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The Extraordinary Trial of Arthur Topham: Part 2

Read Part 1.

On November 12th the jury found Mr. Topham guilty of ‘inciting hate.’ This leads to a few questions.

First, the jury found Mr. Topham guilty on Count 1 but not guilty on Count 2. Ordinarily, this is a result we are comfortable with since the state (the Crown) may have proved ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that a defendant committed an assault but not have shown sufficient evidence of battery. Mr. Topham’s case is different. He was charged with two virtually identical counts, both relating to his website but covering different periods of time, that is, count 1 …

Outrage at Paris Attacks Masks our Racism

An article in the Australian publication New Matilda gets to the real point about last night’s attacks in Paris – one that no one wants to talk about. What westerners feel right now is a powerful and very selective outrage that identifies with the suffering of people “like us”. We mourn the deaths in Paris while not even noticing those killed in Lebanon a day earlier and almost certainly by the same fanatics that launched the attacks in France.

Lots of westerners like to dismiss such observations as “whataboutery”. It is natural, they say, to care more about people we know and …

Assad Compares Paris Terrorism to Plight of Syria

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has condemned the string of coordinated terrorist attacks that killed at least 127 people in and around the French capital of Paris.

“What France suffered from – savage terror – is what the Syrian people have been enduring for over five years,” he said on Saturday, hours after the attacks in France.

The attacks in France were carried out late on Friday, when assailants struck at least six different venues in and around the French capital.

President Assad added in a meeting with a delegation of French lawmakers in the Syrian capital of Damascus that “mistaken policies” adopted by …

Why Can’t the Public Know the Truth about Social Security?

During the past three decades the American people have been kept in the dark about the true status of the Social Security program. Politicians, from both political parties, give out false and conflicting information on a regular basis, and nobody knows who to believe. At the Republican presidential debate, held in Boulder, Colorado, on the night of October 28, 2015, New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, shocked a lot of people when he said, “Let me be honest with the people who are watching at home. The government has lied to you and they have stolen from …

General Strike in Greece Reignites Anti-Austerity Battle

Greek port worker and union leader Giorgos Gogos says most of the demonstrations across the country were peaceful and unified against austerity measures imposed by the lenders and accepted by SYRIZA.

An Apology for Poverty

News item: California’s Right to Rest Act would give homeless people the right to use public space without discrimination. It also describes the right to rest in public, to protect oneself from the elements in public, to eat in public and to occupy a legally parked car.


I first became aware of the complex of societal problem related to poverty when — one winter in downtown Toronto — I was confronted by a homeless man. In fact, I had to step over him because he was rolled up …

Another Paris False Flag Attack?

At 7pm on Friday 13th we do not have much information about the “terrorist attacks” in Paris other than that Paris is closed down like Boston was after the “Boston Marathon Bombing,” also a suspected false flag event.

Possibly believable evidence will be presented that the Paris attacks were real terrorist attacks. However, what do refugees have to gain from making themselves unwelcome with acts of violence committed against the host country, and where do refugees in France obtain automatic weapons and bombs? Indeed, where would the French themselves obtain them?

The millions of refugees from Washington’s wars who are overrunning Europe …

Awakening in Mexico

Awakening once again to songs of mourning doves and the clanging of numerous church bells, I’m counting my last few precious days here in the heart of Mexico. Ornately painted calacas (skulls), elegantly clad skeletal Catrinas, ten foot tall mojigangas (giant puppets), fireworks and parades of Dia de Los Muertos are finished. Now it’s back to life as usual the streets of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato.

My wife and I love this beautiful little city. What’s not to love? Eternal spring weather, picturesque countryside. A World Heritage Site with some of the most painstakingly preserved Spanish Colonial architecture anywhere. And …

What Sanders Lacks

The problem with half-measures

Recently there was a chalk picture drawn on a particular sidewalk in Greenwich Village—a colorful image of Hillary Clinton. Her face was upturned, much like Obama’s starry gaze in 2008. Her cosmetic upgrades this summer—dutifully rendered in finely contoured jowls—returned to her cheeks a faint glow of youth. Her shut-lipped grin, a poor man’s Mona Lisa, gave her face a humble cast, almost grandmotherly in its saintliness. The picture got its point across: here was someone we could believe in. Had there been a companion portrait of Bernie Sanders gazing up at Hillary, it would have only been appropriate.

Like this …

For America’s Unbanked: Re-establishing the Postal Savings Bank

Fact: Tens of millions of Americans do not have a bank account. As a result, many of these Americans spend a reported $89 billion annually in interest and fees by using predatory services such as payday loan and check cashing services. It’s a perpetuating cycle of poverty in which the poor get poorer just by accessing their own money. Fortunately, there is an ideal solution staring us in the face. An important voice driving the conversation is Professor Mehrsa Baradaran of the University of Georgia Law School. Her excellent new book,

The Saudi Prince and Two Tons of Narcotics

Saudi Prince Abdulmohsen bin Walid bin Abdulmohsen bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was obviously not fully satisfied with his life. A private jet, several luxury cars and a mansion were not enough to make him feel a truly fulfilled and respected member of the Gulf ruling “elites”. Others had more, like those double-decker Airbus 380’s, or tremendous duplexes overlooking Karbala.

Perhaps that was the reason why he tried so hard to catch up, by smuggling from Beirut, Lebanon to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (KSA), some 40 suitcases and boxes neatly packed with Captagon pills, with some cocaine thrown in for good measure.

I say …

Grandmaster Putin’s Trap No. 2

In December of last year we published an intriguing article by Dmitry Kalinichenko, “Grandmaster Putin’s Trap,” which has drawn far more attention from readers than we ever expected. It continues to be cited by many international political and economic experts. That article addressed Russia’s latent strategy to get rid of US bonds and use its petrodollars to buy monetary gold. It seemed for a while that the ruble’s nosedive late last year, coupled with the Kremlin’s reduced fiscal space, has left Moscow unable to pursue its plan to permanently diversify the international financial system. Nevertheless, taking …

COP21 Stares Down Big Oil

The 2015 Paris Climate Conference scheduled for November 30th – December 11th looks to be a humongous event, a big win with extremely significant world-changing implications for economic behavior and planetary health for decades and centuries to come.

If the hints and statements by Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework on Climate Change (“UNFCCC’) prove correct, the world is about to change in a very positive way.

Expectations are rising by the month, and now by the week, that COP21 will not be a cop-out, rather, for the first time in over 20 years of intransigency, a legally binding universal …

The Age of Aging

What Will We Do When One Third of Us are 65 or Older? Village to Village Movement Tackles the Needs of Living at Home As Long As Possible


I remember ageism striking me right between the eyes, in Oaxaca, while I was climbing a pyramid at Monte Alban. Running, really. A silly sight from afar, trying to beat the veronica of the sun so I could get the “perfect” dusk shot with my Nikon.

Two elderly ladies on the side of the steps were selling beautiful weavings, something for which the Zapotec Indians of that region are known.

I got all huffy and puffy about their goods spread out on the steps. One of the 80-year-old women said to me in heavily accented Spanish, “ Calmate, joven. Despacio. En la …

Silence, Please

The worlds we inhabit are noisy places. The external environment, particularly cities, where over half the population now live, suffocates under a cacophony of competing sounds, from road and air traffic, to power tools, car alarms and neon lights: and, for most of us, the internal, mental space in which we live is equally chaotic and cluttered. Contradictory thought patterns rise up one after another, jostling for attention, demanding to be heard and acted upon. Conditioned, and therefore partial thoughts, move us away from the present – where exists peace – and into conflict.

This endless stream of space invaders is …

Time Is Running Out For Pax Americana’s Apologists

The paradox of the current global crisis is that for the last five years, all relatively responsible and independent nations have made tremendous efforts to save the United States from the financial, economic, military, and political disaster that looms ahead. And this is all despite Washington’s equally systematic moves to destabilize the world order, rightly known as the Pax Americana (“American peace”).

Since policy is not a zero-sum game; i.e., one participant’s loss does not necessarily entail a gain for another, this paradox has a logical explanation. A crisis erupts within any system when there is a discrepancy between its internal …

A Bayonet is a Weapon with a Worker on Each End: Rethinking Veterans Day

In 1885, the Knights of Labor organized a successful strike against Jay Gould’s Missouri Pacific Railroad. In response to the strike, Gould famously growled, “I can hire half the working class to kill the other half.”

Gould was right. In any hierarchical arrangement, where power and wealth become concentrated in the hands of a few, this tactic becomes available to those wielding this power over a vast majority. Among the masses of workers, slaves, and impoverished, there will inevitably be many willing to “police their own” in order to be in the masters’ good graces. History is rife with these examples.

In …

Remembrance Day Should Not Be Used for Indoctrination of Young Minds

As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead trying to kill me.

They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are only doing their duty, as the saying goes. Most of them, I have no doubt, are kind-hearted law-abiding men who would never dream of committing murder in private life. On the other hand, if one of them succeeds in blowing me to pieces with a well-placed bomb, he will never sleep any worse for it. He is serving his country, which has the power to absolve him from evil.

Government Forces Halt 2-Year ISIS Siege of Key Airbase in Northern Syria

Elite Syrian army units have broken the siege of Kweires airbase, following weeks of intense fighting against Islamic State and other jihadist forces. The base, which opens up routes for offensives against Raqqa and Aleppo, had been encircled for nearly two years.

“We, the heroes of Kweires, are now celebrating this victory with our brothers,” a soldier told Syrian state television. “We dedicate this victory to President Bashar Assad and we promise him we will continue fighting until all of Syria is liberated. We will not kneel to Daesh” [Islamic State].

The advancing Tiger Forces, the name for the commando units in …

A Palestinian Call for “Unarmed Warfare”

Behind the headline news of clashes between Palestinian youths and armed Israeli soldiers, Israel has – as ever – been quietly tightening its grip on Palestinians’ lives in the occupied territories.Last week in Hebron, a current flashpoint, 50 embattled families still living in the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood, faced a new restriction on movement designed to help free up the area for intensified Jewish settlement.

Some of Tel Rumeida’s residents could be seen silently queuing at the local checkpoint to register their ID cards. Anyone not from the neighbourhood and not on the military’s list will be barred from entering.

Their response differed …