Thoughts from Ghana 1204


I spent today at the University College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Bunso and the nearby Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana. Those who have read my memoir The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and other Conflicts I Have Known will know that rural development in Africa has been the abiding passion of my working life. The good news is that for the first time a paperback edition of The Catholic Orangemen should be out in a week or so.

The abiding impression of today was the extent of local awareness of environmental issues and the need to maintain a fragile but wonderful ecology. This faces enormous challenges. I was intellectually aware of the extent of illegal gold mining in Ghana but unprepared for the evidence of its scale. Rivers that provide the drinking water for millions have been transformed into dead sewers of brown sludge. Having known them as live rivers, I was really shaken.

Ghana is looking to develop its bauxite industry and finally bring its aluminium smelters to life. This will impact the precise area I was visiting and I know from Jamaica that the environmental impact of bauxite mining is hideous. It is perhaps the most destructive of all extractive industries. It is a horrid irony that the bauxite scheme should impact the exact area where local traditional leadership (the Okyenhene) has pioneered environmentalism.

I feel conflicted. Our standard of living in the developed world has been based on the destruction of the forests which we conveniently forget once covered our lands. We wish to keep what remains of wild Africa as untouched as possible, because we know that otherwise it impacts us. But we are not prepared to expend serious resources into raising the standard of living of those who would be denied the immediate material benefits of industrial mining. My instincts are all to oppose the bauxite extraction on environmental grounds. But I am not so intellectually dishonest as to pretend that, with all the pollution and illnesses and destruction, the industry would not bring important wealth and employment. It would. I do not feel morally able to lecture poor communities on why they should remain undeveloped when they are excited by rare hope. I suspect many of you will think I am wrong.

On a more positive note, I was inspired by the commitment of the faculty of the University College, their research interests and their ability to deliver a first class curriculum to the students with minimal resources. It struck me how a major improvement could be made to their efforts by the injection of comparatively modest sums into laboratory equipment, for example. I shall be working on this and in the longer term on developing possible academic collaborations.

I loved the new canopy walk at Bunso built to promote eco-tourism.

It has five of these bridges, all of which are high, and one very high indeed as it crosses a valley. It is a great deal more adventurous than the one at Kakum. And yes, I did cross them all.

I am often very critical of the FCO, so it would be churlish of me not to note that Jon Benjamin leaves Accra this summer after an extremely effective and principled tenure as High Commissioner, including playing an effective and helpful role behind the scenes in the third peaceful transfer of power between political parties since Ghana became a real democracy in 2000. The more so since, most unusually, the UK was acting against the desires of the USA, and I suspect Jon was pivotal in that.


1,204 thoughts on “Thoughts from Ghana

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  • bevin

    Among the origins of our discontents:

    “Newly declassified documents from the Reagan presidential library help explain how the U.S. government developed its sophisticated psychological operations capabilities that – over the past three decades – have created an alternative reality both for people in targeted countries and for American citizens, a structure that expanded U.S. influence abroad and quieted dissent at home…”

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46748.htm

    • RobG

      It’s a very good piece, bevin, that I read earlier today.

      The FOIA documents relate to the Reagan years. It’s much, much worse today.

      Just before last Christmas weekend, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2017 into law. The NDAA 2017 contained a little surprise: the ‘Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act’, which gives the legal authority to close down web sites that promote ‘fake news’. Obama also signed an executive order which allows the National Security Agency to freely share mass surveillance data with the fifteen other intelligence agencies (incidentally, many of these intelligence agencies were unknown until the Snowden revelations). President Obama had a habit of burying bad laws in the Christmas holidays. The NDAA 2013 overturned the Smith Mundt Act, thus legalising the use of government propaganda on the American public, and of course the NDAA 2012 allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial.

      You are all fucked, and most of you don’t even realise it.

  • RobG

    Meanwhile, back to the revolution that you are not told about, and particularly with regard to France. Here’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon speaking a few days ago at a rally in Rennes (notice the size of the crowd). It’s only a brief 3 minute clip, but what I find interesting about this is that Mélenchon rarely if ever mentions ‘Her’ name, such is his disdain for the Front Nationale (there should be English sub-titles on this video; if not click on the first little icon on the right of the toolbar)…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYm4mY-5_Ek

    My prediction remains that Le Pen and Mélenchon will get through to the second round in Early May, and Mélenchon will become the next President of France.

    At that stage the demented Frankenstein will start interfering big time, and I wouldn’t like to predict how things will turn out; except of course for the usual violence and carnage that the demented Frankenstein always brings.

    To think, the French gifted the Statue of Liberty to the Americans.

    Quelle horreur!

    • michael norton

      Hey Scotland, you have the Socialist Utopia, just like France,
      masses of unemployment and a State of Emergency?

      Hollande’s greatest failure has without doubt been his inability to get people back to work.

      “I have made a personal commitment, some said a too hasty one, others said an unwise one, to reverse the unemployment curve. I intend to keep this promise, and the government will use it as a policy guideline,” said Hollande at the start of his mandate.
      But more than 3.5 million people are without work according to the latest figures, and with another million and half underemployed. France has some of the most persistent structural unemployment in the western world.

      No candidate in the last 30 years has been able to make much of an impression on that figure, and for the Socialists it is a particularly heavy badge of shame to carry into the election season.
      http://www.euronews.com/2017/03/24/hollande-s-economic-record-as-mediocre-as-his-presidency

      • michael norton

        A huge percentage of jobs in France, are jobs paid for by the state, that way, madness lies.
        Rigid backward thinking and unsustainable spending/debt.
        Lying, thieving corrupt politicians, what’s not to like?

      • RobG

        Michael, Hollande is a neo-con sell-out just like Blair, Obama and all the rest. People in France understand this.

        I find your position untenable because you support fascists who will sell you out even more.

        Do you really think that the likes of Farage or Trump have you best interests at heart?

        Trump was the last throw of the dice as far as democracy is concerned (and I did give him the benefit of the doubt).

        Now there’s only revolution or enslavement.

        • giyane

          Trump took exactly 60 days to announce publicly that he is pro-Saudi, i.e. pro- Al Qaida, Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh, AttatErd, Israel, UK and EU. That was 60 days of neo-con psy-ops in which it appeared like the aura of a passing comet that the US had come to its senses and was going to have to eat its own vomit, the empowering of Slammic terrrr in the Middle East.

          Nuff said.

    • Ben

      I am continually guffawed by your ability to separate yourself from the fate of those around you, as though you were benighted and sacrosanct. It’s a wonderful fantasia you’ve crocheted from whole cloth.

      I’m surprised you condescend to converse with our lot.

      • RobG

        I live in France. I have at least some idea of what’s going on.

        Whereas you lot who live in the complete whacko land of the Five Eyes are under the onslaught of the biggest propaganda machine in history. I’ve no idea just how they get you to buy into constant war and fear and ‘austerity’, and the ‘recovery’, and all the rest of the bullshit. I haven’t lived in that madhouse atmosphere for many a year; which of course must mean I’m a ‘Putinbot’ – DA DA DAH!

        Yeah, I forgot that one: thie Russians are coming to get you, along with the twerrorists of course.

        Seriously, how do people fall for such complete and utter bullshit?!

        • michael norton

          Rob, I understand The Socialist Utopia of FRANCE has been under siege for “some” time.
          Tax this, Tax that, Shoot this, Shoot that. Strike this Strike that.
          Have you not been living in a State of Emergency in France, for more than a year?
          Is it true that the de-commissioning of the old Nuclear Reactors will cost the French Tax Payers hundreds of billions?
          Were not 19 of them, recently switched off for safety reasons?
          Were you not buying electricity from other lands, to keep the shaky show on the road?

          Scotland take heed, this sort of Socialist, central control by S. N. P. is where you are destined.

          • michael norton

            BANKSTERS
            still at it.

            Several of France’s biggest banks figure prominently in the report, including BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale and BPCE (which owns Banque Populaire and Caisse d’Epargne). French banks declared almost €2 billion in profit in Luxembourg, as much as they reported in Germany and Spain combined, despite the fact that Luxembourg’s population is only 1 percent that of Spain’s.

            Some of the most telling figures come from discrepancies between profit and other key economic measures.

            “Société Générale, for instance, reported 22 percent of its profits in tax havens,” Oxfam’s Aubry told FRANCE 24, “but only 4 percent of its employee pay was generated there.”

            In another example, BNP Paribas declared €134 million of profit in the Cayman Islands in 2015, although it had zero employees there.
            http://www.france24.com/en/20170327-french-banks-posted-multi-billion-euro-profits-tax-havens

      • bevin

        ‘Crocheted from whole cloth’ is bad enough.
        ‘I am completely guffawed..’ is almost OK.
        What is your first language, Ben? Ukrainian?

    • Hieroglyph

      Guardian has an article on Melenchon. Which probably proves that he is now a threat, to be undermined by the CIA\Guardian pool of knuckleheads. Recently, the Guardian had 3 hit pieces on Milo. What a waste of paper\bandwidth it has become.

  • branches

    Was the Scottish Justice Secretary even consulted or told about the Scottish counter-terrorism training exercise prior to it’s announcement?

    Or was it like the Scottish Government only finding out about Article 50 day from the telly?

  • Ben

    In case the local progressives, who shall remain nameless, think I shall ever let them out of the chokehold, they are wrong again.

    I ride the Purple Sage every day and trod over the sodden souls (neocons/alt-righters) who took us via IRAQ for everything they could. I chide and ridicule them for the hypocrisy they regard as virtuous as often as the opportunity affords.

    Similar racking of the Progressive 8-Balls will be my forte, especially ‘Allies’ of Europe, whose Trumpean cattle-calls have left me somewhat phlegmatic with their Russkie love matching and social meta- engineering without sense.

    In other words…Gird thy Loins progturds.

      • Ben

        Further validating your lack of comprehension generally., exacerbated by your specific shortcomings.

    • Dave Lawton

      I remember seeing the New Riders of the Purple Sage in Colchester.They were sucking on a large bottle of Nitrous Oxide.I could just make it out through my Acid burnt out eyeballs.

      • Sinister Burt

        Wouldn’t they use salvia if they were being accurate? (I’d rather the NO though).

        And Ben: I’m not really sure what you’ve been going on about recently, but you seem to be saying that people here are all trump supporters or something – I for one would never support such an obvious capitalist dickhead, whether named trump or clinton. I was never fooled that a billionaire (so he says) would be on my side – that’s just basic Marxism (class allegiance etc). And it might have been outlawed here in 66, but that didn’t stop ‘us’ making the best stuff ever in the 70s (Kemp).

        • Ben

          Many sane voices here so I dont wish to paint all as progressive dupes, but they seem to have cliques of putative alliance.

          Gawd save us from that lot.

  • Sharp Ears

    Andrew Bridgen Con NW Leicestershire finally declares an interest ref HS2 in a debate in March 2015

    He did declare an interest in debates in HS2 debates on 28 January 2013, 26 June 2013 and 28 April 2014 but forgot to do so when he ‘submitted a written question to the Transport Secretary on 9 October 2013 and when I spoke in the High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill debate on 31 October 2013. I also attended meetings with HS2 and responded to the consultation, when, in hindsight, for purposes of clarity, I should have declared an interest.’
    https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2017-03-27/debates/0A598AE0-79C1-4BD2-8A87-99DB5798B60B/DeclarationsOfInterest

    HS2 are buying his house,
    https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/political-parties/conservative-party/news/84615/tory-mp-andrew-bridgen-forced-apologise

    • Sharp Ears

      ‘In 2015 Bridgen sold his constituency house in Appleby Magna for £2 million, under a government HS2 compensation scheme as the house is 100 feet (30 m) from the proposed route, as a consequence of his divorce proceedings. He sold his house under an “exceptional hardship scheme”, claiming that he had lost more money than anyone else.’

      ‘Bridgen, who receives an additional £7,773 per month for 6 hours work at his vegetable firm was criticised by local Labour politicians for being ‘out of touch.’

      ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Bridgen

    • michael norton

      An oil exploration company has hailed the “largest undeveloped discovery” of oil in United Kingdom waters,
      to the west of Shetland in Scotland. The find could influence the outcome of a second Scottish independence referendum.

      Hurricane Energy said the discovery, from which an estimated 1 billion barrels could be extracted, is significantly larger than the average findings of 25 million barrels in recent years.
      https://www.rt.com/uk/382473-scotland-independence-referendum-oil/
      Hurricane’s chief executive officer, Robert Trice, said there are “exciting times” ahead for the company, which has seen its shares jump 6 percent following the announcement of the Greater Lancaster Area discovery.

      INDYREF” now or never?

        • michael norton

          Correct Sharp Ears,
          but you will note this take is from Russia Today, first they are saying the world is awash with Crude oil and they are going to
          batten down their hatches, for a low oil price.
          Then they ask / suggest that this new possible large find, West of Shetland, will be trumpeted today by the S. N. P. as a reason for holding, yet, another, once in a life time referendum.

          • Alcyone

            With a piffling 6% increase in share-price, the market knows better than to get excited.

            Key question other than commodity price, cost of extraction. Not exactly the holes in the ground that Loony referred to the other day.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Now Intelius has joined the helpful Connecticut voter register who posted how I, a person with a criminal record, can be contacted, and taken care of, and you kooks go on about anything convenient, like the Reichstag fire.

    • lysias

      The Reichstag Fire is very relevant for the present day, as it is a classic example of how a government can use a false flag incident to abolish liberties. And those who insist that the Nazi government was not responsible for the fire (when it probably was) are so insistent because they want to banish from people’s minds the thought that the same sort of thing might be going on today.

      JFK assassination, same story.

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        And you have nothing to say about various intelligence services, particularly the CIA, the Portuguese foreign intelligence service, Sweden’s, etc. trying to make it look like I just up and died, or committed suicide when they arranged my murder.

        And JFK was assassinated by a plot that vile Richard Nixon, Texas Governor John Connally, DCI Ricard helms et al. organized.

        • Trowbridge H. Ford

          Would be more relevant if you said that Tony Blair appointed MI5 Director Eliza Manning-Buller who allowed the Mossa kidon to stay in Britain, provided it did not use firearms in killing troublemakers.

          Why do you always prevent any meaningful discussion on threads?

        • Trowbridge H. Ford

          The Mossad’s resident, four man kidon did it where it amushed him by a ‘false flag’ phone call, where his body was found by a search party fifty yards away along the Thames in the woods, and was moved to Harrowdown Hill by TVP hrelicopterl to givei t a better ialibi of not being the culprits,

          We should have another Nuremberg Tribunal where all our political scumbags are put on trilal, convicted, and coveniently disposed of.

          • lysias

            At the time David Kelly met his untimely (or timely, for the culprits) end, Tony Blair was on a trip to D.C., where he addressed a joint session of Congress on the Iraq War and was “entertained’ by male prostitute Guckert/Gannon in Blair House, the coincidentally named guest house across the street from the White House which is connected to it by a tunnel.

      • Habbabkuk

        “The Reichstag Fire is very relevant for the present day, as it is a classic example of how a government can use a false flag incident to abolish liberties.”
        __________________

        Actually, it is not. That is because it was not a false flag.

  • mike

    Whoops, no ISIS or al Qaida connections to Adrian Russell Elms. Did the omniscient MI5 not tell the BBC to tell us there was?

    No matter, this volte face wasn’t worthy of a headline, but the fact that Elms’ poor mother was shocked at her son’s actions (you don’t say) was deemed to be the best “top line” available.

    It’s the same today: the BBC tells us his wife condemns his actions.
    How remarkable. Really? Who says investigative journalism is dead?

    And lest we forget, head-chopping crazies in Syria are good; car-driving crazies in the UK are an existential threat.
    Don’t forget that now.

    And the famine in Yemen “just happened”. And the RAF was only “in the vicinity” of Mosul the other day. And we’re not helping torture anyone in Bahrain.
    Got it?

      • Alcyone

        More like claimed credit; the evil bastards, backed by the fundamentally evil Saudi ‘kings’.

        • Republicofscotland

          ” backed by the fundamentally evil Saudi ‘kings’.”

          _______

          Who are great allies and friends of Westminster.

          What does that say about Westminster?

  • Republicofscotland

    So convicted murderer Alexander Blackman, is to be freed after serving only three and a half years of his sentence.

    Blackman, a marine shot dead a injured Taliban fighter in 201, whilst on duty in Afghanistan.

    Blackman had his sentence reduced to manslaughter, due to diminished responsibility.

    The theatre of war, can sometimes have a devastating affect on decisions made by troops, actions that can seem plausible at the time, can in hindsight appear very grave indeed.

    Alexander Blackman, made such a decision, he has paid his penance for his wrong doing. However British forces must learn from them. We cannot swan around the globe preaching fairness and democracy, in one hand, whilst acting irresponsibly with the other hand.

  • Republicofscotland

    Marine Le Pen, has indicated that if she wins the French presidential campaign, she’ll attempt to take France out of the euro.

    However the French public, some 72% do not want to exit the euro. Le Pen intimated that she’d stand down if the will of the people wanted her to, and the FN became bogged down, over the euro.

    In my opinion, Le Pen’s main objectives are to remove France from the euro and the EU, close the borders, and withdraw into a shell, in a similar fashion to Westminster’s Brexit.

    Pro-business think-tank Institut Montaigne estimates that leaving the euro would cost France €180billion, half a million jobs and 9 percentage points of gross domestic product.

    Surely the French will not make the same mistake as the British, a mistake that will cost countless jobs, and lead to a even lower wage economy.

    Although Emmanuel Macron, isn’t the ideal candidate, he lacks experience. I much prefer him to the odious Le Pen.

    https://www.ft.com/content/935a7d98-12e2-11e7-80f4-13e067d5072c

    • lysias

      Macron, himself a former banker for Rothschild, is a favorite of the bankers and the international plutocracy. As Minister of the Economy for nominal Socialist Hollande, in 2015 he introduced the loi Macron, “a measure designed to stimulate growth by abolishing public service monopolies and union restrictions on hours,” which had to be passed by decree, as Socialist deputies blocked it in the National Assembly. Macron is well known for opposing the French wealth tax. In other words, he is the epitome of a neoliberal.

      • Republicofscotland

        Lysias.

        I didn’t say that Macron was the ideal candidate, only that he was more preferable than Le Pen, in my opinion anyway.

        I recall, either Craig or Rob.G, say that the right of centre in France have more socialist tendencies than the right of centre parties in Britain. It may not be all doom and gloom.

        • michael norton

          I am afraid, that it almost certainly is going to be
          State of Emergency, cancelled elections and Austerity writ LARGE for France, they are ready to go under.

        • Zed

          “I didn’t say that Macron was the ideal candidate, only that he was more preferable than Le Pen, in my opinion anyway.”

          But RoS, your opinion counts for nothing in a French election; you have to be French to get an opinion.

    • bevin

      “Pro-business think-tank Institut Montaigne estimates that leaving the euro would cost France €180billion, half a million jobs and 9 percentage points of gross domestic product…”

      Did you notice that? “Pro business”?
      Business, as you call it, favours the EU not because it is good for the people but because it benefits business. It is in fact designed by and run for ‘business.’
      In fact there are plenty of alternatives to allowing the capitalists to dominate the economy. It surprises me that you are uninterested in them . James Connolly was. So was John Maclean.
      “If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs.”–James Connolly
      That was quoted at the WSWS under an obit of McGuinness. Substitute Scots for Irish symbols and the point still stands. Look to Ireland and you will see how prescient he was-independence brought the people of Ireland few benefits.

      • Republicofscotland

        Like it ir not Bevin businesses, provide jobs for people, yes there’s corruption, in the EU, but capitalism, though not the best model long term (until we come up with something better) employes people.

        The Single Market is effectively one big trading bloc for business, that employs millions of people.

      • lysias

        My father was old enough to have opposed Sinn Fein and Irish independence and supported Redmond’s Nationalists and Home Rule (i.e., autonomy, sort of like current devolution) before he left Ireland for America. I accompanied him on a trip he made to Ireland in the mid-1960s, when he admitted that he had been wrong and that independence had been good for the Irish.

        • Deepgreenpuddock

          Rafael Behr makes the point today at the Guardian that decisions such as Brexit (and I guess Independence is a similar type of decision) are made for good or ill and there is no emotional ‘going back’. His point was that Brexit is now irrevocable now that May has sent the letter. We can now never really know what the outcome would have been if we had ‘remained’ because all the factors that define these things are changed and dynamic and fluid.
          I think it is a little bit like ‘time travel’ – was there not always the time travellers dilemma-not to alter anything ‘in the future’ because it would change the course of history and time would then ‘unravel’, presumably in a destructive way.
          I asm not absolutely sure I agree with him. He thinks it will become impossible to know the alternatives . I suspect, however, there will be many pointers and analyses available to the outcome of a different decision. Different people will be winners and different people will be losers but there will be definite trends and indicators.

          I am also always conscious of what some people refer to as ‘deep state’ or ‘conspiracy’ and indeed I am sure that such things as conspiracy and collusion can and do occur but I also think that there is some kind of ‘not understood’ agency within human affairs, where we cannot see the causal relationships, but there are indeed such unseen connections. These operate at levels well beyond the power of ‘conspiracy’ and collusion, and have the power to destroy any attempts at conspiracy, and are beyond the ability of most people to rationalise them.
          The corollary of this however is that there can be also unpredictable ‘founder effects’ I mean things like the effect of widespread mobile phone technology. The cumulative effect of such systems is unpredictable( i.e. not understood) but there may be huge agency attached to the ‘owners’ of such critical technology, creating undue and unreasonable capacities to influence the outcomes of movements and technical change, that sometimes has elements of conspiracy and collusion and manipulation.
          So for instance, the problem of climate change and its relationships to migration and warfare are not clear. Warmongers go to war for ‘personal’ reasons and describe it in personal, emotional terms, while others more calculating are determining strategy in relation to such individuals. The technological changes related to the way we now work, and the way we now relate to each other have cumulative effects, where these effects are so big that very few people have any insight into their effects on even themselves-as we adapt and change without always being conscious of our adaptations to new conditions (and also ‘losses’ due to them).
          so your father was right-both to oppose and to then acknowledge his ‘mistake’. It is more to do with ‘never being able to know’.

  • Republicofscotland

    The war of words has begun to heat up, as Turkish autocrat president Erdogan, blasts Germany yet again, Erdogan said.

    “If you continue to behave like this, tomorrow in no part of the world, no European, no Westerner will be able to take steps on the street safely and peacefully,” the Turkish leader said last Thursday, as cited by Deutsche Welle.”

    A German politician, has claimed that Erdogan’s intention is to.

    “Namely, it seeks to install [Turkish] minorities in other countries in order to pursue [Turkey’s] own violence-based policy, own geopolitics as well as its own policy of suppression there.”

    There could be some truth in that statement, as Erdogan has had spats with several EU nations of late, with regards to Turkish citizens residing in those nations.

    https://www.rt.com/news/382539-erdogan-terrorist-godfather-germany/

    • michael norton

      Turkey has always been one of the main “driver” countries of the Syrian “civil” war.
      Others have been I****l, America, France, U.K. Australia, Canada ( now removed) Kuwait, Jordan, and other Gulf States.
      The Free Syria Army was stated by Turkey, in Hatay Province, a part of Syria, that Turkey stole, the people were Turkmen.
      It is the aim of Turkey to steal as much of Syria, as it can get away with.

    • Republicofscotland

      Yes Michael, I read that earlier, tasers are in most cases not a lethal force, and afford police officers some protection.

      Regarding arming officers and the police debate, I got the distinct feeling arming the bobby on the beat wont come to fruition.

      In my opinion, there’s not the appetite, nor the political will to arm beat bobbies with firearms, something I wholeheartedly agree with.

  • Republicofscotland

    So Britain’s great ally and friend Saudi Arabia, is to investigate itself over the killing of women and children by a helicopter gunship.

    The Somali women and children were killed on a boat off the coast of Yemen, by a Saudi helicopter gunship. Human Rights Watch has expressed grave concerns, not only over the murders but over the investigation of those murders.

    Saudi Arabia’s blood thirsty attacks on Yemen, has led to the deaths of thousands of civilians. Yemen a poor nation that imports large quantities of food products, to sustain its citizens, has seen that stop, as Saudi ships have imposed a blockade, the resut is a nationwide famine, leading to the deaths of children, who are most at risk.

    So how any nation could expect the Saudi’s to self investigate is incomprehensible to say the least. It will be a whitewash, a cover up.

    It’s akin to posting a fox to guard the chickens. I wonder what the British government, and Prince Charles (a good friend of the Saudi royals) thinks, about the situation.

    https://www.rt.com/news/382510-hrw-yemen-boat-saudi-attack/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome

      • Republicofscotland

        Trowbridge.

        I’m not sure about that, though 14 coalition members are said to make up the Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT).

        • Republicofscotland

          JIAT does have connections with Westminster, well according to this it does.

          “FOI 0975-16 explains the Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) was set up in May 2016 to assess Saudi Arabian military activity in Yemen. The UK has provided support, advice and training for JIAT and officials from the British Embassy Riyadh have had regular contact with members of JIAT”

          https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foi-release-meetings-with-jiat-about-yemen

          I’d imagine that as Saudi Arabia is a great ally, friend and investor in Britain, that parity may well be in short supply, where Saudi actions come into question.

        • Trowbridge H. Ford

          MI5 should have told Sapo that it wanted to see the video about who was behind biomber Taimour in Stockholm rather than trying to make out it was Masood who did it.

    • michael norton

      Protesters and officers clash in Paris, France, after yet another deadly police shooting
      http://www.france24.com/en/20170328-france-police-shooting-chinese-man-protesters-clash-violence-paris
      violent confrontation between demonstrators and police broke out outside a police station in northern Paris on Monday night, a day after a man was shot dead in his home by officers responding to an emergency call.

      Three police officers were slightly injured and 35 people were arrested outside a police station in the 19th district of Paris, according to authorities, after around 150 people gathered outside the precinct to denounce what they said was yet another case of police brutality.

      • michael norton

        I cannot see how the Euro can continue, it is anti-democratic, it works, against the interests of the people.

        • Courtenay Barnett

          Michael,

          ” I cannot see how the Euro can continue, it is anti-democratic, it works, against the interests of the people.”

          Just as the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency works against the interests of all people on planet earth?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWuAct1BxHU

          Then we get to the invasion of Iraq – US problem making in Libya – and we can link it all to the preservation of the global inequity which the dollar represents – global financial slavery!

        • Republicofscotland

          Could expand on that a bit Michael.

          I was under the impression, that a shared currency made trading easier across the board. Would not businesses using the euro, in the EU fjnd it easier and quicker to buy and sell goods.

          But you may know differently?

          • michael norton

            O.K.
            well one way it works against the people is that the Euro is designed, to lock in states, so they can never leave the E.U.
            So, even if there is a referendum, say in Italy, that referendum should lead to Italy leaving the E.U. it will be almost impossible to extricate themselves, because they are also locked into the euro

          • Republicofscotland

            But surely if a country prepares itself responsibly on the fiscal side. It could leave the euro?

          • michael norton

            Italy is broke, financially and politically, it has been neutered by the E.U. and the Euro.

  • Republicofscotland

    Holyrood vote just in MSP’s vote 69 to 59 for a second indyref, game on.

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile at least another billion barrels of oil could be hauled out of the North sea.

    Oh the burden of having so much oil, I mean why Scotland, why do we deserve this drawback.

    Oil is a terrible onus for a independent Scotland, but as part of the union, it’s a terrific asset.

    Oh and it’s not worth anything ask any unionist and they’ll tell you that themselves. However Westminster would never devolve it to Holyrood in a million years.

    http://wingsoverscotland.com/under-the-ridge/#more-93160

    • michael norton

      The ordinary people of Scotland, now have another few years of torment to go through, while infrastructure and services cascade down into shit because of the terrible uncertainty.

      • AnonScot

        What do you care about the ordinary people of Scotland?

        Anyway, that gives you 2 more years work doing the people of Scotland down.

        • Zed

          “What do you care about the ordinary people of Scotland?”

          Nothing! All they ever do is whine and complain about how hard done by they are, and did you ever see a Scotsman stand his round down the pub? He opens his wee purse and moths fly out.

          • JOML

            …or the man from Aberdeen who dropped 50p. He bent down to pick it up and it hit him on the back of the head. Yawn, it’s been a while since I left kindergarten – when do you move up?

      • JOML

        Yes, Michael, you did type “shit”. For someone who doesn’t live in Scotland, you appear to be taking this quite personally. As with any long term improvements, there’s always an initial transitional period but that’s no excuse for exaggeration or unnecessary and unfounded negativity. You sound like someone desperate to hold on to empires past…

    • fred

      “Meanwhile at least another billion barrels of oil could be hauled out of the North sea.”

      That should bring the price of Brent crude down considerably.

      • Ben

        Jaysus H. Fred..

        Is it a fucking RENEWABLE resource?

        Oil is the END of energy when it taps out. Why does everyone resurrect it as permanent for our purposes.

        • fred

          So a fall in the price of crude would be a good thing for you then. They wouldn’t be able to afford to extract it.

          • Ben

            Ego Trump’s logic when you can BR at will with a handshake. That’s exactly the way he thinks.

            He probably thinks the cost basis of oil improves with every write-off.

            It’s amazing to me the Markets haven’t gone schizoid with the uncertainty. Maybe it’s me who’s ahead of that curve, but what does that mean? I have no such bona fides.

          • Loony

            In an economy reliant on negative interest rates then the cost base of oil does improve with every write off. To hide this bizarre and unpleasant truth from the people the Dallas Fed has consistently put pressure on banks not to foreclose on shale E&P players.

            For their part in this lunacy banks are compensated with ever more less than free money. This has been going on for a couple of years now – so it is hard to see how this can be spun as a Trump initiative.

            New Scottish oil is a complete irrelevance – 1 billion barrels is about 10.5 days worth of global consumption, plus it is expensive to produce. Not even free money makes this a sensible option – especially when every man and his haggis will be lining up looking for a share of the (non existent) profits. If you want to blame someone look no further than one Barack Obama and a Mr. Bernanke who are both responsible for the current insanity.

            Still it hurts Russia and that is all that matters “to save this village we had to destroy it” – isn’t that how it goes?

          • Ben

            Just sayin…You can depreciate real estate to a zero tax table over a period of years, but then……

            you can’t depreciate to perpetuity. Eventually the bill arrives from the Butcher.

          • Loony

            Indeed the bill does arrive – and at that time there will be a problem like no other.

    • Kempe

      ” Meanwhile at least another billion barrels of oil could be hauled out of the North sea. ”

      That’s three years’ worth at current rates of extraction and worth nothing to the economy at current prices.

      • Alcyone

        Not entirely true Kempe as at break even, there would still be some inherent taxes and employment, but it’s not the nationalists wet dream.

        The nationalists like Craig want to innovate in politics, but why not in business and the economy? Have you heard Sturgeon use the word innovate? I suspect she will run the economy into the ground. But the majority of the Scots will not let her do that. This referendum is dead in the waters of the North Sea.

        After all the criticism of Brexit they want to Sexit also from union with their largest trading partner? If something’s not right, it’s wrong.

        • AnonScot

          Go on, you might rredeem yourself after all you’ve done against the “ordinary” Scots you so enjoy putting down michael. After all you are a fool. X.

        • michael norton

          I think it would be better for the whole of The United Kingdom, if Scotland, were to hold their second,
          once in a life time referendum, as soon as possible.
          Definitely in less than a year, to get it out of the way, before Brexit kicks off.
          It would be less damaging for Scotland, which ever way it goes.

        • AnonScot

          Stop pretending to care when you clearly don’t.
          Have you ever stopped for one moment to read back just how many slurs you have made against “ordinary” Scots?
          You are at it day in, day out, 24/7.
          You must really hate them.

      • JOML

        Given the US control the nuclear weapons in the Clyde (UK only pay for them – mugs!), it is a concern that Westminster (under US instruction) pull out all the stops to deny any successful independence movement. We can only hope that there will be no interference, but it would be naive not to expect external forces to be involved. A huge challenge for the independence movement.

  • RobG

    This news piece is from last November…

    http://www.mintpressnews.com/us-admits-use-depleted-uranium-syria/221988/

    Further evidence has emerged this month (March 2017) of widespread use of DU munitions in Syria, Iraq (again) and Yemen.

    The use of such weapons are war crimes of the highest order.

    The USA is now selling depleted uranium munitions to many other countries. Spread the love. Spread your nuclear waste. For those interested further information about depleted uranium munitions can be found here…

    http://www.truth-out.org/archive/component/k2/item/68824:craig-etchison%E2%80%93depleted-uranium-pernicious-killer-keeps-on-killing

  • Republicofscotland

    Noises coming from Westminster on the recent Holyrood vote, suggest a hardening of stance from Theresa May and her Tory party, possibly looking to kick the indy vote into the long grass untill 2021.

    If Theresa May continues to deny a indy vote come Autumn 2018, Spring 2019, the Scottish government could go ahead and hold a non binding referendum, such as the EU vote to stay or leave.

    Or it could use (UDI), if its good enough for Ireland and the USA, then it’s good enough for Scotland, I say.

      • Loony

        The guy from Hurricane is just talking his own book. Sure there is 1 billion barrels of proven reserves – that is 10.5 days worth of global consumption. Say there is 4 times as much – that is 42 days of global consumption.

        All this hype describes it as “an elephant” Cantarell in Mexico is an elephant and that has 35 billion barrels – note the difference.

        UK (or Scottish if you prefer) peaked at 372 mmtoe in 2003. by 2015 it was down to 112 mmtoe or a 59% decline. A small part of this decline will be due to economics. Even if you assume improved economics and a “massive” 1 billion barrel find – you will not reverse the decline.

        People can do what they want but anyone voting for Scottish independence on the back of hyped up oil stories will get a nasty surprise. Ignorance will not help.. A lot of things are down to opinion – and opinions differ. Numbers not so much (unless you choose to ignore numbers because you think they are racist).

        The linked article is just a snow job – attempting to hoodwink people into voting for something on a false premise. The falsity of which can be proved via numeric analysis..

        • bevin

          Quite true. There are many reasons why Scotland should free itself of foreign rulers but the claims of oil prospector/publicists are not among them.

    • giyane

      Craig went offline a few years ago and reappeared with the oblique warning that the blog would in future be subjected to some deep state editing. Did you think there was a cosy little corner of the web which was free from deep fat frying? Anybody who heats oil in an open saucepan in their own kitchen is asking for losing their eyebrows if not their whole house.

      • RobG

        But come on, giyane, they do let is through now and again.

        Albeit we’re mixed in the saucepan with a plethora of trolls and psychotics.

        Vote for Dipshit.

        New Dipshit, New Britain.

        Vote for Dipshit. Vote for New Britain.

        (they actually fell for this bullshit in the USA, yet again)

      • lysias

        “You voted for them.”

        No, I didn’t. I voted for Jill Stein and Green candidates down the line.

        And, whenever I have a chance, I urge adopting the ancient Athenian system of choosing representatives and officials by lot.

  • giyane

    Obviously Craig airing Scottish Independence on an open forum is going to excite Unionist over-heated fannies, like Mrs May’s, Fred’s, Michael norton’s and alcopop, with the opportunity of airing their racist views. Mrs May hates the French, the Polish, the Turks, the Arabs, the Afghans, the Chinese and the nether East, the US. Why should she not hate the Scots, who are supposed to have been subjected to the English jackboot for some 3 centuries now?

    • Loony

      What a well reasoned non-troll like argument. Do you have any evidence that Mrs. May hates the French, the Polish, the Turks, the Arabs, the Afghans, the Chinese etc.? or are you just making it up as you go along.

      Why would Mrs. May hate all of these people and not also hate say Spaniards or Koreans? It doesn’t seem very likely does it?

      • giyane

        She is today disentangling herself from EU France and Poland. Her government ( collective responsibility ) has made war on Turkey, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan for years by poking the Middle East.
        She initially refused the Chinese contract to build nuclear power stations because she thought it would make the UK vulnerable to blackmail, which obviously didn’t bother her predecessors who set it up.

        Spain and Korea have had enough softening up for the time being, but if they get too big for their boots again veiled threats have been made by the example of Greece and by Obama.

        However I was amused that Nick Clegg who single-handedly brought about this Tory government by backing the unelectable nasty party we all vowed to shun after Mrs Thatcher for the next 1000 years, blathering on about his EU contacts intending to block Brexit’s progress. Why doesn’t he keep his silly mouth shut?

        Believe me the Tories hate everyone except their own Bentleyed selves, which is why they brought about Brexit in the first place. Sometimes a sufficient dose of hate has been delivered to suspend some of the hated parties temporarily from the hate list.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Returning briefly, and with the obligatory apologies, to the topic….

    Craig has no need to worry about Ghana’s future as of lunchtime today. When Tony Blair undertook to help President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo develop the country:

    http://starrfmonline.com/2017/03/28/akufo-addo-will-fix-ghana-tony-blair/

    Did the President, who once upon a time campaigned against neoliberalism, subject himself voluntarily to the blairst of hot air? Or was he simply looking for ringing phrases to include in his own speeches?

    Akufo-Addo faced global backlash, especially on social media, for plagiarizing parts of his inauguration speech, having lifted passages, word-for-word, from previous inaugural addresses given by American presidents John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as well as prepared remarks given by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at a 2015 United States Institute of Peace event. [28][29][30] [31] [32][33] After the scandal came to light, his press office issued an apology with his communication director describing the situation as a “complete oversight and never deliberate.” [34] [35] [36] However, after the mea culpa, it was found that Akufo-Addo had also plagiarized portions of his 2013 concession speech after the Supreme Court of Ghana upheld the 2012 electoral victory of President John Mahama. In that speech, lines were lifted verbatim from United States Vice President Al Gore’s 2000 presidential concession speech given after the US Supreme Court verdict.[

    (Wikipedia)

  • RobG

    Who are these people who post constantly on boards like this and cheer for mass murder?

    One can only assume that they are complete psychopaths.

    Not in my name, pal.

  • bevin

    Craig’s old friends Ray McGovern and Bill Binney:

    “Although many details are still hazy because of secrecy – and further befogged by politics – it appears House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes was informed last week about invasive electronic surveillance of senior U.S. government officials and, in turn, passed that information onto President Trump.
    This news presents Trump with an unwelcome but unavoidable choice: confront those who have kept him in the dark about such rogue activities or live fearfully in their shadow. (The latter was the path chosen by President Obama. Will Trump choose the road less traveled?)

    “What President Trump decides will largely determine the freedom of action he enjoys as president on many key security and other issues. But even more so, his choice may decide whether there is a future for this constitutional republic. Either he can acquiesce to or fight against a Deep State of intelligence officials who have a myriad of ways to spy on politicians (and other citizens) and thus amass derogatory material that can be easily transformed into blackmail……”

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46757.htm

    • Ben

      What a holy crock of shit.

      TRUMP: The bulwark against the Deep State!

      If you progs had a lick of sense, you would evacuate the tarmac post haste!

      Seriously..is there a grey cell in the House?

      Lol.

  • C Thomas

    Arise Sir Brexit yer time has come ! We even have the usual rabid shemales Melanie Philips,Anon1,Mensch,Hopkins behind us (one currently holidaying in Israel) in the hope they will convince us to bomb Syria with something more sophisticated than just barrel bombs eg JDAMS. Sorry no can do, we’d rather spend the £2 BILLION on our own disabled people.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Northern Ireland has the right to leave the United Kingdom and join the European Union as part of the Republic after Brexit, ministers have conceded for the first time.”

    “In a fresh blow to Theresa May’s efforts to keep the Union together, ministers have concluded that the country would not have to reapply for EU membership as a new state if it voted for reunification.”

    http://www.thenational.scot/news/15187742.David_Davis_admits_Northern_Ireland_has_a_Brexit_get_out/

    Well it looks like NI has a get out clause, built into the Good Friday agreement. However it will be a difficult task to unify Ireland, mainly due to the die-hard loyalists.

    Still when the realisation of Brexit finally bites, low wages, high unemployment, a higher cost of living etc. Some of less rabid loyalist might change their position, and see the light.

    • Habbabkuk

      If Northern Ireland were to remain in the EU via unification with the Republic of Ireland it would of course have to use the euro.

    • lysias

      If the Irish federation also includes Scotland, that might be enough to quiet the fears of the Ulster Protestants.

      And, as Fwl has pointed out, that would also be a way to keep Scotland in the EU.

  • Republicofscotland

    Well Project Fear reassembled this week, (probably somewhere in the bowels of Westminster) to discuss tactics on thwarting Scottish independence.

    Flipper (Alistair Darling) will be involved but not as a figurehead again, Ruth (tank girl) Davidson has been touted as the new head of the snake.

    Project Fear are said to have rebranded their awful name to “New Direction” maybe this tired old group of has beens, see themselves as a older version of the band One Direction.

    http://www.thenational.scot/politics/15187714.Better_Together_set_to_be_rebranded_as_New_Direction/?ref=mr&lp=5

    It looks like it will be, another desperate attempt to try and keep Scotland in the union.

    • Republicofscotland

      The Scottish branch office of the Tory party, ie MSP’s do not accept the sovereignty of the Scottish parliament.

      https://mobile.twitter.com/SNPChris/status/846851416882888704

      How can we possibly expect the unionist party MSP’s to work for the good of the Scottish people, if they do not see the Holyrood as sovereign, when their oath is sworn to the Queen and her heirs.

      Yes the SNP and Greens also have to take the oath or affirmation, but at least they see the Scottish parliament as sovereign.

      I find any Scottish civil servant armed forces or an other related field, having to swear a oath to the queen and heir heirs, distasteful and archaic. In a independent Scotland I’d prefer they swore an oath to the people.

      • michael norton

        Hey RoS, when Scotland is an Independent Country
        what will be the state retirement age
        50, 60 or 70?

        State pension age could be raised to 70, says report
        Ministry of Truth

        France is 60, I think,
        mind you they have millions on the dole or underemployed.

        • Rob Royston

          Why would anyone want to retire when there’s a country to re-build? Once we are free and the young stay at home or, if they have left and they decide to return, us auld yins can start spending some of our wealth.

      • Habbabkuk

        The Nazis and the Russian commies were people who kept talking about “the people” all the time, RoS.

        And look what happened there.

        A lot of people were suddenly people not longer.

      • Habbabkuk

        “I find any Scottish civil servant armed forces or an other related field, having to swear a oath to the queen and heir heirs, distasteful and archaic. In a independent Scotland I’d prefer they swore an oath to the people.”
        ____________________

        I understand that, RoS.

        What is the announced SNP policy on this – monarchy or republic?

        I imagine that there IS an announced SNP policy on this matter…?

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