China: On the Balance of Evils

Chinese re-education camps in Xinjiang have been in the news recently, where it is reported that the Chinese authorities are ‘re-educating’ some up to 2 million Muslim Uyghur people. The accusations against the Chinese government include disappearances, constant surveillance using facial recognition and phone apps, in-home monitoring by party cadre and both physical and psychological abuse. If these accusations are true, then is it is certainly a human rights issue on a massive scale. 2019-03-10 Ben Bland -Xinjiang camps.jpg

Under pressure of reports in the media, the Chinese have sought to explain their actions as a necessary measure to address an issue of terrorism and separatism. Xiao Qian, China’s Ambassador to Indonesia, cites the 2009 riots in Urumqi which he says killed 197 people, injured more than 1,700 and caused “colossal” property damage, with unrest between 2003 and 2016 involving eight terrorist attacks killing more than 120 people and injuring some 400 others. According to Xiao “It is fair to say that the issue related to Xinjiang is not religious but rather political. It is the manifestation of the struggle between unity and secession, peace and violence and it is a matter of principle concerning China’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.”  Xiao’s account of what is being done in Xinjiang is that the Chinese authorities have “taken measures to resolutely combat terrorism, extremism and separatism, and in the meantime, special attention was given to preventing the association of violent terrorist activities and religious extremism with particular ethnic groups or religions.”  Continue reading “China: On the Balance of Evils”

Nations Under Attack (Part 2): The US War Machine

In Part One of this series I examined how global elites have shaped the world so as to advance their own personal wealth and power. They have done this through a variety of means, including economic trickery, political manoeuvring and through both hot and cold warfare. Since World War II, the Western elites mostly associated with the USA and Europe have acted through the power and reach of the USA and its apparatus of public and private organisations that collectively constitute the US War Machine. This article briefly describes the elements of the US War Machine and then covers the main components of the toolkit deployed against targeted nations. Continue reading “Nations Under Attack (Part 2): The US War Machine”

Review: The Invention of Russia: The Journey from Gorbachev’s Freedom to Putin’s War by Arkady Ostrovsky

The book reads well in a survey of the personalities and events from someone born and raised in the USSR during a time of massive change that brought about the dissolution of that country. 

How much is real and how much is fiction is difficult to say. However, by treating everything that happened to and in the USSR and subsequently to Russia, the writer reveals a blindness to the externally driven geopolitical motivations and actions that helped to shape and direct these events. For instance, the deliberate strategies the US employed in using islamist terrorists to lure the USSR into Afghanistan in their own version of Vietnam. Continue reading “Review: The Invention of Russia: The Journey from Gorbachev’s Freedom to Putin’s War by Arkady Ostrovsky”

Nations Under Attack (Part 1): In the Empire’s Gunsights

This is the first in what I plan to be a series of articles examining the current world situation which appears to be increasingly headed to another major economic crisis and the possibility of a major world conflict. Either of these events will undoubtedly devastate the lives and livelihoods of billions of ordinary people across the planet. This comes at a critical time in history, when in the face of a climate crisis and ever more voracious exploitation it seems that corporate profits and governmental paralysis are dooming many species to extinction—and perhaps the humanity itself. Continue reading “Nations Under Attack (Part 1): In the Empire’s Gunsights”

Thoughts on the nature of the god construct

Quora is a strange place where people pose a variety of questions on all sorts of topics. Many of the questions are from a range of people, some genuinely asking questions to find answers and others trolling for angry responses or merely the bored who incite earnest replies from the more serious minded for a laugh. Quora must have me profiled as an atheist because I tend to get a lot of questions and answers in my feed related to religious questions. Many of these seem to be from the religiously minded who seem to pose leading questions that appear to be aimed at encouraging atheists to give up their ignorant ways and see the light – a sample of such questions from my Quora feed as I write this include the following gems:

  • As an atheist, who will you turn to in your hour of need? Will you just accept your fate willingly without any additional source of hope?
  • As an atheist, why is it hard to believe in a superior being?
  • Why would an atheist suggest that more people should read the Bible?
  • What is the psychology behind atheism? What motivates people to believe in atheism?
  • Is atheism and agnostic the same thing or are they similar?
  • As an atheist, what would it take to convince you of God? Think about your answer more before you just say “evidence”. What specific evidence could be only attributed to God that would convince you of God?

Continue reading “Thoughts on the nature of the god construct”

Shaping the News: Propaganda, Media Ownership and Influence Networks

The idea that much of the mainstream media in the USA is now controlled and shaped by some six corporations is not new. For instance, a Business Insider blog post These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America by Ashley Lutz dated Jun. 14, 2012 shows a popular infographic/meme from the Frugal Dad weblog. Continue reading “Shaping the News: Propaganda, Media Ownership and Influence Networks”

A Conspiracy Theory, Part II

Part I of this article sets out the background to the discourses surrounding the terms “Conspiracy Theorist” and “Truther” as rhetorical devices to negatively position narratives that expose and oppose official narratives about egregious governmental conspiracies and activities. The article then looked at the works of Zbigniew Brzezinski as a flawed but active roadmap for a US based global hegemony as a conspiracy to dominate and reshape the world.  Continue reading “A Conspiracy Theory, Part II”

A Conspiracy Theory, Part I

The thinking for this post originated in a Twitter exchange where I posted a link to an article at Global Research as a response to a New Zealand academic’s tweet about Trump describing Haiti as a “shit hole.” My point was to draw attention to the way the Clinton’s are reported to have extensively abused that country since the earthquake well in advance of Trump’s current attack on the island nation.

When this academic, whose Twitter profile describes him as a Director, Centre for Strategic Studies at an Australasian university, chose to respond to the link in terms of the Conspiracy Theorist / Truther discourse based merely on the source url (globalresearch.ca), it struck me as an intellectually lazy response from an academic and said so. He then responded with a moon landing conspiracy video.    Continue reading “A Conspiracy Theory, Part I”

Six women challenging the world order right now

Being a New Zealander, the role of women as equal and active participants in civic affairs is not a unsurprising to me—New Zealand was the first country in the world where women achieved universal suffrage (in 1893). Only twenty years ago, New Zealand was the first country in the world to have the five highest offices of power simultaneously held by women, with the Sovereign Queen Elizabeth II of New Zealand, Governor-General Silvia Cartwright, Prime Minister Helen Clark, Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives Margaret Wilson and Chief Justice Sian Elias. In 2017, the country has just elected the dynamic and articulate 37 year old Jacinda Ardern as its third female Prime Minister.

Against this background, it is not a huge shock to me that the advance of women in the public sphere has been a notable aspect of the modern international resistance to the chaos that has been unleashed upon the world in the 21st Century. Rather, I find it encouraging that so many strong, highly motivated women seem to be taking a lead in exposing the corruption and moral bankruptcy of the political and corporate so-called “leaders” that front the criminal elites. Elites, who for their own greed and lust for power, have taken the world into seemingly endless wars, poverty and starvation for millions, a global environmental catastrophe and, perhaps even, our ultimate extinction as a species.

So, I would like to tell you about six women who have been an inspiration to me in my own personal journey to make sense of what is happening around us, who is responsible for the situation in which we find ourselves and, just perhaps, what we can do about it. Continue reading “Six women challenging the world order right now”

Eight easy steps to exit Facebook

It is now 10 years since I first signed up to Facebook and over that time it has turned from being a fun way to interact with friends and family into what has at times seemed a necessary window on the world. As with hundreds of millions of other Facebook users, my involvement with Facebook grew until my family, extended family, my friends and even some business contacts were on my friends list. I was now in touch with relatives and friends I had not seen or spoken to in 30 years. I had joined myriad groups and added likes and follows to all sorts of special interest topics. Clubs I had joined outside of Facebook used it to communicate about events and news. The Facebook NewsFeed was my first port of call for daily news and events. More lately, my wife and I started a business, and Facebook became a key element in our marketing plan to attract and communicate with customers.

But, growing discomfort with the privacy aspects of Facebook has been added to in recent times by the way various governments and special interest groups have managed to strongarm Facebook into censoring content they deem offensive or politically unacceptable. This governmental reach has taken on sinister dimensions since the advent of so-called “war on terror”, where ever more draconian laws have been passed giving the security services reach into the data transmitted over the Internet and, especially data stored on computers hosted in the USA.

Continue reading “Eight easy steps to exit Facebook”