Saturday, 22 September 2018

Michael Palin in North Korea

I just finished watching the first episode of Michael Palin in North Korea, broadcast on mainstream UK television. Whilst I found it to be a fairly respectful insight, (comparatively to most western media), Palin frequently points to the propaganda in NK, whilst parroting western propaganda tropes about the country. Quite ironic! (No one beats USA when it comes to propaganda!).

He goes into a hairdressers & points at a poster of models all with similar hairstyles, (as if to suggest that all citizens have to look the same, and perhaps look similar to Kim Jong Un). In reality this is no different to most barbershops in the UK, which often have such posters of models with slight variations of a ‘short back & sides’ hairstyle. And let’s not forget that most westerners, like a herd of sheep, follow trends – hairstyles, fashion, interior design, gadgets, etc – which are set by corporations via advertising so as to constantly create new opportunities for revenue. Is this really any better than copying the hairstyle of your country’s leader?

He observes frequent statues and imagery of the leaders, and the badges of them that many citizens proudly wear on their jacket lapels. Is this so different from statues in the west of royalty, presidents, etc? And regarding the badges, is this not comparable to seemingly every other home in America proudly displaying the stars and stripes on the porch? The patriotism/nationalism in the US is more noticeable than any other country I have visited. Presidents who oversaw violent coups and illegal invasions of foreign countries, are lionized. The extremely bloodied flag is on display everywhere. Surely there is no citizenry more brainwashed than the American populace?

There’s little context to explain why NK is the way it is. Their militarism is understandable - I wonder if Michael even knows that America has been surrounding the region with military bases. Plus obviously there is their militarism/war games in the South, their refusal to sign peace treaties, their recent regime change interventions in other countries…

When he arrives, by train from China, into the north of the country, he is told to stop filming. He proclaims that this is the ‘first sign of authoritarian rule’. In reality, this is no different to arriving in many countries. I have been shouted at for filming in LA airport.

I am not saying NK isn’t repressive – it seems clear that citizens have little choice but to respect their system/ruler - but how much of this authoritarianism is a result of a need to unite against a very real imperial threat (from the same country that decimated their land and people in the 1950s)?

And perhaps they actually have some freedoms that many westerners do not have? The freedom to live in dignity; to not have to worry about basic needs, because the communist system prioritises that; the freedom to not be constantly manipulated and mentally abused by a virulent corporate state; the freedom to not be forced (due to poverty) into the military to fight in imperial wars...

I look forward to the rest of the series. Hopefully Michael comes to realise that he is just as/more propagandised than the people of North Korea.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

9/11: Never Forgot...

#NeverForget the millions of Arabs killed/maimed/displaced by the imperial wars fought by the US+allies following 9/11, (and before).

#NeverForget that the 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, yet it is Iran that America nonsensically describes as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, whilst Saudi remains a close ally.

#NeverForget that al Qaeda was born out of America’s support for the Mujahideen in the 1980s.

#NeverForget the war propaganda - the WMD lie, the ‘Saddam is working with al Qaeda’ lie, the ‘Gaddafi is going to massacre Benghazi’ lie, the ‘Assad is gassing his own people’ lie, the ‘Houthis are an Iranian proxy’ lie... etc.

#NeverForget that the US, having ostensibly set out to defeat al Qaeda, was just a decade later supporting them and their ilk in Libya/Syria (just as they were in the 1980s), and is now allied with them in Yemen.

#NeverForget that the ‘War On Terror’ has been a farce from day one; a ploy to enable imperial plunder of the Middle East and beyond.

#NeverForget the attacks on our civil liberties.

#NeverForget that the US is the bloodiest inflictor of terror that the planet has ever seen.

#NeverForget that the US is by far the greatest threat to world peace and progress, and that this was the case long before Trump came along.

Monday, 10 September 2018

The Skripal Suspects

I just watched the full 30 minute interview on RT with the two Salisbury suspects, named - without providing any supportive evidence - as GRU agents, by Theresa May. (On the same day, UK police have said that they had no evidence of this). As ever, the corporate/state media in the west reported the government's claims unquestioningly. (On matters of ‘national security’ and foreign policy, the corporate media is almost entirely a mouthpiece for the state. Or, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that it is they who set the agenda?).

In the interview, the suspects come across to me as very nervous and edgy. Are they nervous and edgy because they really are innocent, ordinary citizens, and this attention has all come as a complete shock? Are they nervous and edgy because the Russian state is forcing them to give this interview and fabricate an alibi? I've no idea. Personally, I don’t find their alibi - that they were just tourists visiting Salisbury -  quite as implausible as some. Salisbury was one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 city destinations in 2014. As this article in the Salisbury Journal states, 'the tourism business is booming in Salisbury with significant increases in overseas visitors'. Though, for sure, their story is definitely highly questionable.

The main issue, obviously, is that they just happened to visit the city at pretty much the exact time that the Skripals were poisoned. Is this just too much of a coincidence? How often exactly are Russian tourists visiting the city?

If it weren’t for the absurdity of the 'Putin did it' narrative, I’d be much more inclined to completely right-off the theory that this could just be a coincidence. Perhaps it is bizarre to say that two Russian nationals just innocently happened to be in Salisbury, 400 yards from the Skripal’s house, on the same day as their poisoning, but the official theory is also bizarre:

Russia had a longstanding program of putting poison onto door handles, and they decided to utilize it going after a spy pardoned years ago in a spy swap, (thus jeopardising future spy swaps), just before the World Cup (and Russian election), when the Kremlin was focussed on selling a positive image of Russia to the world.

The assassins made no attempt to cover their tracks, flying in straight from Moscow, using public transport, operating in broad daylight, with no proper protective clothing, using a (10x deadlier than VX) Soviet poison that would instantly be linked to Russia. And afterwards, they just flung the poison bottle away in the centre of Salisbury. They made no attempt to hide from CCTV, nor to quickly escape the scene of the crime.

These are some unbelievably careless assassins! Or are we to believe that this was intentional - that Putin wanted them to be discovered? That Putin wanted to carry out a brazen act of terrorism on British soil to show the world that Russia is now, once again, a force to be reckoned with? This is the theory that some in corporate media are pushing. Unless you believe Putin to be a deranged madman with massive delusions of grandeur, who doesn’t care at all about Russia’s image in the world, or about the Russian economy - he must really want those sanctions - then this theory seems extremely illogical/absurd.

If it really was a Kremlin job, it must have been about something other than Skripal just being a traitor - as explained, that theory makes little sense, given that he was released years ago, the timing, etc. It must have been about something that he has been up to in the years since his pardoning. Surely British security services will know more about what he's been doing with himself? That they, the government, and the corporate media insist that it was simply an attack on a traitor by the (clearly unhinged and power-hungry) Putin, makes me extremely suspicious. 

Some questions:

Why was the site in Salisbury turned upside down, pets killed etc, but the hotel in east London - where traces of the poison were supposedly also found - wasn’t?

The Skripals left home at 09.15. The suspects arrived into Salisbury station at 11.48. How had the Skripals managed to get back to their home, and touch the door handle, in the hour between noon and 1pm, without being caught on any of the CCTV cameras that caught them going out and caught the Russian visitors so extensively? After this remarkably invisible journey, what time did they touch the door handle?

Why was a D-notice put out re Pablo Miller

Why has it taken so long to reveal these suspects? The timing seems convenient, just before the first PMQs after the Summer, allowing Theresa to grandstand. Plus useful to distract from Brexit chaos etc.

Why little mention that Russia got rid of their chemical weapons (according to OPCW) last year? (Unlike many western countries!). 

Why did Charlie Rowley say that the poison bottle was sealed when he found it

Why is no one questioning the Skripals? Why was GPS on both Skripals’ phones switched off for four hours on the day they were poisoned? What has Sergei Skripal been doing in the years since being pardoned by Russia?

Why did the U.K. refuse to provide the fingerprints and visa application forms of the suspects to Russia?

Why has BBC’s Mark Urban not spoken about the fact he had contacts with Sergei Skripal six months before the incident? 

Would assassins really use public transport? Surely a car would be used, to avoid CCTV and unreliable public transport? Given the UK weather forecast - heavy snow, storms etc - if you were an assassin, wouldn’t you delay the job until the bad weather was over?

It was originally thought that the Skripals had been exposed to opioids. When was it determined that it was in fact a nerve agent ‘of a type developed by Russia’? 

Many other Russians have died in the UK under suspicious circumstances - many with links to the Russian mafia - with no such media reaction and casting of blame, as with the Skripals. Why is this? In previous cases, despite the US insisting that the Kremlin was behind the deaths, the UK authorities have insisted that this was not the case.

If anyone can think of any other questions; any inconsistencies etc in the official narrative, please comment! (And tell me if I’ve got anything wrong). I recommend reading this great article by Jonathan Cook, which sums up why none of these questions will likely be asked in the corporate media.

Whatever happened in Salisbury, there is clearly much that we are not being told, and this whole sorry debacle needs to be looked at in context of the west’s anti-Russia agenda, which has been ongoing for years. It is clear that conclusions have been jumped to; that the UK government decided that ‘Putin did it’ without awaiting proof, and despite the lack of logic in such an assertion. In such a scenario, the media, security services etc, are inclined to desperately seek supportive evidence, and perhaps manufacture it, in order to back-up the government's claim, and are likely (as is clearly happening) to ignore that which contradicts/questions it. 

Finally, if this really was a Kremlin hit, it is absolutely absurd for the west to act righteous. No one beats them, when it comes to killing people with chemical weapons.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Alex Jones removed from Twitter

Surely it is no coincidence that just after Twitter’s CEO is questioned in Washington, Alex Jones is removed from Twitter? Clearly these social media giants will do as they’re told if put under enough pressure.

Anti-establishment, anti-imperialist leftists will also be targeted (we already are) - we are equally despised by the elite. I’m convinced that ultimately we are the real target for suppression. Jones is just a useful excuse to get the censorship underway.

The powers that be must realise that banning Jones will only embolden his following/make them more extreme. The strategy I think is to divide us, even more than we already are. Social media provides us with an opportunity for unity - a huge threat to elite domination. Best to keep us fighting each other.

Instead of censorship, how should the likes of Jones be defeated? Simple: our rulers should stop being corrupt, war-profiteering, corporatist, greedy, lying bastards. But unfortunately all of that is in their DNA, and required, to sustain the horrific system that we live under.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

The splintering of social media - divide and rule?

They say that social media needs to be ‘regulated’ (censored) because it is divisive, but...

‘Regulating’ social media platforms will just lead to the splintering of them as people seek other, smaller platforms on which to express their views instead. Thus meaning an even greater tendency to get stuck in echo chambers, and more divisiveness, not less.

‪Whilst we’re all on the same platform, we’ve the potential to debate, unite, and threaten the system. It’s this that is the real threat.‬

Divide and rule.

The Silencing of Dissent continues on social media

Acclaimed Venezuelan news site, Venezuela Analysis, have had their Facebook page removed, days after publishing an article about the attempted assassination of Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, that challenged and debunked western's media's coverage of the attack. 

The silencing of any non-US State Department-aligned media and narratives on social media is in motion.

When Facebook is working with an organisation (the Atlantic Council) that is run by former US government officials and funded by NATO and war profiteers, to tackle ‘fake news’, what do you expect?

I find the argument that Facebook, with its billion+ users, is ‘a private corporation so can do as it pleases’ really insane. It has a horrifying amount of power. Following the removal of right-wing moron Alex Jones, some so-called socialists have been arguing this. They seem to have suddenly become ardent supporters of the ‘free market’/corporate state! Really strange. (Also strange that libertarians are doing the opposite!).

How foolish to think that our corporate rulers will only go after right-wingers like Alex Jones. He was just a useful excuse to justify censorship of those who really threaten their power - the socialist left.

And given that Silicon Valley is deeply imbedded with the state, as exemplified by Facebook's partnering with the Atlantic Council, it is not really accurate to describe these tech corporations are ‘private'. The US is an oligarchy/corporatocracy, not a democracy. The US government works in the interests of corporations and oligarchs, not the people. They ARE the government.

If you’re unbothered about hugely powerful and influential social media corporations working with the state to decide what is truth and what is not, what you are unbothered by is the silencing of dissent, and the silencing of the millions of victims of US/capitalist imperialism. These platforms have given them a voice. You are unbothered by the continued rule and destruction of the planet by oligarchs and corporate power, and our continued decline into dystopia.

US authorities assert that Putin poisoned the Skripals - UK media stenography ensues

Has any 'MSM' journalist questioned the assertion by US authorities yesterday that Russia was behind the Skripal poisoning? Or is it just wall-to-wall stenography? 

Isn't it funny that Trump is (rightly) criticised constantly for lying, but not when it comes to matters that suit the western foreign policy establishment’s pro-war/anti-Russia agenda.

And obviously little mention of the fact that these new sanctions completely contradict the ridiculous ‘Trump is Putin’s puppet’ MSM conspiracy theory!

On matters of ‘national security’ and war, anything coming from the US State Department is generally reported unquestioningly, despite decades of monstrous lies resulting in literally millions of deaths. It’s almost like the media is owned by just a few oligarchs/corporations that support this sick and deceitful system!

Meanwhile, little Venezuela, struggling to survive following centuries of colonialism and economic warfare, is treated by the media like the epitome of corruption and evil. It is the west and it’s media that is evil.