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

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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

Brave New World

With BREXIT, and the election of Donald Trump, I hope we have finally shaken off the 20th Century, and it’s 1960’s Civil Rights Industry philosophy of entitlement – and (16 years too late|)  we are finally ready to embrace the 21st century, and an era of democracy of the people, for the people, by the people.

     It is a shame that this movement has had to be led by people like Nigel Farage and Donald Trump, and I sincerely hope that it does not lead to ultra-nationalism, – but the neo-liberals and neo-Cons have brought this on themselves. The excesses of libertarianism and globalization have led to an autocracy with a narcissistic obsession with wealth and celebrity, and has led to the destruction of millions of lives – and is the root cause of the present refugee crisis.

I have decided to issue a revised edition of my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” because its message, issued in 2011, is starkly relevant today. In the climax of the book the protaganist says:

“New Labor, and the neo-liberals, had lost the plot. He hated these upper-class toffs with their Nanny’s milk still in their mouths. They were not Socialists or Liberals – they were high Tories with a social conscience addicted to their entitlement to rule. And the aphrodisiac of serious wealth had become their ultimate addiction.”

If you want insights into the present chaos and confusion in the Middle East, from Sykes-Picot, and the Balfour Declaration, to 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, until the events of 9/11, 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 avaricious Western wives, and out-of-control, drug-crazed teenage children.

You can preview my book on AMAZON’s Kindle Websites for the USA and UK, Germany and Spain, 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

Are some (sweaty) Animals more equal that others

While not wanting to suggest the ultimate male fantasy that all women want to be ravished is correct, there is strong anecdotal and scientific evidence to suggest that they do prefer a dominant male partner in their sex life.

In a recent article a female journalist said that among her friends – professional couples both in well paid jobs who shared everything equally (paying the mortgage and household bills, housework and taking care of the kids) – the women were dissatisfied with their sex life. It lacked a frisson (sexual tension?) because their relationship was based on friendship and mutual respect and had become almost platonic. One woman said it was like sleeping with her brother. This feeds into the fantasy that women do not really want a caring, tender and supportive partner who is in touch with his female side – not when the lights are out. They really want someone more animal. One woman actually said she only fancied her husband when he came home straight from the gym all hot and sweaty. Are modern Western women in denial?

A recent scientific study in America supports this. A series of erotic images was shown to a group of men and a group of women hooked up to sensors measuring their physical and emotional responses. The men and the women responded almost exactly the same way to the images. But when questioned 75% of the men were honest about their arousal – but 75% of the women lied and said they were not aroused. In Saudi Arabia a dominant male society where women are repressed (at least in public) women exploit the males’ outstanding weakness – his desire to see females in the flesh, and have sex – to wield a surprising amount of power. Read the story I’VE NEVER KNOWN A WOMAN WHO WOULDN’T DANCE in my book THE GULF about a new wife performing an erotic dance of arousal.

In some ways I am ashamed of this story because it is not a work of fiction. It is an account of that dance by a Western cameraman who filmed it; and it was validated by a Western woman who had played flute at many Saudi weddings and seen this many times. The cameraman said it was the most erotic thing he had ever seen.

You can preview my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” at:

http://www.amazon.com/author/mikerichards

and download it if you have a Kindle. Or if you prefer a real book you can order the paperback edition from: http://www.thebookdepository.co.uk

The ISBN number is 978-1908147097

They offer free delivery worldwide.

I hope you enjoy it.