After Sir Jimmy Saville, Sir Cliff Richard?


United States preacher Billy Graham and Cliff Richard in 1967

From Rolling Stone in the USA:

Cliff Richard Sex Assault Investigation Expands

“I have never, in my life, assaulted anyone and I remain confident that the truth will prevail,” singer says

By Kory Grow

February 25, 2015

An investigation into sexual assault allegations against 74-year-old musician Sir Cliff Richard has “increased significantly in size,” U.K. police recently disclosed. The singer, who is best known for a string of U.K. hits with the group the Shadows, previously faced only one claim against him, but now authorities say he faces multiple allegations. He has not been arrested or charged, but The Telegraph reports police have previously raided his home in Berkshire, U.K., in association with the claims last August.

“I have no idea where these absurd and untrue allegations come from,” Richard wrote on his Facebook page in response. “The police have not disclosed details to me. I have never, in my life, assaulted anyone and I remain confident that the truth will prevail. I have cooperated fully with the police, and will, of course, continue to do so.”

The singer went on to say that he would not comment on the matter further until the investigation was done, “which I hope will be very soon,” he added. But that might not be the case, though. In a letter that South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable David Crompton sent to a member of parliament, the BBC reports, he wrote, “It would be premature and potentially misleading to predict a likely date when it will be concluded.”

The alleged victim who made the first allegation was under the age of 16 at the time of the reported assault, according to The Telegraph, which is said to have occurred at a speaking event held by American Christian evangelist Billy Graham in June 1985. No details on the other complaint or complaints are currently public.

Although the police did not offer any further comment on the investigation, other than it was ongoing, The Associated Press reports they said that Richard has been cooperative.

Richard rose to prominence in the late Fifties with songs like his Drifters single “Living Doll,” a U.K. Number One that reached Number 30 in the U.S., and many U.K. hits with the Shadows like “Travellin’ Light.” He achieved his greatest chart success in the U.S. with “Devil Woman,” a tune that appeared on his 1976 album I’m Nearly Famous. He was knighted in 1995.

Scottish nature time lapse video


This video from The National Trust for Scotland about nature in Scotland (including a golden plover in summer plumage) says about itself:

The Trust’s rangers at Kintail and West Affric show off the incredible beauty of this area of the Highland‘s with this series of timelapse clips.

Assistance in video editing was provided by Rob Birdsey, a volunteer with the National Trust for Scotland.

Donate today: TEXT KWAF93 and your gift amount to 70070 (You can give £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 and £10 e.g. ‘KWAF93 £10 to 70070). All donations go towards the Trust’s work at KintailWest Affric and the Falls of Glomach.

The music for several of the Kintail and West Affric videos has been provided by Sgoil Chiùil na Gàidhealtachd (The National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music) located at Plockton High School. The music school is for secondary school aged students, and provides a centre for talented young traditional musicians from across Scotland to develop their skills to the full.  You can help support the school and the young musicians helping to keep Scotland’s rich heritage of traditional music alive: visit www.musicplockton.org/ for more information.

African American history and conservation


This music video from the USA is called Marvin GayeMercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) (Lyrics).

From The Nature Conservancy in the USA:

African Americans have a rich history in conservation that can be found everywhere from Motown to national parks.

Did you know that African American Buffalo Soldiers were some of the earliest defenders of our national parks? Or that the hit Motown song “Mercy, Mercy Me” was inspired by nature?

Take the quiz below to learn about African Americans who pioneered and advocated for conservation. Then see how today’s youth are following in their footsteps as part of The Nature Conservancy’s Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program. Get a millenial’s perspective on African Americans and the environment from LEAF alumna Cleo Doley, who is pursuing a concentration in environmental justice at the University of Vermont.

Interested in learning even more about conservation heroes? Check out these six facts about African American leaders who made an impact for the environment and watch a video [below] about a park ranger who is inspiring the next generation of African American conservationists.

This video is called Conservation and Black History Month.

9/11 atrocities and Saudi Arabia


This video says about itself:

David Rovics, The Dying Firefighter

A few days after the attacks on the World Trade Towers in New York, singer songwriter David Rovics came into the studios of WERU Community Radio, in East Orland Maine, where I recorded his performance of this live version, perhaps the first time the song was performed in public, certainly the first time it was recorded. Meanwhile the world watched and waited to see what the United States would do- take the high road toward peace or follow the drumbeat to war.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Saudi Arabia, 9/11 and the “war on terror

6 February 2015

More than 13 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, evidence in a federal lawsuit brought by relatives of the victims is a devastating exposure of events and relations long covered up and obscured by the media and political establishment: that Al Qaeda and the 9/11 hijackers were financed by the Saudi monarchy, a top US ally with extensive ties to US intelligence agencies.

Affidavits filed with Federal District Judge George P. Daniels substantiate claims that leading figures in the Saudi monarchy, including its longtime ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a nephew of the current Saudi monarch, King Salman, financially supported Al Qaeda.

The documents include a deposition from Zacarias Moussaoui, the only individual convicted of direct participation in the plot to hijack airplanes and fly them into the World Trade Center and other US targets on September 11, 2001.

Moussaoui testified that while working for Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 1990s he prepared a digital database of the group’s financial backers that included Prince Bandar and two other high-ranking Saudi princes: Prince Turki al-Faisal, the longtime head of Saudi intelligence, and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of the Kingdom Holding Company and the wealthiest member of the royal family.

He also described working as a courier for bin Laden, bringing messages to members of the Saudi royal family, including Prince Salman, then the governor of Riyadh, who today is King Salman after succeeding to the throne last month.

The New York Times published lead articles Wednesday and Thursday highlighting the new allegations of Saudi backing for the 9/11 attacks. These had less the character of an exposé, however, than of a semi-official attempt to contain the impact of the material being released as a consequence of the 9/11 families’ lawsuit.

This is the apparent reason for the articles’ near-exclusive focus on Moussaoui, a witness whose testimony can be more easily dismissed by the political establishment. The legal papers filed with the federal district court included Moussaoui’s deposition, but much more, including allegations of Saudi complicity in 9/11 from such pillars of the Washington establishment as former senator Robert Graham of Florida. He wrote, “I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia.”

Graham is in a position to know. He chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2002 when it produced a lengthy report on the 9/11 attacks. This included a 28-page section on Saudi support to the 9/11 hijackers that was classified and suppressed by the Bush administration, an act of censorship that was endorsed and continued by the Obama administration. Senator Graham, who favors the release of this material, wrote, “The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier.”

The evidence of Saudi complicity in the 9/11 attacks is a devastating exposure of the fraudulent nature of the “war on terror,” the axis of US national security policy for more than 13 years.

The Bush administration used the 9/11 attacks as the pretext for wars against Afghanistan, whose government had provided shelter to Osama bin Laden, but had no involvement in 9/11, and against Iraq, which had no connection to either 9/11 or Al Qaeda. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia, the country that supplied Al Qaeda’s funds, its principal leader, and 15 of the 19 hijackers, was deemed a key US ally.

Every official investigation into the 9/11 attacks had to whitewash the Saudi connection—or be censored, like the Senate Intelligence Committee report. The issue was not just the reactionary role of the Saudi monarchy in financing and supporting Al Qaeda, but the close ties between US intelligence agencies and the supposedly anti-American terrorist group—connections on which the latest Times articles are completely silent. …

The crimes committed on 9/11 took nearly 3,000 lives. The crimes committed using 9/11 as a justification have taken hundreds of thousands if not millions of lives, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Libya and a dozen other countries. And 9/11 has served as the all-purpose justification for the wholesale destruction of democratic rights in the United States and other imperialist countries, which have created the framework for police states in the name of preventing “another 9/11.”

… This was signaled last month in Obama’s trip to Riyadh to pay homage to the new king, Salman—one of those named as a financial supporter of Osama bin Laden.

The Saudi connection has been critical to the continuing relations of American imperialism with Al Qaeda and other Islamic fundamentalist groups. These forces were first mobilized in the 1980s as part of the campaign by the Carter and Reagan administrations to subvert the Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan and foster the disintegration of the USSR. The mujahedddin —including Osama bin Laden—were armed and trained by the CIA and financed by Saudi Arabia. They have more recently been used to overthrow the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi and to undermine the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.

ISIS itself is a product of this insidious relationship. It originates in the Sunni fundamentalist backlash to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003—prior to the US invasion, there was no Al Qaeda presence in Iraq. Al Qaeda in Iraq reemerged as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, one of the strongest Islamist groups fighting against the Assad government in Syria, with the aid and training of the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It was only when ISIS fighters crossed back over into Iraq and began attacking the US-backed puppet regime in Baghdad that the group became the target of US bombs and propaganda.

Yet at the center of the entire “war on terror” is a monumental and brazen lie, the claim that 19 hijackers plotted and carried out a major attack on New York City and Washington, D.C., without anyone in the vast US military-intelligence apparatus being aware of what they were preparing. The latest revelations about the Saudi role in 9/11 are another blow against this web of fabrication and cover-up.

The White House may declassify still-secret sections of an official inquiry into the 9/11 terrorist attacks which refer to possible Saudi Arabian support: here.

How the legal punishments handed out in Saudi Arabia compare to those of Isis: here.

US and Saudi Arabia: Dysfunctional partners depend on each other for survival: here.