Archive for the ‘human rights’ Category

What is the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership?

April 19, 2015

An assault on European and US societies by transnational corporations. — John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want

TTIP is a secret trade deal between US and EU that will give global corporations unprecedented powers over our lives, as if they did not control us already, they will be able to sue governments in secret trade courts.

TTIP is so secret that even Members of the European Parliament are kept in the dark. What we do know, has come via leeks.

Yesterday, demonstrations took place across Europe against TTIP.

TTIP will reduce environmental protections, reduce food safeguards, removal of employment protection, making draconian intellectual property rights even more so, loosening of banking regulations, sell-off of NHS …

In other words, it is a Charter or Bill of Rights for Corporations, at the very time when we are celebrating Magna Carta.

KFC is lobbying for a lowering of food safety. Can what is served by KFC actually get any worse?

Do we want KFC, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, dictating what we eat and drink, dictating what employment conditions shuuld be?

David Cameron is pushing TTIP. Labour is not opposing TTIP. The Green Party are opposed.


Rich v Poor

April 15, 2015

Two rooms, in one the rich, high earners, in the other room the poor, those on benefits, low wages, zero hours. Both groups discussing the same topics.

What came across strongly was the the appalling degree of ignorance, bigotry and selfish attitudes of the rich. Do their thought processes come pre-formed from the pages of The Sun and the Daily Mail?

The poor feckless, if they worked harder they would not be poor, why did they not save, Iain Duncan Smith did not go far enough in cutting benefits.

The poor were far better informed, they complained of being stigmatised, especially by programmes like Benefit Street. What came across was desperation and fear, the fear of further changes and what these may bring. People living hand to mouth, no food, not knowing where money would be coming from to pay for food and rent, living off Oxo cubes and food banks. Unemployed being forced to waste their time and money chasing after jobs where they probably stand a better chance of winning the Lottery.

The rich think the poor do not know how to manage money. When you are poor, you spend all your time managing money, knowing where to go to pick-up-end-of-day bargains.

The rich, having paid for one house, were looking to buy a second house, to cash in on asset price rises.

Ironically the rich were saving more, cutting back on spending.

The poor wished to see more house building, but council houses, not houses for sale.

The rich thought Right to Buy a good idea. If you are struggling to pay the rent, how do you find the money to buy?

The poor wanted to see a rise in pay, a move to a Living Wage, rent controls, job security, tenancy security.

Neither group mentioned a Basic Income.

The rich thought tax credits a good idea, get people off benefits and into work.

Tax credits are not a good idea, all tax credits do is subsidise bad employers. Pay a decent wage, and workers do not need tax credits.

The top 20% of earners pay 35% of their earning in tax.

The bottom 20% of earners pay 37% of their earning in tax.

Is this fair?

The rich think they work hard.

Do the poor not work hard?

Head of Barclays in 1979 on £80,000 a year now £10 million. If workers pay increased by as much, would all be on £1 million a year.

Do not think workers work hard, then check out Maid In London, hotel rooms in London are some of the most expensive in the world, and yet hotel maids work long hours for bad pay.

Both groups thought training a good idea.

Escaping Tanzania’s Cutting Season

April 6, 2015

In northern Tanzania there is a tradition of the ‘cutting season’ which lasts for six weeks. Girls are mutilated, female genital mutilation, beaten by their fathers, sold off into marriage.

The cutters use the same knife on multiple girls, if the first girl has AIDS/HIV, then the next in line gets AIDS/HIV.

The girls are left to bleed  to death.

In one district, at least fifteen girls are are known to have died.

The reason they are left to bleed to death is that it is illegal, and so they cannot call in a doctor or take the girls to hospital.

The girls who die, their bodies are thrown in the bush. They are not given a decent burial because they are seen as cursed.

Word is getting around of a safe house, a  network helps girls to get there.

At the safe house, as well being safe, they are given vocational training, sent to secondary school.

One boy, who helped his sisters escape to the safe house, was strung up from a tree with his hands and feet tied, then badly beaten by his father.

Aisyah Tajuddin – Hudud Isi Periuk Nasi?

April 3, 2015
A video poking fun at an Islamic party went viral in Malaysia - but the journalist who made it is facing threats and a police investigation

A video poking fun at an Islamic party went viral in Malaysia – but the journalist who made it is facing threats and a police investigation

Journalist Aisyah Tajuddin posted a video poking fun at Muslim fundamentalists.

It went viral.

Now she faces the inevitable backlash, rape threats, death threats, and even a police investigation for blasphemy.

She made the video as a response to proposals for implementing ‘hudud’ laws on Muslims in Kelantan, a rural state in the northeast of Malaysia. The laws would prohibit adultery, apostasy, robbery and theft, which would become punishable by public beatings, stoning, amputation and public execution.

The video shows her crossing an imaginary border into Kelantan, whereby a headscarf suddenly appears on her head. She then finds a rock instead of rice in a packet of food, which she throws away, accompanied by the comment: “Oh well, we have hudud, don’t we?”

Aisyah Tajuddin is a journalist with BFM, an independent radio station.

Typical of the threats is one posted on facebook: “Those who insult the laws of Allah, their blood is halal for killing.”

Islamists complain of Islamaphobia. And apologists for fundamentalists bleat in unison. No, the problem is their bastardisation of women.

Campaigner Michelle Yesudas was questioned after confronting police about the case

Campaigner Michelle Yesudas was questioned after confronting police about the case

Aisyah wasn’t the only person to get caught up in the controversy. The issue touched off a row online between lawyer and activist Michelle Yesudas and the country’s top policeman, Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar.

In a series of messages, Yesudas demanded to know what Khalid would do about the threats against Aisyah. “Because I am positively terrified that these crazy, rape-frenzied people are actually the majority in my country,” she wrote.

Khalid’s response was to pull Yesudas into police headquarters for questioning under Malaysia’s colonial-era Sedition Act.


January 25, 2015


It is the convergence between commons and co-ops that will create a new economy and a new society. — Michel Bauwens

A story, a group of stories, people telling stories, stories of the future, stories from the future.

In eGaia, three interlocking economies described

  • local co-operative
  • regional
  • global

Within the local economy, everything is on a sharing basis, no money, people are expected to keep in balance, and contribute their fair share. It goes one stage further than granting a Basic Income.

For what the local economy cannot supply, will source from either regional or global economy, for which a financial exchange takes place, using a digital currency, there being a regional and global currency.

If one of the businesses operating within the local economy requires money, it goes to the regional bank. Free money is created (ie interest free), when paid back, the money self-destroys. The economy is not built on debt.

Additional accounts are kept of ecological footprint of every transaction.

Businesses innovate to offer a better service, not to gain a competitive advantage as not in competition, and will share their innovation.

All carried out by means of smart phone apps.

As Rob Bell explains in Love Wins, it is not that money is the root of all evil, it is what we do with money.

We can look around, see things that need to be done, but we lack the money, we can look around, see things that need to be done, but we lack the time, we have to work to earn a living.

Money is a means of exchange. I have something you want, we agree a price, an exchange takes place, money changes hands.

Usury places a levy called interest on what would otherwise be free money. The economy has to grow to service the debt. Companies sell us things we do not want to increase their market share. We cannot have linear growth on a finite planet.

Man has always had an impact on the environment. Civilisations have risen, then collapsed, when they exceeded the carrying capacity of the land. Once it was local, then regional, now the entire planet. Mass species extinction, habitat destruction, global warming, Those at the front line of extraction, are in conflict zones. We need several planets to sustain our extraction, we do not have several planets, we have one.

The problem is not Peak Oil. Innovation opens up more resources. The problem is that innovation is opening up more hazardous sources of oil, tar sands, fracking, deepwater, Arctic. The problem is, we cannot burm even known resrves, if we are to keep global temperature rose below 2C, and even 2C will lead to more extreme weather events. If we go beyond 2C, all bets are off, the models begin to break down.

We are naive, arrogant even, if we think we can save the planet. Recent extreme weather events has shown, Gaia always has the last laugh. We cannot. Nor do we need to create Gaian feedback loops, these already exist. The role of Man, is to learn from Gaia, and to act as custodian of Gaian feedback mechanisms

Early lifeforms emitted oxygen as a waste product. Oxygen is toxic. Later life forms learnt how to deal with oxygen.

Oxygen is kept within very narrow limits. Too high and there would be spontaneous combustion, too low and most life on earth could not exist.

One of many Gaian feedback mechanisms.

We know that to keep global temperature rise to below 2C, 80% of known carbon reserves have to be kept in the ground, and even 2C will lead to more extreme weather events.

This raises two points:

  • oil companies worthless
  • why are we still exploring for new reserves

The value of oil companies is the value of their reserves. If they cannot extract, the value of the oil companies becomes worthless overnight.

New extraction is increasingly hazardous: tar sands, deepwater, fracking, Arctic.

A different way of looking at the stored carbon is to go back millions of years. Carbon cycle was not perfect. Trees (strictly speaking not trees) formed coal, simple lifeforms formed oil. If we release this carbon that was extracted from the atmosphere, it means we return to the prevailing climate at that time, if we release within a few hundred years, we trigger thermal runway.

Insanity: UK government is granting fracking generous tax concessions, paying to drill. An Infrastructure Bill passing through Parliament will make it a legal obligation to maximise oil exaction.

Rapid growth is not the norm in the natural world.

We see it when we introduce an alien species to an island, with no natural predators, Rapid growth usually followed by catastrophic collapse.

We see it with cancer.

We see it on bare land, for example following a forest fire, or rapidly retreating ice at an interglacial, rapid growth by pioneer species, secondary species follow, and eventually steady state of a mature ecosystem, The interaction between the species creates the environment, the environment creates the conditions for the species.

In a rainforest, the rain is created by the rainforest.

Important is trophic cascade and keystone species. Remove the keystone species, rapid collapse. It is the keystone species that maintains the diversity.

Cod, wolves and whales are keystone species.

Traditionally, it was thought ecosystems developed from the bottom up: the soil determines the vegetation, the vegetation the herbivores, the herbivores the carnivores. We now know this not to be true, it is the top predators, the keystone species, those whose influence extends far beyond their numbers, that determine an ecosystem.

Top predators, in what is known as trophic cascade, can have an effect all the way down the food chain.

Reintroduction of wolves to the Yellowstone National Park, affected the landscape.

With no predators, the deer populations soared, destroying the vegetation and trees, denuding the landscape.

Though wolves were small in number, did not kill many deer, they changed the pattern of behaviour of the deer, the deer avoid the places most likely to be ambushed by wolves. In those areas, the trees recover, birds return, bears return. Beavers return, beavers damn the rivers, providing more habitats for mores species. The river changes. The trees stop soil erosion, the landscape changes.

The wolves may kill a few deer, but they also create life, they create the conditions for life to exist in more varied variety than existed before their introduction.

The Japanese would argue killing of whales, in fact the Japanese will find any excuse to kill whales, more krill, more fish.

Killing whales leads to fewer krill.

Whales stir up the waters, bring nutrients to the surface.

Phytoplankton feed on the nutrients, zoo plankton feed on the phytoplankton, fish feed on the plankton.

Phytoplankton capture carbon which is then carried down to the ocean sediments. Millions of tonnes of carbon capture.

The presence of whales, leads to more life, not less.

Top predators are not only affecting life all the way along the food chain, they are impacting on geophysical processes.

Instead of loony schemes to seed the oceans, imaginary machines to suck CO2 out of the air (and then pump into oil wells to extract more oil), protect whales.

Gaia does her job, if we let her.

Millions of years of co-evolution, networks within networks, mutual coexistence, should tell us how to organise our affairs in a manner that works.

Hierarchical system do not work, for one simple reason, it requires perfect knowledge of what is happening at the next level.

Self-organising networks, are adaptable, have feedback.

Exponential growth within finite resources, leads to catastrophic collapse.

We cannot propose a future, project it on the past, then use that as justification for the future we wish to see.

We cannot say, hunter-gatherers may have engaged in war with surrounding tribes but it led to little blood letting. Where is the evidence?

We can speculate on a sharing society, we can look at indigenous cultures today.

What we see is hunters sharing the kill. Very good reason for this. Spoils of the hunt do not keep beyond a few days, therefore better to share, and hope those we share with, will invite us to share when they have good fortune.

As Carla Stang describes in her description of Mechinaku in her essay Rampant Rainbows and the Blacked Sun in Dark Mountain 6, they have a deep and intimate relationship with the world around them, treat it with reverence and respect. But she also makes the point, we cannot apply our external views, we have to take what we see within its own context.

Nor is sharing, reciprocity, restricted to indigenous cultures.

In Istanbul, not knowing how to pay for the tram, an attractive local female kindly paid for me. I commented that it would be easy to hop on the tram, hop off, without paying. This was treated with horror, that I could even have the thought let alone carry out the act. It was something you simply did not do.

There is not a clear division between hunter-gatherers and agriculture. Hunter-gatherers will often plant trees, tend gardens.

Speech possibly evolved from music, music from the rhythmic sounds we hear around us.

Nonsense to claim ‘language functions to deny reciprocity with nature’.

Do we see this with Celtic writing or Zen masters or or Hildegard von Bingen or Henry David Thoreau or Ralph Waldo Emerson or Aldo Leopold or Wendell Berry?

Of course not. The disconnect is with the myths we tell, that got ever greater traction during the Industrial Revolution, that Man has Dominion over Nature.

Henry David Thoreau:

The earth I tread on is not a dead, inert mass. It is a body, has a spirit, is organic, and fluid to the existence of its spirit, and to whatever particle of that spirit is in me.

Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it.

Aldo Leopold:

enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants and animals

the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts

changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain members and citizens of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such.

We now need a new narrative, Man in cooperation with nature. A new narrative the Dark Mountain Project has tried to foster.

The limit to the size of cities was not the carrying capacity of the land. It was the ability to transport food and goods in, and waste out. This changed with the arrival of trains.

The Industrial Revolution did not start in England because of nearby colonies to exploit. It started because James Watt invented a reliable steam engine in 1776 and the availability of coal.

Steam did not have an immediate advantage. Water mills were more powerful than early steam engines. Wind and water were free. What led to change were several factors, no longer reliant on the whims of nature, can work night and day, steam is transportable. Watermills, windmills, located where supply of water and wind, usually in the countryside, not a ready supply of labour if a strike, not so easy to replace workers. In cities ready supply of labour, close to market.

Propagation of the myth we destroyed our woods. It was lack of use that destroyed our woods, they were used sustainably. A myth Oliver Rackham has long demolished.

Basic premise of eGia, is that Gaia needs Man as its nervous system, hence eGaia.

What does it mean for the Earth to function with the coherence of an organism with humanity analogous to its nervous system?

At best this is arrogance.

Gaia functioned without Man, Gaia will continue to function without Man. The best Man can do is act as Custodian of Gaian feedback loops, to claim more is arrogance, the same arrogance that led Man to believe he was Master of Nature.

Hurricane Katrina, Sandy, typhoon in the Philippines, showed Man is Master of nothing.

Man evolved as part of the natural world, was part of Nature, the downfall of Man was when he became apart from Nature. We need to rewild our natural world, but we also need to rewild ourselves, even if it a walk barefoot along the seashore, paddling in and out of the waves.

You cannot take societies, close knit, good community relations, and transfer their dispute mechanism to other societies that lack those close community links. People agree, because they do not want loss of face.

But it can work both ways, close communities can lead to abuse. Pakistani girls being brutally gang raped, not able to speak out, and if they do threats of violence, forced marriage. Or girls in Nepalese communities, forced into marriage. They feel twice violated, as they lack the human rights of the wider society as wider society turns a blind eye.

Unbelievable ignorance on Israel-Palestine and Middle East. It is not caused by fear of the other, that is the symptom. It is caused by seizure of land, brutal occupation, Palestinians kicked out of their homes where they have lived for generations, villages that have been there for centuries, denied water, electricity, because they lack planning permission, destruction of olive groves, Gaza kept as a prison camp, massive destruction of Gaza.

Jews and Arabs had lived in pace together for generations, until Zionist terrorists established the State of Israel.

It is easy, as Canon Andrew White says, to talk to your friends, you have to be prepared to talk to your enemies. He has earned the trust of Sunni and Shia leaders in Iraq, got them to sit down and talk to each other.

Truth and Reconciliation worked in South Africa, because of the culture in which it was embedded.

In close knit communities, slight on one family, a slight that has to be avenged, goes on for generations.

Sustainability, a much abused word that has has become meaningless. Everything has the in word sustainable attached. A greedy developer trashes a town centre, it is called sustainable. And what is it we are wishing to sustain, the present inequitable, exploitative greed-driven system that is trashing the planet?

What we should be looking to achieve is steady-state, emulate Gaia.

So it looks at what is desirable sustainability in physical and biological terms while ignoring constraints due to entrenched beliefs, our current economic system …

Really! No one ignores economics factors, and economic factors do not apply constraints, far from from it, it is the economic system of exponential growth that is causing the problem. Fundamental to any discussion.

It is nonsense statements like this, and sadly not an isolated example, why eGaia lacks any credibility.


What would it mean if humanity were organised so that looking after the health of the whole of the living Earth were one of its living values?

Gaia is more than capable of looking after Earth. What we require of Man is stop damaging her control mechanisms.

For our material needs, we need closed loops, where the output of one process feeds into another. Emulate the natural world, where there is not an accumulation of waste in either time or space. Use naturally occurring materials, and where we use man made for example plastic and steel, we copy the natural world, form closed loops. And any toxic materials we eliminate from our cycles. We have to move away from a linear systems, of extraction, sweatshop production, six months in the home, then onwards to landfill or incineration. A linear system producing stuff we neither need nor want, that does nothing to enhance our quality of life.

We need diversity, localism, co-operation, mutual support, sharing, collaborative commons, the greater the diversity, the greater the adaptability.

We need rewilding of our natural habitats. Reintroduction of keystone species like wolves, reintroduction of the European beaver. Beavers improve watercourses, enhance diversity, clean the water, stop downstream flooding. Rewilding also benefits Man, when we visit wild places.

We need agro-forestry. Greater output, supplying local markets. We should not forget the towns, which can be productive.

In Brazil, every municipality is funding perma-culture courses.

We need locally owned and controlled energy grids, into which feed local sources of renewable energy, only the surplus fed into the National Grid.

We need as Michel Bauwens has outlined, something more than co-ops, we need co-ops that contribute to the commons.

We need as Russell Brand has outlined in Revolution, autonomous, self-organising networks, that cooperate with other networks, the only restraint, no harm to others, either internally or externally, and no harm to the planet.

Kyoto was not a failure per se. It was a failure because it lacked teeth, no enforcement mechanism, contrast with various trade treaties, contrast with WTO.

We need polluter shall pay, reflecting the real costs of externalised costs, which we all pay, but indirectly. Not complex financial instruments for speculators.

A large number of smaller organisations, can become niche players, cooperate with each other.

No mention of the marginal costs of stuff falling. This is important, as can produce locally, 3D printing, open source, open source workshops. If marginal costs near zero, viable to produce locally, as shipping costs and energy dominate.

In Barcelona, the city has given a pledge, by 2020 one FabLab in every neighbourhood. By 2050, half of all food production and manufacturing to be local, through distributed manufacturing

Most products, the embedded energy is higher than the energy costs in use. Becomes of vanishing importance the efficiency of the product. Therefore quality products, designed to last, easy to repair.

FairPhone is an excellent example of a phone designed to be repairable, recycled, non-use of materials from conflict zones.

TechStart an example of a community enterprise, take in old computers, refurbish, re-sell at low price, reuse components, training, net cafe.

Bandcamp encourages music sharing. If you like, pay for the music.

Bristol Skipchen surplus food cafe does what it says, recycles waste food into delicious meals.

A cooperative economy is not the same as a moneyless economy. A moneyless economy, is a sharing economy, a gift economy, collaborative commons.

Co-ops benefit members of the co-op. Collaborative commons are shared resources.

In Quito, housing co-ops have reclaimed ravines used to dump rubbish as public parks.

When we share, everyone is richer.

An Open Co-op exists to supply a need, not to make a profit. Everyone who is impacted by the Co-op has a say. It contributes to the commons. Open Coops co-produce commons. An Open Co-op innovates then shares the information. Open Co-ops linked globally, can outperform multinationals.

Innovation in the market is to seek a competitive advantage. If no profit, innovation is shelved. It is not for need.

Much of the internet is built upon Open Source Software, collaborative commons. People choose to contribute, they are not forced, are not paid.

There is a growth in co-ops during economic crisis.

Co-ops are not any more likely to make a more stable economy. In a downturn, yes, less likely to lay off workers, they would more readily agree to a wage cut, and we are seeing that in non-co-ops, as companies are recognising it is easier to recover if have not lost skilled workers. On the other hand Open Co-ops yes, due to the greater involvement of society and their contribution to the commons.

For an information based economy, existing social networks are not a good example to build upon, in a commons based economy it would be peer-2-peer networks.

Social networks did not trigger either Occupy or the Arab Spring, though have proved useful to coordinate activity.

An information network is not a necessary condition to safeguard the planet, though can be a useful tool.

The availability of cheap air travel has not led to understanding of other cultures, quite the opposite.

NGOs do not suggest a way forward. They are little more than businesses, supplying a need, touting for money. It is far better we organise to satisfy those needs ourselves.

Global events like Band Aid and Live Aid have not led to better understanding, these were music events, little else. They emphasised the victim culture, reliant upon the West to mount a rescue. The release of the Band Aid single Band Aid 30 for Ebola has been heavily criticised and rightly so especially when there was a superior West Africa release, Africa Stop Ebola, superior in every way, musically and in the informative message that it carried.

The kibbutz movement in Israel is a very poor example to give as to the way forward, not unless suggesting use terror to illegally occupy the land of others, destroy their olive trees, steal their water, carry out ethnic cleansing, in order to establish our idea of what a community should look like.

The future is already here.

Look to the work of Michel Bauwens and FLOK and P2P Foundation.

In Quito, housing coo-ops are reclaiming the ravines and turning into public parks.

We do not need banks, when we can crowd source.

StartJoin is a platform to crowd source for community and cultural projects. It even has its own crypto-currency StartCoin.

Bandcamp facilitates sharing of music, and if you wish to pay, bandcamp facilitates that too.

Crisis stimulates innovation.

Sandy hit New York, the authorities were only interested in getting Wall Street up and running to show businesses as usual. The only help in poor districts, the worst hit, came from Occupy Wall Street, reformed as Occupy Sandy.

Greek economy has shrunk by over a quarter leaving many unemployed and destitute, no longer entitled to free health care, sell off of public assets. People are now organising their own affairs, with Syriza, with its roots in Occupy and opposed to austerity, on the brink of a historic election victory.

eGgaia is not a book I would recommend. Had it been limited to the fictional account of the future, it would have made an interesting pamphlet, but nothing more. It has been padded out with irrelevant material, even worse, much is inaccurate assertions.

It is available as free download, or as a print-on-demand book only the publisher fails to comprehend print-on-demand, and had to be chased for an ordered copy. Irony seems lost on the publisher, inappropriately called Fast-Print.

I would though recommend Revolution and Sacred Economics.

Why is Tony Blair Not In Gaol?

January 16, 2015

Why is Tony Blair not in gaol? A question many people would like to see answers to.

Apparently Tony Blair cannot understand Russell Brand.

What cannot he understand? That he is pushing for democracy? That he does not have a desire to hang out with people like Blair?

A dictator with an image problem, then Tony Blair is your man. For a fee, a very hefty fee, he will help you explain away, or if not explain away, make light of, any atrocities, torture, mass killings. Clients include brutal regimes in Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Egypt.

Tony Blair was recently named Philanthropist of the Year by GQ magazine. And they say cartoons in Charlie Hebdo are offensive.

And more recently a humanitarian award by Save the Children.

ISIS is a direct result of the destruction of Iraq by Tony Blair and fellow war criminal George W Bush.

Having destroyed Iraq, destabilised the Middle east, Blair is only too happy to adopt the role of war profiteer.

The Blair Iraq Dossier has still not been published. Now we are told not until after the May 2015 General Election.

The Battle for British Islam

January 13, 2015

Any representation of the divine that leads people to murder each other deserves the maximum possible disrespect. — Giles Fraser, Parish Priest

The second of the Ten Commandments prohibits graven images – which is why there are no pictures of God in Judaism or Islam. — Giles Fraser, Parish Priest

Excellent, must watch, BBC Panorama last night on Muslims and extremists.

Renounce Islam, yes apply death sentence, says Muslim extremists.

Everything I have been saying, and more. And it is Muslims saying it.

Extremists now a very significant minority, if not a majority, and a very real threat.

A group of Muslims made a silly pop video. They were immediately attacked by extremists. Females in burkas attacking them.

If wearing a balaclava is offensive, then so is wearing a burka.

What everyone tends to forget, it is Muslims that bear the brunt of extremists.

Muslim TV channels beaming brainwashing propaganda into the UK.

The well rehearsed cry of Islamaphobia, victim culture, for which they have only themselves to blame.

Parish Priest Giles Fraser:

Rather disturbingly, one word seems to connect the activity of the Paris terrorists and that of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists: iconoclasm. I say disturbingly, because pointing out some common ground may be seen as blurring the crucial distinction between murderous bastards and innocent satirists.

Nonetheless, it strikes me as fascinating that the cartoonists were profoundly iconoclastic in their constant ridiculing of religion (all religions, it must be noted) – yet it is precisely this same ancient tradition of iconoclasm that inspires Jews and Muslims to resist representational art and, in its most twisted pathological form, to attack the offices of a Paris magazine and slaughter those whose only weapon was the pen. So what’s the connection?

In one sense an iconoclast is someone who refuses the established view of things, who kicks out against cherished beliefs and institutions. Which sounds pretty much like Charlie Hebdo. But the word iconoclast also describes those religious people who refuse and smash representational images, especially of the divine. The second of the Ten Commandments prohibits graven images – which is why there are no pictures of God in Judaism or Islam. And theologically speaking, the reason they are deeply suspicious of divine representation is because they fear that such representations of God might get confused for the real thing. The danger, they believe, is that we might end up overinvesting in a bad copy, something that looks a lot like what we might think of as god, but which, in reality, is just a human projection. So much better then to smash all representations of the divine.

And yet this, of course, is exactly what Charlie Hebdo was doing. In the bluntest, rudest, most scatological and offensive of terms, Charlie Hebdo has been insisting that the images people worship are just human creations – bad and dangerous human creations. And in taking the piss out of such images, they actually exist in a tradition of religious iconoclasts going back as far as Abraham taking a hammer to his father’s statues. Both are attacks on representations of the divine. Which is why the terrorists, as well as being murderers, are theologically mistaken in thinking Charlie Hebdo is the enemy. For if God is fundamentally unrepresentable, then any representation of God is necessarily less than God and thus deserves to be fully and fearlessly attacked. And what better way of doing this than through satire, like scribbling a little moustache on a grand statue of God.

It is those who question faith, who lead to a greater understanding of faith, but when they challenge the prevailing hypocrisy, they are branded as heretics and burnt at the stake, or have their offices fire bombed, or are gunned down in cold blood.

And well done Panorama, for featuring Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Unlike the cowardice of the rest of the mainstream British media.

A brilliant spoof issue, edited by the Prophet, if you do not laugh to death you will be lashed to death.

Sadly no joke in Saudi Arabia where a man has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes for trying to set up an on-line forum to discuss political and social issues.

Charlie Hebdo Je Suis Charlie

Charlie Hebdo Je Suis Charlie

Three million copies are to be printed of the forthcoming issue of Charlie Hebdo.

Muslims who have problem with depiction of the Prophet need to re-set their calender to 2015. Or follow the advice of the Moroccan-born mayor of Rotterdam, son of an imam in northern Morocco.

Sunday saw the largest ever demonstration in Paris. But not only Paris, not only France, not only Europe, across the world, people took to the streets to show solidarity against Muslim extremists.

If we value our freedoms, then the world has to stand in solidarity against Muslim extremism.

We must draw a line between Islam the religion and Islam as a Fascist ideology.

Islam as a Fascist ideology is as much a threat to the world today as the Nazis were in the 1930s.

Arms Trade Treaty

December 24, 2014

Today an Arms Trade Treaty came into force.

Grand Canal Project

December 22, 2014
Grand Canal protest

Grand Canal protest

The Grand Canal Project as it is known, is a mega-project, a canal that will cut a 178 mile long swath across Nicaragua. It will destroy almost a million acres of rainforest and wetland, heavily dredge and potentially salinate Lake Cocibolca – the largest source of freshwater in Central America – and remove hundreds of indigenous communities in its path, including the village of Bangkukuk.

It is seen as an environmental and human rights disaster.

Lake Nicaragua is the largest reservoir of drinking water in Central America, not to mention an important source of both irrigation water and eco-tourism revenue for one of the poorest nations in the region.

The canal, which will also include a rail line, an oil pipeline and deep water shipping terminals at either end.

An article in Nature by Axel Meyer, professor of zoology and evolutionary biology at the University of Konstanz, Germany, and Jorge A. Huete-Pérez, director of the Centre for Molecular Biology at the Universidad Cenroamericana, Managua, Nicaragua, and the president of the Nicaraguan Academy of Sciences, highlighted the lack of any independent environmental assessment reports of the proposed canal, and no requirement to make the assessments undertaken by the HKND Group available to the Nicaraguan public.

This canal could create an environmental disaster in Nicaragua and beyond. The excavation of hundreds of kilometres from coast to coast, traversing Lake Nicaragua, the largest drinking-water reservoir in the region, will destroy around 400,000 hectares of rain forests and wetlands. The accompanying development could imperil surrounding ecosystems. Some 240 kilometres north of the most likely route of the canal lies the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve — 2 million hectares of tropical forest that is the last refuge of many disappearing species. Less than 115 kilometres to the south is the Indio Maiz Biological Reserve, with more than 318,000 hectares of tropical dry forest. Worse still, the probable canal route cuts through the northern sector of the Cerro Silva Natural Reserve.

Such are concerns over land rights that it has united ranchers previously loyal to the right-wing Contras and small-holder indigenous farmers who have, until now, supported the left-wing president and former Sandinista revolutionary Daniel Ortega, and they are threatening to take up arms against the government, potentially reigniting the conflicts that led to civil war in the 1980s.

The Chinese Hong Kong based company Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Commission (HKND), will have a lease for fifty years, with the right to extend for a further fifty years. Effectively the Nicaragua has been ceded to a foreign corporate entity. It has been pushed through without any consultation.

HKND Group is a private company led by billionaire lawyer Wang Jing, there have long been rumours that the project is being directly supported by the Chinese government as a means to gain geopolitical influence in Central America.

Voting like mindless sheep along party lines and with only a perfunctory nod at due democratic process, Sandinista lawmakers on last year unilaterally passed into law a presidentially mandated canal concession (Law 840) that gives unknown Chinese firm HKND-Group a 50-year contract to “design, develop, engineer, finance, construct, possess, operate, maintain and administer” the Great Nicaragua Canal megaproject. The upstart canal company, which is based in Hong Kong but registered in Grand Cayman Island, would own the project for the first 50 years and become a minority partner for the second 50 years.

The concession law, which was written in English and opposed by every opposition party in Nicaragua, was rushed into the books in less than a week, without any public debate or consultation from indigenous groups whose lands will be expropriated, in violation of the Atlantic Coast Autonomy Law. The one Sandinista lawmaker who abstained (she may have nodded off before the vote) was fired from her elected office the following week, which came as a surprise to those who thought they were living in a democracy.

Opposition groups argue the concession violates 40 articles of the constitution related to national sovereignty, independence, the environment, and indigenous rights. Critics claim it also violates 10 international treaties and agreements and 15 instruments of the Central American Integration System. More than 30 constitutional challenges were filed against the canal law, but Sandinista judges summarily dismissed them all in one day without consideration.

The Sandinista government is reportedly planning to expropriate up to 7,000 homes to make way for the 172-mile canal, but it’s still anyone’s guess who’s on the hit list. The canal law says that the government can expropriate any land deemed necessary for the Chinese canal, which will cut a 13-mile wide swath through the middle of the country, affecting 12 municipalities, 6 of which will be cut in half to make way for shipping commerce, golf resorts, free-trade zones, “Coast Relaxing Resort,” and other crap that Nicaragua didn’t know it needed.

Some 282 rural settlements totalling more than 24,100 homes will be directly affected by the canal, according to an independent report by the Centro Humboldt.

What the report doesn’t say is that the canal will cut right through the middle of “contra country;” and these anti-Sandinista hardliners says they aren’t willing to surrender their property without a fight. Though the concessioners are offering to pay a small amount for the expropriated land, the campesinos says their land is not for sale. As they say in Nicaragua, sometimes it’s better to have a good fight than a bad deal.

Retired general and revolutionary hero Hugo Torres, known as “Comandante Uno” from the Sandinistas’ guerrilla assault on the National Palace in 1978, says the army that he helped to turn into a professional fighting force is now playing a “sad role” by protecting a Chinese businessman.

The concession law exempts the Chinese company from complying with any of Nicaragua’s environmental laws, exposing the country to possible “irreversible destruction of fragile ecosystems.”

The canal passes through a seismic zone, will be prone to flooding and there may not be enough water in the country to fill the canal.

Environmental study. what environmental study? None has been carried out.

As documented by Naomi Klein in This Changes Everything, we see indigenous people at the battle lines with global corporations, with corrupt politician lining their pockets.

No amount of money, can compensate for lost land, polluted waters.

Sandinistas did not liberate their country to hand it to the Chinese and to line the pockets of a corrupt political elite.

Daniel Ortega is a corrupt bastard who has sold out his people, his country for dirty Chinese money.

Daniel Ortega forgets the people have long experience of waging guerilla warfare against foreign occupiers and those on their payroll.

Save the Children honour Tony Blair for his ‘humanitarian work’

November 20, 2014

This is sickening, (alleged) war criminal and profiteer Tony Blair honoured by Save the Children.

They not only gave him this award, but it was at a glitzy stomach churning charity event.

I am lost for words, offensive, disgusting, appalling, sickening ….

This is a man who hobnobs with some of the world’s worst dictators and corrupt politicians, sleaze does not begin to describe Tony Blair, Silvio Berlusconi and Hosni Mubarak count as his cronies.

His latest has been to advise brutal ruler of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev how to sanitize human rights abuses and killing of unarmed protesters, for a retainer of £7 million a year.

The revolving door, the political-media-charity establishment. Chief executive of Save the Children (UK) is Justin Forsyth, who was an adviser to both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He was appointed in 2010 on a salary of £160,000.

Save the Children done themselves a huge amount of damage with this glitzy charity bash.

I will be telling a local Save the Children charity shop exactly what I think of them, and I urge others to do the same.

Paulo Coelho and his wife Christina help support an orphanage in Rio to support the kids from the favelas. I do not see them being honoured by Save the Children. Nor the many unsung heroes who work in the field, nor the volunteers who man their charity shops.

Save the Children has lost all credibility with this award.

In Revolution, Russell Brand tells of going to a glitzy Hollywood charity bash, and being told it was mandatory for the success of his career.

The latest Band Aid circus regurgitation, a line up of a bunch of tax dodgers. Adele refused to take part. That it was reelased on tacky X Factor, says it all.

A group of African musicians have recorded Africa Stop Ebola to raise money. Was you aware of that?

If you really want to help, make a donation to MSF.

In This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein documents the abuses by Big Business green groups, including oil drilling on a nature reserve.

This is why I do not support Big Business charities and green groups.

If we want real change, assuming you are not happy with money being transferred from the poor the the rich, the trashing of the planet, then effect real change.