Welcome to Bennett's World: a collection of articles and references covering a wide variety of topics in which I am involved. I am a very political person but I have no allegiance to any political party. Follow me on twitter @colinhove

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Edward Snowden receives the prestigious Sam Adam's Award

Democracy Now!, the informative US-based radio/TV/web page news broadcaster continues to provide first class information for the world. I'm very grateful for the information it provides. On 14 October 2013 a very powerful edition was broadcast and this concerns the award to Edward Snowden by four remarkable US citizens of the Sam Adam's Award from the Sam Adam's Associates for Integrity in Intelligence. These four travelled to Moscow to present it to Mr Snowden in person and I give here the link (this time the video version) of that edition.

We hear so often of disgraceful behaviour by the US and so it is inspiring to have it brought home to us that there are many US people of noble behaviour.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Nobel Peace Prize

Readers will be aware that, especially in recent years, the Norwegian Parliament has not used the Nobel Peace Prize for peaceful purposes! Some will remember that when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize it rendered the concept of satire untenable.

I am an admirer of the extremely intelligent and eloquent Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai. She survived an assassination attempt by the 'Taliban.' He has since become a worldwide celebrity. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize but I was unhappy about this because she deserved better than that. She has already won the Sakharov Prize which, in the eyes of people like me, is the kiss of death.

Malala would have many years to play a useful role in the world.

There was some unexpected and therefore doubly pleasant news from Oslo this week. The Peace Prize was awarded to a venerable organisation: The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. I'm really pleased about this although I didn't know much about the organisation nor of the Convention from which it sprang. 

There's a wonderful episode of Democracy Now! (11 October 2013) which explains a lot about the OPCW and I recommend it. It also explains the skullduggery of the US government in its attempts to sabotage it and deals with a US plan to thwart the establishment of a nuclear-free zone throughout the Middle East. Read it!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

I think many of the readers of my blog would be interested in this clear statement from the Private Manning Support Network. I'd be grateful if you would forward this information to whomsoever you think. Thank you.

Exposing war crimes is not a crime!

Update 10/7/13 [note the American notation of the date]: Project Censored says Pvt. Manning’s case was the top underreported story of 2012-13.
Oct 7th 2013, 19:51

Project Censored, which aims to “promote independent investigative journalism, media literacy, and critical thinking,” writes about why Private Manning’s case merited so much attention:
According to Manning’s testimony in February 2013, he tried to release the Afghanistan and Iraq War Logs through conventional sources. In winter 2010, he contacted the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Politico in hopes that they would publish the materials. Only after being rebuffed by these three outlets did Manning begin uploading documents to WikiLeaks. Al Jazeera reported that Manning’s testimony “raises the question of whether the mainstream press was prepared to host the debate on US interventions and foreign policy that Manning had in mind.”
And on what mainstream reporters focused on instead:
US corporate media have largely shunned Manning’s case, not to mention the importance of the information he released. When corporate media have focused on Manning, this coverage has often emphasized his sexual orientation and past life, rather than his First Amendment rights or the abusive nature of his imprisonment, which includes almost three years without trial and nearly one year in “administrative segregation,” the military equivalent of solitary.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Interesting Finnish/Russian event in Lewes on 28 September 2013

Time and time again I resolve to write more frequent postings on my blog but I usually fail! However I have stirred myself to write about a very interesting event, with a fascinating story behind it, which took place at the Church of St. John sub Castro in Lewes, East Sussex on Saturday 28 September 2013.

The occasion was a rededication of the memorial in the church yard to that Church to Finnish prisoners of war who died in Lewes during their captivity there in the Crimean War. The memorial was originally called "the Russian memorial" but it is now more correctly called "the Finnish memorial". Because the prisoners, although conscripts in the Imperial Russian Army, were in fact Finnish as at that time Finland was part of the Russian Empire.

I have been connected to Finland since I first visited that country in the early 1960s as a young man. I want to the province of Savo in eastern Finland to work on the farm of the Kekalainen family in order to teach the four children English and also to help with the farm work. I enjoyed my three months there that summer enormously. I'll write about it one day.

I've been a member of the Anglo-Finnish Society for some years and that is how I heard about the event in Lewes.

These two links below will tell you more about what happened nearly 160 years ago. A third article is embedded in this blog. I found it riveting and perhaps you will too.

The whole ceremony was memorable. It was a wonderful sunny day. Inside the church we were treated to a brilliant speech by the Russian Ambassador which touched poignantly on modern events. The Finnish Ambassador and a historian also gave good speeches. All these speeches were of exactly the right length: that means that when they were finished, one wanted more!

Some readers will know of my campaigning work for induction loops. When the speeches began I pressed the T-setting on my hearing aid in what I thought would be a vain attempt to tune in to the induction loop circuit. To my joy, there WAS an induction loop wand it was working perfectly. I didn't even know there was an induction loop in the Church. Later I expressed my appreciation to the vicar and to the churchwardens and they were tickled pink. Well done!

I took some pictures of the ceremony using my normal haphazard "point-and-shoot" technique. Amazingly, I made a mistake and I found I had taken some video (and audio). To see these video clips go to my Flickr account:



Also on my Flickr account you will see three documents concerning this event. Here are the links:

Enjoy them! 




Finnish Embassy article:

East Sussex Express article:

Illustrated London News article:

ILUS. LONDON NEWS  October 14, 1854.

In the ILN for the 23rd ult., we engraved a set of characteristic illustrations of the Russian Prisoners of War, at Sheerness a portion of whom (150 captured at Bomarsund) were removed from thence, last week, to Lewes. Here the building, hitherto  to used as the county gaol, has been  purchased and altered, to receive the new  inmates. The prison is under the charge of a staff of officials, viz Lieut Mann, the Governor; Mr. Patch, the Purser; Mr. Burton R.N., Surgeon; and Mr. Routenfield, who acts as interpreter. The whole place bears an altered aspect. The external wall has been considerably lowered, and the entrance-yard has been cleared and laid with turf. The front entrance to the building, which also serves for that of the Governor's house, has its prison-like appearance modified; the chapel has been converted in to a dining-hall, capable of seating about 400 persons; while that which was the Debtors' side of the prison has been fitted up as an infirmary, with warm baths, nurses' and other dormitories, dispensary, etc.. The doors have been removed from the cells of the interior of the building, and appliances for washing, etc., put up at convenient points. It is intended that each cell shall serve as a bed-room for three prisoners. At the rear of the prison-house is a tennis-court, with a covered yard, for recreation during wet weather; together with sheds, beneath which the prisoners can work, in making toys and other articles for sale to the public. A spot is also to be appropriated as a market-place for the sale of vegetables, and other trifling  comforts, which the prisoners may have the means of purchasing.'In short,' says the Sussex Advertiser, 'even in the present unfinished state of the building, ample has been done to render the domicile of these poor victims to the ambition and criminality of the Emperor of Russia, as comfortable as is possible under the circumstances.' Let us hope that similar consideration may be extended to such persons as, by the fortune of war, may chance to fall into the hands of the Russians.

     The removal of the prisoners to Lewes from Sheerness, on Thursday week, excited considerable interest in the ordinarily quiet county town, which, however, has a castle of its own. The prisoners were expected to arrive by railway, by three o'clock; and a large number of visitors from Brighton and the surrounding district, flocked to the station, to get a glimpse of the captives from Bomarsund. They arrived at two o'clock, owing to some change in the railway arrangements: the train was first stopped at the Newhaven platform, to which only the railway officials and the officers of the prison were admitted. The prisoners, about 170 in number, comprised fifteen officers, and the wives of two of them, three other women, and one child. Their appearance was anything but imposing; and if such be the staple of the Russian army, they are but sorry figures. The men were dressed in long, loose, dirty drab over-coats, reaching almost to the ankles. Upon one shoulder was  sewn a piece of dark green or blue cloth, bearing the initials 'T.C.', denoting the wearers to be of the Finnish Infantry; for these men are not Russians, but Fins. They wore small, flattish cloth caps, and loose leather boots. They are mostly young fellows,;some mere lads, low in stature, with light hair and complexions. There appeared to be scarcely a fine man amongst them. This description generally agrees with the appearance of the Russian prisoners represented in the second sketch upon the next page, taken by our own Correspondent at Schulma, early in the war.

     On leaving the Lewes station, Lieut. Mann gave the word of command, and the prisoners, having been formed into detachments, four abreast, proceeded through School-hill, Albion street, and East-street, to the prison. Lieut. Mann offered one of the officer's ladies his arm, which she accepted, her husband accompanying her on the other side. The officers followed the men. The pensioners acted as a kind of formal guard, walking with fixed bayonets, and a body of the East Sussex constabulary were in attendance. A large crown of persons followed the captives to the prison; but there was no expression of any feeling on the occasion. The officers are intelligent-looking persons; and their ladies of attractive appearance.
     The 'prisoners-of-war' already appear reconciled to their new / abode. They eat well, and sleep well; their diet - of good beef, bread, soup, and tea ----- suits them well. They are very orderly in their conduct, and before their meals sing a short hymn as grace. On Saturday, we understand, a young Fin was born, somewhat unexpectedly. The mother and child are progressing well, under the care of the surgeon of the prison.