Thursday, December 2, 2010

Britain Could Become 'War Crimes Haven'

By Lizzie Cocker, Morning Star

Campaigners warned that Britain will be made a "safe haven for war criminals" by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill which was launched in Parliament today.

If passed, the Bill would make it much more difficult to get an arrest warrant for anyone accused of war crimes.

Then Israeli minister Tzipi Livni was forced to cancel a visit to London last year after Westminster magistrates' court issued an arrest warrant for her in line with evidence of war crimes presented by lawyers acting on behalf of Palestinian victims of Israel's Operation Cast Lead.

At present, any victim of war crimes can seek an arrest warrant for suspected war criminals by presenting evidence to Westminster magistrates, and Amnesty International and Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) have called for this system to be upheld.

PSC campaigns director Sarah Colborne said: "The government have not managed to produce evidence of even one arrest warrant that was granted on insufficient evidence of war crimes."

The Bill would take those powers away from magistrates and give them to the Director of Public Prosecutions under the supervision of the Attorney General.

The Attorney General would have the right to veto requests for arrest warrants regardless of the strength of the evidence.

~ more... ~



And a statement by Amnesty International on the matter:

War crimes arrests: New measures show UK is 'soft' on war crimes and torture

Posted: 01 December 2010

Suspected war criminals could be handed a ‘free ticket to escape the law’ - Kate Allen

Amnesty International has reacted with dismay at the announcement of new measures restricting the issuing of arrest warrants for suspected war criminals and torturers visiting the UK.

The measures, contained in a new Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill (part four, clause 151) published today, will, for the first time, mean that the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions will be required before an arrest warrant can be issued in such cases.

Under the principle of ”universal jurisdiction” those suspected of extremely grave offences like torture and war crimes can be prosecuted in the UK even if their crimes were committed outside the UK, and even if they were committed by non-UK nationals.

Recently the government has argued that the system is open to “abuse” by “political groups”, claiming that warrants can be obtained from magistrates on flimsy evidence - although it has failed to provide any examples of magistrates issuing them in such circumstances. Meanwhile, foreign governments are known to have lobbied the UK authorities for changes to the law.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“This sends exactly the wrong signal. It shows that the UK is soft on crime if those crimes are war crimes and torture.

“It risks introducing dangerous delays that could mean people suspected of the worst imaginable crimes are able to flee from justice.

“The current process allows victims of crimes under international law to act quickly against suspected perpetrators who could otherwise enter and leave the UK before police and prosecutors can act.

“As things stand, magistrates must carefully screen each request for a warrant, refusing those which fail to meet strict standards of evidence. There appear to have been no instances - and the UK government has provided none - of magistrates issuing arrest warrants based on 'flimsy evidence’ or of the system being abused.

“This is a dangerous and unnecessary change. Unless a way of guaranteeing a means of preventing suspects fleeing can be built into the proposals, then the UK will have undermined the fight for international justice and handed war criminals a free ticket to escape the law.

“Instead of weakening the law, the UK should be strengthening it to ensure that it can effectively fight crimes under international law.”

Under current UK law, victims of war crimes, torture and hostage-taking can mount private prosecutions against suspected perpetrators in any country, regardless of nationality or where the crime was committed, under the international rule of universal jurisdiction. Victims need to meet a high threshold of evidence in order to obtain an arrest warrant.

Musical Innerlube: Brian Eno - Horse


Artist: Brian Eno
Album: Small Craft on a Milk Sea
Released: 2010

UK: Call to Resist Police Data Gathering

From Fitwatch:

During the protests yesterday the police went into a data gathering frenzy. From FIT teams searching and photographing occupying students in Oxford, to police arresting and processing 139 protesters for 'breaching the peace' in London, gathering intelligence has clearly been a key objective of police operations.

This building up of 'intelligence' on political protesters must be resisted. The police have admitted building up information on police databases, and using intelligence to actively 'disrupt' groups or individuals involved in planning or co-ordinating protest. This is not something any of us should help them with!

The breach of the peace arrests in London were a blatant ruse to get personal details of the protesters kettled in Trafalgar Square. This isn't the first time they have used this tactic, and it probably won't be the last. It may be too late for the people arrested last night, but everyone should know their rights if arrested for breach of the peace...for next time!!

• Breach of the peace is NOT A CRIMINAL OFFENCE. You cannot be charged, fined or imprisoned. It will not result in a criminal record.
• The police MUST release you when the threat of a breach of the peace has passed. That is usually at the end of the demo when everyone has gone home. If they keep you for longer get advice on taking a claim for unlawful imprisonment.
• The police CANNOT force you to have FINGERPRINTS taken or to provide a DNA sample, if you have only been arrested for breach of the peace. They may ask you to consent, but if you refuse they cannot fingerprint you or take DNA. If they take these by force they are committing an assault.
• As far as you can, KEEP YOUR PERSONAL DETAILS TO YOURSELF. Because they MUST release you when the threat of a breach of the peace has passed, there is no obligation for you to give your name and address. Given this information is probably the reason you were initially arrested, they probably won't be happy if you withhold it. They may try all sorts of intimidation, but it could be worth taking some flak to keep your name off the database.
• Worst case scenario, and a fairly unlikely one if the demo is over, you could be held to go in front of a magistrates court. They can 'bind you over' to keep the peace, which means that you have to pay a sum of money, say £50 or £100, if you breach the peace again. It is still not a criminal offence.
• They do have the right to take your photo when you are in custody, and can use force to do so if they decide to be bastards. Which they often do.

As with all arrests, avoid 'friendly' chats with the arresting or other officers. DO NOT tell them how many demos you have been on, who you travelled with, why / when you got involved, which university you go to etc etc, even in the course of 'normal' conversation.

Never, ever give them more information than you have to. Never give a date or place of birth, or answer any of those stupid questions about height, weight, shoe size etc.

It's not their job to make life easy for political protesters. It's not our role to make life easy for the police.

Race Is On to 'Fingerprint' Phones, PCs

By Julia Angwin and Jennifer Valentino-Devries, Wall Street Journal

David Norris wants to collect the digital equivalent of fingerprints from every computer, cellphone and TV set-top box in the world.

He's off to a good start. So far, Mr. Norris's start-up company, BlueCava Inc., has identified 200 million devices. By the end of next year, BlueCava says it expects to have cataloged one billion of the world's estimated 10 billion devices.

Advertisers no longer want to just buy ads. They want to buy access to specific people. So, Mr. Norris is building a "credit bureau for devices" in which every computer or cellphone will have a "reputation" based on its user's online behavior, shopping habits and demographics. He plans to sell this information to advertisers willing to pay top dollar for granular data about people's interests and activities.

Device fingerprinting is a powerful emerging tool in this trade. It's "the next generation of online advertising," Mr. Norris says.

It might seem that one computer is pretty much like any other. Far from it: Each has a different clock setting, different fonts, different software and many other characteristics that make it unique. Every time a typical computer goes online, it broadcasts hundreds of such details as a calling card to other computers it communicates with. Tracking companies can use this data to uniquely identify computers, cellphones and other devices, and then build profiles of the people who use them.

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The Madness of a Lost Society

The horror of Black Friday captured on video:




The Day the Dollar Died


The first 12 hours of a U.S. dollar collapse!

Government Agency Warns Employees That Looking at Wikileaks Could Be a Criminal Offense

From the Progressive Review: At least one government agency - The Social Security Administration - is warning employees that even browsing Wikileaks could be a criminal offense. The Review has received a copy of an email sent to staffers with the subject line, "Information Security Bulletin: WIKILEAKS." Here's the threat:

"Earlier this year a large amount of United States government classified information was illegally released to the public website WIKILEAKS. The documents on WIKILEAKS could place military personnel and United States supporters in Iraq and Afghanistan at an increased risk of harm.

"Despite these documents being publicly accessible over the internet, the documents remain classified and SSA employees should not access, download, or transmit them. Individuals may be subject to applicable federal criminal statutes for unlawful access to or transmission of classified information."

Wikileaks Loses Website

by Tyler Durden

And an update from Reuters: "Amazon.com ceases hosting services for WikiLeaks website -Senator Lieberman" and  "DHS says Amazon has agreed to stop hosting WikiLeaks." Game Over

It seems the days of Wikileaks are over. The Associated Press reports that the website appears to have lost its host. The question now is who will be the next Wikileaks.

The website of WikiLeaks, the organization that just released a trove of sensitive U.S. State Department documents, appears to have lost or left its main Web host, Amazon.com.

The main website and a sub-site devoted to the diplomatic documents were unavailable from the U.S. and Europe on Wednesday, as Amazon servers refused to acknowledge requests for data.

Availability of the sites has been spotty since Sunday, when it started to come under a series of Internet-based attacks by unknown hackers. WikiLeaks dealt with the attacks in part by moving to servers run by Amazon Web Services, which is self-service.

Amazon.com Inc. would not comment on its relationship with WikiLeaks or whether it forced the site to leave. Messages seeking comment from WikiLeaks were not immediately returned.
~ more... ~

'We're going to get you behind that cover or force you to flee’

From No hiding place from new U.S. Army rifles that use radio-controlled smart bullets, Daily Mail:

* Weapon hailed as a game-changer that can fire up and over barriers and down into trenches
* Soldiers will start using them in Afghanistan later this month

The U.S. army is to begin using a futuristic rifle that fires radio-controlled 'smart' bullets in Afghanistan for the first time, it has emerged.

The XM25 rifle uses bullets that are programmed to explode when they have travelled a set distance, allowing enemies to be targeted no matter where they are hiding.

The rifle also has a range of 2,300 feet making it possible to hit targets which are well out of the reach of conventional rifles.

The XM25 is being developed specially for the U.S. army and will be deployed with troops from later this month, it was revealed today.

The rifle's gunsight uses a laser rangefinder to determine the exact distance to the obstruction, after which the soldier can add or subtract up to 3 metres from that distance to enable the bullets to clear the barrier and explode above or beside the target.

Soldiers will be able to use them to target snipers hidden in trenches rather than calling in air strikes.

The 25-millimetre round contains a chip that receives a radio signal from the gunsight as to the precise distance to the target.

Lt. Col. Christopher Lehner, project manager for the system, described the weapon as a ‘game-changer’ that other nations will try and copy.

He expects the Army to buy 12,500 of the XM25 rifles this year, enough for every member of the infantry and special forces.

Lehner told FoxNews: ‘With this weapon system, we take away cover from [enemy targets] forever.
‘Tactics are going to have to be rewritten. The only thing we can see [enemies] being able to do is run away.’

~ more... ~

The Left Right Paradigm is Over: Its You vs. Corporations

By Barry Ritholtz, Guest Writer for USAWatchdog.com

Every generation or so, a major secular shift takes place that shakes up the existing paradigm. It happens in industry, finance, literature, sports, manufacturing, technology, entertainment, travel, communication, etc.

I would like to discuss the paradigm shift that is occurring in politics.

For a long time, American politics has been defined by a Left/Right dynamic. It was Liberals versus Conservatives on a variety of issues. Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice, Tax Cuts vs. More Spending, Pro-War vs Peaceniks, Environmental Protections vs. Economic Growth, Pro-Union vs. Union-Free, Gay Marriage vs. Family Values, School Choice vs. Public Schools, Regulation vs. Free Markets.

The new dynamic, however, has moved past the old Left Right paradigm. We now live in an era defined by increasing Corporate influence and authority over the individual. These two "interest groups" – I can barely suppress snorting derisively over that phrase – have been on a headlong collision course for decades, which came to a head with the financial collapse and bailouts. Where there is massive concentrations of wealth and influence, there will be abuse of power.  The Individual has been supplanted in the political process nearly entirely by corporate money, legislative influence, campaign contributions, even free speech rights.

This may not be a brilliant insight, but it is surely an overlooked one. It is now an Individual vs. Corporate debate – and the Humans are losing.

~ more... ~

Capitalist Conspiracy - G. Edward Griffin

Right-wing propaganda claiming communists and anarchists are part of 'the capitalist conspiracy!'

8 Minutes of Deception Was My Job

Interesting video on propaganda (despite the heavy anti-leftist slant):



This is an interview done by G. Edward Griffin in the early 1980's with Soviet Defector Yuri Bezmenov on what the one worlders and the Soviet Union were doing inside the United States political structure. This is a must see video.

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image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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