Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Gossip: Birdwatching - grey wagtail or origami owl?

Gossip: Birdwatching - grey wagtail or origami owl?: My eyes are not as good as they used to be and this morning in wind that was not as strong as in some parts of the country, I spotted what a...

Birdwatching - grey wagtail or origami owl?

My eyes are not as good as they used to be and this morning in wind that was not as strong as in some parts of the country, I spotted what appeared to be a grey wagtail with its tail wagging on a rock. There are lots of these beautiful birds along the River Cole. The photograph below is enlarged through the camera lens from what I could actually see.

In fact one afternoon in summer I sat on the bank for half an hour snapping lots of photographs of them. For those unfamiliar with what a grey wagtail looks like here is one of the photographs I took that day.

Most birds are shy and you have to be very quiet and careful not to disturb them. So I crept quietly round to the other side of the rock where I took this photograph. Although the bird appeared to be moving I wondered why it never flew away because I was making too much noise. By the time I was close enough to see it was paper that was causing the illusion I was rather disappointed that I had been duped. Looking more closely I noticed that the paper caught on the rock had arranged itself into the shape of an owl and the wind had caused the illusion of movement. Can you see the origami owl?

Despite that disappointment I did go on to capture a few birds before it was time to take the dogs home. The dogs get bored when I take photographs. Anyway I captured a chaffinch, a goldfinch, a dunnock and blackbird.Birmingham is teeming with wildlife.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Breaking News! Moazzam Begg - charges dropped

Great news just in. Charges against Moazzam Begg have been dropped due to lack of evidence. Some of us have strongly suspected this was a fabrication from the start. It is why I have been carrying the ‪#‎ReleaseMoazzam‬ link and photo for the last eight months as my Facebook tag picture. Now all those who knew it was a put up job have been vindicated but that does not justify holding anybody prisoner under the unjust anti-terrorism laws enacted this century.

Moazzam (centre figure) at the disturbing Guantanamo Boy film showing earlier this year. Photo Robert Brenchley.

Asim Qureshi, Research Director of CAGE, said:

"This has been a testing time for Moazzam, his family and the Muslim community. The criminalisation of virtually any Muslim that has been to Syria has only increased in intensity, while CAGE has been attacked from every angle by a host of government agencies. We hope that Moazzam's release is a sign that the government are now willing to adopt a more measured strategy in relation to anti-terrorism policy and avoid the attempt to criminalise all dissent and crush any organisation like CAGE that stands up for the rule of law and justice."

"CAGE and Moazzam have been maligned , defamed and vilified by far too many and we hope that now our calls for the protection of basic rights and innovative approaches built on dialogue to dispute resolution will now be heeded. Violence and the destruction of freedoms and liberties inherent in the War on Terror doctrine can never be the solution."

"We thank everyone for their support of Moazzam, his family and the CAGE movement."

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Is the United States trying to wipe out the black populations of Africa?

This is a serious question. One respected Liberian doctor and professor of plant pathology, Dr Cyril Broderick, believes his country may be testing out strains of Ebola and Aids viruses on native Africans. Why would be difficult to understand were it not for a flagging economy at home which is only kept afloat because of petrodollar debtor states. It is impossible for America to eradicate its own debt. This is the real reason for the wars in Iraq and Libya. The article just linked explains why. It is the best summary I have read this year.

Published in a Liberian newspaper, the Daily Observer, Professor Broderick speculates that the US Department of Defence (DOD) is behind an experiment which, if true, would have far-reaching consequences for the African continent, and civilisation in general. At the 2013 Bilderberg Group meeting held at the Grove Hotel in Watford one of the items on the agenda was 'Africa's Challenges' which was significant in being devoid of any academic or political figure from Africa. The secretive Bilderberg Group consists of powerful people like Henry Kissinger, heads of states and high-ranking politicians many of whom also belong to the Committee of 300. These people are self-appointed would-be administrators of world policy.

Some of the crowd at the 2013 Bilderberg Fringe opposed to world domination by an unelected elite

There is no doubt that with all its wars the United States has its eyes fixed firmly on world domination to protect the petrodollar. Its disregard for international law and the imposition of its own ever stricter domestic laws against US citizens is a reflection of the current crisis. Would the United States resort to deliberately infesting Africans with man-made killer viruses? The answer is yes, if they can get away with it. They have got away with similar things before, nearly always perpetrated against blacks or Asians. The classic example though was the virtual elimination and subjugation of native Americans. Descendants of those who survived are still treated often as second-class citizens in the ancestral land of their birth.

In the 1960s with the demise of the British Empire the UK came to an agreement with Mauritius to grant it independence but had a clause written in to retain the Chagos Islands - Diego Garcia, Peros Banhos and Salomen - just to have a bit of "rock" in the area. But the plan was much more than that. All the islanders were removed on the instruction of the United States, all the dogs were gassed and in true conspiratorial fashion the US and UK had a leasing agreement to build a naval and military base upon the bit of "rock". Chagossians were deliberately displaced without work or homes so that the United States could tell Congress that the islands were uninhabited. Diego Garcia is one of the places where Muslims were extraordinarily rendered (and probably tortured) prior to 9/11 and afterwards. It was also an island in the vicinity where the Malaysian airliner disappeared mysteriously and towards which it appeared to be heading.

Would the US experiment on unwitting Africans? In May 1997 Bill Clinton apologised to the eight Tuskegee survivors of  a syphilis experiment which lasted for forty years and began in 1932. Alabama victims were given syphilis and deliberately left untreated to see how the disease progressed. Those experimented on were Americans of African descent, in other words black Americans. As if that was not bad enough it was not the only syphilis experiment on non-white Americans. From 1946 to 1948 seven hundred Guatemalans were infected by the US with syphilis to monitor what effect penicillin had on the disease. In October 2010 Hilary Clinton apologised to the Guatemalan government for this experiment.

Apologies that take place 50, 60 or 70 years after the experiments that caused so much physical and mental pain for the sufferers and those who nursed them are of no consolation to blacks who died horrific deaths due to Dr Josef Mengele type experiments perpetrated by the United States. As one of the most powerful of countries it has become a neo-nazi proponent of the twenty-first century eugenics for its elite and a widespread abuser of its poor. It is racist-religionist government comprising white supremacists. The United Kingdom follows very closely behind.

What about the United Nations? The United Nations (UN) was set up after the Second World War to replace an emasculated League of Nations which could not deal with Japan's intrusion into Manchuria, Mussolini's adventures into Ethiopia and the rise of National Socialism and racism against Jews, Communists, Romany gypsies and other minorities in Germany. Today the UN, which should be stopping the illegal war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq is as powerless as the old League of Nations. It is even worse than that because the UN has become part of the problem. Today it is no more than a servant of US foreign policy. Take the case of cholera in Haiti.

As Dr Dady Chery writes: "The introduction of the cholera into Haiti could not have been more efficient if it had been deliberate." Haiti had never experienced cholera until more than 1,200 UN troops who had formerly been in the middle of a cholera epidemic in Nepal, were stationed there. 5 days later, in the summer of 2010, cholera was seen for the first time in Haiti. 7,000 people died in the epidemic and despite promises to withdraw troops the UN renews contracts to keep a presence in Haiti to protect its puppet, Michel Martelly, and keep him in power. Martelly came to power in an undemocratic election which excluded the main party, Fanmi Lavalas (the former party of Aristide).

I think Dr Broderick has hit the nail on the head.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Close Guantanamo now

As the US/UK/NATO embark on another illegal war against ISIS the torture camp at Guantanamo Bay is still operating and still torturing Muslims who have had no trial. Emad Hassan has been held there since 2002. I have just received a letter in which he describes how his brother Abu was dragged from his cell by the FCE (Forcible Cell Extraction) team. What they did to him is diabolical. They broke one wrist and the other was badly swollen, applied strangulation techniques, kneed him in the back and left him in his cell unable to move his finger, hand or leg. “Every nerve, every vein, every muscle seems to be screaming with me” said Abu. Emad could not sleep. He has been held without trial and was told, seven years ago, along with Shaker Aamer that he had done no wrong. So why are these people being held in captivity by the torturing USA?

Reprieve http://www.reprieve.org/ desperately needs funds to take action against officers from the FCE team who did this dreadful deed. Force-feeding is still going on and people held in Guantanamo are worried that the world will forget about them. Please donate at the above link. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Think positive Scotland

With 24 hours before polling stations open to accommodate voters in Thursday's referendum it will be a relief when the result is known, whichever way it goes. After much deliberation I came to the conclusion that Scotland and England could benefit from Scottish independence. Some of my thoughts are given here.

Whatever the outcome I wish Scotland well. In England we have three parties that can hardly be separated in policy. They all support a No result and have united to offer Scotland new measures of  independence should voters put their faith in Westminster to serve its interests. This is something it has singularly failed to do since 1707. But now it looks serious. Scotland, like New Zealand, Australia, Canada, India and South Africa could find itself in self-governance on Friday, though the transition will take some months.

If the Yes vote is carried it sets the bar for England. Scotland does not have to respond in sending young men to die in NATO wars. On education and health it is already streets ahead. Think positive Scotland.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Birmingham birds

About a month ago I bought a camera which allows me to take photographs of some of the local birdlife. The very small ones are really difficult to capture and ideally I need a more powerful telephoto lens. This morning a young robin remained close enough for me to take a few snaps. A beautiful songster (member of the thrush family) it is the most common English bird.

Yesterday I got quite close to a carrion crow with white primary and secondary wing feathers. What creates this pigmentation change is a gene mutation called leucism. One of the reasons I saved up for the camera was to try and get some pictures of a white magpie of which I had taken photos with my phone but no close-ups. Alas I have not seen this bird for three or four months, and it looks like it may no longer be around.

My first capture, of which I am quite proud, was of a buzzard. Buzzards are commonplace in Wales. Unusually they appear to be moving inland and my information is that there are six known breeding pairs in Birmingham.

Mute swans are easy to capture on camera. Graceful and slow-moving they are also very powerful birds.

But it is the offspring, the cygnet or 'ugly duckling' as Hans Christian Andersen called it, that has caused most comment. The photo below picks out the veins in its webbed foot as the sunlight shines through.

From another angle a circular nodule can be seen at the base of its foot. It made me question whether that is where the term signet ring is derived. After all it appears to be wearing it at the base of its middle claw and it is chunky too! Or is this just a coincidence.

Finally here is a heron. It can regularly be found at the same spot at the same time of day. It is encouraging to know that our rivers are recovering as the heron and kingfisher populations increase in Birmingham.