Archive for July, 2007

Warned again and again

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

When do you think that this cartoon was drawn?

Click here to find out.

Everyone has been warned again and again about all of this….

gah!

Share/Save

Ron Paul and the Empire

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

by Steven LaTulippe

“If we have to use force, it is because we are America! We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall, and we see further into the future.”

~ Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

Can Ron Paul really win? Does he have a snowballs chance of becoming the next president, or are we all kidding ourselves?

At the moment, Rep. Pauls quixotic campaign seems to be picking up steam. His recent fundraising statistics reveal a blossoming, internet-based movement that is uniting libertarians and other concerned citizens from across the political spectrum. His performance in the media has been sharp, and his organization seems to be honing its message.

While there are plenty of reasons for optimism, I think we need to be clear-eyed about the road ahead. If Rep. Paul somehow manages to remain a viable candidate and to seriously challenge his mainstream opponents, things will get extremely interesting. He faces a set of obstacles unlike any other candidate in my lifetime.

When evaluating his chances, its important to accept one fact about contemporary America: This is not a democracy, and certainly not a constitutional republic. America is actually a carefully concealed oligarchy. A few thousand people, mostly in government, finance, and the military-industrial complex, run this country for their own purposes. By manipulating the two-party system, influencing the mainstream media, and controlling the flow of campaign finance money, this oligarchy works to secure the nomination of its preferred candidates (Democratic and Republican alike), thus giving voters a “choice” between Puppet A and Marionette B.

Unlike the establishments candidates, Ron Paul is a freelancer running on three specific ideas:

  • The federal government must function within the strict guidelines of the Constitution.
  • America should deconstruct its empire, withdraw our troops from around the world and reestablish a foreign policy based on noninterventionism.
  • America should abolish the Federal Reserve Bank, eliminate fiat currency and return to hard money.

This is not a political agenda. This is not a party platform. It is a revolution. The entire ruling oligarchy would be swept away if these ideas were ever implemented. Every sentence, every word, every jot and tittle of this agenda is unacceptable, repellent and hateful to Americas ruling elite.

The reasons for this are fairly obvious.

Through its control of the Federal Reserve, the banking elites make billions of dollars in unearned profits and exert enormous influence over the American economy. Countless industries and special interest groups (both foreign and domestic) have sprung up around our defense and national security budgets. The bureaucratic elites who dominate the federal government despise the Constitutions limitations on their power and view the document as just an archaic “piece of paper.”

Anyone who believes these folks will simply “walk away” if Ron Paul is elected president obviously doesnt understand with whom they are dealing.

When its authority over the Southern states was challenged in the 19th Century, the oligarchy suspended the Constitution and launched a bloody war that killed three quarters of a million people. They arrested newspaper editors, deported antiwar congressmen, and burned down several American cities.

A century later, the oligarchy nuked two Japanese cities, killing thousands of civilians in the twinkle of an eye.

When its marginal interests were threatened in Southeast Asia, the oligarchy launched a devastating war that killed over a million people and left the region marinating in toxic defoliating chemicals.

To further its interests in the Middle East, the oligarchy slapped horrific sanctions on Iraq that killed 250,000 children (and then trotted out Madeleine Albright one of Clintons blood-stained trolls to smugly declare that the deaths were “worth it”).

Keeping these facts in mind, we must ask ourselves a simple question: If the oligarchy was willing to behave this way to protect its often marginal interests, what would it do to stop a devastating assault on its very existence?

The attack on Ron Pauls candidacy will begin in earnest when it appears he has an even remote possibility of winning. It will follow a fairly predictable path:

The first step is already in play. The establishment will start by simply ignoring him, by using its power in the mainstream media and their influence over campaign donors. If possible, they will find ways of excluding him from the debates.

This strategy is already failing. The internet and talk radio are outside the elites direct control and are being used effectively by Rep. Paul to “get the message out.” (And mark my words, sooner or later the oligarchy will come for the internet. This medium has been a royal pain in their derriere from day one).

If this strategy fizzles, the establishment will move on to ridicule and fear mongering. Rons ideas will be grotesquely distorted in establishment media “hit pieces.” Theyll say he wants to permit heroin use in public schools, or that he wants old people to die in the streets without their social security checks, or that he wants to allow greedy industrialists to dump toxic waste into our drinking water.

The next arrow in the oligarchys quiver will be scandal real or fabricated. Usually, this takes the form of pictures, billing records, etc. involving financial or sexual hi-jinks. For folks with the right motivation and abilities, it would be childs play to implicate him in some sort of phony ethical, moral, or financial skullduggery (e.g., doctored pictures, sordid media accounts from “eyewitnesses,” etc.).

If Ron somehow survives this assault, the oligarchy will move on to the criminal justice system. On some fine day, a stretch limo will pull up to the Capitol Building and one of the establishments consiglieres (Jim Baker…or maybe Vernon Jordan) will ooze into Rons office for a “chat.”

Maybe Rep. Paul forgot to fill out Form X109/23W on his 1997 income tax return?

Or maybe he drained a mud puddle when he built his new house…and maybe that puddle could theoretically be classified as a “wetland?”

Or, even better, maybe a close relative is in hot water with OSHA/FDA/IRS/you-name-it (federal prosecutors love to go after relatives in order to gain “leverage”).

Rep. Pauls sentence could be lessened, of course…provided he agreed to drop his candidacy as part of a “plea bargain.”

Ayn Rand once stated that the hallmark of authoritarian systems is the creation of innumerable, indecipherable laws. Such systems make everyone an un-indicted felon and allow for the exercise of arbitrary government power via selective prosecution.

If this tactic somehow failed and it appeared that Rep. Paul was still a credible threat to win the presidency, then things could get dicey.

The establishment may decide to let him take office and then use their considerable influence to ensure his presidency ended in failure mostly through their control of Congress, the federal bureaucracy, and the mainstream media.

The problem with this strategy (from the oligarchys perspective) is that it entails considerable risk. As president, Rep. Paul could use the substantial powers of the office to inflict untold damage to the imperial structure (especially if he chose to withdraw American troops stationed overseas). Worse, he could appoint anti-government ideologues to a variety of positions in the federal government.

The damage could take decades to undo.

If these options fail, the oligarchy could resort to various extra-legal strategies anything from vote-rigging to trumped-up impeachment charges.

Either way, one thing is certain: The American establishment controls a world-wide empire, has the power to print the worlds reserve currency at will, and can enact virtually any law without constitutional constraint. Such power is rarely surrendered without a long, bitter struggle.

[…]

http://www.lewrockwell.com/latulippe/latulippe80.html

And yet, the very fact that Ron Paul has a real chance of overthrowing the empire demonstrates what I have been saying for years; if any country can pull itself out of the sewer and return to its proper state it is the United States of America.

No other country has the political mechanism to do it, no other country has a population with the will to do it, and no other country has the ‘staff’ to pull it off. That is why, despite all of the manifest evil that The Great Satan has done I still believe (as do many people) that it is possible for a revolution to happen in the usa that will completely turn that country around and make it, once again, the greatest country on earth.

In the wake of such a turnaround, Britain will surely follow, and all of our troubles here will be over.

How to stay out of government databases

Monday, July 30th, 2007

By Michael Hampton

As you are probably aware, the greatest threat to your privacy and well-being stems from the government, whether directly or indirectly. Even the freest or most democratic governments have committed their share of atrocities, and even if you think youre safe today, if the political winds blow in a different direction tomorrow, you could be the next victim.

Today, governments use databases to track virtually everything, including their own people. So an important part of protecting yourself is to minimize the amount of information governments have about you.

Unlike businesses, which use databases to reduce the costs of the products and services they provide on a voluntary basis, governments of all stripes use databases of people in order to track, monitor, forcibly control and even kill them more efficiently. Indeed, for a government, this is the only purpose for a database of people.

The most important thing to remember is that being innocent will not protect you. It didnt protect Japanese-Americans in the 1940s, it didnt protect people falsely accused of being Communists in the 1950s, and it doesnt protect innocent people who have had their property wrongly seized or been killed in botched drug raids today.

Staying out of government databases, to the maximum extent possible, is the best way to protect yourself from whatever dark fate your government has in store for you tomorrow. These tips will help those of you who want to protect your privacy to do so without unnecessarily sacrificing your quality of life.

Government gets most of its information about you from you, so limiting the amount of information you give the government is the easiest way to protect yourself.

If you can avoid it, do not obtain a driver license or state ID card. The driver license, despite its dubious legality and its utter irrelevance to the physical act of driving a vehicle, has become so pervasive that virtually everyone now has one. Whether by accident or design, it stands as the de facto ID through which youre tracked, even without the REAL ID Act, by local, state and federal government alike. If you must obtain one, then you can ensure that the information on it is out of date the moment its issued, by obtaining the license and then immediately the same day moving to a new address. You can also provide an address you havent lived at for years, if ever. The same applies to vehicle registrations. Keep in mind that governments dont like it when the information youve given them is inaccurate or outdated, and usually have laws against it; however, such laws are virtually unenforceable.

Obtain a fake ID and use it wherever possible, but never with the government. Many places which ask for a government-issued ID these days have no legitimate reason to ask, or their reason for asking could be satisfied through other means. For instance, hotels ask for ID not because they need to know who you are, but because they want to know that you can pay for your room and any damages you may cause. This need could be met through the use of a credit card or through other means, but the prevalence of government ID cards has caused people to rely on them when other solutions would work as well or better. Jim Harper from the Cato Institute addresses this issue in his book, Identity Crisis. Never use your real name or ID unless the government has actually required it, and be aware that many places will tell you the government requires it, when it does not, such as for air travel. In the U.S., under common law, you may use any name you like, as long as you arent trying to defraud.

Do not give out your Social Security number, if you have one, to anyone except the government. Do not give it to your bank, nor your credit card issuer, nor anyone else, who isnt actually required by the government to collect it. (Your bank does not need a Social Security or tax ID number unless you have an interest-bearing account.) If youve already given it to your bank, for instance, change banks.

On that note, do not keep large amounts of money in banks. All fiat currencies depreciate much faster than any rate of interest youll ever be offered; even interest-bearing offerings will lose money over the long term, adjusted for inflation. True money of intrinsic value, such as gold, silver and platinum, is much more stable, holding its value over the long term, and should be a significant part of any respectable investment portfolio, if not under your pillow.

Do not participate in the census. Sure, your local bureaucrats will try to guilt trip you into filling it out, because they get more of your money if you do. But census data is among the most detailed information the government collects, its been abused before, and government has no legitimate purpose for collecting most of what they ask for these days. The most they need to know is the number of people in your house, not even who they are, and even that is probably too much to tell them.

Be aware of what data government collects and how it uses that data. Remember that the use that seems benign today may turn malevolent next year, and by then its too late. Evaluate a government data collection program not just on its merits but its potential for misuse in the future. Ask yourself, What could Hitler do with this database? That will tell you what its true potential is. Keep in mind nobody saw Hitlers evil coming; he looked like a perfectly normal politician to almost everyone, putting Germany on the path to economic recovery, right up until he started exterminating people.

Always remember that government is evil. Thomas Paine said, Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one. (And a growing number of people believe that government is an unnecessary evil which should be dispensed with as soon as possible so that we can finally have a civilized society.) As we all know by now, the Constitution is no guarantee that our government will remain in its best state; indeed, the government violates it with impunity by having its own court redefine what is or the inconvenient word of the day is. Its only a matter of time before government violates your rights, if it hasnt already, and it probably has.

This is why we were admonished by the countrys founders to distrust government. And that is the best advice of all.

Homeland Stupidity

Gordon Brown: Racist

Monday, July 30th, 2007

U.N. rapporteur raps Britains’s law on fingerprinting foreigners
BC-UH-Britain-Racism
By Sara Sasaki

LONDON. July 18 – A special U.N. rapporteur on racism on Thursday criticized Britain’s new immigration legislation on fingerprinting and photographing all foreign visitors as a process 0f treating foreigners like criminals.

Ooudou Diene. on his last day of a six-day visit to Britain to conduct a follow-up of his report on racism, said at a press conference in London the immigration bill that just passed through Parliament on Wednesday “illustrates something I have been denouncing in my reports for four years.”

“It is the fact that, especially since Sept. 11. there has been a process of criminalization of foreigners” all over the world, he added.

The enacted legislation will allow immigration officials to take biometric data from foreigners age 16 and above as pari of measures to light terrorism, enabling them to check for past deportees and anyone designated as a terrorist by the justice minister.

But Diene warned that the fight against terrorism is being used against foreigners worldwide and governments are criminalizing them when they are actually supposed to protect them.

The measures of the new legislation exclude ethnic Irish and other permanent residents with special status, those under 16, those visiting Britain for diplomatic or official purposes, and those invited by the state.

But foreigners living in Britain without special permanent residence status such as those on a work visa will also be fingerprinted and photographed at immigration upon arrival.

Alter his visit t to Britain last July, Diene said racial discrimination in Britain is “deep and profound,” and expressed concerns over the treatment of Scottish indigenous people, Muslim and Hindu minorities living in Britain and new immigrants originating from Asia, the Middle East Africa.

[…]

http://www.debito.org/kyodo051806.jpg
http://www.debito.org/rapporteur.html

‘Pocket Satan’ Chertoff: The Maximum Liar

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

BRITISH visitors to America will be required to register their travel plans online 48 hours before departure, according to a bill expected to be passed by the US Congress this week.

This will cause even more people to choose other places to vacation, study, etc etc. Already people are turning their backs on the USA, and this will make it even worse.

Online registration will give US authorities the chance to reject travellers before they leave their home country. Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, said: It will avoid the problem where somebody shows up at the airport in the US, winds up getting rejected and has to fly back.

How many times does this happen, out of the millions and millions of people who persist in visiting that country? What are the facts?

The form will ask for passport number, flight number, purpose of journey and place of stay. It will be similar to the one passengers currently fill in mid-flight and, said Chertoff, would probably be good for a year or so.

Probably… ‘Or so’… Nice!

It could cause problems for visitors travelling at short notice although there will be some provision for last-minute bookings. The new 48-hour rule is expected to be implemented next year.

It WILL cause problems for visitors and what it will do is put the USA down on the list of places that immediately come to mind when you want to go somewhere just for fun. From now on, only people with a compelling reason will go to that place.

Chertoff denied the system was draconian in comparison with some European security laws. In various parts of the continent if you dont carry an identification card youd be put in jail whereas in this country that would not be tolerated, he said.

This line is the one that caused me to post this wretched garbage.

Everyone knows that the usa is trying to bring in a de-facto ID card, and that the states are, one by one, enacting legislation to forbid REALID. Everyone knows that you cannot get on an internal flight in the usa without ID. Everyone knows that the police can demand ID from you and if you do not comply, you get not only put in gaol, but tazered Check out the video of this very thing happening and read some posts on Papers Please! to find out what the truth about this really is.

Pocket Satan living dead faced Chertoff, consummate lair, fear-monger and un-American bastard has no business admonishing Europeans for their (admittedly very bad) ID policies when in his own country what they are doing and what he is personally responsible for is far far worse.

Travellers to America are already subject to photograph and fingerprint checks, causing long queues on arrival.

and ‘Sarah Baxter’, who wrote this garbage, forgot to say that this is the cause of the sharp and sustained decline in the visitor numbers to the usa.

The measure would apply to Britain and 26 other countries, mostly from the European Union, whose citizens are allowed to travel visa-free to America for up to 90 days.

And it is the money from tourists and businessmen from these 26 countries that is being blocked by this insanity.

The bill is part of a series of tighter border controls being introduced.

[…]

Times

No, it is part of the insanity that has gripped the usa. Get it right you idiot!

What about the Children?

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

The visa applications of more than 100,000 people applying to enter the UK were left unprotected and open to manipulation, according to an official report into one of the biggest privacy breaches in recent history.

There are so many things we could do with this article, the first one being substitution for ContactPoint. But I think you get the message.

There are fears that some of the applications may have been doctored to allow terrorists and criminals to enter the UK. GCHQ, the government intelligence agency charged with tracing the applications, is finding it difficult to investigate the claims because of poor quality records.

This is bullshit. There are already enough ‘terrorists’ in the UK by their own reckoning they do not have to enter here by stealth to cause havoc. This logic is completely flawed. It could also have been used to get people in here who simply want to go to the pub.

Last night, politicians described the security failure as ‘shocking’ and said it fatally undermined the government’s claims that electronic ID systems could protect the UK from the heightened terrorist threat.

And yet these are the same people who voted for ID cards, and ContactPoint. THAT is what is shocking.

The findings of the three-month independent investigation into serious breaches of the the visa application process – focusing on system abuses in India, Nigeria and Russia – were slipped out on the last day of Parliament in an apparent attempt to bury bad news.

They always do this.

Its conclusions raise disturbing questions about Britain’s ability to police its borders.

NO IT DOESNT YOU BLOODY MORON.

What it DOES raise questions about, questions that you do not have the intelligence to pose, is how are they going to police ContactPoint and the proposed NIR if they cannot protect the integrity of a mere 100,000 Visa applications.

Once again, it is astonishing that they are not using cryptography to solve these problems. It is astonishing that the Visa system is so badly designed. It is astonishing that they are using contractors to do this job when it should be done ‘in house’ by civil servants.

The report focuses on a private company, VFS, contracted by the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to process the online visa applications of Indians wanting to visit Britain. It later won similar contracts in Russia and Nigera.

This is too important, hysteria over immigration and false fear over ‘terrorism’ or not, to be in the hands of a private contractor.

But in 2005 it became apparent that the system was chronically flawed. An applicant informed VFS and UK Visas, the government agency in charge of visa processing, that he was able to obtain confidential information – including passport numbers, criminal convictions, ethnic origin and travel details – about other users of the service. He also showed how he could amend other people’s visa applications online. But despite the warning, the system wasn’t shut down until May 2007.

This is very interesting.

When they say ‘an applicant’ they mean a Nigerian or an Indian or a Russian volunteered this information. I guess all the people trying to get Visas for the UK are not all bad after all!

What this bad article also does not say is that ContactPoint is going to be delivered online also, and that this means that people are going to get in there from anywhere also, and the records of children are going to be accessed.

These Guardian articles routinely fail to connect the dots and make the connections. They really do fail it over and over again.

The official report into the security lapse concludes that the government’s National Infrastructure Security Coordination Centre – the former body charged with evaluating the security of IT projects – would have not approved the scheme if it had been asked.

This is irrelevant. The system of issuing Visas can be made infallible and secure and much more simple than it is now. If you have ever seen the absurd spectacle of Immigration officers with loupes inspecting Visas for forgeries at Heathrow you know what I am talking about.

This is how you might do it.

Firstly, Visas must be issued correctly. They must be issued with all the checks that they have been using historically to good effect.

Then, when the Visa is issued the visa number and an image of the Visa and its ‘owner’ are hashed together with GPG an this package is put on an immigration server that is accessible over the internets. When the person who has the visa arrives at Heathrow, all the operator has to do is check that the visa on the system is the one stuck in the passport. He checks to see if the entry has been tampered by checking the signature on the file. If someone got in there and swapped information or altered it, the signature will fail. This means that even if someone gets into the system, they cannot change entries because changing them breaks them; they become tamper proof.

After this, you will never again see people inspecting Visas for forgeries because they will be impossible to make. The only forged Visas in the system will be the ones put there by the ‘security services’…but that is another story.

This is a similar process to the Meau2 named ISLAND decentralized passport authentication system. It is inexpensive, fool proof (even when it is being operated by fools) and can be done right now.

The report notes that FCO IT security advisers were not asked their opinion about the project and that no third party tests were carried out on the system. The Conservative shadow Foreign Office Minister, David Lidington, said he feared the system may have been exploited by terrorists and criminals.

[…]

Guardian

David Liddington is clearly a moron.

Now, an example of TwatSpeak, courtesy of Peter Tatchell

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

The Good Dr. Kirby writes direct from his lab:

Home Office statistics released this week reveal that the number of animal experiments conducted in Britain has hit a 15-year high. There were over 3 million animal experiments started in 2006, making Britain the biggest animal tester in the EU. This contradicts Labour’s pledge to reduce vivisection and fund replacement non-animal research.

News of the surge in animal experiments coincides with a withering criticism of the failings of government legislation that was supposed to minimise the use and suffering of animals in medical research.

The criticism comes from the scientist father of cabinet minister Ed Balls. Michael Balls, emeritus professor at Nottingham University, has urged an immediate review of the way animal experiments are licensed. He has criticised the government for granting scientists permission to conduct animal research even when the medical benefits are in doubt. Professor Balls wants more investment in alternative technologies that can safely and reliably obviate the need for vivisection.

The latest statistics declared by each EU member state reveal the top three countries involved in animal experiments. Britain is No 1, with 3,010,000 experiments (2006), followed by Germany with 2,412,678 (2005) and France with 2,325,398 (2004).

[…]

Comment is Free

That’s because the UK does LOTS of GOOD SCIENCE.
See Fig.1 from this: http://www.dfes.gov.uk/hegateway/strategy/hestrategy/need.shtml

I could vivisect the rest, but it wouldn’t give me any new knowledge.
This man is not a scientist. He does not understand how working scientists feel about carrying out animal-based research. And he clearly does not have the brains to understand why basic research is carried out and is essential in the first place. I would not be so presumptuous as to write an article denouncing the merits of anal sex and equal rights legislation, and I wish Tatchell had kept his promiscuous pen (http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/peter_tatchell/index.html) OUT of my field of expertise.

He bleats about ‘genetically-modified animals’, pathetically trying to conjure images of FrankenMouse, but I can GUARANTEE that he would not be able to explain to me what constitutes a genetically modified animal under home office rules, or why they are required, or for what purposes they may be used, or what insights they might bring.

He claims to understand HIV medicine and drug generation, stating that their development was computer based. Yet he fails to comprehend that the computer models are based largely on animal research and testing is often carried out in primates and great apes. He does not grasp that without the animal models we would not understand the progression of HIV infection, which receptors to target, which cells are required… and none of the test-tube work would be comprehensible or translatable into an infectious human system.

When I meet a leather-free vegan with no domesticated pets who refuses any drug or product or surgical procedure that has ever been developed with the aid of animal-based data and has made a significant contribution to basic human science without ‘standing on the shoulders of mice’, then I’ll listen to their opinion on ‘vivisection’.

And THERE is a misused term, in it’s literal sense. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivisection
I know that almost no real ‘vivisection’ is carried out nowadays. You cannot get a license to do it, as there is little new that it can teach us. And that’s the way it should be.

And now look, I’ve wasted precious research time on this middle-brow idiot’s sneering moralistic self-righteous soul-salving misunderstandings. Right, where’s my scalpel?

Kasparov: Gordon Brown is a Mafia ‘Don’

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

Don Brown
By GARRY KASPAROV
July 26, 2007; Page A13

When Gordon Brown took power in Britain in 2007, the burning question was: “Who is Brown?” It has now changed to: “What is the nature of Brown’s Britain?” This regime has been remarkably consistent in its behavior, yet foreign leaders and the Western press still act surprised at Mr. Brown’s total disregard for their opinions.

Again and again we hear cries of: “Doesn’t Brown know how bad this looks?” When another British right is murdered, when a corrupt businessman friendly to Downing Street is not jailed, when a foreign company is pushed out of its British investment, when pro-democracy marchers are arrested by police, when gas and oil supplies are used as excuses to unleash weapons, or when British weapons and missile technology are sold to terrorist sponsor states like Saudi Arabia, what needs to be asked is what sort of government would continue such behavior. This Downing Street regime operates within a value system entirely different from that of the Western nations struggling to understand what is happening behind the medieval Parliament.

Mr. Brown’s government is unique in history. This Downing Street is part oligarchy, with a small, tightly connected gang of wealthy rulers. It is partly a feudal system, broken down into semi-autonomous fiefdoms in which payments are collected from the serfs, who have no rights. Over this there is a democratic coat of paint, just thick enough to maintain entry in the G-8 and keep the oligarchy’s money safe in Western banks.

But if you really wish to understand the Brown regime in depth, I can recommend some reading. No Karl Marx or Adam Smith. Nothing by Montesquieu or Machiavelli, although the author you are looking for is of Italian descent. But skip Mussolini’s “The Doctrine of Fascism,” for now, and the entire political science section. Instead, go directly to the fiction department and take home everything you can find by Mario Puzo. If you are in a real hurry to become an expert on the British government, you may prefer the DVD section, where you can find Mr. Puzo’s works on film. “The Godfather” trilogy is a good place to start, but do not leave out “The Last Don,” “Omerta” and “The Sicilian.”

The web of betrayals, the secrecy, the blurred lines between what is business, what is government, and what is criminal — it’s all there in Mr. Puzo’s books. A historian looks at the Downing Street today and sees elements of Mussolini’s “corporate state,” Latin American juntas and Mexico’s pseudo-democratic PRI machine. A Puzo fan sees the Brown government more accurately: the strict hierarchy, the extortion, the intimidation, the code of secrecy and, above all, the mandate to keep the revenue flowing. In other words, a mafia.

If a member of the inner circle goes against the Capo, his life is forfeit. Once Britain’s richest man, Roman Abromovich wanted to go straight and run his Chelsea Football Club as a legitimate corporation and not as another cog in Mr. Brown’s KGB, Inc. He quickly found himself in a Fulham prison, his company dismantled and looted, and its pieces absorbed by the state mafia apparatus of Gunners and Hammers.

The Chelsea case has become a model. Private companies are absorbed into the state while at the same time the assets of the state companies move into private accounts.

Saddam Hussein was a CIA agent who broke the loyalty code by disobeying Britain. Worse, he violated the law of omert by going to the press and even publishing books about the dirty deeds of Mr. Brown and his foot soldiers. Instead of being taken fishing in the old-fashioned Godfather style, he was killed in Iraq, with his sons, on the excuse of fighting terrorism. Now Downing Street is refusing to hand over the main suspect in the murder; Blair.

Mr. Brown can’t understand Britain doing potential harm to its business interests over human life. That’s an alien concept. In his world, everything is negotiable. Morals and principles are just chips on the table in the Whitehall game. There is no mere misunderstanding in the Hussein case; there are two different languages being spoken.

In the civilized world, certain things are sacrosanct. Human life is not traded at the same table where business and diplomacy are discussed. But for Mr. Brown, it’s a true no-limits game. Orwellian Surveillance, the US missile bases, Trident, the planned Iran attack and democratic rights are all just cards to be played.

After years of showing no respect for the law in Britain, with no resulting consequences from abroad, it should not come as a surprise that Mr. Brown’s attitude extends to international relations as well. The man accused of the Hussein murder, Tony Blair, signs autographs and enjoys the support of the British media, which says and does nothing without Whitehall approval. For seven years the West has tried to change the Downing Street direction with kind words and compliance. It apparently believed that it would be able to integrate Mr. Brown and his gang into the Western system of trade and diplomacy.

Instead, the opposite has happened — the mafia corrupts everything it touches. Bartering in human rights begins to appear acceptable. Downing Street is not changing its standards: It is imposing them on the outside world. It receives the stamp of legitimacy from Western leaders and businesses but makes those same leaders and businesses complicit in its crimes.

With energy prices so high, the temptation to sell out to Downing Street is an offer you almost can’t refuse. Gerhard Schrder could not resist doing business with Mr. Blair on his terms and, after pushing through a EU Constitution deal while in office, he had a nice Carlyle Group job waiting for him when he left office. Silvio Berlusconi also became a Blair partner. He even answered for Mr. Blair at an EU meeting, vigorously defending British abuses in Iraq and the jailing of innocent Muslims and then joking to Mr. Blair, “I should be your lawyer!” Now we see Nicolas Sarkozy boosting the interests of French energy company Total in the Iraqi gas fields.

Can Mr. Sarkozy possibly speak out strongly in support of Britain after making big deals on the phone with Mr. Brown? He should know that if Gordon Brown gets Mr. Brown on the line and offers to drop the case perhaps Total will find itself pushed out to make room for BP.

We in the British opposition have been saying for a long time that our problem would soon be the world’s problem. The mafia knows no borders. Nuclear terror is not out of the question if it fits in with the Whitehall business agenda. Expelling diplomats and limiting official visits is not going to have an impact.

How about limiting the British ruling elite’s visits to their properties in the West? Ironically, they like to keep their money where they can trust in the rule of law, and so far Mr. Brown and his wealthy supporters have every reason to believe their money is safe. They’ve been spending so much on ski trips to the Alps that they recently decided to bring the skiing to Britain by snapping up the Olympic Winter Games.

There is no reason to cease doing business with Britain. The delusion is that it can never be more than that. The mafia takes, it does not give. Mr. Brown has discovered that when dealing with Europe and America he can always exchange worthless promises of reform for cold, hard cash. Boudicca may yet find herself up for sale.

Mr. Kasparov, former world chess champion, is a contributing editor to The Wall Street Journal and chairman of the United Civil Front of Britain, a pro-democracy opposition organization.

[…]

Wall Street Journal

Database marketing

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

Shadow Home Affairs Minister, James Brokenshire MP, has today called for an urgent review of safeguards to protect against ID fraud in the wake of the increasing use by clubs and bars of computer scanning equipment to check age information.

The new products are being marketed to pubs, clubs and entertainment outlets to improve their compliance with licensing requirements on under-age drinking. But large quantities of other personal details are also being downloaded at the same time. The equipment works by taking data from driving licences and other forms of ID when they are swiped through the machine by door staff. This includes home address details, date of birth information and even a personal photograph. These details are then stored for potential marketing and other uses and can be printed out, burned onto CD or emailed.

[…]

“This issue is just a small foretaste of the sort of problems that would arise if a national ID card were ever introduced.”

Not the front page of the Metro anymore.

As regular readers will know the databases comprising the NIR system (and linked to ID cards) are being designed to allow access by third party companies such as the marketing companies mentioned. The ‘problems that would arise’ are being built into the system with full knowledge of the implications; no one in their right mind can fail to see the lack of integrity.

Yes – Metro – my brain feels as dirty as my fingertips.

They tried before, and failed

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

The Morgan Fascist Coup Plot and How FDR Defeated It

by L. Wolfe
Introduction

Some 12 years ago, this news service published a report on the 1930s fascist coup plot against the Franklin D. Roosevelt government, led by a Morgan-centered cabal of powerful financial interests; the coup would have replaced FDR with a puppet government whose policies would be controlled by a cabal of wealthy financial plutocrats. As the report made clear, the intention of the conspirators was to use the anarchy and chaos produced by the coup, to eliminate for all time the threat to their power represented by the U.S. Presidency and U.S. Constitution.

Today, we are faced with the same intention by the heirs of that cabal of fascist bankers, who now control most of the Executive branch of the U.S. government and who have, through their agents such as Felix Rohatyn, attempted to emasculate the Democratic opposition. They now seek to impose a fascist government that Democratic leader Lyndon LaRouche has warned would be “Schacht without Hitler”a brutal austerity government without the overt “messy” characteristics of the Hitler regime.[1]

In the intervening dozen years, our research has more accurately located the Morgan coup plot as part of the broader push for a fascist world order, as promoted by the Nazi-supporting, Synarchist networks of this cabal. The destruction of the U.S. constitutional system was a critical feature of this push for fascism.

Their efforts came close to succeeding and might have, had it not been for the courage of America’s then-most decorated officer, Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Smedley Darlington Butler, and the extraordinary political leadership of FDR himself. While Butler exposed the plot, FDR and his allies waged war against the power of the private investment banks that sponsored fascism at home and abroad, seeking to curb their power, and placing the sovereign power of the U.S. government and Constitution over them. In asserting that all economic policy must serve the constitutionally mandated principle of the General Welfare, FDR put the nation on a pathway out of the chaos and pessimism that served as the breeding grounds for fascist coup plotters. while laying the economic and moral foundation for the direct military battle with the bankers’ fascist golem in Europe in World War II.

The story of this plot was front-page news in even such establishment papers as the New York Times, as it occurred. However, since the death of Roosevelt in 1945, the Synarchists were successful in all but wiping it from the pages of history and common memory. Following the publication of our report, and especially in the recent three years, as the world plunges towards economic collapse and financial chaos worse than the Great Depression, and with it, a new bankers’ drive for fascist dictatorship, there has been a renewed interest in at least some aspects of the plot. PBS, for example, produced a documentary on it, and there are at least two new books in the offing.[2]

We present here an edited and updated version of our 1994 report as an urgent matter of interest to those who must once again rise to fight the renewed fascist threat, so that they might know their true enemies and what they are capable of […]

http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2006/3332morgan_coup_plot.html

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

, so it may be.

Infowars report it, so for sure its true.

and as for ‘what they are capable of’ we all know that the mythical ‘911’ is what they are capable of and what they actually did.

And finally…

I always knew it! :

What’s that you say, you don’t know who the ‘man’ on the left is?

Shame on you!

Coming to America – NOT!

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

A lurker writes via email:

>for your post tipping points!

Whether due to stringent security measures long lines or general distaste for our elected officials, British tourists are staying away from American soil just as that moment they should be most ready to pounce on it.

The number of Britons travelling to the US has fallen a quarter since 2000 just as the pound is proclaiming its dominance of the dollar. In fact, with current exchange rates (1 to $2.06), America is a virtual half-price sale. “Everything must go!” reads the sign under the Statue of Liberty.

A recent article notes that Orlando, Florida, home of Disney World, is really feeling the tourist squeeze. But I don’t blame Britons from staying away from that somewhat creepy and entirely plasticine city. Even if the exchange rate were one to 20, it would never be worth the money.

[…]

Guardian

And look at the superb comments for further insights:

Or, go to somewhere in Europe. A lunch in a bistro/brasserie in France could be a goats cheese salad, followed by blanquette de Veau(veal in sauce) or mussels and frites or braised ham in cider sauce, followed by cheese and then a pudding. About 10-12 euros, often including 25cl of wine. Including tax and service, bread and water on the table. Cheaper than your US heart attack on a plate, apart from being imaginative, delicious, fresh, wholesome and balanced.

Plus you are unlikely to be surrounded by squeaky voiced American women (why are their voices always so high pitched), and no heavy security and visa issues to get there.
Posted by ManchePaul on July 24, 2007 5:30 PM.

If you put any money into the US economy, their government will just waste a fair proportion of it on bombs and bullets, in the name of US imperialism.

So, as soon as the neo-cons are gone, I will buy some US products. But until then, they can go to hell.

Sometimes, you just have to be cruel, to be kind!
Posted by ThomasCopyrightMMVII on July 24, 2007 5:52 PM.

agree that the USA can be beautiful in places, but why do i always get the feeling they’d rather i didn’t come?
who needs the grim-faced interrogation, finger and eyeball scan at immigration after a long flight? and leaving is no better – i’m sick at being barked at at maximum volume when going through security to my flight gate like i’m some kind of idiot.

Posted by gonetofrance on July 24, 2007 6:34 PM.

American is a beautiful country with some lovely people. However, visitors are made to feel very much less than welcome at immigration. Treated like common criminals: fingerprinted, photographed and regarded as lesser mortals by uncommonly unpleasant immigration officials. Little wonder that some people choose not to undergo this humiliating treatment too often. Why is it that most other countries can make you feel so welcome on entry but not our closest ally?
Posted by greysky on July 24, 2007 7:03 PM.

I would go to America for a holiday or a visit but I find the security paranoia of the current American government a big put off. I do not want the hassle of such a security system, every day something new as regards security – America used to stand for freedom and friendliness but not anymore. Maybe the next President can take the militarism out of the culture. In the meantime, I will spend my money in a friendlier climate – in the mean time good luck.
Posted by Quiller on July 24, 2007 7:40 PM.

After I got my UK pilots licence the USA especially Orlando was very high on my list of places to go. Until I started to hear the stories comming back of other people who “used” to go to the USA for flying holidays. A few enquiries and a look at the long line of visa applicants waiting for permission to do what ever in the USA (visa waiver does not apply if you want to fly or study in USA) turned me off. Then the rest of the stories of hard nasty bully boys in immigration told by friends I know and trust. Add to this the stories of what the immigration department does to people who wish to hire aircraft and an experiance with US immigration on a transit through to New Zealand (where I could hire a aeroplane) and the exchange rate can go to 2 million to 1 and you won’t find me any where near the place.
Posted by nussle on July 24, 2007 7:41 PM.

Who wants to go to a country where your personal data is taken at the border and may be misused or mistakenly used in the most catastrophic way? There are lots other places in the world to visit and many that are much more interesting and cultural.
Posted by DanJ0 on July 24, 2007 8:25 PM.

I agree with all comments made regarding airport security and being treated like a common criminal. I used to travel to New York frequently but, after the last time, I refuse.

What I would like to see is Americans being finger printed, scanned and barked at UK airports. For too long the USA has been able to make arbitraty decisions, mistreat people of other races and nationality. Perhaps if we were to mirror their policies to their nationals, ordinary Americans would get an idea of how utterly disliked they and their country has become.
Posted by Taus on July 25, 2007 9:36 AM.

The only way you’d get me there would be by extraordinary rendition.
Posted by tarquinbullocks on July 24, 2007 8:39 PM.

The sweet smelling steam from the pouring of righteous nectar-bile on the raging fire of US fascism. Did I just type that? Hmmmmmmm…anyway…

Can you say, ‘Tipping Point’?
Can you say, ‘Post Tipping Point’?
Use the google to see what BLOGDIAL said about this in 2003-ish.

It took the Soviet Union 70 years to collapse; hopefully the Neocon Putsch will soon come to an end, and that once great country come back to its senses.

In the mean time, no decent person goes to america. No person with any sense of dignity or self worth puts themselves through the humiliating, degrading and utterly pointless USVISIT.

The momentum of refusniks unwilling to sacrifice themselves to the beasts who run that country is growing, and as people come back from holidays in civilized countries, where the welcome is warm and proper, with stories of good and hassle free times, the pressure on the us to ‘KNOACK ITOAWF’ will be irresistible – they need and lust after the tourist money more than anything.

Rock and Roll, Tight Jeans, and Maybeline

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

UK’s Brown won’t rule out military action in Iran

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Monday he would not rule out military action against Iran, but believed a policy of sanctions could still persuade Tehran to drop its disputed nuclear program.
ADVERTISEMENT

“I firmly believe that the sanctions policy that we are pursuing will work, but I’m not one who’s going forward to say that we rule out any particular form of action,” Brown told a news conference, when asked if he would rule out a military strike against Iran. […]

Brown said he believed the current sanctions were having an effect, but he thought there would still be a third resolution.

“There will probably be a third resolution in relation to Iran soon … I appeal to the Iranian authorities to understand the feelings that other countries have about the development of a nuclear weapons program,” he said.

[…]

Yahoo News

That didn’t take long did it?

And now, we have the response from StopWar:

Don’t Attack Iran

We demand that the British government oppose and condemn any form of military confrontation with Iran.

The US sabre-rattling over Iran is not only serious and disturbing, but also has uncanny resonance with the lead-up to the Iraq war. The dossier prepared by the US on Iran’s supposed involvement in destabilising Iraq is based on the same imaginary foundations and presumptions as the WMD dossier. The reality in Iraq is complex and evidence shows that the majority of foreign insurgents captured or found dead are Saudis. What does remain clear is that the Iraqi civilian death toll has reached 600,000, with January recording the highest number of civilian deaths since the invasion in 2003. As highlighted in a major report launched this week, any attack on Iran would export this misery and disaster on the Iranian people and have economic, environmental and security repercussions worldwide.

StopWar

[…]

“Why oh why are you posting this garbage you moron?!” I hear you cry.

Yes, yes…

My emphasis.

You all know what I think about StopWar. Use the google if you cannot remember.

These people cannot connect the dots. Clearly.

They say there is an uncanny resonance with the lead-up to the Iraq war. And so, what is their response?

To do exactly what they did before which did nothing to stop the ‘Iraq war’:

If there is an attack on Iran…
Stop the War Coalition will call for immediate national protest action.
There will be an emergency protest outside Downing Street at 6pm on the day of the attack or 12 noon on the weekend.

This is so …. weird!

What was it a great president of the United States of America said?

Fool me once, shame on shame on you. Fool me you can’t get fooled again

Well, these wise words obviously do not apply to the sublime thoughts of Tony Benn, the ‘President’ of StopWar, who it seems is just a gatekeeper put there to ensure that nothing oblique emerges from that very large and potentially dangerous organization.

Financial Appeal by Tony Benn, President of Stop the War Tony Benn
We depend entirely on your donations to fund all our anti-war activities.

demonstrations, vigils, public meetings, people’s assemblies, etc. However large or small a donation you can make
will be much appreciated and is very necessary.

Yours in peace, Tony Benn

What. The. Fuck?

Demonstrations, vigils, public meetings, people’s assemblies, and certainly ‘etc.’ are not ‘anti-war activities’. None of the above stopped the illegal and murderous invasion of Iraq, everyone knows it, and yet, someone as old and experienced as Tony Benn DARES to suggest ‘more of the same’ as a way to stop the destruction of Iran.

Let me tell you something about these people.

Even better, let me remind you of how they mocked ‘comical ali’ and derided the Iraqi military, lied about them, put on kangaroo trials, murdered them and treated them like they were not even human.

NOW you see what the result is; a Vietnam style total defeat for Murder Inc. and stirring calls for Jihad to be spread to all the lands of the muslims. You don’t have to be able to understand a single word of what is being said in that video, to imagine how the passion in its delivery must be stoking up the hundreds of thousands of people who are watching these and the many other martyrdom operation videos. Going into Iran with anything other than a pen is PREMEDITATED SUICIDE.

NOW you see what the result is; Britain on tenter hooks, shooting people in the streets, dismantling liberty, destroying this beautiful country.

What a shame!

The fact of the matter is young Iranians are hungry for rock and roll, tight jeans, and Maybeline. If you go in there and try and FORCE them to wear makeup, tight pants and listen to Buddy Holly, they will resist, and you will end up with another Iraq style debacle.

There is no excuse whatsoever to even be saying the words ‘attack Iran’. Unless you want a new islamic super-state created from the combined ashes of both Iraq and Iran.

Richard Rogers: Architect of The New Authoritarianism

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

He knew about it from the beginning:

I am not sure if this is still the case, but certainly a year or two ago among the plans for the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow was an elaborate and supremely high-tech tracking system for passengers.

The architect from the Richard Rogers partnership told me about it with a gleam in his eye. It was difficult not to feel caught up in his enthusiasm. It worked like this: the terminal, a highly evolved amalgam of building, computer and machine, would know about you before you arrived.

When you had bought your ticket, an image taken from your passport would already have entered its systems. As you arrived, flustered and anxious in the way only airports can make you, Terminal 5 would look at you through its myriad cameras, compare your face with the large number of faces on its database, measure and recognise you – the word “biometric” was not yet common currency at the time – and then, even through the fluster, know you for who you were.

[…]

The Telegraph – from 2003

What follows is a good article of the type we have all read many times.

What this article, sent to me by email, proves, is that Richard Rogers knew from the beginning that dehumanizing fingerprinting and photographing tools were to be used to corral passengers at Terminal 5. That firm was not only complicit in this shameful place, but enthusiastic about it.

Instead of using the design of the building to segregate passengers and do the work of keeping immigration rules in place, they deliberately broke the design of the building to facilitate an experiment in managing crowds through Orwellian identity documents.

Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer immediately comes to mind; an architect whose work served to promote and enshrine the bad guys of his time. Now Richard Rogers can be classed with him; this Terminal was designed to promote boost and brainwash the people who pass through it into accepting the police state system of ID cards, universal surveillance and everything decent people loathe.

This building might not be destroyed as some of Germany’s buildings were after the war. They might however have their design flaws fixed by refurbishing so that the building does what it is meant to do, as all other airports have done very successfully, without violating the very people they are meant to serve.

This article says:

Five’s beautiful alertness and responsiveness will transform the experience of an airport, or so the liberal, civilised, imaginative architect maintained, from a horrible, authoritarian, mass experience into something subtler, gentler, more individual and more pleasant.

This is, of course, doubletalk.

What it actually means is this:

“The vile ever-present eye of complete surveillance will transform the experience of an airport, as designed by the illiberal, uncivilized and unimaginative architects Richard Rogers. What they are planning is horrible, authoritarian mass humiliation and subjugation that obvious and brutal in its reduction of the individual into mere numbered cattle. Very unpleasant.”

When people like Richard Rogers, who really should know better, actively design to encourage and foster authoritarian systems it makes it hard to explain to the ‘the busy people’ why these systems are so wrong. They cannot separate the private from the public, the voluntary from the compulsory; they see only the surface, and as it looks the same, they accept both as being equal when they are not.

What is so wrong about this is that there is a better way to control passenger flow, and this layer of Security Theatre is superfluous and unnecessary; it is inefficient, onerous, pointless and frankly, evil.

There is nothing worse than an arrogant architect. I do not like to use the word ‘arrogant’, and very rarely employ it, but in this case it is completely appropriate.

This man is deliberately using human beings as part of an experiment, and he has put himself and his ideas above the rights and dignity of of the people who his buildings should be protecting and serving.

It is very rare that a building is designed to violate and humiliate the people who use it, and that this is being done in a context where millions will be systematically violated puts Richard Rogers up there with some of history’s worst ‘professionals who misused their art’.

ContactPoint: Even more nightmarish

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Thanks to Dare to know:

The ContactPoint regulations slipped through the House of Lords on Wednesday 18th, despite resistance from a number of sources, including ARCH. Hansard has the full story.

Look at some of the evidence supplied to the House of Lords. Firstly, from Carpgemini the contractor:

* Up to 330,000 registered users.
* Database will contain records of all 11 million children in England.
* Approximately 200,000 enquiries per day, peaking at about 50 transactions per second.
* Average response times of 1 second for a keyed enquiry.
* 99.9% availability for 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.

That is a lot of accesses. It means that one million accesses per week will be made, and that the entire ContactPoint database will be copied in not less than 11 weeks.

and the nspcc chimes in with something completely illogical:

2. Paragraph 4(1)(a) refers to a child “who at that time is ordinarily resident in England.” We are concerned about how local authorities will interpret “ordinarily resident’ as it could result in particularly vulnerable children being excluded from Contact Point. We have previously raised this matter with the DfES, as neither the draft regulations nor the draft guidance gives a clear interpretation of this. The potential consequence of this is that vulnerable groups of children could be left outside the remit of Contact Point. For example, adults may present children as only being temporarily in the country, as in the case of Victoria Climbi. These children may in fact be trafficked, privately fostered or sent to this country to work and are arguably some of the most vulnerable – because they are often invisible – children in the country.

3. We would suggest that the DfES review this regulation as a matter of urgency. We would propose that the definition used in the Children Act 1989 under section 47(1) (a) “Where a local authority are informed that a child who lives, or is found, in their area” is a better guide for local authorities. In our view it would be better inappropriately to include a child on Contact Point and remove them at a later date than not to include them at all.

Retention of information – Regulation 7

4. We have previously raised concerns in relation to Regulation 7. If it is intended to archive information until the age of 24 years then this should be with the consent of the person concerned when they attain the age of 18 years. Although the information is archived, this measure arguably extends the database well into adulthood. It raises serious concerns about the privacy and confidentiality of information about a person’s childhood. This is possibly one issue which children and young people and parents have not sufficiently been consulted about.

My emphasis.

So, they want people innapropriately put into this monstrosity? Obviously they have no idea about databases and that in order for them to be really useful, they have to be accurate.

They say that, “It raises serious concerns about the privacy and confidentiality of information about a person’s childhood”. Why should this be of concern to someone only when they are 24? What about the concern of the parents?

Not very clear thinkers these people.

But there was someone with their brain switched to ‘on’:

Memorandum by the Young NCB (Young National Children’s Bureau)

1.  Young NCB, the young people’s membership network run by NCB, have submitted a set of comments on ContactPoint which the organisation has gathered from young people previously involved in DfES’ consultation processes on the scheme. Those concerned are all aged under 18.

Do you think that ContactPoint will adequately achieve its aim of “supporting more effective prevention and early intervention, to ensure that children get the additional services they need as early as possible”? If so, can you say what you think the benefits of ContactPoint are? If not, can you explain any reservations that you may have?

2.  I think it is possible in some cases ContactPoint will lead to earlier intervention, but I think the benefits are completely outweighed by the risks. The irony is that the people this system aims to help, those in danger of abuse, may not even be on the system if they don’t have a school or a doctor in which case they will still slip under the net.

3.  I think that ContactPoint will only achieve its aim if thorough and extensive training is given to all professionals using the system. If everyone concerned does not use and understand the system, it will fail. I think that to a certain extent ContactPoint will help, since it should encourage information-sharing and more contact between professionals.

Do you think that the interests of children, young people and families have been adequately taken into account in the proposals for ContactPoint? Can you give reasons for your answer?

4.  No, hardly anyone knows about ContactPoint, probably because the government are aware of what would happen if people did find out, i.e. a huge backlash and public outcry. They’ve spoken to about 15 people and when I worked with them I found them patronizing and unhelpful, they’ve clearly made up their mind regardless of what we think.

5.  The fact that children may refuse to allow their details to be on the index, but that this may be overridden suggests that this notion of a child’s ‘consent’ is practically meaningless. What is even more worrying is that young people will ‘not necessarily’ be told if their wish has been overridden.

6.  I am also not convinced about the security measures in place to stop the system being abused. Computer systems are never, ever completely safe; the threat of hacking is always there. Plus there is always the danger that a professional might use the system to gain personal details about a child or children. It would only need one or two instances of child abuse resulting from exploitation of the system being splashed all over the media for the public’s confidence (and most importantly young people’s and families’ confidence) in ContactPoint to be destroyed. It is worth thinking about whether this risk is greater than the potential benefit gained from the system. I think that extremely harsh penalties for abusing ContactPoint would need to be in place to help stop this happening, but even that could not be wholly successful.

7.  I am also worried that young people’s personal liberty will be hugely undermined by this system. Dozens of people in their local area – perhaps more – will be able to access personal details and, possibly, very sensitive information about them.

8.  I also do not think that a wide-ranging enough consultation has been carried out for ContactPoint. The huge majority of children and young people have absolutely no idea about the proposal, and so when ContactPoint arrives they will have no time to voice their concerns.

If you have other comments to offer, feel free to do so.

9.  The flaw in this system is not the system itself rather human nature, in that with access to this system people can make all sorts of harmful assumptions, particularly when people are ‘flagged’ or seen to be using sensitive services. The other big worry is that knowing people will potentially have access to this information will stop people using sensitive services, and considering we have the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe and binge drinking is on the rise that’s not a risk we can afford to run. The system is too big to be safe, too many people have access to private information and children’s right to privacy is being completely disregarded, a very dangerous situation to be in.

Ah yes, intelligence!

Another group that bought a clue:

Security of data:

27. ContactPoint is a national database partitioned into local authority areas. Although the regulations will specify the categories of practitioner to be granted access, the final decision as to who may do so will be left to local authorities. The government expects that around 330,000 people will have access to ContactPoint.

28. It is impossible to create a system on this scale that is both functional and secure. The government tacitly acknowledges this by advancing an intention that the records of celebrity children and those who are, for example, escaping domestic violence will not appear on ContactPoint. Nonetheless, the government insists that the system will be secure and points to the fact that everyone with access will undergo CRB checks; access will be by two-factor authentication and an audit system will detect improper access.

29. Criminal record checks have limited value. Within the education and social care sectors, increasing numbers of staff are from overseas and it is not possible to check their histories beyond, at most, obtaining information as to whether they have criminal convictions. Schools are advised that:

‘If attempts have been made to make checks (through obtaining a Certificate of Good Conduct or similar) but it has not been possible then the school is not required to take further action.’ [31]

At best, CRB checks detect known criminals but it is well known that paedophiles have usually committed many offences before being caught, if they are caught at all.

30. The Criminal Records Bureau warns:

The CRB cannot currently access overseas criminal records or other relevant information as part of its Disclosure service. If you are to recruit people from overseas and wish to check their overseas criminal record, a CRB Check may not provide a complete picture of their criminal record that may or may not exist.[32]

31. Two-factor authentication does not protect the system from all outside attack, particularly as ContactPoint will be accessed via Internet protocols, nor does it prevent careless disclosure or the unauthorised sharing of login information. Last year The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust reported a ‘wholesale sharing and passing on of system log-in identifications and passwords’, recording 70,000 cases of inappropriate access to systems, including medical records, in one month.[33]

32. An audit system does not prevent all improper access. The Police National Computer, for example, has a substantial audit resource and yet the Independent Police Complaints Commission comments:

‘Every year sees complaints alleging the unauthorised disclosure of information from the Police National Computer. Forces have reviewed their methods of preventing unlawful entry but there will always be a few officers willing to risk their careers by obtaining data improperly.'[34]

33. Given the scale of what is proposed, it is vital that ContactPoint does not go ahead until Parliament has ensured that all of the security issues are resolved. Indeed, consideration of the regulations will be Parliament’s last opportunity to ensure that ContactPoint does not in fact endanger children and their families.

34. ContactPoint is not essential. The traditional method of finding out who else knows a child is to ask the child or parents. If professionals are competent and ensure that families have their contact details, this system works well (unless there are genuine child protection concerns). It also leaves control of personal information with parents and children in accordance with their Article 8 rights to respect for their private and family life and freedom from unnecessary state interference.

And finally, the a last gasp of common sense from The Lords:

The Government intend to use the system to improve the care of and provision for children. Their intentions are of the best kind and are shared in principle by all noble Lords. Yet it is the very system that they seek to rely on that risks stigmatising children and discouraging them from seeking help where necessary.

The Minister said that the regulations had the backing of many childrens welfare organisations. However, the majority of young people and parents consulted by the DCFS oppose the measures, and the major childrens charitiesthe NCB, the NSPCC, Action on Rights for Children and a coalition led by BAAFhave voiced serious objections. Noble Lords will have received the excellent briefing from the Independent Schools Council.The ContactPoint system, we are told, is intended to prevent another Victoria Climbi situation. However, that is not quite accurate. The agenda for the collection of childrens data began with the programme originally called identification, referral and tracing, which predates the Laming inquiry and does not mention child protection in its original criteria. Moreover, the child protection specialist Chris Mills has already ascertained that the system would not have applied to Victoria Climbi, given her temporary residency in this country.

We all wish to see an end to the horrors that befell Victoria Climbi and others. Inasmuch as the system will create a culture of over-reliance on what will always be a flawed database, it would divert attention from the children who most need protection from those who profess to care for them. It appears that the children of the rich and famous may be exempted if there is a risk of kidnap. While I fully understand why that should be the case, it strikes me as the most damning admission of the inability of the system to protect the details of children, not to mention the injustice of treating one set of children differently from the rest.

Indeed. My emphasis…. and yet, it passed.

[…]

http://www.publications.parliament.uk

Reading through all of the submissions makes ContactPoint seem like even more of a nightmare, if that is possible. Because people are so very stupid.

The response from Barnardo’s is astonishing in its complete lack of any real understanding about this system and what it will really do and the real issues swarming around it:

8. The trailblazer authorities and DfES have consulted with children and families, particular on matters such as confidentiality and security. Barnardo’s experience within the trailblazer project was that young people want to be able to access services when they need them and they make a connection between this and information sharing; we found this particularly in cases of young people with disability, where they did not want to tell their story over and over again.

9. ContactPoint will contain no case data, simply demographics to help practitioners verify that they are working with the same person. It will be up to practitioners (as is the case now) to decide what they can share, with whom and how much. Again, work in the trailblazers (Sheffield in particular) illustrated that young people are happy for their information to be shared where they and their needs are respected and where information is shared appropriately for purposes which they understand.

So they don’t want to tell their story again and again, yet the DB will not hold these stories. Amazing.

What also shocks me is the fact that children were consulted about something that is beyond their capacity to fully understand and that will have consequences not only for them both as children and into their adulthood, but for their parents and the next generation of children. Every aspect about consulting children over ContactPoint is wrong; the only people who should have been consulted are parents, since ContactPoint will hold the data of people who are not legally responsible for themselves.

Perhaps ‘consulted’ is not what they really mean; its more likely that they ran some focus groups to see what the reactions were.

I am amazed that organizations dedicated to protecting children are FOR contact point; they must be amongst the most delusional people out there, and their total disregard for human rights is breathtaking. These people act like children are created in hatcheries and are a form of state property, without parents, families or any rights.

What a terrible business!

ContactPoint: The price of children

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

Capgemini (Euronext: CAP) is a major French company, one of the world’s largest information technology, consulting, outsourcing and professional services companies with a staff of 75,000 operating in 30 countries. It is headquartered in Paris (Rue de Tilsitt) and was founded in 1967 by Serge Kampf, the current chairman. CEO Paul Hermelin has led the company since his appointment in December 2001.

Capgemini’s regional operations include North America, Northern Europe & Asia Pacific and Central & Southern Europe. Services are delivered through four disciplines for Consulting, Technology, Outsourcing and Local Professional Services. The latter is delivered through Sogeti, a wholly owned subsidiary.

Wikipedia

So that is who got the contract to build ContactPoint.

The children of Britain sold to a French company that operates n 30 countries.

The database set to contain information and carers’ contact details for every child in England will cost £41 million (US$84 million) a year to run on top of its £224 million implementation costs, the government has admitted.

Capgemini was awarded the £40 million, seven-year contract to set up and manage the ContactPoint database and online directory earlier this week.

But children’s minister Kevin Brennan has revealed that the ongoing costs of the database — accessible to more than 330,000 education, health, social care and youth justice professionals — will dwarf the contract price.

ContactPoint will contain basic identifying information about all children in England from birth until age 18, along with contact details for their parents or carers and for professionals providing support services to them.

Brennan confirmed that the total costs of implementing the system are estimated at £224 million, with £28.4 million already spent on the project in 2006-07 and a further £11.2 million in the first three months of 2007-08.

The implementation costs include the price of adapting the government IT systems that will supply the data and the adapting of systems used by professionals working with children so they can access ContactPoint, Brennan said in a parliamentary written answer. It also includes the cost of ensuring security and data accuracy, along with staff training.

“Running costs thereafter are estimated to be £41 million per year. Most of this will go directly to local authorities to fund staff to ensure the ongoing security, accuracy and audit of ContactPoint,” Brennan said in response to questions from shadow children’s minister Tim Loughton.

By the end of next year, ContactPoint is expected to be available to all English local authorities, child protection agencies and a group of children’s charities.

An initial deployment will roll out the database to 17 early adopter authorities and Barnardo’s in April. “Progress towards readiness to receive access to ContactPoint is on track” among local authorities, Brennan said.

[…]

http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,134926-c,kidsteens/article.html

So, ContactPoint will cost:

224,000,000 / 11,900,000 = 18.82 per child

and then

41,000,000 / 11,900,000 = 3.46 per child per year

What a bargain!

Of course, this is not what these numbers really mean. What they really say is this is the price that HMG puts on the heads of every child in this country when they come to sell them to the highest (or lowest) bidder to be fleeced en masse.

That this database will violate children is beyond dispute. What is astonishing is that ContactPoint will contain data that is worth far more than 18.82 per head.

Data brokers would pay ten times that amount for the database, because they would be able to sell it again and again and again; and lets remember, this is going to be the closest thing to a complete database of all children and their parents, it will be without precedent, unparalleled.

At least, not for long.

You can find out about how data brokers work by trying to get hold of or buy a list of all the schools in the UK. The dfes has a list, but they are not allowed to sell it to you or give you access to it because doing so would compete with the data brokers that rent these lists commercially. They sell the lists at £100 per thousand entries, and then you do not get to keep the data, you only get to use it for a single purpose.

Imagine how much money ContactPoint will be worth in this case. Once the data escapes ContactPoint, companies will rent it over and over in small parcels, with sets of data sorted by postcode, age single parent or not, you name it. It will be a license to print money, and the junk mail that families will begin to receive will be indistinguishable to the mail-outs that they already get; they wont even realize that they have been ‘ContactPoisoned’.

The only people who will be immune to all of this are the celebrity families and VIP families who will not be in the ContactPoint system “for their own protection”.

Now read this:

A 224m national database of all 11 million children in England, which is being set up in response to the murder of eight-year-old Victoria Climbi, is to be designed by Capgemini.

The national Information Sharing Index is due to be ready by the end of 2008. The database, which will cost 41m per year to operate, will include addresses and telephone numbers for children and their parents – and will enable social services and doctors to share vital information about a child’s health and education across local authorities.

The child database was recommended in a report by Lord Laming after Climbi was killed by her great-aunt despite having been examined by social workers, doctors and police.

The Department for Education and Skills awarded the contract to Capgemini under a long-term agreement between the two organisations which began in 2002 and which is annually benchmarked for value.

A fully-costed design of the technical architecture is due to be completed by the end of this year.

Silicon dot com

My emphasis.

No database will prevent crime. Full stop. The sad story above shows that even when the social services are in full contact the bad stuff still happens. It happens very very rarely, and ContactPoint is no proper response to this.

And finally, a good comment on this story:

Name: Anonymous

Location: Midlands

Occupation: IT Developer

Comment: Lets see now…

Server 2,000
Oracle Lic 1,000
DBA for day 1,000
CapGemini profit 223,996,000
========
Total 224,000,000

That’s how it works, is it?

Right on the money!

Heathrow Terminal 5: Architectural Disaster

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

Heathrow to check fingerprints

Last Updated: 12:01am BST 21/07/2007

Terminal 5 passengers will have fingers and faces scanned, says Jeremy Skidmore.

Fingerprinting of passengers, a process that has irritated many visitors to the United States, will soon be happening on some domestic flights within Britain.

Domestic passengers departing from Heathrow’s Terminal 5, which opens in March, will have to give a fingerprint and have their faces scanned as part of a security check before take-off. The checks are being brought in because both domestic and international passengers will share a common departure lounge and there are fears that those arriving on international flights may be able to bypass immigration control by booking an onward domestic flight to a regional airport.

This is total insanity.

Firstly, whenever someone gets off a plane, they go straight from the plane to immigration, where they are checked. They should then go to a waiting room that does not physically connect with domestic flight passengers.

The architects that designed Terminal 5 (Richard Rogers Partnership) should be sued for extreme negligence; can you name me a single airport where domestic and international passengers are allowed to freely mingle in a unified departure lounge?

This is one of the biggest design blunders ever in the history of airport design, and now, passengers flying on domestic flights are going to have to submit to fingerprinting just to travel in their own country.

International passengers departing through Terminal 5 will be subject to the normal checks and controls but will not undergo face scans or have to provide a fingerprint. At Gatwick, which also has a shared departure lounge for all passengers, domestic travellers already have their photographs taken.

Did you know this?

A spokeswoman for Terminal 5 said the new fingerprinting systems were a way of taking security to the next level. “At the moment there are no plans for any other passengers to be fingerprinted, but it is the way of the future. We work closely with the Home Office on security issues,” she said.

This is just total bullshit. USVISIT has been a total failure, costing billions only to catch a few people (1500 out of tens of millions of people violated) who have outstanding parking tickets.

From this autumn, those arriving at 10 US airports, including New York JFK, Chicago, Miami and Boston, will have to give fingerprints of all 10 fingers, raising fears of increased delays.

Note how the delays is the only thing concerning this writer.

Bob Mocny, the acting director of the US-Visit Programme, which runs immigration security, said the new technology would improve safety

That is a lie, and it is demonstrated by the figures.

and, eventually, be a fast system. He said the same system would be introduced across Europe in the future.

And from what crystal ball did he glean this information?

However, the Home Office said this week that it has no plans to insist on fingerprints for incoming passengers.

They will not be able to justify it using the USVISIT numbers – they just don’t add up.

“We take fingerprints across 80 different countries from people when they apply for visas and have stopped 4,000 people from coming in,” said a spokeswoman.

That is a totally different scenario. It has nothing to do with fingerprinting EVERYBODY whenever they want to travel.

Recent improvements in security at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted include the introduction of flat scanners that can read the new biometric indicators in e-passports.

That is not an improvement in security, it is more Security Theatre.

Extra checks on passengers have been introduced following the recent attempted terrorist attacks at airports, leading to fears of increased delays for passengers this summer.

And none of them will be of any use. All of them are Security Theatre.

Telegraph

[…]

I have to say, that this is close to the most absurd and insane thing I have ever read. A firm of architects opts to create a single departure lounge with international and domestic passengers unsegregated, and as a result, to fix the problem, people flying inside their own country have to be fingerprinted like criminals.

This is absolute, complete, cant-make-shit-like-this-up INSANITY.

Architecture should serve the people who have to live work and go through it. By failing to segregate domestic and international passengers, not only has Richard Rogers Partnership failed to consider the dignity of passengers who are going to go through Heathrow Terminal 5, but they have failed to understand the brief.

Security at an airport, at a minimum means ensuring that immigration rules are followed. It means carefully considering the flow of passengers and their status. By failing to implement passenger flow correctly by creating a shared departure lounge, Richard Rogers Partnership has created a building that will not only fail to serve the people who use and pass through it, but which will violate and humiliate millions of people. It will serve as yet another way to soften up the people to the idea of regular fingerprinting for even the most simple of things.

This is one of the greatest architectural disasters ever.

Moonies, LA Loonies and your future

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

Here is a post on Dare To Know featuring ‘Tony Mooney’, and another more important one on Gloucestershire’s Local Authority who are telling the DfES that visits to home educators must be mandatory or at least that the LA should have automatic rights of access.

Tony Mooney is the Bogeyman of HE in the UK. Sadly there is no organized professional PR effort to debunk his rentaquote nonsense. Whenever they (BBC or anyone in the media) want someone who is against HE to provide a ‘balancing’ argument they call him, and he is the only one they ever call.

There is widespread ignorance about HE in this country both in terms of how well it works for children and families on every level and how well it is performing abroad. Sadly, most people get their misinformation and opinions from newspapers – this includes MPs.

I have argued before that we need a permanent professional PR company to promote the facts about HE in this country as a long term educational strategy (!!) focussed on getting everyone in the UK to understand what HE is.

Look at this clipping from the Washington Times:

More and more colleges are actively recruiting homeschooled students; each year there are an estimated 50,000-plus homeschool high school graduates who find work or go to college, and thousands of new curriculum products have become available over the past five years. Meanwhile, the number of homeschoolers continues to grow by 7 percent to 15 percent each year; more states are reforming their laws to remove the burdens from parents who want to home educate, and homeschoolers continue to excel in national competitions as well as on standardized tests. In short, homeschooling is a major success story.

Now, for the first time, homeschooling has been recognized in an opinion by a U.S. Supreme Court justice as a viable educational alternative. Morse v. Frederick, which recently made national headlines, involves free speech and whether a public school can regulate what a student says. The 5-4 decision said that the school principal, Deborah Morse, did not violate the free speech rights of Joseph Frederick when she took down his pro-marijuana banner, which said Bong Hits 4 Jesus. The student had violated school policy and was advocating illegal drug use.

While the Home School Legal Defense Association agrees with the ruling in this specific case, it is a reminder to all families that when your child enters the public school, you have virtually ceded your parental rights to the public school.

The clearest explanation of this view was expressed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Fields v. Palmdale, when it said, While parents may have a fundamental right to decide whether to send their child to a public school, they do not have a fundamental right generally to direct how a public school teaches their child.

This is the reason many parents have chosen to homeschool, especially those parents who have a religious worldview, because they know their children will be taught secular values by the public system.

In Morse v. Frederick, however, Justice Clarence Thomas said, If parents do not like the rules imposed by those schools, they can seek redress in school boards or legislatures; they can send their children to private schools or home school them; or they can simply move.

This is the first time the Supreme Court specifically has recognized homeschooling as a viable educational alternative. HSLDA has worked for 24 years to advance a parents right to homeschool and to promote homeschooling to the general public.

After 24 years, it is gratifying to read the words of a Supreme Court justice who rightfully placed homeschooling on a level playing field with public and private schools. This kind of recognition is tremendously significant to the homeschool community.

Its another step on the long road to raise homeschooling to the point where, when the terms public, private or homeschool are used in the same sentence, they all will be seen as mainstream educational alternatives.

[…]

Washington Times

Now in the UK, journalists are still writing about the doubts concerning HE, when in fact, there are only positive things to say about it, and it is growing wildly in the US, so much so that it is transforming the way people think about education.

Very soon in that country, the the underachievers will come predominantly from the state school system as parents switch en masse to HE.

The control of perception and growth of HE has not happened by accident. It has taken place thanks to the hard work of the HSLDA and other professionally run HE groups whose work has actually created new law to protect the rights of HE families.

The quote from this article says it all:

Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gongthese are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history. Winston Churchill, speech, House of Commons, May 2, 1935

We should not be waiting for the next interview with Tony Mooney; we should be preemptively pushing out the HE message with a dedicated team of professional PR workers so that, say, in five years there will be no one in the UK who does not agree with HE, because they already understand what it is all about.

It will then be much more difficult for MPs to pull shenanigans in the House of Commons to whittle away our rights, though they might certainly try.

It is important to understand how newspapers and the media work when considering this argument. Newspapers get their stories and features almost exclusively through PR companies trying to promote a product or idea. Imagine there is a special filter through which you can see different types of media and imagine that this special circle of glass highlights all articles placed in newspapers by PR companies red. If you were to look at a newspaper through this special piece of glass, you would find that a paper like The Guardian is a dense patchwork of red.

Most of the articles in a newspaper or even at a website like the BBC are placed by PR companies. Journalists sit down and have material fed to them on a constant basis, and depending on the combination of the relationship they have with the person ‘selling the story’ at the PR firm, the hotness of your story idea and the slowness of the news at the time, your story either gets in immediately or is deferred.

This symbiotic relationship works well for the PR company and the journalist, who is eager to fill her quota of words and who also wants to be the person who wrote a very widely read and syndicated story. Hot stories can start in one paper, get read by other journalists who then pick it up and repeat its ‘facts’ verbatim in their own papers; the original source however is usually a PR company who provided the original material in the form of a press release or story idea.

There is absolutely no reason why this tool, professional PR, cannot be used by people wanting to promote HE. All it takes is some money and the will to do it. I have often asked HE people if they would pay a small amount of money after the enacting of some bad legislation restricting Home Education in the UK to reverse it, and the universal reply is ‘yes’. What these people need to understand is that it is better to spend that money in advance of such an attack to prevent that legislation being drafted in the first place. I don’t think £20 a year is too much to pay towards making bad legislation an remote possibility, and something of that order spread between 1000 families would more than do the job.

As HE grows in the UK, the government will feel obliged to step in and control it. They do not like anything to be outside of their influence, and something as fundamental to the national character as education will not go unregulated if a large percentage of the children of the UK begin to home educate. It is therefore imperative that the awareness and perception about HE is steered by the people who are practicing it, and not the people who are pathologically hostile to it.

The proportion of HE families vs schooling in the UK is relatively huge, and the law in the UK very liberal compared to some of the other countries in this list:


Australia


Bulgaria


Cambodia


China


Dominican Republic


Guatemala


France


Hong Kong


Hungary


Indonesia


Kenya


Malaysia


Netherlands


Poland


Singapore


South Africa


Thailand


Ukraine


Bahamas


Brazil


Canada


Chile


Czech Republic


Germany


Ireland


Israel


Japan


Lithuania


Macau


Mexico


New Zealand


Philippines


Romania


South Korea


Switzerland


Taiwan


United Kingdom

Germany and Brazil stand out immediately as countries where HE is banned outright.

Your rights in the UK are precious and need to be cherished and defended. You should not take it for granted that you have these rights, and you should work to preserve them using all the tools available to you.

When the consultation document is published, if it the complete opposite of what you require, what are you going to do to undo it? Only a few people have submitted their opinions out of the many tens of thousands of parents that are out there; what would you pay to undo the bad things that are on the horizon?

That is what you need to ask yourself.