The UKs Big, Gigantic Brother

By MICHAEL TENNANT | THE NEW AMERICAN | JUNE 18, 2012

“Unless you are a criminal, then you’ve nothing to worry about from this new law.”

How many times have humans heard that old saw? Only as many times as governments have taken away more of their liberties in the name of fighting crime.

The latest politician to utter those infamous words is British Home Secretary Theresa May. Defending her government’s plan to require communications providers to store details of every e-mail, telephone call, and text message in the United Kingdom, May called the proposal “sensible and limited” and denounced opponents as “conspiracy theorists … with ridiculous claims about how these measures infringe freedom.”

“I just don’t understand why some criticize these proposals,” she wrote in a June 14 op-ed in the Sun.

Who, after all, could object to a plan that, according to the Associated Press, “would force communications providers … to gather a wealth of information on their customers” and then make that data available to law enforcement on request, giving “authorities a remarkably rich picture of their citizens’ day-to-day lives”?

Under the bill, says the AP:

Providers would log where emails, tweets, Skype calls and other messages were sent from, who they were sent to, and how large they were. Details of file transfers, phone calls, text messages and instant conversations, such as those carried over BlackBerry Messenger, would also be recorded.

The bill also demands that providers collect IP addresses, details of customers’ electronic hardware, and subscriber information including names, addresses, and payment information.

Even physical communications would be monitored: Address details written on envelopes would be copied; parcel tracking information would be logged as well.

All the data would be kept for up to a year or longer if it was the subject of legal proceedings.

“Officials insist they’re not after content,” the AP writes. “They promise not to read the body of emails or eavesdrop on phone calls without a warrant.”

This assumes, of course, that one can trust these officials. Richard Littlejohn of the Daily Mail clearly does not. “Whenever you give any agent of the state extra powers,” Littlejohn observed, “they will always, always abuse it.”

Read Full Article →

Libya: U.S. Government Propaganda and Media Lies

by Brian Becker
Global Research
August 24, 2011

Libya is a small country of just over 6 million people but it possesses the largest oil reserves in all of Africa. The oil produced there is especially coveted because of its particularly high quality.

The Air Force of the United States along with Britain and France has carried out 7,459 bombing attacks since March 19. Britain, France and the United States sent special operation ground forces and commando units to direct the military operations of the so-called rebel fighters – it is a NATO- led army in the field.

The troops may be disaffected Libyans but the operation is under the control and direction of NATO commanders and western commando units who serve as “advisors.” Their new weapons and billions in funds come from the U.S. and other NATO powers that froze and seized Libya’s assets in Western banks. Their only military successes outside of Benghazi, in the far east of the country, have been exclusively based on the coordinated air and ground operations of the imperialist NATO military forces.

In military terms, Libya’s resistance to NATO is of David and Goliath proportions. U.S. military spending alone is more than ten times greater than Libya’s entire annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which was $74.2 billion in 2010, according to the CIA’s World Fact Book.

In recent weeks, the NATO military operations used surveillance-collecting drones, satellites, mounting aerial attacks and covert commando units to decapitate Libya’s military and political leadership and its command and control capabilities. Global economic sanctions meant that the country was suddenly deprived of income and secure access to goods and services needed to sustain a civilian economy over a long period.

“The cumulative effect [of NATO’s coordinated air and ground operation] not only destroyed Libya’s military infrastructure but also greatly diminished Colonel Gaddafi’s commanders to control forces, leaving even committed fighting units unable to move, resupply or coordinate operations,“ reports the New York Times in a celebratory article on August 22.

A False Pretext

The United States, United Kingdom, France, and Italy targeted the Libyan government for overthrow or “regime change” not because these governments were worried about protecting civilians or to bring about a more democratic form of governance in Libya.

If that were the real motivation of the NATO powers, they could start the bombing of Saudi Arabia right away. There are no elections in Saudi Arabia. The monarchy does not even allow women to drive cars. By law, women must be fully covered in public or they will go to prison. Protests are rare in Saudi Arabia because any dissent is met with imprisonment, torture and execution.

The Saudi monarchy is protected by U.S. imperialism because it is part of an undeclared but real U.S. sphere of influence and it is the largest producer of oil in the world. The U.S. attitude toward the Saudi monarchy was put succinctly by Ronald Reagan in 1981, when he said that the U.S. government “will not permit” revolution in Saudi Arabia such as the 1979 Iranian revolution that removed the U.S. client regime of the Shah. Reagan’s message was clear: the Pentagon and CIA’s military forces would be used decisively to destroy any democratic movement against the rule of the Saudi royal family.

Reagan’s explicit statement in 1981 has in fact been the policy of every successive U.S. administration, including the current one.

Libya and Imperialism

Libya, unlike Saudi Arabia, did have a revolution against its monarchy. As a result of the 1969 revolution led by Muammar Gaddafi, Libya was no longer in the sphere of influence of any imperialist country.

Libya had once been an impoverished colony of Italy living under the boot heel of the fascist Mussolini. After the Allied victory in World War II, control of the country was formally transferred to the United Nations and Libya became independent in 1951 with authority vested in the monarch King Idris.

But in actuality, Libya was controlled by the United States and Britain until the 1969 revolution.

One of the first acts of the 1969 revolution was to eliminate the vestiges of colonialism and foreign control. Not only were oil fields nationalized but Gaddafi eliminated foreign military bases inside the country.

In March of 1970, the Gaddafi government shut down two important British military bases in Tobruk and El Adem. He then became the Pentagon’s enemy when he evicted the U.S. Wheelus Air Force Base near Tripoli that had been operated by the United States since 1945. Before the British military took control in 1943, the facility was a base operated by the Italians under Mussolini.

Wheelus had been an important Strategic Air Command (SAC) base during the Cold War, housing B-52 bombers and other front-line Pentagon aircrafts that targeted the Soviet Union.

Once under Libyan control, the Gaddafi government allowed Soviet military planes to access the airfield.

In 1986, the Pentagon heavily bombed the base at the same time it bombed downtown Tripoli in an effort to assassinate Gaddafi. That effort failed but his 2-year-old daughter died along with scores of other civilians.

The Character of the Gaddafi Regime

The political, social and class orientation of the Libyan regime has gone through several stages in the last four decades. The government and ruling establishment reflected contradictory class, social, religious and regional antagonisms. The fact that the leadership of the NATO-led National Transition Council is comprised of top officials of the Gaddafi government, who broke with the regime and allied themselves with NATO, is emblematic of the decades-long instability within the Libyan establishment.

These inherent contradictions were exacerbated by pressures applied to Libya from the outside. The U.S. imposed far-reaching economic sanctions on Libya in the 1980s. The largest western corporations were barred from doing business with Libya and the country was denied access to credit from western banks.

In its foreign policy, Libya gave significant financial and military support to national liberation struggles, including in Palestine, Southern Africa, Ireland and elsewhere.

Because of Libya’s economic policies, living standards for the population had jumped dramatically after 1969. Having a small population and substantial income from its oil production, augmented with the Gaddafi regime’s far-reaching policy of social benefits, created a huge advance in the social and economic status for the population. Libya was still a class society with rich and poor, and gaps between urban and rural living standards, but illiteracy was basically wiped out, while education and health care were free and extensively accessible. By 2010, the per capita income in Libya was near the highest in Africa at $14,000 and life expectancy rose to over 77 years, according to the CIA’s World Fact Book.

Gaddafi’s political orientation explicitly rejected communism and capitalism. He created an ideology called the “Third International Theory,” which was an eclectic mix of Islamic, Arab nationalist and socialist ideas and programs. In 1977, Libya was renamed the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. A great deal of industry, including oil, was nationalized and the government provided an expansive social insurance program or what is called a welfare state policy akin to some features prevalent in the Soviet Union and some West European capitalist countries.

But Libya was not a workers’ state or a “socialist government” to use the popular if not scientific use of the term “socialist.” The revolution was not a workers and peasant rebellion against the capitalist class per se. Libya remained a class society although class differentiation may have been somewhat obscured beneath the existence of revolutionary committees and the radical, populist rhetoric that emanated from the regime.

As in many developing, formerly colonized countries, state ownership of property was not “socialist” but rather a necessary fortification of an under-developed capitalist class. State property in Iraq, Libya and other such post-colonial regimes was designed to facilitate the social and economic growth of a new capitalist ruling class that was initially too weak, too deprived of capital and too cut off from international credit to compete on its own terms with the dominant sectors of world monopoly capitalism. The nascent capitalist classes in such developing economies promoted state-owned property, under their control, in order to intersect with Western banks and transnational corporations and create more favorable terms for global trade and investment.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the “socialist bloc” governments of central and Eastern Europe in 1989-91 deprived Libya of an economic and military counter-weight to the United States, and the Libyan government’s domestic economic and foreign policy shifted towards accommodation with the West.

In the 1990s some sectors of the Libyan economic establishment and the Gaddafi-led government favored privatization, cutting back on social programs and subsidies and integration into western European markets.

The earlier populism of the regime incrementally gave way to the adoption of neo-liberal policies. This was, however, a long process.

In 2004, the George W. Bush administration ended sanctions on Libya. Western oil companies and banks and other corporations initiated huge direct investments in Libya and trade with Libyan enterprises.

There was also a growth of unemployment in Libya and in cutbacks in social spending, leading to further inequality between rich and poor and class polarization.

But Gaddafi himself was still considered a thorn in the side of the imperialist powers. They want absolute puppets, not simply partners, in their plans for exploitation. The Wikileaks release of State Department cables between 2007 and 2010 show that the United states and western oil companies were condemning Gaddafi for what they called “resource nationalism.” Gaddafi even threatened to re-nationalize western oil companies’ property unless Libya was granted a larger share of the revenue for their projects.

As an article in today’s New York Times Business section said honestly: “”Colonel Qaddafi proved to be a problematic partner for the international oil companies, frequently raising fees and taxes and making other demands. A new government with close ties to NATO may be an easier partner for Western nations to deal with.”

Even the most recent CIA Fact Book publication on Libya, written before the armed revolt championed by NATO, complained of the measured tempo of pro-market reforms in Libya: “Libya faces a long road ahead in liberalizing the socialist-oriented economy, but initial steps— including applying for WTO membership, reducing some subsidies, and announcing plans for privatization—are laying the groundwork for a transition to a more market-based economy.” (CIA World Fact Book)

The beginning of the armed revolt on February 23 by disaffected members of the Libyan military and political establishment provided the opportunity for the U.S. imperialists, in league with their French and British counterparts, to militarily overthrow the Libyan government and replace it with a client or stooge regime.

Of course, in the revolt were workers and young people who had many legitimate grievances against the Libyan government. But what is critical in an armed struggle for state power is not the composition of the rank-and-file soldiers, but the class character and political orientation of the leadership.

Character of the National Transition Council

The National Transitional Council (NTC) constituted itself as the leadership of the uprising in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city. The central leader is Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, who was Libya’s Minister of Justice until his defection at the start of the uprising. He was one of a significant number of Western-oriented and neoliberal officials from Libya’s government, diplomatic corps and military ranks who joined the opposition in the days immediately after the start of the revolt.

As soon as it was established, the NTC began issuing calls for imperialist intervention. These appeals became increasing panicky as it became clear that, contrary to early predictions that the Gaddafi-led government would collapse in a matter of days, it was the “rebels” who faced imminent defeat in the civil war. In fact, it was only due to the U.S./NATO bombing campaign, initiated with great hurry on March 19 that the rebellion did not collapse.

The last five months of war have erased any doubt about the pro-imperialist character of the NTC. One striking episode took place on April 22, when Senator John McCain made a “surprise” trip to Benghazi. A huge banner was unveiled to greet him with an American flag printed on it and the words: “United States of America – You have a new ally in North Africa.”

Similar to the military relationship between the NATO and Libyan “rebel” armed forces, the NTC is entirely dependent on and subordinated to the U.S., French, British and Italian imperialist governments.

If the Pentagon, CIA, and Wall Street succeed in installing a client regime in Tripoli it will accelerate and embolden the imperialist threats and intervention against other independent governments such as Syria and Venezuela. In each case we will see a similar process unfold, including the demonization of the leadership of the targeted countries so as to silence or mute a militant anti-war response to the aggression of the war-makers.

We in the ANSWER Coalition invite all those who share this perspective to join with us, to mobilize, and to unmask the colonial agenda that hides under the slogan of “humanitarian intervention.”

Carbon Emissions Reduction Threatens Alternative Energy Research

The same policies that are supposed to provide funding for alternative energy sources research and development are threatening such initiative.

By Ian Sample
UK Guardian
May 30, 2011

World-class research into future sources of green energy is under threat in Britain from an environmental tax designed to boost energy efficiency and drive down carbon emissions, scientists claim.

Some facilities must find hundreds of thousands of pounds to settle green tax bills, putting jobs and research at risk.

The unexpected impact of the government’s carbon reduction commitment (CRC) scheme is so severe that scientists and research funders have lobbied ministers for an exemption to reduce the bills.

Among the worst hit is the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire, a facility for research into almost limitless carbon-free energy. The lab faces an estimated £400,000 payment next year, raising the spectre of job losses and operational cuts. “Considering our research is aimed at producing zero-carbon energy, it seems ironic and perverse to clobber us with an extra bill,” a senior scientist at the lab said. “We have to use electricity to run the machine and there is no way of getting around that.”

The laboratory operates the Joint European Torus (JET), the largest fusion reactor in Europe. It has led the way in research on fusion energy. The Culham lab faces a significant bill because, while energy savings can be made in other areas of the site, the machine incurs a large electricity bill when it is running.

The Prospect union is urging the government to exempt energy use where the focus of research contributes directly to public good and government policy.

“This [tax] will have a negative impact on important research into low carbon energy sources and that cannot be the right consequence of a policy the government is pursuing to promote a low carbon economy,” said Sue Ferns, head of research at Prospect. “There is a potential for the scheme to impact on employment and it adds to pressures to run the equipment less. Even if it doesn’t lead to substantial job losses, these are world-class scientists and every job, every piece of research makes a difference.”

Britain’s main funding body for research centres, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, is trying to persuade ministers to rethink how the scheme applies to scientific laboratories. The STFC’s bill will “inevitably” mean less funding for research across its centres, the Guardian has been told.

All representations have been dismissed by the government, but the chief scientist, Sir John Beddington, passed on researchers’ concerns to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) for an ongoing review.

Across the UK, laboratories will be required to pay around £1m in annual CRC bills to the DECC. Almost all of that will be met by diverting grants from other areas of government, such as the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

In the October spending review, the government shelved plans to recycle money raised by the scheme to participants, and said it would instead earn £1bn in revenue to support public finances.

Another Oxfordshire laboratory, the Diamond synchrotron light source, expects a £300,000 bill under the CRC. A spokesman said the lab hoped to offset the bill by investing in better climate control and motion-sensitive lighting.

At the Daresbury laboratory in Cheshire, the CRC bill will worsen financial woes that have forced managers to draft redundancy packages and consider cutting back on equipment. “Science is already struggling here and now we are being charged an additional premium to go about our everyday business while working to address the government’s own stated grand challenges in science for the 21st century.,” said Lee Jones, an accelerator physicist at the laboratory.

The DECC said: “All parts of the UK economy will need to play a part in using energy more efficiently. The measures encouraged by the CRC can make organisations more competitive via the cost savings on their energy bills.

“We are working on simplifying the CRC scheme to make it more straightforward and reduce burden on participants. Further details of how we plan to do this will be published in the coming months.”

UN’s call to CO2 action

The fastest-ever rise in greenhouse gas emissions, revealed by the Guardian yesterday, is an “inconvenient truth” the world must face, the UN’s climate change chief said.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN framework convention, said: “This is the inconvenient truth of where human-generated greenhouse gas emissions are projected to go without much stronger international action, ” she said, issuing a call ahead of UN talks in Bonn next week. “I won’t hear that this is impossible.”

Estimates from the International Energy Agency show that last year saw a record CO2 rise, despite the recession and government policies aimed at curbing greenhouse gases. Most came from emerging economies, including China, but there is evidence the west “exported” billions of tonnes of emissions.

Fluoride is a Toxic Industrial Waste Product

NaturalNews.com
April 1, 2011

Since the 1940’s fluoride is used in toothpaste and is added to drinking water in many countries around the world. The dental profession claims that fluoride is safe and necessary for good dental health.

Fluoride is actually toxic waste from the aluminium, phosphoric acid and phosphate fertilizer industries. Millions of tons of fluoride are produced each year.

Up until the 1930’s, fluoride was discharged directly into the air and waterways, causing great damage. Lawsuits were mounting as more and more victims learned that their problems were caused by fluoride poisoning. The industry’s response was to change the public’s perception of fluoride.

Many ‘scientific’ studies were presented to convince the public that fluoride was safe. Lucrative positions were created for ‘research’ and ‘education’ with the express purpose of promoting the use of fluoride in toothpaste and in drinking water. Instead of paying millions for disposal of this toxic waste, fluoride was now being sold to toothpaste and water companies!

Drinking water is now fluoridated in many countries, including the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Turkey, Italy, India and Chile. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluoridation_by_country

Most toothpaste brands contain fluoride as the main active ingredient. Procter and Gamble, manufacturer of Colgate toothpaste, admitted in 1984 that a small tube of toothpaste contains enough fluoride to kill a child! Toothpaste now carries a warning label that if more than a pea-sized amount is swallowed, to get medical help immediately.

Up to 80 percent of young people in some U.S. cities have dental fluorosis, which is the first visible sign of excessive fluoride exposure. Fluoride also causes calcium deficiency, which can lead to osteoporosis, skeletal thinning, fractures, anemia and rickets.

Fluoride causes premature aging since it damages enzymes. This affects the immune system, digestive system, respiratory system, blood circulation, liver, kidneys, thyroid and brain function. Fluoride can also cause hyperactivity and a lower IQ in children.

Prince Charles calls for Eugenics in poor countries

London Telegraph

The Prince of Wales has called for greater population control in the developing world and hailed the success of “family planning services” in some countries.

He said more needs to be done because of the “monumental” problems that face the environment as population numbers “rocket”

Prince Charles of Wales is, along with Bill Gates, one of the strongest pushers for eugenics in the developing world.

and traditional societies become more consumerist. There needed to be more “honesty” about the fact the “cultural” pressures keep the global birth rate high.

The Prince also said the traditional religious views of the sanctity of life, which are often used to oppose the use of condoms and other contraceptives, must be balanced with the imperative to live within the limits of nature.

His comments, made in an important speech on Islam and the environment, will be seen as controversial within both the green lobby and some religious circles.

Although the heir to the throne is a long-standing champion of ecological causes and the benefits of faith, some believe that Western commentators do not have the right to tell residents of less wealthy nations that they should have fewer children or consume less in order to keep carbon emissions down. Many of the world’s great religions, meanwhile, oppose the widespread use of contraception.

Speaking at the Sheldonian Theatre, in a lecture to mark the 25th anniversary of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies of which he is patron, the Prince told how the population of Lagos in Nigeria has risen from 300,000 to 20 million during his lifetime.

He went on: “I could have chosen Mumbai, Cairo or Mexico City; wherever you look, the world’s population is increasing fast. It goes up by the equivalent of the entire population of the United Kingdom every year. Which means that this poor planet of ours, which already struggles to sustain 6.8 billion people, will somehow have to support over 9 billion people within 50 years.”

He acknowledged that long-term predictions are for a fall in global population but insisted: “In the next 50 years, we face monumental problems as the figures rocket.”

The Prince said the Earth could not “sustain us all”, particularly if a “vast proportion” is consuming natural resources at “Western levels”.

“It would certainly help if the acceleration slowed down, but it would also help if the world reduced its desire to consume.”

Talking about the “micro-credit” schemes developed in Bangladesh, he said: “Interestingly, where the loans are managed by the women of the community, the birth rate has gone down. The impact of these sorts of schemes, of education and the provision of family planning services, has been widespread.

“I fear there is little chance these sorts of schemes can help the plight of many millions of people unless we all face up to the fact more honestly than we do that one of the biggest causes of high birth rates remains cultural.”

He admitted it raised “very difficult moral questions” but suggested we should come to a view that balances “the traditional attitude to the sacred nature of life” with religious teachings that urge humans to “keep within the limits of Nature’s benevolence and bounty”.

Roman Catholics believe it is against “natural law” to use artificial methods to prevent conception while some conservative Muslim scholars teach that birth control is wrong. Condoms are opposed by Orthodox Judaism and some contraceptive techniques are unacceptable to Buddhists.

However the Prince also expressed his view that religion is needed to solve the world’s environmental and financial crises, which he claimed reflect the fact that “the soul has been elbowed out” in the quest for economic profit.

He said the Islamic world has one of the “greatest treasuries of accumulated wisdom and spiritual knowledge”, but lamented the fact that it is now often “obscured by the dominant drive towards Western materialism – the feeling that to be truly ‘modern’ you have to ape the West”.

The Prince said it was a “tragedy” that traditional Islamic crafts are being abandoned, and called upon Muslims to use their heritage to protect the environment.

He concluded that the world is “on the wrong road” and should not be “pigheaded” about refusing to acknowledge that fact, but should instead “retrace our steps” and return to working within nature rather than against it.

It is the first time the Prince has spoken at length about birth control since 1992, when he appeared to include the Vatican among “certain delegations” who are “determined to prevent discussion of population growth”. He spoke about birth control to politicians and community project workers in Bangladesh five years later.