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About this website

SydWalker.Info is a personal website. I live in tropical Australia near Cairns. I oppose war, plutocracy, injustice, sectarian supremacism and apartheid. I support urgent action to achieve genuine sustainability and a fair and prosperous society for all. I rely upon - and support - free speech as defined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (see below).

with the dawg

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers"

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Unless otherwise indicated, material on this website is written by Syd Walker.

Anyone is welcome to re-publish material sourced from this site, as long as the source is acknowledged with a hyperlink.

Material from other sources reproduced here is presented on a 'Fair Use' basis. I try to cite references accurately. Please contact me if you have queries, comments, broken link reports, complaints - or just to say hello.

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Surreal Voyage
Aug 20th, 2011 by Syd Walker

Half Moon and Half Earth

Half moon and half earth

The view from Voyager when Jimmy Carter was President and John Lennon was making music

Long before Photoshop was invented there was a way of producing images like this.

Magritte

Magritte: La Reproduction Interdite

It involved sending a spacecraft with a camera a long way into space. As NASA explains:

This image of the Earth and moon in a single frame, the first of its kind ever taken by a spacecraft, was recorded on Sept. 18, 1977, by Voyager 1 when it was 7.25 million miles from Earth. The spacecraft launched on July 20, 1975.

Voyager 1 is now outside the solar system and heading inexorably away – the most distant man-made artifact in the universe.

It carries a plaque with some very basic information about human beings and our earth, in case it’s ever encountered by intelligent life elsewhere.

If that ever happens, presumably it’ll be far in the future.

Voyager 1

Voyager 1: in 2011 we put more powerful computers in dish-washers

Will human beings have made a terminal hash of our global habitat by then?

If so, this little object may be just about the only remaining testimony to the existence, at one time, of half-intelligent life on planet earth.

I hope we do better, but maybe the cosmos is set up with this built-in constraint?

If an aspiring intelligent species can’t make a go of one very nice planet, it may be just as well if it’s ability to screw up the wider universe is limited to littering with a few tokens of space junk.

 

Where have all the peace activists gone?
Aug 15th, 2011 by Syd Walker

In wistful memory of many old friends I knew when this song was younger.

Did you exchange a walk-on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?

So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

Did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
And cold comfort for change?
Did you exchange
A walk on part in the war,
For a lead role in a cage?

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We’re just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl,
Year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

__________________________________

If you like this classic Pink Floyd song, you’ll probably also enjoy:

The Soxir Style of Reporting
Aug 11th, 2011 by Syd Walker

Libya continues to be hit, on average, approximately every half hour by a NATO bombing attack in a ‘campaign’ of wreaking murderous damage that’s been underway for five months and counting.

For me, one consequence of following the bloody events in Libya has been making the acquaintance – from a safe distance – of some of the western journalists reporting from Libya.

Tripoli-based reporters stay at the now-legendary Rixos Hotel. It’s an arrangement that seems to suit all sides, despite routine grumbles from the valiant ladies and gentlemen of the ‘free press’ and bouts of quite extraordinary paranoia (The Guardian informs us one ‘journalist’ refused all hot food, believing it to be spiked with sedatives!)

Importantly, as long as these westerners remain at the Rixos,  NATO can avoid the embarrassment of wiping out the entire western press corp by ‘mistake’ . That would be a terrible blow to the prestige of western humanitarians. Unlike their Libyan hosts, the Rixos set have real faces, real friends, real families and lives that matter.

The Libyan Government, for its part, can keep a close eye on the bastards while they’re staying at the Rixos. This is typically portrayed as ‘paranoia’ on the part of the Government. Those who make the claim seem to have forgotten how many German journalists were allowed to report freely from London during World War Two – and how the British State might have dealt with any who tried.

Ivan Watson, CNN

Ivan Watson, CNN. Spends most nights tucked up safely 'embed' at the Rixos

On any given day, a Twitter search for “Rixos” is a way of getting some idea which western journalists are in Tripoli and what they’re up to. There has been quite a turnover since March! It’s been like a soap opera for news junkies.

Ivan Watson, who works for CNN, is neither the worst nor the best of the Rixos crowd. He’s easy to tease because of his movie-star wannabee photo. But in fairness, one senses occasional attempts on his part to explain the full horror of what’s happening and even register a murmur of protest. Here’s his recent report, filed soon after attending a mass funeral near Zliten. In this unusual case, the articulate Libyan Government spokseman, Moussa Ibrahim, actually gets a few coherent sentences in edgeways on the tape.

Yet the lapse is only temporary. Ivan is back on track almost straight away – posing once again as the hard-nosed, sceptical, ‘can’t fool me’ style of reporter that his bosses expect… while Ivan is in Libya.

In case the CNN overlords send Mr Watson to London next, I’ve taken the liberty of writing his next story, using the same ‘Rixos-style’ of reporting – a technique that shows western journalists haven’t entirely lost the capacity for scepticism).

Here it is:

Ivan goes to London

Yesterday, travelling by bus with other reporters based at London’s Soxir Hotel, I was taken to witness dramatic scenes apparently caused by people the UK regime describes as ‘rioters’.

We saw what appeared to be many burning buildings. However, it was impossible for us to confirm these fires were, as the regime asserts, lit by rebellious civilians.

We also observed what did appear to be riots in progress. Some people seemed noticeably angry, but it was not possible for us to verify they were genuine rioters.

A massive police presence on the streets shows the isolated Cameron regime is still struggling to re-impose dictatorial rule.

Unverified London fire

A shop on fire in London, August 2011. Claims by the Cameron regime that this fire was started by rioters cannot be independently verified

A spokesman for the regime claimed hundreds of fires have been started by ‘rioters’ in recent days. That claim cannot be independently confirmed. Estimates of damage vary widely.

The only ordinary Britons willing to talk openly with us claimed to support the Government. I witnessed at least one surreptitious thumbs down sign. It’s hard to guage accurately the full extent of opposition to Downing Street.

The respected Tripoli-based ‘Committee for Protection of British Property’ yesterday issued a statement strongly condemning the Cameron Government for complicity in burning down its own peoples’ shops and homes.

“The world community demands that Cameron steps down immediately!” said CPBP Chairman Dr I’m-Ratha-Spooki, speaking by satellite phone from an undisclosed location.

__________________________________________

Also by Ivan Watson: In Libya – as always in war – civilians pay highest price (August 5th 2011)

Libya: An unfair fight
Jul 31st, 2011 by Syd Walker

The resistable force meets an immoveable object

Ghadafi the Survivor

‘Punching Gaddafi’ by Jianping Fan

Abolish NATO! Viva Libya! Viva Ghadafi!

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