Archive for the Cameron Category

“Saudi oil and U.S. hypocrisy” Death of King Abdullah, feudal Saud tyrant and imperialists’ best friend [Workers World]

Posted in Afghanistan, Anti-communism, Cameron, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, Egypt, France, Germany, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Pentagon, Saudi Arabia, Spain, State Department, Syria, Turkey, U.K., US imperialism, USA, Yemen on March 2, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Sara Flounders January 27, 2015

Few events expose the utter hypocrisy of U.S. politicians’ grand words about democracy so starkly as their praise for the recently deceased King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. For decades U.S. imperialism and all the imperialist powers have given political, military and diplomatic support to the corrupt feudal family that rules Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter of oil.

Heads of state abruptly changed plans and rushed to Riyadh to greet the 79-year-old new ruler King Salman. President Obama, British Prime Minister Cameron accompanied by Prince Charles, French President Hollande, Afghanistan President Ghani, Spain’s King Felipe VI, Turkish President Erdogan and Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif were all anxious to be assured of the regime’s continuation.

Saudi Arabia is an absolute and brutal dictatorship. The country is named after the royal Saud family that has expropriated the country’s fabulous oil wealth, and treats it as a wholly owned family asset. Their control is maintained by massive state-organized repression. All forms of political dissent and social organization, from political parties to trade unions, are banned under pain of death.

Executions by decapitation in public squares are held on average once every four days. Capital crimes include adultery, homosexuality and political opposition to the regime. Public stonings are also a common form of execution. Other punishments include eye gouging, limb amputation, tooth extraction, surgical paralysis and public lashings.

~ Wealth and poverty ~

Government departments are treated as fiefdoms. Their enormous budgets are unaudited and at the family’s personal disposal. Personal and state funds are completely commingled. All family members are guaranteed astronomical monthly allowances from birth, the amount depending on their proximity to the king’s inner circle. The Saud family, with almost 4,000 members, extends privileges up to 30,000 others related by marriage.

The cabinet is made up of Saud family members. The key ministries — interior, foreign affairs, the military commands, National Guard and regional governorships — are held exclusively by family members.

The government does not gather data on poverty, literacy, unemployment or health coverage. However, the Saudi newspaper Okaz reported in July 2012 that 60 percent of the population lived below the poverty line.

A third of the country’s population of 27 million are immigrants with no rights, no status and no social benefits, who make up 80 percent of the work force.

Saudi unemployment is estimated at 10 percent by the CIA World Factbook, but 28 percent among young men aged 15 to 24, who lack needed skills. Women are not considered part of the work force.

~ Women enslaved ~

Women in Saudi Arabia have the lowest literacy in the region. More than 1.5 million migrant women work in domestic slavery. A 2012 report from the International Trade Union Confederation on workers’ rights in Saudi Arabia reported alarming levels of child labor, discrimination and forced labor.

All women, regardless of their class position, have no rights to employment, property or education. They cannot step one foot out of their homes unless covered head to toe in a long black abaya and accompanied by a male family member.

Women in powerful positions in the West ignore the reality of Saudi women. For example, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, hailed King Abdullah as “a strong advocate for women.” (Washington Post, Jan. 23) U.N. World Food Program Executive Director Ertharin Cousin praised King Abdullah: “He was a true humanitarian leader, always on the side of the world’s hungry poor.” (www.un.org, Jan 23)

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon joined in the imperialist outpouring of praise, expressing in the same statement his gratitude for the king’s “generous humanitarian and developmental support” throughout the Middle East.

Because Wall Street, U.S. oil corporations, military industries and banks reap such enormous profits from this gang of thieves, they have done everything possible to arm, train and reinforce the Saudi military. The role of the corporate media is to provide a veneer of respectability to this family of looters.

This narrow ruling elite relies on five U.S. military bases, Western arms and military training for its protection and survival. The U.S. Fifth Fleet, based in nearby Bahrain, defends the status quo with aircraft carriers, 20 ships, nuclear submarines, 103 strike aircraft and 20,000 sailors and marines.

In return, the Saudi royal family pays protection money to U.S. military industries like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Boeing. Billions also go to British, French and German military corporations. The Saudi military budget in 2013 was $67 billion, the fourth largest in the world, after the U.S., China and Russia.

Saudi spending on weapons comes to 9.3 percent of its gross national product, the highest in the world. The economy is the least diversified of any oil-producing country, with more than 90 percent of its export earnings coming from oil. Virtually everything else must be imported.

Until the 1970s, four U.S. companies were the sole owners of Saudi oil — free and clear of taxes and duties. As revolutionary upheavals in the region led many countries to demand full control of their resources, Saudi oil was carefully nationalized into a conglomerate called Aramco. Exploration, drilling, pumping, transport and the building of pipelines, ports and terminals were all structured to return maximum profits to U.S. corporations. While the Saud family can take immense wealth for themselves, the vast majority of these funds must be held in U.S. banks or be used to purchase U.S. materials.

~ Contras and terror militias ~

This opaque, unaudited economy makes Saudi Arabia a perfect conduit and funding source for U.S. wars, military adventures and secret agencies. At the same time, the U.S. State Department can claim that it knows nothing about who is funding terrorist militias — from the Nicaraguan contras in 1983 to ISIS in 2015.

When Congress denied funding for the reactionary contras in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan covertly arranged for the Saudis to send them weapons to overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Saudi money was a key component in the CIA’s war against the progressive Afghan regime that began in 1979. Working with Washington, it has also funded reactionary militias in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon that have metastasized into a viciously sectarian and destabilizing force throughout the Middle East.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a former Saudi ambassador to Washington from 1983 to 2005, is considered a mastermind of the Saudi terror network. He is now director general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency.

Saudi wealth also keeps other military dictatorships in the region afloat. In Egypt, the Saudis provided $1 billion to help General al-Sisi’s coup against the elected Morsi government. After the coup they pledged an immediate $8 billion to stabilize the military regime and have now committed more than $20 billion to maintaining that dictatorship.

The continued rule of the House of Saud is based on a thin, corrupt layer of extreme privilege. Dependent on immigrant labor, foreign trainers and technical experts, it is hated by its own people. U.S. imperialism has staked its continued domination of the region on a detested and narrow grouping that lacks popular support or legitimacy.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/01/27/saudi-oil-and-u-s-hypocrisy/

**************
Related article: “Saudi Dictator’s Death Shows NYT as Pawn of Power”

http://fair.org/home/saudi-dictators-death-shows-nyt-as-pawn-of-power/

‘Britain is leading the war against human rights’ – Amnesty International [RT.com]

Posted in Amnesty International, Cameron, U.K. on February 27, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

February 25, 2015

Ramped up surveillance in Britain against a backdrop of dwindling legal protection has contributed to the most rattling assault on human rights in Europe [in the last 25 years], human rights experts [sic] warn.

In its annual ‘State of the World’s Human Rights’ report, Amnesty International heavily criticized the British government’s record at home.

The NGO condemned the coalition government for rushing counter-terror and surveillance legislation through parliament without reasonable time for debate.

It also criticized the coalition for passing laws that erode fundamental civil liberties, and stressed continued cuts to legal aid in Britain is a recipe for injustice.

In 2014, David Cameron pledged a re-elected Tory government would scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a home-grown British Bill of Rights. He also vowed to limit the power of the European Court of Human Rights if the Conservatives win May’s general election.

Amnesty’s report, published on Wednesday, said the Tory’s proposals are an attack on the European Convention on Human Rights. The group accused Prime Minister Cameron of leading this assault.

Amnesty also noted the rise of discriminatory, nationalistic policies in Britain. It warned “nationalist, thinly veiled xenophobic attitudes” were instrumental in an increasingly restrictive migration policy and anti-EU rhetoric, which targets human rights.

The group also expressed deep concern over Britain’s Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act. The legislation, which came into force in 2014, increases UK authorities’ powers of interception – reaffirming Britain’s status as a leading surveillance state.

With respect to the Act, Amnesty argued the British government failed to set up adequate safeguards to ensure surveillance is authorized and carried out in accordance with citizens’ rights to privacy and freedom of expression.

Amnesty’s annual report concluded the international human rights framework in Europe is the most fragile it has been for 25 years…

…Director of Amnesty International UK, Kate Allen, said Britain “is going in the wrong direction on rights, protections and fairness.”

She acknowledged public safety is paramount, but stressed it should not be achieved at the cost of fundamental civil liberties.

“The UK talks the talk on the global stage on human rights but this year’s summary shows they need to tend to their own garden,” she said.

“Twice this year GCHQ spies have been rumbled breaking the law. We should be concerned about waking up in a surveillance state, without having a proper public debate about it first…”

Excerpted / edited by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://rt.com/uk/235483-war-against-human-rights/

The bloodbath in Donetsk [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Cameron, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, Egypt, France, Germany, Libya, Media cover-up, NATO, Syria, U.K., Ukraine, Western nations' human rights distortions, Yugoslavia - former FRY on June 4, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

28 May 2014

This week’s mass killings in Donetsk have further exploded efforts to portray February’s Western-orchestrated putsch in Ukraine as a “democratic revolution” and exposed the brutal and reactionary character of Washington’s puppet regime in Kiev.

They have provided a devastating demonstration of the reality of “human rights” imperialism and an indictment of all the political forces that have lined up behind it, first in the Balkans, then in Libya and Syria, and now in Ukraine.

The Obama administration in Washington and the Merkel government in Berlin both congratulated the newly elected president, billionaire oligarch Petro Poroshenko, even as he was overseeing the bloodbath in the east. O bama and Merkel signaled their support for the mass killing, portraying it as a means of stabilizing and unifying the country.

Within hours of Sunday’s fraudulent and undemocratic election, a devastating air assault was launched against targets in Donetsk. At least 50 militants were killed and another 31 injured as Kiev regime aircraft strafed separatist positions in and around the Donetsk airport. Speaking on behalf of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Leonid Baranov said the death toll will likely rise above 100…

It is now clear that the election was organized to establish a political basis for the military onslaught in the east. The poll was carried out to provide a fig leaf of legitimacy to a regime installed illegally by means of a coup led by neo-fascist forces in the Svoboda Party and Right Sector militia.

In fact, the election exposed the government’s extremely narrow base of popular support. There was a near-total boycott in the Russian-speaking industrial heartland in the east and widespread abstention in the south of the country. The leaders of Svoboda and the Right Sector received negligible votes.

The bloodletting in Donetsk and mounting attacks in Luhansk and other rebellious areas are aimed not only at crushing a regional insurgency, but at terrorizing the population as a whole. At the urging of Washington’s CIA and military personnel in Kiev, the regime is seeking to intimidate anyone, in the west as well as the east of Ukraine, who opposes its IMF-dictated policies of austerity, privatization and unlimited plundering by Western banks and corporations.

This economic scorched earth program is to be accompanied by the transformation of Ukraine into an advanced staging area for US-NATO military operations against Russia.

President Obama called Poroshenko Tuesday to congratulate him on his victory and assure him of US backing for his drive to “unify and move his country forward.” Obama announced plans to meet with Poroshenko for talks in early June.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel telephoned Poroshenko to praise the “clear commitment of the Ukrainian people to unity and democracy as well as a peaceful solution to the current conflict.”

The official statement released by the Obama administration made clear that rapid implementation of the West’s economic agenda will be the basis of Ukraine’s “unity.” The statement stressed “the importance of quickly implementing the reforms necessary for Ukraine to bring the country together and to develop a sustainable economy, attractive investment climate, and transparent and accountable government…”

For his part, Poroshenko vowed Sunday to foster “a very good investment climate” and do “all the necessary things to attract business.” “All the necessary things” evidently includes the killing of thousands of people. Speaking Tuesday, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Vitaly Yarema, said that the “anti-terrorist operation” in the east will continue “until all the militants are annihilated.”

The events in Donetsk throw into sharp relief the boundless hypocrisy and cynicism of the imperialist powers, beginning with Washington. The contradictions in the official propaganda narrative justifying the right-wing coup in Ukraine could not be more glaring. That does not, however, prevent the media from simply ignoring them.

Barely three months ago, the Obama administration, echoed by Merkel in Germany, Hollande in France, Cameron in the UK, and the entire leadership of the European Union and NATO, were insisting that then-President Viktor Yanukovych had forfeited his right to rule, despite having been elected, because he mobilized riot police against armed anti-government demonstrators in Kiev.

Now, the same forces are endorsing the decision of Poroshenko to use fighter jets, attack helicopters, tanks and elite troops against protesters in the east.

In 2011, the US and its European allies cited the supposed threat of an attack by the regime of Muammar Gaddafi on the rebellious province of Benghazi in Libya’s east as justification for imposing a “no fly zone,” which immediately became the cover for an air war that killed tens of thousands of Libyans and ended with the torture and lynching of Gaddafi.

The following year, the use of force by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against armed oppositionists was used as the justification for funding and arming Islamist militias and inciting a full-scale civil war that has killed an estimated 150,000 people.

When it suits their economic and geopolitical interests, however, as in Ukraine and other countries, including Egypt, the imperialist powers drop their pose of outrage over leaders who “kill their own people” as well as their “duty to protect” civilians…

Excerpted; full article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/05/28/pers-m28.html

“UK needs prompt action on human rights record, UN panel warns” – UK is a torture state [Guardian]

Posted in 9/11, Cameron, Iraq, Torture, U.K., U.K. War Crimes on June 10, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

* UN Committee Against Torture report recommends 40 separate measures to be taken before UK is given clean bill of health * [I think it’s going to take a lot more than that to get the racist, fascistic war criminal UK police state a ‘clean bill of health’ – Zuo Shou]

Ian Cobain

31 May 2013

The British government’s human rights record since the attacks of 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq is facing ferocious criticism from a United Nations panel, which warns that prompt action is needed to ensure the country meets its obligations under international law…

Full article link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2013/may/31/uk-human-rights-record-un-panel

(c) Guardian News & Media Ltd

“Margaret Thatcher and misapplied death etiquette” by Glenn Greenwald – Vicious UK press propagandizes Thatcher at death, censures her critics [Guardian]

Posted in Black propaganda, Cameron, Capitalist media double standard, Chile, Corporate Media Critique, Hugo Chavez, Indonesia, Iraq, Nelson Mandela, Pinochet, South Africa, U.K., U.K. War Crimes, Venezuela on April 9, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

8 April 2013

News of Margaret Thatcher’s death this morning instantly and predictably gave rise to righteous sermons on the evils of speaking ill of her…

…This demand for respectful silence in the wake of a public figure’s death is not just misguided but dangerous…

…the key point is this: those who admire the deceased public figure (and their politics) aren’t silent at all. They are aggressively exploiting the emotions generated by the person’s death to create hagiography. Typifying these highly dubious claims about Thatcher was this (appropriately diplomatic) statement from President Obama: “The world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend.” Those gushing depictions can be quite consequential, as it was for the week-long tidal wave of unbroken reverence that was heaped on Ronald Reagan upon his death, an episode that to this day shapes how Americans view him and the political ideas he symbolized. Demanding that no criticisms be voiced to counter that hagiography is to enable false history and a propagandistic whitewashing of bad acts, distortions that become quickly ossified and then endure by virtue of no opposition and the powerful emotions created by death. When a political leader dies, it is irresponsible in the extreme to demand that only praise be permitted but not criticisms.

Whatever else may be true of her, Thatcher engaged in incredibly consequential acts that affected millions of people around the world. She played a key role not only in bringing about the first Gulf War but also using her influence to publicly advocate for the 2003 attack on Iraq. She denounced Nelson Mandela and his ANC as “terrorists”, something even David Cameron ultimately admitted was wrong. She was a steadfast friend to brutal tyrants such as Augusto Pinochet, Saddam Hussein and Indonesian dictator General Suharto (“One of our very best and most valuable friends”). And as my Guardian colleague Seumas Milne detailed last year, “across Britain Thatcher is still hated for the damage she inflicted – and for her political legacy of rampant inequality and greed, privatisation and social breakdown.”

To demand that all of that be ignored in the face of one-sided requiems to her nobility and greatness is a bit bullying and tyrannical, not to mention warped. As David Wearing put it this morning in satirizing these speak-no-ill-of-the-deceased moralists: “People praising Thatcher’s legacy should show some respect for her victims. Tasteless.” Tellingly, few people have trouble understanding the need for balanced commentary when the political leaders disliked by the west pass away. Here, for instance, was what the Guardian reported upon the death last month of Hugo Chavez:

To the millions who detested him as a thug and charlatan, it will be occasion to bid, vocally or discreetly, good riddance.”

Nobody, at least that I know of, objected to that observation on the ground that it was disrespectful to the ability of the Chavez family to mourn in peace…

Exactly the same is true of Thatcher. There’s something distinctively creepy – in a Roman sort of way – about this mandated ritual that our political leaders must be heralded and consecrated as saints upon death. This is accomplished by this baseless moral precept that it is gauche or worse to balance the gushing praise for them upon death with valid criticisms. There is absolutely nothing wrong with loathing Margaret Thatcher or any other person with political influence and power based upon perceived bad acts, and that doesn’t change simply because they die. If anything, it becomes more compelling to commemorate those bad acts upon death as the only antidote against a society erecting a false and jingoistically self-serving history.

[Edited]

Full article link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/08/margaret-thatcher-death-etiquette

“The pursuit of Julian Assange is an assault on freedom and a mockery of journalism” by John Pilger [New Statesman]

Posted in Afghanistan, Cameron, Ecuador, Egypt, Genocide, George W. Bush, Iraq, Julian Assange, NATO, Sweden, Tony Blair, Torture, U.K., USA, Wikileaks on August 29, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

22 August 2012

[Excerpted]

The British government’s threat to invade the Ecuadorean embassy in London and seize Julian Assange is of historic significance. David Cameron, the former PR man to a television industry huckster and arms salesman to sheikdoms, is well placed to dishonour international conventions that have protected Britons in places of upheaval. Just as Tony Blair’s invasion of Iraq led directly to the acts of terrorism in London on 7 July 2005, so Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague have compromised the safety of British representatives across the world.

Threatening to abuse a law designed to expel murderers from foreign embassies, while defaming an innocent man as an “alleged criminal”, Hague has made a laughing stock of Britain across the world, though this view is mostly suppressed in Britain.  The same brave news­papers and broadcasters that have supported Britain’s part in epic bloody crimes, from the genocide in Indonesia to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, now attack the “human rights record” of Ecuador, whose real crime is to stand up to the bullies in London and Washington.

Unclubbable

It is as if the Olympics happy-clappery has been subverted overnight by an illuminating display of colonial thuggery.  Witness the British army officer-cum-BBC reporter Mark Urban “interviewing” a braying Sir Christopher Meyer, Blair’s former apologist in Washington, outside the Ecuadorean embassy, the pair of them erupting with Blimpish indignation that the unclubbable Assange and the uncowed Rafael Correa should expose the western system of rapacious power.  Similar affront is vivid in the pages of the Guardian, which has counselled Hague to be “patient” and that storming the embassy would be “more trouble than it is worth”.  Assange was not a political refugee, the Guar­dian declared, because “neither Sweden nor the UK would in any case deport someone who might face torture or the death penalty”.

The irresponsibility of this statement matches the Guardian’s perfidious role in the whole Assange affair.  The paper knows full well that documents released by WikiLeaks indicate that Sweden has consistently submitted to pressure from the United States in matters of civil rights.  In December 2001, the Swedish government abruptly revoked the political refugee status of two Egyptians, Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed el-Zari, who were handed to a CIA kidnap squad at Stockholm airport and “rendered” to Egypt, where they were tortured. An investigation by the Swedish ombudsman for justice found that the government had “seriously violated” the two men’s human rights.

In a 2009 US embassy cable obtained by Wiki­Leaks, entitled “WikiLeaks puts neutrality in the Dustbin of History”, the Swedish elite’s vaunted reputation for neutrality is exposed as a sham. Another US cable reveals that “the extent of [Sweden’s military and intelligence] co-operation [with Nato] is not widely known” and unless kept secret “would open the government to domestic criticism”.

The Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, played a notorious leading role in George W Bush’s Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and retains close ties to the Republican Party’s extreme right.  According to the former Swedish director of public prosecutions Sven-Erik Alhem, Sweden’s decision to seek the extradition of Assange on allegations of sexual misconduct is “unreasonable and unprofessional, as well as unfair and disproportionate”.  Having offered himself for questioning, Assange was given permission to leave Sweden for London where, again, he offered to be questioned.  In May, in a final appeal judgment on the extradition, Britain’s Supreme Court introduced more farce by referring to non-existent “charges”…

Full article link here

No one else will protect Assange, so Ecuador will [The Drum / ABC.au]

Posted in Australia, Cameron, Ecuador, Iraq, Julian Assange, Sweden, Torture, U.K., US imperialism, USA, Wikileaks on August 17, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Ecuador should be applauded for protecting Julian Assange from the forces of repression when no one else will, says barrister Greg Barns.

17 August 2012

Ecuador’s decision to grant Julian Assange asylum, coming from a country which resents the toxic influence of the United States in Latin America, is no surprise.

But what is utterly bewildering and scandalous is the preparedness of the UK government to arrest Assange and ensure that he is handed over to the spineless Swedes by using a law designed to stop embassies being used to promote terrorist activity.

The UK government says the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act, passed in 1987, enables its government to declare that the Ecuadorian Embassy is simply UK territory and that its police can enter and arrest Assange, who it says has breached bail. And the foreign secretary William Hague said overnight that the UK government "will not allow Mr Assange safe passage out of the United Kingdom, nor is there any legal basis for us to do so".

Let’s look at the 1987 Act first. This law was enacted in an era when the UK had difficulties with countries like Libya using embassies for terrorist activity or acts of violence. The Second Reading Speech on the Bill – which provides the explanation of what the purpose of the law is – was delivered by Baroness Young, the responsible minister on May 14, 1987.

A provision in the bill to allow the government to declare an embassy British territory on the grounds of national security was drafted because, Baroness Young said, "at present we would be unable to remove diplomatic status from premises which were being misused".

"I have in mind here evidence over a long period of time that a mission was being used, for instance, in support of terrorist activity," she added.

How could it be said that Julian Assange, facing breach of bail charges and sexual assault charges in the UK, is a matter of national security?

To send in British police to arrest Assange under the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act shows simply that the UK is prepared to abuse power in the way one might expect from an authoritarian regime.

It also creates a very dangerous precedent. If the nation that bangs on about how it is the bosom of the rule of law and fairness is able to act so capriciously to suit its friends [sic] in Stockholm, Canberra, and Washington, what is to stop other countries from running into embassies whenever someone inconvenient seeks asylum?

As for Mr Hague’s statement that there is no legal basis to allow Mr Assange safe passage out of the UK, this is also highly questionable.

While there have been cases where safe passage out of a country has been refused…if there are strong humanitarian grounds for safe passage after a successful asylum claim these should trump state sovereignty.

In Mr Assange’s case, it is clear that there is a real risk of torture by the Americans and the chances of a fair trial in Sweden are minimal. On these grounds, Mr Hague can find the legal basis to allow a departure.

Would the UK abuse its own legislative powers if the embassy in question was the US or Australia? No. It is determined to arrest Assange because it loathes the man who has exposed the dishonesty and duplicity of the US and its allies like the UK and Australia in their illegal war in Iraq.

One can conclude from the UK’s arrogance in this matter that it is still suffering the empire complex. It is treating a developing world country like Ecuador with the sort of contempt it treated its former African and Indian colonial subjects…

Continue reading