Archive for February, 2015

It’s official … this government SUPPORT domestic violence!

February 28, 2015

This is truly horrendous. It’s disgusting that a woman, who lives in such fear of a violent ex-partner that she has been forced to turn her house into a virtual fortress, should have her safety compromised through the government’s determination to punish the poor simply for living in council homes. This woman is not the only one. As the article reveals, there are 281 others.

UKIP are notorious for their malign and ignorant views on domestic violence. It seems the Tories also share them. Some of us can still remember the ’70s when domestic violence and battered wives first became an issue. Clearly the Tories, Lib Dems and UKIP all want to turn the clock back before then, and deny that the problem even exists.

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Reposted from Inside Housing

Domestic violence victim loses High Court bedroom tax case.

A mother living in a domestic abuse ‘sanctuary scheme’ has lost her landmark challenge against the bedroom tax, in a blow to similar services across the country.

Claimant ‘A’ – whose identity is protected – lives in a property which has a special ‘panic space’ installed by the council.

The woman had her housing benefit deducted because the council considered her panic room to be a spare bedroom, although she has been receiving discretionary housing payment to cover the shortfall in her benefit.

She started High Court judicial review proceedings against the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in May 2013, arguing that the bedroom tax is a discriminatory policy which will have severe consequences for her and her son.

In a judgement handed down on 29 January, which was summarised in a government bulletin on…

View original post 238 more words

Advertisements

Police Black Sites in America, and the Death of Hilda Murrell

February 28, 2015

Police Black Site in Chicago

This is another video from The Young Turks. Secret CIA Black Sites in American Heartland for ‘Disappearing’ Citizens reports an article from the Guardian a few days ago revealing the existence of a ‘black site’ run by the local police in Homan Square in Chicago. It was a secret detention centre where suspects were taken. They were not allowed access to their lawyers, read their Miranda warning, or booked in, as required in normal police procedure at American police precincts. Those detained were also frequently beaten.

Normally, those arrested and taken to the site were only there for a few days, before being put back in normal police custody. Some, however, have died at the centre, such as a man, who was found unresponsive at an interrogation room, and later declared dead in hospital.

Cenk Uyghur, the Turks’ anchor, links this case to the use of CIA Black Sites used to disappear suspected terrorists throughout the world, including Gitmo and Abu Ghraib. He quotes Tracy Siska, an American civil rights activist and criminologist working in the Chicago justice department. Siska and Uyghur state very firmly that this is the result when the intelligence agencies are able to get away with illegal and unconstitutional actions. These procedures then get back into the American civil system, to corrupt and pervert normal law enforcement. One of those detained without access to a lawyer was a NATO protester.

Hilda Murrell

I’ve reblogged this because it raises important questions about what our security services over here have also been doing. Britain was very firmly complicit in the extraordinary rendition of terrorist suspects, who were deported to nations, where they would be tortured to extract information from them. British citizens were also interned at Gitmo.
The death of the NATO protester after being abducted by the cops and illegally imprisoned in Homan Square also seems to me to be extremely and uncomfortably similar to the death in March 1984 of Hilda Murrell.

Murrell was an elderly lady living in Llanymynech, near Oswestry. She was an anti-nuclear campaigner with links to the protest groups END, ECOROPA and MCANW. Her nephew was Commander Robert Green, a naval intelligence officer. When Tam Dalyell raised questions over Murrell’s death, he was informed that Commander Green was the officer, who passed on the order to the Conqueror to sink the Belgrano during the Falklands War. He also passed the message from HMS Endurance to Northwood HQ informing them that the Argentinians were about to invade.

On Friday, 23rd March Murrell disappeared from her home. Her body was eventually found three miles away. The official police investigation concluded that she had been the victim of a burglary. Supposedly, she had caught the burglar in the act. He had killed her, and then taken her body to dump elsewhere. Others at the time were unconvinced. If she really had been killed by a burglar, why, for example, had he put the body in his car and then driven around town, where she was seen by no less than 69 people?

Her now empty house caught fire on the 26th January 1985. This was blamed on arson, but no-one was ever caught, nor was it attributed to Welsh Nationalists, who had begun burning down holiday homes owned by the English. Furthermore, during the investigation the police called in Home Office forensic scientists, which was highly unusual if it was an ordinary arson. Murrell was also a very close friend of Catriona Guthrie and her boyfriend, ‘LM’ or ‘Malcolm’. The three of them used to attend meetings of the Shrewsbury peace group together. Yet Guthrie and her boyfriend were never questioned by police.

Murrell’s death has been investigated and reported by several people and organisations, including Robert Green, Tam Dalyell, Graham Smith, John Osborne, Amanda Mitchison, Bob Parker, David Cole, Peter Acland, Nick Davies, Gary Murray, Lobster’s Robin Ramsay, John Stalker, Judith Cook, West Mercia Police, and the documentary series Crimewatch for the Beeb, and ITV’s World In Action.

Lobster magazine has published several articles on her death. One of these, ‘Hilda Murrell: A Death in the Private Sector’, was an anonymous piece written by a former director of the Institute of Professional Investigators. This described the links between MI5, the Institute, and Zeus Security, a private security firm run by Peter Hamilton, a former major in Army Intelligence. The author stated that MI5 contracted out the surveillance of suspect groups and individual to private security firms, such as Zeus Security. The author of the article stated that one of his informants was a former captain in British Military Intelligence. This informant, according to the article, gave its author detailed descriptions of unlawful killings carried out on the instructions of MI5. He also stated that some of these killings were carried out by ‘renegade SAS types’ just ‘for kicks’. In the opinion of the writer of the Lobster article, Murrell was murdered by a private operation, not an official espionage operation. He believed that Murrell had interrupted a break-in by one of the private security firms contracted by MI5. The gaol of the operation was simply to see if she had sensitive information about Sizewell. When she discovered them, they panicked, abducted and killed her. One of the private operatives used by MI5 through the IPI was Vic Norris, aka Adrian Hampson, who had several convictions for sex offences and violence.

Peter Smith, in another Lobster article, ‘The Murder of Hilda Murrell: Conspiracy Theories Old and New’, reports that Guthrie became a prison visitor after Murrell’s murder. She was told by a convict in Lincoln that he had been a member of the team that broke into Murrell’s house. Their leader reported to the Cabinet Office through an MI5 liaison officer, and they had been ordered to look for papers for Naval Intelligence. One of those suggested as possible members of the team was David Gricewith. Gricewith was an armed robber, and was probably responsible for the killing of Sgt John Speed in Leeds. He allegedly did undercover work, including acting as an agent provocateur, for the intelligences and was also, allegedly, involved in far right politics. Gricewith died after supposedly accidentally shooting himself during his arrest by the police for armed robbery.

The Tories and Lib Dems Attack on Human Rights

If the security agencies really were assassinating British citizens through the use of private security firms in the 1980s, then the threat to the human rights of British citizens is even greater now. The Tories and Lib Dems have passed legislation providing for the establishment of secret courts. These are intended to protect sensitive information and the identities of intelligence operatives in cases involving national security. As a result, the accused may not be present during the trial. They may not be informed of certain pieces of evidence, nor know the identities of their accusers. All of these violate the fundamental principles of British justice going all the way back to Magna Carta.

The law also provides for a system of virtual ‘internal exile’, in which a person suspected of terrorism offences may be removed from his home, family or friends, and relocated as much as 100 miles away, again without legal representation.

Finally, the Tories and UKIP have also made it very clear that they are opposed to the European Court of Human Rights. They have said that they wish to see European human rights legislation repealed in this country, and replaced by a British bill of rights. Several bloggers have pointed out how malign and pernicious this idea is. The Tories and Kippers have claimed that the European Human Rights legislation is the result of the EU. It isn’t, and the European Court of Human Rights is part of the Council of Europe, a separate international body. They also claim that such legislation allows terrorists to remain in Britain and resist the threat of deportation. It doesn’t.

The Tories and UKIP are lying.

Whatever the effect may be on terrorists, if the European Human Rights Act is repealed, the British bill of rights which will replace it will be much weaker. It will not protect British citizens from Kafkaesque secret trials, in which they will not even be told what offence they have committed. It would also make such ‘Black Sites’, like that run by the cops in Chicago, legal.

And then, rather than enjoying the freedom guaranteed by Magna Carta, will be under a system of ‘Nacht und Nebel’ such as that imposed by the Nazis. The phrase means ‘night and fog’, and refers to the extraordinary system of imprisonment in which opponents of the regime simply disappeared.

This is what the Tories and their Lib Dem enablers want for Britain. And they must be stopped. As we have seen, the Tories actively copy and take over American policies. If they get in, the Chicago Black Site will come over here. If it hasn’t already.

Sources

Anonymous, ‘Hilda Murrell: A Death in the Private Sector’, Lobster 16: 25-9.

Peter Smith, ‘The Murder of Hilda Murrell: Conspiracy Theories New and Old’, Lobster 28: 28-30.

Anti-TTIP Protest in Bristol Today to Defend NHS

February 28, 2015

The internet petitioning organisation, 38 Degrees, is organising a protest in Bristol today against the TTIP and the privatisation of the NHS. The TTIP is the proposed international trade agreement, which would give businesses the right to sue national governments if they passed legislation that harmed their profits. It is feared that this will be used to lock in Cameron’s continuing privatisation of the NHS.

This is a real threat, as the Independent revealed last week that one of the big American healthcare giants wanted to expand into the UK. The BBC also received leaked documents showing that the NHS has not been excluded from the TTIP.

38 Degrees are meeting to encourage people to sign a petition requesting that MPs oppose the TTIP. The protests are being held in two locations. These are

– Under the awning of Asda’s main entrance in East Street, Bedminster.

– At St. Peter’s Church, a ruined church reduced to a bombed-out shell during the Blitz, at Castle Park.

The protests start at 11.00.

I’m going, and I intend to take piccies and let you know a bit more about what’s happening.

We cannot let the NHS, one of the most precious of British institutions, be dismantled.

Get Cameron and the TTIP out now!

Update

Okay, I went along this morning with my mother, who also wanted to give her signature and support to the protest. When we got to Castle Park, there was absolutely no sign of anyone. Not one person.

I really don’t know what happened. I knew about the event because I was emailed by 38 Degrees after signing the petition against it. I’ll try and check around to see what happened. In the meantime, if anybody else has been on a protest today against it, please let me know about it in the comments below. I want to publicise this issue as much as possible.

***

Okay, I’ve done a bit more checking to see where everyone was. It seems that according to yesterday’s evening post, the protests in Bristol were to be outside Boots in the Galleries in Broadmead, and not St. Peter’s Church, although that was what was stated in the email. The others were to be held outside Henleaze Library and the Kingschase Shopping Centre in Kingswood, according to an article in the Bristol Post. So may be we simply missed it by going to the wrong place.

The same article states that the 38 Degrees people managed to get 2,500 people to sign a petition calling on all the candidates for the election in Bristol West to protect the NHS from privatisation, keep it out of the TTIP trade deal, and make sure it is properly funded. Here’s the article’s address:

http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Bristol-area-host-Save-NHS-rallies-weekend/story-26096775-detail/story.html

Here’s one of the fruitcakes at the US conference Nigel Farage spoke at yesterday:

February 27, 2015

The Bible looks forward to a time of peace, when the peoples of the world will unite in the worship of the Lord, and swords will be hammered into ploughshares. Looking at the ferocious support for guns in America, and the very militaristic aspects of the Republican party, I am reminded of the reason God sent the Flood. The Earth sent up an outcry to the Lord, because of the mighty men, who filled the Earth with their violence.

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the UKIP!)

Nigel Farage spoke in the US at the Conservative Political Action Conference yesterday along with a bunch of other right-wing fruitcakes such as Sarah Palin and the pro-gun National Rifle Association.

For example, here’s one of the other speakers at the conference:

cpac

.

While in the US, Farage has been telling his US hosts that Britain and the US should stand up for “Judeo-Christian values”.

So bearing that in mind, here’s some good advice from the bible for Nigel and his fruitcake US friends:

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” – Proverbs 13:20

.

Please feel free to comment. And share. Thanks:

View original post

Arizona Senator Demands Sterilisation and Total Control of Welfare Claimants

February 26, 2015

This is another clip on the disgusting attitude towards the poor by the Republicans in America. In it’s of John Iadarola of The Young Turks criticising the proposals made by Howard Pearce, a republican senator in Arizona, for cutting the welfare budget. Pearce said that he would cut the benefits bill by forcing women on welfare to be sterilised or have a coil fitted. Food stamps would only be available for certain foods, so that they poor couldn’t buy steaks or sweets. And their houses would be subject to rigorous inspection similar to military barracks housing on army bases. Here’s the clip:

Now it’s tempting just to shrug this off as the ranting of the American. A lot of Americans would also consider comments like this to be something of a joke as well, just illustrating how nutty and malign some of the Repugs are in the south west. That would be a mistake. He’s only saying what large numbers of Conservatives actually think, both in American and Britain. As I’ve already said, the Conservatives over here have taken much of their ideology from the Repugs. The whole Thatcherite economic project was taken from von Hayek and Milton Friedman of the Chicago school. And they share the same attitudes towards controlling the lives of the poor absolutely. Remember the Lib Dem peer, who wanted welfare claimants’ personal expenses open for public inspection? Or the way the Jobcentre and their ‘work coaches’ increasingly demand details of your job searches, in order to make sure you are actually looking for a job? And the latest attack on personal freedom by Cameron – welfare claimants should be refused benefits if they’re too fat. They’re based on the same totalitarian, domineering attitude by the extremely rich, who seem to believe that if somehow someone is on benefits, that means that they should be public property and humiliated as much as possible, so that they get a job.

As for sterilising people on welfare, that’s actually the return of a very old idea that was held over here. Lord Beveridge, the Liberal peer, who published the report preparing for the establishment of the NHS, also believed in it. He considered that men admitted to the workhouse or supported by the parish dole system should only do so on the recognition that they were biologically unfit, and agreed to be sterilised because of their inability to support themselves or there children.

We’re back to those 19th century attitudes at the beginning of the 21st.

Get the Tories and their counterparts across the world out of power. Now.

Forced Sterilisation in California Women’s Prisons

February 26, 2015

This is another clip about the return of eugenics in America. This is The Young Turks discussing the sterilisation of 150 women in Californian prisons between 2006 and 2010. One of the Obstetricians-Gynaecologists involved, James Heinrich, stated that it was because the women had five kids or so already, and were a drain on state welfare. He denied, however, that they were sterilised against their will.

The programme reveals that the women were heavily pressured into having the operation. Some were even on the operating table and heavily sedated when their consent was requested. Many weren’t even told at all. They just had the operation done.

This adds further evidence that eugenics is making a surreptitious comeback under American Conservatives. I’ve discussed several times on this blog with the commenters here that the Tories on this side of the Atlantic have the same attitude towards the poor and disabled, and would like to see them similarly removed from the population. Considering how much the Conservatives and their fellows, UKIP, take from the Republican Party, I don’t doubt that they share this attitude, and would like to be able to do it over here too.

Eugenics in America: The Forced Sterilisation of Native American Women

February 26, 2015

This is another chilling clip I found on the internet. It’s about the forced sterilisation of American Indian women by the US. This wasn’t in the 19th century, when eugenics was most popular amongst a section of Western intellectuals. It was in the 1970s, following the passage of the Family Planning Act by one George HW Bush. The scheme was uncovered by Senator Abourek. The Youtube description of this video states that it formed the basis for a 1998 Master’s thesis by Sally Torpy, at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, “Endangered Species: Native American Women’s Struggle for Their Reproductive Rights and Racial Identity, 1970s-1990s”.

Once again it seems, when the American Right start screaming about eugenics and the Left, they’re really talking about themselves.

Private Healthcare: Insurers Demand American Women Be Sterilised

February 26, 2015

I found this extremely chilling clip on youtube. It’s protesting against the way American women have been told by their medical insurers that the are ineligible for medical insurance after giving birth by caesarean section. The only way the insurance companies were willing to insure them was if they were sterilised.

Clearly, this is a grossly immoral attack on women’s reproductive rights over their own body. But it’s not one you hear about over this side of the Atlantic.

It does, however, make sense of some of the hysterical fearmongering the Repugs have tried to stir up against Obamacare and socialised medicine in general. The attitude of the Republicans is that socialised medicine was wrong, because of the Nazis and eugenics. Right at the beginning of Obama’s administration, Sarah Palin was screaming about how she didn’t want socialised medicine in America, because she didn’t want her children facing ‘death panels’. The idea seemed to be that if American had state-funded medical care for everyone, the state would also go to extreme lengths to ensure that medical funding ensured the best possible result. And that would mean the culling of the unfit and infirm.

Many Americans seem to have actually believed this. The BBC sent one of their reporters to cover a Tea Party protest against Obamacare. One of the protesters, an older man, came up to the camera crew and shouted ‘Your healthcare system stinks!’ He then looked genuinely hurt and surprised when the Beeb’s reported calmly asked him what he meant, as though he really couldn’t understand how anyone could possibly challenge his views. He seemed never to have even considered the possibility that he could be wrong, and was shaken just by the suggestion of it.

More recently, Sarah Palin and her supporters have taken to screaming that Obamacare means that the government will limit you to only having one baby.

I’ve also come across arguments by Libertarians against the NHS on the grounds that state medical care effectively extends state control over your body, and so doctors can order you to give up smoking, exercise and so on with the threat that they will remove your health care.

This video shows that this is actually all projection. It’s really what American medical insurers are doing to those unlucky enough to have policies with them. It’s Palin, the Tea Party and the other Republican exploiters and maniacs trying to divert attention from the failings and expanding power of the medical insurers over their customers’ bodies, by hollering that it’s the reality of state medical care.

It also has profound implications in Britain. The Fuhrage has stated that he wishes to replace the NHS with an insurance-funded system. His second in command, Paul Nuttall, has also said that he wants the NHS sold off. So have a whole slew of Tories, including Andrew Lansley, the current health minister.

This is what we will get, if Britain goes down that road. And 92 Tory and Lib Dem MPs have links with private healthcare companies, and are hoping we do.

As for the Nazis and medical care, the Nazis did not introduce state medicine, or state funded medicine. Far from it. German workers had enjoyed state medical insurance after it was introduced by Bismarck in 1875. The German people therefore had enjoyed over half a century of state-funded medical treatment before the Nazis took power in 1932/3. So like much of the Repug’s propaganda, it’s not only bonkers, it’s also factually wrong.

How The DWP Bribed Employers To Break Age Discrimination Laws With A ‘Golden Ticket’ Worth £2,275

February 26, 2015

Johnny Void here describes the scandal of the ‘Wage Incentive’ scheme, in which employers were paid up to £2,275 by the government to take on unemployed young people under 25, rather than older workers. The scheme was quietly abandoned last summer after opposition from employers, who considered it grossly unethical. Like the rest of the government’s schemes for getting the unemployed back into work through Workfare, it was open to massive abuse. Mr Void states that firms were fiddling the books to claim extra money for their staff, or using it as a supply of cheap labour. The DWP’s own lawyers also warned that the scheme was probably illegal under the age discrimination laws, meaning that employers and the government could be sued by older workers, who had been passed over jobs in favour of younger people.
This is one scheme that the government certainly did not tout, probably because it was so risky. It could well have lost them a slice of the pensioners’ vote, with many older people also keen to continue working past retirement. Or at least, that’s what’s claimed. Either way, it’s another example of this government’s expensive and corrupt methods of combating unemployment, which simply don’t work.

the void

wage-incentive-goldenticketJobcentres bribed employers with ‘golden tickets’ worth up to £2,275 to hire young people over older workers despite warnings from lawyers that this Wage Incentive scheme was probably illegal.

Figures released this week show that over one hundred thousand ‘Wage Incentive’ payments were doled out to employers before the scheme was quietly abandoned last Summer.  These payments could be claimed from the DWP every time an employer recruited someone under 25 who had previously been on benefits.  An early evaluation of the scheme found that it was riddled with abuse, with employers making backdated claims for workers they had already hired, or even using Wage Incentives as a tax-payer funded rolling stock of temporary staff.  This report came alongside warning from the DWP’s own lawyers that companies who took these payments faced the risk of legal challenges under age discrimination laws from older workers denied jobs .

Despite these…

View original post 519 more words

Daily Mail EXCLUSIVE: solar eclipse to plunge Britain into darkness if Ed Miliband becomes PM

February 26, 2015

If the Daily Mail thought they could get away with that kind of scare story, they’d run it. Remember the stories in the press a few years ago about various asteroids being on target to the hit the Earth in several hundred years time? Private Eye spoofed the Mail’s attitude to news and the Labour party by publishing mock Daily Mail headlines declaring that it was causing house prices to drop and was all due to the possibility of Labour winning the election.

Pride's Purge

(satire?)

Scientists are warning that Britain’s most complete solar eclipse in 16 years is likely to block out as much as 95% of sunlight across parts of the UK and Europe if Ed Miliband is elected prime minister in the upcoming general election.

Researchers from the Nautical Almanac Office say if Labour win the election, the moon will pass in front of the sun, casting a large shadow over the Earth, and plunging the country into DARKNESS.

Energy experts are also warning of possible blackouts, due to energy supplies being affected by an increasing reliance on solar power, if Ed Balls becomes chancellor.

And in worrying news for Scottish voters, astronomers are warning that in many parts of Scotland as much an 95 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon if the SNP win an expected landslide, while in London and the UK’s South East, 85 percent of the sun will…

View original post 122 more words