Tuesday, 27 October 2015

FISK, BRAND, PAXMAN


These are 'old posts' transferred from the 'Inquiring Minds' site that has stopped operating with the tragic and unexpected demise of its 'Editor', Malcolm Treacher, on the 21st August, 2015. He and it will be sadly missed by many.

This was the greatest crimes of the 21st Century, yet has never been subject to a criminal investigation! – Tim Veater

One Response to [UK-911-Truth] Video: Russia Today TV Exposes 9/11 Inside Job; Mysterious deaths of key 9/11 Truth Eyewitnesses; Pentagon video shows no plane; Music videos on 9/11 Inside Job; A history of false flag operations – Alex J.

Tim Veater
This was the greatest crimes of the 21st Century, yet has never been subject to a criminal investigation! On it was predicated further outrages in the invasion of two countries, still continuing. It is a given, that conspiracy was necessarily involved, it is just a question as to who the conspirators were, and for what authority they were working.
The evidence is now overwhelming that the official version propounded by the American Government is directly contradicted by science, witnesses – expert and otherwise, and other sources. The fact that the American Government refuses to face facts and clings to its own preposterous explanation of events, must entail complicity in the crime itself. Could there be a more damning conclusion or a more profound undermining in everything America claims to stand for? Only the enormity of the charge prevents the truth being exposed but exposed it will be.
That a Government that claims to espouse constitutional and democratic principles, could conspire to kill thousands of its own, expose hundreds of thousands of others to deadly chemicals and psychological trauma, actively cover up the crime by removing evidence, and obstruct the proper investigation of it and the true perpetrators – all to justify illegal and unnecessary war against foreign nations which would involve yet further massive death and destruction – will for ever be “a day that will live in infamy”.
Either America finally admits and repents the deed, seeks out the causes and punishes the guilty or abrogates all future moral authority and leadership in the world, the consequences of which are hardly imaginable. The Twin Towers and Pentagon events truly are forbidding omens for the the future of mankind.
That we have to look to Putin’s Russia for disclosure and moral leadership in such things, rather says it all.

Enclosure (Excerpt) by John Clare – Tim Veater

Enclosure (Excerpt)
by John Clare

O England, boasted land of liberty,
With strangers still thou mayst thy title own,
But thy poor slaves the alteration see,
With many a loss to them the truth is known:
Like emigrating bird thy freedom’s flown,
While mongrel clowns, low as their rooting plough,
Disdain thy laws to put in force their own;
And every village owns its tyrants now,
And parish-slaves must live as parish-kings allow.

Fisk on Poppies – Tim Veater

Fisk on Poppies – Tim Veater.


Robert Fisk has always been a “hero” of mine, since he reported articulately in
the 1970?s on the “troubles” in Northern Ireland for the Times since when I have
followed his dispatches from many of the world’s flash-points.

Privately I envied his life and work, thinking how much more exciting and
influential it was than my own. When on the ferry to Stranraer a woman asked me
if I was a journalist, I was sorry I had to say no, and immediately thought of
him. I doubt now with hindsight, he would share my rather rose-tinted view of
his work.

In practice, those who have lived their lives in relative peace and security can
have little appreciation of the true nature of war: the stench of weaponry,
burning buildings, rotting flesh; the sound of armaments exploding, children
screaming, parents sobbing; atavistic fear and adrenalin-induced euphoria. It is
the difference between playing a computer game and coming under fire in the
field. There is no comparison between the two, nor between the glitz and glamour
of “Trooping the Colour” and life in the barracks. One only has to contrast the
behaviour of the volunteers setting off for the front in 1914, waving and
cheering, with the injured returning, blind, deaf or missing limbs, to
illustrate the point and etched in our brains by Wilfred Owen and the other war
poets.

I am just reading Harry Patch’s account of his experiences. I grew up with an
elderly man who has a real War Horse story to tell but never told it. My
grandmother lost three brothers, my grandfather a brother who came back from
Canada and died on the Somme aged twenty six. I have stood on those killing
grounds and been moved to tears by skeletal crosses.

A century may have passed but little it seems has changed, although the First
World War retains a unique poignancy for brutal stupidity and waste. Perhaps it
is also because it has something to do with it being a fulcrum moment in history
after which nothing could ever again be the same – a cultural loss of innocence.

We remember and remembrance is honourable, but with Fisk I have my reservations.
The ceremonial is similarly detached from the reality, transmuting it into
notions of achievement and national pride. It is a one-sided selfish activity
that conveniently ignores the other side, any continuing mayhem and our
responsibility for it, any sense of remorse. However it does nothing to
challenge the notion of war making, indeed it instead reinforces the notion of
hierarchy and the justification of it.

Poppies are effectively a marketing tool to raise money from the public. There
is nothing wrong with that, other than the obvious implication that the
Government care of its own is inadequate. I agree with Fisk that the obligatory
wearing of a poppy for anyone in politics or the public sphere, has a hollow
ring to it and means nothing more than theatre. I have a similar reaction to the
Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition expressing their regret and
condolences at the start of PM Questions. Is it genuine? Does it help? Is it
just a PR exercise? Is there not an element of hypocrisy that those who send men
to war either illegally or unjustifiably, should express sorrow when they are
killed? I rather take an old fashioned view that such things are better done in
private.

I am of a post war generation that nonetheless has seen (according to Wikipedia)
at least one hundred and thirty major wars but been isolated from them. Despite
getting perilously close to an exchange of nuclear weapons in 1962 (and even a
month or so ago) in Europe we have experienced relative peace and security. Fisk
on the other hand knows how shallow this impression is. To what extent have we
been lulled into a comatose state whilst exporting our war misery to foreign
parts, for which an annual carpet of poppies provides inadequate cover?

Do those who flaunt the poppy on their lapels know that they mock the war dead?

By Robert Fisk on November 5, 2011

Robert Fisk – The Independent November 5, 2011

"I turned on the television in my Damascus hotel room to witness a dreary sight: all the boys and girls of BBC World wearing their little poppies again.
Bright red they were, with that particularly silly green leaf out of the top – it was never part of the original Lady Haig appeal – and not one dared to appear on screen without it. Do these pathetic men and women know how they mock the dead? I trust that Jon Snow has maintained his dignity by not wearing it.
Now I’ve mentioned my Dad too many times in The Independent. He died almost 20 years ago so, after today, I think it’s time he was allowed to rest in peace, and that readers should in future be spared his sometimes bald wisdom. This is the last time he will make an appearance. But he had strong views about wearing the poppy. He was a soldier of the Great War, Battle of Arras 1918 – often called the Third Battle of the Somme – and the liberation of Cambrai, along with many troops from Canada. The Kaiser Wilhelm’s army had charitably set the whole place on fire and he was appalled by the scorched earth policy of the retreating Germans. But of course, year after year, he would go along to the local cenotaph in Birkenhead, and later in Maidstone, where I was born 28 years after the end of his Great War, and he always wore his huge black coat, his regimental tie – 12th Battalion, the King’s Liverpool Regiment – and his poppy.
In those days, it was – I recall this accurately, I think – a darker red, blood-red rather than BBC-red, larger than the sorrow-lite version I see on the BBC and without that ridiculous leaf. So my Dad would stand and I would be next to him in my Yardley Court School blazer at 10 years old and later, aged 16, in my Sutton Valence School blazer, with my very own Lady Haig poppy, its long black wire snaking through the material, sprouting from my lapel.
My Dad gave me lots of books about the Great War, so I knew about the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand at Sarajevo before I went to school – and 47 years before I stood, amid real shellfire, in the real Sarajevo and put my feet on the very pavement footprints where Gavrilo Princip fired the fatal shots.
But as the years passed, old Bill Fisk became very ruminative about the Great War. He learned that Haig had lied, that he himself had fought for a world that betrayed him, that 20,000 British dead on the first day of the Somme – which he mercifully avoided because his first regiment, the Cheshires, sent him to Dublin and Cork to deal with another 1916 “problem” – was a trashing of human life. In hospital and recovering from cancer, I asked him once why the Great War was fought. “All I can tell you, fellah,” he said, “was that it was a great waste.” And he swept his hand from left to right. Then he stopped wearing his poppy. I asked him why, and he said that he didn’t want to see “so many damn fools” wearing it – he was a provocative man and, sadly, I fell out with him in his old age. What he meant was that all kinds of people who had no idea of the suffering of the Great War – or the Second, for that matter – were now ostentatiously wearing a poppy for social or work-related reasons, to look patriotic and British when it suited them, to keep in with their friends and betters and employers. These people, he said to me once, had no idea what the trenches of France were like, what it felt like to have your friends die beside you and then to confront their brothers and wives and lovers and parents. At home, I still have a box of photographs of his mates, all of them killed in 1918.
So like my Dad, I stopped wearing the poppy on the week before Remembrance Day, 11 November, when on the 11th hour of the 11 month of 1918, the armistice ended the war called Great. I didn’t feel I deserved to wear it and I didn’t think it represented my thoughts. The original idea came, of course, from the Toronto military surgeon and poet John McCrae and was inspired by the death of his friend Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, killed on 3 May 1915. “In Flanders fields the poppies blow/Between the crosses, row on row.” But it’s a propaganda poem, urging readers to “take up the quarrel with the foe”. Bill Fisk eventually understood this and turned against it. He was right.
I’ve had my share of wars, and often return to the ancient Western Front. Three years ago, I was honoured to be invited to give the annual Armistice Day Western Front memorial speech at the rebuilt Cloth Hall in Ypres. The ghost of my long-dead 2nd Lieutenant Dad was, of course, in the audience. I quoted all my favourite Great War writers, along with the last words of Nurse Edith Cavell, and received, shortly afterwards, a wonderful and eloquent letter from the daughter of that fine Great War soldier Edmund Blunden. (Read his Undertones of War, if you do nothing else in life.) But I didn’t wear a poppy. And I declined to lay a wreath at the Menin Gate. This was something of which I was not worthy. Instead, while they played the last post, I looked at the gravestones on the city walls.
As a young boy, I also went to Ypres with my Dad, stayed at the “Old Tom Hotel” (it is still there, on the same side of the square as the Cloth Hall) and met many other “old soldiers”, all now dead. I remember that they wanted to remember their dead comrades. But above all, they wanted an end to war. But now I see these pathetic creatures with their little sand-pit poppies – I notice that our masters in the House of Commons do the same – and I despise them. Heaven be thanked that the soldiers of the Great War cannot return today to discover how their sacrifice has been turned into a fashion appendage."

Robert Fisk’s comedy of errors!

The Syrian ‘nuclear stockpile’ and other gaffes!
Robert Fisk, the veteran Middle East correspondent, once offered this advice to would-be journalists:
“If you want to be a reporter you must establish a relationship with an editor in which he will let you write – he must trust you and you must make sure you make no mistakes.”
It was good advice, though perhaps more a case of “do as I say” than “do as I do”. Even if you disagree with Fisk’s articles or find them turgid, there’s still entertainment to be had from spotting his mistakes.
On Wednesday, for instance, anyone who read beyond the first paragraph of his column in The Independent would have found him asserting that Saudi Arabia had refused to take its place among “non-voting members” of the UN Security Council. He described this as an unprecedented step – which indeed it was, though not quite in the way Fisk imagines: the Security Council doesn’t have “non-voting” members (unless they choose to abstain). Presumably he meant “non-permanent members”.
Perhaps that is excusable, since the UN is not Fisk’s speciality. But he does specialise in reporting about the Middle East, and so we find him in a column last year informing readers that Syria had a stockpile of nuclear weapons – or, to be more precise, quotingPresident Obama as saying that it had:
“And then Obama told us last week that ‘given the regime’s stockpile of nuclear weapons, we will continue to make it clear to Assad … that the world is watching’.”
Obama’s actual words were: “Given the regime’s stockpile of chemical weapons, we will continue … etc.”
Fisk is at his most comical when he gets on his high horse and immediately falls off. Writing with (justified) indignation about the killings in Baba Amr last year, he began:
“So it’s the ‘cleaning’ of Baba Amr now, is it? ‘Tingheef’ in Arabic. Did that anonymous Syrian government official really use that word to the AP yesterday?”
Well, no. Obviously a Syrian official wouldn’t use the word ‘tingheef’, since it doesn’t exist in Arabic.
Fisk likes to drop the occasional Arabic word into his articles – they add local flavour and possibly impress readers who are unfamiliar with the language. For those who are familiar with Arabic, on the other hand, it only draws attention to his carelessness.
Fiskian Arabic is often based on mis-hearings or rough approximations of real words. So, for example, a column last June begins:
“The Lebanese army claims there is a ‘plot’ to drag Lebanon into the Syrian war. The ‘plot’ – ‘al-moamarer‘ – is a feature of all Arab states. Plots come two-a-penny in the Middle East.”
As’ad AbuKhalil, who blogs as the Angry Arab, regularly makes fun of these faux-Arabic concoctions. On another occasion, Fisk misquoted a famous Baathist slogan:
“Not for nothing do Syrians shout Um al Arabiya Wahida (‘mother of one Arab nation’).”
The correct phrase is Ummah Arabiyya Wahida (“One Arab Nation”) and Fisk had made the elementary mistake of confusing umm (mother) with ummah (nation/community/people). Apparently unaware of this error, he repeated it in the first paragraph of another column a few months later:
“For Syria – the ‘Um al-Arabia wahida’, the Mother of One Arab People, as the Baathists would have it – is a tough creature …”
Of course, it’s easy to make mistakes when battling against a tight deadline but when writing his books Fisk might be expected to have a bit more time for fact-checking. Here’sOliver Miles, a former British diplomat, reviewing Fisk’s 2005 tome, The Great War for Civilisation, in the Guardian:
“The book contains a deplorable number of mistakes. Some are amusing: my favourite is when King Hussein’s stallion unexpectedly ‘reared up on her [sic] hind legs’. Christ was born in Bethlehem, not Jerusalem. Napoleon’s army did not burn Moscow, the Russians did. French: meurt means dies, not blooms. Russian: goodbye is do svidanya, not dos vidanya. Farsi: laleh means tulip, not rose. Arabic: catastrophe is nakba not nakhba (which means elite), and many more.
“Other mistakes undermine the reader’s confidence. Muhammad’s nephew Ali was murdered in the 7th century, not the 8th century. Baghdad was never an Ummayad city. The Hashemites are not a Gulf tribe but a Hijaz tribe, as far as you can get from the Gulf and still be in Arabia. The US forward base for the Kuwait war, Dhahran, is not ‘scarcely 400 miles’ from Medina and the Muslim holy places, it is about 700 miles. Britain during the Palestine mandate did not support a Jewish state. The 1939 white paper on Palestine did not ‘abandon Balfour’s promise’ (and he was not ‘Lord Balfour’ when he made it). The Iraq revolution of 1958 was not Baathist. Britain did not pour military hardware into Saddam’s Iraq for 15 years, or call for an uprising against Saddam in 1991. These last two ‘mistakes’ occasion lengthy Philippics against British policy; others may deserve them, we do not.”
Now, you might be wondering why editors and sub-editors don’t spot these things and correct them, or at least raise queries before publication. The answer is that Fisk regards editing as unwarranted interference. In his advice to would-be reporters he added this stipulation:
“You must make sure that what you write is printed as you write it. Otherwise you will never recover from that.”

The Paxman/Brand Interview. – Tim Veater

Message Body:
THE PAXMAN/BRAND INTERVIEW - Tim Veater.
Message Body:
THE PAXMAN/BRAND INTERVIEW – Tim Veater.

Russell Brand, like all of us, is a product of his family genes and his (Essex)
upbringing. He has created a distinctive niche for himself in the public sphere
by virtue of an obvious talent for loquacious comedy and a much vaunted sexual
libido. As such he has become something of an nonconformist icon and not only to
the young. Dissenter or ranter even – a modern day Savonarola, Thomas Paine or
“Che” Guevara? His stand-up satire has made an easy transition into a more
sophisticated critique of society generally, which takes as its theme the
fracture between the political system and the population and the failure of the
former to reflect the latter’s views and protect their true interests. Many,
including Paxman, find difficulty in faulting this thesis. Finding solutions and
workable strategies, within all the global economic and legal constraints is far
more difficult. “Don’t ask me to sit here in a bloody hotel room and devise a
global utopian system.” Quite!
But without it the approach is in danger of being just an exercise in grumbling
disenchantment. The problem is that as conditions get harsher, simplistic
solutions get more attractive to people. They may also be more dangerous. In the
meantime there is much about about Brand’s home-spun philosophy that appeals, as
it thinks “outside the box”, as he demonstrated before the House of Commons
select committee on drugs for example. He appears to be fulfilling the role of
eloquent “voice” for the dispossessed, disillusioned and disadvantaged, a far
bigger proportion of the population that many in power would wish to
acknowledge. The political class ignore the sentiments he enunciates at their
peril.

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