Tuesday, 11 December 2012

GM food dangers

GMO Dangers

gm dangers
Genetically modified foods…
Are they safe?

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) doesn’t think so. The Academy reported that “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM asked physicians to advise patients to avoid GM foods.

/full article:

Sunday, 9 December 2012

'Fight' or 'Kill' Jews.

Media Lens Message Board
[ Post a Response | Media Lens Message Board | add-on options ]

    Grotesque Zionist propaganda in the Observer

    Posted by Hidari [User Info] on December 9, 2012, 6:31 am

    "In its report on Hamas leader Khaled Meshal’s speech in Gaza on Saturday, The Observer, the Sunday sister paper of The Guardian, quoted him saying the following words:

    We don’t kill Jews because they are Jews. We kill the Zionists because they are conquerors and we will continue to kill anyone who takes our land and our holy places … We will free Jerusalem inch by inch, stone by stone.

    This however is a blatant mistranslation. What Meshal actually said is:

    We do not fight the Jews because they are Jews. We fight the Zionist occupiers and aggressors. And we will fight anyone who tries to occupy our lands or attacks us. We fight those who fight us, who attack us, who besiege us, who attack our holy places and our land.

    Can you see the massive difference? To an untrained ear the Arabic verbs for “kill” and “fight” could sound the same because قتل – to kill – and قاتل – to fight or combat – come from the same root. But to any Arabic speaker there is no ambiguity at all in what Meshal said"


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

U.S.-U.K. Genocide Against Iraq 1990-2012 Killed 3.3 Millions


By Sherwood Ross

December 05, 2012 "
Information Clearing House" -  Approximately 3.3 million Iraqis, including 750,000 children, were "exterminated" by economic sanctions and/or illegal wars conducted by the U.S. and Great Britain between 1990 and 2012, an eminent international legal authority says.
The slaughter fits the classic definition of Genocide Convention Article II of, "Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part," says Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign, and who in 1991 filed a class-action complaint with the UN against President George H.W. Bush.
The U.S. and U.K. "obstinately insisted" that their sanctions remain in place until after the "illegal" Gulf War II aggression perpetrated by President George W. Bush and UK's Tony Blair in March, 2003, "not with a view to easing the over decade-long suffering of the Iraqi people and children" but "to better facilitate the U.S./U.K. unsupervised looting and plundering of the Iraqi economy and oil fields in violation of the international laws of war as well as to the grave detriment of the Iraqi people," Boyle said.
In an address last Nov. 22 to The International Conference on War-affected Children in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Boyle tallied the death toll on Iraq by U.S.-U.K. actions as follows:
# The slaughter of 200,000 Iraqis by President Bush in his illegal 1991 Gulf War I.
# The deaths of 1.4 million Iraqis as a result of the illegal 2003 war of aggression ordered by President Bush Jr. and Prime Minister Blair.

#  The deaths of 1.7 million Iraqis "as a direct result" of the genocidal sanctions.
Boyle's class-action complaint demanded an end to all economic sanctions against Iraq; criminal proceedings for genocide against President George H.W. Bush; monetary compensation to the children of Iraq and their families for deaths, physical and mental injury; and for  shipping massive humanitarian relief supplies to that country.
The "grossly hypocritical" UN refused to terminate the sanctions, Boyle pointed out, even though its own Food and Agricultural Organization's Report estimated that by 1995 the sanctions had killed 560,000 Iraqi children during the previous five years.
Boyle noted that then U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright was interviewed on CBS-TV on May 12, 1996, in response to a question by Leslie Stahl if the price of half a million dead children was worth it, and replied, "we (the U.S. government) think the price is worth it."
Albright's shocking response provides "proof positive of the genocidal intent by the U.S. government against Iraq" under the Genocide Convention, Boyle said, adding that the government of Iraq today could still bring legal action against the U.S. and the U.K. in the International Court of Justice. He said the U.S.-U.K. genocide also violated the municipal legal systems of all civilized nations in the world; the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child; and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and its Additional Protocol 1 of 1977.
Boyle, who was stirred to take action pro bono by Mothers in Iraq after the economic sanctions had been imposed upon them by the Security Council in August, 1990, in response to pressure from the Bush Senior Administration.  He is the author of numerous books on international affairs, including " Destroying World Order" (Clarity Press.)   #
Sherwood Ross is a columnist, broadcast commentator and public relations consultant "for good causes." He formerly reported for major dailies and wire services and is the author of " Gruening of Alaska "(Best).

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Servants and Masters. The Special Interests Won Again

November 08, 2012

Servants and Masters
The Special Interests Won Again

The election that was supposed to be too close to call turned out not to be so close after all. In my opinion, Obama won for two reasons: (1)  Obama is non-threatening and inclusive, whereas Romney exuded a “us vs. them” impression that many found threatening, and (2) the election was not close enough for the electronic voting machines to steal.

As readers know, I don’t think that either candidate is a good choice or that either offers a choice. Washington is controlled by powerful interest groups, not by elections. What the two parties fight over is not alternative political visions and different legislative agendas, but which party gets to be the whore for Wall Street, the military-security complex, Israel Lobby, agribusiness, and energy, mining, and timber interests.

Being the whore is important, because whores are rewarded for the services that they render. To win the White House or a presidential appointment is a career-making event as it makes a person sought after by rich and powerful interest groups. In Congress the majority party can provide more services and is thus more valuable than the minority party. One of our recent presidents who was not rich ended up with $36 million shortly after leaving office, as did former UK prime minister Tony Blair, who served Washington far better than he served his own country.

Wars are profitable for the military/security complex. Israel rewards its servants and punishes its enemies. Staffing environmental regulatory agencies with energy, mining, and timber executives is regarded by those interests as very friendly behavior.

Many Americans understand this and do not bother to vote as they know that whichever candidate or party wins, the interest groups prevail.  Ronald Reagan was the last president who stood up to interest groups, or, rather, to some of them. Wall Street did not want his tax rate reductions, as Wall Street thought the result would be higher inflation and interest rates and the ruination of their stock and bond portfolios.  The military/security complex did not want Reagan negotiating with Gorbachev to end the cold war.

What is curious is that voters don’t understand how politics really works. They get carried away with the political rhetoric and do not see the hypocrisy that is staring them in the face.  Proud patriotic macho American men voted for Romney who went to Israel and, swearing allegiance to his liege lord, groveled at the feet of Netanyahu.  Obama plays on the heart strings of his supporters by relating a story of a child with leukemia now protected by Obamacare, while he continues to murder thousands of children and their parents with drones and other military actions in seven countries.  Obama was able to elicit cheers from supporters as he described the onward and upward path of America toward greater moral accomplishments, while his actual record is that of a tyrant who codified into law the destruction of the US Constitution and the civil liberties of the American people.

The election was about nothing except who gets to serve the interest groups. The wars were not an issue in the election. Washington’s provoking of Iran, Russia, and China by surrounding them with military bases was not an issue.  The unconstitutional powers asserted by the executive branch to detain citizens indefinitely without due process and to assassinate them on suspicion alone were not an issue in the election. The sacrifice of the natural environment to timber, mining, and energy interests was not an issue, except to promise more sacrifice of the environment to short-term profits. Out of one side of the mouth came the nonsense promise of restoring the middle class while from the other side of the mouth issued defenses of the offshoring of their jobs and careers as free trade.

The inability to acknowledge and to debate real issues is a threat not only to the United States but also to the entire world. Washington’s reckless pursuit of hegemony driven by an insane neoconservative ideology is leading to military confrontation with Russia and China. Eleven years of gratuitous wars with more on the way and an economic policy that protects financial institutions from their mistakes have burdened the US with massive budget deficits that are being monetized. The US dollar’s loss of the reserve currency role and hyperinflation are plausible consequences of disastrous economic policy.

How is it possible that “the world’s only superpower” can hold a presidential election without any discussion of these very real and serious problems being part of it?  How can anyone be excited or made hopeful about such an outcome?

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal.  His latest book,  Wirtschaft am Abgrund (Economies In Collapse) has just been published.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Andrew Marr damns capitalism and confuses the audience.

Andrew Marr’s History of the World (BBC 1, Season 1, episode 5 of 8, ‘Age of Plunder’)

Marr presents a damning indictment of capitalism. For example, he explains that Columbus and the Conquistadors were mass-murdering thieves.

He succinctly summarises the three core principles of the spread of European empires: “Religion, conquest [i.e. massacres - as Marr himself makes clear] and slavery.”

He talks about the Dutch speculative bubble in tulips some centuries ago – the pre-cursor of contemporary bubbles (e.g. dot.com) and the stock market generally. On the one hand, he is making it clear that these speculators are worthless people – simply buying, selling and profiteering until the game is up through a collapse in confidence (that anyone will continue to want to acquire tulips); that is, Marr himself makes it clear that these people do nothing of value.

But on the other hand, at the end of the programme, Marr is eulogising capitalism as the force which has shaped the world into its modern form.

This must create considerable cognitive dissonance in many of the audience, particularly youngsters.

Now Marr apparently reconciles the dissonance by essentially ignoring it, thus: he acknowledges the terrible facts because, after all, he is an intellectual, so his self-image demands that he cannot consciously ignore facts and preserve that self-image; but he ignores the significance – that capitalism is based on empire and both are based on violence – presumably because he is acutely aware of how rewarded and embedded he is within that system.

Thus, for example, elsewhere, Marr can readily admit the fact that the Iraq invasion-occupation has caused “a terrible human cost”; but for him (and all the other chatterers in his class of ‘journalism’), that is merely a detail of academic interest; the real significance lies in how Iraq will play out in Westminster and the fortunes of Tony Blair.

This must be very confusing to young viewers because it will be far from obvious to them that the killing of thousands/millions of humans is not the primary significance of an historical event. And the school curriculum will add to that confusion because, in that curriculum, there is a particular historical event (the Nazis’ genocide of Jews) where it is indeed emphasised that the human cost is the primary factor of concern.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

What kind of revolution?

good stuff, pasted from: http://leftymathprof.wordpress.com/what-kind-of-revolution/

All around me I see people distracted from the real issues by the election campaign, which is in its final month as I write this. Some tell me that I absolutely must vote for their candidate “on account of the Supreme Court, if for no other reason.” But they’re mistaken. The Supreme Court does not matter, because it and everything else of this election will be wiped away by a revolution less than a year from now.
The two Goldman-Sachs parties do differ slightly on some minor issues. But they don’t talk about the two biggest issues — war and ecocide — because they don’t want to call attention to the fact that they are in agreement with each other, but not with the public, on those issues. Go ahead and vote, if you really feel compelled to  — it will take you only a couple of minutes, or a couple of hours if the line is long. But don’t give it more time than that. Don’t concern yourself with the polls or the televised “debates” — they’re just a distraction from the real issues. And don’t engage in campaigning, which will just distract other people as well. The Titanic has hit an iceberg and it is sinking, but the two Goldman-Sachs parties are arguing over who will now get to control the steering wheel. People, that’s not the part of the ship that you should be concerned with right now.
It’s funny that everyone is concerned about the economy, and yet hardly anyone is talking about the Tyrannosaurus Rex in the room, the biggest component of the economy. Of course, I mean the military-industrial complex, which swallows half of every tax dollar, and is the chief source of our society’s economic problems. It conducts wars that make new enemies faster than they kill old ones, because its real goal is not to make us safer, but rather to enrich itself. Meanwhile, it destroys the lives of millions of our cousins on the other side of the world. I am ashamed of how little the people of my country concern themselves about those cousins. Consumerism has made us a very sick people. As a nation, we have much to atone for.

full article here:

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Graphic illustration of the hypocrisy in the pursuit of Assange.

The difference in the ‘Rochdale-sex-ring’ vs ‘MathsTeacher+pupil’ stories is just like the hypocrisy in the pursuit of Assange.

There is now some degree of backlash against state authorities, particularly the police, and the corporate media who propagandise for the state, regarding the story about the maths teacher who ran off (to France) with his teenage pupil.

It is actually only of concern to those involved: parents, the girl, the teacher, and the police, who have a small part to play, e.g. putting out missing persons alerts. Child protection is a relatively minor concern here. The extent to which this girl is a victim (or ‘victim’) is piffling compared to the victims of the Rochdale gang and their police collaborators.

In stark contrast, the police had a massive part to play in the Rochdale-sex-ring case. They systematically, deliberately failed to do so. The police’s lack of interest was reflected by the media’s lack of interest – in allegations coming from people of no value, i.e. working-class ‘sluts’.

The feminist, Bea Campbell, is one person who has spoken about this horrific double-standard (paraphrasing): the maths-teacher+pupil story is a salacious gossip story that rocks the calm conservative world of the middle classes; the Rochdale story is about people of no interest – working-class girls.

If ‘child protection’ were really the primary concern of the police and media, this story (maths teacher) would certainly not be headline news; and the Rochdale ring would have been pursued aggressively instead of being ignored.

And this is precisely what genuine feminists are arguing about the Assange affair:

We know that justice and women’s rights cannot be the motivating factors because, similarly, (even if the allegations are true – big ‘if’) the extent to which the women involved are victims (or ‘victims’) is piffling compared to other victims where Swedish, British and American authorities and media deliberately choose not to expend even a tiny fraction of the energy they expend on pursuing Assange; or deliberately choose to bury the issues/stories.

The pursuit of Assange is transparently about politics, not ‘justice and women’s rights’.

Women fight long hard battles over sex crimes and women’s rights. They fight for Rochdale girls to be free from abuse. They are not fighting for grown women to be free of from the attentions of a meek man like Assange, whose ‘crime’, at worst, is that he has the all the panache of an awkward teenager when it comes to wooing the opposite sex. The Guardianista brand ‘feminists’ who join the baying herd are the real abusers: abusing feminism because, for some reason (serious self-examination might reveal why), there’s something about Assange that they cannot stomach.

They’re not whores; but they are presstitutes.


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Britain loves a war criminal


Britain loves a war criminal

As Alastair Campbell basks in the celebrity limelight of British public life, the blood of the Iraq war drips from his hands. For this is a man whose war crimes, expertly expurged from the collective imagination, demand prosecution alongside those of Tony Blair.

Is there any better demonstration of our ability to normalise the unthinkable than the continued omnipresence of Alastair Campbell in British public life? Ten years and one day ago, on 24 September 2002, the British Government released its propagandistic dossier [9]on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. A year later, Campbell was obliged to resign, in effect over the role he played in its composition - the publicist had become 'the story'. But this was not seen as a moral issue relating to the substance of the assault on British democracy he masterminded, but as a technical slip that could happen to 'any' public relations operative.

Since then, the public have had to endure his presence on Top Gear [10]; on Richard & Judy [11]; on Newsnight [12]; Question Time [13]; Comic Relief’s edition of The Apprentice [14]; Sky News [15]; the BBC News [16]; “This Week [17]”; the Channel 4 News [18]; in Esquire; hosting Have I Got News for You [19]; mentoring aspiring orators [20] on BBC 2’s “The Speaker”; teaching politics [21] in Channel 4’s “Jamie’s Dream School”; presenting Panorama [22]; as a columnist [23] for the Times; and so merrily on. So frequently has the BBC put Campbell on air that in January last year it was forced to address the issue publicly [24], in response to a rising tide of public complaint. If you knew nothing else about him, you’d assume he was some kind of national treasure.

Yet this man was intimately involved in one of the most abominable crimes of the twenty-first century. The illegal invasion of Iraq – which Campbell played a key role in facilitating – may have left a million people dead [25] in four years. Millions more were forced to flee their homes [26] and pushed into destitution [27]. It led to the routine torture [28] of prisoners and killing [29] of innocent [30] people by occupying forces. It led to the unleashing of US-sponsored death squads [31] – a key component of its “Salvador option [32]” for pacifying the country – across Iraq. It led to torture [33] on a scale worse [34] than under its former dictator. It led to an indiscriminate attack on a major city [35]that included – in one of the cruelest ironies of the conflict – the use of banned chemical weapons [36]. In the wake of the latter, Fallujah, a city the size of Leeds, is now experiencing [37] a level of birth defects worse than post-war Hiroshima [38]. In the words of US marine Ross Caputi, who took part in the attack on Fallujah, the Iraq war was “one long atrocity [39]”.

If Campbell had propagandised for a Milosevic or a Hussein, it is unlikely he would now be exchanging chummy quips with Jeremy Clarkson. At best he would perhaps, like Iraq’s Information Minister “comical Ali”, be the object of derision; at worst he would be regarded with utter disgust. Instead, because the British mainstream media taken as a whole can't face up to the realities of a war in which it was largely complicit a remarkable transformation takes place in which the perpetrator becomes the injured party. A perfect example can be found in this month's Guardian of 8 September. It's splash called [40] the pre-war propaganda simply “The dossier that killed trust” – as though Britain’s self-regarding political elite were the Iraq war’s primary victims, rather than its perpetrators. One interviewee was Charles Falconer, himself complicit in the crime as a supportive member of Blair’s cabinet. The record of the other, Menzies Campbell, is distinguished by his opposition to his party’s presence at the 2003 anti-war march – alongside people of all political stripes – lest they be tainted [41] with “anti-Americanism”.

Perhaps “criminal” seems a strong label for a Labour Party spin doctor. Yet, under international law, a criminal is what he is. As George Monbiot documented [42] in some detail earlier this month, not only was there no legal justification for the Iraq war, but in private Blair’s Government freely acknowledged as much. Campbell’s involvement was not – as far as we know – military or managerial in nature; but legally this in no way excuses him. The Principles [43] applied at Nuremberg in 1945-6 make clear that “complicity in the commission of a crime against peace … is a crime under international law”. A “crime against peace”, these Principles state, means one of two things:

“(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances”; or

“(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).”

That Campbell was actively complicit in such a “common plan or conspiracy” has now been established beyond reasonable doubt. Presented below is just one sample of the evidence: a brief run-down of the established role of Campbell and colleagues in the months before the September 2002 dossier’s publication.

12 March: British Ambassador David Manning met [44] Condoleeza Rice, reporting back to Blair:

“I said that you would not budge in your support for regime change but you had to manage a press, a Parliament and a public opinion that was very different than anything in the States.”

15 March: Reviewing an early draft dossier covering four countries, Joint Intelligence Committee chief John Scarlett advised [45]:

“You may wish to consider whether more impact could be achieved if the paper only covered Iraq. This would have the benefit of obscuring the fact that in terms of WMD, Iraq is not that exceptional.”

17 March: Britain’s Ambassador Christopher Meyer told [44] the US Deputy Defense Secretary the UK “backed regime change”, though “It would be a tough sell for us domestically”. Meyer said:

“The UK was giving serious thought to publishing a paper that would make the case against Saddam. If the UK were to join with the US in any operation against Saddam, we would have to be able to take a critical mass of parliamentary and public opinion with us.”

2 April: Campbell, Blair and others “discussed … the central aim” in Iraq, his diaries record [46]. “TB felt it was regime change”. “He said what was sure was that this would not be a popular war”. Meyer concurs [47]:

“By this stage Tony Blair had already taken the decision to support regime change, though he was discreet about saying so in public.”

6-7 April: Blair met Bush, pledging his support for war [48] if, among other things, “efforts had been made” to “shape public opinion”. Blair’s Chief of Staff Jonathan Powell, who was present, told the Chilcot Inquiry:

“thinking of them in terms of conditions is the wrong way to look at it. We weren’t trying to say, “If you tick off all these boxes, then we will be with you”.  We were saying, “We are with you in terms of what you are trying to do, but this is the sensible way to do it.””

23 April: Campbell met Scarlett and other officials, his diary records [49], “to go through what we needed to do communications wise to set the scene for Iraq, eg a WMD paper and other papers about Saddam.”

21 July: A Cabinet Office paper [44] resolved to “engage the US on … creating the conditions necessary to justify government military action”, noting that “certain preparations need to be made”:

“Time will be required to prepare public opinion in the UK that it is necessary to take military action against Saddam Hussein. There would also need to be a substantial effort to secure the support of Parliament. An information campaign will be needed [which] will need to give full coverage to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, including his WMD”.

It resolved to:

“Agree to the establishment of an ad hoc group of officials under Cabinet Office Chairmanship to consider the development of an information campaign to be agreed with the US.”

23 July: Campbell and the war cabinet were informed [50] that in Washington:

“Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

Campbell’s diary notes [51] “TB was pretty clear that we had to be with the Americans” and backed regime change. The meeting concluded provisionally: “We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action.”

31 August: “Blair was a lot steelier than when we went on holiday”, Campbell’s diary records [52]. “Clear that getting Saddam was the right thing to do.”

3 September: Campbell’s diary records [53]:

“It was not going to be at all easy to sell the policy in the next few months … [Blair] said the debate had got ahead of us, so we were going to do the dossier earlier, in the next few weeks … Today was about beginning to turn the tide of public opinion”.

9 September: Campbell briefed [54] Scarlett:

“US officials … intend to produce a series of dossiers … to be published alongside President Bush’s speech on Thursday. They will then roll out several reports in the coming weeks. I am confident we can make yours one that complements rather than conflicts with them.”

The British dossier was subsequently compared with Bush and Cheney’s public statements, and edited accordingly [55].

CIA official Paul Pillar, who oversaw one Bush dossier, states [56] that its “purpose was to strengthen the case of going to war with the American public.” The British Defence Intelligence Staff’s then Director General for Intelligence Collection Michael Laurie likewise states [57] that “to make a case for war … was the direction we were given”; and that “these very words were used … we were under pressure to find intelligence that could reinforce the case.”

11 September: Defence official Desmond Bowen emailed [58] Scarlett, Campbell, Manning and Powell about the draft dossier:

“In looking at the WMD sections, you clearly want to be as firm and authoritative as you can be. … I appreciate that [including caveats and uncertainties] can increase the authenticity of the document in terms of it being a proper assessment, but that needs to be weighed against the use that will be made by opponents of action who will add up the number of judgments on which we do not have absolute clarity.”

17 September: Campbell told Scarlett [59]:

“the Prime Minister had a read of the draft … He said he thought you’d done a very good job and it was convincing (though I pointed out that he is not exactly a “don’t know” on the issue).”

Campbell refers to “my draft foreword”, which he anticipates the PM “signing off”. (This concluded that Saddam Hussein “has to be stopped”.)

18 September: Campbell told [60] Scarlett:

“I asked someone in my office, whose judgement I trust, who has nothing to do with this area, to read the dossier “cold”, as it were, and give me impressions, which I want to pass on.

“Overall, she found it convincing CW/BW [chemical and biological weapons], in particular. “By the time I got to human rights, I was in no doubt he has to be dealt with” ...

“However, she found the nuclear section confusion and unconvincing. “It left me thinking there’s nothing much to worry about”. …

“Sorry to bombard on this point, but I do worry that the nuclear section will become the main focus and as currently drafted, is not in great shape. Do you have a new version yet?”

19 September: Powell wrote [61] to Campbell, Scarlett and Manning:

“I think the statement on p19 that “Saddam is prepared to use chemical and biological weapons if he believes his regime is under threat” is a bit of a problem. It backs up the Don McIntyre argument that there is no CBW threat and we will only create one if we attack him. I think you should redraft the para.”

The published version read: “intelligence indicates that as part of Iraq’s military planning Saddam is willing to use chemical and biological weapons”.

In legal terms, this material alone is more than sufficient as prima facie evidence – the evidence required to initiate a prosecution. Admittedly, since the crime of aggression has not been incorporated into British law, there is no way to bring Campbell to trial through the British courts. But it is doubtful that any arrest attempt would therefore be unjustified. The prosecution (if not the ultimate fate) of German war criminals is seldom regarded as illegitimate simply because Germany had not approved the Nuremberg Principles in advance. More significantly, the crime of aggression figures in the domestic law of many other countries [62].

Like Blair [63], then, Campbell deserves a popular campaign to bring him to justice. Perhaps one day he will even be forced to account for his actions in a court of law, alongside all those he aided and abetted. Until then, we can at least help ensure his public treatment reflects the stigma of a war criminal, and not the adulation of a celebrity.

Monday, 10 September 2012

More Hollywood ‘crap’ that, actually, is yet another potent metaphor for rotten corporate America.

It’s called The Hunger Games.

America is ruled by a tiny population of the fabulously wealthy corporate elite. The rest of the population ekes out a miserable impoverished existence in Gaza-type ‘districts’.

Every year, the elite round up a group of individuals from each district to take part in a zero-sum game, where only one player survives death. The game is that the conscripts have to employ survival skills (food, fire, water, etc) in the forest and kill other players (otherwise get killed themselves).

One of the most telling bits of dialogue in the film is when the ‘president’ asks a ‘senator’, “Why do you think there is winner? Why don’t we just execute all of them to keep the districts in line?”

The senator is stumped.

The president answers his own question: “Because it gives them hope … a little hope is effective; a lot of hope is dangerous.”

This struck me because it sounded exactly like the Paralympics.

The Paralympics provides a smidgen of hope (an illusion, actually – in my opinion) to the disabled that society will treat them with respect: create a spectacle where you turn a handful of disabled people into celebs and celebrate their ‘success’ (conveniently overlooking the fact that the ‘ability’ to run some circuits or swim some lengths at lightning speed are, in fact, completely f*cking pointless ‘achievements’).

Protesting outside Atos, stopping the traffic, mobilising for strikes, etc etc – those activities would be meaningful in terms of seeking justice for the disabled. And that could bring a lot of hope, as opposed to crumbs of 'inspiration'; and, as the president says, that would indeed be dangerous to the tiny ruling elite.

I mention the Paralympics because it’s fresh in my mind, but the president’s words are apposite for all exploited groups in society, e.g. the working class.

Once again, it is striking that Hollywood, one of corporate America’s most potent components, produces output that is actually a damning indictment of America.

The same applies to Avatar – a transparent indictment of American policy in Iraq, Israeli policy in Palestine and the genocidal founding of America itself.

Paralympics: China absolutely slaughtered the rest of the world.

The Paralympics medal table is very surprising: China’s medal tally is miles ahead of everyone.


Given the massive size of China’s lead, it’s very striking that there has been zero mention of China’s success in the media.

Moreover, I personally also find China’s success surprising for this reason:

I have this impression of China as being nothing more than a hugely successful factory; and that, in contrast, whilst Britain is relatively inefficient and uncompetitive, ours is at least a comparatively humane society, where the disabled are not so readily marginalised due to their perceived low productivity potential.

After all, over here, we celebrate perhaps the world’s most disabled major academic (Stephen Hawking) – can’t imagine the Chinese doing that.

I imagine communism as a rational efficient system because, in principle at least, wealth is evenly distributed making for an efficient-running machine (just as an engine runs better if the lubricating oil is evenly distributed amongst the working parts).

- an efficient system, but not necessarily a humane one because:

My knowledge of China includes: they discard undesirable humans; for example, they discard female babies. If that’s their attitude to healthy babies (of the wrong sex), surely they can’t have much time for the disabled.

It’s also very surprising that America barely made it into the top five.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Below is a listing of some of the things revealed in the State Department cables and Defense Department files and videos.

The Saga of Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Wikileaks, to be put to ballad and film
by William Blum

Global Research, March 6, 2012
The Anti-Empire Report 

full article here:

bombing Vietnam "back to the stone age"

More ordnance was dropped on Vietnam by the Americans' military juggernaut than over Europe as a whole during the Second World War. Indeed, bombing Vietnam "back to the stone age" was one possible scenario envisaged by US Air Force cheif of staff, Curtis LeMay.

full article:

"McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas"

"It also -- and by no means incidentally -- threatens to put a slight crimp in their bottom line, for the American system is now thoroughly militarized; the elite depend, absolutely, on war, death, terror and fear to sustain their economic dominance. As the empire's chief sycophant, Thomas Friedman, once put it: "The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies to flourish is called the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps." You really can't put it any plainer than that. The only path to prosperity is through domination by armed force. Others must die, must suffer, must quake in fear, to preserve our comfort. This is Modern American Militarism in a nutshell: the ruling ideology and national religion of American society today."

full article here: http://chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2274-imperial-affront-ecuador-will-face-us-wrath-for-asylum-decision.html

Sunday, 29 July 2012

London 2012 Olympics: The schism between media coverage and reality continues.

There has been continuing unanimous praise in the media for Danny Boyle’s silly Olympics show.

For example, on LBC talk-radio today, the question under discussion was, ‘Does Danny Boyle deserve a knighthood for the Olympics opening ceremony show that he produced?’

- that is, it is taken as a given that the show is praiseworthy; the only question is how praiseworthy.

But we also learn today that there have been a scandalous number of empty seats at various events, including even the much-hyped and –lauded opening ceremony.

The media deals with this schism between image and reality in its usual way: by ignoring it.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

In all the debate about the environment, one doesn’t hear much about ...

In all the debate about the environment, one doesn’t hear much about the oceans; it’s mainly about the atmosphere.

Well, here’s some fascinating stuff I’ve been learning from the documentary, ‘Sharkwater’ (DVD – 2008).

Sharks are being fished to exhaustion (‘long-line’ fishing). This is because shark-fin is very lucrative.

The reasons for the unopposed, though illegal, fishing-to-exhaustion include: there are no campaigns to save the shark, like, say, the panda, partly (largely?) because people aren’t bothered about sharks because they have a bad reputation – ‘man-eaters’, which, in fact, is the diametric opposite of reality. (But I understand that Steven ‘Jaws’ Spielberg has a habit of making trite films, e.g. ‘E.T.’, ‘War Horse’.)

All life came from the oceans.

Sharks are amongst the oldest animals on the planet – 400 million years old, essentially unchanged in all that time (whereas innumerable other species have evolved a great deal).

Shark-fin consumption is very popular because there is another myth (in addition to the ‘man-eating’ one) about sharks: they hardly ever get ill. The ‘logic’ goes: since sharks are very healthy animals, then by consuming shark-fin, that good health can transfer to the consumer. The reality, though, is that sharks are not especially healthy: they too are susceptible to the cancer that results from the toxins that we dump into the sea. Moreover, since they are at the top of the food-chain, these toxins are particularly concentrated in them. Thus, ironically, by consuming shark, one is more likely to contract, rather than stave off, cancer.

They are top predators, making them crucial in the balance of the oceans’ (and therefore earth’s) ecosystem.

The oceans, through plankton, are a major source of CO2 absorption (and CO2 is a principal global-warming gas).

Sharks feed on plankton-feeders. Without sharks, the plankton-feeder population explodes. This reduces the ocean’s capacity to absorb CO2.

Thus, saving sharks would help us to save ourselves.

(You might like to watch this documentary if you’re not already familiar with this stuff; or you might like to watch it anyway for the great photography.)

Oh, and another interesting fact is that sharks have always been top predators.

This is the first time - in just the last 100 years of their 400 million years on the planet - that they have become prey (of man).

(That's of the order 10^-7 of their period of existence - a vanishingly small fraction.)

Saturday, 21 July 2012

£13tn: hoard hidden from taxman by global elite

• Study estimates staggering size of offshore economy
• Private banks help wealthiest to move cash into havens
Aerial view of the Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands: a favourite haven from the taxman for the global elite. Photograph: David Doubilet/National Geographic/Getty Images
A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network.
James Henry, former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has compiled the most detailed estimates yet of the size of the offshore economy in a new report, The Price of Offshore Revisited, released exclusively to the Observer.
He shows that at least £13tn – perhaps up to £20tn – has leaked out of scores of countries into secretive jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with the help of private banks, which vie to attract the assets of so-called high net-worth individuals. Their wealth is, as Henry puts it, "protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy". According to Henry's research, the top 10 private banks, which include UBS and Credit Suisse in Switzerland, as well as the US investment bank Goldman Sachs, managed more than £4tn in 2010, a sharp rise from £1.5tn five years earlier.
The detailed analysis in the report, compiled using data from a range of sources, including the Bank of International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund, suggests that for many developing countries the cumulative value of the capital that has flowed out of their economies since the 1970s would be more than enough to pay off their debts to the rest of the world.
Oil-rich states with an internationally mobile elite have been especially prone to watching their wealth disappear into offshore bank accounts instead of being invested at home, the research suggests. Once the returns on investing the hidden assets is included, almost £500bn has left Russia since the early 1990s when its economy was opened up. Saudi Arabia has seen £197bn flood out since the mid-1970s, and Nigeria £196bn.
"The problem here is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments," the report says.
The sheer size of the cash pile sitting out of reach of tax authorities is so great that it suggests standard measures of inequality radically underestimate the true gap between rich and poor. According to Henry's calculations, £6.3tn of assets is owned by only 92,000 people, or 0.001% of the world's population – a tiny class of the mega-rich who have more in common with each other than those at the bottom of the income scale in their own societies.
"These estimates reveal a staggering failure: inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people," said John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. "People on the street have no illusions about how unfair the situation has become."
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Countries around the world are under intense pressure to reduce their deficits and governments cannot afford to let so much wealth slip past into tax havens.
"Closing down the tax loopholes exploited by multinationals and the super-rich to avoid paying their fair share will reduce the deficit. This way the government can focus on stimulating the economy, rather than squeezing the life out of it with cuts and tax rises for the 99% of people who aren't rich enough to avoid paying their taxes."
Assuming the £13tn mountain of assets earned an average 3% a year for its owners, and governments were able to tax that income at 30%, it would generate a bumper £121bn in revenues – more than rich countries spend on aid to the developing world each year.
Groups such as UK Uncut have focused attention on the paltry tax bills of some highly wealthy individuals, such as Topshop owner Sir Philip Green, with campaigners at one recent protest shouting: "Where did all the money go? He took it off to Monaco!" Much of Green's retail empire is owned by his wife, Tina, who lives in the low-tax principality.
A spokeswoman for UK Uncut said: "People like Philip Green use public services – they need the streets to be cleaned, people need public transport to get to their shops – but they don't want to pay for it."
Leaders of G20 countries have repeatedly pledged to close down tax havens since the financial crisis of 2008, when the secrecy shrouding parts of the banking system was widely seen as exacerbating instability. But many countries still refuse to make details of individuals' financial worth available to the tax authorities in their home countries as a matter of course. Tax Justice Network would like to see this kind of exchange of information become standard practice, to prevent rich individuals playing off one jurisdiction against another.
"The very existence of the global offshore industry, and the tax-free status of the enormous sums invested by their wealthy clients, is predicated on secrecy," said Henry.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Why We Can't Afford a Privatised Railway


Neil Clark


Why We Can't Afford a Privatised Railway

Posted: 17/07/2012 14:30

David Cameron has hailed it as the "biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian era". But we really shouldn't get too carried away about the government's £9.4bn programme of investment in the railways announced today, or believe it will do much to alleviate our transport problems. For a start, building work on the projects will not start until 2014 at the earliest. And even when the modernisation does get going, the basic problem of our railways will remain: namely that they are run for private profit and not as a public service. For that we have to blame a certain Mr John Major.
While there's stiff competition for the prize of barmiest Tory privatisation of the 80s and 90s, the sell-off of the railways has to be a strong contender. Yet despite widespread public opposition - including from within the Conservative party itself, the Major government, taking its cue from the pro-privatisation zealots at the Adam Smith Institute, pushed the scheme to destroy British Rail through and Labour, to its shame carried on with the privatised system when in office.
Twenty-six years on what have been the results? Privatisation means that we have by far and away the most expensive railways in Europe. Figures published by the 'Campaign for Better Transport' showed that the price of season tickets for commuter train journeys to the capital cost between 3.5 times and 9.7 times more than in other European countries, where railways are still publicly owned. Meanwhile, a Just Economics report by the RMT union, has shown that day return-tickets in the UK - at 26p per kilometer, are over three times more expensive than in France.
In late 2009 we saw Britain's first £1,000 rail fare, while this January the misery for rail passengers got even worse with average increases in fares of 5.9%. And that's not the end of it. Not only do we pay more when we purchase our rail tickets than our European neighbours, our privatised railways receive around five times more in public subsidy than British Rail did in the last year of its existence. So much for the claims then, made by the serial privatisers in the 1990s, that privatisation would lead to cheaper services and less cost to taxpayers.
We can't realistically expect the privatisation-mad Coalition to reverse John Major's disastrous policy, but what about Labour? Back in 2009, writing in the New Statesman, I urged Labour to support re-nationalisation.
The party unfortunately didn't go for it in its 2010 General election manifesto, but there could be a shift occurring now: it was recently reported that Labour is to consider re-nationalisation as part of its policy review.
Bringing the railways back into public ownership would be a hugely popular policy (polls show around 70% in favour) and Ed Miliband would gain support not only from the left, but also from frustrated and long-suffering Tory-leaning commuters in the south-east.
Pro-privatisation zealots will of course tell us that it can't be done and it would cost the government too much money. But re-nationalisation can be done: in New Zealand, the Labour government the brought the railways back into public ownership after the country's own disastrous experience of privatisation.
As to the question of cost, as The Huffington Post reported, a report from the think-tank Transport for Quality of Life says that renationalisation could save the taxpayer £1.2 billion a year "through cheaper borrowing costs, removing shareholders' dividends and reducing fragmentation".
The reality is that it's not re-nationalisation which we can't afford, but continuing with privatisation.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Women question the unusual zeal in pursuing Julian Assange for rape allegations


Letters, Guardian 9 December 2010
Many women in both Sweden and Britain will wonder at the unusual zeal with which Julian Assange is being pursued for rape allegations (Report, 8 December). Women in Sweden don't fare better than we do in Britain when it comes to rape. Though Sweden has the highest per capita number of reported rapes in Europe and these have quadrupled in the last 20 years, conviction rates have decreased. On 23 April 2010 Carina Hägg and Nalin Pekgul (respectively MP and chairwoman of Social Democratic Women in Sweden) wrote in the Göteborgs-Posten that "up to 90% of all reported rapes never get to court. In 2006 six people were convicted of rape though almost 4,000 people were reported". They endorsed Amnesty International's call for an independent inquiry to examine the rape cases that had been closed and the quality of the original investigations.

Assange, who it seems has no criminal convictions, was refused bail in England despite sureties of more than £120,000. Yet bail following rape allegations is routine. For two years we have been supporting a woman who suffered rape and domestic violence from a man previously convicted after attempting to murder an ex-partner and her children – he was granted bail while police investigated.
There is a long tradition of the use of rape and sexual assault for political agendas that have nothing to do with women's safety. In the south of the US, the lynching of black men was often justified on grounds that they had raped or even looked at a white woman. Women don't take kindly to our demand for safety being misused, while rape continues to be neglected at best or protected at worst.

Katrin Axelsson
Women Against Rape

Saturday, 14 July 2012

The Syrian opposition: who's doing the talking?

The media have been too passive when it comes to Syrian opposition sources, without scrutinising their backgrounds and their political connections. Time for a closer look …


Friday, 13 July 2012

nhs privatisation, care uk

Going private? My reply to a job offer from a private health company

by Alex Nunns


Thursday, 5 July 2012

Would really help if Heather Brooke could point to some evidence of this.


[tweet https://twitter.com/newsbrooke/status/220811349796728832]

Monday, 2 July 2012

Monbiot: the narcissism shines through - "I", "I", "I", "my"

Monbiot: I don't like raising problems when I cannot see a solution. But right now I'm not sure how I can look my children in the eyes.


His conceit is amusing. He thinks that he is raising this problem (of 'not peak oil'); he thinks that he (a mere journalist, not a scientist, engineer, economist or politician) would be amongst those to see a solution.

He doesn't like having to tell us such unpleasant truths, but he does so because he is a good parent to not only his own children, but to us, his readers, too.

Monbiot is such a prima donna: touchingly mentioning his beloved children at the melodramatic conclusion to this piece, demonstrating what a heroic father-on-a-mission he is.

Monbiot persistently gives hints about his true nature and motivations: he needs to see himself, and needs others to see him, as a person of significance.

Owen Jones hinted at this weakness/conceit too: his suggestion/fear that if one is not seen in mainstream media, then one is ‘irrelevant’.

I’ve never had much time or patience for the Buddhist stuff that comes out of ML, but it is apparently relevant in this instance: If I recall rightly, David Edwards recently cited some words about how true happiness and inner-peace only comes when you stop seeking to be someone. And this is why fulfilment persistently eludes celebs, because, however big a ‘someone’ they become, they are always acutely aware of what a ‘nobody’ they are compared to other celebs. And that’s what mainstream journos are to a large extent: celebs.

I think this also helps explain the reaction to Assange. I have been continually puzzled by the line that so many journos spout: ‘Assange is just seeking attention’ (e.g. when he runs to the Ecuador Embassy). I thought, ‘How’s he seeking attention? He has no control over whether people choose to talk about his ‘antics’. If he is indeed just an attention-seeking little twit, then why write about him at all? You’re giving him attention; he’s not extracting it from you.’

Now I think I understand that line of theirs: they’re projecting their own mindset onto him. They themselves are always seeking attention, so they presume that that is what he’s doing too.

The Super-Rich and the Rest of Us: Some Outrageous Facts About Inequality


July 02, 2012

Studying inequality in America reveals some facts that are truly hard to believe. Amidst all the absurdity a few stand out.

1. U.S. companies in total pay a smaller percentage of taxes than the lowest-income 20% of Americans.

Total corporate profits for 2011 were $1.97 trillion. Corporations paid $181 billion in federal taxes (9%) and $40 billion in state taxes (2%), for a total tax burden of 11%. The poorest 20% of American citizens pay 17.4% in federal, state, and local taxes.

2. The high-profit, tax-avoiding tech industry was built on publicly-funded research.

The technology sector has been more dependent on government research and development than any other industry. The U.S. government provided about half of the funding for basic research in technology and communications well into the 1980s. Even today, federal grants support about 60 percent of research performed at universities.

IBM was founded in 1911, Hewlett-Packard in 1947, Intel in 1968, Microsoft in 1975, Apple and Oracle in 1977, Cisco in 1984. All relied on government and military innovations. The more recently incorporated Google, which started in 1996, grew out of the Defense Department’s ARPANET system and the National Science Foundation’s Digital Library Initiative.

The combined 2011 federal tax payment for the eight companies was just 10.6%.

3. The sales tax on a quadrillion dollars of financial sales is ZERO.

The Bank for International Settlements reported in 2008 that total annual derivatives trades were $1.14 quadrillion. The same year, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange reported a trading volume of $1.2 quadrillion.

A quadrillion dollars is the entire world economy, 12 times over. It’s enough to give 3 million dollars to every person in the United States. But in a sense it’s not real money. Most of it is high-volume nanosecond computer trading, the type that almost crashed our economy. So it’s a good candidate for a tiny sales tax. But there is no sales tax.

Go out and buy shoes or an iPhone and you pay up to a 10% sales tax. But walk over to Wall Street and buy a million dollar high-risk credit default swap and pay 0%.

4. Many Americans get just a penny on the dollar.

– For every dollar of NON-HOME wealth owned by white families, people of color have only one cent.

– For every dollar the richest .1% earned in 1980, they’ve added three more dollars. The poorest 90% have added one cent.

– For every dollar of financial securities (e.g., bonds) in the U.S., the bottom 90% of Americans have a penny and a half’s worth.

– For every dollar of 2008-2010 profits from Boeing, DuPont, Wells Fargo, Verizon, General Electric, and Dow Chemicals, the American public got a penny in taxes.

5. Our society allows one man or one family to possess enough money to feed every hungry person on earth.

The United Nations estimates that $30 billion is needed to eradicate hunger. Several individuals have more than this amount in personal wealth.

There are 925 million people in the world with insufficient food. According to the World Food Program, it takes about $100 a year to feed a human being. That’s $92 billion, about equal to the fortune of the six Wal-Mart heirs.

One Final Outrage…

In 2007 a hedge fund manager (John Paulson) conspired with a financial company (Goldman Sachs) to create packages of risky subprime mortgages, so that in anticipation of a housing crash he could use other people’s money to bet against his personally designed sure-to-fail financial instruments. His successful gamble paid him $3.7 billion. Three years later he made another $5 billion, which in the real world would have been enough to pay the salaries of 100,000 health care workers.

As an added insult to middle-class taxpayers, the tax rate on most of Paulson’s income was just 15%. As a double insult, he may have paid no tax at all, since hedge fund profits can be deferred indefinitely. As a triple insult, some of his payoff came from the middle-class taxpayers themselves, who bailed out the company (AIG) that had to pay off his bets.

And the people we elect to protect our interests are unable or unwilling to do anything about it.

Paul Buchheit teaches Economic Inequality at DePaul University. He is the founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org,RappingHistory.org), and the editor and main author of “American Wars: Illusions and Realities” (Clarity Press). He can be reached at paul@UsAgainstGreed.org.

Learning to live in a changing climate


Environmentalists rejoice: ExxonMobil is on your side. Well, sort of. In his characteristically plain-speaking way, Rex Tillerson, Exxon’s chief executive, last week set out a view of climate change that could not have been more clear: the planet is warming because of carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels.

Before they get too excited about the repentant sinner, though, environmentalists should follow the rest of his argument. Mr Tillerson sees climate change as a “manageable” problem, best addressed not by trying to stop it but by adapting to it: re-engineering our societies and economies so that they are able to withstand a warmer world.

He makes some valid points, in particular about the drawbacks of many renewable energy technologies and the difficulties in finding substitutes for fossil fuels. Yet his answer is incomplete.

Adaptation is an essential part of the response to climate change, but cannot be the whole of it. Measures such as strengthened flood defences are likely to be necessary because some warming has happened already and more is now locked in. Even if all carbon emissions were to stop tomorrow, temperatures would continue to rise for decades. Of course, they are not going to stop; not tomorrow, nor at any time in the foreseeable future.

The International Energy Agency, the rich countries’ think-tank, warned last year that the “door is closing” on the chance to avoid damaging climate change. International efforts to agree global emissions limits are moving torturously slowly, and may never reach a successful conclusion. The world relies on oil, coal and gas for about 80 per cent of its energy, and is shifting away from them only very slowly, while economic development creates an ever-growing demand for fuel. It is only prudent to prepare for the consequences.

Simply letting climate change rip and tidying up the damage as it occurs, however, is not a viable strategy. As Mr Tillerson points out, there is great uncertainty in forecasts generated by climate models. The possibility of extreme changes that would overwhelm mankind’s ability to cope suggests emission curbs are a precaution that we neglect at our peril.

Even in less catastrophic scenarios, the costs of climate change will be unevenly distributed, with the greatest harm falling on countries that already have the lowest incomes and are least able to defend themselves. In poor countries, higher temperatures will mean an increased risk of hardship and societal collapse, and rich countries will be forced to respond.

The warmer the world gets, the more likely it is that those costs will outweigh the price tag for curbing emissions through greater energy efficiency and increased use of renewables, nuclear power and carbon storage.

Controlling carbon is politically difficult, as the sorry history of international climate negotiations has shown. It is, however, likely to be unavoidable. The sooner the world gets to grips with it, the lower the eventual costs will be.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Yitzhak Shamir - terrorist dies

'During World War II, Lehi initially sought alliance with Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, offering to fight alongside them against the British. On the belief that Nazi Germany was a lesser enemy of the Jews than Britain, Lehi twice attempted to form an alliance with the Nazis. During World War II it initially supported fascism, declaring that it would establish a Jewish state based upon "nationalist and totalitarian principles". After Stern's death in 1942, the new leadership of Lehi began to move it towards support of Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union.In 1944 Lehi officially declared its support for National Bolshevism. It said that its National Bolshevism involved an amalgamation of left-wing and right-wing political elements, however this change was unpopular and Lehi began to lose support as a result.
Lehi assassinated Lord Moyne, British Minister Resident in the Middle East, and made many other attacks on the British in Palestine. It was described as a terrorist organization by the British authorities. Lehi assassinated United Nations mediator Folke Bernadotte and was banned by the Israeli government. The United Nations Security Council called the assassins "a criminal group of terrorists," and Lehi was similarly condemned by Bernadotte's replacement as mediator, Ralph Bunche. Lehi and Irgun were jointly responsible for the massacre in Deir Yassin.

Former Lehi leader Yitzhak Shamir became Prime Minister of Israel in 1983.'


Flooding (again) in north England and bushfires in Colorado: global warming?

Caroline Spelman on BBC News just now, referring to the flooding in Gateshead: “increasing frequency of freak weather events”

This seems a blatant government admission of the danger of manmade global warming.

Isn’t this going to make the public wonder, then, why climate change isn’t a higher governmental priority?

The cost of this incident alone will be massive, e.g. clean-up.

Presumably, insurance companies are hiking the price of premiums as they too (implicitly) recognise the reality of global warming.

Isn’t the public’s experience of increasingly expensive home insurance alerting them to the urgency of global warming?

Despite its destruction of society, doesn’t the corporate sector’s focus on the bottom-line at least reveal to us the truth about the dangers we face. For example, no insurance companies are prepared to offer cover to nuclear power stations, and, presumably, they’re increasingly not prepared to offer affordable home insurance.

Friday, 29 June 2012

The art of milking the NHS


The art of milking the NHS
Thursday 28 June 2012
by Solomon Hughes

David Miliband MP cashed in on NHS privatisation with a £12,500 speech to the financiers behind one of Britain's leading NHS privatisation firms.

Miliband was paid for giving a talk to the annual meeting of Bridgepoint Capital in May. Miliband admitted details of this well-paid gig for financiers in the latest register of MPs' interests.

Miliband says he spent four hours on the speech - a qualified nurse earns around £31,500 a year.

So in four hours entertaining the money men taking cash out the NHS, Miliband earned more than a nurse makes in four months working for the NHS.

Bridgepoint is a private equity firm. It owns Care UK, which grew to be Britain's biggest supplier of private medical care to the NHS under the last Labour government.

Care UK made millions selling overpriced operations to the health service, in competition with existing NHS hospitals. Now Labour is in opposition, shadow ministers are keen to attack the firm.

Andrew Lansley's Tories have picked up new Labour's NHS privatisation programme with enthusiasm. But Ed Miliband's front bench are now critics of the businesses taking over the NHS.

In April Labour's shadow health secretary Andy Burnham attacked the government over "real risks to patient safety and continuity of care in a more fragmented health service" and demanded an investigation into Care UK after the British Medical Journal revealed the firm was not processing urgent X-rays in Brent.

During the last election, Burnham also wrote to David Cameron demanding an investigation into funding of future Conservative Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's office by the wife of Care UK's director.

So Lansley is criticised for getting cash from the wife of a Care UK director, but David Miliband gets £12,500 from Care UK's owners.

Former Labour health secretary Alan Milburn now works as head of Bridgepoint Capital's European advisory board - an appointment that attracted controversy as he got the job soon after the last Labour government awarded another Bridgepoint-owned firm, Alliance Medical, a major NHS contract. Alliance Medical sold overpriced and sometimes poor-quality scans to the NHS in a scheme that made money for it and for Bridgepoint but cost the NHS millions.

The firm that paid £12,500 for a four-hour date with David Miliband has interests beyond the NHS. It knows how to make a profit in difficult times - Bridgepoint also owns major British debt collection firm 1st Credit which "focuses on the acquisition and collection of distressed debt portfolios from credit providers such as banks, credit card companies and utilities."

This firm chases poor people so hard over their debts that in 2009 the Office of Fair Trading rebuked it for using false threats of legal action against debtors.

David Miliband's latest high-paid gig shows everything that is wrong with new Labour - it preached about the wonders of the market and then takes money from firms that rip off the health service and squeeze the poor.

Andrew Lansley blamed the private finance initiative (PFI) for forcing him to place South London Healthcare Trust into administration.

The trust, which is in charge of health services for over a million folk in Greenwich, Bromley and Bexley, has a £150 million debt. Lansley is pointing at two PFI schemes for causing the problem.

Private contractors are charging huge amounts for running two hospitals - the Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich and the Princess Royal, which replaced Farnborough Hospital, near Bromley.

Lansley's people told the newspapers that "this hospital trust was brought to the brink of bankruptcy by Labour. It is losing £1m a week, money which could be spent on 1,200 extra nurses for local people," adding that "the standard of care that patients receive at the hospital trust is not good enough."

The Tory government is saying that the private contractors squeeze unjustified money out of the NHS and that patients suffer as a result. And they are right.

Former Tory health secretary and current head of the health select committee Stephen Dorrell said the PFI deals were "indefensible." And he is right.

So who is to blame? Alan Milburn was the top Health Minister who gave the green light to the Greenwich and Bromley schemes in 1998.

When Milburn announced the Bromley deal with a bunch of other hospital PFIs, he said: "Every scheme is a bargain." So don't send Milburn to do your shopping - he thinks wasting millions is a good deal.

Milburn boasted that the private contractors would run the hospitals "for 30 years, which makes them even better value." In fact, this means they can gouge profits from the NHS for decades.

But when Milburn was pushing PFI, the opposition didn't come from the Tories. Back then the dissenting voice came from Unison's Bob Abberley who pointed out this was a bad deal, saying: "This is hospitals on hire purchase" and "Britain needs new hospitals run by the public not the private sector."

Tory silence wasn't surprising. PFI deals take years to put together and the plans for Greenwich and Bromley were drawn up in 1996 when the health secretary was Dorrell. So both new Labour and old Tory ministers are to blame.

Dorrell - who has been suggested as a potential replacement for Lansley should the Health Secretary implode - is the architect of a policy he himself describes as "indefensible."

There is a third group to blame for ripping off the NHS - the contractors.

Under the Tory plans, the contractors who got to take over these hospitals were both Tory donors - Taylor Woodrow for Bromley, Trafalgar House for Woolwich.

Under Milburn, Labour-supporting financier David Metter and his firm Innisfree got to cash in on the NHS.

This is what cross-party consensus looks like - Tory and Labour ministers sign "indefensible" deals which mean their business friends profit by squeezing the life out of the NHS.

Friday, 22 June 2012

CIA directing arms shipments to Syria’s “rebels”


Thursday, 21 June 2012

Daniel Ellsberg on why Wikileaks matters


fora.tv daniel ellsberg

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Monday, 18 June 2012

Viewpoint: Why the young should welcome austerity By Prof Niall Ferguson


Sunday, 17 June 2012

BP Announces that Venezuela Now Have the Largest Oil Reserves in the World

Media Lens Message Board
[ Media Lens Message Board ]

BP Announces that Venezuela Now Have the Largest Oil Reserves in the World
Posted by MikeD on June 17, 2012, 11:06 am

BBC: New satellite images of Venezuela's WMD confirm Washington claims
Posted by gabriele on June 17, 2012, 11:18 am, in reply to "BP Announces that Venezuela Now Have the Largest Oil Reserves in the World"

Re: BBC: New satellite images of Venezuela's WMD confirm Washington claims

Posted by Keith-264 [User Info] [Email User] on June 17, 2012, 11:20 am, in reply to "BBC: New satellite images of Venezuela's WMD confirm Washington claims"

Is that a Norwegian Blue?

264, the last working class hero in England.

    Re: BBC: New satellite images of Venezuela's WMD confirm Washington claims

    Posted by gabriele [User Info] [Email User] on June 17, 2012, 11:43 am, in reply to "Re: BBC: New satellite images of Venezuela's WMD confirm Washington claims"

: Is that a Norwegian Blue?

The UK PM is not sure but insists they can reach London in 45 minutes. When asked about the reliability of the satellite images, the US Secretary of State warned, "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."