Manchester’s Sad Dichotomy


By Andrew Field – Follow on Twitter
Field A_2010_07_29_0436_250x375px
Every terrorist incident in the West seems to have a sequel, and that is the blame game.
In a poll on Twitter by David Jones 70% of respondents suggest government was partly to blame for the attack. Even the music concert performer, Ariana Grande, who sung at the Manchester event is being blamed for the clothes that she wore. Then it’s the security services for not preventing the attack.

Of course, it goes without saying that an entire religion is also to blame. Loose immigration policy on Middle Eastern and North African refugees, and the infiltration of radicalism into mosques is apparently much to blame. Even liberal thinking people took a knock and so too does every strain of political party. On the other hand, singer, Morrissey suggests that politicians are just too scared to blame Islam for Manchester attack! It doesn’t help.

Indeed, how is all this indignant blame going to help? It is certainly throwing up a smoke signal and one wonders if our political ‘elite’ can see the smoke for the mist and formulate pro-active and acceptable policy.

I am told that two poor homeless people, Britons, who were begging and sleeping on the street in the immediate area of the blast, rushed to the aid the bleeding victims. Their moving accounts of how they helped the victims has ended in an appropriate appeal to assist them and the money is still pouring in!

Here are two British people made destitute by the system, struggling to keep going, against all the odds, and their Government does naught for them, so it seems. How could they? Here is the irony. So much funding available to the poor is allocated to refugee immigrants first; they are housed, given jobs and lead a right royal life in comparison to life in their home nations.

Our ungrateful terrorist, even enjoyed a university education until he dropped out. Who funded that? Police named British born Salman Ramadan Abedi, a Muslim, just 22 years of age, from a Libyan refugee background. His brother, Ismail Abedi, was arrested and so too were his parents, in Libya.

Salman and Ismail appear to be of good home and blessed with the opportunities of the British way of life. Abedi lived in a house on Manchester’s Elsmore Road – a quiet, residential street lined with red-brick semi-detached houses. How quaint. Better than a cardboard box outside a stadium. The brothers were more favoured by the system, it would seem, than are most true Britons who find themselves in dire straits.

So who is responsible for this, who should take the blame? Seems to me that there is blood on the hands of successive Western governments. European and American intervention in the Muslim non-secular states is part of the problem. Invasions on false premises of weapons of mass destruction and, of course, the war against terrorism. All with ulterior motive. Offensives against ISIS in the ‘Caliphate’, and more recently in Syria cannot help. But it is not the entire cause.

Islam cannot possibly be described as a religion of peace. By all accounts it is clearly the root of most terrorism in Europe and is based on its tenets of non-Muslim intolerance, jihadist revolution, hatred of the infidel and the anti-Semitism of its faith. It’s a hateful religion, so much so that some are influenced to perpetrate dastardly acts of terrorism in its name.

There are a disturbing number of psychotically deluded little Muslims running around Europe. This psychosis is the ultimate motive for all Islamic terrorism in the West. Yet the West digs its head deeper into the sand. The migration to Europe by many thousands of Muslims, away from their now broken homes and bankrupt economies run by despots, is not without contribution. They come with much religious indoctrination, a pathological bitterness, and even thoughts of retribution and, yes, the blame game too.

We owe them, some might say, and we are giving abundantly it would seem. Yet the system that feeds and sustains them is foreign to them, non-Islamic, and needs to conform to their way of living.  They, and more so their issue, are easy victims for radicalisation; that process of religious corruption of the mind and making the infidel host enemy. Their new home, with generous benefactors, becomes the target. No holds barred. They perceive they are profiled badly, which they are much due to Muslim terrorism, and they feel rejected.

So there is the ugly mix. The West seems to have ignored the alarm bells rung and buries itself in the comfort of being nice to these strange and struggling people with different ways. Society is intolerant of those who point fingers at migration or object to the pacifism in the face of an onslaught, labelling them racist or even bigot. And now the fires are burning. Manchester weeps. Terrorism wins yet again – Europe raises the white flag to negotiate!

The thing is, you cannot negotiate with terrorists. Negotiation with terrorists will only succeed if you bend entirely to their demands. They call the shots. The jihadist wants to impose his religion, his way of life, the Islamic way, and give privilege to Muslims and those of the faith. There is no compromise. Understand clearly, the jihadist has no political master nor tangible nation to which they are loyal. They fight and slaughter the innocents in the name of their mythical God. Gods cannot negotiate. So who are European government to negotiate with?

The Manchester suicide bombing is a dire tragedy of multiple proportions. The dead and their grieving and suffering families, the lacerated and torn wounded, and the horrified onlookers scared with fear, are only a part of the tragedy. The other tragedy is that of successive governments which, clearly, cannot see the wood for the trees.

The time is ripe for a paradigm shift in combatting Muslim terrorism. It goes much beyond tackling home grown radicalisation. Europeans need to go to the root of the problem and exorcise or purge the community which breeds the problem. This, of course goes against those well entrenched doctrines of human rights, religious freedom of association, and the credible system of jurisprudence that Europeans enjoy, but which no immigrant Muslim would have enjoyed in his home country. There is the dichotomy.

So whose Flag is it?


ZimbabweFlag
By Neelix at English Wikipedia (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Andrew Field – Follow on Twitter
Field A_2010_07_29_0436_250x375pxJust a few years ago, about three in fact, Zimbabweans voted old fashioned nationalist notions and philosophies back into power… some say they stole the election, but no one really contested that. So one might only assume they achieved a fair majority. In fact, Zimbabweans have been a little like the proverbial sheep in not resisting the tyranny of autocracy and stale liberation demagoguery. The ZANU(PF) regime continued with its merry looting and oppression against all legitimate opposition. Where has the money gone? Today we are faced with the expected consequences of allowing that regime to remain in power. An economy spiralling out of control and a cash crunch of such significant proportions it has brought us to our knees.

This is not the fault of the British or the Americans… nor the white man, or colonialism… No, this is the entire the fault of a clearly incompetent regime more fully occupied with personal self-enrichment and empire building than caring for the people. Let us be blunt, the party should have been democratically deposed 15 to 20 years ago, but Zimbabweans, seemingly, did not have the courage to do so or certainly failed in their foresight. No credible opposition has been formed. The ruling party’s leader is worshipped like a God, he has the following of rural populations, a major religious cult with a powerful support, and remains solidly entrenched. Zimbabweans, it would seem, your impending fate is one of doom and gloom. Yet, aside from the whinging and whining, seemingly little is being done. Well not entirely…

During the earlier part of May, 2016 a lone pastor, Evan Mawirire launched his sole campaign, appropriately hash tagged in social media as #ThisFlag. A small modicum of hope, this little trickle of resistance may not have the impact it deserves immediately, because those who dare dabble in the social media movement are just too timid to speak out. However, people are slowly beginning to lend it support, and why shouldn’t they? ZANU(PF) hi-jacked the flag when they assumed ownership of the country. Now the pastor wants to hi-jack the flag back and give it to the people, to the citizens who actually own the flag. It’s metaphorical in concept but wonderfully healthy protest, to be encouraged and supported. It will be interesting in the days ahead to see if Zimbabweans take back their flag.

Would it be unfair to suggest then that Zimbabweans have become the international laughing stock? Their currency did, and now they want to try printing money again! Perhaps, but one might candidly suggest there is not a whole lot of respect for a people who lost their national pride (and their flag) to the party and remain subjugated by its almost subservient bonds, many times worse than their colonial heritage. History is going to judge very harshly indeed the last two voting generations of Zimbabweans in the scheme of things; if they do not rise to the challenge. They have at their disposal a clear, non-violent, non-political form of protest which if given sufficient support may see a few tails turned. But let us not forget the courage and tenacity of another sole campaigner, Itai Dzamara. Don’t sell Mawarire down the same trickle of pathetic support. Each wave of your flag is asking “where is Itai?”

A Liberal Dose of Whimpering


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Picture by Dan Hodgson – @darkroom

There was a huge flash of whimpering, egalitarian, liberal sentiment following Donald Trump’s infamous little quip about barring Muslims entry into the United States. The bigot, how dare he! Sure, to any sensible thinking person, it was a ludicrous thing to say, especially on the campaign trail, he being obviously expectant of the peoples support. It is all rather farcical only because Trump, well knowingly, uttered his thoughts in the ferment of a rather too liberal society. His words were intended to shock, if not wake up a blinkered, apparently big-hearted, electorate. As the old cliché suggests, they truly do walk among us.

The indignant outrage of Western society is a touch preposterous, perhaps more so than the very pronouncement by our prime, all American, presidential hopeful clown. It has stimulated division within his own ranks and most certainly the extremes of society; it has created victims in the Western Muslim community further exacerbating the ‘dangers’ of living in a free, decadent society, and thus creating a cause; and, heaven forbid, it has been truly rough abrasion for simply nice people who cannot see the wood for the trees.

Perhaps we need to reflect on Trump’s words and the reaction to them a little more carefully. What we are seeing here is egalitarian liberalism forcing the suppression of freedoms, rather than advocating them. We may not like what Trump had to say, but he had the right to say it. One does protest a little too much. Thus, those rights and freedoms espoused are, perhaps, the very same liberties that allow others to do Western society harm. The fact is, Islamic terrorism, through its many variants is well intent on doing harm in Western Judeo/Christian society.

There are many taboos in Western society in the interests of political correctness. The late Christopher Hitchens once wrote about unwelcome attention received in response to essays written ‘defending the right of Holocaust deniers and Nazi sympathizers to publish their views’. He averred,

“I did this because I think a right is a right and also because if this right is denied to one faction, it will not stop there.”

How right he was. Laws criminalising Holocaust denial are already being extended to the criticism of Islamist sentiment, clearly the single biggest threat to Western society today. Laws prohibiting so called hate crime, or the motivation of racial, sexual or other prejudices, involving violence, are blossoming in Western society. They deny our right to free speech, we cannot offer vitriol and contempt to our worst enemy. Yet our enemy is at liberty to offer his! How soon will it be an offence to condemn mass immigration?

For Islamists, to achieve their objectives, it is inherent that they should subvert and deploy people of their ilk, religion and culture, in other words, those select, unwitting Muslims who have integrated into Western societies. Yes, it is a broad sweeping brush, but it will be those from this community who wish to destroy or more rather have infidel Western society succumb to their religious zeal. Islamists, seemingly, have the right to hate and destroy, while Western society has its hands tied through ignorance and passivity. One might begin to understand Trump’s clear frustration, albeit the man is a fool.

Liberalism is about freedoms and rights, which makes it all the more astonishing why liberal minded people have denied Trump the right to his freedom of speech; the right to dislike a certain sector of the community who pose a threat to their well-being. Dislike, and indeed distrust, is not hatred. How can anybody like and trust those who seek to destroy our cultural and religious values? People cannot expect to uphold the rights of those who would destroy them, while suppressing the rights of those who believe their ideas and policies may prevent such destruction. It is a grey line, much like hate crime, but Western society needs to get is head out of the sand!

And for those still blurting their anti-Trump vitriol, of course you have the right to do so, but take note: Muslims do not have a right to visit the United States, nor migrate to Europe. It is actually a very liberal privilege.

Greasing up the Slippery Slide


By Andrew Field – Follow on Twitter
Field A_2010_07_29_0436_250x375pxZimbabwe’s elections have come and gone. We all know the results and most will agree that they yielded more than a few surprises; within both party camps. Something is just not right and all the analysts worth their salt are struggling to come to terms with what really happened; and just how sweeping is the victory. Few are discussing the consequences. Clearly the election was over-rigged creating skews where they should never exist, but some will suggest that the losing side were really caught on the back foot by a cunning, methodical and experienced old fox.

The sham is not so much the fact that the winning party usurped the vote, but rather that a now grumbling opposition is found so badly wanting. They were outmanoeuvred or outclassed in more ways than one. Principally, it was abundantly clear to the wider audience that supposed reforms were needed before any fair election could ever take place.

To venture into an election without these reforms was political suicide, and they were warned. The now ruling party had absolute and utter control over the electoral process. This provided the necessarily biased infrastructure needed for the winning party to manipulate to its heart’s content; from voter registration, through to organisation and the count.

The platform had thus been set for biased maladministration. It ensured that those contesting were denied sight of the voter’s roll. Voter registration and roll manipulation are considered the core of the vote scam and no bias could be determined before voting began.

Both disenfranchisement and false enfranchisement (duplicated, deceased and centenarian voters) saw to it that the opposing parties could never achieve an outright majority save for securing a few party strongholds. Voter registration in rural areas amounted to 99.97 percent of eligible voters (compared with 2012 national census figures). That is an incredible feat in itself!

The campaign saw contesting parties denied access to National media, petty attempts to prevent opposition rallies being held, and even refused real access by one party to the other party’s strongholds. The thuggery was absent. It was going to be a peaceful election, but while the thugs were reined in, seemingly, the fraudsters were released with a vengeance; scheming and planning to scoop power back to the “liberation” party.

Some say the MDC formations did not smell the rat, yet everyone was pointing to where it lay festering. Instead they were quaffing the sweet fragrance of victory and indeed relishing in their false sense of triumph. Never underestimate the enemy in African politics.

On the day, many legitimate voters were denied the vote and sent away from polling stations, mostly in opposing party, urban strongholds. There was a heavy and unprecedented incidence of assisted voting, for alleged illiterates in Africa’s most literate nation. And then there was the bussing; the movement of youths in large numbers to vote in several locations; false voter registration slips and all the trimmings of the rook. Finally, there was outright denial of results being broadcast from individual polling stations, lest this exposed the eventual swindle.

Apart from a few party die-hards, everyone is saying that the vote was rigged… the kleptocracy has successfully enforced its will upon the people. Those who believe otherwise are rather slow on the uptake. Even ZANU(PF) are worried that perhaps it was over-rigged by all the tell tale signs now being exposed! Did they really expect to win in the territory of the Gukurahundi massacres? They did. The winning party announced very early in its campaign that they would achieve as much as 90 percent of the poll with some degree of confidence. Did they know something then that bolstered their confidence? Whatever, they achieved a devastating defeat of the would-be aspirants.

Early post election whimpers for a regime of passive resistance were just not going to hold water. Those people who would perhaps care were disoriented and shocked with the poll outcome. A sense of being let down by their own permeated and suddenly the knives were being drawn, not for the wicked kleptocrats, but for those who led them to defeat.

There is a to and fro of opinion as to whether the MDC-T should take up their seats. It is a case of condemning the election, yet taking up the resultant parliamentary seats. Not many among the party faithful are sticking their heads above the parapet just yet… so just how does one expect the people, the man in the street, to cast the first stone of passive resistance? Politicians seem to be leading from the rear here and clearly they have not strategized to the optimum. The storm troops are waiting for any resistance.

Election observer parties from the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) see the election as free and fair and their judgement will not be reserved for long. In contrast the non-partisan Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) is exposing the poll for what it really was. It is perhaps a foregone conclusion that the submissions to the Constitutional Court will fail. Can Zimbabweans presume a different outcome from what many consider to be partisan courts? They are yet to hand down judgements to earlier election contests. There are those who hold hope despite the odds.

Thus the issue for many is not whether opposition will upset the apple cart through the Constitutional Court; whether the AU and SADC yield to the reality of it all and call for a new round; or perhaps what happens within the losing party’s senior ranks; but rather how the winning party is going to measure up to its election manifesto. More critically for some is the scale by which it handles the selective xenophobia, resource nationalisation and outright racism by its far right.

Nobody can come to grips with the fact that Zimbabweans, by hook or by crook, have brought back into power a party which has bad economic form. It has a track record for destruction; self enrichment and gross patronage of the ‘chefs’. The markets responded negatively within hours of electoral results. There was even a run on the banks. The prognosis is not good. This seems to suggest that Zimbabweans may have been prostituted at the polls and they have inadvertently greased up the slippery slide once more.

Visit Andrew’s Simply Wild Photography photo blog… you will not regret doing so!

Once More Unto the Breach


By Andrew Field – Follow on Twitter
Flickr_Andrew_XIThere comes a time when the ideals of a past revolution become a terrible wart on the face of democracy, as mythical as this can be in Africa. That time arrived in Zimbabwe well over a decade ago. The wart has grown bigger. It is uglier now as it erupts and oozes its vile liberation muck, but people have become used to that; having been sucked into its propaganda vortex. Or so it would seem, as we venture into yet another round of nuttiness, which we refer to as elections.

Print, electronic and social media is abuzz with commentary, opinion and sometimes even satirical retort about the forthcoming poll. People set aside their inhibitions and take courage in the narrow window of seeming freedom offered at this time, yet there remains an air of suppression, an uncanny, determined focus, and a yet stronger will by some to retain power, come whatever cost. And we are sure this is not the will of the people.

There is no pulling out the stops now. Conceivably, every trick in the book will be used to ensure our erstwhile revolutionaries retain their power. It is their right, so it would seem, and thus irrevocably due to them. So who dare challenge the status quo and why the folly of elections? Well, in effect, ‘democratic’ elections are done merely to pull the wool over the eyes of otherwise gullible democracies who preach condescendingly of their free values. Africa is challenged by democracy.

So, once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more. What evil schemes will erupt , ooze and spoil genuine choice? The Presidential Decree for an early election will most certainly have placed the opposition on its back feet, despite the paper tiger, SADC, calling for extensions in time. Zimbabwe’s Courts put the finger up to SADC.

Such prolongations were critical to ensure proper voter registration for a start, not to mention amendment to electoral legislation and other critical reforms. Millions of first time voters, the young people of Zimbabwe, and aliens will have been disenfranchised; fundamentally, sectors of the community which would reap positively for the opposition.

A more sinister aspect of the call for an early election was that of a poll before security sector reforms, supposedly to ensure a free and fair election, if ever that can happen in Africa. Such reforms are foremost at the heart of the opposition, for there is little doubt about the patronage and support of the Generals for the old school revolutionaries. The military are expected to play a rather biased role in covert campaigning for the liberation party. Should they fail in that objective, there is mooted suggestion of coup!

The mechanics of what one can only describe as a half cocked and shambolic voter registration abound with yet more suspicion of evil being done. This is considered the base of the rigging yet to come. Voter roll transparency has been all but forbidden in what appears to be an obvious agenda, following an interdict against a local research company.

The xenophobic machinations of the liberation party were never present when employing a foreign company, of apparently dubious repute, to handle aspects of voter registration, and who stand accused of tampering with the lists. The company is said to have ‘form’ for Zambian voter roll manipulations, but deny local involvement in the election process. Several impartial Zimbabwean firms could have qualified for the task; so much for indigenisation.

Was there trickery too in the just run Special Election vote for members of the security forces? A special vote is offered for those who, ostensibly, will be on duty on election day, and thus unable to vote. Really? Nevertheless, it could have been a revealing test of the waters of security force sympathies or otherwise, were the exercise not bungled. The opposition were quick to smell a rat when 69,000 police officers applied for the special vote, almost double the Treasury payroll figures.

The initiative turned out to be a shambles with the ZEC shooting itself in the foot by failing to deliver ballot papers, especially in those areas where the vote would clearly have fallen, perhaps, in opposition favour. Now it is suggested special vote candidates may be able to vote again, despite laws to the contrary. Such chicanery we are used to.

Now the question arises, will the expected chaos (a prognosis based on the Special Vote exercise) prevail in the main election of 6 million participants, and thus be the veil under which a rigging exercise can take place? The general modus operandi will be to deny marginal areas voting papers and slow down the process. We have seen it all before, can we now expect an honest poll?

One may get the impression that perhaps in the final analysis things are going to be skewed. The opposition pacts are already chirping ‘foul play’ as if their fate is sealed. This makes for an interesting study in opposition strategy. There is none. Memories are just so short.

While there are chasms that divide the two MDC parties, their unity or pre-election coalitions could only improve their odds. Their origins are born out of the same philosophies; they both want change in governance; and they share many common issues and agendas, although Welshman Ncube may deny this. It seems very peculiar that they just cannot seem to come together to break the hegemony. The point is that in the final analysis one of the opposition parties may well have to make up a coalition government. Will this be with the other MDC or with blood on their hands?

If the incumbent* liberation party is the popular choice of the people, then this scenario is simply academic. But the general consensus is that this is not the case. People want change, yet those who could potentially deliver such change, in one fell swoop, seem incapable of engineering the platform to achieve this.

Zimbabwe is predictable in its unpredictability and perhaps the sway of the vote will fall into opposition hands. Given the natural tribal patronage overlay, the urban versus rural vote swing, the enlightened opposition versus dogmatic loyal peasant support, much is actually predicable.

Clearly, the odds are against opposition success, if the vote has been or it is intended to be rigged, and we should remember the history here. This situation can only give rise to run-offs or, worse still, absolute defeat of a split opposition. The opposition boycotted the last run-off: an own goal much to their peril. Will one or other opposition party be strong enough to take victory? Time only will tell, but the uncertainly could surely have been turned into certainty with a few commitments and a simple shake of hands.

* incumbent in so far as it holds sway in critical Government Ministries

Visit Andrew’s Simply Wild Photography photo blog… you will not regret doing so!

PRISM and Tempora: Unholy Tapping Alliance or Portcullis


By Andrew Field – Follow on Twitter
Flickr_Andrew_XIIt seems rather strange that there is such indignant protest that the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States has been trolling social media, gathering intelligence. Even more umbrageous objection arises from the allegation that some of this intelligence is being shared with Unites States’ allies, principally the United Kingdom. The pinnacle dissent in this debacle seems to be that your trustworthy and friendly social networking site has allowed ‘Uncle Sam’ backdoor access to all your data, which of course they all deny.

Let us smell the salts here. Intelligence gathering has recorded biblical roots from the days when Moses sent twelve men to spy on the land of Canaan. Spying is labelled by some as the second oldest profession, but, perhaps, commands less respect than the first. While war with ones foes has been the catalyst of espionage motivation generally, home revolution, subversion and civil dissension have turned the practice inward, thus targeting citizen opinion.

The core of good intelligence interception is communication. Message snatching has moved from bribing or disabling the messenger to sophisticated methods of “wire-tapping” designed to monitor a broader spectrum of interests and thus glean more intelligence. Electronic eavesdropping forms a major part of most intelligence operations the world over today. The intelligence agencies have moved with the technology and social networking just had to fall within their sites.

Back in the 1960s the Western allies introduced ECHELON, the global electronic eves-dropping system; a late Cold War need to intercept then COMECON military and diplomatic communications traffic. With the waning of the Cold War, ECHELON turned its attention to the collection and analysis of private and commercial communications using radio, microwave, cellular, fibre-optic, cyber and celestial (satellite) communications, known by the acronym SIGINT. It continues to operate today and we have known about it for years. The Chinese are doing it, as are the Russians.

Now we have PRISM bursting onto the world stage, thanks in part to whistleblower, Edward Snowden, who is current sought by the United States. PRISM (described as an activity designator – thus the acronym SIGAD) is a complimentary process of the wider reigning ECHELON and a primary source of US and sometimes Western intelligence. The process of activity designation prioritises intercepts based on their worth, perhaps through a process of key word/phrase analysis. Thus, most of the drivel we write hits the waste bins of the NSA. The ‘good stuff’ is pumped into massive non linear databases, making the GDR Stasi’s Department 26 look like kindergarten.

According to leaked NSA documents, social networking giants (Facebook, Google, Skype and Yahoo were named) and some of the big five (Microsoft and Apple included) allowed direct access to their servers and databases by the PRISM system! All deny the access, one stating that they were ‘really protective of the information our users have provided’ – attributed to Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s Director of Engineering. Yet the United States government obtained over three billion items from cyber communications networks in just March 2013 alone. Where did it come from?

Edward Snowden and those documents he leaked suggest United Kingdom complicity in the scheme of things, yet British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, re-acting to the PRISM exposé, told Parliament,

“Our agencies practice and uphold U.K. law at all times… To intercept the content of any individual’s communications in the UK requires a warrant signed personally by me, the Home Secretary, or by another Secretary of State. This is no casual process. Every decision is based on extensive legal and policy advice. Warrants are legally required to be necessary, proportionate and carefully targeted, and we judge them on that basis.”

Who is the Pinocchio here? The British SIGINT operation at GCHQ, which feeds United Kingdom intelligence, is tapping into fibre-optic communication links and drawing data for analysis over a 30 day holding period in an intelligence operation called Tempora. This is not a suspect targeted operation. The information, from both innocent citizens and security suspects, is shared with the NSA in dubious exchanges, perhaps for PRISM intelligence. Is this legal, Mr Hague, or is it just another ‘porky’ offered to cover your backs?

Be very afraid if you are a terrorist or a criminal so naïve as to chat about your dirty deeds in cyberspace or on any legitimate communications network. Big brother is really watching now. We know that, and it may not be legal, but really people who complain the most about privacy violations by social networks are in fact their own worst enemies. It is these same people who share their achievements, plans and wishes, if not there inner-most secrets, in social media. The message here is keep your private data to yourselves, but surely this would defeat the object of social networking.

While some may dillydally innocently, others spin sinister plots and revolution foolishly oblivious to reality on these sophisticated networks. We have come to trust the integrity of our communications platforms and social networks; and we clearly believe we should enjoy some right to privacy. This is a mythical right, since the wicked World cannot work like that in an age of fundamentalist terrorism.

PRISM and other similar systems, like Tempora, have built up complex profiles about you, but you only have yourself to blame for gullibly feeding the system. Our sudden indignity about all this snooping does amuse, and must surely rank in the naivety stakes with those who believe the myth of the tooth fairy. We know it is happening and this makes it all the more nauseating that filthy politicians choose to deny the instruments of their intelligence gathering apparatus.

Power: The Indigenous Hiccough and Coal


By Andrew Field – Follow on Twitter
Flickr_Andrew_XIThe exploitation of vast resources of coal in Botswana into viable exports to Asian and eastern nations, such as India and China has, apparently, a Zimbabwean impediment. Studies into the more viable routes to get Botswana’s coal reserves to the sea opt for routes which transverse either Namibia or Mozambique (via Zimbabwe). The latter, with its port at Ponta Techobanine, is considered the better choice. But Zimbabwe, through which this route would pass, is considered too much of a sovereign risk to would be investors.

In a loose kind of way, there are three power bases at stake in this tale of economic woe, the power of coal, electricity and then politics. Zimbabwe’s economy, it would seem, has been traumatised by each of them and there is no letting up as to when this might subside.

Zimbabwe is not without its huge coal reserves, a source of power, the better known being Hwange, but the larger comprises the huge untapped resources of the Sengwa, with its high coke value ore. Export route viability studies have actually considered the Sengwa fields as a potential partner in a rail route which would transverse Zimbabwe. One may well question quite why the Sengwa coal fields are not being fully exploited and perhaps why Zimbabwe was not ahead of Botswana in not only resourcing viable export routes to the sea, but fully implementing them too.

Electrical power is not abundant in Zimbabwe, in fact load shedding of electrical power is essential to help shoddy supply keep up with growing demand. There is a 700 megawatt shortage on the grid, and South Africa is a major supplier of the deficit. Conservative estimates suggest Zimbabwe has unpaid bills in the tune of US$150 million with its southern supplier and Zimbabwe is not ‘coughing up’. Sengwa lays for all purposes mostly idle, despite its huge indirect potential in power and export revenue generation, and Hwange is certainly not up to steam in either too.

The single most damaging power is that of the political variety or persuasion. Zimbabweans are so thoroughly pre-occupied with the consuming, if not petty, power play between one party and the other, that they seem not to be seeing the wood for the trees on the economic front which affects them most. One of the principle deterrents to foreign direct investment in Zimbabwe is the nationalist vogue towards indigenisation. Appropriation of majority stakes in foreign enterprise has become a misdirected priority. It is a highly emotive issue for local people, the majority of whom, in the long term, are really unlikely to reap its alleged empowerment benefits. Indigenisation is the tree obscuring the wood.

If anything, indigenisation has done more to scuttle economic growth in Zimbabwe than any other post inflation debacle policy. For a nation which so desperately needs foreign direct investment in its mining sector, not to mention others, Zimbabwe’s nationalist politicians are giving out all the wrong signals. The mining sector has borne the brunt of the first phase of indigenisation. Large mining houses have stopped all new developments; the stock market has consequently suffered a long marked depression, especially in mining counters; there is a liquidity squeeze; and no hope on the horizon that the folly might subside. Clearly, it is all a little too much for the limited minds of some politicians who espouse such damaging philosophy.

Part of the prejudice lies in the fact that Sengwa coal is not streaming down the rail routes to the sea; nor is local coal generating sufficient power to supplement the grid; nor is Zimbabwe reducing its dependence of direct foreign power imports; and now there is little hope that massive exports of Botswana’s coal will transit Zimbabwe, thus generate employment and enterprise.

It is a ludicrous state of affairs with much blind fumbling in the cesspits of political chicanery. Surprisingly, Zimbabweans are not questioning the lunacy, most likely in the naive and unlikely hope that perhaps the politicians might be right: that it will lead them to the holy grail of empowerment, wealth and happiness. Ice will form in burning coal furnaces before that happens.

Visit Andrew’s Simply Wild Photography photo blog… you will not regret doing so!