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.

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.

Chilean dictator Pinochet’s torture victims remembered musically


This video is called Crimes of Pinochet – Chile.

By Luke James in Britain:

Voices of Pinochet torture victims get a hearing

Friday 2nd January 2015

A “TORTURE soundtrack” of songs written and sung by Chileans imprisoned during General Augusto Pinochet’s regime is set to be released after being compiled by a Britain-based academic.

Manchester University announced on New Year’s Eve that an online archive of recordings — some secretly recorded and smuggled out of the fascist dictator’s concentration camps — would go live on January 8.

A choir founded in one of the 1,000 camps will be among the musicians to perform at the launch event at the Chilean Museum of Memory and Human Rights.

The Captive Songs project will also tell the stories behind the morale-boosting songs sung by some of the 40,000 mostly left-wing activists imprisoned by Pinochet.

Dr Luis Cifuentes, who wrote and performed during his detention before going on to study at Manchester University during the 1980s, explained how music helped prisoners cope with the harsh conditions.

“This archive is of great importance because it reflects not only a very rich cultural heritage but also the ways in which the victims used their own cultural identity to overcome horrific moments,” he said.

This music video is El Cigarrito by Victor Jara.

Visitors to the website will be able to listen to recordings of songs such as El Cigarrito by socialist folk musician Victor Jara — the most famous musician killed by the Pinochet regime.

The collection was created by Chilean-born academic Dr Katia Chornik.

And she made an urgent appeal for former prisoners who may have fled Chile during the dictatorship to come forward with new material.

“It’s been over 40 years since the onset of the dictatorship, so the time to collect this valuable material is very limited indeed,” said Ms Chornik.

See also here.

World War I soldiers’ Christmas truce, new evidence


This music video is called Christmas in the Trenches – written and performed by John McCutcheon.

On Christmas Day 1914 all sides in World War I laid down their weapons and made peace by playing a game of soccer.

Here come the lyrics of the song Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon:

My name is Francis Tolliver, I come from Liverpool,
Two years ago the war was waiting for me after school.
To Belgium and to Flanders to Germany to here
I fought for King and country I love dear.
‘Twas Christmas in the trenches where the frost so bitter hung,
The frozen fields of France were still, no Christmas song was sung,
Our families back in England were toasting us that day,
Their brave and glorious lads so far away.

I was lying with my messmate on the cold and rocky ground
When across the lines of battle came a most peculiar sound
Says I, “Now listen up, me boys!” each soldier strained to hear
As one young German voice sang out so clear.
“He’s singing bloody well, you know!” my partner says to me
Soon one by one each German voice joined in in harmony
The cannons rested silent, the gas clouds rolled no more
As Christmas brought us respite from the war.

As soon as they were finished and a reverent pause was spent
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” struck up some lads from Kent
The next they sang was “Stille Nacht,” “Tis ‘Silent Night’,” says I
And in two tongues one song filled up that sky.
“There’s someone coming towards us!” the front line sentry cried
All sights were fixed on one lone figure coming from their side
His truce flag, like a Christmas star, shone on that plain so bright
As he bravely strode unarmed into the night.

Soon one by one on either side walked into No Man’s land
With neither gun nor bayonet we met there hand to hand
We shared some secret brandy and we wished each other well
And in a flare-lit soccer game we gave ‘em hell.
We traded chocolates, cigarettes, and photographs from home
These sons and fathers far away from families of their own
Young Sanders played his squeeze box and they had a violin
This curious and unlikely band of men.

Soon daylight stole upon us and France was France once more
With sad farewells we each began to settle back to war
But the question haunted every heart that lived that wondrous night
“Whose family have I fixed within my sights?”
‘Twas Christmas in the trenches, where the frost so bitter hung
The frozen fields of France were warmed as songs of peace were sung
For the walls they’d kept between us to exact the work of war
Had been crumbled and were gone for evermore.

My name is Francis Tolliver, in Liverpool I dwell
Each Christmas come since World War I I’ve learned its lessons well
That the ones who call the shots won’t be among the dead and lame
And on each end of the rifle we’re the same.

This video from Britain says about itself:

The Christmas Truce on the Western Front of 1914 from the film Oh! What A Lovely War accompanied by the music Stille Nacht – Silent Night.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

First World War Centenary: British general’s letter reveals details of 1914 Christmas Day truce

General Sir Walter Congreve VC observed the opposing sides sharing cigars and playing football

Antonia Molloy

Thursday 04 December 2014

A newly-discovered letter written during the First World War reveals astonishing details about the well-known truce on Christmas Day in 1914 – and one British general’s reluctance to mix with the Germans.

Unearthed by archivists, the letter, written by General Sir Walter Congreve VC, provides a graphic first-hand account of troops from opposing sides sharing cigars and playing football as fierce fighting continued nearby in northern France.

It was donated to Staffordshire’s archive service in the 1970s and came to light during research to mark the centenary of the outbreak of war.

The remarkable document, which was sent to Sir Walter’s wife, reveals how news of the Christmas Day football match spread quickly along the front line.

But Sir Walter, who led the Rifles Brigade and drafted the letter after visiting trenches near Neuve Chapelle, declined to join in.

He wrote: “I found an extraordinary state of affairs – this am a German shouted out that they wanted a day’s truce and would one come out if he did.

“So very cautiously one of our men lifted himself above the parapet and saw a German doing the same.

“Both got out then more and finally all day long in that particular place they have been walking about together all day giving each other cigars and singing songs.”

The senior commander, who survived the war despite losing his left hand in action, said he was reluctant to take part for fear that shots might be fired at such a high-ranking officer.

“I was invited to go and see the Germans myself but refrained as I thought they might not be able to resist a general,” he wrote.

“My informant, one of the men, said he had had a fine day of it & had smoked a cigar with the best shot in the German army, then not more than 18.

“They say he’s killed more of our men than any other 12 together but I know now where he shoots from and I hope we down him tomorrow.

“I hope devoutly they will.”

The letter, which will be put on public display at Stafford’s Records Office tomorrow, goes on to chronicle how some battalions continued to exchange fire, while others played football with their German counterparts.

Commenting on the letter, Cllr Ben Adams, cabinet member responsible for Archives at Staffordshire County Council, said: “The 1914 Christmas Day truce is one of the iconic memories of World War One and to have such a detailed account from a high-ranking officer, written on the actual day is a real gem.

“The fact that the letter has come to light in the year we commemorate the centenary of the Great War makes its existence even more special.

“We are incredibly proud to be the custodian of such a valuable document which we will protect and preserve so it can be shared and enjoyed by generations for years to come.” …

Sir Walter, who was born in Chatham, Kent, was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry in the face of the enemy during the Second Boer War in 1899.

His son, Major William La Touche Congreve, was also honoured with a Victoria Cross after being killed in the Battle of the Somme in July 1916.

See also here.

“We’re doing this show because it’s important for socialists to push back against First World War celebrations. Our set is going to focus on resistance during the First World War. We’ve got a song about the football match that took place on Christmas Day 1914″: here.

Anti-World War I song censored for Royal British Legion


This music video is called Eric Bogle – The Green Fields of France. Also known as ‘No Man’s Land‘. The (complete, uncensored) lyrics are here.

By Richard Bagley in Britain:

Campaigners hit out at removal of song’s anti war message

Saturday 8th November 2014

Pop star Joss Stone was embroiled in a political row yesterday after releasing a “sanitised” version of a classic anti-war anthem for the Royal British Legion’s annual poppy appeal.

Peace campaigners have slammed the version of Eric Bogle’s ballad No Man’s Land, which hit the shops on Monday in advance of Remembrance Sunday.

The sentimental track by Ms Stone and guitarist Jeff Beck cuts two and a half verses from the original four, including lines declaiming “man’s blind indifference to his fellow man.”

Also missing is its poignant anti-war crescendo: “Did you really believe that this war would end wars?/Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame/The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain/For Willie McBride, it all happened again/And again, and again, and again, and again.”

Thousands have already bombarded the RBL with complaints over the release via an online petition demanding that it apologise.

But in a statement to the Morning Star yesterday the organisation hit back, saying it “rejects the premise of a campaign claiming that it has ‘sanitised’ the anti-war message.”

It suggested that the campaign was rooted in a “selective and misleading interpretation of a letter written by Eric Bogle.”

The original songwriter, who was not involved in the new version, gave his own take after being inundated with queries.

He said the Stone release “certainly doesn’t glorify it, but doesn’t condemn it either.

“Sentimentalising, perhaps, but not glorifying.”

He agreed that the “strong anti-war message” of the original had been diminished.

“Missing some crucial verses does not help.”

But musician Lisa Rigby branded the changes “a shameful omission.”

“All those lost to war are best commemorated by meaningful efforts to stop war entirely,” she said.

Joss Stone butchers No Mans Land: here.

The Royal British Legion, who run the Poppy Appeal, have in recent years shown a tendency to misuse the message of remembrance to encourage a pro-war, jingoistic agenda. They have now taken things a step further by using an anti-war song in a fundraising film – after taking the anti-war lyrics out: here.

See also here.

Legion Scotland has defended its decision to drop “Royal British” from its name after criticism from pro-union supporters. The veterans’ charity said the rebranding was not a political move, but “the day-to-day name” was adopted to differentiate it from the Royal British Legion south of the border: here.