Fake news

If Donald Trump achieves nothing else he has exposed the rumourmonger uselessness of the media, including the Internet, with his rapid responses to the lies and propaganda the progressives try to spread against him. He has been so successful that The New York Times is now promising to switch to fact based journalism, as if this was a new initiative. Naively I always thought that journalists existed to report the facts.

In fact, of course, I haven’t believed in journalists for a very long time. As a young, politically engaged student, I attended a dock workers’ strike meeting. Amid all the rabble rousing, and Trotsky trouble makers trying to bring down the government, I identified 3 genuine issues that needed attention. No media that I could find reported these issues for at least 2 weeks: they concentrated instead on the rabble rousing or police brutality, depending on the political leanings of their editor.

And here in Australia journalism now seems to be an extension of the public relations industry. One so-called news program interviewed Arnold Schwarzenegger recently, and never even mentioned his time as Governor of California, let alone his illegitimate child. All they did was promote his latest movie.

And at the moment we have the case of a 22 year old Australian woman caught leaving Bogotá with almost 6 kilos of cocaine in her luggage. Trying as I do to apply the Western principle of the presumption of innocence, I still find it hard to accept that the media are simply not asking the hard questions:

  1. Why would a 22 year old woman take a holiday in Columbia two months before her wedding? It’s not a prime holiday destination. What was her motive? And has she ever travelled there before?????

  2. Who paid the ticket? Apparently it was bought anonymously in Hong Kong.

  3. Knowing Columbia’s reputation for drugs why would anyone accept 18 misshaped packages tightly wrapped in plastic from a stranger who claimed they were sets of headphones?

  4. And who is this stranger? Why is he untraceable?

Instead of focussing on these fact based issues, the media are running interviews with her Mother and her fiancée. Predictably, they are saying she’s a lovely innocent girl who has been set up. This is the standard excuse trotted out by every drug mule that’s ever been caught. Such emotional interviews add nothing to the narrative, and in fact, serve only to deflect attention from the facts.

And now the Mother, the fiancée, and the girl herself are arguing over the rumoured one million dollars she has been offered for her exclusive story. Who says crime doesn’t pay, and the media don’t fund it? Remember the Australian TV documentary crew who funded a Mother trying to snatch her child off a Beirut street? The media no longer report the news they try to make it. Gonzo journalism at its worst.

That’s why I made the narrator of my book of short stories a journalist trying to write as honestly as possible “the first rough draft of history” – and being frustrated by editors interested only in headlines and deadlines – and pleasing their owners.

My book is based on hard fact, heightened by the fictional consequences for the flawed characters featured in the stories. The flotsam and jetsam of expatriates who wash up in The Arabian/Persian Gulf.

You can preview my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, on Amazon’s Kindle Websites at:

www.amazon.com www.amazon.co.uk

and read the comprehensive 5 Star reviews it has received, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, you can preview my book, and order the paperback from my publisher:

www.feedaread.com

What was the use of Magna Carta?

And what was the use of The Peasants’ Revolt, or the Russian Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, or indeed the iconic French Revolution with its motto ‘Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité’? All of these were brutal reactions to oppression by entitled elites who refused to relax their grasp on their privileged lives.

What we are seeing now, with a wave of populism so sneered at by the privileged elite, is a (so far) less bloody reaction to the oppression of laissez-faire globalized capitalism that has served only to enrich the rich and beggar the poor.

Here in Australia the government propped up the banks during the GFC with A$700 Billion (of tax payers money) in loan guarantees. 9 years on the banking sector is still behaving in the same reckless manner, pumping up the property market with shaky loans, and issuing worthless paper.

House prices are now 10 times the average wage, and household debt is at 189% of disposable income – twice what it was 10 years ago. There are in circulation complex derivatives to a paper value of 12 times the actual value of the total GDP. And the experts, the pundits, wonder why the rise of populism. The lunatics are in charge of the asylum.

And what are our leaders doing about it? Nothing – because almost without exception they have their hands in the till, or their noses in the trough. They are prospering on the back of this bubble. Mike Baird, the former NSW Prime Minister, resigned and within 5 weeks walked into a banking job at a salary in excess of A$2 million, and negotiated a mortgage in excess of A$1 million to buy a house in a swanky suburb. The feeling is that he negotiated this golden parachute before he quit.

The property boom is being driven by speculators using negative gearing to lower their tax burden – and by black money coming in from China and the obscene profits from the ‘Ice’ epidemic that is sweeping Australia.

Donald Trump was right in saying “It’s time to drain the swamp.” No wonder he was elected instead of the criminal Clintons.

And Britain is right to exit the European Union – another club designed to benefit the few at the expense of the many. With the most recent terrorist attack in Paris it is looking likely that Marine Le Pen will become French President and take France out of the EU.

I am no supporter of right wing governments, or fascism – but I understand from history all to well how it comes about. It is the fault of the decadent and narcissistic fools who think they are entitled to rule without reference to the wishes of the common man. Google NARCISSIM and see what I mean.

My 12 odd years of economic imposed exile in the lonely oil camps of the Middle East gave me time think, read many good books, and observe Western so-called civilization from afar with detachment. And the company of the expatriate flotsam and jetsam that washed up in THE GULF for whatever reasons (financial ruin at the hands of banks, unfaithful wives, out of control drugged out teenage children, a weariness of fighting in politicians wars – Vietnam, Buraimi, Dhofar, The Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq – or just a general sick-to-the-stomach reaction to the consumerist ‘greed-is-good’ and ‘obesity-is-the-norm’ lifestyle in The West) – and exposure to austere Islam – gave me a wealth of material to write my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”.

Although it is a work of fiction, it is journalistic because the stories start from real events I witnessed – or were reported to me by reliable sources during my 40 years in and out of The Gulf. It is written from the points of view of those expatriates washed up in the the Arabian/Persian Gulf.

You can preview my book on AMAZON’s Kindle Websites:

www.amazon.com www.amazon.co.uk

and read the comprehensive 5 Star reviews it has received, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, you can preview my book, and order the paperback from my publisher:

www.feedaread.com

Writing is like living life twice

Writing is a hard discipline that gives you headaches, sleepless nights – and a bad back. But a wonderful thing about writing is the threads that weave into stories unbidden – and only reveal themselves later.

My first book – THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” was written on weekends as short stories while living in an oilfield camp in Saudi Arabia and based on my 40 years experiences in the Arabian/Persian Gulf. There were 10 stories – two from each decade. But when YouWriteOn (the UK Arts Council initiative designed to encourage new writing) offered to publish a book for me, I realized I didn’t have a book – just a collection of stories. I had to weave those stories into a narrative.

I chose to do this through the eyes of a young and idealistic journalist sent out from the UK to cover the region. I topped and tailed the stories with a fictitious beginning and end for the fictitious journalist’s career. And when I had finished I realized that, subconsciously, the thread running through the book is a classic hero’s journey.

I have made several false starts on the sequel GULF II “The Beginning of Sorrows”, but recently, using a peripheral story from my first book set in aftermath of the war in Kosovo, I realize that this has set the tone for that book.

In the Kosovo excerpt a Serb policeman makes the point that UNMIK (United Nations Mission in Kosovo) and the O.S.C.E. (Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe) are desperate to prove that they were not wrong to back the Albanians against the Serbs.

But in researching the story again I find that now, General Wesley Clarke, the Supreme Allied Commander NATO during the Kosovo War, believes that NATO intervened on the wrong side. And Carla del Ponte, the former special prosecutor of ICTY (the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) produced a book, THE HUNT, in 2008 that contained “serious and credible allegations” that the Albanians had transported 3-400 Serb prisoners from Kosovo, harvested their organs – and then killed them. These allegations were backed by The Council for Europe.

This is by no means the first time The West has blundered in and created chaos. Politicians understand the issues (maybe) – but they don’t understand the people. They don’t understand the tribalism, the depth of ethnic hatreds and the desire for revenge going back centuries that is rife in the Middle East and The Balkans. And so they blunder around and make things worse.

In the Middle East think Sykes-Picot and the Balfour Declaration, and Britain’s neglect of its mandates in The Gulf, and the 5 fold increase in crude oil prices that funded the rise of fundamental Islam leading to the events of 9/11. And now Gulf II that destabilized the region and led to ISIS.

Read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”. Although it is a work of fiction, it is journalistic because the stories start from real events I witnessed – or were reported to me by reliable sources during my 40 years in The Gulf.

It is written from the points of view of those sources, archetypal expatriates who washed up in the the Arabian/Persian Gulf. They were victims of power-mad politicians’ proxy wars,(The Buraimi Oasis, the Dhofar Campaign, the Viet Nam War), greedy finance house excesses (IOS, BCCI, Lonrho, Lloyds of London etc.) – and in some cases just victims of Madame Bovary style Western wives, and out-of-control, drug-crazed teenage children.

You can preview my book on AMAZON’s Kindle Websites:

www.amazon.com

www.amazon.co.uk

and read the comprehensive 5 Star reviews it has received, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, you can preview my book, and order the paperback from my publisher:

www.feedaread.com

Is the (male) Working Class Hero dead?

In the last three books I have read, the protaganists have been 23 year old, American, white, female college graduates out in the exciting and frightening wide world for the first time. Is this the new trope for the classic hero’s journey?

My book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” is also a classic hero’s journey – and my protaganist is indeed 23 years old and white; but male, and from the working class, and not college educated. Nevertheless he feels alienated and guilty because he has abandoned the hard life of his mates in the shipyard, and works as a journalist. He is a foreign correspondent out in the wide world for the first time. And it is probably this guilt that fuels his rage against Britain’s elitist foreign policies, and against his entitled University educated colleagues in the media.

For the working class male – and the cannon-fodder foot- soldier who fights not for Queen and Country, but for his comrades in arms – loyalty to your mates/comrades is central to your sense of masculinity. To rise above it, and break ranks is a betrayal.

But a sense of honour, comradeship, and betrayal is archaic now. We have moved so far away from the social revolution of the 1950s,(when the working class gained “free” access to higher education, and upward mobility), that feelings of guilt and alienation are riseable? And the anti-Viet Nam war riots of the 60s, and the Sexual Revolution, succeeded in putting women and under-25s on an equal footing with their Elders and Betters (who proved to be just older, and not better). And the feminist movement has succeeded in making it possible for 23 year old white females to be heros – and not heroines?

At least, for me, one benefit would be we no longer hear about John Lennon – the working class hero who never did a day’s work in his life.

The female protaganists do feel guilt, but it is because once the adrenaline rush of being out in a violent, unpredictable and squalid world has died, they come to realize that they are not connected. They are priveleged, affluent, healthy and hygenic, and wear nice expensive clothes – and always have a return ticket back to suburbia. This isolates them from the Third World residents they mingle with – for a while.

My protaganist Mick, coming from an underclass that has suffered the consequences of the blunderings of the ruling classes, and dying in the thousands in politicians’ wars, identifies all to easily with the Wretched of the Earth. So my stories are from the bottom up, while these new stories are top down.

Mick’s rage is a primal howl against the possibility of living a decent and honourable life in an increasingly squalid, corrupt and tawdry globalized world. As he says “The World is OK – it’s people who are pricks.”

I make no claim that my stories are better – but they are authentic, and felt, rather than observed. And it is my belief that any art form benefits from being an emotional journey – not intellectual. Perhaps in my next book the protaganist should be a 23 year old Liberalized Muslim woman? But then it would not be authentic. I am not a Muslim or a woman

THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” is a linked series of character studies of the archetypal expatriates who wash up in the the Arabian/Persian Gulf, victims of powermad politicians wars, and greedy finance houses excesses – and in some cases just victims of shopaholic wives, and out of control teenage children. Welcome to the modern world.

It is based on my 40 years in the international oil industry, most of it spent in The Gulf. You can preview it on:

www.amazon.com

or

www.amazon.co.uk

and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, order the paperback direct from my publisher:

www.feedaread.com

Think small . . . think Medieval

In Australia the debate about so-called asylum seekers continues to polarize public opinion, with the young (and foolish) saying all should be welcome, causing a flood of immigrants ill-prepared for life in a sophisticated economy, and all the consequences of having a large minority of alienated people who feel discriminated and dispossessed.

And whenever the problem is pictorialized we see a good looking young couple with pretty children, ignoring the fact that 70% or more of the so-called asylum seekers are males between the ages of 18 and 40. Very few of them are eligible for legitimate refugee status which assures them entry to Australia.

What is even more relevant is that more than 90% of asylum seekers worldwide stay within their region living in refugee camps in neighbouring countries. Wouldn’t we be better off spending our money helping them to build a better life, and returning the 90% of international asylum seekers flooding Europe (and Australia) who are not bona fide refugees to help them build that better life? How can that be achieved?

Read Rory Stewart’s book, OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS. He was an interim Govenor of a Province in Southern Iraq after the Second Gulf War. His book contains many insights into the situation on the ground outside of the Green Zone in Baghdad, where the delusional interim government hid away in their luxury villas with MacDonalds,and Pizza Hut and Dunkin Donuts, for comfort.

After some time living in a very dangerous and chaotic environment Rory managed to persuade the State Department Yahoos in the Green Zone to send a gunship to his main town. He declared a curfew, and the gunship, fully armed and equipped with night vision circled the town all night, shooting anybody who broke the curfew. Within 2 days “normal life” returned to the town. Street markets sprang up selling fruit and vegetables from the surrounding countryside – and shopkeepers lifted their shutters and began trading again.

In medieval times people lived inside the walls of fortified towns, and at dusk they withdreww from the fields, or from the sea if they lived on the coast, and stayed safe within the walls. Surely in these Hi-Tec times we could build a series of safe and secure walled towns in the refugees’ home regions, patrolled at night by armed drones controlled by computer from a command centre within the town?

It is those lacking in emotional intelligence who see the world as a Hollywood uniformity of young and beautiful people, living in the artificial environment of huge cities, dressed in jeans and T-shirts, locked into their mobile phones/tablets twittering away their days. Just as 90% of all refugees stay in their region, 90% of the human race wants to live a life that is grounded in their culture and history.

Western Governments understand the problems facing the Third World – they do not understand the people. Just as the Movers & Shakers in The Green Zone did not understand Iraq. Read Rory Stewart, and if you want some more insights into the Middle East then read my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”.

It is written from the perspective of Western expatriates who washed up there from the 1970s when the price of crude oil jumped from $5 to $25 per barrel and gave the Gulf Emirs wealth (almost) beyond the dreams of avarice, until the events 9/11, which were a direct consequence of that wealth,

You can preview THE GULF at:

www.amazon.com

or

www.amazon.co.uk

and download it if you have a Kindle.

Or if you prefer a real book you can order the paperback edition with free delivery worldwide from:

www.thebookdepository.co.uk

Using the ISBN number is 978-1908147097

or direct from my publisher

www.feedaread.com

Death to Drug Dealers

Living in Australia as I do I have been caught up in the wave of sympathy for the Bali Bombers sitting on Death Row as desperate measures are taken to prevent their execution by firing squad BUT – and there is always a but I guess – not anymore.

My grandaughter who is only just 5 years old came home from school using the F word. So now the evil tentacles of the “Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll crowd” otherwise known as the foul mouthed Showbusiness reprobates (or the friends of Jimmie Saville) are reaching into the school playground and my grandaughter, and other children, are being robbed of their childhood innocence.

I flew into a rage at this, and the thought that in the not too distant future of them being offered drugs in the school playground and having their innocent young lives permanently blighted as is happening in America.

So now I believe that those who spread this poison through society should face the death penalty. And I believe that those weak souls who fall victim to drugs should be treated with firmness too – as they are in Saudi Arabia.

There is a drug problem there as there is in The West. About sixty percent of the 50 or so beheadings that take place every year are for drug smuggling. But the victims of the drug trade, the addicts it has created, are quietly removed from society and put through an enforced rehab program, and only released when the authorities are satisfied they are cured.

Once again the Saudis demonstrate that social stability is more important than a weak kneed concern for an individual’s civil rights.

If you want insights into the Middle East and its harsh and apparently barbaric societies, based on my 40 years experience there from the perspective of the weird and wonderful oilfield trash, expatriate characters who washed up there in the oil patch from 1960 to 2001, preview my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” at:

www.amazon.com

and download it if you have a Kindle.

Or if you prefer a real book you can order the paperback edition from:

www.thebookdepository.co.uk

Using the ISBN number is 978-1908147097

They offer free delivery worldwide.