Wednesday, April 29, 2009

punkscience's hero of the year is: Craig Murray


After a concerted campaign by the UK government to block him from testifying to the Joint Committee on Human Rights, currently investigating accusations of UK complicity in torture, Craig's testimony was accepted and is available to view on YouToob via the stirling efforts of this fellow. Well done him and particularly well done to Craig for being incredibly eloquent in his testimony.

Craig>> "The sad truth is, isn't it, that it seems that government organisations- civil services, government lawyers- will go along with the most terrible and inhumane things that their political masters tell them to. And the number of people- the percentage of poeople- that will stand up and say that "this is immoral, this is wrong, this is illegal, you shouldn’t do it" is very, very small."

Chairman>> “Because the strongest thing for your case would be corroboration, wouldn’t it, from another independent source, but we don’t have that. So I’m just, really, trying to get to the bottom of why, if these allegations are true, that no-one else has come forward having already had someone who has come out and made them.

Craig>> “I don’t think the government has ever denied anything that I have just said to you. I would be very, very surprised if they ever turned around to you and said that anything that I said to you is factually wrong. I have here a document- I published a book on this of my time in Uzbekistan. I’m not going to mention the name to you in case I’m accused of advertising. I had to go through the clearance process that civil servants go through when they publish a book and I have here the table of comments and the things the foreign office asked me to change and the fascinating things is that, for example, the account I give in the book of that meeting with Michael Wood and Linda Duffield- they didn’t ask for any changes. They only asked for one very small change. The Foreign Office has not denied the facts of what I’m telling you.”

Punkscience implores any Civil Servants out there who can corroborate aspects of Craig's testimony to publicly offer to testify to the JCoHR.

how many of the following would you say are common amongst the citizens of your country?


" . . .the notion of being a “superior nation”, the denial of the humanity of other nations and national minorities, a cult of the leader, a cult of violence, disdain for democracy, an adoration of war, contempt for accepted morality."

From here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mandelson interfering with operation of Department of Energy and Climate Change


Mandelson is up to his old corporate whoring tricks and has established a lobbying team within his own department to influence decisions in other. Specifically, this new unit is intended to focus on energy and climate change policy in order to "minimis[e] competitiveness impacts". The unit is specifically intended to lobby on behalf os business. This means Mandelson is working to aid the antidemocratic and sociopathic influence of the corporate lobbies. As usual.

God I hate that little bastard.


George has covered this subject in his usual, comprehensive style. George Rules.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

awesome, awesome little app



Try this for a sweet little jingle:


Just paste it into the field.

I found it from someone's blog. Can't remember who now, I've been playing with it for so long.

Edit: 66048,64,66080,528,66048,0,66048,512,66052,0,66048,520,66064,0,32832,0

fish fucked


Great article on the state of global fisheries and the absurdity of letting politicans decide how much fish to catch. Charles Clover's book The End of The Line is also mentioned and apparently has been turned into a film. Nice.

According to the Arts and Humanities Citation Index Professor Chomsky is the eighth most cited scholar of all time.


And there's a reason why.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

journalist gets voluntarily waterboarded


This is a fascinating insight into the "not torture" practices of the CIA. You can tell from the guy's reaction how seriously unpleasant the experience was, and that was with a friendly torturer and the knowledge that he could stop it instantly at any point. Fuck the CIA.

From Majikthise. Who rules.

funny funny funny funny funny funny funny funny funny funny funny funny funny war on terror funny funny funny funny funny funny funny funny funny


Link. Via Back Towards The Locus.

Loud sniggering.

Followed by a rather sad, retrospective moment of comprehension of the horrific number of people who had to die or be tortured to make this- in some, sad, ironic way- funny.

stupid observation of the month


Holy, fuck! This is sooooooooooooooo STUPID! New Scientist should be ashamed:
"The virus's severity will depend on how many people who catch it die."
No. Shit Sherlock.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Eric Pickles is a twat


From Merrick.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

David Cronin asks a stupid question


Q: "Will policymakers in Brussels this week heed scientific advice about unsustainable levels of fishing in EU waters?"
A: No. Don't be so fucking naive.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

word of the day: testeria


Oh, yes. George does rule.

Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling: Sucking goat cock for Britain.


In preparation for the budget tomorrow I would like to make the prediction that it will be trumpeted as a "Green New Deal" by these two clowns with oodles of dripping rhetoric about how important it is to halt climate change and save the planet. Upon closer scrutiny, however, the budget will be revealed to be comprehensively anti-environmental, with modest cuts in certain funding sectors and no significant new money allocated towards anything that respected environmental analysts would consider to be "sustainable".

I thank you.

Addition 22/04/09:

I rule. As does George.

And Ann Pettifor.

And Jonathon.

exploiting the moment


The International. Not a bad film, although they could have done a lot more with it. Clive Owen does his ting (Children of Men, Inside Man) predictably well. The ending needed a lot more to bring closure to this story, though.

Monday, April 20, 2009

carbon trading won't stop climate change


This New Scientist article is just bloody brilliant!

"All these methods of pricing carbon permit the creation of a carbon market that will allow us to pollute beyond a catastrophic tipping point. In other words, they require us to put a price on the final "killing" tonne of CO2 which, once emitted, tips the balance and triggers runaway global warming. How can we set such a price? It's like saying, how much is civilisation worth? Or, if you needed a camel to cross a desert alive, what is a fair value for the straw that breaks its back?"

"Even if you could price the killing tonne, it is a transaction that should never be allowed. Economics becomes redundant if it can rationalise an exchange that sells the future of humankind."

"Governments are there to compensate for market failure but seem to have a blind spot about carbon markets. They could counteract the impact of low carbon prices by spending on renewable energy as part of their economic stimulus packages, yet they have not done so. The UK, for example, has spent nearly 20 per cent of its GDP to prop up the financial sector, but just 0.0083 per cent in new money on green economic stimulus."

in case anyone doubts the antidemocratic nature of the government's intimate relationship with Big Business


Just read this. And this.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

ecoterrorists and thought crime - part 2


Henry Porter has come out, guns blazing, against the government's Orwellian authoritarian policing of environmental activists on the one hand and their mealy-mouthed advocacy of the same. I implore anyone reading this to go and read this article as it is damning of the hypocrisy of our government.

"We are now in a crisis of moral or perhaps deep psychic inconsistency, with a government that in one half of its brain desires good PR on climate change but in the other half seethes with the authoritarian desire to stamp out an impertinent challenge to its record of inactivity."

The joint parliamentary committee on human rights said on the policing of the protests:

"Whilst protests may be disruptive or inconvenient, the presumption should be in favour of protests taking place without state interference."

"Human rights law makes clear that the balance should always fall in favour of those seeking to assert their right to protest, unless there is string evidence for interfering with their right."

Addition 25/04/09:

I just came across this letter to the Graun from a Senior Lecturer in Law. Its pretty damning of the police and the government's philosophy of pre-emptive arrest.

"In his letter (18 March) the assistant chief constable states it is "better to prevent criminality than to deal with its consequences". That sort of thinking was unanimously rejected by the House of Lords in 2006 in the context of breach of the peace. . . . It would be a great intrusion on the right to protest were police, under the guise of stop and search, to undermine the ruling that violence or a disturbance must be imminent before the police can take preventive action."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

fuck the police


Because of this and this.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

If anyone here is in advertising or marketing . . . kill yourself.


Do it!

Cheers to Anonymous in the comments.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mark Thomas endorses the Green Party


Mark rules.

the solution to the credit crunch


This is simply incredible! William F Engdahl proposes that the US government takes into receivership the five largest financial institutions in America and fires their entire management with no recourse. The reason? - They own 95% of the dodgy financial vehicles that are clogging up the credit system and were primarily responsible for their creation in the first place. Its a simply astonishing prospect. Expect him to die in a tragic accident very soon.

Zoe Williams is profoundly awesome


Check her take on the population issue. See? Frickin awesome, dude!

I would like to observe, as one of the first commentators implies, that the reason that environmental commentators discuss stopping population growth whereas economists discussing immigration and welfare inevitably consider ways to maintain population growth is because the neoclassic economic model is both sociopathic and fucking stupid. Zoe should know that. As Herman Daly said:
"the biosphere that supports us is finite, non-growing, closed and constrained by the laws of thermodynamics"
You can't fuck with the laws of thermodynamics, as Jonathon Porritt points out:
"'Development without growth' is precisely the kind of talk that sends shivers down the spines of all good capitalists. But the self-inflicted blindness of contemporary capitalism to the laws of thermodynamics is the first and most problematic barrier to reconciling capitalism and sustainability. It is by no means the only barrier."
Jon's got another corker on this issue:
". . . at the heart of the issue of scale lurks the vexed issues of population growth. Cut it which way you will, growing populations necessitate growing economies to provide more food, more houses, more services, more teachers, more doctors and more jobs. Growth-bound economists and politically correct environmentalists conspire to keep the issue of population off the agenda, obscuring the incontrovertible reality that every extra human being makes it just a little bit harder to find ways of living within the Earth's limited carrying capacity. It would, however, seem unreasonable to lay the blame for this uniquely at the door of capitalism. Religion, ignorance, prejudice and political cowardice have at least as much to answer for.

ecoterrorists and thought crime


Henry Porter does a good job on his blog of analysing the mass arrest on the weekend:
"Let us be clear that the people arrested yesterday, who have all now been released on bail, have manifestly not committed any crime of trespass. Second, they possess inalienable rights to assembly and protest."
The Indy pulls out one of its increasingly rare examples of good journalism (although it didn't last more than a day on their front page) with this observation:
"At power stations, as at airports, conflicting rights and interests converge: the commercial rights of the owners and operators, the rights of the paying customer, and the right of protesters to make their case. If our civil liberties are to be preserved, the right to protest is as important as the other two."
The BBC fail to offer any meaningful analysis of the comments from the people they interview, letting this example from an industry stooge go unchallenged:

David Porter, chief executive of the Association of Electricity Producers, said campaigners' calls to stop burning fossil fuels made no sense. "If you suddenly close down our power stations that would be a suicidal policy. The economy of the UK would be seriously disrupted. And there would be social implications of that. It's a nonsensical approach to the problem.""

I'm fairly confident that the protesters' advocation of "suddenly closing down power stations" is a product of their despair of effecting change in any other way. In fact they have only reached the stage of direct action because years of calling for a shift to sustainable, renewable generation technology to reduce emissions, based on overwhelming scientific evidence that demonstrates that such a shift is absolutely essential to mitigate climate change, have been essentially ignored by the government. Our government is taking no significant action to mitigate climate change. If you want an example of a nonsensical approach to "the problem", there it is.

As for the "economy of the UK being seriously disrupted", I'm sure someone conducted an exhaustive study into the economic impact of climate change a few years ago that concluded it was imperative for our economic stability we take significant pre-emptive action to limit its effects. Now what was his name? Stone? Staine?

From the other mainstream media, The Torygraph engages in nothing more than straightforward churnalism, The Times at least mentions the attempt by campaigners to defend their actions in court with claim to be "acting in the interests of humanity" and its yet more churnalism from the Daily Heil.

So, all in all a pretty major fail from most of the MSM with only the last bastions of journalism at the Indy and Graun holding out any hope for a deeper investigation into the police's authoritarianism. It falls to the Indymedia site to gather eyewitness testimony and any sort of insight into the event.


The Graun raises the game with Alan Rusbridger's editorial.

Addition 16/04/09:

The Graun pushes the game to a new level with this analysis on CiF from David Howarth. Many of the outstanding questions I had over this action are answered, including whether shutting down the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station would have resulted in power cuts across the Midlands and eactly how "dangerous" these protests would have been to protesters, plant workers and police. One of the most interesting points addressed by Howarth is the absurdity of the superintendent's justification of the pre-emptive strike on the grounds of "efficiency". Supt Hanley claims that if the protest succeeded the police operation would have been "prolonged". Well boo-fucking-hoo, says Howarth, that's the whole point of direct action protests: Not to cause harm but to peacefully inconvenience and obstruct (obviously I am paraphrasing). That the police consider this to now be a valid justification for their actions reveals how threatened our right to peaceful protest is.

David Howarth rules.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

most excellent pro-nuclear moron pwnage


Ahahahahaaaaa ! ! !


how to extract RNA from biological samples


This is a protocol I'm currently using which was developed by two PhD student friends and a postdoc. Its really detailed so I thought I'd share it with the world because a lot of this stuff isn't intuitive and is only understood after much trial & error.

By the way, this protocol doesn't work for plant material. Planty RNA is protected by thick cell walls and is not easily isolated from the rest of the planty rubbish you find in there.

RNA Extraction with TRI reagent

1. Homogenize tissue in 0.5ml of TRI (or put on ice to defrost if this has been done)
- Stand for 5 min
- Centrifuge for 5 min @ >10,000 @ 4degC
- Remove supernatant if messy sample and place in a new tube. Dispose of pellet
- Don’t use polytron homogenizer if extracting DNA – shear forces can break strands

2. Add 0.1ml Chloroform
- Shake for 15 sec (vigorously).
- Stand for 15 min (room temperature)

3. Centrifuge 15 min @ 12,000 @ 4degC
- Extract RNA phase (top/clear) into fresh tube straight away!
- Avoid white cloud above white layer as this is genomic DNA.
- If has been standing to long, or there are still bits in supernatant, then
- spin down again.

4. Add 0.25 ml Isopropanol + 1 ul LPA (linear polyacrylamide – coprecipitant for very small amounts)
- Stand for 10 min @ room temp OR over night @ -20degC
- Centrifuge 30 min @ 13,000 @ 4degC
- Mark where pellet is with marker
- Pour Isopropanol gently out into a beaker, keep an eye on pellet. Don’t lose it!

5. Spin 30 min @ >13000 @ 4degC
- Decant supernatant

6. Wash “Back down” with 1 ml 70% Ethanol
- Vortex
- Centrifuge 10 min @ 13,000 @ 4degC
- Decant Ethanol – pour off gently onto blue roll, watch pellet.
- Make sure pellet re-attaches

7. Repeat Ethanol wash
- Allow pellet to dry - upside-down on blueroll (not in sun)
- Try to take as much of EtOH as possible so doesn’t take too long to dry
- Dry completely – approx. 1 hour. But not too long.

8. Resuspend RNA with H2O (in minimum amount of water)
- 8-40 ul dependant on pellet size
- If pellet is hard to dissolve, heat solution for 10 min at 55-60 degC, then aliquot
- immediately and freeze at -80.

9. Transfer to clean 0.5ml tube and freeze at -80
- Don’t transfer if low amounts.
- Aliquot solution immediately and freeze at -80 – RNA is very unstable at room temperature.

After this step you have to remove DNAases and then create cDNA from the RNA.

more evidence of unprovoked police violence at the G20 protests


As reported by the Guardian and Indymedia and now on YouTube. The attacker was this officer, with a Northern accent who was easily 15 stone, 6 foot and not displaying his number:

As shown in the video (fast forward to 3:30) he first pushes the woman, who barely comes up to his chest, away and when she protests, strikes her backhand across the face. She, understandably, goes mental at him. He responds by drawing his baton and striking her on the leg, at which point the crowd surges forwards at him and he makes a sharp retreat, leaving his fellow officers to face the wrath of the crowd.

Comments on the Indymedia article indicate that he is an officer at the Territorial Support Group who used to work for FIT. Although someone managed to make a tentative ID I'm not convinced as its a partial image so I won't post it here. FIT Watch don't seem to have a shot of anyone who looks like him either.

Addition 15/04/09:

The officer has been identified and suspended following the publication of the video. Nice.

a majority of climate scientists believe limiting temperature rises to 2 degrees is still possible


Despite the doom & gloom headline, 60% of those who responded to the Guardian's survey are positive about our ability to mitigate the effects of climate emissions before positive feedbacks take over. Providing, that is, that the UK governmen can develop a balanced approach to risk that prioritises action to mitigate risk rationally, says George.

Monday, April 13, 2009

welcome to the Police State


114 people have been arrested for allegedly planning direct action at the E.On-owned Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station. No details have yet emerged as to the evidence which led the police to make such an astonishing number of pre-emptive arrests but their press release justified it by claiming that their raids recovered "specialist equipment" that would have allowed those arrested to "[pose] a serious threat to the safe running of the site".

E.On themselves declared:
"While we understand that everyone has a right to protest peacefully and lawfully, this was clearly neither of those things so we will be assisting the police with their investigations into what could have been a very dangerous and irresponsible attempt to disrupt an operational power plant."
Really? Very dangerous, really? To whom? Or, more to the point, to whose profits? And irresponsible? Quite, quite the contrary. As Greenpeace demonstrated at the trials of the six brave activists who climbed the Kingsnorth cooling towers, causing tens of thousands of pounds worth of alleged criminal damage can be defended in court through a claim to be "acting to protect property around the world "in immediate need of protection" from the impacts of climate change, caused in part by burning coal".

So what we actually have here is an example of the UK police forces being mobilised to assist in the destruction of property around the world and to prevent legitimate protest (I say this because I very much doubt they had evidence that all 114 arrested were intending to partake in direct action). Clearly the UK police have been instructed from on high to dedicate their substantial resources to pre-empting further direct action of the Greenpeace-Kingsnorth type. This ideology, that places the interests of a private company above those of society and obstructs legitimate, direct action to prevent the emission of greenhouse gases, sounds more like ecofascism than ecoterrorism. The following passage is eerily prescient:

". . . the growing movement against climate change has got the state more worried than we realise, and the idea is to spread fear amongst activists that they are being heavily watched. At the moment campaigners are generally regarded in a positive light and public support is absolutely crucial for successful defiance of the state. Just look at how lightly anti-GM activists and peace protestors are treated by the authorities compared to their animal rights counterparts. Perhaps the time has come to drive a wedge between environmental activists and the general public, and of course the best way to do this is with the emotive issue of ‘violence’. Are we observing the beginning of a smear campaign?"
Here we have E.On claiming that these protesters were an "irresponsible and dangerous" threat to the safe operation of their plant (forget that its oxymoronic to suggest a coal-fired power station is "safe" in environmental terms, of course). Oddly, the Guardian fails to interpret this action in this context, despite carrying articles on the outcome of the trial of the Kingsnorth six and on recent police violence against environmental protests. But then Guardian Media Group have previous form publishing police propaganda with respect to the threat to society from "ecoterrorists".

Addition 14-04-09:

The report in the Graun indicates that some protesters have been released on bail and that none of them have been charged! Furthermore, many have had their homes searched during their detention!

"A police spokesman said that while the group was in custody "a number of premises were searched". Items recovered from the raids included bolt cutters and equipment that could be used to tie people to machinery."
Oh, no! Not the sinful, highly explosive, child-murdering bolt cutters! Think of the poor little children!

No, seriously. That was what a police spokesman is reported to have said. If that's grounds for detention then I'm a fair cop guv. There's boltcutters under the stairs and some sturdy rope in the closet (don't ask). Plus I have dangerous chemicals (bleach, meths), subversive literature (I've got one of Merrick's pamphlets next to the bed) and a wealth of political media on my laptop from well known terrorists such as George Monbiot and Herman Daly.

If I were one of those arrested I would be seriously pissed off. And on the phone to my lawyer.

the logical outcome of a policy of aggression


BenSix has a post up analysing UK foreign policy with respect to the Af-Pak region. Apparently the UK's first Muslim MP, Sadiq Khan, is getting a kicking over at the Armchair Racists' Convention (also known as Harry's Place). The concise version of this post is that the US's policy of remote strikes from drones flying over the region is doing for Pakistanis what Shock And Awe did for the Iraqis. I.E. generating widespread fear and loathing of the Western Coalition in Afghanistan- NOT just the US. The idea being that the UK should do more to differentiate the US's policy of killing brown people and our own, completely different policy of killing people brown in the hope that the brown people won't perceive us as being responsible and try to return the favour. Hmmmmmmmmm . . . . .

There's a great article up on ZNet about the future of warfare and the drones. The Cyberdyne Systems 800 Series is only a generation away . . . .

David Mitchell fists Hazel Blears (metaphorically)


David has a CiF article up defending the BBC from this vicious cockweasel and lambasting her for her political opportunism. The article is a model of informed analysis and I urge you to go and read it.

I fucking hate Hazel Blears. Good on you, David!

Craig Murray and the Somali Coast Guard


Craig calls them "pirates". I disagree most strongly, based on what Wikipedia says and what Johann and a few other people wrote.

I commented on Craig's post:

Craig, I’m actually amazed at your cold indifference to the plight of the Somalis. I was under the impression you were an opponent of neo-imperialism in Africa.

I agree entirely with Johan van Rooyen, David McKelvie, , opit, Falloch, Dodoze, Courtenay Barnett and George Dutton. Collectively they point out the gaping flaw in your position: i.e. that the lawlessness in Somalia is a direct result of Western manipulation- and elimination- of their government and Western corporate brigandry with respect to illegal exploitation of Somali resources (fisheries and as a dumping ground). There are very good reasons for their resort to “piracy” as you call it or the “Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia” as they would call themselves, as Johann Hari has explained and as the Alternet article linked to by Selma:

“Consider what one pirate told The New York Times after he and his men seized a Ukrainian freighter "loaded with tanks, artillery, grenade launchers and ammunition" last year. "We don't consider ourselves sea bandits," said Sugule Ali:. "We consider sea bandits those who illegally fish in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas. We are simply patrolling our seas. Think of us like a coast guard."”

Your reply to Leo is just bizarre. You suggest that the US plays by “The Rules” in terms of international treaties and conventions but you yourself have argued that this is frequently not the case. Furthermore, in your reply to Max you seem to brag about how your UNCLOS experience and role as an advisor to African countries gives you credibility to comment on this issue but such a response is a logical fallacy- an "argument from authority" (I'd like you to reference material when possible, too). Also, from my (admittedly limited) knowledge of UNCLOS III, the Somalis have sole exploitation rights over all natural resources and the authority to regulate the freedom of navigation and over flight by foreign states and private vessels.

As the Islamist government (which had virtually eliminated piracy through the application of Sharia) has been removed by the West’s Ethiopian puppets the remaining citizens must surely be entitled to govern themselves and defend their resource legacy on an ad hoc basis? As Johann Hari wrote:

"Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our toxic waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome?"

Please understand that my only desire is to see this issue debated fairly and with all the facts at hand. I am a great fan of yours.

Best wishes,

Oh, cock! I just realised that I forget to state that the Somali rights under UNCLOS III only apply within their EEZ. Tit!


"The Indian Ocean standoff between an $800 million U.S. Navy destroyer and four pirates bobbing in a lifeboat low on fuel showed the limits facing the world's most powerful military."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

comedic genius


The bit in Pixar's new film, Monsters vs Aliens, where the President is trying to communicate with the robot probe through a Yamaha DX7 , starting with the tones from Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind and then breaking into a surprise little number (I won't spoil it for you). Its just classic.

Blair must hang


This is really, really good. I love it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

the sociopathic and antidemocratic nature of capitalist-fundamentalism


Noam rules

The sociopathic bit:
"Say, when I go home tonight, I have a choice on the market. I can choose to go home in a Ford or a Toyoto. But I can't choose to go home on a public transportation system because that's not one of the options that a market provides. I can choose this doctor or that doctor, but I can't choose a national health system. That's not an option on the market. These are options for societies that are reasonable, world democratic societies, more reasonable societies where everything is under popular control (socialist societies, anarchist societies,) but markets don't allow any of that.

So they're heavily biased in favor of certain kinds of outcomes, which are in many ways anti-social outcomes. With regards to public transportation, one of the outcomes may be the destruction of the species. There's nothing in markets that gives any incentive to care whether your grandchildren survive. The choices aren't there. So even human survival isn't very likely under market societies. "
Tha antidemocratic bit:
"Suppose there's a television ad for a drug, or a car, or something. In a market society, what you would have is a description of the properties of the commodity because then you get what are called Ôinformed consumers making rational choices.' But that's not what you get. What you get is forms of delusion because the business wants to create uninformed consumers, who make irrational choices. That is, they want to undermine markets. Which is very much like the political system. You want an electorate, which is uninformed and makes irrational choices under modern democracy, so the whole kind of ideology is so remote from reality that it's almost impossible to discuss."

Finally, on a positive note:

"there's plenty of problems, but no reason to lose hope"
I need that tattooed on my eyelids.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

riot police's assault on Ian Tomlinson caught on film


The truth will out.



George reminds us why PFI is such a gross affront to public finances. I really resent seeing tax leave my account every month, to be used to feather the nest of civil servants, lobbyists, bankers, arms dealers, dictators, ecocidal maniacs, etc. etc. etc. And to fund the murder of brown people. I've had it with this cuntry (no error in spelling there).

the rise of the antichrist


I simply cannot begin to contemplate New Labour's chutzpah. I am dumbstruck. As Craig points out in the comments, Gordon Brown would have had the only effective veto over this as the EU wouldn't have accepted a candidate without the support of their own government.


Galvanised now by the realisation of what this would entail I link here to a previously mentioned petition against Blair's candidacy. I implore anyone reading this to consider signing it in light of this maniac's conduct. Also, please consider signing this petition calling on both the President of the United Nations General Assembly and the UK Attorney General to indict Blair for his crimes.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Green Stimulus or Simulus?


Report out a few days ago from Greenpeace and the New Economics Foundation. Pertinent statistics include:

  • New and additional green spending included in the green stimulus package of the government’s Pre-Budget Report (PBR) is astonishingly small compared to other recent spending commitments, at just 0.6% of the UK’s £20bn recovery plan. This key element makes up just 0.0083% of UK GDP, but in the wake of the banking crisis nearly 20% of UK GDP has been provided to support the financial sector.
  • New and additional green measures could save just 0.128 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2) per year from the atmosphere and will only delay the accumulation of UK carbon emissions by six and a half hours by the end of 2011.
  • Just over £100m is being allocated to spending that is genuinely new and additional; this is a fraction – less than 13% – of the annual bonus package given to staff at the failed Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) which is estimated at approximately £775m. £100m represents just 0.0083% of UK GDP. Estimates for necessary new annual spending on environmental economic stimulus and transformation range from £11bn to £50bn.
  • Figures from HSBC and the IMF indicate that among the major economies, the greater the proportion of GDP spent on bailing out banks coincides with a lower proportion spent on green stimuli.
  • Several of the government’s measures are, in fact, in conflict with the environmental stimulus. By comparison with the new and additional spending of the PBR’s green stimulus, £2.3bn – around 22 times – has been put aside to assist the car industry. If spent on energy efficiency measures this would save about 3 MtCO2 annually.
  • £27m has been put aside specifically for development of a new Land Rover vehicle, the Land Rover Group are one of the most climate-unfriendly manufacturers in Europe. The potential CO2 savings of the proposed vehicle have not been specified. This is not encouraging, particularly given that this financial support is likely to delay a shift to greater use of public transport and that historically much of the gain in efficiency in vehicles has been negatively counter-balanced through a gain in weight of the vehicle concerned.
  • There has been a further commitment to spend on building 520 lane miles of road expansion. Research indicates that the provision of new lanes leads to relative increases of between 30 and 50% in the number of vehicle miles travelled on that road – in other words, more car use. This happens due to the phenomenon known as induced traffic: building new roads merely encourages more traffic.
There's another report from Greenpeace detailing how investment in an energy-efficiency programme to insulate public buildings and private homes could generate 55,000 jobs, reduce expenditure on energy consumption and bills and reduce carbon emissions.

What's the betting the government fails utterly to address any of these points?

who are these people and why did the police not arrest them?


Read what Craig wrote, the bit towards the ened where he mentions the isolated group of violent young men. Then go to this analysis of the first picture of the guy chucking something through the windows of RBS. Finally, check out this.

I'd also like to pull Craig up on a point of conspiracy: He implies that the FIT pig in this picture was pre-positioned inside RBS to catch the incident on camera. There is no evidence to suggest that this was the case and it is wrong of him to imply that it is.

So, why didn't the thousands of police detain this violent group and instead concentrate on charging peaceful protests and murdering innocent bystanders? With the oodles of press photographs documenting the protests I imagine it will be particularly straightforward to identify these men and provide sufficient evidence of their violent conduct to charge them.

Rowenna Davis: Are you an idiot?


Her article in today's Graun, "The left needs direction", opens with this statement:
"Seven months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the left is still failing to put forward a coherent agenda for change."
If you read the entire article you will not find a single mention of the Green New Deal. Not one. Leading me, therefore, to pose the question in the title.

nuclear generation and climate change


I had a little epiphany on how to respond to the various eminent environmentalist voices coming out in support of new nuclear builds as a way to combat climate change. Its quite simple:
If the UK government can't organise any sort of safe, effective, efficient policies to remediate climate change, why do you imagine they will safely, efficiently and effectively manage a new program of nuclear builds?
Well, Lovelock, Lynas et al.?

Addition 19\04\09:

Just to pop a radioactive cherry on top of this argument- which I smugly consider to be irrefutable, BTW- we have this article from the Graun with the following passage:
"During the miners' strike of 1972, the nation's nuclear plants were run at full stretch in order to supply electricity to a beleaguered nation. As a result, it proved impossible to process all the waste that was being generated. Cladding and fuel were simply thrown into B38's cooling ponds and left to disintegrate."
Now, does anyone else consider this to be an acceptable way to run a nuclear power station? No? I thought not. You see, the government- any UK government, that is- is dedicated to retaining power. The only way it can do that is by demonstrating a superficial devotion to the public's wellbeing. Superficial because at face value the government's actions in ordering nuclear power stations to be run at "full-stretch . . . to a beleaguered nation" appear to be an act of common sense. I am not sure that the order to do so came direct from the cabinet, it may well have, I don't know. Ultimately, however, the government is responsible for overseeing the safe operation of the electricity generating industry and so responsibility is ultimately theirs. That this philosophy would result in incredibly dangerous practices should have been obvious, however the political expediency of being seen to be "doing something" clearly overrode any threat associated with the dangerous practice of failing to account for high-level waste that was "simply thrown into B38's cooling ponds and left to disintegrate".

And so we find ourselves, nearly 40 years down the line, facing a fantastically expensive clean-up operation that hopes- at best- merely to reorganise this incredibly dangerous material in a new storage location as there exists no "final solution" to the issue of high-level nuclear waste and no credible plans to create such a solution. The miner's strike was exactl the sort of volatile political situation is almost inevitably going to result from the financial and environmental turmoil of the coming years. The government clearly hasn't learnt anything from this episode either as they are committed to a massive and irrational expansion of our nuclear generating capacity. Therefore, expect this situation to be repeated more than once in your lifetime and don't expect any more credible solutions to emerge. This is exemplified in the closing paragraph of the article:
"The lesson of Sellafield is not so much that nuclear power is dangerous but that Britain seems incapable of implementing any long-term engineering plan that comes its way, from high-speed trains to wind turbines or rocket launchers."

Alternatively, you could just vote for a sane government. We do, after all live in an alleged democracy.

even the CBI thinks the UK's climate change and renewable generation policies are a useless sack of shit


You know how this goes: Preditably, the CBI are not complaining about the government's failure to invest in wave and tidal power, supergrids or a Green New Deal No. Instead they are advocating completely useless action in their own "road map", putting nuclear generation and carbon capture and sequestration at the top of their list as well as calling for new coal plants to be built without carbon capture. The wankers.

At least there's some choice words in there from the director general of the UK Renewable Energy Association:
"Given all the rhetoric on the Green New Deal and Green Tech, it is astonishing that the renewables industry has received no dedicated support - even in areas that don't cost extra money . . . . As so little has been done, the last opportunity comes in this month's budget. Other countries have already committed huge stimulus monies to their renewables industries while we have nothing, so the UK industry is now at a serious competitive disadvantage."

There's also some nice words in Alan Rusbridger's editorial that sum the consequences of the fuckyounomic crisis for climate change and sustainable development neatly:
"Markets do not ever do the long term especially well, but they get particularly myopic during a crisis."
He's got another nice, punchy line on the outcome of the G20:
"[A] summit that was supposed to define the terms on which the world economy is to be rebuilt has ducked the toughest challenge - how to reconcile prosperity with environmental security."
This is, plainly and simply, another call for the UK government to pull its head out of its arse and engage in a Green New Deal. The conservative wankers and corporate whores out there whining and bitching about how this will elevate our national debt to astronomical levels should be slapped firmly around the head and reminded that it will also see the chances of our society surviving without massive hardship in the coming decades increase also. Denying the inevitable consequences of climate change should be a crime. As Rusbridger implies, Gidden's paradox is a bitch and the only way around it is via state-sanctioned and supported action. The private sector has no role to play in planning for the future security of our society.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

a proud day for UK authoritarianism


One headline today reads "UK torture collusion 'widespread'". Another has "Police 'assaulted' bystander who died during G20 protests". What a great country to live in. I'm so fucking proud.

if you want to help homeless people, give them a flat to live in and all the booze they can drink


Ben Goldacre, High-Chief Ninja of Science, will tell you why.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

no one has the right to be stupid


The target of this truism, which I first encountered in black and white on the pages of Terry Pratchett's Monstrous Regiment, are the bankers and financial workers. Their memory is so poor that they seem to have already forgotten the events of the last six months. I'm being charitable here as I feel it is quite possible that this remarkable level of ignorance is a result of Hanlon's Razor. However, the outright sociopathy evident in comments such as this suggest otherwise:
"Regulation is generally bad. You should let the market decide what the people will get paid."
Well, Matthew Prest- managing director at Close Brothers investment bank, you are wrong. So wrong that you are either a complete fucking moron or a vicious sociopath with the morals of a . . . well, a managing director at an investment bank.

A clear example of this man's tenuous grip on reality is revealed in the utter stupidity of his subsequent comments comparing city workers' wages to those of Hollywood "stars". Matthew, you may as well point at [insert name of grossly overpaid footballer here] and blame him for the state of the film industry.


It is mildly ironic that, after hurriedly drafting this post and putting it on line, it took me two days to notice that I'd written the title as "no has the right to be stupid". Oh dear. I have now added the offending "one". My apologies for my . . . stupidity?

Friday, April 03, 2009

power from kites - the sequel


Remember this?

Well check this out:

Thirteen megawatts! Frickin' awesome or what?


Now this too. their pilot is estimated to produce 100MW from a loop of 800m. Electricity will be produced at ~ 1/30th the cost of current market price. Nice. Kites are rapidly replacing tidal and wave power in my esteem as the techonolgy to power our nation in the future. David Duff, you owe me an[other] apology, you fucktard.

G20, climate change and a Green New Deal


Johann rules. The UK government- amongst others- is shit.

George offers this summary of the G20 communique:

"We, the Leaders of the Group of Twenty, will use every cent we don't possess to rescue corporate capitalism from its contradictions and set the world economy back onto the path of unsustainable growth. We have already spent trillions of dollars of your money on bailing out the banks, so that they can be returned to their proper functions of fleecing the poor and wrecking the Earth's living systems. Now we're going to spend another $1.1 trillion. As an exemplary punishment for their long record of promoting crises, we will give the IMF and the World Bank even more of your money. These actions constitute the greatest mobilisation of resources to support global financial flows in modern times.

Oh - and we nearly forgot. We must do something about the environment. We don't have any definite plans as yet, but we'll think of something in due course."

crazy fish that can see through its own head!


The green spherical things are its eyes! Mental!

"this is not a riot"


Amazing footage. From A Daisy Through Concrete. How much less aggressive can you get than a bunch of people with their hands in the air, chanting "this is not a riot"?


There is a report on the Green Party web site that states:
"At around 2 o'clock this afternoon (Thursday) an armed police unit reportedly raided a convergence centre on Earl's Street. The officers, who did not have a search warrant, claimed they were acting under the Prevention of Terrorism Act."
Its going to be interesting to see exactly what terrorism they were preventing.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

the G20 protest: from the horse's mouth


"I was at the protest for 5 hours and can honestly say that the policing today was antagonistic in a pretty extreme way. Being penned in infront of the bank of england for 3 hours caused a lot of people to panic and become hostile towards the police, who would not tell us the justification for being penned in, or even speculate as to how when we could expect to be let out. They criminlaised the lot of us, when, logistically, there was no valid reason for doing so - one of the five ways out could easily have been opened to let those people who wanted to leave through. By the time they did raise the cordon, the mood had clearly shifted from one of peace and fun, to one of anger and fear. When we were eventually allowed out, we inevitably surged and at this point a screaming line of riot police ran at us. We were being given mixed messages, and the overall sense of confusion gre at this point. I'm not an anarchist or a political extremist. I didn't go to cause trouble, I'm a pacifist. But after four hours of this kind of treatment by the police I began to feel enraged. The demonstration was not against the police, it was about much bigger forces and issues. Unfortunately, due to the frankly stupid tacticts the police used , it became a straight run off between the protesters and the cops. They deserve strong critcism for the way they've handled this, and I fear the violence is only going to get more extreme as the eveninig wears on." [sic]
Fucking WORD.


From the Guardian:

"The upshot of the ruling and the police's application of their "kettle" formula is that people thinking about embarking on demonstrations in the future may have to decide whether they want to be effectively locked up for eight hours without food or water and, when leaving, to be photographed and identified."
(emphasis is mine)
Habeus corpus, motherfucker!
". . . a legal action, or writ, through which a person can seek relief from the unlawful detention of him or herself, or of another person. It protects the individual from harming him or herself, or from being harmed by the judicial system."
(emphasis is mine)

Addition 03-04-09:

Back Towards The Locus does some indulges in some actual investigative journalism, collating eyewitness reports and looking for photographs of the "protester" who died at the G20 protests yesterday. In direct contradiction to the rapid press releases declaring Ian Tomlinson's death to be from "natural causes", BTTL finds testimony that, in the area where the incident occurred, "things were in full psycho mode by that time", with unmuzzled police dogs and baton charges being conducted by screaming riot police. Furthermore, people described Mr Tomlinson as being bruised, dazed and with blood on his face prior to his collapse.

Make of that what you will.

Addition 04-04-09:

Justin found a video interview of two guys who were there when Ian Tomlinson first collapsed.Their testimony completely contradicts the "police pelted with bricks" headlines.


Now the Guardian has eyewitness acounts of police battering Tomlinson. Seems tlike he rapid publication of the post mortem results declaring his death to be from "natural causes" was a little bit premature, hey?

the war for the holy land


From the Los Angeles Times (via Media Lens):
“The winter assault on the Gaza Strip was officially portrayed in Israel as an attempt to quell rocket fire by militants of Hamas. But some soldiers say they also were lectured about a more ambitious aim: to banish non-Jews from the biblical land of Israel.

"‘This rabbi comes to us and says the fight is between the children of light and the children of darkness,’ a reserve sergeant said, recalling a training camp encounter. ‘His message was clear: “This is a war against an entire people, not against specific terrorists.” The whole thing was turned into something very religious and messianic.’"

“In testimony reported by Israeli news media and in interviews with The [Los Angeles] Times, Gaza veterans said rabbis advised army units to show the enemy no mercy and called for resettlement of the Palestinian enclave by Jews.

"‘The rabbis were all over, in every unit,’ said Yehuda Shaul, a retired army officer whose human rights group, Breaking the Silence, has taken testimony from dozens of Gaza veterans. ‘It was quite well organized.’"


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

G20 and legitimate protest


All you need to know about this subject can be found in what Craig Murray wrote, what George Monbiot wrote, what Justin McKeating wrote and the Terry Pratchett novel Night Watch.


Add Sunny Hundal to your reading list on the issue. And Septicisle.

hypocrisy, thy name is Unite


I still get the Unite newsletter, despite leaving the union in protest after only a few, short months of membership. My reasons for leaving were their support for, amongst other things, nuclear power and the third runway and the Labour Party (in no specific order). Anyway, the headline story in the newsletter states:
"Tens of thousands of people converged on central London last Saturday as anger over corporate greed, wholesale market failure and environmental disaster threatens to boil over."
This strikes me as utterly hypocritical, seeing as the Union wholeheartedly supports diversion of useful funds for the installation of renewable generation to nuclear power stations and third runways and also unquestioningly support Labour at every election without any regard for that party's history of wars of aggression, failure to combat climate change, corruption, etc. etc. (you know how this rant goes). Furthermore, the "corporate greed" and "wholesale market failure" were direct products of Labour's cheek-spreading acceptance of the corporate cock since 1997.

Just thought I'd point that out.