Friday, August 30, 2013

Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria: Who Done It?

Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria: Who Done It?
Like a real life game of ‘Cluedo’, we know the weapon, the victims, the place and the time. Only the identity of the perpetrator remains a mystery.   The primary suspects are the Syrian regime or the rebels; both sides have the capabilities to deliver these nasty weapons, as for motive, there is a degree of uncertainty.  The Syrian regime is winning the war on the grounds, and the use of such weapons would only unify the rest of the world against them, thus, such an action looks irrational and counter-productive.  Especially in light of the fact that Obama already stated the use of chemical weapons was a line that could not be crossed. Moreover, the immediate and equivocal Syrian response, requesting an UN inspection team to verify the matter seems to point to their innocence.
Could the rebels have done this? One cannot imagine they would use chemical weapons on their own people, to perpetuate an uncertain military response, with an uncertain outcome, unless it was done by a lunatic fringe extremist group among the rebels.  
Let’s ask: cui bono (to whose benefit?).  An attack on Syria would benefit its rival, Israel. For sure, they have the experience (e.g. Lavon affair) and the capability to engage in a covert operation, if needed in collusion with the CIA, to deliver these weapons and manufacture a crisis. Of course, there is a difference between logic and truth, it does not always follow that the party who stands to gain the most benefit is automatically guilty. 

What about the US? Before anyone dismisses it as a conspiracy theory, just have a look at their track record. We can still smell the stench of blood from the Iraq invasion using the WMD pretext, which eventually became an issue of an illegal regime change and saving the Kurds. Earlier, in the Gulf War of 1991, false reports of Iraqi War crimes in Kuwait; the "babies thrown from incubators" stories propagated by the western based mass media were subsequently proven to be totally false. Prior to launching the Vietnam War, the US manufactured the Gulf of Tonkin" incident, claiming Vietnam had attacked a U.S. ship. The Spanish-American War was justified with an alleged attack on the U.S.S. Maine, the newspaper hyped up the incidence to increase its sale revenue, and helped the US to declare war, and the world was introduced to yellow journalism.
We can safely eliminate economic factors like oil as a motive behind the US-led calls for intervention; Syria is relatively a poor country, no rich resources there, very much like the Rwanda of the Arab world. The Syrian socialist regime has kept the country even poorer with a stagnant socialist based economy; it looks like an Eastern European nation that is trapped under communist rule in the 1950s and 60s.
One can also dismiss the US claims of intervention on humanitarian grounds. Because, the number of casualty prior to the chemical weapons attack has already reached 100,000, and their humanity did not move. In contrast, the number of victim from the chemical weapons attack is uncertain; it seems to be in three digits. Therefore, the vocal opposition to Chemical weapon is a convenient political pretext, but what kind of political pretext is the next question.
Can it be a sudden desire to introduce democracy? That looks unlikely as ever, we know from the Egyptian coup d’├ętat, unless the outcome complies with the US interests, it isn’t really interested. However, the US credibility has been hit hard through its inaction. The God Father of democracy watched the largest Arab country oust a democratically elected leader, then engage in a reign of terror with arbitrary arrests, intimidation, killing of 2000 innocent protestors and imprisonment of its leaders, like some Nazi regime resurrected from the past. Forget sanctions and military action, even token condemnation was absent from the US. It still remains a spectator as the Egyptian crisis that looks to be heading towards civil war; hence, the Syrian episode is a good distraction. 
Could this be preparation for an attack on Iran? After attacking and occupying Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon would be isolated and weaken, as Syria is the main supply route. Then Israel would further weaken Hezbollah by attacking it, making the way clear to launch strikes on Iran.  There is a view that Zionists do control and shape US foreign policy, and certainly there are abundant evidences of that.  
Maybe the US really worried about implosion in Syria leading to regional instability. This too remains uncertain, as the media has been busy trying to promote and convert a political war into a sectarian war and accelerate the conflict; accordingly, the media coverage given so far has been along the lines of Shia based Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis, against the Sunni rebels supported by the Arab and the Gulf states. In reality, the rebels are not unified by Sunni orthodoxy, composed of secular, devout, Shia and Sunni fighters, and the socialist Syrian regime are not strict adherents of the Shia theology. Iran has traditionally allied to Syria due to the geo-politics of the region.
In the mean time, the UN inspection team is trying to establish the facts; concurrently the US and its allies have already adopted a war like stance, the drumbeats are beating louder. Why not give the UN inspectors time, and why not get the Arab League to play a more constructive role in establishing the source of the chemical weapons attack. It seems none of the major parties are interested in the truth, in times of conflict everyone seeks to exploit the situation for their benefit, and the innocent civilians are always the first line of casualty, the awful videos and images testify to that.

By  Yamin Zakaria (yamin@radicalviews.org)

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bring on the clowns- how comedians are telling the real news.

We know we are in trouble as a society when it is left up to our funny people to cut through the crap and use the airwaves to speak the truth.

Comedian Russel Brand gave an eloquent insight into Syria on Question time. Watch video above.

I recall during the massive protests against Globalisation in the 1999, Channel 4 news didn't have a reporter in Seattle when protests shut down the WTO meeting. In its five year history the WTO has overturned every single environmental law that has come before it. Despite a growing grassroots movement  against the WTO , the mainstream media had chosen to ignore it and missed one of the key moments of the decade.
It was left to comedian Rob Newman to present the view from Seattle to the public on the 7 O'Clock News.


Meanwhile comedian Jon Stewart uses his satire to cut the crap on his news show. In the UK, Mark Thomas is touring the UK spreading the real news with his wit and humour. Bring on the clowns!

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Formula One forces YouTube to delete protest video

Greenpeace pulled of an ingenious banner stunt at the Belgian Grand Prix and filmed it. It protested Shell's involved in destroying the Arctic. However 10 minutes after I watched their video, Formula One forced YouTube to delete it.


Off the track Shell is leading a very different kind of race — an insane rush to drill for oil in the melting Arctic.

Greenpeace stated today
They’re hoping to ride on the glory of the drivers and pretend they’re a company worthy of a spot on the podium. They’re not. An oil spill in the Arctic would be a disaster, threatening a region of breathtaking beauty and the polar bears that live there.

The race is on. It’s time to separate the sponsor from the sport and make sure the truth about Shell's dirty Arctic plan gets out there. Tell Shell to stop drilling in the Arctic.
Other videos of their other banner protest can be viewed here
The video can be viewed on Vimeo


Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

What Binda Singh the scammer did next...

In 2011 I exposed a scammer based in Swansea who was ripping off film-makers.
Binda Singh (known also Belvedere Pashun or Jeroboam Snatch or TL Shannon) charged film makers good money for bad service at his shoddy film festivals all over the globe. Following my investigations and the resulting BBC, Guardian and other media coverage, his Hollywood patrons Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Sheen quickly withdrew their support.
Binda Singh with his hands full
His reputation is now shot as anyone doing an online search for Binda Singh will reveal his dodgy reputation. So to get around that inconvenience , Mr Singh has reinvented himself and has re-entered the scene. This time preying on wannabe actors rather than filmmakers.

Singh is now hiding behind his new identities- Belvedere Pashun and Jeroboam Snatch and in 2016 is also going under the name TL Shannon. As Pashun, Binda Singh has created himself as a Tibetan Buddhist who likes to study butterflies and meditate on the slopes of the Himalayas- all while writing such insightful works as Shag! the musical.His other persona is 'Jeroboam Snatch' - Singh has changed his gender as a female who is a 'very fine writer. Young fresh and sexy'. The photo he uses to pose under this identity is the American actress Selina Gomez (see below)

His current stage show has all his hall marks of being a shoddy piece of work.
WAG! The Musical had its West End Premiere on July 18th. Not unsurprisingly for Singhs standards, his shows are being thrashed by critics. The Stage gives a roundup of just how bad his shows are. The Independent summed it up with
'Wag! The Musical: The biggest turkey to hit the West End in years?'


If anyone seeks proof that Singh and Pushan are one and the same person they can refer to the fact that WAG! the musical began life as Funkette!- written in 2004 by one Binda Singh.

Perhaps hoping for a reincarnated life to escape his dodgy past, Singh posted this on Twitter about his current stage show WAG! the musical.



None of this will stop Singh however as he all about self promotion. Despite BBC exposing his dodgy financial dealings, he has a knack of ingratiating himself into the world of celebrities. He can somehow convince them of his stature as a writer/producer/director/Tibetan/butterfly collector/filmmaker/University lecturer etc etc..

Belvedere Pashun or is it Binda Singh?
He has recently convinced former Atomic Kittens singer Kerry Katona to play Marilyn Monroe in his 'Norma Jeane The Musical'. The fact that she was declared bankrupt recently may give a clue to her desperation for wanting involvement in anything new.

Singh's business partner, Ms Struel-White told the Evening Post
"There were only a handful of performers that the writer Belvedere Pashun would even contemplate for the role of Marilyn Monroe and right at the top was Kerry Katona."
Not content with destroying one icon, his other project is about the life of Mahatma Gandhi - 'Mahatma The Musical' is now casting. If neither of them floats your boat, you can always look forward to his 'Les Dawson The Musical.


So to anyone interested in Binda Singh / Belvedere Pashun- I say follow the money and see where it leads.


Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sol Cinema chosen as Exhibitor of the Month

The Sol Cinema has been chosen to be Exhibitor of the month by the
Independent Cinema Office (ICO). They are a national support organisation for independent exhibitors of all kinds including cinemas, film festivals and film societies.  
 
The Sol Cinema is a mobile micro-movie house powered entirely by the Sun.
Accommodating 8 adults comfortably, screening short films with inspiring environmental themes for a truly unique cinematic experience. 
Sol Cinema has performed at events all over the UK, from Glastonbury festival to small community events and private parties. Created out of a desire to provide a great venue to show the many short videos being produced by video makers.  The well dressed usherette offers popcorn as audiences are invited to walk up the red carpet. They take their plush seat to enjoy the movie with surround sound, LED projection, velvet curtains and dimmed lighting.  The perfect petit pop-up!
 Check out Sol Cinema on the ICO website

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Snooping into our lives

UK authorities made over 570,000 requests to view people's private texts, emails and phone records last year, leading to privacy campaigners calling for greater oversight in relation to requests.

The Interception of Communications Commissioner's report for 2012 revealed that mistakes made while using intercepted information led to six members of the public being wrongly detained or accused of a crime.

 Find out how your privacy is disappearing in this report

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Why is a leisure centre promoting gun culture for Kids?

I took my 4 year old to the Swansea Leisure Centre (LC) yesterday and was confronted by adverts of children holding guns like a gangster to promote the LC's new 'leisure' activity of laser battles.

I find it hard enough trying to educate my 4 year old about the problem with guns and find these posters unhelpful.

A spokesperson for LC Swansea replied to me saying;
'The last thing we want to do is cause offence to anyone, the LC is all about having fun with your family, so thanks for bringing this to our attention.
'

I find this is not enough and expect a better understanding of marketing and its effect on kids. A few years ago two posters for an Angelina Jolie film were criticised by advertising watchdogs for making guns attractive.The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled the 'Wanted' movie posters were not suitable to be seen by children. It added that the use of a glamorous actress, gun images and aspirational text "could glamorise violence".

I would argue that these posters at the LC are doing exactly the same thing. Their website has the same picture (below)

An LC spokesperson told a concerned customer   
'It wasn't our intention to cause offence and we're in the process of reviewing the marketing images we're using to promote Laser Tag.


'In the same week that I was confronted by these posters, I read that a young boy has shot dead his entire family. A report on the killing follows;

Marcelo had no history of violence, police say, but was obsessed with weapons and had a large collection of toy guns and a protective breastplate made of cardboard in his bedroom, police said.
Toy guns are becoming more lifelike each year and it is time to take notice of how society is normalising weapons amongst our children.

When I contacted Swansea council for their views, I was told that the LC is not owned by the council. I find it confusing as to why the council logo is prominately displayed on the LC website and the following text adds to my confusion
Bay Leisure Ltd is an independent not for profit company set up to manage the LC on behalf of the City and County of Swansea
So what is the councils involvement? At least they agreed with my opinion about the posters. I received an email from David Philips, Leader of Swansea council (who used to own the Leisure centre). He said;
I agree with you that these posters were not appropriate, as they were so clearly available to alternative readings.

On the LC Facebook page they are promoting their gun games with a toy turtle which led one local Ash Jenkins to write
Why, in this day and age, are you advertising and condoning the use of green reptiles harnessing semi automatic weapons? This is not the image The LC2 should be promoting to our children. What next, Laser IED's? Lizards with petrol bombs? This has gone too far.
Just a few days after I contacted LC to complain, all photos of the child with the gun have been deleted from their website. That is at least a result. Let's hope that they think first next time. Now it is time to ask why are they encouraging kids to run around with guns shooting each other? It is a leisure centre- not a killing centre!

Today, August 10th the Evening Post published that the LC will not use the gangster photos again. A spokeswoman for the LC said:
"The last thing we would want to do is cause offence to any of our customers.
"In light of some of the responses to an image we have used to promote our summer Laser Tag activity, we have decided to remove it from all our marketing materials."
This is a good result and the most sensible option. A month after I contacted the Advertising Standards Authority for their opinion on the adverts, they wrote to me stating;
The ASA contacted the advertiser and was informed that the posters were shown within the premises of LC Swansea, including the poster shown on the footpath, which fell within the sphere of their premises. Unfortunately, the Codes we administer do not apply to ads displayed within unpaid for advertising space, including an advertiser’s premises'
So basically there is no legal constraints on adverts like this. Without my actions in complaining,  the LC would be free to promote their Laser gun battles using adverts of children with guns. I am glad I took direct action and hopefully the LC will think more carefully next time on how they use children to promote their activities.

Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org

Friday, August 02, 2013

Undercurrents email host GreenNet under attack

The ethical internet company which hosts Undercurrents email and website has been under attack from an unknown enemy. Apologies for not replying to your emails but GreenNet are working hard to get our system back online.


They wrote 'it appears to have been targeting a GN member site - investigations still on-going at the moment'


Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org