Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hands off Syria and Iran! No to western intervention! -London public meeting

‘They lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They lied about Vietnam. Cambodia, Serbia and so on, they lied when they told you that Libya was about ‘humanitarian aid’ , they are lying about Syria and will lie about Iran’.

Stop the War is organising a week of action against western  intervention in Syria and Iran.

Do try and take part and if you’re anti-war and  live in London or the south-east, do try and make it along to the Stop the War meeting on Syria and Iran in London tomorrow where I will be among the speakers.

It's not just about opposing western intervention in Syria and Iran- it's also about lifting sanctions.

"On June 28 US oil sanctions on Iran are set to take effect, followed by EU sanctions on July 1. Iran has threatened to close the straits of Hormuz in response. Even in the absence of an immediate conflagration, oil sanctions are an attempt to weaken Iran and therefore a prelude to war, not an alternative to it. "

Friday, June 22, 2012

John Pilger: History is the enemy as “brilliant” psy-ops become the news

The threats against Syria, co-ordinated in Washington and London, scale new peaks of hypocrisy. Contrary to the raw propaganda presented as news, the investigative journalism of the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung identifies those responsible for the massacre in Houla as the “rebels” backed by Obama and Cameron. The paper’s sources include the rebels themselves. This has not been completely ignored in Britain. Writing in his personal blog, ever so quietly, Jon Williams, the BBC World News editor, in effect dishes his own “coverage”, citing a western official who described the “psy-ops” operation against Syria as “brilliant”. As brilliant as the destruction of Libya, and Iraq, and Afghanistan.

You can read the rest of John Pilger’s brilliant new NS piece, on how US and British democracies have been replaced by an extremism hell-bent on the destruction of democracy, here. 

While on the subject of the destruction of Libya, do take a look at this report.  Also, this great piece by Peter Hitchens from last week’s Mail on Sunday.

‘Liberal interventionism’.  Or as it should be called, the destruction of independent countries that don’t do the west’s bidding. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Memo to Platini: don't change Euro 2012's winning format

This piece of mine appears over at The Week/The First Post.

Neil Clark: The next European Championships will expand from 16 to 24 teams. It will make for a more boring tournament

DEAR M. PLATINI - Like other football fans across Europe, and indeed the world, I've been enthralled by Euro 2012.

We've had some great games, lots of goals and some tremendous excitement. There have been shocks and surprises aplenty - with Russia, who started the tournament with a 4-1 demolition of the Czech Republic, being eliminated after a defeat by Greece, and Holland, one of the tournament favourites, failing to register even a single point.

The 2008 Euros was a fantastic tournament, too: we can all remember the incredible never-say-die exploits of Turkey, the attacking dynamism of a young and emerging Germany and the brilliance of the tournament winners Spain, but 2012 has surpassed even that - and to think the knockout stages haven't even begun yet.

This year's European Championships has been so very different from the boring and sterile 2010 World Cup, where there were many disappointing matches.

Yet my enjoyment of the tournament is tinged with sadness. I fear that due to changes that your organisation is making to the competition, we will never have such an exciting European Championships again.

You can read the whole of my Memo to Platini here.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Letter of the Week: Dick Maunders on Syria in the Morning Star

This week's pick: Dick Maunders on  Syria in the Morning Star.

..........It is plain to see the long-term tactics of the West.

They are hoping to create another Libya scenario in Syria, start a civil war and overthrow the Syrian government to be replaced by a compliant Western one, then use Syria as a forward base for any impending invasion of Iran.

William Hague should mind his own business about the internal affairs of Syria. We can see the results of Western meddling in Libya now with tribal fighting and murders happening every day.

You can read the whole of Dick Maunders' excellent letter here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Water, water everywhere, but it's too expensive to drink

This column of mine appears in the Morning Star. It’s also cross-posted over at the Campaign for Public Ownership.

The Crazy Gang. The Keystone Kops. The Marx Brothers. Just three of the all-time great comedy troupes. To which we need to add another name - the Institution of Civil Engineers. 

Last week this bunch of comedians issued a report which claimed that water in Britain is too cheap and recommended the introduction of compulsory metering. 

It would be a hilarious, side-splitting joke if only the subject under discussion wasn't quite so serious. In England water prices have risen by an average of 5.7 per cent since April, nearly double the rate of inflation. 

More and more people are finding it harder to pay their water bills. Research by the Consumer Council for Water has found that one in seven of all customers feel their charges are now unaffordable.
Far from being too cheap, water in England is actually too expensive - and the reason is a simple one. It's called privatisation. 

You can read the whole of the article here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Germany’s leading newspaper reports that the Houla massacre was carried out by anti-Assad rebels.

But you won’t find too much about this story in the US/UK media…..

It was, in the words of U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan, the “tipping point” in the Syria conflict: a savage massacre of over 90 people, predominantly women and children, for which the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad was immediately blamed by virtually the entirety of the Western media. 
Within days of the first reports of the Houla massacre, the U.S., France, Great Britain, Germany, and several other Western countries announced that they were expelling Syria’s ambassadors in protest.

But according to a new report in Germany’s leading daily, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), the Houla massacre was in fact committed by anti-Assad Sunni militants, and the bulk of the victims were member of the Alawi and Shia minorities, which have been largely supportive of Assad. 

You can read the rest of this article by Doug Macatonis of Information Clearing House over at the Stop The War website.
As I argued on RT here, the Houla massacre has been used by the neo-cons and ‘liberal interventionists’ to try to get the military action against Syria which they have long desired.  They want to forcibly replace the current Syrian government with one which would be anti-Iranian and more pro-Israel.

The propaganda against Syria (and Russia too)  in the US and UK has been fierce and unrelenting, but thankfully more and more people are seeing through all the lies. After all, we've seen the same sort of 'pro-intervention' propaganda pumped out before the military action against Yugoslavia in 1999, against Iraq in 2003 (WMD anyone?) and Libya in 2011.
 Stop the War is organising an Urgent ‘No Intervention in Syria’ Protest Picket in Downing Street this Thursday (14th June) from 5.30pm to 7pm. If you live in London do try and get down there to join the protest. Full details here:

Saturday, June 09, 2012

How England can win Euro 2012: play like Chelsea

This piece of mine appears in The Week/The First Post.

Neil Clark: Roy Hodgson is a master of getting the most out of ordinary players - and the championship favourites look weak

WANT A good outside tip for Euro 2012? A side currently available at juicy odds of 15-1 and whose chances of victory have been largely dismissed?

OK, I'll tell you the name of the team. It's England. That's right, England. The team that has never won the Euros or even been to the final. A team that hasn't won any major international tournament, in fact, since 1966.

This time round expectations of an England success have never been so low. We haven't got enough good strikers. Or enough good defenders. Or indeed enough good players all round. Our squad has been hit by injuries. The manager has only just taken over. And so on. Yet ironically, despite all the doom and gloom, we might just have the best chance of winning a major tournament that we've had in years.

You can read the whole article here.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Why it’s time to end England’s great privatised water rip-off

So the Institution of Civil Engineers think water in England is too cheap! That’s when we’ve just had a price hike of an average of 5.7% in England- with Southern Water raising bills by as much as 8.2%.

You can hear me making the case for public ownership of England’s water industry in an interview on BBC Radio Newcastle here.  (The discussion starts at around 10 minutes into the programme.)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Syria: Why Russia must be firmer with the west to save the peace plan

Above you can watch an interview with me on Russia Today (RT) on on how western states are using the recent tragedy in Houla as a pretext for a possible military intervention. 
You can read a transcript of the interview here.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Diamond jubilee: TV steps up the celeb factor

This piece of mine, comparing tv coverage of the 1977 silver jubilee with the diamond jubilee today, appears in The Guardian.

Neil Clark:  A look back at the coverage of the silver jubilee shows there were fewer crowns – and famous faces – in sight back in 1977.

"A jubilant burst of celebrations in London and all over the country officially marks the start of the jubilee week revelries. Bonfires, fireworks and traditional pageantry are all part of the week's programme which has full coverage on BBC TV and radio." So proclaimed the Radio Times of silver jubilee week in 1977.

A comparison of the television and radio listings of that week 35 years ago with those of diamond jubilee week in 2012 shows that, even though the Radio Times published its own "souvenir issue", coverage of the event occupied significantly less broadcast time in 1977.

You can read the whole of the article here.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Letter of the Week: Peter McKenna on Syria and foreign intervention

A brilliant letter from Peter McKenna from Liverpool, published in The Guardian.

It ill behoves the US to accuse another country of aiding and abetting the massacre of women and children (Houla massacre: US accuses Iran of 'bragging' about its military aid to Syria, 30 May).

The US (and the UK) didn't just aid the killing of women and children in the bombardments of Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya (and in the genocidal sanctions against the Iraqi population), but was actually directly responsible for it (The US drone campaign is fuelling, not fighting, terror, 30 May). And the particular mode of child-killing which is firmly ascribed to the Syrian regime in the Houla atrocity – via artillery fire into civilian areas – is a particularly brutal means of warfare which was actively supported by the US (and the UK) in Libya as well as in Iraq.

You can read the whole of the letter here.
(hat tip: gabriele at Media Lens Message Board)
On the subject of the terrible Houla massacre, do check out this latest Media Lens alert.

There's also a great piece by John Bradley in the Daily Mail which you can read here.

We still don’t know exactly who was responsible for the massacre- but what we do know is that the neo-cons and ‘liberal’ interventionists in the west are trying all they can to use it as an excuse for military action against yet another sovereign state. And we should not be surprised that the current British Government is taking such an aggressive stance.

Today in Damascus, President Assad has denounced the Houla massacre as an  "ugly crime" that even "monsters" wouldn’t carry out.  More on  the Houla massacre over at Global Research.