Thursday, July 30, 2009

Atheist Camp and The Great Unicorn Hunt

Other than offering a signed tenner I don't know to what degree (if at all) the good professor is actively involved in this project.

The aims of the camp sound so Richard Dawkins, but that in itself proves nothing, perhaps the organisers just took a page out of Dawkins book, and I might add, where better a place to take one from.

"Campers are taught that ethical behaviour is not dependent on religious belief and doctrines, that religious belief and doctrines are sometimes a hindrance to ethical and moral behaviour, and that irreligious persons are also good and fully capable of living a happy and meaningful life."

An atheist summer camp in Somerset is offering children aged seven to 17 a "godless alternative" to religious camps traditionally run by the scouts and church groups.

Some of the 24 children arriving at Camp Quest in Bruton seemed a little young to be tackling the weighty concepts ahead of them....snip

The summer camp, designed with the children of atheist parents in mind, has a slightly daunting mission statement.

It is "dedicated to improving the human condition through rational inquiry, critical and creative thinking, scientific method… and the separation of religion and government"....snip

(Of Unicorns)

The only proof of their existence is contained in an ancient book handed down over "countless generations".

A prize - a £10 note signed by Professor Richard Dawkins - is offered to any child who can disprove the existence of the unicorns.

Outside the camp gates, a single lonely demonstrator criticised both Professor Dawkins and the camp he supports.more

Video 2m.40s

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hard Hard Time: Supermax: Repost

In view of the previous posting I though I would re-up this old post.

This is the type of facility that the much misnamed US Department of Justice would send Gary McKinnon to serve out his (Sixty year?) sentence on conviction.

There is much more reading to be had on this subject, you can find it in the sidebar under Prison Nation.


I did on one occasion watch Bill Maher mention the "greatest country on earth" and in his inimitable way asked the question, Who says so, the eighty five percent of arrogant dipshit Americans who don't even own a fucking passport?

I could, but I won't, make a list of all that ails America, American society and most importantly the American psyche.

The same psyche that starts at the very top with the endless "Kick arse because we can" attitude and works it's way down through a para-military police force that is totally out of control to a prison system and it's employees that should be the shame of any society that aspires to wear the label of "Civilised."

I shall not enter into a diatribe for it has all been said before, you only have to search the labels "Prison Nation" and "Police," I will just leave you with a short sentence that I came across, part of which I used as a previous title.

The prison authorities, more often than not, are persons of limited intellectual capacity and of authoritarian attitudes whose primary penological goal is to maintain order.

And if anybody wants to try and convince me that America deserves the tag of greatest nation I would be glad to listen to your argument.

Torture in Our Own Backyards: The Fight Against Supermax Prisons

Imagine living in an 8-by-12 prison cell, in solitary confinement, for eight years straight. Your entire world consists of a dank, cinder block room with a narrow *window* only three inches high, opening up to an outdoor cement cage, cynically dubbed, "the yard." If you're lucky, you spend one hour five days a week in that outdoor cage, where you gaze up through a wire mesh roof and hope for a glimpse of the sun. If you talk back to the guards or act out in any way, you might only venture outside one precious hour per week.
You go eight years without shaking a hand or experiencing any physical human contact. The prison guards bark orders and touch you only while wearing leather gloves, and then it's only to put you in full cuffs and shackles before escorting you to the cold showers, where they watch your every move.

You cannot make phone calls to your friends or family and must "earn" two visits per month, which inevitably take place through a Plexiglass wall. You are kept in full shackles the entire time you visit with your wife and children, and have to strain to hear their voices through speakers that record your every word. With no religious or educational programs to break up the time or elevate your thoughts, it's a daily struggle to keep your mind from unraveling, more

*window* If indeed the cell even has a window. there are Supermax facilities where the secure housing units (SHU) are sixty feet underground and like all such places the cell lights shine twenty four seven.

Andrew MacKinlay MP: A Rare Breed

A Pol with integrity, they don't come rarer than that.

I would go as far to say even rarer than me agreeing with a Tory rag (Daily Mail) and a Tory leader (Cameron) but I have been following the Wail's campaign and Cameron's efforts in the house on behalf of Gary McKinnon, who embarrassingly, for the Pentagon, hacked into their zillion dollar security system and who now want to bury McKinnon underground in some hell hole of a supermax prison for decades to come.

And a word for Andrew MacKinlay, it might be quite noble to resign on principle but don't you think you ought to stay and fight your corner, or better said Gary McKinnon's corner.

Labour MP resigns in fury over Gary McKinnon: Veteran who stood up for Asperger's victim quits over colleagues' hypocrisy

Labour MP Andrew MacKinlay is quitting Westminster in disgust after MPs failed to stop computer hacker Gary McKinnon's extradition to the US.

The respected backbencher says he is 'disillusioned' about Parliament's inability to hold ministers to account.

He told the Daily Mail, which is campaigning for Mr McKinnon to stand trial here, that he had been frustrated for some time by MPs' willingness to follow party 'diktats', even if they contradicted their private views.

The Commons vote last week over Britain's unbalanced extradition arrangements with the US had been the final straw.

'It crystallised a view of Parliament I have had for some time,' Mr MacKinlay said.

The 60-year-old was one of just ten Labour MPs who had the courage to vote for a review of the 2003 Extradition Treaty in the wake of controversy over the case of the Asperger's Syndrome sufferer.

But 74 Labour MPs, who had previously signed motions backing Mr McKinnon, or demanding an extradition review, failed to oppose the party line.

The review move was defeated by 290 votes to 236.

Mr McKinnon's mother Janis Sharp said last night she was 'delighted' at the MP's decision....more

The Daily Mail campaign links.

This is the latest article by Labour MP Andrew MacKinlay

This feeble wobbling on McKinnon is bad for democracy

Read more:

Trust in Parliament has never been lower. Respect for politicians has been heavily diminished, not just by the Commons expenses scandal but also because of the failure of MPs and Ministers to be straight with the public.

Lack of conviction, weasel words, submission to the party whipping machines and a reluctance to abide by previous pledges have all played their insidious part in undermining the reputation of the Commons.

Public faith is hardly likely to be restored by this week's vote on the extradition to the U.S. of Gary McKinnon, whom the Americans want to put on trial over charges of hacking into the Pentagon's computer systems...more

It was back in April 07 that I blogged about Gary McKinnon and the one sided extradition policy that the UK enjoys with the US.

UK Hacker Loses Extradition Fight

Pissed, seriously pissed am I to hear this, a few words from the text takes the words from my mouth.

Alleged threats by US authorities, including one from New Jersey prosecutors that "he would fry", would be among issues raised, Mr Cooper said.
And make no mistake fry he will, after the US has nailed him to a cross....more


I have written previously on the shabby behaviour of the British Governments acquiescence in giving up one of it's own to the American injustice system and the even shabbier practice of fast tracking extradition requests from the US.
In both cases that I cited the alleged offences were committed on British soil, now it seems that Blair's antipodean counterpart, another eager fellator of Bush's cock, Howard of Australia (legacy of a mean nation) is throwing one of it's citizens to the baying pack at the American Department of Justice.
The same DoJ you no doubt recall headed by the despicable liar and perjurer Alberto Gonzales. Given then that this wonderful level of international cooperation exists can we expect of successive governments to be equally cooperative and acceding to shall we say a request from the international criminal court for the arrest of Tony Blair on the charge of war crimes, or that of Bush himself or one of his cabal on crimes against humanity?
What action then will the Us be taking against...more

And more

Fast Tracked Laws

Fast Tracked Laws.
Fast Tacked To Where. (Guantanamo Bay, Secret Prisons, or just Good Ol' US Ones?)
Fast Tracked To What. (American Justice?)
Fast Tracked To Whom. (A trusted partner?)

Or is that the new euphemism for riding rough shod over due process?

White collar criminals have been the main targets of draconian of new British "fast tracked" laws designed to speed up the extradition of terrorists to the US.
No alleged terrorists have yet to face US courts using the new rules which allow suspects to be sped through British courts without American prosecutors having to show a reasonable case against them.

The legislation brought in as a response to the September 11 attacks has seen the time taken from the arrest of a suspect to their removal for trial in America drop from nearly three years to just over eleven months.
But the home office admits that none of the twenty nine suspects so far sent to the US are alleged terrorists.

The new statistics are set to reignite the row over over the extradition of the so called Nat West Three were sent to the Us last July and charged with fraud relating to the collapsed energy giant Enron.
The row flared after British authorities investigating the alleged offences found their was no case to answer. snip.

Also included was Jeremy Crook, an IT executive who was flown shackled to to US agents to America in September last year. He is due to stand trial in August next year....more

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Madeleine McCann: A Must Read Letter To Prime Minister Gordon Brown

This letter from the Madeleine Foundation to Prime Minister Gordon Brown is one mighty tome, indeed quite lengthy but all the more important for being so.

It really is quite staggering in it's composition and even more staggering the way it catalogues the unprecedented assistance rendered by the British Government to the principle suspects involved in the death and subsequent disposal of the body of Madeleine McCann. Those principal suspects of course being Doctors Kate and Gerry McCann.

I can't begin to imagine the amount of time and effort that has gone into producing this hard hitting absolute must read document, my hat off to all concerned.

The Madeleine Foundation
Combating child neglect
Monday 13 July 2009

Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street

Dear Prime Minister

re: Response to Petition of Elizabeth Woolnough on the 10 Downing Street website, calling on you to order a review into the role of the British police in relation to the Portuguese inquiry into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

We would, however, go further than the petitioner. We suggest that there needs to be a full and open public enquiry not only into the role of Leicestershire Police and other members of the British police forces but also in relation to the extent of government involvement in this case, not least of course your own personal involvement in the case. This included a great deal of activity in May 2007, shortly after Madeleine McCann ‘disappeared’, leading up to your reported intervention in mid-to-late May 2007 in apparently persuading the Portuguese police to allow Dr Gerald McCann to release a description of a possible suspect to the world’s media. We say more about this below.

The conduct of British police forces is frequently investigated by a body set up to investigate misconduct, namely the Independent Police Complaints Commission. We do not think that the IPCC is the appropriate body to investigate the serious allegations against Leicestershire Police, and also against members of the British government, in relation to the conduct of the criminal investigation into Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’. We suggest it must be a full, independent and open public enquiry.

It is also right to put on record at this stage that members of The Madeleine Foundation do not believe the claim of the McCanns that Madeleine was abducted. Indeed, we share the views on what really happened to Madeleine McCann of Goncalo Amaral, the original senior investigating detective in the case. He has published a book, ‘A Verdada de Mentira’, which translates as ‘The Truth About A Lie’, in which he explains the evidential reasons for believing that Madeleine McCann died in her parents’ apartment in Praia da Luz and that her body was subsequently hidden or disposed of by or with the approval of her parents, Doctors Gerald and Kate McCann.

One of the key lines of evidence he refers to in his book is the work of two internationally-acclaimed British police sniffer dogs, namely the two springer spaniels, Eddie and Keela, who have been trained and used by British dog handler Martin Grime. These dogs, who hitherto had a 100% track record in 200 or more cases of successfully locating where corpses had lain (Eddie) or of detecting human

blood (Keela), found the scent of a human corpse in the following locations:

  1. The living room of the McCanns’ apartment (5A) in Praia da Luz, on the floor next to the outside wall, behind the sofa
  2. In or near the wardrobe in the McCanns’ apartment bedroom
  3. On the veranda of the McCanns’ apartment veranda
  4. Amongst the flowerbeds outside the apartment
  5. On two of Dr Kate McCann’s clothes
  6. On a red T-shirt belonging either to Madeleine or to her younger brother Sean
  7. On the pink soft toy often produced by Dr Kate McCann for media photographs, ‘Cuddle Cat’
  8. On the floor of the Renault Scenic, the hired car used by the McCanns, near the driver’s seat
  9. On the car keys of the Renault Scenic
The presence of human cadaverine in these locations.........more