Patti Smith and Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize


This Bob Dylan music video from the USA is called A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall {Live at Town Hall 1963}.

The song has often been interpreted, including by Dylan himself, as about the danger of nuclear war.

On the other hand, Dylan later claimed the song was really about ‘all the lies that people get told on their radios and in their newspapers‘.

From Rolling Stone in the USA, 5 December 2016:

Bob Dylan to Provide Nobel Prize Speech, Patti Smith to Perform

Smith to cover “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” at Nobel gala

Bob Dylan, this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature honoree, will not attend the December 10th gala in Stockholm, but his music will still be performed. On Monday, Nobel organizers announced that Rock Hall singer-songwriter Patti Smith, who was previously set to perform her own song, will cover Dylan‘s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” at the ceremony.

This music video is called Patti Smith Greatest Hits [Full Album] || Patti Smith’s 25 Biggest Songs.

The Nobel Prize committee announced Monday morning that Smith would fill in for Dylan at the Stockholm gala, with Smith also taking part in the Nobel Week Dialogue event the day before on December 9th, where she’ll discuss the “importance of role models.”

While Dylan won’t attend the Nobel ceremony due to “other commitments” that “make it unfortunately impossible,” the Nobel committee tweeted Monday that Dylan has “provided a speech which will be read at the Nobel banquet” on December 10th; organizers tell Rolling Stone that they do not know who will read the “speech of thanks” at the gala as of press time. A rep for the event declined to comment further.

Smith tells Rolling Stone that organizers approached her in September to sing at the ceremony, prior to the announcement of this year’s award recipients. “I had planned to perform one of my own songs with the orchestra,” Smith tells Rolling Stone. “But after Bob Dylan was announced as the winner and he accepted it, It seemed appropriate to set my own song aside and choose one of his. I chose ‘A Hard Rain’ because it is one of his most beautiful songs. It combines his Rimbaudian mastery of language with a deep understanding of the causes of suffering and ultimately human resilience.

“I have been following him since I was a teenager, half a century to be exact,” Smith adds. “His influence has been broad and I owe him a great debt for that. I had not anticipated singing a Bob Dylan song on December 10th, but I am very proud to be doing so and will approach the task with a sense of gratitude for having him as our distant, but present, cultural shepherd.”

After Dylan announced that he could not receive the Nobel honor in person, the Swedish Academy said in a statement that they have “decided not to organize an alternative plan for the Nobel Lecture traditionally held on December 7th. There is a chance that Bob Dylan will be performing in Stockholm next year, possibly in the spring, in which case he will have a perfect opportunity to deliver his lecture.”

Each Nobel laureate is required to deliver a speech “on a subject connected with the work for which the prize has been awarded.” “We are looking forward to Bob Dylan’s Nobel lecture, which he must hold, according to the requirements, within six months [from December 10th],” the Swedish Academy said at the time. It’s unclear whether the Dylan-penned gala speech fulfills that requirement.

Nobel spokeswoman Annika Pontikis said that Dylan’s Nobel diploma and medal will be handed over at a later date that hasn’t been determined yet.

After not initially acknowledging the Nobel distinction, which drew the ire of some Swedish Academy members, Dylan finally said of receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature, “The news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless. I appreciate the honor so much.”

Yemeni civilians about the Saudi war


This video from the USA says about itself:

U.S.-Backed Saudi Coalition Bombs School, Hospital In Yemen

15 August 2016

In this video, Rachel Blevins looks at the recent civilian casualties in Yemen at the hands of the U.S.-backed Saudi led coalition, and questions why the U.S. still considers Saudi Arabia a close ally?

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today, interviewing Yemeni civilians:

“I have no home, no job any more and my wife is depressed.” Muhajed worked as a communications expert until he was fired in 2015. “My boss, the World Bank, left Yemen when the war began. Like all other international organizations.”

But the problems started earlier. A few weeks before he was sacked his home was destroyed by bombing. “It was 02:00 at night and everyone was asleep. Until we heard the first bomb. We all woke up and went to the living room.”

Son struck

It was not long before the second and third bomb struck. “The windows sprung open, broken. Our children began to cry and suddenly my son started screaming.”

His 8-year-old son was hit in the leg. “He was bleeding a lot. We could not help him, because the whole room was filled with gas, we could barely breathe.” Muhajed ran to his neighbors, who quickly brought his son to a hospital. His leg was broken. “He was unable for 45 days to do anything at all.”

That incident had a major impact on Muhajed’s wife. “That day has traumatized her so much that she became depressed. She now takes antidepressants.”

Because Muhajed then lost his job, they could not afford reconstruction of their home. Now they have lived for months with friends. “We now live with two families in one house. It can not be otherwise.”

28-year-old Laila last year had enough of the war. She fled to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Only when she was there, she could not let go of Yemen. “How can I live here if I have to worry constantly about my loved ones in Sanaa?” she wondered. So she did something that nobody understood: she went back.

“Sanaa has always had my heart in what circumstances whatsoever. The war has just destroyed a lot,” says Laila. “It’s horrible to lose that sense of security and always having to worry that your loved ones may get hurt.”

Too scared to sleep

“My little brother Anas (7) asked me recently: “Why is my life filled with war, instead of games? I want to play with toys, not with fear.” When he said this, it reminded me of so much pain. Children in Sanaa are afraid, they are afraid to go to sleep for fear that they will not wake up. ”

Laila is studying International Studies in Sanaa and works as a consultant. Salary is not paid almost anywhere. “There are two banks in Sanaa, but there is no money to pay the workers. Yemen is going through the consequences of the war, losing an entire generation.”

The student is particularly afraid of the economic consequences of the war, but she is also afraid of the bombing. “In recent weeks, a hospital, a school and a factory have been bombed.”

There were hundreds of deaths in a bombing at a funeral. “That was a bomb fired by Saudi Arabia. They said later that they had hit the wrong target, and apologized. But that apparently was not sincere, because that same day they killed even more people by bombs. They do not want to stop that, because our blood is not worth anything to them.”

Ukrainian nazis ‘celebrate’ with looting


Azov battalion symbol

This picture (also reproduced on the Facebook page of the Dutch NVU nazi party) shows the symbol of the Ukrainian Kiev government’s Azov battalion; source: here. It is the wolfsangel, or wolf’s hook. Which used to be a symbol in Adolf Hitler’s Waffen SS. It was also the symbol of the Dutch nazi party NSB in the 1930s and 1940s.

Wolfsangel on Dutch NSB nazi flag

On the Dutch NSB 1930s-1940s nazi flag for their paramilitary organisation, the WA, the same wolfsangel, in a different direction.

The Azov battalion logo has, behind its black wolfsangel, also another nazi SS symbol, depicted in white: the ‘schwarze Sonne‘ or black sun.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Ukraine: Fascists mark three years since riots by looting store

Saturday 3rd December 2016

UKRAINIAN neonazis marked the third anniversary of the Maidan Square riots on Thursday by ransacking a regional government office and robbing a petrol station.

Members of the fascist Azov Battalion stormed the offices in the capital city of Cherkasy in the region of the same name, an online Ukrainian publication reported.

Security camera footage showed masked and hooded thugs looting the public building, some recording the break in on video cameras.

Following a separate march by Azov goons near the village of Novodmitrovka in Zolotonosha district, members distracted staff at a petrol station while some two dozen youths looted food and alcohol.

Later police stopped their bus and detained three suspects.

December 1 2013 saw pro-EU protesters against the former president Viktor Yanukovich’s government erupt into riots as far-right groups such as Right Sector and Svoboda hijacked the sit-in in Maidan Square.

Five Ukraine police killed in friendly fire mix-up: here.

Bloodshed in NATO’s ‘new’ Libya continues


This video says about itself:

Regime Change in Libya Mirrors Iraq: Both Efforts Led to Failed States & Destabilized Region

26 August 2016

As we speak with scholar Vijay Prashad about how the United States carried out regime change in Libya and left behind a failed state, he notes: “The story in Libya is not dissimilar to the story in Iraq.” Both are politically divided societies in which the United States deposed long-entrenched leaders, Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and left behind failed states. Prashad adds that “in both instances, when the strongman was captured … they said, ‘We are ready to negotiate,’ and the United States essentially was not interested in negotiating.” He says the outcome in Libya contributed to the destabilization of Mali, Tunisia and much of northern Africa.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Libya: Bloodshed rages in Tripoli for second day

Saturday 3rd December 2016

FIGHTING among militias in Libya’s capital Tripoli raged for a second day yesterday, the worst violence in two years.

Witnesses said battles continued in the south-eastern Nasr Forest district and adjacent districts between factions fighting for control over the capital.

The clashes started on Thursday and reportedly left eight dead. During a lull of violence late on Thursday night, panicked residents lined up in front of petrol stations.

One of the warring factions, the Tripoli Revolutionaries, accused rivals of abductions, killings and people-trafficking.

Unconfirmed social media posts also reported that one of the factions had taken over Libya’s central bank.

Tripoli is the base of the UN-backed Government of National Accord, which has yet to fill most of its advertised cabinet posts.

Seven civilians killed in Tripoli clashes, Tripoli Medical Center confirms: here.

Corporate media and fake news


This video from the USA says about itself:

Denying You Supported The Iraq War Is Harder When The Internet Exists

21 September 2015

Bill Maher had an “interesting” program on the other night. They were arguing about how the media covered the Iraq war. Jorge Ramos argued that the media was too compliant, but Chris Matthews insisted he was not guilty of this. He thinks he can get away with claiming he was against the war, despite the fact that the internet is a thing that exists and we can all watch clips of him cheerleading the Bush Administration. Cenk Uygur, host of the The Young Turks, breaks it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

“Chris Matthews’ steely opposition to the Iraq War is a subject that comes up periodically, and is shot down periodically, as well. Matthews’ critics concede that he opposed the invasion and the war in print, but that in his much more influential television forum, it was a different story. That’s not exactly true, there are plenty of examples of Matthews expressing opposition to Iraq policy on TV, but they are greatly outweighed by his consistent bashing of the war’s critics, and tingly amazement at the Iraq War’s huge “successes.”

For example, he called then-President George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech an “amazing display of leadership,” declaring that Bush had “won the war,” and “was an effective commander,” before going on this turgid riff about Bush’s flight costume with guest Pat Caddell:..”*

Read more here.

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

Who are the original purveyors of fake news?

Friday 2nd December 2016

While the established media frets about the rise of “fake news” on Facebook, it was their own lies which wore down people’s trust and opened the gates to even faker and more hateful news, writes SOLOMON HUGHES

NEWSPAPERS are currently pointing at the danger of “fake news.” And by “fake news,” they mean the dubious fringe websites that pumped out false, usually pro-Trump, propaganda during the US election.

Thanks to the web generally and Facebook in particular, this “fake news” has had a big audience.

It’s a real problem. But the mainstream solution is completely wrong.

The main news outlets want some kind of stamp of approval, so their news is treated as sensible and “fringe” outlets are treated with disdain.

They miss the big problem: “Fringe” media has grown precisely because the established media has repeatedly printed “fake news” itself. This has worn away trust in the mainstream and sometimes opened the door to even faker news.

The most obvious example is Iraq. Here, the most “respectable” media printed fake news over weapons of mass destruction (WMD) which paved the way for Tony Blair and George Bush to wage bloody war on Iraq, the effects of which we are still living with today.

In fact, the newspapers’ fake news went well beyond any of the government’s dubious claims.

I will give just one example of a repeated fraud.

In 1995, the [Rupert Murdoch owned] Sunday Times ran a story for three consecutive issues about a “defecting Iraqi nuclear scientist” who “vanished” — possibly kidnapped or murdered “while trying to reveal details of the secret nuclear weapons programme that president Saddam Hussein has been hiding from United Nations inspectors.”

The story was completely false. The “scientist” Khidir Hamza had not been kidnapped. The “documents” — supposedly showing an active nuclear weapons programme — were fake.

The International Atomic Energy Authority — the official nuclear weapons inspectors — looked at the papers and concluded: “On the basis of all the evidence available, these documents are not authentic.”

Hamza’s claims were part of a campaign to keep sanctions on Saddam Hussein’s regime — sanctions that did much more damage to the people of Iraq than their dictator.

The Sunday Times never reported that international inspectors ruled their story was based on fake documents.

Nor did any other Western newspaper, despite the Atomic Energy Authority making its ruling publicly.

Saddam’s son-in-law, general Hussein Kamal, who himself defected in 1995, told the CIA that Hamza was “useless” and “a professional liar.” But the fake news from 1995 remained unexposed.

So a fresh wave of fake news could be churned out after the September 11 2001 attacks which led to a campaign for a new war on Iraq.

Most people remember this as governments issuing dossiers full of fake stories about Iraqi WMD that turned out not to exist.

But actually, the newspapers added a whole other layer of fake news. Stories so false that the government wouldn’t put them in its dossiers.

Hamza was the source of many false stories.

On October 29 2001, the Times ran a story under the headline “Saddam Must Go” in which Daniel Finkelstein told the tale of Hamza building a nuclear bomb for Saddam. Finkelstein wrote: “Hamza had helped Saddam to build a crude device. Only the fact that it was too big to attach to a missile prevented Saddam from being able to fire it at Israel.”

This was fake. Saddam wanted nuclear weapons in the 1980s and ’90s. But was unable to build them.

In June 2002, historian Christopher Andrew reported in The Times: “By the outbreak of the Gulf War, [Saddam’s] Atomic Energy Department had nearly completed the manufacture of a nuclear weapon.

“But, according to his chief nuclear scientist, Khidir Hamza, it was ‘about the size of a refrigerator — far too big to fit into a missile warhead’.” This never happened.

In August 2002, Hamza gave evidence before a Senate committee. The Financial Times, the Evening Standard, the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph, The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times all reported the hearings without any scepticism.

They described Hamza without any qualification about his expertise, calling him “the former director of Iraq’s nuclear weapons programme” and how he “told senators that Iraq has enough uranium to produce three nuclear weapons by 2005.”

Only one newspaper, the Morning Star, pointed out this was fake news. Felicity Arbuthnot reported that Hamza had indeed made his false claims to the Senate committee. She accurately described him as “a controversial wild-card […] who has variously been accused of having minimal knowledge of the nuclear industry and being paid handsomely by the CIA.”

News got even faker in September 2002. The Times had a 1,400 word piece based on an interview with Hamza, saying he “was at the heart of the Iraqi nuclear programme from its inception and is regarded as the ‘father’ of the Baghdad bomb.”

In the piece, Hamza claimed: “Saddam could be in a position to make three nuclear weapons within the next few months, if he has not already done so.”

Hamza claimed these inspectors could not “detect the nuclear assembly line” because it was “concealed underground or in basements or buildings that outwardly seem normal.”

This completely fake story was repeated in days by the Express, the Independent, the Evening Standard and the Daily Mail without any scepticism or qualification.

The Sunday Mirror went further with a piece by Hamza himself. It claimed: “Saddam’s top nuclear weapons scientist exclusively reveals to the Sunday Mirror today that the dictator has enough nuclear material for three nuclear devices.

“Dr Khidir Hamza, who was Iraq’s nuclear bombmaker for 24 years before defecting to the West, claims Saddam has 10 tonnes of natural uranium. And he reveals an Iraq’s nuclear bombmaker for 24 years before defecting to the West, claims Saddam has 10 tonnes of natural uranium. And he reveals an Iraqi intelligence team has taken delivery in Africa of spent fuel rods from a Russian nuclear reactor.” All of this was exclusive because it was imaginary.

Again, the Morning Star stood almost entirely alone up against the spurt of fake news triggered by the Hamza articles.

Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter correctly pointed out in a September 17 2002 Morning Star article that Hamza wasn’t the “father” of anything atomic. He “was an obscure member of the Iraqi nuclear team” who had been “fired, sent back into obscurity” before he left Iraq.

Ritter said the problem was that British newspapers had no guard against fake news, writing “[Hamza] doesn’t have the access to information that he claims to have and to cite him on the front page of a prominent British newspaper and to give credence to what he’s saying is part and parcel of the problem we are facing here.”

Ritter was right. Hamza had been publicly linked to forgeries since 1995. But almost every major British newspaper used him to publish more fake news. And when his promised WMD failed to surface from the bloody wreckage of Iraq, they didn’t have any inquiry into why they got it so wrong. Their own fake news led to huge bloodshed and a loss of authority.

If the media wants to stop the growth of fake news, it needs to stop publishing it.

This 2014 video says about itself:

‘Enemy of the Internet’ – UK accused of mass surveillance & censorship

Reporters Without Borders have branded the UK an ‘Enemy of the Internet’ for their mass surveillance and censorship programmes, the first time they have appeared on the list. Appearing alongside countries such as China, Iran and North Korea, the UK was criticised for mass surveillance of nearly a quarter of the world’s communications. And the report also said they confused journalists with terrorists.

By Kevin Reed in the USA:

The “fake news” furor and the threat of Internet censorship

1 December 2016

In the weeks since the November 8 election, US media reports on the spread of so-called “fake news” during the presidential campaign have increasingly repeated unsubstantiated pre-election claims that the Russian government hacked into Democratic Party email servers to undermine the campaign of Hillary Clinton. There is more than a whiff of McCarthyism in this crusade against “fake news” on social media and the Internet, with online publications critical of US wars of aggression and other criminal activities being branded as Russian propaganda outlets.

A case in point is an article published in the November 24 edition of the Washington Post headlined “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say.” The article includes assertions that Russian “botnets, teams of paid human ‘trolls,’ and networks of web sites and social media accounts” were used to promote sites across the Internet “as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers.”

According to the Post, the exposure of Russian involvement in the spread of fake election news is based on the work of a team of “independent researchers” and another anonymous group calling itself PropOrNot, which has expertise in “computer science, national security and public policy.” Although no one from the PropOrNot organization is mentioned by name, the Post quotes the executive director of this group anonymously. The organization has gone so far as to publish a list of 200 web sites—including WikiLeaks, the ultra-right Drudge Report and the left-liberal Truthout—that are deemed “routine peddlers of Russian propaganda.”

It should be obvious that the Post report is itself an example of the state-sponsored pseudo-news that is increasingly dispensed by the corporate-controlled media to promote the geopolitical and military aims of American imperialism. The New York Times has published similar articles, including one authored by David E. Sanger and posted on the Times web site on November 25 under the headline “US Officials Defend Integrity of Vote, Despite Hacking Fears.”

Sanger, the chief Washington correspondent of the Times, is a regular sounding board for the military/intelligence establishment, to which he is closely “plugged in.” He writes that “intelligence officials are still investigating the impact of a broader Russian ‘information warfare’ campaign, in which fake news about Mrs. Clinton, and about United States-Russia relations, appeared intended to influence voters.” He adds, “Many of those false reports originated from RT News and Sputnik, two state-funded Russian sites.”

The readers of this and virtually all other articles on the topic of Russia’s role in “fake news” will search in vain for a single piece of evidence to substantiate the claims made. Instead, the views and opinions of “experts,” usually unnamed, are cited and treated as indisputable fact—much in the manner of Joe McCarthy and similar witch-hunters.

The editors and writers who produce these articles seem not even to notice that their publications have been caught in one colossal lie after another—from the claims of Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” used to justify the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 to the more recent flood of government propaganda in support of neo-colonial wars in Libya and Syria and drone killings in a growing number of countries—all justified in the name of “human rights” and the “war on terror.”

There are no institutions anywhere in the world more adept at producing “fake news” than the American corporate-controlled media.

These same media outlets further discredited themselves by overtly slanting their “news” coverage of the election campaign in favor of their preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton, and predicting that she would secure a decisive victory. Blindsided by the support for Trump among disaffected and angry lower-income people and taken unawares by the electoral collapse of the Democrats, the corporate media are responding to the growth of popular distrust by seeking to discredit alternative news sources.

This is not to deny the spread of false information and propaganda masquerading as news on the Internet. Fabricated news stories and hoaxes have been circulating online since the World Wide Web began in the 1990s, but there was a significant increase in “fake” political sites and content during the US elections. Stories that stretched the truth or were entirely made up typically started on mock news web sites and were then amplified by social media sharing. Other false reports originated on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and spread rapidly with the “like,” “share” and “comment” features of social media.

An analysis published by Buzzfeed on November 16 showed that false political news stories in the final three months of the election campaign, such as a report that the Pope had endorsed Trump for president, generated more engagement on Facebook than the combined top stories of nineteen major US news organizations. The Buzzfeed study noted the “hyperpartisan right-wing” nature of the top fabricated news items, as well as the spike in the number of visitors to these sites during the final election months.

Another key aspect of online “fake news” has been the growth of its scope internationally. The Guardian reported in August, for example, that a group of teenagers and college students from Veles, Macedonia set up dozens of political web site façades to both influence and cash in on the Trump candidacy. The Guardian report also pointed out that, although the pro-Trump sham news sites were more popular, both offshore and domestic web sites became very popular and generated income for their publishers whether they were peddling phony “conservative” or “liberal” misinformation.

That being said, the campaign in the corporate media against “fake news” on the Internet, including calls for social media outlets such as Google and Facebook to vet the material that appears on their sites, is a reactionary attack on freedom of the press. It has already elicited positive responses from major Internet sites. Both Google and Facebook have published statements acknowledging that they are working on systems that will use third-party “fact-checking” of news content published on their services. In the case of Facebook, this initiative—reminiscent of Orwell’s Thought Police—will be reinforced by barring accounts identified as “fake news” sources from using online advertising tools.

Pressure to shut down or muzzle “fake news” sites and social media accounts are emanating from the offices of corporate media organizations concerned about the loss of their influence over the public. Any moves to censor Internet content must be opposed as an attack on democratic rights. The measures being prepared today against “fake news” web sites and social media publishers will be perfected and used tomorrow against the working class and the socialist media—the World Socialist Web Site—that articulates and fights for its independent interests.