This snooper’s charter makes George Orwell look lacking in vision.

By Heather Brooke – Sunday 8th November 2015.

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When the Home Office and intelligence agencies began promoting the idea that the new investigatory powers bill was a “climbdown”, I grew suspicious. If the powerful are forced to compromise they don’t crow about it or send out press releases – or, in the case of intelligence agencies, make off-the-record briefings outlining how they failed to get what they wanted. That could mean only one thing: they had got what they wanted.

So why were they trying to fool the press and the public that they had lost? Simply because they had won.

I never thought I’d say it, but George Orwell lacked vision. The spies have gone further than he could have imagined, creating in secret and without democratic authorisation the ultimate panopticon. Now they hope the British public will make it legitimate.

This bill is characterised by a clear anti-democratic attitude. Those in power are deemed to be good, and are therefore given the benefit of the doubt. “Conduct is lawful for all purposes if …” and “A person (whether or not the person so authorised or required) is not to be subject to any civil liability in respect of conduct that …”: these are sections granting immunity to the spies and cops.

The spies’ surveillance activities are also exempt from legal due process. No questions can be asked that might indicate in any legal proceeding that surveillance or interception has occurred. This is to ensure the general public never learn how real people are affected by surveillance. The cost of this exemption is great. It means British prosecutors can’t prosecute terrorists on the best evidence available – the intercepts – which are a key part of any prosecution in serious crime cases worldwide.

Those without power – eg citizens (or the more accurately named subjects) – are potentially bad, and therefore must be watched and monitored closely and constantly. The safeguards mentioned in the bill are there to benefit the state not the citizen. The criminal sanctions aren’t so much to stop spies or police abusing their powers, but rather to silence critics or potential whistleblowers. That’s clear because there is no public interest exemption in the sweeping gagging orders littered throughout the bill. The safeguards for keeping secure the massive troves of personal data aren’t there so much to protect the public but to stop anyone finding out exactly how big or invasive these troves are or how they were acquired. Again, we know this because there is no public interest exemption.

While the concerns of the state dominate, those of the citizen are nowhere to be seen. There is almost no mention in the bill of the privacy and democratic costs of mass surveillance, nor of seriously holding the state to account for the use and abuse of its sweeping powers.

The adjectives used to describe the “stringent application process” (for warrants) or the “robust safeguards” and “world class scrutiny” are doing the heavy lifting of conveying the robustness of the regime. The reality is quite different.

Not everything needs a warrant. Our digital lives can be accessed after authorisation within the agency itself. No judicial approval necessary.

In addition, business owners would have to contend with the man from MI5 ordering that they create new databases or monitoring tools. If companies don’t keep these, they’ll have to create them and face a criminal offence if they fail to put in place security measures to “protect against unlawful disclosure”. Possibly the state may compensate them for all this, possibly not. It’s up to a minister.

While the concerns of the state dominate, those of the citizen are nowhere to be seen. There is almost no mention in the bill of the privacy and democratic costs of mass surveillance, nor of seriously holding the state to account for the use and abuse of its sweeping powers.

The adjectives used to describe the “stringent application process” (for warrants) or the “robust safeguards” and “world class scrutiny” are doing the heavy lifting of conveying the robustness of the regime. The reality is quite different.

Not everything needs a warrant. Our digital lives can be accessed after authorisation within the agency itself. No judicial approval necessary.

In addition, business owners would have to contend with the man from MI5 ordering that they create new databases or monitoring tools. If companies don’t keep these, they’ll have to create them and face a criminal offence if they fail to put in place security measures to “protect against unlawful disclosure”. Possibly the state may compensate them for all this, possibly not. It’s up to a minister.

Business owners will not be able to speak out about this to anyone, even their employees, or appeal to any court or legal authority. Their only recourse appears to be to appeal to the secretary of state: what sort of independent adjudication will they get from that office?

Companies can be legally compelled by the security services to hack their customers’ equipment. The immensely worrying power to acquire bulk personal datasets, means there’s nothing to stop the entire NHS being used in service of spying. After all, why not? I’m sure there are useful leads that could be mined from our health records. If avoiding risk at all costs is the goal then why allow any personal freedom or privacy at all? The reason we do is because the concentration of power in the state is the most dangerous threat of all.

There are two types of transparency: downwards – where the ruled can observe their rulers, as codified in Freedom of Information Acts – and upwards, where those at the bottom are made transparent to those at the top, such as by state surveillance. Democracy is characterised by transparency downwards, tyranny by the opposite. It is telling that at the same time this government is seeking to undermine the Freedom of Information Act, it has introduced an investigatory powers bill that puts us all under the spotlight of suspicion.

By inflating Islamic extremism, David Cameron has lost sight of what really threatens us.

By George Monbiot Tuesday 21st July 2015.

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The real ‘struggle of our generation’ is not terrorism – in fact, that’s way down on the list.

Ben Jennings illustration

Illustration by Ben Jennings

Sir Winston Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square should be removed to a museum. All busts and portraits of the great man in parliament and the prime minister’s residence should be taken down and placed in storage. Why? To discourage his successors from slipping their tiny feet into his shoes.

Churchill was right when he claimed, in June 1940: “Upon this battle depends the survival of … our own British life.” Those who have borrowed the sentiment are in most cases wrong. The Taliban, al-Qaida, Saddam Hussein, Isis, Islamic extremism: none of these were, or are, existential threats to the life of this country. But all are inflated until they appear to be so, invested with almost supernatural power by prime ministers hoping to be cast in bronze. This inflation, as we discovered in Iraq, has consequences.

On Monday, David Cameron maintained that confronting Islamic extremism is “the struggle of our generation”. We must pursue this struggle in the spirit with which we “faced down Hitler”. Yes, Islamic extremism is real. Yes, it creates genuine problems and presents genuine threats. But to claim it as the struggle of our generation suggests a total collapse of perspective.

In terms of mortal risks to people in this nation, it might rank among the top 50, but that’s probably stretching it. Diet, smoking, alcohol, loneliness, the slow collapse of the NHS, child poverty, air pollution, traffic accidents, lack of exercise, even the wrong kind of bedroom slippers are likely to kill far more people in this country than Islamist terrorists will manage.

All (except the last) should demand more resources and political effort than are deployed to confront Islamic extremism. In the longer term, climate change, antibiotic resistance, soil loss and nuclear proliferation by states (including our own) are orders of magnitude more dangerous. But a Churchillian struggle against an identifiable enemy is grander and more glamorous than the battle against faceless but much greater threats. It is also politically less costly, as it offends the interests of neither corporations nor billionaires.

This is not the only sense in which Cameron’s claim is presumptuous. What, in his mouth, does “our” generation mean? “It cannot be right,” he said in the same speech, “that people can grow up and go to school and hardly ever come into meaningful contact with people from other backgrounds and faiths.” That’s true – and it applies as much to Eton as it does to faith schools in Birmingham. On social media, Cameron’s Bullingdon Club photograph is circulating, attached to another quote from his speech: “There are people born and raised in this country who don’t really identify with Britain – and who feel little or no attachment to other people here.”

There’s serious intent behind the joke. The former Republican analyst Mike Lofgren, disgusted with what his party had become, said this about the economic elite in the US: “The rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its wellbeing except as a place to extract loot. Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it.” We suffer the same curse: a ruling class whose wealth lies offshore, and which identifies more readily with a transnational elite than with the other people of this nation. On behalf of this elite, the government now gives away £93bn a year in corporate welfare: a sum bigger than the deficit. It champions the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a graver threat to the interests of this nation than Islamic extremism presents.

A failure to tax property effectively has fuelled a rise in house prices so severe that entire English regions are becoming almost uninhabitable to the poor. When Cameron warns that “there is a danger in some of our communities that you can go your whole life and have little to do with people from other faiths and backgrounds”, he could have been talking about posh parts of London or villages in the Cotswolds or the Chilterns rather than estates in Bradford or Oldham. Segregation in this country is primarily along economic not religious lines, but you can look in vain for a government policy to address it. The benefits gap the government has just tightened will drive the poor out of ever wider areas of England.

And if, as Cameron suggests, there’s a generation in this country engaged in an epic struggle, it’s certainly not his. Young people have been systematically disadvantaged by government policy – especially the latest budget – as both their benefits and the fruits of their labours are transferred to their seniors. Again, there’s a dangerous segregation developing here between the young, excluded from the living wage, housing benefit, university maintenance grants and any hope of buying a home, and elderly people with their rising pensions, winter fuel payments, property banks and new tax breaks. The government seeks only to widen the gap.

For perspective, you must look elsewhere. A global survey published last week by the Pew Research Centre found that while the people of North America, Britain, Australia, Japan, France and Germany see Isis as the greatest threat they face, most of the countries surveyed in poorer parts of the world – Africa, Latin America and Asia – place climate change at the top of the list. Even in Turkey (where, as the bombing on Monday suggests, the terrorist group is a real threat), more people said they were “very concerned” about climate change than they did about Islamic State. The nations least threatened by Isis rank this risk the highest. This is media-driven madness, an epidemic of transcontinental paranoia that governments are happy to foment and exploit.

Men such as Cameron, Tony Abbott in Australia and Stephen Harper in Canada won’t engage in generational struggles with real existential threats – climate breakdown first among them – for fear of alienating their sponsors. They have learned all the wrong lessons from Churchill’s legacy, seeking to invest themselves with belligerent glory while forgetting his ability at crucial moments to place the interests of the nation above the interests of his class.

So, as Hitler is reborn with a thousand faces, a new “struggle of our generation” emerges every six months, and all around us existential crises are ignored.

  • A fully referenced version of this article can be found at
Categories: Environment, Government

Sunscreen contributing to decline of coral reefs, study shows.

Posted Wednesday 21st October 2015.

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UV filtering chemical is killing off baby coral around tourist resorts, particularly in the Caribbean and Hawaii.

Family applying sunscreen
Between 6,000 and 14,000 tonnes of sunscreen lotion ends up in coral reef areas each year. Photograph: Associated Press

A common ingredient found in sunscreen is toxic to coral and contributing to the decline of reefs around the world, according to new research.

Oxybenzone, a UV-filtering chemical compound found in 3,500 brands of sunscreen worldwide, can be fatal to baby coral and damaging to adults in high concentrations, according to the study published on Tuesday in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.

The international research team that conducted the study, led by Craig Downs, found the highest concentrations of oxybenzone around coral reefs popular with tourists, particularly those in Hawaii and the Caribbean.

Downs, of the non-profit scientific organisation Haereticus Environmental Laboratory in Virginia, said the study helped explain why scientists aren’t seeing baby corals in many established reefs in resort areas.

Oxybenzone alters coral DNA, makes coral more susceptible to potentially fatal bleaching and acts as an endocrine disruptor, causing baby coral to encase itself in its own skeleton and die, according to the findings.

Between 6,000 and 14,000 tonnes of sunscreen lotion winds up in coral reef areas each year, much of which contains oxybenzone.

The damaging effects were seen in coral in concentrations of oxybenzone as low as 62 parts per trillion, which is equivalent to a drop of water in six and a half Olympic-sized swimming pools, according to the researchers.

In Hawaii and the Caribbean, concentrations were 12 times higher, according to the sea water testing.

Outside of coral toxins, the Environmental Working Group had previously raised concerns about the chemical, saying that it may penetrate the skin and cause hormonal and cellular changes.

The American Academy of Dermatology, says there is no data showing oxybenzone is a health hazard and notes that it is one of the few ingredients in sunscreen that effectively protects skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

See Other Article Here:-

Categories: News of the moment

Indonesia is burning. So why is the world looking away?

By George Monbiot 30th October 2015.

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A great tract of Earth is on fire and threatened species are being driven out of their habitats. This is a crime against humanity and nature.

Firefighters in Indonesia t

‘Children are being prepared for evacuation in warships already some have choked to death. Species are going up in smoke at an untold rate.’ Photograph: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

I’ve often wondered how the media would respond when eco-apocalypse struck. I pictured the news programmes producing brief, sensational reports, while failing to explain why it was happening or how it might be stopped. Then they would ask their financial correspondents how the disaster affected share prices, before turning to the sport. As you can probably tell, I don’t have an ocean of faith in the industry for which I work. What I did not expect was that they would ignore it.

A great tract of Earth is on fire. It looks as you might imagine hell to be. The air has turned ochre: visibility in some cities has been reduced to 30 metres. Children are being prepared for evacuation in warships; already some have choked to death. Species are going up in smoke at an untold rate. It is almost certainly the greatest environmental disaster of the 21st century – so far.

And the media? It’s talking about the dress the Duchess of Cambridge wore to the James Bond premiere, Donald Trump’s idiocy du jour and who got eliminated from the Halloween episode of Dancing with the Stars. The great debate of the week, dominating the news across much of the world? Sausages: are they really so bad for your health?

What I’m discussing is a barbecue on a different scale. Fire is raging across the 5,000km length of Indonesia. It is surely, on any objective assessment, more important than anything else taking place today. And it shouldn’t require a columnist, writing in the middle of a newspaper, to say so. It should be on everyone’s front page. It is hard to convey the scale of this inferno, but here’s a comparison that might help: it is currently producing more carbon dioxide than the US economy. And in three weeks the fires have released more CO2 than the annual emissions of Germany.

But that doesn’t really capture it. This catastrophe cannot be measured only in parts per million. The fires are destroying treasures as precious and irreplaceable as the archaeological remains being levelled by Isis. Orangutans, clouded leopards, sun bears, gibbons, the Sumatran rhinoceros and Sumatran tiger, these are among the threatened species being driven from much of their range by the flames. But there are thousands, perhaps millions, more.

One of the burning provinces is West Papua, a nation that has been illegally occupied by Indonesia since 1963. I spent six months there when I was 24, investigating some of the factors that have led to this disaster. At the time it was a wonderland, rich with endemic species in every swamp and valley. Who knows how many of those have vanished in the past few weeks? This week I have pored and wept over photos of places I loved that have now been reduced to ash.

Nor do the greenhouse gas emissions capture the impact on the people of these lands. After the last great conflagration, in 1997, there was a missing cohort in Indonesia of 15,000 children under the age of three, attributed to air pollution. This, it seems, is worse. The surgical masks being distributed across the nation will do almost nothing to protect those living in a sunless smog. Members of parliament in Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) have had to wear face masks during debates. The chamber is so foggy that they must have difficulty recognising one another.

It’s not just the trees that are burning. It is the land itself. Much of the forest sits on great domes of peat. When the fires penetrate the earth, they smoulder for weeks, sometimes months, releasing clouds of methane, carbon monoxide, ozone and exotic gases such as ammonium cyanide. The plumes extend for hundreds of miles, causing diplomatic conflicts with neighbouring countries.

Why is this happening? Indonesia’s forests have been fragmented for decades by timber and farming companies. Canals have been cut through the peat to drain and dry it. Plantation companies move in to destroy what remains of the forest to plant monocultures of pulpwood, timber and palm oil. The easiest way to clear the land is to torch it. Every year, this causes disasters. But in an extreme El Niño year like this one, we have a perfect formula for environmental catastrophe.

The president, Joko Widodo, is – or wants to be – a democrat. But he presides over a nation in which fascism and corruption flourish. As Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary The Act of Killing shows, leaders of the death squads that helped murder a million people during Suharto’s terror in the 1960s, with the approval of the west, have since prospered through other forms of organised crime, including illegal deforestation.

They are supported by a paramilitary organisation with three million members, called Pancasila Youth. With its orange camo-print uniforms, scarlet berets, sentimental gatherings and schmaltzy music, it looks like a fascist militia as imagined by JG Ballard. There has been no truth, no reconciliation; the mass killers are still treated as heroes and feted on television. In some places, especially West Papua, the political murders continue.

Those who commit crimes against humanity don’t hesitate to commit crimes against nature. Though Joko Widodo seems to want to stop the burning, his reach is limited. His government’s policies are contradictory: among them are new subsidies for palm oil production that make further burning almost inevitable. Some plantation companies, prompted by their customers, have promised to stop destroying the rainforest. Government officials have responded angrily, arguing that such restraint impedes the country’s development. That smoke blotting out the nation, which has already cost it some $30bn? That, apparently, is development.

Our leverage is weak, but there are some things we can do. Some companies using palm oil have made visible efforts to reform their supply chains; but others seem to move more slowly and opaquely. Starbucks, PepsiCo and Kraft Heinz are examples. Don’t buy their products until you see results.

On Monday, Widodo was in Washington, meeting Barack Obama. Obama, the official communiqué recorded, “welcomed President Widodo’s recent policy actions to combat and prevent forest fires”. The eco-apocalypse taking place as they conferred, which makes a mockery of these commitments, wasn’t mentioned.

Governments ignore issues when the media ignores them. And the media ignores them because … well, there’s a question with a thousand answers, many of which involve power. But one reason is the complete failure of perspective in a de-skilled industry dominated by corporate press releases, photo ops and fashion shoots, where everyone seems to be waiting for everyone else to take a lead. The media makes a collective non-decision to treat this catastrophe as a non-issue, and we all carry on as if it’s not happening.

At the climate summit in Paris in December the media, trapped within the intergovernmental bubble of abstract diplomacy and manufactured drama, will cover the negotiations almost without reference to what is happening elsewhere. The talks will be removed to a realm with which we have no moral contact. And, when the circus moves on, the silence will resume. Is there any other industry that serves its customers so badly?

A fully linked version of this article can be found at

Categories: News of the moment

Vaccine Whistleblower Gave Congress Thousands of Documents, Claims CDC Destroyed Proof of MMR-Autism Link.

By Michael Krieger  Thursday Nov 5th, 2015.

Find Full Article Here:-

I want to start off this post by making it clear that I’m not remotely anti-vaccine. Personally, I chose to receive a Hepatitis A shot prior to my Asia travels last winter, and I also recently received a TDAP booster in order to reduce the risk of transferring pertussis to my newborn son, which can be quite dangerous if contracted by babies.

While I’m not anti-vaccine, I am anti-ignorance, and there’s a lot of ignorance and bluster out there when it comes to this subject. I know this, because I spent a lot of time researching the topic over the past nine months, after finding out that my wife was pregnant. It’s a complicated topic, which is why this is the first time I’ve ever written about it.

I came to realize that what Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. wrote in an Alternet article earlier this year is undoubtably true. He noted:

Vaccines are big business. Pharma is a trillion dollar industry  (1) with vaccines accounting for $25 billion in annual sales. (2) CDC’s decision to add a vaccine to the schedule can guarantee its manufacturer millions of customers and billions in revenue (3) with minimal advertising or marketing costs and complete immunity from lawsuits. High stakes and the seamless marriage between Big Pharma and government agencies have spawned an opaque and crooked regulatory system. Merck, one of America’s leading vaccine outfits, is currently under criminal investigation for fraudulently deceiving FDA regulators about the effectiveness of its MMR vaccine. Two whistleblowers say Merck ginned up sham studies to maintain Merck’s MMR monopoly. (4)

Big money has fueled the exponential expansion of CDC’s vaccine schedule since 1988, when Congress’ grant of immunity from lawsuits (5) suddenly transformed vaccines into paydirt. CDC recommended five pediatric vaccines when I was a boy in 1954. Today’s children cannot attend school without at least 56 doses of 14 vaccines by the time they’re 18. (6)

An insatiable pharmaceutical industry has 271 new vaccines under development in CDC’s bureaucratic pipeline (7) in hopes of boosting vaccine revenues to $100 billion by 2025. (8)The industry’s principle spokesperson, Dr. Paul Offit, says that he believes children can take as many as 10,000 vaccines. (9)

Big Pharma is among the nation’s largest political donors giving $31 million last year to national political candidates. (37) It spends more on political lobbying than any other industry, $3.0 billion from 1998 to 2014 (38) – double the amount spent by oil and gas and four times as much as defense and aerospace lobbyists. (39) By February, state legislators in 36 states were pushing through over one hundred new laws to end philosophical and religious vaccine exemptions. Many of those state lawmakers are also on the industry payroll. (40) You can see how much money bill sponsors from your state took from Big Pharma on

Categories: News of the moment

Steve Bell’s If … on l’artiste who paints God.

By   12th January 2015.

Steve Bell's If … 12.01.2015

Steve Bell's If … 13.01.2015

Steve Bell's If … 14.01.2015

Steve Bell's If … 15.01.2015

Categories: Cartoons

Leon Brittan Videoed at Paedo Orgy.

By Dave Knight 22nd June 2014.     Find Article & Video Here:-

Former Thatcher Home Secretary videoed at disgusting paedophile orgy

It is rumoured that former Home Secretary Leon Brittan has been questioned by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of engaging in sex with children. He has not, however, been arrested.

The Sunday Mirror reported that an ex-cabinet minister has been caught on video at a depraved orgy at the Elm Guest House, London. It involved under-age children. He was, and possibly still is, a member of a paedophile ring who not only organised sex parties with boys from children’s homes, but also made a snuff videos. In one video a little boy was gang raped and tortured until he died.

The Sunday Mirror did not name the pervert, but the rumour mill is naming Leon Brittan. The details of this crime are not an easy read. It has not been confirmed yet that it was Brittan at the party or that he was involved in the killing of children.

The MP whose book made sexual abuse allegations against the late Liberal politician Sir Cyril Smith is planning to use parliamentary privilege to make similar claims against a second, living, parliamentarian, next week.

Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale, has told The Independent on Sunday that “if asked any question, I will feel obliged to answer that question” when he gives evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on 1 July. An MP on the committee has confirmed that Mr Danczuk will indeed be asked about visitors to Elm Guest House in south-west London in the 1970s and 1980s where allegations of sexual abuse and grooming of children by politicians have been made.

It has long been known that a Paedophile ring operated with close links to Downing Street and that the ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher covered up their crimes. These paedophile perverts were in her government and had jobs supporting the Conservative Party (Tories). Thatcher’s Premiership replace Prime Minister Edward Heath who did torture and kill boys from the Jersey children’s home Haut de la Garenne. Thatcher hated him, and Brittan was his friend. These revelations may have brought down the Government then, and may do so now as the cover up continues.

The Metropolitan Police have questioned Brittan. What is clear is that a very senior politician was interviewed in December 2013, and again recently.

Paedophile Information Exchange

As Home Secretary Brittan, came under pressure to ban the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE). PIE campaigned for the age of consent reduced to 4 years old. In other words, they wanted to legalise paedophilia. He ignored the pressure and created a policy, which actually protected the paedophiles and encouraged their infiltration into schools and children’s homes.

PIE had over 1000 members in the early 1980s. These people were prominent and powerful; the British Establishment tried to keep lid on whole thing. The secret service warned off police and journalists who threatened the “security of the state” by exposing paedophiles in government. The net is closing, however, and hopefully many prominent establishment figures will soon stand in the dock.

See Also:-   Fellowship of Paedophiles-Cover Up


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