Narina trogon in South Africa

This 16 September 2018 video says about itself:

Video of a male Narina Trogon, with the call added. Footage taken near Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, South Africa.


Which referrers referred most to my blog in 2018?

This 31 December 2018 video says about itself:

Major cities around the world kick-started the new year 2019 with fireworks displays and dazzling performances and shows.

Which referrers referred most to my blog in 2018?

Referrers for 365 days ending 2018-12-31 (Summarized)

December 31, 2017 to Today

Referrer Views
Search Engines 51,221 Reader 34,424
Facebook 1,910
WordPress Android App 1,275
Twitter 807 392 334
Pinterest 269 228 162 130
Wikipedia 117
WordPress Dashboard 103 80

Corporate media news, real fake news

This 21 December 2018 video says about itself:

Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine has fired Claas Relotius, an award-winning staff writer, after finding he fabricated and invented facts in many articles in recent years.

By Peter Schwarz in Germany:

Der Spiegel’s counterfeit journalism and the campaign against “fake news”

31 December 2018

The exposure of journalistic fraud at the German news weekly Der Spiegel has lifted the lid on the manipulation of public opinion by the so-called “authoritative” media. While Facebook, Google, Twitter and other social media systematically censor unwelcome posts, the supposedly “reliable” and “objective” reporting by the mainstream media proves to be propaganda produced in cooperation with the state to promote the interests of the ruling class. In the name of combatting “fake news”, freedom of the press and freedom of opinion are being gutted.

Last week, the editors of Der Spiegel, the highest-circulation German news magazine, admitted that they had published 55 articles by the journalist Claas Relotius that were “completely or partially invented, falsified, forged.”

Relotius has also written numerous articles for other German media outlets.

Since the public acknowledgment by Der Spiegel’s editors, the news weekly’s editorial board has endeavoured to portray the Relotius scandal as a unique case in which genius, a desire for prestige, nihilistic energy and psychological instability came together. According to media reports, Spiegel has provided the counterfeiter, who voluntarily resigned following his exposure, with psychological care and a lawyer.

Relotius may be an exception in the brazenness of his forgeries, but the much more important question is why his fabrications were published by Spiegel and other media and why he was awarded numerous journalistic prizes. At the tender age of 33, Relotius has received almost a dozen prestigious awards by juries that included not only journalists, but also prominent figures in politics and public life.

His forgeries, as it turns out, were by no means difficult to see through. The Spiegel editorial board repeatedly ignored anomalies and warnings. Now it admits with disarming openness that Relotius’ reports were “too good to be true.”

What is the significance of this scandal? According to commentators, although Relotius’ reports were fake, they were still “beautiful”, i.e., they corresponded to the narrative the editors and journalism award jurors wanted to promulgate. In his writing, “the present is concentrated into a readable format, the grand outlines of contemporary history become comprehensible, and suddenly the great whole becomes completely humanly comprehensible”, Spiegel editor-in-chief Ullrich Fichtner gushed following the exposure. As long as the forgeries were not discovered, they were welcome.

Many of Relotius’ articles deal with topics that are particularly sensitive from the point of view of bourgeois propaganda, such as the background to Trump’s rise in the US and the wars in Iraq and Syria.

To justify the Western military interventions in the Middle East, a fairy tale by Relotius about two young brothers (“lion boys”) kidnapped, tortured and trained by the Islamic State (ISIS) to become suicide bombers proved much more effective than a carefully researched piece into the real background to the wars. Such an article would have to admit—if it were honest—that ISIS and other Islamist militias are, above all, a product of the intrigues of the US and its allies in NATO and in the Middle East.

Relotius’s fabrications fit seamlessly into a stream of disinformation that has lasted for nearly 16 years—since then-US Secretary of State Colin Powell gave his infamous speech at the UN on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Although the entire speech was based on lies and forgeries, it was largely accepted uncritically by the international media and served as a justification for the bloodiest war of the 21st century, which continues to this day.

Freedom of the press is an achievement of the bourgeois revolution. The bourgeoisie upheld it as long as it was fighting against the supremacy of the aristocracy, and later enshrined it in its constitutions. While capitalism remained capable of social compromise, such freedoms retained a spark of life. But freedom of the press is not compatible with war, militarism and a society based on intolerable levels of social inequality.

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who exposed the Watergate scandal, were still being celebrated and honoured in the 1970s. Today, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, who have uncovered incomparably more serious crimes of US imperialism, are isolated and living in forced exile, and must fear for their lives. Outrageous counterfeiters such as Relotius, on the other hand, are awarded prizes.

The incestuous relationship between the world of politics and the media has taken on a dimension that defies description. Billion-dollar media conglomerates dominate the press. Journalists and leading politicians know each other, mingle at the same bars, and frolic together alongside film stars and other celebrities at annual press galas.

As with the establishment political parties, the terms “left” and “right” have lost all meaning in relation to the media. Stefan Aust, previously the long-standing editor-in-chief of Spiegel, who began his career in 1966 at the left-wing publication konkret, is now editor of Die Welt, the flagship paper of the right-wing Springer publishing house.

Nikolaus Blome, deputy editor-in-chief of Springer’s rag Bild, worked for a time for the Spiegel editor-in-chief. Other leading journalists also regularly switch from one publication to the other, with the pro-Green Party taz proving to be particularly fertile ground for up-and-coming bourgeois journalists.

Relotius has also published his articles across the entire spectrum of the German media—from taz to Die Zeit, the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Springer’s Welt. In second place behind Spiegel in terms of articles published by Relotius is the Swiss Weltwoche, mouthpiece of the ultra-right Swiss People’s Party, with 28 pieces.

Social reality, the sentiments and needs of the masses hardly exist in the closed circle of the political parties, the media and the super-rich. The media have become instruments of state propaganda. This is the reason Claas Relotius—a contemporary version of Thomas Mann’s impostor Felix Krull—could become a star journalist.

Workers and young people have long been suspicious of the official media and are searching the internet for alternative, more objective sources of information. This is the reason for the hysterical campaign against “fake news”, which serves as a pretext for censoring the internet and is directed in particular against left-wing, anti-capitalist publications. Both the European Union and the German government have enacted internet censorship laws under the false flag of combatting “fake news”. Facebook alone employs 30,000 people to censor unwelcome posts. Terms such as “comrade” and “brother” suffice for an entry to be deleted.

In a further step aimed at strengthening state control over the internet and digital content, Canada’s Liberal government has announced a multi-million dollar media fund to be distributed to outlets deemed to be producing “authoritative content.” The $600 million fund, to be launched this fall, will be dispensed by an eight-member government-appointed committee: here.

Tomopteris deep-sea worms, video

This 27 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Tomopteris deep-sea worms

Tomopterids are pelagic polychaete (segmented worm) with paddle-like parapodia that propel them through the water column. They are relatively common in the deep mesopelagic, or twilight zone, and can live down to about 2,500 meters (8,200 feet).

Many Tomopterids are only a centimeter or two long, but some can also get to be quite large—up to 30 centimeters (12 inches!). They are voracious predators, using their speed and agility to capture and consume a variety of midwater organisms. Tomopterids are one of a few organisms observed spewing yellow bioluminescent mucus, presumably to deter predators. Yellow bioluminescence is rare in the deep and scientist don’t yet know why this worm has adapted this ability.

German neo-fascist politician in South African pro-apartheid paramilitary

This 18 December 2018 German video is about extreme right politician Petr Bystron participating in pro-apartheid firearms drills in South Africa.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

German AfD parliamentarian joins weapons drill of far-right group in South Africa

31 December 2018

Petr Bystron, a member of the German Bundestag (parliament) from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), took part in shooting exercises of the paramilitary “Suidlanders” group during an official parliamentary trip to South Africa, according to a report published last week by the ARD policy magazine Report Mainz.

The Suidlanders is a right-wing extremist organization founded in 2006 by Gustav Zietsmann Müller. Müller was a member of the infamous South African National Intelligence Service (NIS) during the racist apartheid regime.

According to their own statements, the Suidlanders are preparing for a “racial war” against the predominantly black population of South Africa. Simon Roche, the organisation’s spokesman, told Report Mainz: “The blacks want to exterminate all the whites in the country. We believe there will be a racial war. That’s unavoidable. You can’t mix oil and water. Under the present circumstances, no civilization can be built in South Africa.”

Roche proudly showed the organisation’s weapons to Report Mainz journalists, claiming that his group “wanted only to defend itself, never to attack.” That is an obvious lie.

The South African police accused the Suidlanders of actively planning attacks in the run-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. According to an entry in the German Wikipedia: “[F]arms and private property were searched… They found arsenals of explosives, ammunition and firearms and issued an arrest warrant.”

In August 2017, Roche and other Suidlanders took part in the right-wing violence in Charlottesville, Virginia that ended with the killing of 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring of at least 19 others. Following the protests, Roche and one of his colleagues met with one of the most infamous neo-Nazis in the US, David Duke, former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

The article by Report Mainz gives a sense of the openness with which influential German politicians—Bystron chairs the AfD fraction in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Bundestag—maintain contact with racist and right-wing terrorist organizations and participate in their operations. Its report cites Bystron as saying that “As a member of parliament who is responsible for foreign policy, he must meet everyone, ‘if I want to get a comprehensive picture of a country.’” For him, the Suidlanders are “an organisation of civil society in South Africa.”

The article includes the following dialogue:

Report Mainz: “The Suidlanders are holding warlike shooting exercises.”

Bystron: “Possibly even with German weapons. That’s nice, isn’t it? Then they are the customers of our products, just like the BMW motorcycles they ride.”

Report Mainz: “Were you present at the shooting training?”

Bystron: “Yes.”

Report Mainz: “Did you actively paricipate?”

Bystron: “Yes, of course. I am a hunter.”

Report Mainz: “Well, I hear you have no problem being in contact with the Suidlanders.”

Bystron: “No.”

As usual, the representatives of the government and the opposition have reacted to the latest revelation of right-wing extremist activities by the AfD with hypocritical horror and calls for the state to intervene.

Burkhard Lischka, the domestic policy spokesman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), told Report Mainz: “To be honest, it takes my breath away. The [Suidlanders] are paramilitary apartheid warriors. This again shows the double game of the AfD. On the one hand, they declare that AfD membership is incompatible with this type of extremist organization, and on the other hand they court these organizations worldwide.”

The Green vice president of the Bundestag, Claudia Roth, expressed herself similarly on Spiegel Online: “Petr Bystron makes it clear that the AfD’s inhibition threshold to open proximity and international cooperation with openly racist and violent groups is not only diminishing, it has been eliminated. It is perfectly clear: The Suidlanders are preparing to kill black people in South Africa. Whoever seeks links to such a scene—let alone joining its shooting exercises!—leaves the sphere of our Basic Law.”

The Social Democratic vice president of the Bundestag, Thomas Oppermann, wrote on Twitter: “If AfD member of parliament Bystron actually participated in the shooting training of a right-wing extremist/racist group in South Africa during a BT [Bundestag] business trip, this would be a case for the Office for the Protection of the Constitution [Verfassungsschutz]. And it should be his last such business trip.”

Obviously, the established parties are trying to cover their tracks. In fact, Bystron, who maintains contacts with the right-wing extremist identitarian movement and openly counts National Socialist politicians such as the Swiss Eric Weber among his staff, could carry out his “business trip” to South Africa only because it had been approved and paid for by the Bundestag.

The German parliament confirmed this to Report Mainz. The website Spiegel Online quotes a spokesman for the Bundestag as saying, “The president of the Bundestag [Wolfgang Schäuble] approved the individual business trip on the basis of the application.” It adds that the Foreign Affairs Committee “voted in favour of the motion.”

Bystron’s shooting exercises with the Suidlanders would not have been possible without the active support of the other Bundestag parties, all of which are represented on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Behind the scenes, the SPD in particular is working closely with the AfD.

For example, the AfD politician Stephan Brandner owes his post as chairman of the powerful Legal Affairs Committee of the Bundestag to Thomas Oppermann, who proposed the AfD delegate for election. At Humboldt University in Berlin, the Social Democratic president, Sabine Kunst, is suing the student administration (RefRat) at the behest of the AfD and defending the radical right-wing professor Jörg Baberowski, who has been inciting his fascistic supporters to attack left-wing student meetings.

The Bystron case makes clear that it is not only in the police and the German armed forces that Neo-Nazi networks exist, but that right-wing extremist structures reach into the Bundestag and are systematically covered up and supported by the highest authorities and politicians within the state and government apparatus.

How closely the ruling class works with right-wing extremist forces to enforce its hated policies of austerity at home and militarism abroad against growing popular opposition was also on display during the recent trip to Iraq by Social Democratic Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. One member of Maas’ delegation was none other than Bystron, who can be seen in photographs standing next to the German foreign minister!

The themes of the trip could have been taken directly out of the AfD party programme. At its core is the enforcement of the economic and geo-strategic interests of German imperialism in the Middle East and measures to fend off refugees and organize their deportation back to the war zones. In Baghdad, Maas spoke out in favour of a continuation of the engagement of the Bundeswehr [German armed forces] in the region, and declared: “I believe that the security situation is such that one can say there is a basis for people to have a perspective of staying here currently and returning in the future.”