Archive for October, 2007

Citizens turn to Blackberry in the face of government spying

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

By Chad Skelton
CanWest News Service
Vancouver Sun
October 08, 2007

VANCOUVER — Police often say organized crime in B.C. is big business. So perhaps it was only a matter of time before gangsters adopted the device of choice among corporate workaholics: the BlackBerry.

It has become so popular among B.C. gang members that an internal RCMP “threat assessment” on organized crime produced this year devotes an entire section to the device.

“It’s something we’ve seen increasing over the last three to four years,” Staff Sgt. Bruce Imrie, head of the RCMP’s Vancouver Integrated Technological Crime Unit, said in an interview. And that poses a big challenge for law enforcement, because encryption and security features make the devices much harder to wiretap than land lines or cellphones.

“The BlackBerry (server) was created with corporate data security in mind,” states the RCMP report, obtained by The Vancouver Sun through the Access to Information Act. “Until recently, this system was only affordable by companies such as Telus, CIBC, and the like; they are now more affordable and it is easy for individuals to set-up a network.”

Imrie confirmed when police get a warrant for a criminal’s BlackBerry messages it can be difficult to intercept them.

“The use of BlackBerries may allow them to circumvent lawful access … (with) the encryption involved in the transmission,” said Imrie.

Even when police confiscate a criminal’s actual BlackBerry, he said, cracking its password to view the messages stored on it can be a challenge.

BlackBerries are most popular among a gang’s highest-ranking members, said Imrie.

“Your general street-level criminal doing organized shoplifting is not as likely to have a BlackBerry as your high-end drug trafficker,” he said. “(And) depending on the sophistication of the criminal organization, the use of the BlackBerry seems to increase.”

However, as BlackBerries become more affordable, that distinction is starting to blur, he said, with the devices becoming more prevalent among all types of criminals.

RCMP Insp. Gary Shinkaruk, head of biker gang investigations in B.C., said BlackBerries are “extremely common” among the criminals his unit investigates.

“For a lot of groups, it’s standard practice,” he said.

Research In Motion, the Canadian company that makes the BlackBerry, did not respond to a request from The Sun to comment on its security measures.

However in June, Scott Totzke, RIM’s vice-president of global security, told The Times of London that its encryption is virtually unbreakable.

“Every message that is sent via a BlackBerry is broken up into 2Kb (kilobyte) packets of information, each of which is given a 256-bit key by the BlackBerry server,” said Totzke. “That means to release the contents of a 10Kb e-mail, a person would have to crack five separate keys, and each one would take about as long as it would for the sun to burn out – billion of years.”

The 500-page RCMP report, titled the Integrated Threat Assessment on Organized Crime, is produced each year.

The copy released to The Sun was heavily edited, with the RCMP deleting many sections for security reasons.

Canada.com

Privacy will be the exclusive reserve of the rich and the ‘criminal’, like we said before.

This is of course, only one sort of private network that anyone can set up, and Asterisk is even simpler and more stealthy. A group of people requiring telephone privacy would, for example, set up an asterisk server somewhere, and then distribute handsets to all the members of the group. Once this is done, the following features become available:

  • free phone calls to any member
  • unbreakable encryption
  • no traffic analysis, because no one even knows that a phone call is in progress
  • phone calls from any open wireless access point, so no cellular network triangulation

Since the plaintext and ciphertext of calls are not stored anywhere, this is a better solution for everyone since there is no ‘evidence’ left behind for anyone to trawl through or try to decrypt. If anything at all is found, only a server and some handsets will turn up and no trace that even a single call was made.

It doesn’t take much imagination to substitute the words ‘gangster’ and ‘criminal’ for ‘you’ and ‘me’. If you want to keep the contents of your email private, there are ways to do it right out of the box.

Will we finally see a surge in the use of GPG/PGP? Only time will tell. What is for certain is that there are more people who are thinking about there privacy than ever before, and some of them are taking steps to protect themselves.

Pssssssssssssssssssssssssss!!!!

Monday, October 8th, 2007

The title of this post is the sound of a safety valve allowing steam to escape from a pressure cooker:

BBQ:

Anti-Iraq war protest goes ahead

Hundreds of anti-war protesters took to the streets in 2005.

Anti-war protesters have marched down Whitehall to Parliament Square, despite being told the protest was illegal.

The Stop the War Coalition timed its protest to coincide with Gordon Brown’s Commons statement on Iraq.

Students, campaigners and trade unions joined the rally in Trafalgar Square, before marching down to Parliament.

The group was told it could not march down Whitehall because of a law passed in 1839 which protects the right of MPs and peers to get to Westminster.

But a last-minute decision to let the march go ahead was hailed by organisers, who said they had struck a “significant blow” for democracy.

Protesters’ determination

Lindsey German, convener of the Stop the War Coalition, said they had repeatedly been told they could not go ahead with the march – but said the authorities had underestimated their determination.

The protest coincided with Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s statement to MPs, in which he said the plan was to reduce troop numbers to 2,500 by next spring – depending on conditions on the ground.

Ms German said her message to the government was: “You will never draw a line under this war until you bring all our troops home.”

Labour left-wing MP John McDonnell said the attempt to “ban” the protest had been “an unacceptable assault on our civil liberties”.

Lawful protest

Respect MP George Galloway, currently suspended from the House of Commons after a row about his Mariam Appeal charity and his comments about standards watchdogs, said organisers had won a “significant victory”.

Speaking at the start of the protest in Trafalgar Square, he said that Mr Brown saw Iraq as a “photo opportunity” but that it had been a “graveyard for a million Iraqis”.

Other speakers included comedian Mark Thomas and Ben Griffin, a former SAS trooper.

Owen George, 21, who was at the protest in Parliament Square, said the demonstration was “amazing”.

He said: “They managed to get into the square, which is very good. It’s amazing how much freedom people do have in this country.

CND chairwoman Kate Hudson accused Mr Brown of trying to ban the protest – despite promising to extend liberties around the world at the Labour Party conference.

However, a Home Office spokeswoman said the march had not been “banned” and talks had been held to find a way of re-routing protesters.

The Metropolitan Police said it had worked with the coalition to “facilitate” a lawful protest.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Our aim is to balance the right of the Stop the War Coalition to freedom of protest whilst maintaining the right of MPs and peers to conduct the business of either House whilst they are sitting.”

[…]

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7033296.stm

And also:

Thousands in anti-war march

2 hours ago

Thousands of people took part in an anti-war march to Parliament on Monday after police made a last minute decision to lift a threatened ban on the protest.

The Stop The War Coalition said the demonstration struck a significant blow for “liberty and democracy” and claimed that the attempt to stop it going ahead had swelled the number of supporters.

Police said 2,000 people joined the march, but organisers said the figure was at least double that number, with students, trade unionists and peace activists taking part.

The march disrupted traffic outside Parliament just as the Prime Minister was due to arrive in the Commons to tell MPs about the latest phase of British troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Gordon Brown was seen being driven along adjoining roads to Whitehall to avoid being caught up in the demonstration.

Scores of police officers escorted the banner-waving, chanting protesters from Trafalgar Square to Parliament, past Downing Street.

Lindsey German, convener of the Stop The War Coalition, said the group had been told time and again by police in recent days that they could not go ahead with the march, and she claimed the authorities and MPs had underestimated the determination of the anti-war movement.

She said her message to the Government was: “You will never draw a line under this war until you bring all our troops home. “And we don’t want the troops brought home just so they can be sent to Afghanistan or the Iranian border. We want a permanent break with George Bush’s murderous, imperialistic policies.”

Ms German also claimed that Britain is now seeing restrictions on civil liberties as a direct result of the war in Iraq.

Andrew Murray, chairman of the coalition, announced to the crowd that the police relented just 30 minutes before the rally was due to start, adding: “This is a tribute to this movement and to everyone who has campaigned to assert our right to hold this Government to account for the criminal policies it is following around the world.”

[…]

http://ukpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5jcaLumrZgrlNC3v_bIxYq2x9jvmQ

And so.

No one was martyred at this march. Shame.

All the people who went on this march are now in pubs or on trains home, and what precisely have they achieved? They are not even on the front page of BBQ/CNN or anything (not that that would change anything).

There are 143 stories about this at the time of this post; not very many is it? But I digress.

Once again, what precisely have they achieved?

The undemocratic anti protest laws are still on the books.
Britain is now explicitly supporting an attack on Iran.
Troops not coming home from Iraq.
Troop numbers planned to increase in Afghanistan.
War machine intact.
Dissent quelled.
No assurances.
no change of policy.
No promises.
No mention in parliament.
Scant mention on the news.
No increase in momentum.
No fabrication of a long term strategy.

They have achieved absolutely nothing. NOTHING. They have nothing to show for this display.

I have grave doubts about the level of intellect of the people behind Stop the War. Certainly their understanding of English leaves much to be desired:

The Stop The War Coalition said the demonstration struck a significant blow for “liberty and democracy” and claimed that the attempt to stop it going ahead had swelled the number of supporters.

This is clearly nonsense. They didn’t strike a blow for anything at all, they did NOTHING, there was no action, no purpose, no consequence, no reaction, NOTHING AT ALL. It is as if the march never even happened. The march that rallied two million people was a great achievement; let’s call a spade a spade, this march was pathetic, and impotent and useless and stupid.

“This is a tribute to this movement and to everyone who has campaigned to assert our right to hold this Government to account for the criminal policies it is following around the world.”

The police relented 30 minutes before the march was due to start. This is a tribute to the intelligence of the enemy. They did the math. They know that demonstrations are useless steam valves, and they understand the dynamics of martyrdom and how the press would jump on them if the Tasers and clubs came out. This is an Epic Win for the war machine Police State, and anyone that says otherwise is a FOOL. Or they do not understand the words they are using.

Marching in front of parliament is not ‘holding Government to account’, and criminals are not brought to justice by marching; they are brought to justice by force. Criminals are arrested and then imprisoned or hanged by force. Government is held to account by being turfed out either at an election or by revolution, and marching doesn’t do any of these things, especially a march of 2000 people.

Sorry people, these are THE FACTS.

You would all do well to study how previous wars were derailed, and the sorts of strategies that worked, as a pointer to what to avoid and adopt in the twentieth century. Go and watch Sir! No Sir! and see for yourself what a real, effective rebellion looks like; one so powerful that the government at the time had to adapt to its detrimental effects.

Kafka couldn’t make up something this absurd

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Boy in court on terror charges

A British teenager who is accused of possessing material for terrorist purposes has appeared in court.

The 17-year-old, who was arrested in the Dewsbury area of West Yorkshire on Monday, was given bail after a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

It is alleged he had a copy of the “Anarchists’ Cookbook”, containing instructions on how to make home-made explosives.

His next court hearing has been set for 25 October.

The teenager faces two charges under the Terrorism Act 2000.

The first charge relates to the possession of material for terrorist purposes in October last year.

The second relates to the collection or possession of information useful in the preparation of an act of terrorism.

He stood in the dock wearing a baggy, blue hooded top and only spoke to confirm his name and date of birth.

After the 40-minute hearing, the teenager was released on bail under several conditions.

A second 17-year-old who is facing similar charges has already been remanded in custody and will also appear at the Crown Court on 25 October.

[…]

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7030096.stm

So, there is a young man in court for posessing a book that people have read for over three decades:

This is a book that you can get from many places on the internets, for example:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/89607/Anarchists-Cookbook-IV-4-14

And I guarantee you that once news of this case becomes widespread the number of places where you can get it will triple.

It is absurd on several levels that this book should be illegal. Firstly, you have been able to get it for thirty years. Two, it is your right to read any book that you like. Three, you can get it anywhere via the internets.

Are they now going to say that sites on the internets cannot store and serve this book? Pathetically and predictably, ‘yes’ is the answer.

They will never succeed, firstly because america’s first amendment rights protect books like this, and there is no way that you can block the internets….but you know this.

What is so appalling is that this poor chap is being hauled over the coals over a book, over his right to posses and read a book.

And leave it to BBQ to give the story a misleading title. It should have read, “Boy in court for possessing thirty year old book”.

The Dark Times!

En Gardasil!

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

There has been a request for Gardasil to be examined. The main question/accusations from the request being:

According to the numbers given above, they want to spend 100,000,000 to possibly prevent cervical cancer in 700 people each year.

That is the sole justification for this.

What this article doesnt count out are the numbers of people who will certainly be permanently damaged by this vaccine:

We have concerns about the inadequacy of the safety trials that have been conducted on the HPV vaccine.
They have been tested on adult women meaning we do not know whether they are safe for boys and young girls.

So, basically, we need to know whether Gardasil works, and if getting an injection of Gardasil is safe or not. Is there a chance of permanent injury? For this we need the original data of the peer-reviewed article published to support the claims of Gardasil effectiveness and safety. This was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a well-respected clinical based journal.

This may seem like a hard read for the lay person, but all we need focus on is this:

By comparing vaccine to placebo, we see no serious significant differences between the groups. Just having a jab gives ‘adverse reactions’. Here’s what Merck says on safety of Gardasil. I would guess most of the adverse reactions are due to the use of alum as an adjuvant. Not something to worry about particularly, and certainly not for inducing ‘permanent damage’.

According to the CDC, four fatalities occurred near the time of the patients Gardasil injections. One patient died three hours after receiving the Gardasil vaccination; blood clotting was listed as the cause of death.

I can find no reference for this, either in the quoted article, or in the google. This info cannot be trusted.

There are now 7 reported deaths. Here are a few excerpts from those reports.

19 year old female Echocardiogram revealed very enlarged right ventricle & small left ventricle as well as large blood clots within both the right atrium & right ventricle.

15 year old female Consult states had HPV vax at PCP on 3/2 & no other recent vaccines.

11 year old female She experienced cardiac arrest, required lung bypass (ECMO) and may not have expired. It was also reported by the same nurse that the physician from the hospital said that the death was due to an anaphylactic reaction to Gardasil.

Unknown Information has been received from a physician who attended a conference that mentioned two patients who were vaccinated with Gardasil. Subsequently the patients died.

I can’t find any original medical evidence for Gardasil-associated fatalities either on the wider web, or in PubMed. [search ‘gardasil’ and ‘fatal’ or ‘death’]. It would help if those with axes to grind would show us their grindstones.

However, this doesn’t mean Gardsil is a lovely safe thing. I highly recommend reading this very well-written article, also in NEJM. In summary, this article dissects the clinical trial data, and says what YOU SHOULD ALREADY KNOW; that the trial was devised and designed to maximise any potential benefits of Gardasil, that the measurements used are the most generous available while remaining acceptable to external reviewers, that the study groups do not match the likely patient groups. And so on. To summarize, Gardasil works to some extent, over a relatively short period (5 years protection from 3 jabs is pretty poor, immunologically speaking), but is not apparently dangerous in itself, depite the misgivings of a few unreferenced articles.

So, why make an HPV vaccine? Well, cervical cancer is worth preventing and it is kind of ‘proof of principle’ for other potential cancer vaccines. And prevention is better than cure in this case. But there are public health and parental choice concerns.

If you have access to a print library/doctor/medical school get a copy of the BMJ and read this article.

Seems like there are plenty of clinicians ready to air their scepticism at exactly why this drug is being pushed on such a large population, and with little or no patient choice.

The vaccine is undoubtedly set to be a blockbuster product for Merck. Twenty US states are considering bills that would make the immunisation a requirement for school attendance, which could net Merck billions of dollars

Gardasil now mandatory in Texas for your 10-12 year old daughters…

Merck is bankrolling efforts to pass state laws across the country mandating Gardasil for girls as young as 11 or 12. It doubled its lobbying budget in Texas and has funneled money through Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country.

And what else did you expect? We’ve told you this scenario before, with chickenpox vaccine. A pretty low health risk, but a potential fortune for the drug company that gets in first and persuades YOUR government to LEGISLATE to MAKE YOU TAKE IT UP THE ARSE.

Stop the War demonstrators arm in arm: Chain of Fools

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

The great and the good and the deluded of Stop the War explain why they are prepared to be fooled twice:

Why you should join us:

“The authority for this march derives from our ancient right to free speech and assembly enshrined in our history. It is only fair to tell you that the march will go ahead, in any case, and I will be among those marching.”
Tony Benn, in letter to the Home Secretary

Tony Benn is old enough to understand what is going on, and he also undoubtedly knows that an attack on Iran is in the offing. That he is promoting this march is highly suspicious, as he must know more than anyone involved in this business that the march will have no measurable effect on anything to do with either Iraq or Iran and the diabolical plans being executed on them.

“A protest demanding all the troops out now is of national significance. To try and stop that protest is a major interference with free speech. The march should go ahead whether it is formally permitted or not.”
Walter Wolfgang, Labour Party NEC

A protest demanding all troops out now is of nosignificance. To try and stop that protest is a minor nuicance to the Murder inc Cabal (Mark 2) and free speech is being used to distract from the true monster that is The War Machine. The march should not go ahead, and other, more effective tactics should be used.

“The government want to bury the issue of their disastrous war. They will not succeed. We will be marching in our thousands on Monday.”
Lindsey German, Convenor Stop the War Coalition

And you will achieve nothing. It is YOU who will not succeed.

“In a democracy we expect peaceful protest to be permitted. We are not yet in the kind of tyranny that the Burmese people have to suffer, I hope the authorities will reconsider.”
Bob Wareing MP

You are already in a tyranny, and it is people like you that voted for it:

How Robert Wareing voted on key issues since 2001:

  • Has never voted on a transparent Parliament.votes,
  • Voted moderately against introducing a smoking ban.votes,
  • Voted moderately against introducing ID cards.votes,
  • Voted very strongly against introducing foundation hospitals.votes,
  • Voted very strongly against introducing student top-up fees.votes,
  • Voted moderately against Labour’s anti-terrorism laws.votes,
  • Voted very strongly against the Iraq war.votes,
  • Voted moderately for investigating the Iraq war.votes,
  • Voted very strongly against replacing Trident.votes,
  • Voted very strongly for the hunting ban.votes,
  • Voted moderately for equal gay rights.votes,

So don’t even go there.

“Gordon Brown cannot praise protesters in Burma and then ban a protest in London. I will be protesting on Monday, regardless of whether Police permission is granted.”
Ben Griffin (ex SAS trooper)

Gordon Brown is an accessory to MASS MURDER. He can and will say that night is day and day is night, and it is people like you that allow him to do it, because you refuse to face the truth and use tactics that will work to destroy the war machine.

“If people aren’t allowed to have their say on all our streets, what kind of Parliament are we meant to be defending?”
Michael Kustow, theatre director

You mean you do not know? This is a Parliament that is going to compel you to carry the most invasive ID card ever invented. This is the Parliament that rubber stamped over 3000 new draconian laws under the Bliar regime. This is the Parliament that ignored the 2 million people who marched in London to prevent the bloody murderous catastrophy that is the illegal invasion of Iraq. THAT is the kind of Parliament you are defending. You are supporting the war and propping up the legitimacy of this murderous Parliament by going on this march.

“This is rather a ham-fisted attempt to prevent us from demonstrating. What the government and police do is up to them. We will just ignore them and we have the moral and logical high-ground. I will be marching on Monday 8 October.”
Mark Thomas, comedian

Sorry Mark, you will NOT have the logical high-ground. Going on this march is COMPLETELY ILLOGICAL, and an intelligent man like you must understand this.

“It’s becoming remarkably hard to escape the feeling we’re ruled by people who are basically paranoid authoritarian incompetents.”
Iain Banks, author

At last, someone with something sensible to say.

“It is depressing that our democratic rights are being whittled away bit by bit. We will look back and wonder how this happened. They wouldn’t get away with this in one go. First an arrest for reading names, then a ban on marches. What will be next?”
Benjamin Zephaniah, poet

Your democratic rights are already gone; that is why this march has been banned. You ask what it will be next? Why not spend Monday on the internets finding out, instead of wasting your time on a useless gesture.

“The stop the war demonstration on 15 February 2003 was arguably the most politically influential march in Britain since the 1970s, so it’s no surprise that politicians are immobilising anti-war demonstrations now. At a time when the political debate at Westminster occupies ever narrower ground, it’s vital that voices from outside are heard.”
David Edgar, playwright

This is completely wrong. The stop the war demonstration on 15 February 2003 was the greatest failure in British politics since no one seemed to get the message that demonstrations no longer have any power. If everyone had woken up and understood that we need to think and act very differently from now on, it could have been the watershed event that we needed to finally put an end to the war machine (or at least Britain’s part in it). Instead, the very people who put the march on are now calling for more of the same broken strategy, albeit on a smaller scale, knowing that they failed completely, despite having the entire country behind them and being proved right by the terrible result of the Iraq invasion.

They have learned ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, and this is the failure that will allow the invasion of Iraq to carry on and which will facilitate the bombing of Iran.

Politicians are immobilizing your march because that makes you concentrate on your lost rights and not the War Machine that is directly responsible for you losing them. It is in no way vital that voices from the outside are heard. What you need to do is act in a way that stops the problem. Marching will not do this. Having your voice heard will not do this. You are wasting your time, and acting like a mouse in a laboratory maze.

All of these people have their hearts in the right place (except maybe Tony Benn, if you are the paranoid type); what they are failing to do to a man is THINK. They are not applying any sort of logic to this problem and they are being lead like brainless sheep to an event that will do nothing but fail.

THINKING is the most important step that none of these people have taken. They have the constituency, they have the moral high ground. Why will they not light the blue touch paper and do something that will end this nightmare?

David cameron in his ‘virtuoso speech’ said that he is going to concentrate on Afghanistan if elected. Clearly he doesn’t have a feel for what is going on in the UK. It is quite astonishing that he is not following what is happening with Ron Paul in the USA; even if he faked what ‘Dr. No’ is doing it would sound better than what he is trotting out. But I digress. Stop the War is in error with this non strategy of protesting. They are missing an opportunity to seize the imagination of the nation with a new idea that will galvanize everyone in the UK and restore hope.
The main problem I fear is that they have no imagination at all and thus have nothing to work with to make the magic happen.

Now, there is a possibility that if these famous people are tasered and billy clubbed and beaten to death, that this might cause a huge outrage that will stir the country to action. Anything is possible. Lets hope they get the shit beaten out of them in that case, because certainly if they are allowed to march and nothing is done, the day will pass away and the news of it will be plankton in the whales belly.

This march is a fools errand. All marches after 15 February 2003 are fools errands.

Eventually they will come to see this, mark my words.

Time to break out the Oblique Strategies deck Brian

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

Our leaders would undoubtedly be happy if we “moved on” from Iraq. They don’t want to talk about it any more: it was a dreadful blunder, and reflects little credit on any of them. Presumably this is why the question has hardly been debated in parliament. Although the majority of the public were always against the war, this was not reflected by their elected representatives. The government behaved in a way that was transparently undemocratic but the Conservatives won’t call them on it, for without their almost unanimous support the whole project couldn’t have happened.

But to conveniently forget Iraq now is to forfeit the only possible benefit the war might have: the chance to rethink the dysfunctional political system that got us into this hole. If we don’t, we risk digging a series of ever deeper holes. The Iraq adventure was justified as the planting of a beacon of democracy in the Middle East. Not only did it utterly fail at that, it also undermined our democracy. Appealing to our paranoia more than our vision, George Bush and Tony Blair obtained restrictions on freedoms that had taken centuries to evolve. They said these were necessary to ensure our security – a device used by authoritarian leaders since time immemorial.

Civil liberties never seem important until you need them. But by definition, that is the very time you won’t be able to get them, so they have to be in place in advance, like an insurance policy. In his book Defying Hitler, the historian Sebastian Hafner describes how Germany slid into nazism. At first people laughed at Hitler and played along with what seemed trivial changes in the law. For most Germans it was all rather abstract, and they were expecting things to return to normal when Hitler faded back into obscurity. Only he didn’t, and civil liberties were so compromised there was no way to stop him.

If we don’t stand up about Iraq then we tacitly sanction the next steps in this deadly experiment of democratic evangelism. Those will likely include an attack on Iran, a permanent force of occupation in Iraq (probably always the intention), the complete militarisation of the Middle East, and a revived nuclear future.

What do you mean by ‘stand up’? This is the question.

Stop the War Coalition planned a march from Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square on Monday – the day parliament resumes – to draw attention to the fact that a lot of us are still thinking about Iraq and to call for the immediate withdrawal of troops. Using an archaic law (the 1839 Metropolitan Police Act), that demonstration has now been banned. Now why would that be? Stop the War Coalition has organised dozens of such demonstrations, and as far as I know not one person has been hurt. So it can’t be public safety that’s at stake.

No, it’s the elephant in the room. This government wants to show itself as clean and new, and doesn’t want attention drawn to the elephant and the mess it has left on the carpet. So it invokes an old law, to shave a little more off the arrangements by which citizens communicate their feelings to government (a process, by the way, called democracy).

The elephant in the room is Stop the War. They are wearing the emperors new clothes. They are engaging in the inexplicable and illogical behavior that needs to be explained.

Two million people marched in the streets against the illegal, immoral, unjustified, murderous invasion of Iraq; a demonstration which Stop the War organized, and that two million were supported by at least another ten who didn’t turn up, and they were all ignored.

Anyone who now calls for more demonstrations is part of the problem. I have said this again and again on BLOGDIAL, and it took the failure of the march to get my fellow BLOGDIALERS to swallow that bitter pill. It may be your ‘democratic right’ to protest but the fact is that demonstrating is a useless gesture, and this has been comprehensively proven.

The time you have spent writing this article Eno, and the thought you put behind it was wasted. It would be far better for you and Stop the War to break out a pack of Oblique Strategies to allow you to come to a solution that will solve the actual problem, since it appears that you cannot synthesize on on the fly or off the cuff. Your problem is the momentum of the war machine and the attack on Iran that is on the horizon. That is what you need to comprehensively defeat; that is the fire you have to put out.

Demonstrations are an energy sink; they are a distraction. Your essay about you not being able to demonstrate has diverted your energy away from the problem by two degrees; firstly, you are complaining about not being able to demonstrate, which in itself is useless, because demonstrations do not work to solve the problem.

This is how they keep you under tight control, you and Stop the War and anyone else who is decent and moral. You need to stop working for these people, because they are not offering any real solutions. All they are offering is a never ending series of useless marches and petitions. It has to stop. If you do not accept this, then you must be prepared for war without end.

It would take courage for Gordon Brown to say: “This war was a catastrophe.” It would take even greater courage to admit that the seeds of the catastrophe were in its conception: it wasn’t a good idea badly done (the neocons’ last refuge – “Blame it all on Rumsfeld”), but a bad idea badly done. And it would take perhaps superhuman courage to say: “And now we should withdraw and pay reparations to this poor country.”

I don’t see it happening. But the demonstration will, legal or not: on Monday Tony Benn will lead us as we exercise our right to remind our representatives that, even if Iraq has slipped off their agenda, it’s still on ours. Please join us.

[…]

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2184946,00.html

WE ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT.

Tony Benn and Stop the War are gatekeepers who’s only aim is to pacify the outrage of the public and to channel it into useless acts that will not solve the problem.

Anyone who marches at this event is a FOOL.

One of two things will happen at this event:

  • All of you or some of you will be arrested, and nothing will change.
  • They will let the march go ahead, and you will all go home and nothing will change.

If you are really serious about putting an end to war, you all need to think hard. Think about how you solve other problems in your life, like leaking pipes or repairing a tyre puncture. You need to apply that logic to this problem, the problem of the war machine.

If you really think that marching will change anything then you are either delusional or deliberately acting to keep the whole obscene war economy running. I do not know or care which one it is, but what you cannot do is call for more impotent marches without being challenged.

respect the ‘troot

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

Homemade bread, unsalted butter, organic beetroot & lettuce, dill dressing

The world finally catches up

Friday, October 5th, 2007

2007 is turning out to be a terrible year for the music industry. Or rather, a terrible year for the the music labels.The DRM walls are crumbling. Music CD sales continue to plummet rather alarmingly. Artists like Prince and Nine Inch Nails are flouting their labels and either giving music away or telling their fans to steal it. Another blow earlier this week: Radiohead, which is no longer controlled by their label, Capitol Records, put their new digital album on sale on the Internet for whatever price people want to pay for it.

The economics of recorded music are fairly simple. Marginal production costs are zero: Like software, it doesnt cost anything to produce another digital copy that is just as good as the original as soon as the first copy exists, and anyone can create those copies (meaning there is perfect competition and zero barriers to entry). Unless effective legal (copyright), technical (DRM) or other artificial impediments to production can be created, simple economic theory dictates that the price of music, like its marginal cost, must also fall to zero as more competitors (in this case, listeners who copy) enter the market. The evidence is unmistakable already. In April 2007 the benchmark price for a DRM-free song was $1.29. Today it is $0.89, a drop of 31% in just six months.

P2P networks just exacerbate the problem (or opportunity) further, giving people a way to speed up the process of creating free copies almost to the point of being ridiculous. Today, a billion or so songs are downloaded monthly via BitTorrent, mostly illegally.

Eventually, unless governments are willing to take drastic measures to protect the industry (such as a mandatory music tax), economic theory will win out and the price of music will fall towards zero.

When the industry finally capitulates and realizes that they can no longer charge a meaningful amount of money for digital recorded music, a lot of good things can happen.

First, other revenue sources can and will be exploited, particularly live music, merchandise and limited edition physical copies of music. The signs are already there – the live music industry is booming this year, and Radiohead is releasing a special edition box set of their new album for 40.00 simultaneous to the release of their free digital album.

Second, artists and labels will stop thinking of digital music as a source of revenue and start thinking about it as a way to market their real products. Users will be encouraged (even paid, as radio stations are today) to download, listen to and share music. Passionate users who download music from the Internet and share it with others will become the most important customers, not targets for ridiculous lawsuits.

The price of music will likely not fall in the near term to absolutely zero. Charging any price at all requires the use of credit cards and their minimum fees of $0.20 or more per transaction, for example. And services like iTunes and Amazon can continue to charge something for quality of service. With P2P networks you dont really know what you are getting until you download it. It could, for example, be a virus. Or a poor quality copy. Many users will be willing to pay to avoid those hassles. But as long as BitTorrent exists, or simple music search engines like Skreemr allow users to find and download virtually any song in seconds, they wont be able to charge much.

http://www.techcrunch.com/

Of course, we wrote about this and released our entire catalogue under the FMP in 1999, before there was a Creative Commons, Bittorrent or any of the cool ways that people use to share music.

The Conet Project is a perfect example proving what we did was correct, and how it can work for other people. It has been downloaded over 200,000 times from the Internet Archive alone (it is mirrored at Hyperreal where they do not keep any stats) so I would guess that the number is at least double that taking all the mirrors past and present into account, and all the private sharing that we encourage.

We have sold many copies of TCP and demand is still strong for it; opening your archive allows you to reach more people than ever, and those that value what you do will buy other products from you and license your work.

It has taken eight years for people to finally start to wake up to this, and even today, there are still buggy whippers who trott out the same rubbish arguments against freeing music railing against Prince for example, for giving away his new CD.

The above article is very good, and there is a howler in there:

With P2P networks you dont really know what you are getting until you download it. It could, for example, be a virus.

MP3s cannot contain viruses…heh.

but lets go further. The impact on music culture will be absolutely enormous. Everyone everywhere will be able to get any music they read about as they read about it or have it reccomended, and not only that, you can now get the entire catalogue of an artist in a single movement, so that you can study their body of work, become familiar with it and then use it to inform your own work.

This is a highly significant development. In the past, it was very difficult to do this both in terms of tracking down the physical sound carriers and then paying for them. This was especially true of classical music. People used to use cassettes to trade rare music, which once again, involved buying of cassettes, the manual copying of them and distributing them. All of these steps made the cassettes more valuable than the music on them, and because they were ‘bootlegs’ the psychology surrounding them bumped the price up because someone was taking a risk to bring this sound to you. I wont go into the generational loss of quality caused by making tape to tape copies.

Today however, none of this is a factor. Getting any music you like is a near frictionless process; the only barrier being the one time initial learning curve; understanding where the music lives and how to use the tools to get it. Once you have those in place, the only problems you encounter are that there is not enough time to listen to everything, finding people you can trust to introduce you to new music, and a place to store it all.

There are also some other effects that we have an interest in.

If the quality of people who make music is low, we might never again see a flourishing of amazing groups. If the quality of music makers is high, then access to everything that has been recorded will be used as a blacklist ensuring that we get something really new and interesting. If word of mouse works efficiently however, it will bring us whatever small number of great artists who are out there and they will instantly rise to the top of who is being downloaded / listened to; that is the other payoff of this new era – ‘the death of the underground’. No one will be stuck in the absurd ghettoes of the past, where artists were ‘underground’ thanks to the inefficiencies of the market, meaning, money, distribution and journalists. Money doesn’t count anymore, distribution is now frictionless, and music journalists are almost completely irrelevant, since anyone with an MP3 blog and good taste is as powerful as any journalist.

The pyramidal structure of music culture has been dismantled and it is now in the shape of a two dimensional network of nodes, each listener being a transmitter and receiver of the music itself and information about the music. With LastFM, the very act of listening to music turns you into a node that recommends and promotes music.

All of this is a good thing. Combined with the astonishing tools that are now available to everyone for free, if the people who make music are up the challenge, they can make whatever they want and find people to listen to them. And not only find people to listen to them, find all the people in the world who are capable of understanding what they are doing. This is a very important and significant step forwards.

The old evils of the huge record companies will die with them, but this does not mean that the ecosystem that surrounds music will completely die. The lawyers will always have a role to play. Music still belongs to the people who create it, and those laws need to be enforced. Licensing and the revenues from music need to be controlled and monitored – in the short term, people will still make a fortune from radio airplay for example.

What has happened is that an inefficiency and an evil have been removed from the music distribution equation, but more importantly, human beings will have better, more enriched lives thanks to freed music. We will inevitably, I believe, get more variety and richness from new artists, and certainly there is for all intents and purposes an infinite amount of old music to charm and thrill us.

We are also at the very beginning of a greater understanding in the general public of just what it takes to produce music. Radiohead fans are showing that they are not irresponsible; they understand that the group need money to live and they are paying for the music they are downloading – even though they can get it for a price of zero. This is highly significant, and demonstrates that people are not actually stupid, and will pay to get more music if that is what they need to do. This means Radiohead get all the advantages of free music AND the advantages of running a central place to download from. I have no doubt that other groups will follow Radiohead, and that still more groups will devise their own tweaked systems to nickel and dime their fans to keep everything running.

Finally, what happens next is that the people who came up with these ideas in the first instance and those that saw it coming and who put their money where their mouths are will get the credit that is due to them. The people who thought and who still think that freed music is ‘no good’ (“I worked very hard to make my music, I don’t just want it out there for anyone to get for nothing”) will of course, not be heard or hear-able by anyone, and they will totally disappear from culture.

ID card Criminal Record check trials

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

ID card-based criminal record checks get thumbs up

Gemma Simpson

Tuesday October 02, 2007

Plans for a new service using the government’s controversial ID cards scheme to speed up criminal record checks have met with approval from volunteers involved in a trial of the technology.

The volunteers piloted two potential online services developed by the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) and the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) which could be used to authenticate the identities of and information supplied by job applicants.

At the trials, all volunteers went through a simulated experience of applying for a position requiring a CRB check. The participants met a prospective employer, filled out the CRB disclosure application form and had their identity authenticated by a counter-signatory. Their criminal record information was then disclosed to the company requesting it.

Each volunteer completed two legs in the trial one using a passport and one using an ID card.

The passport-based system would use an applicant’s UK passport with information from the IPS to make sure the data provided is correct with this system likely to come into effect before the second system. The second online service would use ID cards issued to UK citizens and foreign nationals residing in the UK for more than three months with information from the IPS to check application data. This system could be introduced in the longer term.

Nearly all (96 percent) of the 160 volunteers said the passport-related service is an improvement on the current arrangement and 71 percent rated it as a “great improvement”.

Nearly nine out of 10 volunteers said the ID card-linked service is even more robust than the passport-linked process.

But Phil Booth, national co-ordinator of the NO2ID anti-ID card campaign, criticised the trial because he said it tested the customer experience of the CRB check in isolation, while “glossing over the inconvenience and intrusiveness of the ID system as a whole”.

Booth said: “IPS is trying to sell a so-called benefit without any reference to actual cost or reality.”

[…]

http://news.zdnet.co.uk/

Well well well.

It looks like the contents of the ‘Frances Stonor-Saunders’ email are confirmed as correct yet again:

[…]

There will be spaces on this database for your religion, residence status, and many other private and personal facts about you. There is unlimited space for every other details of your life on the NIR database, which can be expanded by the Government with or without further Acts of Parliament.

[…]

Private businesses are going to be given access to the NIR Database. If you want to apply for a job, you will have to present your card for a swipe. If you want to apply for a London Underground Oyster Card, or a supermarket loyalty card, or a driving license you will have to present your ID Card for a swipe. The same goes for getting a telephone line or a mobile phone or an internet account.

[…]

http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=1207

ID cards were sold to the public on the basis that they would only hold a small amount of information. Now we see that they are to be used for CRB checks.

You can now guarantee that they will indeed hold residence status, religion, criminal record and everything else that they can possibly store on you.

Once again, for the thousandth time, if you do not register for this card they cannot include you in the database.

Meanwhile, David Cameron has reiterated his promise to scrap ID cards. He will of course, have to scrap the NIR and biometric passports to really come through on this promise.

I feel like I need something stronger

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

Drug Cocktail

I havent felt myself for about 2 weeks, directly corresponding with my last round of shots. I received my second Guardasil injection the same time as my Depo-Provera, and am also taking Lexapro on a daily basis. Ive been on Depo for just over 2 years, and it appears that the pain of the shot itself is worsening each time, and it is taking longer for the bruising to fade – 2 full weeks this last time, and I still have a faint mark.

There has been no research done on the effects of Guardasil when injected with other vaccines, and I could find nothing about my trio of drugs in relation to each other. Psychologically I feel as I did when I was 18; troubled, easily agitated, and indecisive. My moods have been all over the board, and several hours of each day every external stimuli irritates me to the point of brief, explosive anger. Ive lost my work ethic, and find myself expending my energies to shirk work and connive my way out of key responsibilities; this may be burnout, no way to tell. Ive lost my interest in all activities, and have not felt emotion about recent good and bad events, which causes me to wonder if I might be depressed as well. Ive been having a string of dreams and unprovoked thoughts that seem completely foreign as well, and 100% atypical of my usual personality. These thoughts feel male in that they stem solely from visual stimulations and have no emotional bearing. Ive also noticed mild neuorological oddities, and have odd facial twitches.

I may try to talk to the pharmacist at WalMart today or tomorrow. Currently I should feel apprehensive about the fact that we pissed off a lot of family with our decision to elope, and I should feel ecstatic that I was promoted this week and that $1100 on car maintenance was well worth the expense.

Thank the gods for alcohol.

[…]

http://misopedistbitch.com/musings/drug-cocktail/

!!!!!!

“Take 4 red capsules, in ten minutes take 2 more…help is on the way!

Pronoun Problems at Ordnance Survey

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

These maps cost us 110m. We can’t give them away for free

Were Ordnance Survey to lose its sales income, the quality of its data would decline, says Scott Sinclair

The Guardian Technology section’s Free Our Data campaign believes that Ordnance Survey’s core mapping, along with other public-sector information, “should be made freely available to the knowledge economy” (Digital Norway sweeps away barriers to information sharing, September 27).

At the same time, any moves we make to widen access, such as launching a new website for people to share walking routes, are simply seen as not good enough. You quote an Ogle Earth blog attacking us for “entering a market niche that is serviced much better and for free by the private sector” (Government opens data channel as Ordnance Survey takes a walk, September 20).

It is no surprise that the spotlight in this campaign is often on us. Mapping is incredibly popular and has a whole range of uses. The ambulance that arrives at your front door in the middle of the night, the sat-nav that takes you to your remote holiday cottage, and the local-authority call centre that lets you report the location of an abandoned car all rely on Ordnance Survey.

But in repeatedly calling for our core information to be given away, the campaign ignores the fact that someone still has to collect supposedly “free” data, and that it needs to be supported by an appropriate infrastructure. Out-of-date or poor-quality data is useless.

It cost Ordnance Survey 110m to collect, maintain and supply our data last year, but we are not “paid for by taxes”, as the campaign often claims. Instead, we depend entirely on receipts from licensing and direct sales to customers for our income – we receive no tax funding at all.

If we are successful, we can cover our costs, encourage widespread licensing through partners, and stay focused on providing value for users. Under licence, there are many examples where our data is free at the point of use. This does not mean there is zero cost.

Many local-authority websites and free-to-air services from private-sector companies embed Ordnance Survey information. We offer an emergency mapping service that helped in the response to the summer flooding. More than 30,000 university students and staff download free mapping from us.

We make a free OS Explorer Map available for every Year 7 pupil in Britain. Around 4 million children have benefited from this, making it the biggest initiative of its kind in British schools. We also provide free access to GPS survey control data over the web – vital for utilities and the construction industry.

Underpinning all of these examples is accurate and up-to-date information, which requires investment. Experience from around the world, and even from our own history between the world wars, shows that underinvestment can lead to a severe deterioration in quality.

The key aim of the Free Our Data campaign is to force us to give everything away. We believe this would seriously threaten the quality of our information at a time when more people are relying on more of it in more ways than ever before.

Scott Sinclair is head of corporate communications at Ordnance Survey

corporatecommunications@ordnancesurvey.co.uk

Guardian

Looks like Scott Sinclair has Pronoun Problems

First of all, the facts:

Ordnance Survey (OS) is an executive agency of the United Kingdom government. It is the national mapping agency for Great Britain,[1] and one of the world’s largest producers of maps.

[…]

In recent years there have been a number of criticisms of Ordnance Survey. Most of these centre on the argument that OS possesses a virtual government monopoly on geographic data in the UK.[2] Although OS is a government agency it is required to act as a “trading fund” or commercial entity. This means that it is totally self funding from the commercial sale of its data whilst at the same time being the public supplier of geographical information.

The Guardian newspaper has a long-running “Free Our Data” campaign, calling for the raw data gathered by the OS (not to mention data gathered on its behalf by local authorities at public expense) to be made freely available for reuse by individuals and companies, as happens, for example, with such data in the USA,[3] although the campaign rarely makes any comparison between the quality of the OS data and the quality of the data available from these free sources.[citation needed]

On the 7 April 2006 the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) received a complaint from the data management company Intelligent Addressing[4]. Many, although not all, complaints were upheld by the OPSI, one of the conclusions being that OS “is offering licence terms which unnecessarily restrict competition”. Negotiations between OS and interested parties are ongoing with regard to the issues raised by the OPSI report, the OS being under no obligation to comply with the report’s recommendations.

[…]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordnance_survey

Ordnance Survey is run by HMG. But the taxpayers do not pay for it. That is completely wrong. Either ORdnance Survey goes private and competes like everyone else, or it belongs to government and government pays for it, and the data is made available to anyone who wants it.

The ‘110m’ Scott Sinclair is whining about is 10m more than HMG are going to spend on Gardasil every year, and orders of magnitude less than they are spending on the immoral illogical and murderous Iraq invasion. There is money for this essential service.

There is absolutely no reason why something as important as Ordnance Survey should not be totally financed by the public, and the public given free access to all the data.

If ‘These maps cost us 110m’ and we pay for them, then they will belong to US since WE will have paid for them.

You say, “any moves we make to widen access”.. YOU are an EMPLOYEE of the state, and that means that YOU WORK FOR THE TAXPAYER in ordinary circumstances. It is not for YOU to say what YOU will and will not withhold from YOUR EMPLOYER.

You say, “The key aim of the Free Our Data campaign is to force us to give everything away. We believe this would seriously threaten the quality of our information at a time when more people are relying on more of it in more ways than ever before.”

This is nonsense, and you have deliberately missed a step. Giving away the data will not “seriously threaten the quality of our information”, underinvestment is the cause of that, by your own words. If the investment stays the same and the data is given away, the quality remains high and the benefits to everyone go through the ceiling because there are no artificial barriers to getting the data.

Better luck next time.

Unfortunately, the position of OS is rather odd; it is a state run organization that is not funded by the state. Once that flaw is fixed, then they will not have a leg to stand on.

What this man should be doing, to be on the right side of history, is joining the campaign; the argument about no money causing the map quality to deteriorate is valid. What he should be saying is, “we would love to give it away, but until HMG funds us 100% we cannot cut off the licensing model, otherwise our data quality will suffer”. This is an entirely reasonable line of argument and approach. He would not look like a luddideish, buggy whip cracking data hoarder and maybe the campaign would actually be able to pull it off.

Doing the math on Gardasil

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

This article says that BOYS should be given the anti HPV vaccine Gardasil:

Boys should be vaccinated against the sexually-transmitted disease which causes cervical cancer, a leading specialist said yesterday.
While it is only a minor complaint in boys, the human papilloma virus can be passed on to unvaccinated partners.
Ministers have already announced that girls aged 12 will be given the jab against it in the hope of saving around 700 lives a year.
Now Dr Anne Szarewski of Cancer Research UK says 12 and 13-year-old boys should also receive the jab on the Health Service.

I’m not making this up.

Dr Szarewski told GP magazine that just vaccinating girls sends out ‘a bad public health message.

This is correct; its sends the message that you can have sex without any concerns if you have this vaccination. That is the message it sends, and it is a bad public health message on every level.

‘Not vaccinating boys will increase the risk that homosexual men will become infected.’

Homosexual men do not pas on HPV to women. This vaccine was developed (so they calim) to prevent Cervical cancer. Homosexual men have nothing to do with the equation.

This is from The Daily Mail.

Now, lets THINK about this.

According to the numbers given above, they want to spend 100,000,000 to possibly prevent cervical cancer in 700 people each year.

That is the sole justification for this.

What this article doesn’t count out are the numbers of people who will certainly be permanently damaged by this vaccine:

Jackie Fletcher of the antivaccination campaign group JABS said: ‘It would make far more sense to start offering the cervical cancer smear test to women of a lower age than introducing a new vaccine to the cocktail they already receive.
‘We have concerns about the inadequacy of the safety trials that have been conducted on the HPV vaccine.
‘They have been tested on adult women meaning we do not know whether they are safe for boys and young girls.’

If it is to be given to 100 000 000 / 300 = 333 333.333 and ten percent of these are damaged what this means is that THREE THOUSAND girls will be damaged to POTENTIALLY ‘save 700 lives’:

According to the CDC, four fatalities occurred near the time of the patients’ Gardasil injections. One patient died three hours after receiving the Gardasil vaccination; blood clotting was listed as the cause of death.

A 12-year-old was co-vaccinated with Gardasil and a vaccine targeting Hepatitis A on March 1, 2007, and died six days later.

[…]

http://media.www.loyolaphoenix.com/

And then:

This article is to all you sheeple who have daughters and who believe the lie of better health through chemistry need to read this. Here is an update of the injuries this vaccine is causing.

When I wrote my Medical Alert article July 22, 2007, there were 2207 reported cases of adverse effects from the “wonder vaccine” Gardasil. Today, September 19, 2007, the reported cases are now at 3137. That is am increase of 930 young girls that have had an adverse reaction to the vaccine. So in a little less than 2 months we have had almost 1000 more girls affected.

I think it is safe to say that the number should rise to 940 by the time the two months are over. With that in mind I am going to do some calculations for you.

This would mean that approximately 465 girls are affected each month.

465 girls X 12 months would equal 5,580 young girls will have been hurt or disabled by this vaccine in one year.

There are now 7 reported deaths. Here are a few excerpts from those reports.

19 year old female Echocardiogram revealed very enlarged right ventricle & small left ventricle as well as large blood clots within both the right atrium & right ventricle.

15 year old female Consult states had HPV vax at PCP on 3/2 & no other recent vaccines.

11 year old female She experienced cardiac arrest, required lung bypass (ECMO) and “may not have expired.” It was also reported by the same nurse that the physician from the hospital said that “the death was due to an anaphylactic reaction to Gardasil.”

Unknown Information has been received from a physician who attended a conference that mentioned two patients who were vaccinated with Gardasil. Subsequently the patients died.

All this sounds so reassuring that the vaccine is safe. NOT

44 were considered life threatening an increase of 13 in two months

1921 were admitted to the emergency room an increase of 536 in two months.

581 at the time of the report had not recovered an increase of 130 in two months.

64 are disabled at the time of the report an increase of 13 newly disabled young people in two months.

The adverse effects of this vaccine were so severe that 94 girls were admitted to the hospital.

One thing you need to remember is that these reports are only for the United States. This vaccine is being administered to girls in many countries around the globe. So, I feel that these numbers could be increased by 34 times. That is staggering.

[…]

http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/janak/070919

Astonishing.

According to this government document the total number of deaths in the uk for 2005 was 511,071

Deaths from MRSA in 2005 are documented here and were over 2000. It must be pointed out that this number is “the number of death certificates specifying MRSA” in other words there are certainly people in the system who are dying of MRSA complications and this is not being put in the record. You know why.

This 100,000,000 would be FAR better spent cleaning up the filthy hospitals rather than trying to save the small number of lives that MIGHT be saved by this hugely expensive vaccine, from a disease that is acquired by promiscuity and not accident. That is not a judgment on promiscuity obviously, just a statement of fact.

Imagine if they spent 300 on cleaning for each NHS hospital patient each year. Or even 150. MRSA would be wiped out.

The answer is simple: Merck should be given the cleaning contracts for the NHS!

Merck could charge the same money that it would be receiving for Gardasil and the absurd Varivax chickenpox vaccine, and be guaranteed a long term and huge revenue stream without endangering the health of the human cattle that the British Public have become.

As a brilliant immunologist said on this very blog, the chickenpox vaccine is a pure money-making exercise and nothing more, and the vaccine doesn’t even provide life long immunity like REAL chickenpox does.

No doubt we will shortly have a full rundown on Gardasil. In fact…I demand it!

Finally, the graphic above says 1000 women a year are killed by cervical cancer, and Gardisil might save 700.

What about the other 300?

Hillary Clinton as President?

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

Jultra is back!

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

You’ve probably seen the front page of yesterday’s Mail on Sunday“Officials from the top of Government to lowly council officers will be given unprecedented powers to access details of every phone call in Britain under laws coming into force tomorrow. The new rules compel phone companies to retain information, however private, about all landline and mobile calls, and make them available to some 795 public bodies and quangos. The move, enacted by the personal decree of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, will give police and security services a right they have long demanded: to delve at will into the phone records of British citizens and businesses”

As usual the Daily Mail are permitted to complain about all this stuff, but within the acceptable boundaries of plebdom. So it goes, “what if it falls into the wrong hands ?”. But of course, one struggles to think what is the ‘right hands’ in this circumstance. We’ve talked about all this stuff before on here.

Council workers asking permission from a nominated person ? Various other agencies, quangos ?

You have to think about it. What possible means do they have to interpret or act on such information ? Presumably it will be possible to phone up any government agency and arbitrarily ‘grass’ on someone you don’t like and get their phone call and internet web surfing use put into the hands directly of council, government workers ?

I remember when all this was being concocted, one of the ‘selling points’ about the phone snooping side of things (due to come in later) was that it will only be a small amount of data, ie it couldn’t show the subject of the phone call itself (obviously), but that’s not the case with internet data retention, the subject of intent is very much known from the URL requested, and can be much much more intimate. And I don’t think people really understand the implications of this.

And where are the powerful voices against all this ? Where is business ? What are they afraid of ? Are they afraid the Labour spin machine of doting commissars obsessed with hideous ideology will turn against them and start looking at their phone calls and internet records ?

Naturally all this itself is just one small part of the the regime’s ongoing plans.

This sounds a like a communist police state to me, hidden behind the crap about ‘shared values, security, terrorism, a new ‘modern’ crime’ and so on. As such I think it’s only fair to treat the country as that as I’ve said before. How else exactly are you supposed to treat it?

[…]

Jultra

At last, Jultra is back.

The question that arises from this article is…are you able to live without a phone? and if the answer is ‘no’ how can you use the phone network in a way that allows you to preserve your privacy?

Will we now see a proliferation of private un-tappable untraceable Asterisk networks supplanting the phone network?

UK can now demand data decryption on penalty of jail time

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

New laws going into effect today in the United Kingdom make it a crime to refuse to decrypt almost any encrypted data requested by authorities as part of a criminal or terror investigation. Individuals who are believed to have the cryptographic keys necessary for such decryption will face up to 5 years in prison for failing to comply with police or military orders to hand over either the cryptographic keys, or the data in a decrypted form.

After the ‘perpetrator’ comes out of gaol, does the ciphertext magically decrypt by itself?

Part 3, Section 49 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) includes provisions for the decryption requirements, which are applied differently based on the kind of investigation underway. As we reported last year, the five-year imprisonment penalty is reserved for cases involving anti-terrorism efforts. All other failures to comply can be met with a maximum two-year sentence.

We know that these laws written specifically for ‘terrorism’ are routinely used for everything OTHER than that, like shutting up 82 year old hecklers.

The law can only be applied to data residing in the UK, hosted on UK servers, or stored on devices located within the UK. The law does not authorize the UK government to intercept encrypted materials in transit on the Internet via the UK and to attempt to have them decrypted under the auspices of the jail time penalty.

So, if you run an IMAP account with the servers in another country, there is nothing they can do to force you to decrypt your email. Similarly, if you have a .Mac account and keep all the files encrypted, HMG cannot compel you to decrypt those files, even though they appear as a mountable drive on your laptop or desktop.

It is completely absurd on its face.

The keys to the (United) Kingdom

The law has been criticized for the power its gives investigators, which is seen as dangerously broad. Authorities tracking the movement of terrorist funds could demand the encryption keys used by a financial institution, for instance, thereby laying bare that bank’s files on everything from financial transactions to user data.

Cambridge University security expert Richard Clayton said in May of 2006 that such laws would only encourage businesses to house their cryptography operations out of the reach of UK investigators, potentially harming the country’s economy. “The controversy here [lies in] seizing keys, not in forcing people to decrypt. The power to seize encryption keys is spooking big business,” Clayton said.

“The notion that international bankers would be wary of bringing master keys into UK if they could be seized as part of legitimate police operations, or by a corrupt chief constable, has quite a lot of traction,” he added. “With the appropriate paperwork, keys can be seized. If you’re an international banker you’ll plonk your headquarters in Zurich.”

Not only will they relocate to Zurich, but they will run all their corporate email from there. Essentially, all this data will ‘go dark’. HMG will have to enact laws saying that any banking that happens here must be done on servers located here. That is clearly undoable.

The people who wrote this nonsense legislation are computer illiterate and clueless. They do not understand the world they are living in, and they do not have the sense to take advice from the people who do understand the complexities.

The law also allows authorities to compel individuals targeted in such investigation to keep silent about their role in decrypting data.

This is a page straight out of the PATRIOT act.

Though this will be handled on a case-by-case basis,

All crime is handled on a case by case basis. This is nonsense speak.

it’s another worrisome facet of a law that has been widely criticized for years. While RIPA was originally passed in 2000, the provisions detailing the handover of cryptographic keys and/or the force decryption of protected content has not been tapped by the UK Home Officethe division of the British government which oversees national security, the justice system, immigration, and the police forces of England and Wales. As we reported last year, the Home Office was slowly building its case to activate Part 3, Section 49.

here comes the bullshit:

The Home Office has steadfastly proclaimed that the law is aimed at catching terrorists, pedophiles, and hardened criminalsall parties which the UK government contends are rather adept at using encryption to cover up their activities.

Paedophiles, if they were locked up permanently when caught, would not be a problem. But I digress; sex criminals cannot be stopped by decrypting files. If they have enough evidence to suspect that someone is engaged in this unforgivable activity, like, credit card info (which is how they caught thousands of people recently) they do not need to decrypt files all they need to demonstrate is that the person bought access. These people are serial offenders; it is easy to catch them if the police are willing to do REAL police work. That means setting up honeypot sites, compromising the owners of sites that sell the images and then locking them up FOREVER and not just for three or four years.

Terrorists do not use encryption. That is a fact. They do not use Steganography, PGP, GPG or any of those tools. We have been over this a million times. This is about maintaining access to banking information in real time. It has nothing to do with any of the Cause clbre that HMG is trotting out.

Yet the law, in a strange way, almost gives criminals an “out,” in that those caught potentially committing serious crimes may opt to refuse to decrypt incriminating data. A pedophile with a 2GB collection of encrypted kiddie porn may find it easier to do two years in the slammer than expose what he’s been up to.

[…]

http://arstechnica.com/

Which is what I said.

This law is not about porn. It is not about ‘terrorism’. Those are pretexts. RIPA is bad law that is being shoehorned onto the books, whose real purpose is financial surveillance.

Money sees laws like RIPA as damage and it routes around it…or more accurately, it runs away from it. People will move their money into jurisdictions that are business and privacy friendly. Britain will suffer until it comes to its senses, and it will come to its senses, just as France did with its absurd ban on 128 bit SSL encryption.

Bloomberg drinks Kool-Aid served by Ken Livingston

Monday, October 1st, 2007

Billionaire Kool-Aid drinker says Big Brother is desired:

LONDON – Residents of big cities like New York and London must accept that they are under constant watch by video cameras, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday.

Bloomberg, holding talks with his London counterpart Ken Livingstone, said such measures as London’s “ring of steel” a network of closed-circuit cameras that monitors the city center_ were a necessary protection in a dangerous world.

“In this day and age, if you think that cameras aren’t watching you all the time, you are very naive,” Bloomberg told reporters at London’s City Hall.

“We are under surveillance all the time” from cameras in shops and office buildings, “and in London they have multiple cameras on every bus and in every subway car,” he added.

“The people of London not only support it, but if Ken Livingstone didn’t do it they would try to run him out of town on a rail. We live in a dangerous world, and people want to have security cameras.”

During his visit, Bloomberg was getting a demonstration of the ring of steel, a system of cameras and road barriers introduced during the years of Irish Republican Army bombings to protect London’s central business district.

London has one of the world’s highest concentrations of surveillance cameras. An estimated 4 million CCTV cameras operate in Britain, and some civil liberties campaigners have warned the country is becoming a “surveillance state.”

New York has far fewer, but the number is growing. Authorities hope to implement an $81.5 million version of the ring of steel for lower Manhattan, featuring surveillance cameras as well as barriers that could automatically block streets.

[…]

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071001/ap_on_re_us/bloomberg_surveillance

First of all, “Residents of big cities like New York and London” do not have to accept anything like this; especially when it does not work to prevent crime, costs a fortune in money and costs everyone their dignity and liberty.

London doesn’t feel like it used to. Having cameras on you all the time has a dibilitating effect on a city and everyone in London is suffering from the ill effects of CCTV…wether they know it or not.

Check out these Google results. The jury (we still have those for the moment, at least rhetorically) is out on this matter. CCTV doesn’t work, and the next step is dismantling the entire CCTV network. Most of the cameras operating in the UK are illegal in any case.

You will note that the future is not one of all pervasive Big Brother surveillance. There are many examples where the future is free of the insane fear that is gripping the ‘democracies’. This era will pass and the totalitarian apparatus dismantled, just like the Soviet Union was dismantled. It is a question of WHEN not IF. Certainly the issue of wasted money and lack of results will be one of the key reasons why this will happen.

I don’t even have to go into the causes of this irrational fear and the real solutions to putting an end to this insanity do I? We have gone over it so many times!

CCTV is Security Theatre. To have real security, you need to remove the thorn from the lions foot and do all the other things that are reasonable and moral.

That is how you stop people from doing bad things in your city.

As for crime, you need to take care of the endemic problems in the police forces, and then double the numbers. You need to stop locking people up for no reason and end the insane prohibition that has been destroying America for generations.

Lastly…

Check this out in particular, for Epic Win Value.