Thursday, August 31, 2006

Political World

In a video directed by John Mellancamp, this is Bob Dylan performing a song which seems appropriate here. If you're a fan of the man, check out my new Media Blog at MySpace where I've posted some more.

Dylan's latest album, "Modern Times", is receiving great critical acclaim and from what I've listened to so far I would add my name to the list. Remarkably, given his track record in recent years, one can actually decipher the words without undue effort and they are engrossing.

You can hear the whole album presently streaming at AOL. Sadly, it's in Windows media format only - a technical oversight for a company trying to reinvent itself as a web portal for all users. Otherwise you'll have to pay for the tracks via iTunes - and that's a scam too because what you end up with will be two tracks short of the CD version.

I guess this all runs contrary to the growing trend we witnessed yesterday when Paramount annouced that their back catalogue will go online for free. Like most TV, the system will be funded by advertising (expect lots of it, including sound on the tracks themselves) but artistes will be renumerated from that same income and thus not lose out on royalties. Plus, I'm sure that really intersted sound consumers will still fork out on superior quality CDs for their long-term collections.


One of artist Caroline Coon's montages from her site at the Saachi Gallery. See links and piece beolow.
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A Quest for Young Bin Laden

Caroline Coon's Newspage

My old friend Caroline Coon reports on her newspage above that clubbing supremo, Peter Stringfellow, is searching for vintage pictures of Osama Bin Laden hanging out at his club. It seems the idea is is to make the a film available to would-be jihadists who might be considering such venues as terrorist targets. Exposing the hypocrisy of those who set themselves up as "leaders" of others is always a good thing and this this case I suspect the publicity would be more than forthcoming.

Caroline has a new gallery at The Saatchi Site featuring some montages. She recently mentioned the artists have a problem pursuading traditional galleries exibiting anything with a political stance. It made me consider that in the world of cartoonists, the opposite is more often the case - with political comment and charicature taking pride of place. Mark Fiore is one such cartoonist although these days his work is mostly animation - See Here where he has a cutting new toon on the New Orleans disaster commemoration.

Talking of old mates, Richard Neville's new piece, "Killing News" is just up at OpEd and well worth the read as always. He also has a few other articles there that differ from those on his own website.

In the Undercurrents, it seems Bush has been up to no good interfering in Venezuala with Amerika financing and supporting moves to get rid of Hugo Chavez.

Take Five

A bit of the weird to keep you occupied whilst I try to catch up with a backlog of news.

See Latest clicks for links.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

UK readers blocked from NY Times

NY Times terror article

Followers of my "Latest Clicks" may have experienced problems getting through to the New York Times. The Guardian, above, explains why.

To get round the problem go to Google's site in the USA and search for the piece. Then choose to load Goggle's cached copy rather than the link itself. This seems to work - but it is a headache.


One year beyond the Storm

Greg Palast in New orleans

Like most of the US media, today's Democracy Now features a commemoration of the New Orleans disaster. For the whole piece, click left on the link for Amy Goodman. The link above leads to a special feature by Greg Palast and implies that the Bush adminstration, forewarned but hardly forearmed, "let it happen" for its own sinister motives. Nobody could have stopped the hurricane of course - but they all well have stopped the disaster.


Monday, August 28, 2006

At the Grammys

Up for a riot? Just a quick clip of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert introducing an award at the Emmys. We don't even find out who won the category - but who cares?


Face paint and costumes adorn the Notting Hill Carnival here in London. The symbolism in this example is obvious. Is this the time to re-define the event as a truely all-inclusive national celebration of multi-cultural Britain? As a modern high-profile event, the Asian presence is sorely lacking - see below.
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Year After Katrina

It is the first anniversary of the Katrina debacle and I have been slightly disconcerted by Amerika's own media coverage. Whilst the link above discusses the Ape Emperor's lack of response, I have been struck by a number of articles boasting headlines akin to "Celebrating the 1st Anniversary" of the event. Is the Amerikan conscience so shallow that it can be reduced to implying there should be some cause for festivities here? The mainsteam propaganda machine seems so addicted to its need for drama that the copyrighters, like Bush himself, seems to have no real empathy for those whose real lives suffered.

It's been noted that only 12% of government aid for the victims actually reached those affected and one independent commentator has even favourably compared Hezbollah's re-construction efforts in the Lebanon to US failings in the same department.

Here in Britain it has been an extended holiday weekend and today remains part of it.As tradition has it, the mood of the nation is boosted by giving us a day off from any substantial news. Here in London, the obsession is with "Carnival".

I must be getting old since the noise of it all has me in retreat. Yet, in some ways, this event at least is a cause for celebration, being as it is a cultural and ethnic mix. Sadly, these days its largely commerce-driven and marketed as a tourist attraction rather than the community festival in which it had its origins. The West Indian focus has long since expanded into additional celebration of Latin and African influence and the result is a veritable melting-pot of street culture, music and dance. As a costume drama too, it is probably without parallel.

But but me jaded if you will, in this supposed ethnic mix there also seems to be one thing missing. Asia!

There are exceptions - some of the Indian and Pakistani traders who actually keep the tradition of independent shop-keeping alive in this country will be earning their annual bonus in Notting Hill. A few truely multi-ethnic performance groups will be exhibiting themselves in the throng. But by and large, you will be hard pressed to find any substantial Asian or Arab involvement in the party proper. What has become a national institution representing multi-national Britain has become something self-serving to an extent that borders on ritual.

It is of course too big for its borders. Maybe now is the time to rethink its purpose and relocate it to a larger stage. Were it to be re-branded as a national celebration of world cultures in Britain, it's remit could be to extend those influences to include all cross-sections of our society today. Then we would have a "tourist" attraction of which we could be truely proud.

It might even make an ideal inauguration for the new Wembley if it ever gets completed - but thast;s another ball game!


Sunday, August 27, 2006

The crest for Bryan Talbot's epic graphic novel now available as a "web comic". See note and link below.
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Like A Smoking Stone

Probe after Rolling Stone lights up

This link is of no great importance save as an indicator the the new puritanism lurking in our midst. Those grand-daddys of rock, the Rolling Stones, have had their share of controversy over the years but are now largely considered part of the establishment. But where once it was smoking marijuana that caused a furore, now it's tobacco.

Up yours Scotland! If you're so concerned about health, get those damn petrol-chemical emissions out of the air instead of complaining about a few micro-particles from a cigarette. These guys are in remarkably good health given their age and hedonistic past- if anything, that makes a farce of this neo-authoritarianism.

There are times when seemingly inconsequential news has greater import. I was never a fan of the "Big Brother" type of reality TV programme, but have gradually appreciated the fact that its addictive nature has actually done a lot to break down social barriers and predjudice. Many viewers have become familiar with people they would otherwise have stereotyped and ignored - and that's all good for enhanced communication and social integration. In Amerika however, I was horrified to hear that CBS (See BullShit?) are to "liven-up" one of their reality shows by imposing racial segregation. The spectacle of contestants battling it out along racial and ethnic lines will effectively destroy the benefits such series may have given us. Worse still, if it becomes the norm, this behaviour will actively promote predjudice and discrimination.

Back in the day, I worked producing comix and had a long association with a creator who remains one of my favourite artist/writers, Bryan Talbot. His epic series from the 1970s and early 1980s, "The Adventures of Luther Arkwright" has met with increasing acclaim as the years have past - so much so that he developed a sequel, "Heart of Empire" some years back.

The original series has now been digitally re-mastered at high resolution with the help of Bryan's Czech publisher who spent some months on the scanning. The result is on the second edition of a CD ROM with the same title. Better still, the entire series is now available online as a "web comic" and you can see it here ...

Luther Arkwright Online Webcomic

Apologies for an absence of comment for the last few days. I've been working on integrating more online facilities into my system - watch out for changes to the links on the left shortly. For a preview, I essentially have two auxillary blogs for Video & Media and Undercurrents & Archives which will allow me to concentrate here on current affairs news and opinion.

All have RSS feeds and can be freely syndicated.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"John The Revelator"

No words today. Maybe no news is good news?

This is an animated video for the new single by Depeche Mode. Remember them? Once they were a symbol of the excesses of Thatcher's Britain. This, on the other hand, seems to be more in line with Protest music.

Your comments?


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Edgar Broughton Band

A little late night diversion here.

Back when I was a teenage drop-out, this band were like heroes to me. Their drummer, Steve broughton has been kicked out of my school for having hair that touched his ears and even in my schooldays there was many a midnight jaunt over the playing fields to attend one of their local gigs. Some of us belonged to the military cadet corp,( a very English public school thing) and carrying our uniforms in a bag it was pretty easy to get lifts hitch-hiking to venues. (The only hard part was getting up drainpipes on our return in the early hours.) These visits were really my first experience of the booming counterculture of the time.

I followed the band for years, even when the novelty of traipsing after them to every gig wore off. Somehow we lost touch and over the years and the band left the psychedelics behind to return to their blues roots.

Amazingly, they are now back as a rock entity - although only Steve and Edgar himself seem to remain from the original line-up. This performance features an updated take on their original anthem, "Out Demons Out", which, along with their cover of Captain Beeheart's "Tune In, Drop Out" symbolised the spirit of the age where I was concerned.

Wonderful to see them going strong again, their political compass also seems little diminished - so forgive my indulgance.


An iconic image from WW2 by photographer Jim Rosenthal who has died aged 94. It;s timeless symbolism has renewed meaning in our own times.
eTV Picture Post

911 Report - The Comicbook

Graphic Adaptation

My choice of the day. I'll keep this short since the link itself will occupy you a while.

Veteran comic artist Ernie Colon teams up with Sid Jacobson to bring us an illustrated adaptation of the 911 Report. I almost called it a "Graphic Novel" but it's not fiction - or is it?

A new chapter added each day until September 7th. Enjoy.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Phobia Rising

Passengers become a mob

Above is a disturbing article in the Independent today. Islamaphobia is already on the rise in the UK as the government fails to communicate the difference between militant terrorism and matters of race or faith. The recent alleged terror plot involving airlines has just added more fuel to the paranoia, as this incident shows. The irony is that if such distrust becomes commonplace, it will serve as a mass diversion from the real danger. In that scenario, the terror merchants will thrive - lost to public view like "a needle in a haystack".

Far better that airline passengers and, indeed, the public at large, discard their ethnic and racial stereotyping and start to communicate freely with those around them. Within that communication, transcending the barriers of predjudice, we will better perceive the clues toward isolating the menace in our midst.

Militant extremes are still a minority in our society, but its advocates are growing. The all-too-human "copycat" genes mean its legion of subscribers will grow unless a better example can be set by the rest of us. Disenfranchising and isolating the fraternities in which the seed of dissent exists is simply inviting it to grow - independently motivated and increasly beyond influence.

Prince Charles has said that when he becomes King, he would want to be considered as "head of faiths" rather than the state-approved church. His power is limited, but it is a change of emphasis that those involved in everyday government would do well to consider. After all, war, even civil war, rarely comes about without extremes and bias on both sides.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Manchester - 23rd September

That's the date of this year's Labour party conference. Here's a little reminder for the boss - It's time to go!


Naked Violation

Israeli attack leaves truce in tatters as peacekeepers arrive

Well, as most civilised people were hpong the peace would hold, I can't say "I told you so" but I am less-then-surprised. Bad news is that Israel has attacked the Lebanon again. Good news is that, so far, there has been no retaliation from the other side.

An OpEd article indicates that the US is supporting the Taliban in Pakistan whilst fighting against them in Afghanistan. Another, appropriately, discusses Bush's "Simplistic World Order".

I mentioned earlier that this vertitable spider has been spinning it's web into the popular "My Space" arena. Getting it organised has taken second place to answerin a deluge of "friend requests" but it's all rather enlightening and a surprise to find many people there who don't otherwise have a web presence.

The actual links are as follow.

My Space - Mal Burns This is the general portal entrance.

My Space - Media Blog This is the auxilliary blog and not directly connected to the above. Most of the music and archive entries I've been posting here will now be going there instead.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

David Rovics: Paul Wolfowitz

Regular readers who have explored the links to the left may have checked out David Rovics. He is one of the most prolific and crucial singer-songwriters around and one of the few contemporary artistes to have inherited the mantle of the classical protest performer. Here, for your enhanced enjoyment is a live clip where he performs "Paul Wolfowitz" to a small audience.


An Old Movie

An aging US feature on Marjuana prohibtion.

No place for Kings

Ruling Against Wiretaps Further Sharpens Partisan Divide

If Amerika, at least in its guise as a "republic", had wanted a monarch, they would never have kicked the British out in the first place. "Kings" are definately not allowed under it's constitution. Obvious and fundamental, this basic fact has previously been missed by it's current president and it has taken a federal judge's ruling to re-iterate the position.

A slight problem then for the Ape Emperor as he pursues his dictatorial and self-centred policies - he is not empowered to do so in his capacity as nhational leader. Put simply, he must either tear-up the constitution and consign it to history, or he must start behaving himself. Tough call!


Friday, August 18, 2006

Way Ahead

Hezbollah Is Way Ahead

This short piece (above) makes a point. Buntly! The shooting war may be over for now, but Hezbollah are rapidly taking charge in the Media War and Aid War. Lebanon is devastated and nobody else seems to be rushing in to clean up and rebuild. Whoever, if indeed anyone, won on the violence front is almost immaterial. The failure of any other parties to move in and help with the rebuilding and sanitisation is doing nothing except enhance the prestige of Hezbollah - Amerika, in particular, has scored an "own goal".

It is speculation of course, but one assumes that if the Lebanon war had all gone according to plan, Hezbollah would no longer be around to be seen and Amerika would be leading the international community in in what would ostensibly be a massive recovery operation. That agenda ould have involved "aid" but in the form of contracts awarded to corporations with vested interests. A US presence and permission to construct a cross-country oil pipeline would no doubt have been integral in the plan.

Some claim recent events were no more than a "test run" for operational tactics to be used against Iran - which is territory required at the other end of the aforementioned pipeline. If so, this halt in unfinished proceedings is a major blow for the perpetrator of the 21st Century resource wars. In the present staemate, any aid they offered would have to be uncompromised and that does not serve their interests. Yet their failure to engage in reconstruction has in many ways damaged them even more.

It is hard to say who won this war - if anyone. It is far easier to identify who lost it - the forces of greed, deception and domination. Exactly where that leaves us is anyone's guess.

More on Hezbollah from Robert Fisk. More on Iran;s ties with them from In These Times. More on Syria, who are "piggy-in-the-middle" of all this at Raw Story.

Telling it all, but not to the media

A week or so ago I posted another movie from this gentleman's video biography - simply because I was amazed how interesting it was and how successful it had been. The fact has also recently been noted by most of the mainstream radio and television news channels, for whom it makes a good anecdote. I'm posting this latest installment because the person concerned is less than happy about all the exposure and says so here.

I have every sympathy and hope that my own plug didn't contribute too much to the onslaught of attention he's been getting.

Some recent posts have gone missing. This may have something to do with my publishing them using a dashboard widget on the Mac. I'll confine such attempts to You Tube and return to Windows for the normal bulletins. I'm also working on setting up and auxilliary blog at the highly popular My Space site. This will be concentrating on art and music with a nod to politics in the form of protest culture.

I note that the UN reckons they might just get around to putting a force in the lebanon in 10 days time. 2000 troops have been offered by Bangladesh, but the supposed initiator of the accord, France, can only cough up 200. Commitment?

In other news it seems that a majority of Britain's Labour Party and other parliamentarians are supporting deputy Prime Minister Prescott's opinion of Bush - namely, "Crap". He's been quiet of late, keeping his trousers on and refraining from playing Croquet, even if still inhabiting some luxurious residences. Ever the loudmouth, his rather brute and honest opinions still never fail to cause some disruption. In this case, for once, it is to be welcomed.

Less welcome is the news that Lord Levy of the Honours scandal is acting as Blair's personal ambassador the Israel, which is surely an insult to Margaret Beckett - his supposed Foreign Secretary.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ahmadinejad Interview

Despite the fact they are blasting away at each other, the presidents of both Iran and the United Staes seem to have a lot in common. Both are fundamentists, both are intransient in refusing to communicate with each other, both seek to achieve populism by creating a climate of fear, both appear to possess a character that belongs on the lunatic fringe and both are prone to grinning a lot. Both too think they transcend the definition of "terrorist" by rebranding it as the policy of state.

CBS caused a furore with their interview with the Iranian president last Sunday and since then it has been rather diffucult to get hold of. Thankfuuly it's now all archived at You Tube and this is the first and opening part. Click on the YouTube symbol to link into the other parts. For a taster, just play this one here.

It is interesting. There may be no positive message here, but it does give us a view of "the other side" and sometimes focuses on factual information too. But bear in mind this is as much propaganda as the Murdock -led drivel we hear more often.


As the fragile ceasefire in the Lebanon continues, neither side have disarmed and the situation remains highly volatile. Given the fact that the UN force have not yet deployed, it is remarkable that those of the population who escaped the killing fields are returning home so rapidly. It has been remarked that it was mostly the affluent who could afford to flee the hostilities and there is something rather surreal about this photograph which shows what looks like an impeccably manicured return.
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A new crime a day helps Blair work rest and play

Rampant Law-Making

Britain's Independent newspaper has been busy doing some accounting and reveals that over 3000 new criminal offences have been created by our Prime Preacher since he took power. This equates with one for each day he's been in Downing Street.The dear leader's totalitarian tendencies have long since become obvious, but the math here surprised even this writer.

One of the biggest problems with the British legal system (although a boon to professionals who work in the field) is the sheer volume of legislation we live with. As new laws are passed and imposed, rarely does any older legislation get revoked. Judicial process thus involves a veritable minefield of antiquated statutes and other paperwork which frequently prolong trials and other court cases well beyond the reasonable time a fair decision requires. Aspirations toward dictatorship aside, Blair has frequently claimed the need to simplify this process. Ironic then that he should have compounded it with his own legacy.

Ironic too, that within the vast archives are buried laws that would, if anyone had the financial power to pursue them, severely censure his own behaviour. Justice prevails? Not on this watch.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

French Connections

AlterNet: The French Connection

France, at least since Iraq, has not been Amerika;s favourite country. Hence the re-naming of French Fries to Freedom Fries! Nonetheless, given that Bush is renowned for refusing to talk to anyone he doesn't like or agree with, the co-operation of the two powers in eventually brokering the Lebanon ceasefire deal shows that some in the White House have finally responded to that very basic human request - communication.

The above piece at AlterNet looks at how France may be crucial in sorting out the Middle East mess, given that Britain has abdicated the last vestiges of impartiality. Whther they can influence Amerika's longer-term agenda is, of course, another matter entirely.

The Colbert Report

This is the companion to the daily Show which we don't get in the UK yet. There's been a bit of cross-fertilisation recently, so this epilogue is for my UK reader/viewers. It's also last night's broadcast.

****ing Daily Show

This has a sound delay but in some ways that makes it more amusing. I rather suspect that this will be censored by the time it airs in Britain tonight, so enjoy.


Everyday Volatiles

Dell Will Recall 4 million batteries

Today in Britain our airport security was relaxed again slightly. Still no liquids allowed, but MP3 players and laptops can once again be carried as hand luggage. So, today's rather disturbing news is in the headline link above.

Dell computer are recalled over 4 million (!) laptop batteries becuase they are prone to "explosion". Now nobody's suggesting any militant Islamist plot here, but just one incident involving a volatile compter on an airplane would be just as devastating as last week's worries.

Such a collosal recall will cost Dell considerably, but one wonders if this is the tip of an iceberg. The offending batteries were actually made by Sony - so who's to say there aren't similar faults in the highly popular "Viao" range and others. The reality is that in the new world of 21st century economic slavery most of these items are manufactured in bulk, in haste, in third-world countries where safety and quality control is less-than-adequately practiced.

The danger in our skies may not be limited to the acts of terrorists, though no doubt any incident would be attributed to them for political purposes. Maybe we should consider these concerns as a wake-up call to reduce air traffic to an expensive minimum and preserve the planet from the huge pollution it creates. Fuelling this industry alone represents a major part of the contemporary energy and resource wars - if we want peace, we should abandon oil!

But that's the art of wishful thinking! At least, until after the crash. Would that we could fly on solar-powered wings or use bike-pedals to power our laptops.


Monday, August 14, 2006

CNN & New Yorker

This is the same as the Seymour hersh interview I linked to earlier. The above is considerably better quality however and can be viewed without leaving the blog.

Bush Uncensored

He may have been slightly younger, but nothing much has changed since this clip. A finger up to everyone it seems!


A Lot for Pot

Use of Cannabis accepted by 66% of UK population

A YouGov poll shows that two-thirds of Britons want cannabis removed from illegal drug classification - most considering cigarettes and alcohol to be far more harmful. That's 66% of the population - hardly a minority!

Time, one assumes, for parliamentarians to wake up to reality. They are supposed to be serving the public after all and if this is the new majority position - so be it!

Getting cannabis offenders out of jail would also do a good deal to solve John Reid's much-spouted prison over-crowding problem. The money saved on building extra places could thus be redirected toward solving the social problems that are so often disguised by the focus on drug use.


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Stewart's Plan

Jon Stewart's Daily Show is compulsive viewing here - in the UK we get it a day late, but what the hell. Despite the humourous banter, many of the nightly interview slots these days cover serious ground. This clip, from a week or so ago, is one such. Whilst conversing with the author of a new book, "The Shia Revival", host Stewart hits upon his own plan for solving problems in the Middle East. It also makes a good deal of sense.

Telling His All

This is one of those things the web was made for. An 89 year old living in the Midlands of England started producing a kind of vieo memior just a couple of weeks back and has since become one of the most popular broadcasters on You Tube. A wonderful character and quite captivating, playing the latest installment above you'll see for yourself. Reading and viweing the comments, it seems most of his fans are considerably younger than himself.

It's giving me ideas, but we'll see about that ...


Times Past

BBC Travel

A sweet and wonderful clip from the BBC archives. A bit sad now of course - watch and you'll see what I mean.

Also at the BBC, the excellent "Newsnight" programme has just begun its own blog-cum-forum which is eliciting some intruiging response to current news. Click here.

When a ceasefire is declared in a war, convention has it that both sides will start to reduce hostilities to bring it about. Although all parties in the Lebanon have agreed (more or less) to abide by the UN accord, it is alarming to see how they are all trying to accomplish as many of their goals as possible before the dealine for stand-down arrives. "Cease" it may well be, but "peace" ?


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Halfway there?

Hezbollah 'will observe UN truce'

The BBC report that Hezbollah have agreed to the UN peace proposals. Here's hoping their opponants do the same.


Discussions about the disrupted terror plot in London

A discussion programme in the US from Charlie Rose currently running via Google and looking at various aspects of the alleged terror plot here in Britain

Charlie Rose - Discussions about the disrupted terror plot in London

Victims of War

A Photo collage along with music, dedicated to all victims of war & mayhem. The sad result of terrorism "unfoiled" as two tribes are allowed to go to war.

Victoria's Secret

Oh dear, oh dear, Bob!


BBC News

The UN have come up with a resolution and the vote was unanimous. Full text courtesy of the BBC above.

Meanwhile, Israel has stepped up its actions and Amerika (who have approved the above) has shipped an urgent consignment of "cluster bombs" to Israel on condition that "they use them carefully". Exactly how one uses these waepons "carefully" is beyond this author's imagination.

The last fews days have been busy here in Britain. News of the detail about the present alleged terror threat has emerged slowly, mostly from US and Pakistani sources. The timing of this may have distracted our attention from the mid-east but it does look to be the real thing. Sharing intel with Amerika seems at odds with the secrecy of our own government and Bush seems to have been very quick to capitalise on his fore-knowledge of this operation - using it both to discredit democratic winner Lamont and also for a new speech re-iterating Amerika's war with "Islamic Facists". The latter statement looks like yet another shift in terminology, notwithstanding the fact that for facism to exist there would have to be a central command structure to the enemy.

The very fact that this latest attack was planned by dis-affected British citizens who are ignorantly and blindly walking into the propaganda of a fundamentist cause which has no defined structure nor any sane idealogical outcome is more symptomatic of government foreign policy failures than the presence of any organised army. If a significant threat of consolidated "facism" does ever emerge from the Islamic world, it will more than likely be the result of similar tendencies in the dictates of the increasingly fundamentist attitudes prevelant in the military-industrial complex of the so-called "civilised" west.

Britain learned the hard way with Northern Ireland that communication and compromise were ultimately the only weapons where two intransient forces were resorting to terrorism as a method of warfare. The solution wasn't easy, nor is it even yet fully resolved. But it does to some extent provide a model for an alternative to all-out war. Until the UN can learn to mediate without partiality, the international community will continue to suffer the war games of unmoderated opportunism. Whether the cause of conflict is greed, disaffection or disenfranchisement becomes almost irrelevent.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

UK goes to high alert

The following, quite literally verbatim, from Channel 4 News.

A plot to blow up passenger flights in mid-air has been foiled by police and security services. The official security threat level in Britain has been moved up from severe to critical which means an imminent attack is expected. Around 20 people were arrested overnight in London in connection with the plans which are believed to involve detonating explosives smuggled onto planes in hand luggageFlights between Britain and the US are thought to have been targeted. Security at all UK airports has been increased and additional security measures been put in place for all flights. All passengers will be hand-searched and have their shoes X-rayed before boarding their flight and all bags must now be checked in. Travellers are only allowed to carry a few items such as wallets, travel documents, medicines and spectacles into the cabin and are being asked to put them in a clear carrier bag. Parents with young children can take baby food, milk, nappies and wipes aboard. But the cabin ban includes handbags, mobiles phones, laptops, iPods and electrical key fobs. For a full list click here Pushchairs and walking aids must be X-ray screened, and only airport-provided wheelchairs may pass through the screening point. All passengers boarding flights to the USA will have to undergo a second search at the boarding gate. A spokesman for the Department of Transport said: "Regrettably, significant delays at airports are inevitable. "Passengers are being asked to allow themselves plenty of extra time and to ensure that other than the few permitted items, all their belongings are placed in their hold baggage and checked in. "These additional security measures will make travel more difficult for passengers, particularly at such a busy time of the year. But they are necessary and will continue to keep flights from UK airports properly secure. "We hope that these measures, which are being kept under review by the Government, will need to be in place for a limited period only. "In light of the threat to aviation and the need to respond to it, we are asking the travelling public to be patient and understanding and to co-operate fully with airport security staff and the police. "If passengers have any questions on their travel arrangements or security in place at airports they should contact their airline or carrier." A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "We would like to reassure the public that this operation was carried out with public safety uppermost in our minds. This is a major operation which inevitably will be lengthy and complex." Home Secretary John Reid said the alleged plot was "very significant" and was designed to "bring down a number of aircraft through mid-flight explosions, causing a considerable loss of life".



Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The World According To Bush

Revisting a French film from 2004 - before Dubya was re-instated as president. It covers a realm of information about Bush, his administration, his family and his international business connections and is well worth the watching.

Dimona Nuclear Weapons Factory in 3D


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

911 Cover Up

Loose Change 2nd Edition.

This is the complete new edition of the "Loose Change" documentary, also available on DVD. It is one of the best examinations of the 911 truth available.

George Galloway

George Galloway speaks on the lebanon. He was also one of the speakers at last weekends anti-war march in London.

Standing Still - Continued

Delays & Diplomatic Chaos

No surprise that the UN got nowhere yesterday. Whether the Arab leaders can influence the security council today is also doubtful although this is probably the only way around Quatar's veto of any Israeli-favouring solution.

There was one big surprise - the revelation that Blair has been effectively ostracised in the negotiations by France and Bush. His interference as mediator between Europe and the US was finally considered be be more of a hinderence than an aid to communication. As he now gets to take his holiday with Cliff Richard after all, maybe he should take time to consider where is transatlantic loyalties actually lie.

Recommended articles on the Lebanon today include George Monbiot in the Guardian and Robert Fisk in the Independent. See "Latest Clicks" for more.


Monday, August 07, 2006

Timeline: Point Zero?

A reminder of a news item from back in June. I linked to the full uncensored footage at the time.

There is an increasing tendency for the news media to anchor the current hostilities in the Lebanon to a fixed timeline that begins with the Palestinian (and subsequent Hezbollah) kidnapping of Israhelli servicemen. I would contens still that it was the events in this report that led to the Palestinian action, which, contrary to poular reports, actually occured when the soldier in question was on Palestinian soil. Details in "latest clicks". The later action by Hezbollah can be seen as an act of solidarity which also be seen as a bargaining chip for the release of countless Lebanese and Palestinian civilians previously kidnapped and incarcerated by Israel.

Neither party realised that Israhelli/Amerikan planners were just waiting for such events as an excuse to trigger a conflict which would shift the focus of power in the region further in their favour.

Today, the UN will try to vote on a halk-hearted, Israeli-supporting resolution. Also today, the Arab league are in emergency meeting in Beruit itself - albiet under fire from the Israelis. Finally (see "latest clicks" again) Syria is said to be on the verge of an alliance with Hezbollah which would effectively extend the war front to all Israel's land borders.

Where it goes from there is anyone's guess.


One of my snaps from the anti-war march in London on Saturday. One of over a 100 - Hopefully I'll have a full slideshow posted later this week.
eTV Picture Post

Surveillance State - Cracked

Hackers crack new biometric passports

£415 million! That's how much Blair is spending on our new hi-tech passports.

Hackers have cracked the system already. See above - Nuff said!


Oily Truth: The west has no "Plan B"

Middle East at a crossroads

An extraordinary article published in Energy Bulletin above - it's about the state of oil supply and the devil is in the detail. Supplies from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia appear to be running out, Iraq supplies have been hi-jacked by the invasion and the global supply industry is ever more desparate to get its hands on Iran's resources.

There is also the suggestion that the well-planned current war in the Lebanon is fully intended to destroy that country's infrastructure with the intent of creating a massive debt and dependency burden for its subsequent rebuilding. Why? Israel is desparate for water supplies via both the Lebanon and Palestine, but the Amerikan Empire and its pawns (including huge Israeli corporate enterprises) are becoming urgently dependent on the oil pipeline scheduled to run from Iraq into Israel via both Syria and Lebanon.

If other oil sources are declining as quickly as indicated, taking over Iran as an extension to this pipeline is seem as an essential "lifeline" for energy-hungry nations. Whatever the cost! The problem is the west has no "Plan B". It's 21st Century Energy Wars have been calculated to precision, but the relience on technology and covert strategy has failed to take into account the gritty reality of ground activity and the old-fashioned manpower needed to achieve victory. Moreover, they believe their own propaganda, whereas others do not.

In WW3, the enemy is anyone who doesn't subscribe to the Amerikan Imperial Dream. To the distress of the perpetrators, the perception-lacking incompetence of their own actions is consolidating the forces of opposition. On their own doorstep in Latin America. Throughout the Middle East. And among fair-minded people worldwide.

Without a conscience, let alone a "Plan B", they have set in motion an architecture of conquest that is being fought on so many fronts that they increasingly look destined to lose. As Britain and other "rich" nations stumble towards the intent of self-sustainability, any real change in lifestyle and energy creation is preceived as a decades-long process. The energy wars are our very own "buffer zone" - played out on on an almost fictional timeline. There is no "safety net" and the rug of comfort is very likely about to be pulled out from under us.

Without energy, our consumer trinkets and diversions will be useless. Futhermore, the systems of human communication on which we now all rely could become redundent. Such a collapse, especially if it happened rapidly, would bring total chaos to the west. The winners would be those left worldwide who can depend on or trade their own resources. Sadly, that could also be a world of regressive doctrine, entirely new economics and a dark age of new opportunism.


Sunday, August 06, 2006


Believe it or not, this is not a reference to political self-indulgence of our so-called world leaders - although it might well be. Rather, London yesterday was host to a public "masturbation" event designed to raise money and promote the breakdown of sexual tabboos. The red faces of even the more normally laid-back TV reporters forced to cover the event were a sight to behold - so what I first considered the strange folly of a couple of Amerikan "sexologists" may actually be serving a needed purpose after all.

Those of you who check my calender on left may have assumed yesterday was a blissful sojourn at the Fruitstock Festival. Sadly not. Although I do intend to pop over there later today, yesterday required adding my presence to the large anti-war demonstration here in London. A long and winding stream of people coursed from Hyde Park down to Parliament Square and some of the rear guard didn't arrive at the destination until the speeches were virtually over. My photos will be up later.

Parliament Square is normally out-of-bounds for demonstrations these days, but with Parliament on holiday this one was tolerated. Speakers included most of our "usual suspects" but a few surprises like Bianca Jagger and assorted diplomats. Sadly, unlike the Iraq War protests and probably due to the overall shaky ground on which Blair's government is attempting to balance, the stage was also, I felt, hi-jacked by a number of political opportunists who seemed less-than-convincing on the conviction front whilst somewhat overkeen and egotistical on the rabble-rousing front. Still, the event more than served its purpose despite the fact that Blair, still in residence nearby, probably had his ear-plugs on.

Today is the anniversary of the 1945 atom bomb drop on Hiroshima.In today's mail, a pertinent note from Richard Neville points out some facts which remain largely unknown...

In the Second World War, three months after the defeat of the German army in May 1945, Europe was at peace and Japan was on the verge of surrender. At this time, on August 6, US President Harry Truman announced that an "American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base", though he was well aware the target was a city of 400,000 inhabitants. Despite Truman's pledge that the US wanted to "avoid, as much as possible, the killing of civilians", the world's first Atomic bomb was detonated without warning 600 meters above the Shima hospital in the center of the city during morning rush hour. Between a quarter and a half of its people were instantly incinerated, and over a thousand died slow agonising deaths. However, General Grove assured Congress that nuclear radiation caused "no undue suffering – in fact, they say it is a very pleasant way to die". (On the eve of the Baghdad invasion George W Bush assured the world that Iraqi civilians would be spared "in every way we can"). Three days after bombing Hiroshima, the US dropped a nuclear bomb over the Roman Catholic cathedral in Nagasaki, with incredible effect, but for no apparent reason. The official July 1946 report on the Pacific air war by the US Strategic Bombing Survey concluded: "Japan would have surrendered even if Atomic bombs had not been dropped".

The day before obliterating Nagasaki, the allies signed the London Agreement, which made crimes against humanity punishable in an international court. Awkwardly, the fourth Hague Convention of 1907, had banned the bombardment of civilians. However, the American war crimes prosecutor, Telford Taylor, decided that since air bombardment had become a "recognised part of modern warfare", such acts had become "customary law". As historian Sven Linqvist points out: rather than ruling that the allies – "especially the allies" – had committed this kind of war crime, "the American prosecutor declared the law had been rendered invalid by the actions of the allies". (See A History of Bombing by Sven Lindqvist, Granta Books, London, 2001). The condoning this criminality left a bloody legacy, now being played out in Beirut

Returning the events in the Lebanon, I have noted previously that opposition to Israhell is not the same as anti-semitism. Sadly, because Irsahell is not a secular state, its religion is paramount and its current behaviour tends to lead some to criticise Judeaism itself. This author opposes virtually all forms of organised religion, especially those whose doctine relies on mythology and incomprehensible attempts at logic. I'm no fan of Jewish beliefs any more than I am of others. My opposition to Israhell however, is largely with its obsession with Zionism - a movement originating in the mid-1800s to pursue the return of the Jews to Palestine. Post-WW2, Britain relinquished its mandate for the protection of Palestine and handed the (largely dispossessed group of) Jews a clearly defined part of those lands for the formation of Israel. At this time, many "assimilated" Jews around the world expressed concern that Israel should not be created as a "Zionist" state, believing it might prove divisive among the pre-existing communities inhabiting the land and a source of future conflict. How right they were!

In May 1948, Israel was established and granted statehood by the United Nations. Worries about Zionism were largely ignored and the fledgling state left to its own devises. The wars began almost immediately and subsequently Israel, led by those pursuing the Zionist cause, pretty much ignored the advice and desires of the UN - it's creator. Zionism itself changed character and the quest for a return to roots in Palestine became both an "expansionist" policy and a propaganda "call to arms" for the Jewish communities worldwide. Ultimately, it sought and achieved, support for itself amongst Jews and Jewish Enterprises worldwide and actively promoted the emigration of those of the faith back to the "Promised Land" from wherever they were. In the case of Soviet Jews, there was even a campaign of direct agitation towards this end. Simultaneously, the UN slowly became concerned that Zionism was seeking to perpetuate Israeli rule over the Arab lands and was pusuing this with unwarrented agression.

By 1967 this proved to be true, but the UN remained impotent in the face of considerable Zionist sympathy, especially in Amerika and amongst a majority of the leaders of the elite group of governments forming the UN's own Security Council. Nonetheless, almost a decade later, in November 1975, the UN declared Zionism to be "a form of racism and racial domination" and condemned it accordingly with a majority vote at the UN General Assembly. The Security Council remained impotent and all Israeli governments since, both to the left and right of their so-called democratic process, have continued to pursue the Zionist cause.

Any reservations about this policy were effively laid to rest when, following the 911 incident in New York, the new Amerikan dictatorship set a precedent by pursuing a very similar policy of its own. The engineering of the present conflict began at that time.


Resolution Pending? Come again

A list of UN Resolutions against "Israel"

A quick link here. After much inexcusable fucking around, we are told France and Amerika have agreed on a plan of action for the Lebanon. This will presumably rushed through in the form of an inactionable UN resolution with suitable haste for the PR machine. Let;s not forget that the UN has a rather long outstanding list of "resolutions" concerning Israhell already - see the page link above.

Also, unless I'm very much mistaken, Israhell has been saying since the start of this conflict that they DO NOT want a UN peace keeping force anyway. Rather, they are willing to accept an "international presence" in the so-called buffer zone, provided said force is willing to "fight" against Hezbollah. It sounds to me like this latest "move towards peace" is yet another agreement going nowhere. One supposes its purpose is the convince the world that its authors are trying to do something, whereas the solution offered is as biased toward Israel as ever and probably too ill thought out to be workable anyway.

Needless to say, the government of Lebanon wants nothing to do with it. The wording betrays it!


Friday, August 04, 2006

Which war are you watching?

Today with Amy Goodman

Democracy Now's "War On Peace" broadcast has become essential morning viewing UK time. The daily news programme loops for around 24 hours and the latest can be found at the link above.

This particular programme has some excellent analysis of the censorship now in play on the Lebanon War and how, in Israel and Amerika in particular, subscription reporting has all but obliterated any true journalism. CNN's international edition bears little resemblence to that broadcast inside the USA. Israel's media has been under censorship since the war began and Israeli's receive no coverage showing what's happening on the Lebanese side of the border. The Amerikan media, including most of the Murdock Empire worldwide, are effectively being given Israeli propaganda.

It's mostly done by anchoring on a fixed timeline where the first event is seen as Hezbollah agression, but the greater distortion is probably in the editorial slants which are fearful of doing anything which might be at variance with the political agenda of government and media owners.

In Britain, we are at least fortunate in still having alternatives to the state-subserviant BBC and the Murdock-controlled Sky Network, but even the independent organisations are cautious of doing anything that might risk getting them into trouble for "impartiality". Hence, even worthy opinion has to be "balanced" with anecdotes from the opposite side of any argument. Thus, pursuit of any real conviction in broadcast journalism is quickly compromised by prostitution to a concept of "fairness" rarely practised by those actually preaching on the "official" side.

A lot of issues are not being pursued at all. Ireland may have refused to allow Amerika permission to ship arms to Israel, but Britain continues to permit the traffic of what the US classes as "hazardous" materials. These appear to include white phosphorous, cluster-bombs and depleted uranium - which are both supposedly illegal under international law. The "Untouchable" Israel doesn't care - it even admits using them.

Iraq may be descending into civil war, but huge swathes of its population are suffering (probably dying) from radiation poisoning left to linger by these weapons. When the after-effects of such use come home to roost, the wars that created them are often forgotten. Whilst Hezbollah are fighting with conventional weapons, a greater disparity reigns. Lebanese citizens face chemical poisoning, environmental poisoning and an absense of infrastructure which will take decades to rebuild. If the agony gets too great, they might count themselves lucky to step onto a something akin to a "mine" - the legacy of Israel's Amerikan-made cluster bombs.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

End of Enlightenment


As usual, Richard Neviile has his own take on current affairs - see his excellent feature above.

The author has survived the dreaded dentist without the aid of either drills or injections. This must be a first! It leaves me, of course, with no excuse not to get back to the grind. So ...

Matrix Of Evil

A short preview/promo for the Alex Jones' film, "Matrix of Evil".

Remember to check out "Latest Clicks" (left) for all the latest links. Regular blog will return after the author has endured the ordeal of some dentistry.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cities take the lead


Blair and Arnie weren't the only ones at the Climate Conference. Bill Clinton was there, as was London's mayor ken Livingstone. This is a BBC report.

Also a quick plug for Democracy Now where Amy Goodman's show for the last two days has featured an extensive interview by satelitte with Robert Fisk. Robert is a reporter for The Independent but this interview goes beyond reportage to hear his opinions, Highly enlightening.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Noam Chomsky Meets with Hizbullah

The American progressive Noam Chomsky (who is incidently jewish) visits the leaders of Hezbohhah in South Lebanon.

The Parable of the Tribes

Why the Evolution of Civilization Has Been as Tormented and Destructive as it Has Been

Following my rant yesterday, it was co-incidence to find this intruiging article on evolution at Op Ed today. Less-than-light reading, I haven't even finished it myself, but most certainly will when today's news has been scanned. The editor and publisher of Op Ed News, Rob Kall, seems to be enduring a commenable personal and professional battle with progressive reporting of the Lebanon war - his battle to represent both sides has resulted in "hate mail" from both.

In breaking news, Fidel Castro has retired due to ill health and handed the leadership of Cuba over to his brother. Could this be the start of a dynasty - even a mock monarchy?