealed that Savile was also a necrophiliac). However, when Rolf Harris was convicted and sentenced last week, to five years and 9 months in jail, I think many people were shocked. Harris, of course, is just one of a string of 1970s UK tv stars who have been arrested of late for ‘historic’ child sex abuse crimes. Some people believe that the likes of Harris are sacrificial lambs, to draw attention away from much more powerful people, because of course there’s also been rumours flying around for decades about a paedophile ring at the heart of the British establishment.

This brings me onto Ben Fellows, a former child actor who claims that during the 1990s he was molested by a very high ranking member of the John Major government (later in this post I’ll get on to a high ranking member of the Thatcher government who is an alleged paedophile). Now, for the usual legal reasons I’m not going to name names in this blog. However, every link I give in this post does show the high level people involved in this alleged child abuse. Some people doubt the veracity of Ben Fellows (here), yet interestingly the person he’s making these serious allegations against has not sued him for libel, despite the fact that these allegations are now widely discussed by the alternative media. Also, in his statements, Ben Fellows does name Elm Guest House, which was a brothel in south west London where the clients were supplied with children:

Elm Guest House VIP Paedophile Party List (scroll down the page to see the list)

In recent decades the mainstream media have shied away from covering Elm Guest House and paedophile rings (a D-Notice, perhaps?), despite it now being widely discussed by the alternative media, such as this recent piece, which states that these high level paedophile rings are being massively covered-up and it’s unlikely that they’ll ever be exposed. However, there are still people in Westminster with some integrity, and almost 150 MPs have now signed a letter, coordinated by the Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, urging Theresa May, the home secretary, to set up a Hillsborough-style panel to investigate historical child abuse allegations. Here is the text of the letter:
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Nuclear Vermin

If you want an idea of just how demented some members of the human race are you only have to look at all things nuclear. Last week the five senior members of the American Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) testified on the recommendations of their task force, which was created after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster began. The Senate Oversight Committee asking the questions was chaired by Barbara Boxer (D-Calif). The event made political news in the US, because of a heated exchange between Boxer and David Vitter (R-La.). However, there were a number of other quite remarkable exchanges during this Oversight Committee hearing that didn’t get reported on. I’ll get on to that in a bit, but first here’s the Boxer-Vitter clash that did make the news…

(The above clip is approx. 51 minutes into the original C-Span video.)

Bear in mind that the five NRC officials were testifying under oath, but perjury seems to be the fashion thesedays (RE: James Clapper, director of the National Security Agency, who last year told a blatant lie to Congress with regard to mass surveillance, but has never been prosecuted for it). During last week’s Oversight Committee, NRC official William Ostendorff openly lied about the condition of spent fuel pools at Fukishima, saying: “to date we’re not aware of any damage to the spent fuel pools at Fukushima Daiichi power plant, as far as structural integrity goes”. The following photo has been supplied by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the plant operator. It was taken in September 2011 and shows unit 3, which suffered a massive explosion in the early days of the disaster:

Tepco unit 3 Sep11

The above photo can be found here along with many other pics of the damaged reactor buildings.
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The Tiananmen Tank Man

It’s now the 25th anniversy of the Tiananmen Square massacre. The immediate build-up to it were student-led events that occurred during April, May and early June of 1989 (note: this was six months before the Berlin Wall started to be dismantled; and remember, there was no Internet or other forms of mass communication back then). I won’t go into the background of it all, because if you’re interested, it’s all well documented. Suffice to say that reforms in China had started a decade earlier, in the late 1970s, when Deng Xiaoping became China’s leader, following the demise of Chairman Mao in 1976.

But reform was not happening fast enough for many young people, leading to the events on 3rd and 4th June 1989, when, depending on who you believe, anywhere between 300 and 2000 protestors were murdered on the streets of Beijing by state security forces. I travelled through China a few years later, and in Beijing, in Tiananmen Square, you could still see bloodstains on the ground; no doubt left uncleaned as a not so subtle reminder that the plebs should know their place.

One of the iconic images of the Tiananmen Square protest is known as ‘tank man’. This is a young man who stood in front of a massive convoy of Type 59 tanks, and held them up. Tank man is unarmed, casually dressed and carrying two shopping bags. His name is rumored to be Wang Weilin, and he was executed by the Chinese state a few weeks later (here).

The following footage was shot by CNN, the Cable News Network, which at the time became known as the Chicken Noodle Network. CNN were the first 24 hour rolling news network, who shot to prominence a few years after the Tiananmen Square massacre, during the 1991 Gulf War (when Iraq invaded Kuwait). There are many ironies in history, and perhaps one of the biggest is that the western mainstream media have now become a corporate sham. We need new Chicken Noodle Networks, and we need more people who would have the balls to stand in front of a tank to defend their civil liberties (don’t try this at home, kiddies)…

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Flowers, dense prose and Hand in Glove

I’ve just started reading Autobiography by Morrissey. The opening paragraph is four and a half pages long and contains lines like this:

Past places of dread, we walk in the center of the road, looking up at the torn wall-paper of browny blacks and purples as the mounful remains of derelict shoulder-to-shoulder houses, their safety now replaced by trepidation. Local kids ransack empty houses, and small and wide-eyed, I join them, balancing across exposed beams and racing into wet black cellars; underground cavities where murder and sex and self-destruction seep from cracks of local stone and shifting brickwork where aborted babies found deathly peace instead of unforgiving life.

The prose is both ‘flowery’ and very direct, just like the songs that Morrissey wrote. Despite the dense prose, from what I’ve got through so far, it’s quite readable and written mostly in the present tense, which is nearly always a good trick for an autobiography. Morrissey is just five years older than me, and I can easily relate to what he says about his childhood in Britain in the 1960s and 70s, particularly since we both come from a working class background. However, younger generations of Brits and international readers might find this childhood stuff difficult going, with the way that Morrissey presents it.

Anyhows, I’m only 60 or so pages into what it a 450 page tome. If anyone’s interested I’ll post a full review once I’ve finished the book. I suppose I’m only making this post as an excuse to highlight the totally sublime Hand in Glove. Written by Morrissey and Johnny Marr, and released in May 1983, it was ‘The Smiths’ first single. How many bands kick-off with a blinder like this..?

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The World Hate Organisation

Many people perceive the United Nations to be some kind of noble and august organisation. The reality is somewhat different. In fact, the UN is more like a talking shop for a bunch of spivs and gangsters (aka our glorious leaders). Nowhere is this more apparent than with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). Alison Katz is a sociologist and psychologist who worked for the WHO for 18 years, and has an intimate knowledge of the corruption and outright criminality that goes on. Katz is a leading player in IndependentWHO, a grassroots movement that aims not to reform the World Health Organisation, but to replace it entirely. Katz was recently interviewed by Libbe HaLevy on the Nuclear Hotseat podcast. I know a little bit about all this IAEA and WHO stuff, yet I was surprised by some of the things Katz says; and it’s not conjecture: she backs-up everything she says with facts. The programme is an hour long but well worth a listen (you can find the original podcast here)…

Outtakes from the above interview, containing even more information, can be found here.

An earlier post about the UN nuclear cover-up can be found here. Search this blog for Fukushima Daiichi for all posts on this subject.

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Nuclear Kitty Litter

In February there was quite a serious radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Program (WIPP), in the New Mexico desert. WIPP was supposed to be the long term repository for America’s nuclear waste, most of which is left over from the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction (you can find one of my posts about it here). WIPP has been up and running for fifteen years. Its mission was to safely store nuclear waste for 10,000 years, which seems a strange statement, since much of this stuff remains lethal for hundreds of thousands and even millions of years. Welcome to the world of Dr Strangeloves, where every year more than 400 reactors worldwide churn out tons and tons of this lethal nuclear waste that no one knows what to do with. The Strangeloves appear to believe that sometime in the near future, pixies will magically appear and spirit away all this lethal crap. Oh well, the best laid plans of psychotics, which includes 55-gallon barrels of highly dangerous nuclear waste that explode. I’ll let Arnie Gundersen explain, in an interview he gave yesterday to CNN…

The above CNN piece is somewhat surprising, because thesedays it’s unusual for the mainstream media to give any proper coverage to issues that matter (the corporate toe rags who run CNN are obviously perturbed by those exploding barrels). To highlight this I’m going to go back more than 30 years, to a landmark American tv movie called The Day After, which was made by the ABC Motion Picture Division. The Day After aired in November 1983 and was watched by a then-record-breaking 100 million Americans. The movie was about full scale nuclear war and its effects on the United States (if you like being manically depressed you can find the complete movie here). Incidentally, a year later there was a BBC co-production called Threads, which was set in the UK and was a much more gutsy take on nuclear war (you can find the complete Threads here). But getting back to The Day After, immediately after it was aired, ABC News broadcast a live debate about nuclear weapons, hosted by Ted Koppel. Taking part were the scientist Carl Sagan, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the philosopher Elie Wiesel, former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, General Brent Scowcroft and conservative commentator William F. Buckley. The only remotely sane people in this debate are Carl Sagan and the host, Ted Koppel (the full debate follows at the end of this post); but my point is, could you imagine such a debate taking place today, about, say, the ongoing horror story that is Fukushima?
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Herricka strikes again

As you can see by the photos below, Herricka has kittens again. This is her fourth lot, and she’s only three years old! This time she didn’t have the kittens in the barn. We’re not quite sure where they were born. Earlier this year, Herricka went awol for more than two months. She showed-up again in April, and it was obvious from her nipples that kittens were around somewhere. Sure enough, the kittens appeared this week. Four of the damn things, and being stray cats they immediately figured out how to use the cat flap into the apartment. I woke up Thursday morning to kitten mayhem. They are about five weeks old. Suffice to say the cat flap has now been locked. Herricka and the kittens don’t seem to mind and have now taken up residence in the barn, the same barn where Herricka was born 3 years ago.

We did say last year, after the third lot of kittens, that we’d get Herricka ‘done’ (you can find my post about it here) but we never got round to it – probably because it costs 150 euros, and she is a stray cat. This year, though, we must make it a priority, because Herricka is a nice little cat and gets along just fine with the chickens, and the world does not need more unwanted kittens.

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The Mainstream Mafia

Here’s a short clip from Fox ‘News’. It shows Sean Hannity interviewing Kevin Barrett about the 9/11 truth movement. This interview was conducted in 2006, and I include it here not to get into all the 9/11 stuff, but to highlight what a complete joke the corporate controlled mainstream media has become…

Whatever you believe about the events surrounding 9/11, the same media blackout of any real reporting applies to stuff like genetically modified food, or the Snowden revelations or any of the idiotic wars that have been fought in recent years (Vietnam was probably the last major war that was reported on objectively, which is why popular opinion brought the war to a close, unlike the endless ‘war on terror’ that we now have). With regard to Iraq and Afghanistan, the huge amount of depleted uranium munitions that the Americans and Brits used amounts to war crimes on a large scale (you can find my post about it here), but not a peep about it in the mainstream media. Which of course brings me on to the nuclear industry, which has the longest history when it comes to deceit and lies. A few years back, Karl Grossman was interviewed on Nuclear Hotseat, a weekly podcast by Libbe HaLevy. Grossman was very lucid about the nuke industry and the media, and even if you’re pro-nuclear I think you’ll find what he says interesting…

A direct link to Karl Grossman’s free book (in PDF format), Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power, can be found here.

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Mr Idogawa speaks out

I’m fairly sure that members of the present Japanese government, along with certain people in the corporate world, will eventually be put on trial for crimes against humanity. Naoto Kan, who was Prime Minister of Japan when the 2011 earthquake and tsunami struck, is now an anti-nuclear campaigner (here). The present Prime Minister, Shinzō Abe, is pro-nuclear on steriods and wants to restart Japan’s 50 or so nuclear reactors, which were shut down after Fukushima Daiichi blew its top. What’s going on in Japan at the moment, everything from the secrecy law passed in December, to the incineration of radioactive waste, to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, is a case of you-couldn’t-make-it-up.

The following video contains excerpts from from today’s Sophie Shevardnadze show on RT (you can find the complete show here). Sophie interviewed Katsutaka Idogawa, the former mayor of Futaba, in Fukushima Prefecture, and what he said is spine-chilling stuff. As far as I’m aware, this is the first time that an official has spoken so frankly about what’s going on in Japan. With the country rapidly turning into a fascist lunatic asylum, Mr Idogawa is a very brave man. I would guess he’s speaking out because he knows he’s received heavy doses of radiation and might not have much longer to live…

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Has The Intercept been intercepted?

Last week, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras flew to New York City, to accept a George Polk award for journalism, along with The Guardian’s Ewen MacAskill and The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman (here). Greenwald and Poitras went through JFK Airport, accompanied by an ACLU lawyer; and, here’s the rub: they weren’t hassled at all by the authorities. Remember, during the initial Snowden revelations, Republican Peter King called for Greenwald’s arrest and prosecution, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper obliquely referred to journalists who helped Snowden as “accomplices”. Also, David Miranda, who’s Greenwald’s boyfriend, was detained and questioned for nine hours last summer as he was transiting through Heathrow Airport. Miranda was returning from a visit to Laura Poitras, who to all intents and purposes lives in exile in Berlin. Documentary maker and activist Poitras has long been a thorn in the side of the US authorities (she filmed the now famous first appearence of Snowden). This describes a previous trip to the United States: In Vienna, Poitras was eventually cleared to board her connecting flight to New York, but when she landed at J.F.K., she was met at the gate by two armed law-enforcement agents and taken to a room for questioning. It is a routine that has happened so many times since then – on more than 40 occasions – that she has lost precise count. On one occasion, Poitras says, they did seize her computers and cellphones and kept them for weeks (from this New York Times piece). Now, given this background it perhaps seems a bit strange that Greenwald and Poitras were able to breeze through JFK Airport last week. This might be because the Snowden stuff is now much more mainstream (or at least, it is in the US; in the UK it’s still barely talked about), and the US authorities didn’t want to risk the ensuing media coverage if they hassled Greenwald and Poitras.
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These people are insane

In a previous post I was banging on about what appears to be quite a serious radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Program (WIPP), in the New Mexico desert. The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is a Department of Energy (DoE) ‘experimental’ nuclear waste dump (mostly the crap left over from the manufacture of nuclear weapons). The waste is stored 2000 feet below ground in vast salt mine caverns. The WIPP has been in operation for 15 years now, apparently without any incidents. Then, on 5th February, dense black smoke was seen coming from a mine ventilation shaft. It was announced that one of the vehicles in the mine had caught fire, which seemed plausible at the time. However, the plot thickened when it was announced that on 14th February a “puff” of unfiltered radiation came up one of the mine’s vent shafts, and contained isotopes of plutonium and americium. Apparently no one was in the mine at the time, although a number of workers above ground were contaminated. Since then things have become very confused. It would seem that no one has been down the mine since the vehicle fire on 5th February, and that there is a continuous release of radiation.

Much of the stuff stored at WIPP is transuranic waste (‘TRU’), which consists of man-made radionuclides, alpha emitters like plutonium. It’s lethal stuff, both at a chemicle level and an atomic level, which is why they have to put it half a mile underground. Ever since the 14th February radiation release, to allay concerns the Department of Energy and the WIPP have been holding a public meeting every week in the town of Carlsbad, which is 26 miles to the west of WIPP and the nearest large population centre. Fran Williams is a WIPP technical advisor. At a 6th March public meeting she came out with the following quite astounding statement…

You can find the complete meeting here.
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