War – What is it good for?

Mark A. McPherson

When the United Kingdom Coalition Government was formed not so long ago, the official line that was constantly being trotted out was:

“Britain is broke. We have to cut the deficit, and that means painful cuts to public spending.”

So you can imagine my cynicism upon reading the following news report regarding the (then) situation in Libya:

“Chancellor George Osborne sought to reassure the public that the cost of the war would not spiral out of control, saying it would be ‘in the tens of millions not the hundreds of millions of pounds’

He said it would be paid for from the Treasury’s reserve, rather than the main defence budget.

The Government expects the air campaign, featuring RAF Typhoon and Tornado jets plus Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from the submarine Triumph, to cost around £3million a day, though the Daily Mail has calculated that the first three days cost nearly…

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Britain and the lies on the “War on Terror”

Mark A. McPherson

Nowadays, it’s remarkably easy to brand anyone a terrorist.

Often no evidence is required.

If the government and certain sections of the media brand someone as a radical terrorist with suspected links to a certain group, then it must be so.

Generally the brainwashed population blindly accept this as fact.

Take the widely publicized case of Abu Qatada, who is currently under worldwide embargo by the United Nations Security Council Committee 1267 for his alleged affiliation with al-Qaeda.

Abu Qatada has been systematically imprisoned in Britain since 2002, when he was first detained under anti-terrorism laws.

In spite of various government officials branding him dangerous and radical, he has not been prosecuted here for any crime, or actually charged with anything.

Our Government is currently trying to deport him, having extracted a “cross my heart” promise from Jordan not to torture him.

I don’t know the man personally, and I…

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Why Western Governments can’t be trusted

I came to the conclusion many years ago that not only can the government of the UK not be trusted, but pretty much all Western governments cannot be trusted.

In short, they have a history of lying to us.

Whether it’s telling us of “impending terror attacks,” weapons of mass destruction, or Members of Parliament lying and fiddling their expense accounts, we’ve been lied to.

Time and time again.

Our response?

We vote for whoever is in Opposition, hoping that things will get better.

They don’t, so we vote for whoever happens to be in Opposition years down the line.

Here in the UK, we habitually flirt with the idea that we live in an actual democracy.
Our brand of democracy – apparently – is so good that we systematically invade other countries and talk about promoting “Democracy” to whichever country we’ve bombed and ransacked that year.

The news constantly tells us what we should be afraid of, and our government continue to pass new laws to keep us “safe.”

We get bored of the current political party in power, and vote for a different party at the next election.

And so the cycle continues.

Someone once asked me if I was so troubled by the dishonesty of the mainstream political parties, why I didn’t do something about it, start up my own party.
Here’s why that wouldn’t work….

I start up a political party.
We gain support from ordinary people in the UK.
We campaign on a platform of transparency and fairness:

No more bank bail outs.
No more cover ups (“alleged” paedophile rings in government, abuses of power, etc.).
Scrapping of MP’s expenses.
No more invading other countries and slaughtering thousands of overseas civilians under the guise of “democracy.”
No more passing of laws which infringe on civil liberties.
No more government spying on its own population.
No more donations from big business to political parties.
Re-nationalization of all utilities and transportation.
Massive fines for any businesses found to be engaging in underhand practices.
Working on scrapping the World Bank and IMF.
Building of more social housing to combat the chronic house shortage and extortionate private rents.

Any party that genuinely ran along these lines would be demonized in the media, and smeared beyond belief.

And that’s before remembering that numerous figures in history have been assassinated when they didn’t follow “conventional” thinking.

I hope in my lifetime that we can live in a world where governments don’t lie to us at every opportunity, where every news report isn’t designed to influence us towards a certain way of thinking, where we don’t trample over the poor and disadvantaged in the pursuit of ever increasing profits.

But I think that day is some time off…..

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2014.
All rights reserved.

How to guard your privacy

Many people will have heard of the high profile case of The News Of The World (former tabloid UK newspaper) routinely intercepting voicemail messages of politicians, celebrities and other public figures.

This became known in the press as “Phone Hacking.”

Here’s how to guard against this.

When most people listen to their voicemail messages, they do so from their own mobile phone.
You can however, access your voicemail from any other phone.
You dial your mobile number from any other phone.

At this point, you would have either switched your phone off, or let it go to voicemail.

When you get your own answer machine greeting, press *(asterisk) twice.

You’ll then be prompted to enter your pin. By default (and dependent on network), this is usually 1111 or 0000 (or a similar four digit number).

Now you can access your voicemail.

Most people never have a reason to listen to their voicemail from another phone, so wouldn’t even realise they need to change the default PIN.

So, if someone wanted to listen to your messages, all they would have to do is what I have described.
You have been warned…….

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2014.
All rights reserved.

Who are you afraid of?

I was on a train a few days ago.

A young Asian man with a beard and skull cap got on with a backpack, made his way down the aisle and sat down.
Some of his fellow passengers watched him all the way.

I was standing on this train with my mountain bike, and as such, had a clear view of the length of the carriage.
A few passengers on that train were directing furtive glances his way.

It occurred to me that because of his appearance, some of my fellow travellers had already marked this man out as someone to be viewed with suspicion.

In today’s society, our Government, working in tandem with the media, tell us repeatedly that we should be afraid.

There are threats everywhere; people are plotting to destroy our way of life.
All this propaganda results in the population viewing others with suspicion – whether it’s the current witch-hunt against Muslims, or the population being told that vast groups of immigrants are coming to Britain, taking our jobs, benefits and housing.

Where I live is a relatively quiet area.
When I stroll around, I’m not expecting to be blown to bits, stabbed or robbed.
But look into most newspapers and you’d believe that we live in a war zone.

The so called “War on Terror” is a sham.

A convenient sound bite which enables governments to change the law at will, and in the process taking away more of our civil rights.
This is a “war” that cannot be won.

Our leaders bomb some country that has never actively threatened the UK, and when the dust clears, the people who have been affected by our murderous rampage around the globe might be more willing to exact revenge upon the UK.

And the cycle continues.

We become complacent to the killing carried out in our name as the countries are not anywhere near us, and are usually de-humanized by our media.

We don’t get the see families destroyed when the bombs are dropped, the drones deployed, whole generations wiped out. Our politicians continually lie to us, telling us that this person or that was some high ranking official in whatever group is popular that week.

Ironically both the USA and the UK have in the past bankrolled and assisted a lot of the groups that we are now condemning.
But our Government tends to gloss over that.

The lies continue.

And we continue to believe our government is acting in our best interest.

Trouble is – they are not.

And while we continue to ignore this fact, nothing will change.

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2013.
All Rights Reserved.

The REAL Human Rights record of the UK

Some time ago, David Cameron (at the time, Prime Minister of the UK) raised concerns over alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.

It has been well documented that other countries over the years have had poor records on Human Rights, but perhaps we in the UK should look closer to home….

Diego Garcia is a tropical, footprint-shaped island located south of the equator in the central Indian Ocean.

It is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) and comes under a group of islands referred to as the Chagos Archipelago.

In 1971, The British Government decided to relocate all of the inhabitants (who were, incidentally British subjects who had lived on the island for generations) against their will to Mauritius so they could lease the Island to the United States to build an Army Base on.

This is in stark contrast to the British Government’s attitude to the Falkland Islands:

Inhabited by British subjects, we went to war with Argentina to protect the rights of the inhabitants to live on that particular island.

The majority of Diego Garcia’s Islander’s who haven’t died waiting to go back to their homeland currently live in squalor in Mauritius.
They have lodged appeals through the courts in the UK, and won, only to be overruled by successive British Governments using archaic secret powers you don’t get to read about in the mainstream media.
To add insult to injury, our government first stated the island wasn’t inhabited in the first place, declared the island a Marine Nature Reserve, and went on to say the island was not capable of supporting human life – despite the fact that there is a military base on it, complete with restaurants, shops, and army personnel.

In 2000 the British High Court granted the islanders the right to return to the Archipelago.
On 10 June 2004 the British government made two Orders in Council under the Royal Prerogative forever banning the islanders from returning home, to override the effect of the 2000 court decision.

On 11 May 2006 the British High Court ruled that the 2004 Orders-in-Council were unlawful, and consequently that the Chagossians were entitled to return to the Chagos Archipelago.

On 23 May 2007, the UK Government’s appeal against the 2006 High Court ruling was dismissed, and they took the matter to the House of Lords.

On 22 October 2008, the UK Government won on appeal, the House of Lords overturned the 2006 High Court ruling and upheld the two 2004 Orders-in-Council and with them the Government’s ban on anyone returning.

This story of Diego Garcia and the forced removal of  an entire generation of people is covered  in John Pilger’s excellent documentary “Stealing a nation.”

So the next time our government tries to highlight another country’s Human Rights record, remember that here in the UK, many things go unreported…

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2013, 2018
All rights reserved.

Would you rent your property to a black person?

In a recent episode of “Inside Out” broadcast on the BBC on Monday the 14th of October 2013, it was discovered the some Letting Agents were actively discriminating against black tenants.

What staggers me is certain sections of the media, in their outrage, are acting like covert racism is a new problem.

In the past, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve rung up to view a flat, only to find when I’ve arrived for a viewing twenty minutes later to be told the property is no longer available.

Racism is still alive and kicking.

To assume otherwise is frankly naive, and misguided.

On the other hand, my current landlord clearly doesn’t care what colour I am. We’ve spoken on the phone many times, but never met.

I pay my rent on time, he is content.

There is no place in today’s society for racism of any kind.

Problem is nowadays, in many cases, racism is a little more subtle.

I hope in my lifetime that we get to a stage where colour doesn’t matter.

We are all simply human beings, after all.

I doubt we’ll get there, but you have to have a little hope….

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2013.

All Rights Reserved.

Baiting the email scammers

So there I was, minding my own business, when the typical scam email appeared in my inbox.
Normally I’d delete.
But not this time.

They all follow the same basic pattern: they have money, they want to share, they need my details.
Fair enough. Who am I to pass up millions of free dollars?
Here’s the email:

Email Scammers

My response?

Dear Mr Van Der Kaap,
I am extremely intrigued by your offer, though before I reveal any personal details about myself, or the fact that I am the Managing Director of a well-known chain of shops selling the number one erotic toy, I have to ask who else have you told of this remarkable offer, as I find it hard to believe I am the only person you have made this offer to.
As such, revelations to another person would surely reduce my cut?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely,
Seymour Butts.

His response will be posted……