Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Paxo Offensive to Jesoids Rule BBC Trust

Jeremy Paxman religious comments were offensive, rules BBC Trust

Editorial standards committee says comments made in discussion with Richard Dawkins had no clear editorial purpose
John Plunkett
31 July 2012

Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman went too far when he talked about religious hogwash and stupid people who believe in the Old Testament, the BBC Trust has ruled.

Paxman made the comments in an interview with Professor Richard Dawkins, the outspoken author of The God Delusion, prompting one viewer to complain that the presenter of BBC2's Newsnight was biased and offensive.

The trust's editorial standards committee rejected the accusation of bias, but said Paxman might have unintentionally caused offence with the comments which had no clear editorial purpose.

Originally, BBC management rejected the complaint in its entirity, denying that Paxman had shown any anti-Christian bias and saying the presenter had played devil's advocate to Dawkins, who was on the programme to talk about his new book, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True, on 13 September 2011.

However, the complaint then went to the BBC Trust editorial standards committee, which ruled that Paxman had a well-known interviewing style and viewers would have expected a lively discussion between the pair on the programme.

The committee said there was a clear editorial purpose for Paxman's use of the word myth in the item, and the Newsnight host was clearly referring to myths as hogwash and not all religion.

"However, the committee recognised that some Newsnight viewers were unlikely to have expected Jeremy Paxman's typically robust and confrontational interviewing style to extend to the use of the terms 'religious hogwash' when introducing the story of Genesis, and 'stupid people' when talking about those with a literal belief in the Old Testament in the context of the item about religious myths," the committee said in its ruling, published on Tuesday.

"Although the committee did not agree with the complainant that Mr Paxman's use of the terms 'religious hogwash' and 'stupid people' were intended to cause deliberate offence, particularly to those with religious views and beliefs, it nevertheless agreed that they were offensive to some of the audience and that there was no clear editorial purpose for their use in the context of this Newsnight item, taking account of generally accepted standards.

"The committee therefore concluded that the item breached the editorial guidelines on harm and offence. It added that it regretted the offence caused to some viewers by the use of the terms 'religious hogwash' and 'stupid people' on this occasion."

A BBC News spokeswoman said: "Newsnight notes the trust's finding that viewers may have found some of the comments offensive, but also welcomes the finding that the piece achieved due impartiality." Gruniad

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Female Genital Mutilation: Shame on Britain

Notice. If you have arrived at this post via a search engine because, You Are At Risk Or Know Someone At Risk From Female Genital Mutilation, then please click this link to the Home Office help page. Please do not be afraid to do so because it is a government organisation, it is there to help you. Alternately, you can access the same information on this blog.
~ ~ ~

Hat tip to Richard Dawkins for both story and headline.

Tweet Richard Dawkins: FGM illegal in France and UK. France prosecutes. UK doesn't, out of "respect"/ "cultural sensitivity". Shame on Britain

Shame indeed, and shame all round. Shame on the mothers of these girls, who, has we have seen before, are instrumental in the perpetration and the continuance of this act of barbarity on their own children.

But if I am going to reserve special shame for one individual in particular, vis a vis the accompanying video to this article, then that shame must go to, Scotland Yard's specialist in child abuse cases, Commander Simon Foy.

I can't even begin to describe what the man has to say, but like myself, you will have to watch the clip (Simon Foy 11m20s mark) to fully appreciate his attitude and complacency regarding these girls, some little more than babies. Not given what a good part of the program is about I can't, the differing attitudes between ourselves here in the UK and that of France, and not least the safeguards France has implemented in order to protect these girls.

And how those attitudes differ, again, not for the first time, we hear this from across the channel: "It is very different in France. They have to integrate and they have to obey our laws." See previous: 'Your religious values are not superior to the laws of the republic.' And no prize for guessing which section of the community that particular can of worms related to.

I'm not particularly fond of highlights, I think they insult the reader, if not generally make a mess of the post along the way. But there are things that I feel I should highlight, if only to emphasise my sense of outrage. So I shall post initially without highlighting, but that may change once I've posted.

Hidden world of female genital mutilation in the UK
By Sue Lloyd Roberts
23 July 2012

Every year around 20,000 young women in the UK and France are "at risk" from female genital mutilation (FGM), but the way each country's authorities deal with those who carry it out are very different.

Twenty-three-year-old Ayanna, herself a victim of FGM, stands against the rain-lashed window of her home on the 19th floor of a Glasgow tower block in the Red Road district of the city - home to a new wave of refugees under the government's dispersal programme.

"I am so happy here," she says, clutching her 11-month-old baby to her.

"I no longer suffer the pain of sex with my husband. The pain was worse than childbirth."

She claimed political asylum to escape a forced marriage and to spare her daughter mutilation.

Ayanna explains that other mothers are allowing their daughters to be cut in Glasgow.

"There were two children on the estate, one aged three years and the other two weeks, who were cut recently by the elder women.

"They use razors, scissors and sharp knives".

FGM is a procedure which, at the least, involves cutting away part of the clitoris or, at its most brutal, all the exposed female genitalia, leaving only a small opening for urination and menstruation.

Women can die from its complications; sexual intercourse and child birth can be agonising.

It is accepted practice in parts of Africa and the Middle East and in immigrant communities from those areas. Some believe that it is a necessary part of becoming a woman. There is also a belief that FGM can reduce a woman's libido, and thus the chances of extra-marital sex.

In Glasgow I met a group of Somali women, all of whom had been mutilated.

"If the authorities could help us to make these people stop it, we would be very happy," says one of them.

"Since I arrived two years ago, I have heard nothing," says another. "There should be announcements, classes so people understand what's right and what's wrong."
No prosecutions

Five hundred miles away in Bristol, a group of schoolgirls tell me about "FGM parties".

"They cut them all together, as a group, because it is cheaper and quicker that way," explains 17-year-old Amina.

"At first the girls are all excited because it's a party, until they realise what is going to happen, and then they get frightened.

"It's done by the elder women, or the Imam, whoever is expert at cutting."
Isabelle Gillette-Faye Isabelle Gillete-Faye thinks the UK needs to do more about FGM

About 20,000 children in England and Wales, and about the same number in France, are deemed "at risk" every year.

The laws which made FGM illegal were introduced in France and England at about the same time, in the mid-1980s.

But whereas some 100 parents and practitioners of FGM have been convicted in France, there has never been a single prosecution in the UK.

I meet Isabelle Gillette-Faye, a seasoned campaigner against FGM, at the Gare du Nord in Paris.

She is trying her best not to be rude about the English.

"In England, you are very respectful of your immigrants," she says.

"It is very different in France. They have to integrate and they have to obey our laws."


She walks me over to the Eurostar platform to tell me the story of two little girls who were about to board the train headed for St. Pancras to be mutilated in the UK.

"It was a Friday. We heard just in time. They had tickets for the Saturday.

"A family member tipped us off. We told the police and they were stopped from making the journey."

The parents were cautioned. Had they gone ahead with the mutilations and been found out, they would have been imprisoned for up to 13 years.

"We simply will not tolerate this practice," Isabelle explains.

Does she think many French children have been cut in the UK?

"Yes, because you do not care," she says.

Scotland Yard's specialist in child abuse cases, Commander Simon Foy, disagrees.

"I am not necessarily sure that the availability of a stronger sense of prosecution will change it (the incidence of FGM) for the better."

The trouble is that what Isabelle calls our "respect" and what others call "cultural sensitivity" makes detection in the UK almost impossible.

In France, mothers and babies attend specialist clinics up until the age of six.

The genitalia of baby girls are routinely examined for signs of mutilation.

Dr Amellou, who works in a clinic in a Paris suburb explains that after the age of six, responsibility is handed over to school medical teams.

They continue to inspect girls, especially those coming from those high-risk ethnic groups.

I point out that such a thing would be unacceptable in Britain.

"What is your problem," she asks? "Our interest is in protecting the child."

"If we find a girl has been mutilated, we offer her psychological support and, if she wants it, surgery," she adds.

Reconstructive surgery

At 7am in a clinic on the outskirts of Paris, Dr Foldes is scrubbing up for the first of six operations he is due to perform that day to reverse FGM.

An anaesthetised woman from Guinea Bissau, is wheeled in the operating theatre, her legs are put in stirrups and the doctor begins.

"It will take only half an hour," he explains, "I restore the clitoris and labia, which were sliced off when she was six years old."

He says this will help the woman enjoy "normal sex and the delivery of a baby".

The patient will pay nothing for this life-changing operation. Dr Foldes operates "pro bono" and the state picks up the costs.

"I have operated on about 50 patients from the UK," he tells me, "but they must pay for everything."

Dr Comfort Momoh, is universally recognised as the UK's expert on the subject. She says that reconstructive surgery is not offered on the NHS.

From her office at St. Thomas's Hospital on London's South Bank, she explains that there are now 17 FGM specialist clinics in the UK.

"We see women who are about to give birth.

"After they are cut, they are sewn up so tightly that the baby cannot get out when they go into labour. We have to cut them open."

With the recent influx of Somali immigrants in to the UK, fleeing the war there, she warns that there are not enough NHS clinics available for what is a growing problem.

"I was in Glasgow recently," she says "and they can't cope."

Back in Bristol, Muna who was born in Somalia and came to Bristol from Sweden in 2003, is baffled as to why the government does not do more to stop it.

"Those statistics show how little the government is doing.

"They are so terrified and they are using cultural sensitivity as a barrier to stop them from really doing anything.

"What would you do if the girl had blue eyes and blonde hair? Would FGM still be carrying on in the UK?"

I ask her if she has a message for David Cameron?

"Yes," she says, "do something about FGM.

"And if you can't handle the issue then there is no point in you doing your job." BBC and video

Female genital mutilation

There are three main types:

The removal of the tip of the clitoris.

Total removal of the clitoris and surrounding labia.

The removal of the clitoris and labia and the sewing up of the vagina, leaving only a small opening for urine and menstrual blood - a process known as infibulation.

Female genital mutilation is tagged FGM on this blog.

Sex, Lies and Julian Assange

Updated below with partial transcript.

Sex, Lies and Julian Assange

By Andrew Fowler and Wayne Harley

Video Documentary Four Corners - ABC Australia

Four Corners reporter Andrew Fowler examines in detail what happened in those crucial weeks while Julian Assange was in Sweden. What was the nature of his relationship with the two women who claim he assaulted them? And what did they tell police that led the authorities to seek his arrest? ICH
Updated full episode of ABC Four Corners "Sex, Lies and Julian Assange".

ANDREW FOWLER: At the heart of the matter is whether the Swedish judicial authorities will treat him fairly. Certainly, events so far provide a disturbing picture of Swedish justice. Using facts agreed between the defence and prosecution and other verified information, we have pieced together what happened during those crucial three weeks in August.

On August 11th, 2010, Assange arrived in Sweden to attend a conference organised by the Swedish Brotherhood – a branch of the Social Democratic Party. He was offered Anna Ardin’s apartment while she was away, but Ardin returned home a day early on Friday the 13th. She invited Assange to stay the night, and they had sex. She would later tell police Assange had violently pinned her down and ignored her requests to use a condom. Assange denies this.

The following day, Assange addressed the conference with Ardin at his side. Later that afternoon Ardin organised the Swedish equivalent of a top-notch barbeque – a Crayfish Party. She posted a Twitter message. “Julian wants to go to a crayfish party. Anyone have a couple of available seats tonight or tomorrow?”

The crayfish party was held that night in a court yard off her apartment. It went on until the early hours of the morning. Ardin tweeted at 2am: “Sitting outdoors at 02:00 and hardly freezing with the world’s coolest, smartest people! It’s amazing!”

A guest at the party would later tell Swedish Police the event was a very hearty evening. When he offered to put Assange up at his apartment, Ardin replied, “He can stay with me.”

In the past 24 hours, Ardin had worked closely with Assange, had sex with him, organised a crayfish party on his behalf – and, according to one witness, turned down alternate accommodation for him. It is during this same period that police will later investigate whether Assange coerced and sexually molested Anna Ardin.

PER E. SAMUELSON: Well, if you send text messages like that, “I’ve just spent some time with the coolest people in the world”, the night after you then say you were raped – I mean you shouldn’t write such text messages if you had been raped by that person the night before.

ANDREW FOWLER: Your client described Julian Assange as a “cool man”. I think, one of the “coolest men in the world” that she’d had in her bed.

CLAES BORGSTROM: I will argue in court....... Read the full thing with opinion at craigmurray.org

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wikileaks - Diego Garcia Judge Orders Questioning of William Hague

You may think this is a pretty obscure subject to blog about, but not so if you had previously blogged or watched John Pilger's excellent documentary Stealing a Nation.

Posted originally in 2007 under my own title: Diego Garcia: Chagoans "They Died Of Sadness" it is now part of a larger post: John Pilger: The World War on Democracy.

At the time, I had this to say:

John Pilger exposes the inhumane and shameful actions of successive British Governments in their treatment of the dispossessed, indigenous population of Diego Garcia, the main island of the Chagos group.

The film is testimony to just how little people are worth when the "Land of Hope and Glory" colludes with the "Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free" in pursuing global expansion.

The conduct of the British, still to this day, can only be described as sordid.

With that in mind, read on. But if you have the bandwidth and the inclination, then do please try to watch the thing.

Senior Government officials to face cross-examination over Wikileaks cable

John Ashton
25 July 2012

A top judge has taken the unprecedented step of ordering two senior Government officials to face cross-examination in court over a classified US document leaked by WikiLeaks.

Despite strong objections from lawyers acting for Foreign Secretary William Hague, the High Court judge ruled today the move was necessary to resolve "fairly and justly" a claim launched against the Government by exiled residents of the Chagos Islands.

The judge declared the leaked US cable - alleged to relate to a private US-UK diplomatic meeting - could be investigated in court even though it must have been obtained unlawfully by "the notorious internet organisation".

The groundbreaking ruling will come as a blow in Whitehall, which argued the courts should not entertain any applications for cross-examination in relation to documents unlawfully obtained by WikiLeaks.

The British expelled the Chagos islanders between 1965 and 1973 in order to allow the US to establish an airbase on Diego Garcia, the largest island in the Chagos archipelago in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).

The expulsion has been described by critics as one of the most shameful episodes of modern colonial history.

The islanders have been fighting a long campaign, which has included a string of court cases, for the right to return to at least some of the islands.

Today's hearing relates to a new High Court application by the Chagos Refugees Group for judicial review of the Government's decision to create a Marine Protected Area (MPA) round the islands.

Commercial fishing is banned within the MPA. The islanders say the MPA was created for the "improper purpose" of preventing resettlement of the islands.

The UK Government denies anything improper and maintains the MPA was created for environmental reasons.

But the islanders say their case is supported by the cable obtained by WikiLeaks. It was sent by the US embassy in London to the US State Department in Washington in May 2009.

The MPA was established in 2010 by a proclamation made by Colin Roberts, Commissioner for the BIOT, acting upon the directions of the British government.

The court heard that, in the leaked cable, Mr Roberts asserted at the May 2009 diplomatic meeting with the Americans that creating the MPA would not adversely affect US defence interests - but it would the islanders.

Mr Roberts is reported in the cable to have asserted "establishing a marine park would, in effect, put paid to resettlement claims of the (Chagos) archipelago's former residents."

Nigel Pleming QC applied on behalf of the Chagossians earlier this month for permission to cross-examine Mr Roberts when the Chagossian judicial review application comes on for hearing in the near future.

He also applied for permission to cross-examine Joanne Yeadon, a civil servant at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at the talks with the Americans.

Mr Pleming said it was not suggested that the WikiLeaks cable was not a genuine document, but the Government was hiding behind a "neither confirm nor deny" policy.

Mr Pleming said he wished to question Mr Roberts in the witness box about his discussions with his US counterparts and to test the denial that an improper motive drove the creation of an MPA.

Steven Kovats QC, appearing for the Government, said the High Court was in "a novel situation" with regard to WikiLeaks disclosures.

Mr Kovats said: "My clients are not opposing cross-examination because they have anything to hide.

"We are opposing it because, as a matter of principle, it does not seem right in relation to an improperly leaked document.

"We, as a matter of principle, do not accept that WikiLeaks can effectively compel the Government to defend something which - absent WikiLeaks - there would be no question of it coming before the court at all."

Today Mr Justice Stanley Burnton rejected the Government's objections and ordered that cross-examination should go ahead.

The judge said he acknowledged that the US document "must have been obtained unlawfully, and in all probability by the commission of a criminal offence or offences under the law of the United States of America".

He added: "I understand why it is the policy of HM Government neither to confirm nor deny the genuineness of leaked documents, save in exceptional circumstances, particularly where, as here, the documents in question are not those produced or received by the UK Government.

"However, the documents have been leaked and indeed widely published."

No application had been made for a public interest immunity certificate to prevent the courts openly investigating the genuineness of the cable.

He ruled: "I do not see how the present claim can be fairly or justly determined without resolving the allegation made by the claimant, based on the WikiLeaks documents, as to what transpired at the meeting of 12 May 2009, and more widely whether at least one of the motives for the creation of the MPA was the desire to prevent resettlement.

"Given the conflicting evidence, in my judgment, in order to resolve the dispute, oral evidence will be necessary, including cross-examination of Mr Roberts and Ms Yeadon." Independent

Summary Execution on the Streets of Anaheim California?

In the main, and for reasons that matter not, I stopped doing 'police brutality' videos quite sometime ago. That doesn't mean however that there aren't sufficient examples under the sidebar tags of Police and Fascist.

This story of the cops in Anaheim California, is a day or two old. I was in two minds whether to run it or not, because I have to say, I did find it particularly disturbing. Bad enough that the cops feel they have the right to shoot, often in the back, just who they please, but it was the brutality with which the police set about the citizens of the community of Anaheim that was particularly concerning.

The community, involving women and babies and kids, was just that, the community, not the enemy; but watching the cops go into action, you would think that the Berserkers had put in an appearance. Well I suppose they had in a way, they were the ones in uniform, and boy oh boy, did they live up to the name or what?

But watching the footage surrounding the latest shooting* I couldn't help but be reminded of something that I had previously found equally disturbing, the summary execution of a young man on the streets of Rio de Janeiro by the local cops. If the details are to be believed, then this shooting itself is little different than the execution witnessed on the streets of Rio by Ross Kemp in his television series, Gangs.

Now I'm not that naive that I don't think this kind of thing goes on all the time, a dark alley, two in the head, and a throw away gun (do read) in place by the time an investigation appears at the scene. And thanks to Democracy Now, the details of a previous shooting were elucidated, and if that doesn't sound like summary execution, I don't know what does.

The forty two second clip of the Rio shooting, I had originally intended to embed at the end of the post, but perhaps it might be better to lead with the thing, it certainly helps put things in perspective.

*There was a second, unrelated fatal shooting by the Anaheim cops, before the first vic had cooled off. Details in the main clip.

Ross Kemp on gangs - Rio 42secs, caution advised.

Update: Anaheim police fire on media as unrest continues

Police Brutality in Anaheim Sparks Outrage After 2 Latinos Shot Dead and Demonstrators Attacked

Democracy Now:
Police in the California city of Anaheim are facing allegations of murder and brutality after fatally shooting two Latino men over the weekend and firing rubber bullets at crowds of protesters. On Saturday, Anaheim police shot and killed 24-year-old Manuel Diaz after he reportedly ran away from a group of officers who confronted him in the street. Diaz was unarmed.

Hours after his death, a chaotic scene broke out when police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at a crowd of local residents protesting the shooting. Another Latino resident, Joel Acevedo, was shot dead by police the following day. Police say Acevedo was suspected in a car robbery, but the circumstances around his death remain unconfirmed.

We discuss the situation in Anaheim with Gustavo Arellano, editor of the alternative newspaper, OC Weekly, and Theresa Smith, who has worked with families to call for police accountability in Anaheim since 2009, when officers shot and killed her son, Cesar Cruz, a 35-year-old father of five. "Given the fact that this is the eighttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifhth officer-involved shooting within one year in the city of Anaheim ... the community is going to be very upset," Arellano says. "There’s a lot of angry residents, and rightfully so." transcript

Previous related articles, all featuring, and not by accident I suppose, Paul Craig Roberts

Tyranny In The Heartland

America’s Police Brutality Pandemic

Americans Are Oppressed, Too

Criminals With Badges

Masked Men Carved Anti-Gay Slurs Into Nebraska Woman’s Body

This is what happens when the national dialogue is preoccupied with the sexuality of others.

Along with a preoccupation for Jesus that is. Not to mention the IQ of the perps, prejudice and intolerance, always being inversely proportional to intelligence.

Police: Masked Men Carved Anti-Gay Slurs Into Nebraska Woman’s Body
by Neetzan Zimmerman
23 July 2012

An openly lesbian Nebraska woman appears to have been the target of a horrific hate crime which took place inside her own Lincoln home.

Police: Masked Men Carved Anti-Gay Slurs Into Nebraska Woman's Body

According to the victim, three masked men broke into her home yesterday morning and tied her up with zip ties. They then proceeded to carve the word "dyke" into her skin and spray painted "we found u dyke" on her basement wall.

"They put gasoline on the floor and they lit the match. I think the intent was to burn her," said close friend Erin Thompson. "Then they left and she managed to get out. She was still bound, so she was crawling on her hands and knees, and she got out the back door."

The unnamed woman, who was naked and bleeding, managed to make her way to her to the home of neighbor Linda Rappl. "I was in shock," Rappl told CNN. "She was naked, her hands were tied with zip ties. All I could see was a cut across her forehead and blood running down."

Rappl covered the sobbing woman up and phoned 911.

Lincoln Police have no suspects, but said the incident, which has been classified as a hate crime, is still under investigation.

Mayor Chris Beutler released a statement today calling hate crimes "despicable and appalling," and vowing that the city's police force with do all in its power to "ensure that justice is done."

Lincoln's LGBT community responded en masse to the shocking assault, with hundreds attending an impromptu vigil last night in solidarity with the victim.

"Our hearts go out to the victim, her family and close friends. Many in our community are understandably experiencing a great deal of sadness, anger and confusion," said Tyler Richard, president of the LGBT support group Outlinc. "We look to our entire community to pull together in this difficult time."

Advocate group Star City Pride has launched a victim recovery fund which is collecting money to help the victim's "physical recovery and her overall healing."

According to Rappl, the woman was treated at the hospital before being released to an emergency shelter where she is currently residing. Gawker

Bill Hicks was never one for illusions about Ameriki.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Leveson: Cameron Tops The I don't Remember Chart

File under: Whodathunkit?

For more than 100 days during the past 11 months, many of the UK's most powerful people have appeared before Lord Justice Leveson to offer their thoughts on the future of the British press, following allegations newspaper employees had been illicitly hacking people's mobile-phone voicemail messages.

Now the oral hearings have come to an end at the Leveson Inquiry - expected to cost £5.6m - here is a look at its scale, how many words were spoken, who appeared, and which of the key witnesses struggled to remember. More BBC

Mind you, I don't think Camerface is in any danger of knocking Alberto Gonzales off his perch.

Alberto Gonzales Total Recall. And after watching this, you might well understand Alberto's membership to The Gor Blimey Hall of Fame. Right hand sidebar.

Historical update: 'I don't recall' - David Cameron and his foggy memory at the Leveson Inquiry more

Are You At Risk Or Know Someone At Risk From Female Genital Mutilation?

Female Genital Mutilation

In the UK, it is estimated that up to 24,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of female genital mutilation. Across government work is taking place top tackle this cruel and brutal practice.

Find out about the illegal practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) and advice on what to do if you are worried that you or someone you know is at risk.

The facts about female genital mutilation

  • Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
  • The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
  • FGM is internationally recognised as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
  • An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM. It is mostly carried out on young girls sometimes between infancy and age 15 years.
  • In Africa an estimated 92 million girls from 10 years of age and above have undergone FGM.
  • Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths.
  • It is illegal to practice FGM in the UK.

The law

The Female Genital Mutilation Act was introduced in 2003 and came into effect in March 2004. The act:

  • makes it illegal to practice FGM in the UK
  • makes it illegal to take girls who are British nationals or permanent residents of the UK abroad for FGM whether or not it is lawful in that country
  • makes it illegal to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad
  • has a penalty of up to 14 years in prison and, or, a fine

Multi-agency guidelines

The government has launched new guidelines to support front-line professionals such as teachers, health professional, police officers and social workers to prevent and tackle FGM.

The guidelines:

  • explains the complex issues around female genital mutilation
  • identify the signs that girls and women may be at risk or who are dealing with the consequences of FGM
  • set out the actions that professionals should take, often in conjunction with other agencies, to protect girls and women and offer them the support they need

What are the signs that a may be at risk of FGM?

Suspicions may arise in a number of ways that a child is being prepared for FGM to take place abroad. These include knowing that the family belongs to a community in which FGM is practised and is making preparations for the child to take a holiday, arranging vaccinations or planning absence from school. The child may also talk about a 'special procedure/ceremony' that is going to take place.

Girls are at particular risk of FGM during summer holidays. This is the time when families may take their children abroad for the procedure. Many girls may not be aware that they may be at risk of undergoing FGM.

UK communities that are most at risk of FGM include kenyans, Somalis, Sudanese, Sierra Leoneans, Egyptians, Nigerians and Eritireans. However women from non-African communities that are at risk of FGM include Yemeni, Kurdish, Indonesian and Pakistani women.

If you have concerns that a girl or young women may be taken overseas for FGM then please contact the FCO on 0207 008 1500 or email fgm@fco.gov.uk

You should also call:

  • Your local children's services or local safeguarding children's board
  • Your local police child protection unit
  • The NSPCC on 0808 800 5000
  • FORWARD on 020 8960 4000

Indicators that FGM may have taken place

Indicators that FGM may already have occurred include prolonged absence from school, noticeable behaviour change on return and long periods away from classes or other normal activities, possibly with bladder or menstrual problems. Some teachers have described how children find it difficult to sit still and look uncomfortable or may complain of pain between their legs.

You must report your concerns to the police and to children's services.

We recommend you also call FORWARD (Opens in a new window) as they provide support, counseling and safe space for girls and women to talk about their experiences. They can also educates and work with families to prevent FGM happening to any other girls in the family. There are also specialist health services (Opens in a new window) available to women who have undergone FGM. Home Office

Please 'recommend this on Google.'

Footnote: Little wonder this country is in the state it is, if this is the best the Home Office can do for spelling and typos. See original.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gun Homicides and Gun Ownership Listed by Country

I'm placing this here, sans text, for two reasons. One being, I shall know where to find it should the occasion arise, and two, I have another article posted on gun/knife stats, that gets a small but steady stream of inquiries via the search engines. So it's a bit of a service if you will.

Gun homicides and gun ownership listed by country

Where are the world's guns - and which countries have th highest rates of firearms murders? Guardian Article

King Juan Carlos of Spain Tossed by World Wildlife Fund

What is it about the over privileged, or royalty for that matter, that they embrace the killing of wild animals with a passion that simply appalls the rest of us?

Being a Brit, I'm more than well aware of our own historical record, where the privileged and invariably chinless turned Africa into their own personal shooting gallery. Slaughtering as they did, by the tens of, if not hundreds of thousands, some of the most beautiful and magnificent creatures ever to grace this planet.

But for the most part, the part apart that is, from our present day over privileged chinless wonders, the Windsor-Saxe-Coburg-Gothas, who continue to blast feathered creatures from the sky, that shameful period in our history, is just that, history.

But the same can't be said however for Spain's own over privileged equivalent Saxe-Coburg-Gothas, King Juan Carlos is still indulging his own personal inadequacies by slaughtering God's* creatures every chance he gets. And let us be honest here, nothing highlights a persons' inadequacies and flaws of character, as does that of wanting to kill an animal for 'sport.'

But it is not just a flawed character that plays a role here, the 'over privileged' aspect is not to be ignored. Were, King Juan Carlos Alfonso Victor Maria de Borbon y Borbon, not paid out of the public purse, and was just plain old Juan Carlos and scratched a living by the sweat of his brow, I wonder where he would find the $30,000 requirement to enable him to shoot an Elephant?

Yes, can you imagine it, this insidious piece of shit, this pathetic example of humanity, this King. forked out thirty thousand dollars to shoot a fucking Jumbo. How very fucking Regal is that?

I won't list the rest of his 'bag,' that you can find in the second article below, the petition, the one calling for Juan Carlos to be tossed from, and no, I'm not making this up, his position as the Honorary President of the Spanish branch of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund).

What part the petition played in the outcome I have no idea, I never sign such things, they are a perfect waste of time in my opinion. But whatever pressures were exerted and from whichever direction, Juan Carlos is toast, tossed, gone, he is no more vis a vis his role at the WWF.

Spain's king loses WWF title over elephant hunt

Conservation group's Spanish chapter strips him of honorary presidency
by Harold Heckle
21 July 2012

MADRID — The World Wildlife Fund's branch in Spain has ousted King Juan Carlos as its honorary president — a title he'd held since 1968 — after deciding his recent elephant hunting safari was incompatible with its goal of conserving endangered species.

The announcement Saturday was the latest in a string of bad news for Spain's royal family, which has been embarrassed by legal and other scandals.

The fund said in a statement that "although such hunting is legal and regulated" it had "received many expressions of distress from its members and society in general." It said members voted at a meeting Saturday in Madrid to "to get rid of the honorary President" by a substantial majority of 226 votes to 13.

The Royal Palace declined immediate comment on the announcement.

Many Spaniards were dumbfounded when news broke in April that the king had made a secret journey to hunt elephants in Botswana even though it was widely known he was president of the Spanish branch of the fund.

Such an opulent indulgence also angered Spaniards at a time when national unemployment hovers around 25 percent, the economy is contracting and there are fears the country may need an international financial bailout.

The Spanish public learned of the safari only after the king had to fly back in a private jet to receive emergency medical attention for a broken hip suffered during the trip.

In an unprecedented act of royal contrition, a sheepish Juan Carlos apologized, saying as he left the hospital: "I am very sorry. I made a mistake. It won't happen again."

It was a poignant moment because the royal family had been under intense media scrutiny for all the wrong reasons.

The king's son-in-law, Inaki Urdangarin, is a suspect in a corruption case, accused of having used his position to embezzle several million euros in public contracts through a supposedly not-for-profit foundation he'd set up.

Over Easter, the king's 13-year-old grandson, Felipe Juan Froilan, shot himself in the foot with a shotgun, even though Spanish law dictates you must be 14 to handle a gun.

The king on Tuesday decided to take a pay cut in solidarity with civil servants who are to lose their traditional Christmas bonuses as part of the government's most recent austerity drive.

The salaries of Juan Carlos and Crown Prince Felipe will be reduced about 7 percent — to about 272,000 euros ($334,000) and 131,000 euros ($160,000) respectively — in line with government policy, the Royal Palace said.

The king and prince acted voluntarily in cutting their salaries, the palace said. MSNBC

Spain’s King Juan Carlos: (call to) resign as Honorary President WWF (World Wildlife Fund)

Undated, sometime in 2012
Petition now closed

King Juan Carlos of Spain is the Honorary President of the Spanish branch of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund). The WWF is an international environmental organization advocating, amongst others, the protection of the African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) because the conservation status of this animal is considered vulnerable!

Recently Spain’s King Juan Carlos went for a private hunting trip to Botswana where he killed an African elephant, a species which conservation status is deemed “vulnerable”!

"He had a hunting permit for hunting elephant," said Jeff Ramsay (Botswana government spokesman). King Juan Carlos is well known to be an enthusiastic hunter, which is his favorite pursuit!

Across Africa last year, some 12,000 elephants are shot illegally, mostly by poachers. Spain's King Juan Carlos paid 30.000$ for his hunting liscense, to get a trophy of a killed elephant and therefor got the permit to kill an African Elephant!

Spain’s King Juan Carlos is also a great fan and supporter of bullfights, in which bulls get tortured for hours and finally stabbed to death! The king reportedly killed a Russian bear which had been made drunk with "vodka and honey"!

A Honorary President of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) can NOT be a passionate hunter, someone who kills animals for fun. That is a catastrophe, an insult to all animal rights activists and absolutely revolting!

We the undersigned petition you, Spain’s King Juan Carlos, to resign as a Honorary President WWF (World Wildlife Fund). Show some final respect to the animals and give up your Spanish WWF presidency.

We call everybody NOT to donate any money to WWF, until the animal killer Spain's King Juan Carlos finally resigns or the WWF makes an clear statement to this scandal!

update: the real proof of hypocrisy: "Spanish king apologizes for Botswana hunting trip". King Juan Carlos is a trophy hunter since more then 20 years! Now he should apologize for shooting Mitrofan, the tame Russian bear.
He should also apologize for shooting something like nine bears in a row in Romania, including a pregnant she-bear. And while he's at it, he should apologize for his support of bullfighting.

How can the WWF accept him as a Honorary President?? The WWF knew about his passion for hunting and still does not find it necessary to exclude Juan Carlos from their organization! Is it only about collecting LOTS and LOTS of donations??! Please rethink your WWF membership if WWF does NOT react on this scandal!

Please share this petition with friends! change.org

American Family Association: Churches Supporting Gays Caused Colorado Massacre

American Family Association: Churches Supporting Gays Caused Colorado Massacre
July 21, 2012

Fred Jackson, the news director for the American Family Association (AFA), yesterday blamed the Colorado massacre that took twelve lives and wounded another 58 people on mainline Churches supporting gay people. Jackson, who echoed sentiments of the AFA’s Bryan Fischer by blaming the ACLU, also blamed liberals — liberal churches and liberal media — along with movies and the Internet, and an overall lack of the fear of God, for the tragic shooting. More

The American Family Association is a certified anti-gay hate group.

New Maya Temple Found, Covered With Giant Faces

"Dramatic" New Maya Temple Found, Covered With Giant Faces

Archaeological "gold mine" illuminates connection between king and sun god.
July 20, 2012

Some 1,600 years ago, the Temple of the Night Sun was a blood-red beacon visible for miles and adorned with giant masks of the Maya sun god as a shark, blood drinker, and jaguar.

Long since lost to the Guatemalan jungle, the temple is finally showing its faces to archaeologists, and revealing new clues about the rivalrous kingdoms of the Maya. More video

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Right To Bear Arms and Shoot Lots of People

The post below, written in response to the Tucson shooting, is a partial re-up. To put the thing in its proper perspective, below are a few lines of the report that I responded to. Albeit in my usual semi-irreverent way. Deservedly so I think, reverence and insanity being the poor bed fellows that they are.

Two Unasked Questions in Tucson Mass Murder

Serious Guns and White Terrorism

Question: How does a mentally unstable man who was kicked out of school and had run-ins with the law buy such a serious weapon? Article
~ ~ ~

Originally posted under the title: Tom DeLays Going to Jail and Other Tales From The Gulag

Question: How does a mentally unstable man who was kicked out of school and had run-ins with the law buy such a serious weapon?.........

........The federal background check for people purchasing such weapons only prohibits selling such weapons to people who have been legally determined to be mentally defective or found insane or convicted of crimes. This man had not been found legally mentally defective or convicted, so he was legally entitled to purchase an assault weapon. In Arizona, he was legally entitled to carry the weapon in a concealed manner..........

..........The US has well over 250 million guns in private hands according to the National Rifle Association. That is more, according to the BBC, than any country in the world. In one year, guns murdered 17 people in Finland, 35 in Australia, 39 in England and Wales, 60 in Spain, 194 in Germany, 200 in Canada and 9,484 in the United States according to the Brady Campaign.

Answers, take your pick: America has a hard on for guns. He lives in America. America is full of inadequates. America has no cultural history other than a violent one. The Second Amendment ain't all its cracked up to be. America has Fox News. Fox News is full of right wing nutjobs, see article below. America is full of right wing nutjobs, see Tiller the Killer link below. America has a hard on for guns. more

The right to bear arms

Big gun, small dick

I don't know when it will be this fellows turn to make the news, but I will guarantee one thing, it will be before he gets laid. Mad as a fucking brush! and twice as inadequate.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Fox News: The No. 1 Name in Murder Fantasies

Bill O'Reilly's recent "joke" about decapitating Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank was only the latest example of a demented Fox News culture that permits on-air personalities to fantasize about assassination and other forms of violence against those deemed enemies of the station, its personalities or their worldview.

During the cable channel's 2008 election coverage, in what she later called an attempt at humor, Fox News contributor Liz Trotta linked Osama bin Laden to Barack Obama as people who both should be assassinated:

And now we have what some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama, uh Obama. Well, both, if we could.

A week before Trotta's "joke," Republican primary candidate Mike Huckabee was apologizing for his own Obama assassination quip. Addressing a gathering of the National Rifle Association, Huckabee joked that a loud thud heard backstage during his address was Barack Obama diving to the floor to avoid gun shots. Months later, Huckabee was given his own Fox News show.

With its biggest new star, Glenn Beck, Fox News hired a host well-known for on-air death fantasies--for instance, chattering about killing filmmaker Michael Moore with his bare hands and hoping out loud that Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D.-Ohio) would burn to death. In a Fox News skit in September 2009, Beck portrayed himself poisoning Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

It's a culture that apparently filters down to Fox News viewers and supporters. Over the years Fox Nation, the Fox News "owned and operated" fan website, has regularly featured comments expressing the desire to see Barack Obama's assassinated. more

Previous: "..after the slaying of Tiller the Killer" Now posted immediately below this post.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Wrath of Fools: An Open Letter to the Far RightWilliam Rivers Pitt

......At the time of this writing, Rep. Giffords is lying in a hospital bed in critical condition. The God you Bible-spewing frauds love to flog the rest of us with must have been in that supermarket crowd with her on Saturday, with His hand on her shoulder, because it is nothing short of a full-fledged miracle she survived at all. Doctors are actually cautiously optimistic that she will survive, though the degree to which she will ultimately recover is still sorely in doubt. She can respond to simple commands, according to her doctors, and is marginally able to communicate. If she survives her wound, it is wretchedly certain her life will never, ever be the same.

I just thought you should know a few things about the people you helped into their graves and hospital beds this weekend.

Yes, you.

You false patriots who bring assault rifles to political rallies, you hack politicians and media personalities who lied through your stinking teeth about "death panels" and "Obama is coming for your guns" and "He isn't a citizen" and "He's a secret Muslim" and "Sharia Law is coming to America," you who spread this bastard gospel and you who swallowed it whole, I am talking to you, because this was your doing just as surely as it was the doing of the deranged damned soul who pulled the trigger. The poison you injected into our culture is deeply culpable for this carnage.

You who worship Jesus at the top of your lungs (in defiance of Christ's own teachings on the matter of worship, by the way) helped put several churchgoers into their graves and into the hospital. You who shriek about the sanctity of marriage helped cut down a man who was about to be married. You who crow with ceaseless abandon about military service and the nobility of our fighting forces helped to critically wound the wife of a Naval aviator who fought for you in a war. You who hold September 11 as your sword and shield helped put a little girl born on that day into the ground.

You helped. Yes, damn you, you helped. more

But for the icing on the cake, I pray beg you, read the few comments at the original post.

Footnote: Not only do Americans not do irony very well, they do seem to have a similar problem with symbolism. And for a fellow, me, that has put a budget that would be the envy of many a small nation down the barrel of skeet and trap guns, I do know a little about guns.

Previous and a interesting read: Oath Keepers and the Age of Treason

Friday, July 20, 2012

Toronto Tarts: Cover Up - Muslim Cleric

Brings a whole new meaning to 'fuck me shoes' I guess.

Just another misogynist Muslim headbanger sharing his Islamic wisdom with us, because if I had a nickel for every time I have heard the same argument, I could retire.

Or better still, Atangana and his ilk, could apply to join the twenty first century.

Muslim Cleric: If Women Don’t Want to Get Raped, Politicians Should Make it Illegal for Them to Dress Provocatively

York University (in Canada) has been the site of several sexual assaults over the past few weeks and students are angry because they don’t feel the school has done enough to prevent future attacks.

They’re really not going to like this.

Al-Haashim Kamena Atangana, a Muslim cleric, wrote to the Toronto Sun to offer his own suggestions as to how these crimes can be stopped:

Brings a whole new meaning to 'fuck me shoes' I guess.

Just another misogynist Muslim headbanger, because if I had a nickel for every time I have heard the same argument, I could retire.

I wanted to mention that the reason why these sex attacks are continuously happening is because the Canadian laws, which gives too much freedom to women, are the cause of these sex attacks. It has been revealed that every 5 seconds a woman is being sexually assaulted in North America. Women in North America are falling victims of the Democratic Freedom that you they passionly believe in. The reason why a woman gets raped is because of the way she dress. Women dress so provocatively so much that they receive too much attention for themselves and that attention at times leads to death.

If the law enforcements and the Canadian politicians were very serious about solving this problem, they would introduce laws that would make it illegal for women to dress provocatively in the streets. It is true that many people would object to this if that were to happen. and this will definitely create protests and opposition. However by arresting sexual predators is not going to solve the problem because as long women continue to dress like this there will always be perverts and rapist who will continue to remain on the loose. more

~ ~ ~

Saudi cleric favours one-eye veil
A Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia has called on women to wear a full veil, or niqab, that reveals only one eye.
3 October 2008
Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan said showing both eyes encouraged women to use eye make-up to look seductive.
The question of how much of her face a woman should cover is a controversial topic in many Muslim societies.
The niqab is more common in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, but women in much of the Muslim Middle East wear a headscarf which covers only their hair.
Sheikh Habadan, an ultra-conservative cleric who is said to have wide influence among religious Saudis, was answering questions on the Muslim satellite channel al-Majd. BBC

~ ~ ~

The 1-eyed burqa
Exclusive: Marylou Barry shakes head at Saudi sheikh's demand for female dress

From the You-Couldn’t-Make-This-Stuff-Up-If-You-Tried Department:

Over the weekend a short but remarkable news article made its way around the Internet. It was remarkable not so much for its content – which was only about what we Westerners have come to expect from the seventh-century barbarians who also inhabit the planet – as for the fact that it was published by the normally very liberal British Broadcasting Corporation.

“A Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia,” the story states without comment, “has called on women to wear a full veil, or niqab, that reveals only one eye. Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan said showing both eyes encouraged women to use eye make-up to look seductive.”

Now, I am aware that the Brits are known for their tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and “the Beeb” for its tolerance of politically correct insanity, but, boy, not embroidering on that must have been tough. Wouldn’t you have just loved to be a fly on the newsroom wall when the editor read that guy’s report? Wouldn’t you have loved to be at the unscheduled meetings that must have resulted, as corporate lawyers and risk-assessment teams conspired to run the blurb, but inoffensively enough to keep from hearing from the Wahhabi Lobby? more
~ ~ ~

A reader left a link to this website, which is replete, nay, encyclopedic in superstitious nonsense. Below are just some random examples of the glory of Islam.

I thought to include the subtle graphic that headed the piece, entitled 'notpraying' just in case you don't get the message.

The Terrible Consequences of not Praying Salah

Bismillah. Today, insha’Allah we’re going to touch on a slightly different angle on the concept of salah. Now, you know that salah is fard–the 5x daily prayers–and that the reward of doing so is great, and the sin of doing so are terrible. Hellfire, punishment on the Day of Judgment, punishment in this life, all these things are but possibilities.

But let’s take a look at a slightly different angle: scholars. What’s the position of the scholars on someone who doesn’t pray?

The position of all four madhaahib–Maliki, Shafi’ee, Hanbali, and Hanafi–with no difference of opinion–is that a person who does not pray, ever, is not a Muslim.

Think about that. Not a Muslim. Not anyone who has a chance of Paradise.

Why? There’s a very explicit hadith on this–the hadith of the Prophet

The contract between us and them is salaah. Whoever leaves it, he has disbelieved.

This is a very direct, explicit hadith–salaah is the contract, part of the mithaaq, the original contract, with Allah that all humans took. And this is only one of the explicit ahadith like this.

What’s more, it was inconceivable in the time of the sahaba that someone could be a “Muslim” and not pray. It just doesn’t make sense.

Scared yet?

No? Well, there’s more. What is the position of the scholars of Islam on someone who doesn’t pray, today, who lives in that now-extinct species of Islamic State? Then what happens?

Again, there’s no difference of opinion on this.

The position of a Muslim in an Islamic state, who doesn’t pray, is to be jailed.

And once they’re in jail, they should be advised. That what they’re doing is haram. That prayer is so, so important. That it is a major sin. That it just takes five minutes, five times a day–less than one sitcom.

And if they don’t repent? Keep advising them for a day. Then, a second day. Then, a third day.

And if they still don’t repent?

Then they are executed.

So think about that, next time you feel like skipping a salah. Honestly, it just takes five minutes. Don’t let your lame excuses side-track you. Just do it. Not Praying

~ ~ ~

I thought this sounded rather familiar; perhaps I was just thinking of Catholicism.

The fear of Allah

The Arabic word for the “fear of Allah” is taqwâ . It comes from the root word meaning “to protect from something, to prevent”. Indeed, a person exhibits the fear of Allah by seeking to prevent Allah's punishment by carrying out what Allah has commanded of him and abstaining from what Allah has prohibited him.

Allah had called upon all people in every era to fear Him. Allah says: “And We had enjoined upon those who were given the Scripture before – as well as yourselves – to fear Allah.”

It is Allah's right over His servants that they fear Him as He ought to be feared. Allah says: “O you who believe! Fear Allah as He ought to be feared and do not die except as believers.”

Ibn Mas`ûd explained what it means to fear Allah as He ought to be feared by saying: “It means that He is to be obeyed not disobeyed, remembered not forgotten, and shown gratitude not ingratitude.”

The fear of Allah is the path to forgiveness, salvation, and the attainment of Allah's mercy. Allah says:

“Indeed, Allah is with those who fear Him and those who do good.”

“And My mercy encompasses all things, and I shall decree it for those who fear Me.”

“He is worthy of being feared and worthy of granting forgiveness.”

“And whoever fears Allah – He will pardon him his sins and grant him a great reward.”

“Indeed, those who fear Allah will be among gardens and rivers, in a seat of truth near an All-Powerful Sovereign.”

Allah promises those who fear Him that He will provide for their needs and grant them a way out of their worldly difficulties. Allah says: “And whoever fears Allah, He will make for him a way out, and provide for him from whence he could never imagine.”

This is Allah's promise. We should draw strength from it when we are tried in life with difficulties that tempt us to resort to what Allah has forbidden.

The relationship between knowledge and the fear of Allah

Allah says: “It is only those who have knowledge among Allah's servants who fear Him.”

There are two ways in which knowledge and the fear of Allah are related. The first is that true fear of Allah comes about as the result of having proper knowledge of Allah and His perfect attributes.

Ibn `Abbâs said about this verse: “They are those who know that Allah is capable of all things.” blah blah

~ ~ ~

I wouldn't even attempt to single out anything on the subject of homosexuality, but there is this from heaven on earth, the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Treatment of homosexuals within Islam:

........The Sha'fi school of thought (also seen in the Arab world) requires a minimum of 4 adult male witnesses before a person can be found guilty of a homosexual act. Al-Fatiha estimates that 4,000 homosexuals have been executed in Iran since their revolution in 1979. 10 public executions of homosexuals have been performed in Afghanistan by the Taliban army. Blah

John Pilger: Blair Olympic Deals and the Glimpse of a Another Britain

Essential Pilger, scathing where necessary and gracious when addressing Josh Richards, a Brit activist who successfully defended his prosecution for his attempt to disable an American B-52 bomber based at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire.

And what a defence it was, based on the Nuremberg principles that a war of aggression was the "paramount war crime".

Blair, Olympic deals and the glimpse of a another Britain
By John Pilger
July 19, 2012

This is a story of two letters and two Britains. The first letter was written by Sebastian Coe, the former athlete who chairs the London Olympics Organising Committee. He is now called Lord Coe. In the New Statesman of 21 June, I reported an urgent appeal to Coe by the Vietnam Women's Union that he and his IOC colleagues reconsider their decision to accept sponsorship from Dow Chemical, one of the companies that manufactured dioxin, a poison used against the population of Vietnam. Code-named Agent Orange, this weapon of mass destruction was "dumped" on Vietnam, according to a US Senate report in 1970, in what was called Operation Hades. The letter to Coe estimates that today 4.8 million victims of Agent Orange are children, all of them shockingly deformed.

In his reply, Coe describes Agent Orange as "a highly emotional issue" whose development and use "was made by the US government [which] has rightly led the process of addressing the many issues that have resulted". He refers to a "constructive dialogue" between the US and Vietnamese governments "to resolve issues". They are "best placed to manage the reconciliation of these two countries." When I read this, I was reminded of the weasel letters that are a specialty of the Foreign Office in London in denying the evidence of crimes of state and corporate power, such as the lucrative export of terrible weapons. The former Iraq Desk Officer, Mark Higson, called this sophistry "a culture of lying".

I sent Coe's letter to a number of authorities on Agent Orange. The reactions were unerring. "There has been no initiative at all by the US government to address the health and economic effects on the people of Vietnam affected by dioxin," wrote the respected US attorney Constantine Kokkoris, who led an action against Dow Chemical. He noted that "manufacturers like Dow were aware of the presence and harmfulness of dioxin in their product but failed to inform the government in an effort to avoid regulation." According to the War legacies League, none of the health, environmental and economic problems caused by the world's most enduring chemical warfare has been addressed by the US. Non-government agencies have helped "only a small number of those in need". A "clean up" in a "dioxin hot spot" in the city of Da Nang, to which Coe refers, is a sham; none of the money allocated by the US Congress has gone directly to the Vietnamese or has reached those most severely disabled from the cancers associated with Agent Orange.

For this reason, Coe's mention of "reconciliation" is profane, as if there were an equivalence between an invading superpower and its victims. His letter exemplifies the London Olympics' razor-wired, PR and money-fuelled totalitarian state within a state, which you enter, appropriately, through a Westfield mega shopping mall. How dare you complain about the missiles on the roof of your flats, hectored a magistrate to 86 residents of London's East End. How dare any of you protest at the "Zil car lanes", reminiscent of Moscow in the Soviet era, for Olympic apparatchiks and the boys from Dow and Coke. With the media in charge of Olympics excitement, as it was for 'Shock and Awe' in Iraq in 2003, now enter the man who played a starring role in making both spectacles possible.

On 11 July, a so-called Olympics evening - "a coming together of the Labour tribe", declared the Labour Party leader Ed Milliband - celebrated its "star guest" Tony Blair and his 2005 "gift" of the Games and "provided the perfect opportunity for Blair's return to frontline politics", reported the Guardian. The organiser of this contrivance was Alistair Campbell, chief spinner of the bloodbath Blair and he gifted to the Iraqi people. And just as the victims of Dow Chemical are of no interest to the Olympic elite, so the epic criminality of Labour's star guest was unmentionable.

The source of the Olympics' chaotic security is also unmentionable. As established studies in Britain have long conceded, it was the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the rest of the "war on terror" that served to recruit new jihadists and bolster other forms of resistance that led directly to the London bombs of 7/7. These were Blair's bombs. In his current rehabilitation, courtesy of his Olympics "legacy", there is the additional spin that Blair's huge post-Downing Street wealth is concentrated on charities.

The second letter I mentioned was sent to me by Josh Richards who lives in Bristol. In March 2003, Josh and four others set out to disable an American B-52 bomber based at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, before it could bomb Iraq. So did four other people. It was a non-violent action faithful to the Nuremberg principles that a war of aggression was the "paramount war crime". Josh was arrested and charged with planning to lay explosives. "This was based on the ludicrous idea," he wrote, "that some peanut butter I had on me was actually a bomb component. The charge was later abandoned after the Ministry of Defence performed extensive tests on my Tesco crunchy nut peanut butter."

During two trials and two hung juries, Josh was finally acquitted. It was a landmark case in which he spoke in open court about the genocidal embargo imposed upon Iraq by the British and US governments prior to their invasion and the false justifications of the "war on terror". His acquittal meant that he had acted in the name of the law and his intention had been to save lives.

The letter Josh wrote to me included a copy of my book, The New Rulers of the World, which, he pointed out, had provided him with the facts he needed for his defence. Meticulously page-marked and highlighted, it had accompanied Josh on a three-year journey through courtrooms and prison cells. Of all the letters I have received, Josh's epitomises a decency, modesty and determination of moral purpose that represent another Britain and antidotes to poisonous Olympic sponsors and rehabilitated warmongers. During these extraordinary times, such an example ought to give others heart and inspiration to reclaim this receding democracy. ICH

37 percent say Blair should face war crime charges

Thursday, July 19, 2012

TEPCO Fukushima You Cannot Be Serious Man!

If this is really the view and not just the rhetoric of Naomi Hirose, the new President of Tepco, then I seriously have to question his judgement. If not his sanity.

Japan's Tepco baffled by criticism of its role in nuclear disaster

By Aaron Sheldrick and Linda Sieg
TOKYO July 19, 2012

(Reuters) - The new head of the company at the centre of Japan's nuclear disaster said on Thursday he was baffled by fierce criticism of the firm where he has worked nearly 40 years and hoped to rebuild public trust but offered no clear idea how to do so.

In a scathing report issued this month, an investigative panel appointed by parliament concluded that the last year's Fukushima disaster was preventable and resulted from "collusion" among Tokyo Electric Power Co, its regulators and the government.

"You can destroy trust in a single day but to rebuild it takes time," the 59-year-old Yale-educated president of Tepco, Naomi Hirose, told a packed news conference of foreign and Japanese reporters.

"Of course, it is a question whether we can regain trust," said Hirose, who joined the company in 1976.

He has taken over Tepco's key post at a time when anti-nuclear protests are growing, ruling party lawmakers are bolting over a decision to restart idled reactors despite safety fears and the government is nationalizing the struggling utility.

The nuclear issue has increasingly taken centre-stage in political debate ahead of parliamentary elections which could come later this year. On Monday, an estimated 100,000 anti-nuclear protesters took to the streets in Tokyo, adding to pressure on the government which is under fire over its handling of nuclear policy issues.

Wearing a grey suit and blue tie, the diminutive, grey-haired Hirose spoke in fluent English for 15 minutes before responding to questions in his native Japanese.

The once well-respected utility has been widely castigated for its failure to prepare for the massive tsunami that devastated its Fukushima plant last year, lampooned for its inept response to the reactor meltdowns, and denigrated for its perceived arrogance.

Lampooned you say?

Asked about that panel report's conclusion, Hirose initially responded that the report was one of three investigations including the company's own and they had all arrived at different conclusions.

When pressed, he added:

"We have read the report and seen this word 'collusion'. However, on what basis, or for what reason, this word is being used we have not been able to fully grasp," he said.

"We will go back and read the report again more carefully and if it turns out the facts are different to the facts we have presented then we might adjust our conclusions."

Hirose was also grilled over what critics say is Tepco's tendency to cover things up, a common charge against a company that admitted in 2007 that it had faked safety reports and hidden defects at its reactors for decades.

He acknowledged that there was a "a very large perception gap" between the company's view of itself and the way the public sees it. "We have to close that gap," he said.

By his own account, doing so won't be easy.

One of Hirose's first acts as president was to talk to evacuees at a high school who had fled from the radiation plume that spouted from the company's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after an earthquake and tsunami caused meltdowns in March 201l.

At one of the meetings, a moderate earthquake struck and he was quickly peppered with questions about the safety of a badly damaged building at Fukushima full of spent fuel rods.

That was "quite a shock for us," Hirose said, because the company assumed its reinforcement work has been sufficient.

Fukushima's spent fuel pool No. 4 has been a source of international concern because they are exposed to the atmosphere after one of the explosions that hit the station tore the reactor building roof off and caused its walls to tilt.

"It gave me renewed resolve that we should make more efforts to remove people's anxieties and concerns," he said. Reuters

One for fun.

The Planet is Fucked

And so are we. As a species we are far too successful for our own good, especially when it comes to exploiting, with total disregard, our dear Mother Earth, our home.

And when the shills for Big Energy start mumbling about the "Tipping Point" or anybody for that matter, you have my permission to fetch them a hearty slap around the lug 'ole.

The tipping point has long been and gone, all it is down to know, is where abouts we are on the 'Hockey Stick Graph.' The graph is so aptly named, for what is visually obvious, the planet has trundled along quite evenly for millions until it meets the business end of the stick, where it then takes off in an ever steepening curve.

Greenland glacier calves iceberg twice the size of Manhattan
Nasa images show the ice island breaking off the Petermann glacier, for the second time in two years
19 July 2012

The Petermann glacier grinds and slides toward the sea along the northwestern coast of Greenland, terminating in a giant floating ice tongue.

An iceberg twice the size of Manhattan broke free from Greenland's massive Petermann glacier, which could speed up the march of ice into northern waters, scientists said on Wednesday.

This is the second time in less than two years that the Petermann glacier has calved a monstrous ice island. In 2010, it unleashed another massive ice chunk into the sea.

The latest break was observed by Nasa's Aqua satellite, which passes over the North Pole several times a day, and was noted by Trudy Wohlleben of the Canadian Ice Service.

"At this time of year, we're always watching the Petermann glacier," Wohlleben said, because it can spawn big icebergs that invade North Atlantic shipping lanes or imperil oil platforms in the Grand Banks off Newfoundland. A large piece of the 2010 iceberg did just that, but caused no damage, she said by telephone.

Nasa images showed the iceberg calving – breaking off from a floating river of ice called an ice tongue, part of the land-anchored Petermann Glacier – and moving downstream along a fjord on Greenland's north-west coast. A rift in the ice had been identified in 2001, but on Monday a crack was evident.

On Tuesday, the satellite images showed a bigger gap between the glacier and the iceberg, and the ice chunks further downstream were breaking up, Nasa said.

"The floating extension (of the glacier) is breaking apart," Eric Rignot of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement. "It is not a collapse, but it is certainly a significant event."

One difference between the 2010 event and this one is that the present ice island broke off further upstream, where the ice was right up against the fjord's rocky side walls, damming the glacier's seaward movement.

"This piece that has been much further back, may have actually been providing more of a frictional force to cork (the glacier) up than the piece that broke off in 2010, which was much further out," said Andreas Muenchow, an Arctic oceanographer at the University of Delaware.

The 2010 break accelerated the Petermann glacier's movement toward the sea by 10-20%, Muenchow said. The current break could have a greater effect on the glacier's movement.

Coastal glaciers like this floating ice tongue tend to block the ice flow headed for the sea. When ice chunks break loose, the land-based glaciers behind them often move more quickly, Muenchow said.

The accelerated movement of the Petermann Glacier after the 2010 break was "noticeable but not dramatic," he said on his website.

The movement of this huge amount of ice into open water will have no immediate impact on sea levels, since this ice was already part of an ice shelf that was attached to land but extended over water, just as a melting ice cube in a glass of water does not raise the level of water in the glass.

Muenchow said climate change was a factor in the current state of the Petermann glacier. He said this glacier is as far back toward the land as it has been since the start of the industrial revolution more than 150 years ago. Gruniad

Peripheral three minutes, interesting: America's fascination with the apocalypse