Saturday, 20 August 2011





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Ein weiterer Rückschlag für Whistleblower » Von Linus Neumann »

Was ich sehr schade finde, das weder auf noch auf etwas über die Vorgänge zu lesen ist, das sollte zum denken anregen.

Ist ja nicht so, das Ausschluss aus dem CCC jeden Tag vorkommt, und es ist schade das ausschliesslich aus den Medien zu erfahren. Das ist exterm schlechte Pressearbeit, vom CCC ist man sowas aber gewohnt.

Aus dem Artikel auf Golem über den Ausschluss von Daniel finde ich es interessant zu lesen,
das Daniel vom CCC erwartet mehr als einen Vortragsslot erwartet.
Auf dem Woodstock für Hacker, muss man auch als CCC Mitglied für seinen Kram selbst sorgen, sich zu beklagen das der Zeltplatz unangenehm ist und man keinen Container erhalten hätte.

Für mich sieht das wie folgt aus:
* Festplatte – wenn Daniel der Meinung war für die gelakten Daten Verantwortung zu übernehmen, dann soll er sie bitte auch behalten und Verantwortungsvoll publizieren. Mich würden die ganzen Iterna des CCC wirklich ineressieren.

* Unterstützung für Openleaks, sich auf dem Camp Unterstützung zu erhoffen ist naiv, es fehlt leider auf den Seiten von OpenLeaks auch jedweder Hinweis, das man Menschen mit Kenntnissen such mitmachen lassen möchte.

* Transparenz, es fehlt ein Repository für den Quelltext der es möglich macht teilzunehmen, als Auditor wie als Coder, Schreiber oder was auch immer. Die einzige Erklärung die ich habe, warum der Src nicht verfügbar ist, ist das er ziemlich unfertig ist und man seitens OpenLeaks Bedenken hat, jemand forkt das schneller und effizienter als OpenLeaks selbst, oder Medienhäuser machen das selbst.

* Seitens OpenLeaks sollte man sich vor Augen führen, das der CCC mittlerweile eine politische Lobby ist, und man mit den Screenagern von Anon ebensowenig zu tun haben möchte, wie mit anderen Organisationen die den CCC als Vehikel nutzen.

Es fehlt wirklich viel Transparenz, ich vermute mal Daniel wollte mit der Veröffentlichung seines Buchs, dem produktiven Start von OpenLeaks und der medialen Präsenz auf dem Camp zuviele Dinge auf einmal, und das hat jetzt massiv gegen ihn gearbeitet.

Angefangen beim verspätetem Start der taz Plattform, was ein guter Aufhänger für die anderen Pressehäuser war, hat sich das richtig schön eskaliert im Sommerloch. Die verlorerne Ehre des DDB.

Ich finde das Buch wichtig, auch wenn es nur eine Seite darstellt, ich finde OpenLeaks wichtig genug, das man das nicht auf eine Person in der Öffentlichkeit zentrieren sollte, denn das haben wir von WikiLeaks gelernt, das es nicht funktioniert.

Ich habe lieber keine Plattform, als eine der man kein oder wenig Vertrauen entgegenbringt, ich vermute mal das OpenLeaks sich in Sachen Infrastruktur derzeit nicht viel von WikiLeaks unterscheidet.

Schönen Sonntag.

Shrediquette - a multirotor MAV by W. Thielicke: Shrediquette BOLT

Shrediquette - a multirotor MAV by W. Thielicke: Shrediquette MM6

The media's wilful ignorance over England's riots | openDemocracy

The media's wilful ignorance over England's riots

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About the author

Ryan Gallagher is a freelance journalist based in London.

Last night I was caught entirely off guard by an important and moving speech. I was attending a meeting at the National Union of Journalists headquarters in London about “reporting the riots”, when the football editor of The Times, Tony Evans, took to his feet.

It turns out Evans has a great deal more on his mind than football. He explained how appalled he was at the media’s coverage of the riots – and slammed journalists who have failed to criticise the government’s narrative that there was no underlying social, political or economic cause.

Calling for journalists to seek out the truth, Evans described how he himself knew what it was like to be part of an underclass. He confessed he had fought with police as a youngster and stole from shops – he knew, he said, how it felt to be demonised by the press.

Luckily, I managed to get a partial recording of the speech. Transcribed below, it began with Evans referring to a recent episode of BBC’s Newsnight, during which former Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie dismissed any attempt to understand the wider context of the riots...

... The presenter turned to Kelvin Mackenzie and said to him, "don't you think we should try to understand these riots?"

He said, "no I don't think we should". And there we have it. The lack of understanding; the wilful ignorance. To try and come to terms with what's caused this trouble in our society and this alienation where one large section of society just doesn't want to think about the people who are involved in it [the rioting]. And wants to write them off, criminalise them, and put them in to a sort of box where they don't have to be thought about.

I think that is what has characterised the coverage of the riots. I think it has been a particularly grim period for journalism. It was led that way, in many ways, in the initial outburst of violence by the 24hr rolling news.

I found it staggering, the way news presenters were editorialising. They were showing film of what was going on in Tottenham, and they were saying: "there is no political element to this, this is just vandalism, this is just people looting" ... without any sense of what the background to this was. Without any attempt to put it in its context.

We saw Sky News reporters walking down the streets, filming people on their phones and saying, "I come from round here, I can't believe what I'm seeing, are you proud of yourself?" As if they were headmasters.

That's not journalism. Journalism should be the pursuit of the truth and the pursuit of knowledge. And we weren't seeing knowledge there. We were getting the vicarious thrills of being in the middle of a riot. The Daily Mail's view? "Give this man an award". I don't think it's award-winning journalism personally – because it told me nothing.

It told me nothing because I've been in a riot. I've fought with policemen. I've kicked in shop windows. I've stole from shops. Alot of people haven't, but I have. And I understand the frustrations that come from being in that underclass, where you're written off, where you're given no opportunities. And you're demonised. You're demonised by the media and you're demonised by the political system. It was 30 years ago, but I felt the same way they [the rioters] did.

The way the media was quick to put it all down to a sense of consumerism. "They've all got Blackberrys". Well, a Blackberry doesn't cost very much actually. But I'll tell you what – what alot of the kids who where there [rioting] don't have is expectations. The poverty of expectation, the poverty of belief in what you can do with your life...

But of course, the newspapers were more concerned with taking the opposite view. The Daily Express – the headline – "Flaming Morons". Which says to you: these people don't deserve to be treated well, they don't deserve to be regarded as human beings. And all through that whole week of rioting... the narrative was all about that. It was all about criminality. It's all about not being able to explain, about not being able to understand. As if this came all out of the blue and surprised us.

This has been building for four or five years. And the only people who appear to be surprised about it are journalists and politicians. So we have this situation where the government now is allowed to move the dialogue on and suddenly blame gangs. And the newspapers are rushing to report this, and agree with it.

In every time of economic turmoil, where poverty is building, there have been riots over the years. There has also been the instinctive urge to blame gangs. It goes back to the 1870s and the 1880s and the High Rip [gang] in Liverpool. So they [gangs] are easy targets.

And what it does: you don't need to get beyond the surface, you can just point fingers. And this is what's disappointed me from the newspapers especially in the last few weeks.

I can understand the superficiality of television. But you know, I can't understand that newspapers, where you've got time, you've got the chance to talk to people, the anonymity that's guaranteed in print, that no one’s gone out to talk to the people who were doing this, who were out there.

... Sky News ran a piece with four kids, where they discussed the reason that they rioted. And they were very articulate about it. They talked about how they had attempted to fit in to normal society, but had been turned back at every turn. You know, it's easy to understand. But again, that piece was undermined by the payoff, which talked about criminal behaviour. If this was about criminal behaviour, if this was about violence, if this was just about feral kids running out of control, we'd see it every weekend.

We saw spontaneous outbursts of it because this society's mantra is "there is no society". Why would you expect these kids to care about people around them?

And yet, there was no sense of blaming the politicians for this environment that they've created. It's all about punishment. It's all about victimisation, it's all about marginalising people who've got the least voice. That's what's really disappointed me. And I don't see it getting any better.

Unfortunately I don't think there's a will to understand in this country. And I also think there is an instinctive fear in some journalists – quite alot of them – to actually confront the preconceptions of the mass of the British public.

This is a time when journalism has been trusted probably about as little as it's ever been trusted. And what people don't want to do is say to the people who say "they're louts, send them to the army, hang them, shoot them", no, you're wrong, think about it. It's easier to go along with public perceptions...

But that's not our role. Our role is to come up with the truth. And I don’t believe we've got to the truth in the last few weeks.

Amnesty TV Episode 3 - Cluster Bombs Special - YouTube

Friday, 19 August 2011

The War You Don't See | Cameo Picturehouse | Edinburgh

Following his award-winning feature documentary THE WAR ON DEMOCRACY, John Pilger's first film in three years is a powerful and timely investigation into the media's role in war.

In THE WAR YOU DON'T SEE, Pilger traces the history of 'embedded' and independent reporting, from the First World War to the destruction of Hiroshima and the invasion of Vietnam, to the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. As weapons and propaganda have grown ever more sophisticated, so the very nature of war has changed.

But who is the real enemy today? Is it the people at home watching TV? And is the journalist's job to normalise the unthinkable? The film contains shocking never-seen-before footage from Iraq and Afghanistan and revealing interviews with former BBC reporter Rageh Omaar, former CBS anchor Dan Rather and the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange.

Damn it or fear it, the forbidden truth is an insurrection in Britain - John Pilger

Damn it or fear it, the forbidden truth is an insurrection in Britain

18 August 2011

On a warm spring day, strolling in south London, I heard demanding voices behind me. A police van disgorged a posse of six or more, who waved me aside. They surrounded a young  black man who, like me, was ambling along. They appropriated him; they rifled his pockets, looked in his shoes, inspected his teeth. Their thuggery affirmed, they let him go with the barked warning there would be a next time.

For the young at the bottom of the pyramid of wealth and patronage and poverty that is modern Britain, mostly the black, the marginalised and resentful, the envious and hopeless, there is never surprise. Their relationship with authority is integral to their obsolescence as young adults. Half of all black British youth between the ages of 18 and 24 are unemployed, the result of deliberate policies since Margaret Thatcher oversaw the greatest transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top in British history. Forget plasma TVs, this was panoramic looting. 

Such is the truth of David Cameron's "sick society", notably its sickest, most criminal, most feral "pocket": the square mile of the City of London where, with political approval, the banks and super-rich have trashed the British economy and the lives of millions. This is fast becoming unmentionable as we succumb to propaganda once described by the American black leader Malcolm X thus: "If you're not careful the newspapers will have you hating the oppressed and loving the people doing the oppressing."

As they lined up to bay their class bigotry and hypocrisy in parliament, barely a handful of MPs spoke this truth. Heirs to Edmund Burke's 18th century rants against the "mob rule" of a "swinish multitude", not one referred to previous rebellions in Brixton, Tottenham and Liverpool in the 1980s when Lord Scarman reported that "complex political, social and economic factors" had caused a "disposition towards violent protest" and recommended urgent remedial action. Instead, Labour and Liberal bravehearts called for water cannon and everything draconian: among them the Labour MP Hazel Blears. Remember her notorious expenses?  None made the obvious connection between the greatest inequality since records were kept, a police force that routinely abuses a section of the population and kills with impunity and a permanent state of colonial warfare with an arms trade to match: the apogee of violence.

It hardly seemed coincidental that on the day before Cameron raged against "phony human rights", NATO aircraft - which include British bombers sent by him - killed a reported 85 civilians in a peaceful Libyan town. These were people in their homes, children in their schools. Watch the BBC's man on the spot trying his best to dispute the evidence of his eyes, just as the political and media class sought to discredit the evidence of a civilian bloodbath in Iraq as epic as the Rwanda genocide. Who are the criminals?

This is not in any way to excuse the violence of the rioters, many of whom were opportunistic, mean, cruel, nihilistic and often vicious in their glee: an authentic reflection of a system of greed and self-interest to which scores of parasitic money-movers, "entrepreneurs", Murdochites, corrupt MPs and bent coppers have devoted themselves.  

On 4 August, the BBC's Fiona Armstrong - aka Lady MacGregor of MacGregor - interviewed the writer Darcus Howe, who dared use the forbidden word, "insurrection". 

Armstrong: "Mr. Howe, you say you are not shocked [by the riots]? Does this mean you condone what happened?"

Howe: "Of course not ... what I am concerned about is a young man Mark Duggan ... the police blew his head off."

Armstrong: "Mr. Howe, we have to wait for the official enquiry to say things like that. We don't know what happened to Mr. Duggan. We have to wait for the police report."

On 8 August, the Independent Police Complaints Commission acknowledged there was "no evidence" that Duggan had fired a shot at police. Duggan was shot in the face on 4 August by a police officer with a Heckler and Koch MP5 sub-machine gun - the same weapon supplied by Britain to dictatorships that use them against their own people. I saw the result in East Timor where Indonesian troops also blew the heads off people with these state-of-the-art weapons supplied by both Tory and Labour governments.  

An eyewitness to Duggan's killing told the Evening Standard, "About three or four police officers had [him] pinned on the ground at gunpoint. They were really big guns and then I heard four loud shots. The police shot him on the floor."

This is how the Metropolitan Police shot dead Jean Charles de Menezes on the floor of a London Underground train.  And there was Robert Stanley and Ian Tomlinson, and many more. The police lied about Duggan's killing as they have lied about the others. Since 1998, more than 330 people have died in police custody and not one officer has been convicted.  Where is the political and media outrage about this "culture of fear"?

"Funny, too," noted the journalist Melanie MacFadyean, "that the police did nothing while some serious looting went on - surely not because they wanted everyone to see that cutting the police force meant more crime?"

Still, the brooms have arrived. In an age of public relations as news, the clean-up campaign, however well-meant by many people, can also serve the government's and media goal of sweeping inequality and hopelessness under gentrified carpets, with cheery volunteers armed with their brand new brooms  and pointedly described as "Londoners" as if the rest are aliens. The otherwise absent Boris Johnson waved his new broom. Another Etonian, the former PR man to an asset stripper and current prime minister up to his neck in Hackgate, would surely approve.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

LGBT Asylum News: 'Obviously gay' Ugandan asylum seeker faces removal by UK Wednesday

Robert with his partner in Uganda. He doesn't know where his partner is now.
By Paul Canning

New updates continue here.

Update, 15 August: Robert has new removal instructions for Thursday 18 August. His lawyer is preparing another possible claim.

Update, 11 August:, LibDem Voice, ILGA, Portsmouth local newspaper The News and now widely circulating The Advocate in the US have reported on Robert's case.

Update, 10 August: Robert's removal has been "deferred" pending consideration of his fresh claim for asylum.

Updated to add: Mike Hancock MP has issued a strong statement expressing "grave concern" and citing issues with the case including:

"Continued old-fashioned attitudes by immigration judges and a system that does not allow for the extreme nervousness that LGBT people may have in admitting their sexuality to people in authority following their experiences."

A Ugandan asylum seeker described by those who have met him as 'obviously gay' faces removal this Wednesday after the acting head of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), Jonathan Sedgwick, personally rejected an appeal by LiberalDemocrat Mike Hancock MP. A 'fresh claim' for asylum is to be put in today by his lawyer.

Sedgwick's letter reiterates what an immigration judge said regarding Robert Segwanyi last November. Judge Hembrough wrote that:

"Even if I am wrong regarding the Appellant's homosexuality I see no reason to depart from the [then] current country guidance" - this guidance being that "the evidence does not establish that in general there is persecution of homosexuality (sic) in Uganda".
This country guidance was changed in February and now reflects the actual situation for gays in Uganda.

In particular it points out that:

"Amnesty’s 2010 Report 'I Can’t Afford Justice' published on 6 April 2010 commented “…section 145 of the Penal Code Act has been and continues to be used by the police and other law enforcement officials to subject lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Uganda to arbitrary arrest and detention often resulting in torture or other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” [10b] This comment is contrary to that made by UHRC at 19.04 and should be considered accordingly. [This means that this information should be prioritised over prior information.]"
Sedgwick's letter claims that Hancock's pointing to the murder of David Kato earlier this year as 'new evidence' is irrelevant as he claims that Segwanyi would "keep his sexual orientation secret for reasons other than fear of persecution in Uganda." This reiterates the judge's hedging of 'even if I am wrong and he is gay ...'

According to those who have met him, Robert is 'obviously gay'.

Ugandan refugee John Bosco met Segwanyi before he was in Haslar detention centre near Portsmouth. He says:

"When I met him face to face, it was obvious that Robert is gay. The way he was talking, the mannerism and mentioning some of Ugandan gay guys I from Uganda. Robert told me what he has been through and from my experience I knew it did happen to him as it happened to me when people in Uganda came to know about my sexuality."
Anne Dickinson of Haslar Visitor's Group said that they knew immediately that Robert was gay, before he told them, but they didn't want to say anything.

Says Bosco:

"Robert wanted to talk to them but he found it hard to talk about it in front of others listening. So he waited until one went to the kitchen and talked about it. Then when I met Robert I asked how he felt about it afterwards. He was scared to death thinking he has blown off his chance as he will never be allowed to go back to the drop-in as this has been happening where ever he mentions that he is gay. He was then shocked to hear that this time someone listened to him. Robert is so vulnerable as he finds it hard to express himself because of English language. He can speak English but not good enough to express his feelings."
Robert was imprisoned and tortured for homosexuality. On escaping prison in June 2010 he fled to the UK and applied for asylum a fortnight later. The UK Border Agency (UKBA) does not accept he is gay and a judge rejected his appeal claiming that there is no risk to gay people in Uganda.

Hancock's letter demanded that Robert be given enough time to put in for judicial review - because, he explained in some detail, previous judicial dismissal of Robert's case appeared to be unsafe.

In particular he pointed to immigration judge Hembrough's treatment of the evidence of Professor Cornelius Katona, a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Emeritus professor of Psychiatry in the University of Kent, Honorary Professor in the Department of Mental Health Sciences at University College London and author of over 300 expert medical reports. (We detailed other problems with both judge Hembrough's as well as the UKBA's treatment of Robert.)

Hancock pointed to the judge's statement in his ruling that Prof. Katona did not consider Mr Segwani to be gay - yet Prof. Katona has said that this is "with respect, incorrect".

Hembrough said he had “considerable doubts as to whether” Segwanyi was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) – despite Prof. Katona saying that it would not even be possible for professional actors to fake PTSD symptoms in a way that Segwanyi did.

The treatment of Katona's evidence demands judicial review, Hancock says. But Sedgwick's letter rejects any need to reassess the judge's decision.

In total, Sedgwick backs the judge and rejects Hancock's assessment that the judge's findings about Segwanyi being interviewed in English, his PSTD and his homosexuality:

"Are at best based on somewhat prejudiced views and not in line with the evidence. Indeed if Mr Segwanyi had wanted to mislead the immigration authorities he would surely have acted in a different way."
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Wednesday, 17 August 2011

New Chrome beta goes Native (Client) | The Download Blog

Google Chrome

One of the biggest changes in how Chrome works has begun to make its way into the beta build of the browser, as Google Chrome 14 beta (download for Windows | Mac | Linux) now comes with the first beta release of Native Client. This is a major breakthrough in development terms, indicating that the NaCl project is moving ahead more or less on schedule. However, full NaCl support is still a long way off.

You're not likely to see any of Native Client, as it's a major reworking of how the code that powers Chrome functions. Basically, it changes Chrome so that it runs in a double sandbox, combining the convenience of Web-based JavaScript with the performance of software written specifically for an operating system-and-processor combination.

While NaCl is at the forefront of software technology, other changes to the Chrome 14 beta lock down long-missing or otherwise absent features. Mac users finally get Print Preview, and all users will benefit from extending encryption to all synchronized data.

Several new APIs debuted in the beta, including support for the new Web Audio API and two experimental APIs for extensions. Web Audio supports room spatialization and simulation. One of those handles Web requests, and the other deals with content settings. Finally, in addition to multiple security and bug fixes that migrated from the developer's channel to the beta, Apple users get Mac OS X Lion feature support. Google's changelog for Chrome 14 beta is available, too.

If Google's previous release schedule is any indication, the developer's build of Chrome ought to update to version 15 within a week or so.

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BBC News - Barrow Taser arrest man dies

17 August 2011 Last updated at 02:13

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Barrow Taser arrest man dies

A man has died in Cumbria after being arrested by police who used a Taser.

Police were called to Hartington Street, in Barrow, at 18:30 BST on Tuesday, following reports of a man causing a disturbance.

A Taser was deployed during the arrest of the man, who was in his 20s, and he later complained of feeling unwell. He was taken to hospital, where he died.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has been informed.

A Cumbria Police spokesman said: "Neighbourhood police officers attended the scene and arrested a male on suspicion of causing criminal damage and, during the arrest, a Taser was deployed.

"The man became unwell following the arrest and was taken to Furness General Hospital by officers.

"At around 9pm the man, who was in his 20s and lived locally, was pronounced dead."

BBC News - Some England riot sentences 'too severe'

17 August 2011 Last updated at 05:58

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Some England riot sentences 'too severe'

<div class="warning"> <img class="holding" src="" alt="John Cooper QC (left), Kirsty Wark (centre), Margot James MP (right)" /> <p><strong>Please turn on JavaScript.</strong> Media requires JavaScript to play.</p> </div>

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John Cooper QC told Newsnight's Kirsty Wark: "This sentence in my view is over the top"

MPs and justice campaigners say some of the sentences given to those involved in the riots in England are too harsh.

On Tuesday two men were jailed for four years for using Facebook to incite riots and another was given 18 months for having a stolen TV in his car.

Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake said sentences "should be about restorative justice" not retribution.

But Conservative MP Gavin Barwell said tougher sentences sent a clear message that disorder would not be tolerated.

More than 2,770 people have been arrested in connection with last week's riots in a number of English cities.

By Tuesday afternoon, 1,277 suspects had appeared in court and 64% had been remanded in custody. In 2010 the remand rate at magistrates for serious offences was 10%.

The courts and tribunals service says legal advisers in court have been advising magistrates to "consider whether their powers of punishment are sufficient in dealing with some cases arising from the recent disorder". Magistrates are able to refer cases to crown courts which have tougher sentencing powers.

'Lack of proportionality'
Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

What we can't do, in my view, in situations like this, is suddenly throw the rule book away simply because there's a groundswell of opinion”

End Quote John Cooper QC

Mr Brake told the BBC's Newsnight that some of those convicted had received sentences which would have been different if they had committed the same crime the day before the riots.

"This should be about restorative justice - in other words making people acknowledge the offences they have committed - and preferably, if the victims want it, [to] actually sit down face to face with the victims so that they can hear from the victims the impact they have had. But it should not be about retribution," he said.

The Howard League for Penal Reform's Andrew Neilson told the Times that it was "fair enough" to see public disturbances as an aggravating factor when sentencing but added there seemed to be "a complete lack of proportionality to some of the sentences".

Damage after rioting in Croydon Croydon MP Gavin Barwell said his constituents wanted to see the courts get tough on rioters

Prison Reform Trust director Juliet Lyon also told the newspaper: "There is a real risk that in a justice system operating under exceptional pressure that due process, proportionality and fairness could be sacrificed in a rush to deterrent sentencing."

Meanwhile, in the Guardian, Justice policy director Sally Ireland also expressed the view that some sentences were out of all proportion with the crimes committed.

She said there would be a flurry of appeals "although by the time they have been heard, those sentences may already have been served".

However, Mr Barwell, whose constituency in Croydon, London, saw some of the worst rioting last Monday night, said the type of sentences being handed down would be welcomed by many.

'Restore confidence'

He said there was "a virtual unanimity" among his constituents that people wanted to see the courts get tough with the people that "caused the terrible criminality" in Croydon.

Tougher sentences would help restore confidence in the justice system and send out "a very clear message to people that this kind of disorder is not going to be tolerated", he said.

Cheshire men Jordan Blackshaw, 21, of Marston, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, of Warrington, were jailed for four years each after admitting using Facebook to incite disorder, although none actually resulted.

Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan and Jordan Blackshaw Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan and Jordan Blackshaw were jailed at Chester Crown Court

The Recorder of Chester, Judge Elgan Edwards, said he hoped the sentences would act as a deterrent to others.

Assistant Chief Constable of Cheshire Police Phil Thompson said: "If we cast our minds back just a few days to last week and recall the way in which technology was used to spread incitement and bring people together to commit acts of criminality, it is easy to understand the four-year sentences that were handed down in court today."

The Crown Prosecution Service said the offences committed carried maximum sentences of 10 years, but the four-year sentences were the lengthiest related to rioting so far.

Conservative MP for Stourbridge Margot James said she thought the sentence was reasonable.

"I think the young men involved were inciting a riot, trying to organise the sort of mayhem that we saw on the streets eight nights ago in Salford, which would have put lives at risk and at the very least they distracted the police from trying to deal with that crisis and put a lot of fear into people."

Rule book

Leading criminal barrister John Cooper QC said he believed the sentences were "over the top" and were likely to be overturned by the Court of Appeal.

"What we need to remember here is that there's a protocol for sentencing, and there are rules and procedures in sentencing which make them effective and make them fair. What we can't do, in my view, in situations like this, is suddenly throw the rule book away simply because there's a groundswell of opinion."

In another case, three men were jailed for up to two years in relation to the disorder in Manchester and Salford on 9 August. David Beswick, 31, Stephen Carter, 26, both from Salford, and Michael Gillespie-Doyle, 18, from Tameside, all pleaded guilty at earlier hearings.

Sitting at Manchester Crown Court, sentencing Judge Andrew Gilbart QC said: "I have no doubt at all that the principal purpose is that the courts should show that outbursts of criminal behaviour like this will be and must be met with sentences longer than they would be if the offences had been committed in isolation.

"For those reasons I consider that the sentencing guidelines for specific offences are of much less weight in the context of the current case, and can properly be departed from."

Beswick was 18 months in prison for handling stolen goods. His friend Tony Whitaker said the punishment was disproportionate, given that he had pleaded guilty straight away.

BBC News - US cigarette makers sue over graphic warning labels

17 August 2011 Last updated at 02:31

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US cigarette makers sue over graphic warning labels

A label showing a man wearing an oxygen mask The new health labels include images of individuals with heart disease and rotten teeth

Five tobacco companies have sued the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over a new law that would force them to place graphic health warnings on their cigarette packets.

The firms argue the plan violates their constitutional right to free speech, as it requires firms to promote the government's anti-smoking message.

The FDA has not commented on the lawsuit.

The new warnings will be required on cigarette packs from September 2012.

'Depressed, afraid'

RJ Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard Tobacco, Commonwealth Brands, Liggett Group and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco said they filed their suit against the FDA late on Tuesday in an effort to delay enforcement of the new law.

RJ Reynolds brands include Camel and Winston, while Lorillard brands include Newport and True.

In their 41-page complaint, the five companies say the new labels would illegally force them to make consumers "depressed, discouraged and afraid" to buy their products.

"The government can require warnings which are straightforward and essentially uncontroversial, but they can't require a cigarette pack to serve as a mini-billboard for the government's anti-smoking campaign," Floyd Abrams, a lawyer representing the cigarette makers, said in a statement.

He added that the new labels would violate the companies' free-speech rights under the first amendment to the constitution.

The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act requires such labels to cover the top half of the front and back sides of cigarette packages and 20% of the printed advertising.

In June, Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the new labels could deter young people from starting to smoke and give adult smokers a new incentive to quit.

Cigarette makers lost a similar suit last year in a US district court in Kentucky when a judge said the FDA could move ahead with forcing the companies to use the new labels, which include images of dead bodies, diseased lungs and rotten teeth.

That ruling is currently pending before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

One of the biggest US tobacco firms, Altria - parent company of Philip Morris and maker of Marlboro cigarettes - has not joined in any of the legal action against the FDA.

More than 220,000 people in the US are expected to be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011, according to the American Cancer Society.

Tobacco use is estimated to be responsible for 443,000 deaths in the US each year.

BBC News - Riots thwarted by Blackberry and Twitter chat - police

16 August 2011 Last updated at 16:38

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Riots thwarted by Blackberry and Twitter chat - police

Olympic Park The London 2012 Olympic Park is in east London

Police say they prevented attacks by rioters on the Olympic site and London's Oxford Street after picking up intelligence on social networks.

Assistant Met Police Commissioner Lynne Owens told a committee of MPs officers learned of possible trouble via Twitter and Blackberry messenger.

But Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin said he had considered asking authorities to switch off social networks.

He said they provided intelligence but could also be misleading.

A number of politicians, media commentators and members of the police force have suggested that Twitter and Blackberry Messenger (BBM) had a role to play in the riots.

The BBM system is popular among many young people because it is both private and secure - users are invited to join each other's contacts list using a unique PIN, although once they have done so, messages can be distributed to large groups.

Switch off request

Ms Owens said officers had been attempting to sift through an "overwhelming" amount of "chitter chatter" on social networks during last week's riots in London, but some had proved vital.

"Through Twitter and BBM there was intelligence that the Olympic site, that both Westfields [shopping centres] and Oxford Street were indeed going to be targeted," she told the home affairs select committee.

"We were able to secure all those places and indeed there was no damage at any of them."

Continue reading the main story


Ben Wood, mobile technology expert

Not only are Rim (Research in Motion, Blackberry's owner) the most secure messaging operator, they're also the most fastidious - they log everything. If you were a looter using a Blackberry, you're going to get found out.

The police have the power to serve Rim with an order to reveal information. Under the same law, Rim are barred from disclosing whether they've done so or not.

But although Rim can't say it themselves, I can say with confidence that they'll be doing everything they can to help. It's a reputation issue - these people are a tiny minority of their users and they want the remainder to see them doing all they can to track them down.

Rim don't need to reveal the actual contents of messages in order do that. They can tell police who sent a message to whom and when. The police can then ask the network operators where that was done - and the sum total will probably be enough to be used as evidence.

If you know a Blackberry belonging to a suspect sent a message to 45 other Blackberries and then those 45 owners all turn up in Ealing or Tottenham an hour later, it's clear what's going on.

Mr Godwin said that on Monday, when disorder spread to 22 of London's 32 boroughs, police were receiving a new piece of intelligence every second.

And while much of the information coming via social media "was obviously wrong and rather silly", he said police did considered trying to shut the networks down in order to prevent them being used to organise further violence.

"We did contemplate, I contemplated, asking the authorities to switch it off. The legality of that is very questionable and additionally, it is also a very useful intelligence asset," he said.

"So, as a result of that, we did not request that that was turned off, but it is something that we are pursuing as part of our investigative strategy."

Blackberry has offered to co-operate with police investigating the riots - prompting attacks by hackers angry that the company could be prepared to hand over user data to authorities.

Asked what Blackberry's co-operation would involve, Mr Godwin asked to "plead the fifth", adding: "I would rather not answer that question as it is an investigative strategy."

'Seamless working'

Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, which played a key role in coordinating the Met's response, said the riots were "fundamentally different" from the sort of disorder he and the rest of the police force had ever dealt with before.

He told the committee the violence was "multi-site" and "far more spontaneous", and there was almost "non-existent pre-intelligence" which could have helped police manage things differently.

Sir Hugh also defended the way police resources were managed, insisting there was "a pretty seamless working of the system" which was able to meet all the requests made for additional resources.

The senior officers were asked about an apparent spat which broke out between the police and senior ministers over who was responsible for bringing about the surge in officer numbers which returned calm to London.

Mr Godwin insisted that the prime minister and home secretary had been "very supportive" and any differences between them were "overplayed".

"Sometimes the perception of us at loggerheads is not helpful," he added.

BBC News - Mother says son arrested for burglary treated unfairly

BBC News - Two jailed for using Facebook to incite disorder

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich By WARREN E. BUFFETT Published: August 14, 2011

OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.

Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine — most likely by a lot.

To understand why, you need to examine the sources of government revenue. Last year about 80 percent of these revenues came from personal income taxes and payroll taxes. The mega-rich pay income taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing in payroll taxes. It’s a different story for the middle class: typically, they fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher, and my percentage rate was in the middle of the pack. According to a theory I sometimes hear, I should have thrown a fit and refused to invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and dividends.

I didn’t refuse, nor did others. I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.

Since 1992, the I.R.S. has compiled data from the returns of the 400 Americans reporting the largest income. In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion — a staggering $227.4 million on average — but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.

The taxes I refer to here include only federal income tax, but you can be sure that any payroll tax for the 400 was inconsequential compared to income. In fact, 88 of the 400 in 2008 reported no wages at all, though every one of them reported capital gains. Some of my brethren may shun work but they all like to invest. (I can relate to that.)

I know well many of the mega-rich and, by and large, they are very decent people. They love America and appreciate the opportunity this country has given them. Many have joined the Giving Pledge, promising to give most of their wealth to philanthropy. Most wouldn’t mind being told to pay more in taxes as well, particularly when so many of their fellow citizens are truly suffering.

Twelve members of Congress will soon take on the crucial job of rearranging our country’s finances. They’ve been instructed to devise a plan that reduces the 10-year deficit by at least $1.5 trillion. It’s vital, however, that they achieve far more than that. Americans are rapidly losing faith in the ability of Congress to deal with our country’s fiscal problems. Only action that is immediate, real and very substantial will prevent that doubt from morphing into hopelessness. That feeling can create its own reality.

Job one for the 12 is to pare down some future promises that even a rich America can’t fulfill. Big money must be saved here. The 12 should then turn to the issue of revenues. I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.

But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.

Warren E. Buffett is the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Impact of the Internet Age - George Osborne at European Zeitgeist 2011 - YouTube

HOME - YouTube Incredibly beautiful photography - POWERFUL words - Well worth watching - 1 hour 33 mins

Mineral wool - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2008)

Rockwool close-up.

Rockwool under microscope

Building joint with incomplete firestop made of rockwool packing that still requires topcaulking.

Common insulation applications in an apartment building.

Rockwool pipe covering applied to a steel pipe for a fire test.

Mineral wool, mineral fibres or man-made mineral fibres are fibres made from natural or synthetic minerals or metal oxides. The latter term is generally used to refer solely to synthetic materials including fibreglass, ceramic fibres and stone wool. Industrial applications of mineral wool include thermal insulation (as both structural insulation and as pipe insulation), filtration, soundproofing, and germination of seedlings.




Slag wool was first made in 1840 in Wales by Edward Parry but the harmful effects on the workers caused production to be abandoned.[1] It was first produced commercially in 1871 at the Georgsmarienhütte in Osnabrück Germany.


Stone wool is a furnace product of molten rock at a temperature of about 1600 °C, through which a stream of air or steam is blown. More advanced production techniques are based on spinning molten rock on high speed spinning wheels somewhat like the process used to prepare cotton candy. The final product is a mass of fine, intertwined fibres with a typical diameter of 6 to 10 micrometers. Mineral wool may contain a binder, often food grade starch, and an oil to reduce dusting.


Though the individual fibres conduct heat very well, when pressed into rolls and sheets their ability to partition air makes them excellent heat insulators and sound absorbers. Though not immune to the effects of a sufficiently hot fire, the fire resistance of fibreglass, stone wool and ceramic fibres makes them common building materials when passive fire protection is required, being used as spray fireproofing, in stud cavities in drywall assemblies and as packing materials in firestops.

Mineral wools are unattractive to rodents but will provide a structure for bacterial growth if allowed to become wet.

Other uses are in resin bonded panels, growth medium in hydroponics, filler in compounds for gaskets, brake pads, in plastics in the automotive industry and as a filtering medium.

Mineral fibres are produced in the same way, without binder. The fibre as such is used as a raw material for its reinforcing purposes in various applications, such as friction materials, gaskets, plastics and coatings.

The heat that the material can withstand is:

Material Temperature
Glass wool 230 - 250 °C
Stone wool 700 - 850 °C
Ceramic fibre wool 1200 °C


In hydroponics

Mineral wool products can hold large quantities of water and air that aids root growth and nutrient uptake in hydroponics; their fibrous nature also provides a good mechanical structure to hold the plant stable. The high natural pH of mineral wool makes them initially unsuitable to plant growth and requires "conditioning" to produce a wool with an appropriate, stable pH.

Safety of material

Precautions need to be taken when handling a fibre product as it can irritate the eyes, skin and respiratory tract. Prolonged exposure could lead to long term effects and some types of mineral wool are considered a possible carcinogen to humans, similar to asbestos. This effect may depend upon the fibre diameter and length, chemical composition and persistence within the body.

IARC (the International Agency for Research on Cancer) has reviewed the carcinogenicity of man made mineral fibres in October 2002.[3] The IARC Monograph's working group concluded that only the more biopersistent materials remain classified by IARC as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" (Group 2B). These include refractory ceramic fibres, which are used industrially as insulation in high-temperature environments such as blast furnaces, and certain special-purpose glass wools not used as insulating materials. In contrast, the more commonly used vitreous fibre wools including insulation glass wool, stone wool and slag wool are considered "not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans" (Group 3).

High bio soluble fibres (HT-fibres) are produced that do not cause damage to the human cell. These newer biosoluble materials have been tested for carcinogenicity and most are found to be non-carcinogenic, or to cause tumours in experimental animals only under very restricted conditions of exposure. The IARC Monograph's working group "elected not to make an overall evaluation of the newly developed fibres designed to be less biopersistent such as the alkaline earth silicate or highalumina, low-silica wools. This decision was made in part because no human data were available, although such fibres that have been tested appear to have low carcinogenic potential in experimental animals, and because the Working Group had difficulty in categorizing these fibres into meaningful groups based on chemical composition."[4]

The EU risk and safety phrases associated with mineral wool in general are:

  • R38 – Irritating to the skin
  • R39 – Danger of very serious irreversible effects
  • R40 – Possible risk of irreversible effects
  • S36/37 – Wear suitable protective clothing and gloves.

Because European produced stone wool and glass wool is bio soluble, R39 and R40 do not apply, only R38 applies. This irritation to the skin is not a chemical irritation but only a temporary mechanical irritation, comparable with exposure of the skin to bio soluble materials such as straw, grass, or hay.

See also


  1. ^ Workshop Receipts, By Ernest Spon, Robert Haldane, Charles George Warnford Lock, Published by E. & F. N. Spon, 1889, Item notes: v.3
  2. ^ "Competition Commission Alternatives to Glass Mineral Wool".  090820, 2.2 Mineral Wools
  3. ^ IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, Volume 81 (2002), Man-made Vitreous Fibres (PLEASE NOTE: Some manufacturers of insulation products have cited this volume while making erroneous claims that "IARC scientists confirm safety of mineral wool insulation". These claims are false. The findings in this volume are not a determination of non-carcinogenicity or overall safety.)
  4. ^ IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, Volume 81 (2002), Man-made Vitreous Fibres, Overall evaluation, p. 339

External links

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