Saturday, 22 October 2011

Case Watch: Australia’s Complicity in Torture—An Update | Open Society Foundations Blog - OSF

Case Watch: Australia’s Complicity in Torture—An Update

October 14, 2011 | by

In our “Case Watch” reports, lawyers at the Open Society Justice Initiative provide quick-hit analysis of  notable court decisions and cases that relate to their work to advance human rights law around the world.

Earlier this year, the Australian government decided to settle a case that had been brought against it by Mahmoud Habib, an Australian citizen who had been detained in Pakistan, Egypt, and at various U.S. military bases between October 2001 and January 2005. Habib was later released without charge.

During his detention, Habib says that he was repeatedly tortured. His case was based on claims that Australian officials provided information that was used during his interrogations and were present during some of them. The government, of course, denied its officials were involved and claimed that it did not even know that Habib had been transferred to Egypt, let alone what was done to him there.

But just days after the government announced it had settled the case, Habib’s lawyers produced a statement from an Egyptian prison guard saying that an Australian official was indeed present during the interrogations. As a result of this revelation, the new government announced an inquiry by the Inspector-General of Security and Intelligence into the role of Australian agencies in Habib's arrest and detention.

This week, we saw the first results. Although the inquiry is only half complete, the inspector general told the parliament that that she had informed the prime minister that there was evidence that Australian officials from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Attorney-General’s Department had indeed been involved in decision making during the time that Habib was detained and tortured. To her credit, the new prime minister, Julia Gillard, then authorized the continued investigation of the activities of those departments—an investigation that is expected to continue until the end of this year.

The inspector general’s confirmation underscores the importance of objective and independent investigations whenever there are credible allegations of government complicity in torture or related abuses, even when those abuses occur offshore. It also reminds us that blanket denials and claims by the government that we cannot examine its actions too closely for reasons of national security must often be treated with skepticism. The early denials now look very shaky indeed.

The inspector general appears to have made a promising start to the investigation, and, since the settlement of this case, Habib has launched another in Egypt against former Egyptian officials that he argues are also responsible for his torture. We hope that both will be permitted to continue independently to their natural conclusion. And if the allegations of torture and complicity are indeed borne out by the evidence that those responsible will be held accountable.


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500px / Photo "wind" by Adrian Sommeling


500px is Photography - Fresh - October, 22

Dale Farm Eviction | Jess Hurd

Dale Farm Eviction

It has been a real privilege to document the Dale farm community over the past few years and share the joy and the sorrow at family events, on the protests and barricades. I will cherish the generosity and warmth shown to me at times of great emotional upset.

I hope the long battle against this eviction will mark in history a turning point, an end to the casual racism and vicious discrimination against travellers, gypsies and their way of life.

See eviction slideshow here

Police and bailiffs move in to remove travellers and their supporters from Dale Farm, who build barricades and burn caravans to stop them. Basildon. Essex.

© Jess Hurd/

See Dale Farm Children’s Barricade here

Happier times, see Dale Farm wedding blogs here and here

More archive images available to license from:


Autonomy Adds Context, Meaning to Data Governance, Policy Management

Autonomy Adds Context, Meaning to Data Governance, Policy Management

Autonomy Adds Context, Meaning to Data Governance, Policy Management With Autonomy now officially owned by HP, it is worth keeping an eye on to see where it goes and what it’s doing. While it’s too early to make anything of any changes, the release this week of Policy Authority would suggest that, at least for Autonomy, it's business as usual.

Policy Authority, like other Autonomy products in the GRC space is built on top of IDOL, Autonomy’s server, which can search for a provide context to different kinds of data stored on it.

Policy Management

There is little enough about this new release — it hasn’t even appeared on the Autonomy website yet — to go into it in any great detail, but generally speaking, it enables enterprises to centralize the management of policies across the organizations.

Pretty much what all policy management offerings do, you say, but this one is slightly different in that, based on IDOL, it can provide context to GRC, and can apply consistent policies to all applications like records management systems or legal holds.

It can also do this for content repositories and, even better, can do it for both structured and unstructured data.

For the majority of enterprises, policy management can be a real nightmare. In the majority of cases, it involves taking all the applications in use across the enterprise and coordinating these to create one consistent, corporate-wide policy — and without taking into the account the ongoing addition of content into repositories, any one of which can force a rethink of the whole policy structure and force changes that require a back-to the-beginning approach.

Contextual Policies

If that data can be put in context, then the addition of new data can be made a lot easier without having to change entire policies, and that’s where Autonomy comes in.

Autonomy’s Policy Authority can understand the meaning in the different information entering into the system and, using a central meaning-based policy engine to provide a consistent set of rules to subscribed applications, it can automate the steps in the control procedure, making the policies independent of any single policy.

And the best part is that it recognizes context and concepts in data, including social media, web pages, video and audio recordings.

Just released this week at the ARMA International Conference and Expo, Policy Authority is available globally now. 

Professor writes paper on the US banking blockade against WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks and the protect-ip Act:
A New Public-Private Threat to the
Internet Commons

Yochai Benkler

Abstract: The WikiLeaks affair and proposed copyright bills introduced in the Senate are evidence of a
new, extralegal path of attack aimed at preventing access and disrupting the payment systems and advertising
of targeted sites. In this model, the attacker may be a government agency seeking to circumvent
constitutional constraints on its power or a private company trying to enforce its interests beyond those
afforded by procedural or substantive safeguards in the law. The vector of attack runs through the targeted
site’s critical service providers, disrupting technical services, such as Domain Name System service,
cloud storage, or search capabilities; and business-related services, such as payment systems or advertising.
The characteristics that make this type of attack new are that it targets an entire site, rather than aiming
for removal or exclusion of speci½c offending materials; operates through denial of business and ½nancial
systems, in addition to targeting technical systems; and systematically harnesses extralegal pressure
to achieve results beyond what law would provide or even permit.

To download the whole  PDF-file, please go to:

The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Legal Monitors needed as bailiffs clear site on Sunday | Dale Farm Solidarity

There is still an urgent need for supporters to sign up to do legal monitoring at Dale Farm over the coming days as bailiffs conduct the site clearance which will transform what used to be a vibrant community into a rubbish dump with some walls, fences and caravans left standing.

There are still some residents at Dale Farm, some who live on the legal plots which bailiffs are prevented from clearing, and some who are staying rather than trying to survive on the side of the road.

We need to have legal monitors there to ensure that the bailiffs do not act in violation of court order, as they have already tried to do several times. We also want to provide a supportive presence there, as this is an indescribably difficult time for the residents who remain.

Please contact dalefarmbackoffice [at] or 07583621312 to get info about legal monitoring. We will provide training.

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Remembering "Medicinal Michelle" | Cannabis Culture Magazine

Remembering "Medicinal Michelle"

Michelle Rainey: (Photo by Mark Knobil)Michelle Rainey: (Photo by Mark Knobil)CANNABIS CULTURE - October 20th marks one year since Michelle Rainey's passing. Michelle was a well-known Canadian medical marijuana activist and Marc's right-hand woman for many years. She used cannabis throughout her life to alleviate the suffering from Chron’s Disease and, later on, cancer.

In 2000, she started working with Marc Emery and founded the BC Marijuana Party with him in 2001. She also helped to run Emery Direct Seeds, getting life-saving seeds to those who needed them. Whether organizing pot parties, speaking at events, or making educational videos, Michelle worked tirelessly to end prohibition.

Michelle, along with Marc Emery and Greg Williams, faced life in US prison for the seed business after it was shut down in 2005. Thankfully, she received a no-prison sentence, and was able to live at home and continue her work in her final years.

After a brave fight, Michelle finally succumbed to cancer on October 20th, 2010 with her mother and husband at her side. Her life-long passion, strength and courage inspired so many people, and her loss has continues to sadden many every day, but especially on the day of her passing.

In her honour, a non profit has been established - the Michelle Rainey Foundation: Continuing Crohn's, Cancer and Cannabis Research. Her husband JefTek is continuing the work, so the Medicinal Cannabis Education Package and Medicinal T-Shirts are still available through

To learn more about Michelle, visit her website and watch her many videos at

Michelle Rainey
"Medicinal Michelle"
June 14, 1971 - October 20, 2010

Remembrance Events

A memorial tribute area was set up in the BC Marijuana Party Headquarters for the day of October 20th. Friends were welcome to come light a candle, leave a message, and send a smoke signal up to Michelle. (Event info on Facebook). In Toronto, a candle-light vigil took place at 7:00pm - 10:00pm outside College Park near Timothy's. (Event info on Facebook)

Video of the BCMP Michelle Rainey tribute, by Urban Grower:

Tribute videos

By "Marijuana Man" Greg Williams:

By Jodie Emery:

Marc Emery talks about Michelle Rainey

(from Marc Emery's blog on Tuesday, October 5 2010)

Michelle and Marc, April 20th 2005Michelle and Marc, April 20th 2005Dear Jodie: I was saddened to hear the tragic news that Michelle Rainey is possibly just weeks away from dying from her melanoma and lymphatic cancer, which has now reached critical proportions throughout her body. She's only 39. Melanoma is such a vicious cancer, and cancer has been terrible on her brother, killing him young, and affecting others in her family. Considering Michelle battled Crohn's Disease since she was a teenager, it's a bitter blow for her, this life of suffering she's had.

Michelle was my #1 partner in so many of my great triumphs, which I hope she regards as her great triumphs too. Considering the considerable pain her health has given her, she was heroic in so many ways, in so many campaigns that helped so many and represented the movement with class and clout.

With Matthew Johnson, Michelle and I ran the legendary and historic full-slate election campaign of 79 BC Marijuana Party candidates in the 2001 BC general election. You had to be there to believe it: in the campaign HQ, gathering all the candidates, getting the 40 signatures in each riding to qualify, having Richard Nixon's old campaign bus tour the province with BCMP leader Brian Taylor (now Mayor of Grand Forks) on board. We nicknamed that old bus the "Cannabus", and that campaign was when you got into politics, Jodie, going to your very first rally in Kamloops the day that bus came by Riverside Park.

That campaign, with our 54,000 votes, 3.5% of the total cast, would never have been possible without Michelle. When we didn't have a candidate way up north in Peace River South, Michelle volunteered to be the candidate and went up there to Tumbler Ridge and Dawson Creek, getting signatures at The Alaskan Hotel in Dawson Creek. You know how Charles, the owner of that cool old museum of a hotel, is always so nice to us there, Jodie? That's because Michelle smoothed the way for us in that community. Michelle was a great campaign manager with Matthew, she was like Mother Teresa, Houdini, and Vince Lombardi all rolled into one: cajoling, guiding, and making impossible things happen in the last play of the game for that campaign.

Michelle was an all-inclusive mother, household manager, and business partner, and while both of us attended to our own spousal relationships, we were a powerful and dynamic duo six years from 1999-2005, the greatest period of activism Canada had seen in our movement. Michelle lived with me pretty well from 1999 at the house on 9th Ave. on the Sunshine Coast to January 2003 at the apartment on Nicola in Vancouver, over three years, and worked from sunrise to late every night making sure I looked great and presentable every day, keeping my house clean, all the employees paid, the seeds out on time, the producers paid and happy, the media fully informed, Pot-TV running smoothly, and Richard Cowan (who lived with us on the Sunshine Coast for over a year) taken care of – it's amazing, all the incredible accomplishments she got done.

Michelle was my great team mate at the 2001 and 2003 IDEACITY in Toronto where I spoke about our incredible work to end prohibition and save the world. The 2003 IDEACITY is where I announced, for the first time, on stage, that I was going to smoke out the Toronto Police Station the next day as the first demonstration of what became the wildly successful Summer of Legalization Tour, proving that cannabis possession laws did not exist at that time. Michelle made sure she introduced me to everyone of importance there and indeed, many of the speakers said they thought our work was important. Romeo Dallaire, Henry Morgentaler, Wade Davis, Dianne Francis, Jaymie Matthews, and so many other great Canadians complimented Michelle and I on our great determination to end the suffering caused by prohibition.

Marc and Michelle, 2005Marc and Michelle, 2005The greatest celebration of cannabis I have ever experienced or ever heard of in the annals of cannabis culture were Michelle's fabulous Toker's Bowls of 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, hosted by Cannabis Culture Magazine. There has simply never been any presentation honouring the cannabis culture as classy, considerate, cannabinoid, warm, and loving, as Michelle gave love to every attendee for the whole glorious four-day affair. There were the boat trips, the bus trips (with the ever helpful Reverend Herb as the driver!), the 20-25 kinds of incredible pot for each judge, the nightly parties, rented restaurants, the entertainment, the prizes, the bubblehash, and the gracious and thoughtful Michelle making everyone ever so comfortable and welcomed. And Michelle had to work so hard to earn the money to cover the losses that each Tokers' Bowl had. They were the greatest parties our culture ever experienced, but they didn't make money, and Michelle had to work months to pull them off.

We had the greatest cannabis seed business ever known, that revolutionized the world, because Michelle, known fondly as Denmother, put love and care into every order. A medical cannabis user herself, struggling with Crohn's, she fully appreciated how our seeds were helping thousands of people. I certainly gave away millions of dollars to all those great and good causes, like the 2003 Canadian Supreme Court challenge to legalize marijuana ($85,000), the 1999 class-action suit of the US federal government in Philadelphia to bring back the compassionate use program of medical marijuana ($28,000), the 2000 Canadian Marijuana Party election campaign($22,000), the 2001 BC Marijuana Party campaign ($152,000), the Iboga Therapy House treatment facility for hard-drug addicts ($205,000), the Worldwide Global Marijuana Marches of 1999-2005 ($35,000 each of those 7 years), ballot initiatives in Colorado in 2000 ($15,000) and Arizona ($10,000) – all of those expensive projects and hundreds more which was paid for by mine and Michelle's hard work.

Michelle did what virtually no other human being could do or did, except her and I. She was an engine for great change in the world, committing money, her health, and her whole soul into this great movement that is forever in debt to her – just as I am in debt to her, for everything she has done for me and our cause. The whole movement, but especially the Canadian movement, may never know how much of our progress in the last decade is attributable to Michelle's perseverance in the face of great pain, stress and financial pressure. Everyday we had tremendous demands on us for monies we had committed to activism, to our suppliers, to our many employees. Every day we knew we risked a run-in with the law, and all these combined pressures certainly took their toll on her.

Michelle is dealing with this critical juncture in her life with modesty and privacy, but before it's too late, Michelle needs to be recognized as one of the greatest activists this movement has ever had. Michelle may have literally given her life to the movement, and when people think about what they can do for freedom in their lifetime, Michelle's life is a shining example of how much is possible, even under great duress.

I wish her a miracle, as she certainly deserves one. I salute her as my great comrade in arms who brought honour, passion, and achievement to our movement, and I can confidently say that the lives of thousands of people are and were forever improved by Michelle being there for them, and for me.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Occupy (We the 99) | Jasiri X

track name

Occupy (We the 99)

album and band name

by Jasiri X


Verse 1
The Power's with the people don't let these cowards deceive you
and be the next mouse in the talons of a eagle
this country's wealth gap isn't unbalanced it's evil
we celebrate access while the people have less
in poverty abject madness
while the economy collapses add stress
that's the last straw
you want class war well give you what you ask for
the have nots at the have's door
we came to crash your party
and we aint leaving until we're even
the Constitution guarantees these freedoms
any one against that's committing treason
your not a real patriot unless you stand for what you believe in
and nobody got more welfare than wall street
hundreds of billions after operating falsely
and nobody went to prison that's were you lost me
but my home my job my life is what it cost me

Verse 2
Remember when police beat the Egyptians who were defiant
even president Obama condemned the violence
but when NYPD beat Americans there's silence
it's apparent that there's bias
sticks for the people but give carrots to the liars
those crooked cops just for embarrassment should be fired
and if you want to see terrorists then look higher
they in them skyscrapers with billions from my labor
forcing people out of there homes with falsified data
so we either unify now or cry later
1% got the wealth but the 99's greater
so in every city we gone occupy major
cause nobody got more welfare than wall street
hundreds of billions after operating falsely
and nobody went to prison that's were you lost me
but my home my job my life is what it cost me

released 04 October 2011
Produced by Cynik Lethal
tags: hip-hop rap Pittsburgh
All rights reserved

Persecutorial modus operandi. [Hemp Forums - Chopper Sightings] : Hemp Embassy


Dear Minister; Thomas George has assured me he has written to you with my accusation about the selective enforcement modus operandi of the Cannabis Eradication Unit (CEU). 

I will go into very little detail as even the most superficial review of my assertion will result in confirmation. 

Choose any year, group of years, random years that the CEU has been active and you will learn that almost exclusively they spend their time hunting for marijuana along the East Coast (east of the escarpment).

This is the WORST area in NSW for growing marijuana. Yet the CEU claims it is great for growing marijuana. Specifically, the Northern Rivers region where I live is the worst area in the state. This is due to the much higher rainfall and humidity along the east coast compared to inland, and the heavy rains encountered in March-April-May are disaster for growing cannabis let alone commercial grade cannabis. 

Marijuana likes dry air. It is native to semi-arid Afghanistan through to monsoonal India where it is dry for most of the year. Within the regions they do visit, they almost exclusively visit land the CEU perceives to be owned by the counter culture.

They repeatedly go to ‘communes’. This is highlighted by their almost annual visits to Billens Cliff that is literally a ‘suburb of hippies’ and a place where it is IMPOSSIBLE to grow a commercial quantity of cannabis. 

Notre the CEU consistently says it is after commercial plantations. Yet its behaviour is constantly removing plants in small numbers 1,2 4, 8. No doubt if the CEU confessed their interest in small numbers they would have to fly over the suburbs to check out backyard growing. You know places like Vaucluse and Ewingsdale and Lismore Heights. 

The fact that the CEU values all plants regardless of gender (males are useless) or size at $2000 a plant plays into their ability to justify their budget but does practically nothing to stop the supply of cannabis. 

For example they often do visits during November and December before plants have sexed when often growers have multiple plants in a hole. Therefore when discovered by the CEU, e.g. 4 small unsexed plants are valued at $8000, but if they returned with the same effort during March either there would be no plants (crop failure very common) or just one female. 

Now this female might be 2 meters tall and fully laden with heads but it is still valued at just $2000. Thus CEU is geared towards early detection when there is nothing to stop a would-be grower from re-planting the same site. 

The CEU is a deterrent to commercial cannabis growing when people know the chopper might visit. However, the reverse is true as well. Commercial sized plantations being grown where you know you are not going to get visited by the chopper. 

The biggest crop I know of was harvested within 2 km of Lismore's city limits!

There are huge areas within the Lismore-Byron-Mullumbimby-Tweed area that never see the chopper. Selective enforcement of a law by the police is PERSECUTION and inimical to democracy. I am not stating you should stop the CEU from going to the places they visit almost year in year out but that such regularity is not needed to ensure no commercial crops will be grown. 

The failure of the CEU to virtually never look west of the escarpment proves the prejudice in the CEU modus operandi   Did I hear someone say Griffith? Tamworth? Broken Hill? The CEU does go to Armadale but where do they visit…Bellingen and Thora! More counter culture outposts! 

One bit of history.

Approximately 18 months after the police were embarrassed by OFF-DUTY officers at a party getting dressed up in black make-up, the CEU while ON-DUTY (circa 1994) as they were landing on multiple occupancy land would lower a LARGE flag depicting the skull and cross bones.

This attitude towards this sub-group of cannabis users remains today as it did then. The proof is in the pudding of where the CEU almost exclusively goes year in year out. 

Tired of the persecution, I hope you take this accusation seriously and investigate the modus operandi of the CEU. 

PS- I have sent this letter also through the NSW police website to the commissioner. i wouldn't have but hadn't located your email at that moment of impulsivity.  

Treefully, Paul Recher 


Those who produce should have, but we know that those who produce the most - that is, those who work hardest, and at the most difficult and most menial tasks, have the least. Eugene V. Debs 

When great changes occur in history, when great principles are involved, as a rule the majority are wrong. Eugene V. Debs

Expendable: Schapelle Corby - Android Market

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Expendable: Schapelle Corby



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September 11, 2011
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The Expendable Project is a global collaboration documenting and exposing the wilful political sacrifice of Schapelle Corby, an innocent woman.

How a government wilfully withheld vital evidence from a court of law, deceived its public, orchestrated an unprecedented media campaign, and ruthlessly deployed its organs of state against one of its own citizens. Expendable is a feature length documentary presenting a true political horror story.

A 27 year old Australian woman, Schapelle Corby, was sentenced to 20 years in an Indonesian prison in May 2005, after 4.2 kg of marijuana had been found in her boogie-board bag on arrival in Bali. However, her fate had been determined not in Bali, but in Canberra.

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THE EXPENDABLE PROJECT: Schapelle Corby's Family

Schapelle Corby's Family

Schapelle Corby's mother, father and sister have also suffered untold anguish, sadness and frustration during her ordeal. An overview of their suffering, written for The Expendable Project by a long term observer, is provided below.


"Never can a family have been more routinely or cruelly vilified by the media of a nation. Yet the truth bears no resemblance to the myth deliberately manufactured to distance them from the Australian public, a myth intended to create barriers strong enough to prevent empathy and sympathy developing"


In 2004 Michael Corby was dying of cancer. Schapelle, his loving daughter, was nursing him. Her fateful trip to Bali, for a holiday with her sister, was intended to recharge her batteries to strengthen Schapelle for this courageous and selfless role.

"She was his baby girl, the youngest of his children, and they shared a very special bond. She was the one living with him, and caring for him, as he slowly died of cancer." - Simba

But the last months of his life were to be haunted, not only by the terrible tragedy and injustice unfolding for his daughter Schapelle, but by a hostile media campaign unprecedented in recent Australian history.

Suffering from a terminal illness, Mr Corby presented the risk of increasing the public sympathy for his daughter. But equally, in his debilitated state, he was a soft target for smears and innuendo. The Australian media ruthlessly pursued this, and added this further difficulty to his personal struggle. They ensured that he suffered untold additional torment during his last few months.

Once deceased, the most toxic elements of the media enhanced their campaign further. In Australia "dead men can't sue". This was exploited to the full.

There was never any substance to any of their allegations. There was no association with drugs at all. Indeed, the local police were disgusted enough to take the rare step of commenting directly: "An investigation into statements made against Michael Corby found those statements to be unjustified. Queensland Police has no evidence to link Michael Corby with involvement in the drug trade".

On another occasion, they also issued a certificate to help dispel the smears:

This could hardly have been more clear, but incredibly, the lies continued unabated.

This campaign had a predictable effect, causing huge distress for a family already suffering extreme turmoil. Mercedes Corby, Schapelle's sister, desperately sought to defend her father where she was able, "They have put these lies on with no proof whatsoever because they know my father can't defend himself", "My father has passed away, he is dead. He worked hard all his life for what he got".

But the relentless campaign to influence public perception went on, with the ABC, for example, being forced to apologize for their fabrications.

A family friend commented, "They simply created smoke where there was no fire, to change the public's opinion of Schapelle's innocence. Her dad was used because he was dead, and they were free to print anything without fear of litigation. It is the most sickening thing I have ever seen. I am ashamed to be an Australian."

Another: "It has been unbelievable that they have just been allowed to invent lies from thin air and publish with no evidence, or have paid people large sums to blatantly lie. There is no press control when you are dead".

Mr Corby asked for Schapelle to the very end, and died on 17th January 2008. Schapelle Corby was the only family member unable to attend his funeral. His death marked the start of a more rapid decline in her mental health.

Michael Corby - RIP.


Schapelle's Mum, Rosleigh, has tried throughout to stay strong for Schapelle. She has continued to work hard to fund her trips to Bali to visit Schapelle, usually working 6 days per week, and has steadfastly refused to accept that Schapelle will not be returning home soon.

Rosleigh has also had more than her fair share of media vilification. Disgracefully, she has been a regular target for what is presented as 'humour', which has invariably been the cruelest of pre-meditated attempts to ridicule a distressed mother.

She has sought throughout to keep Schapelle going, which has sometimes been extremely traumatic. A recent occasion followed serious abuse of mentally ill Schapelle by Australia's Channel Nine, who invaded her cell with cameras and chased her into a toilet area, where she hid, traumatized. The following day, Rosleigh's visit to the prison consisted of her seriously distressed daughter sobbing uncontrollably, and asking her mum about ending it all. Rosleigh comforted Schapelle and kept herself together... until she left the prison.

Simba: "Ros has spent many an afternoon on Kuta beach, following her visits with Schapelle, crying inconsolably"

Media intrusion is another aspect of her life too, with frequent harassment from media crews, even at her own home.


Mercedes Corby accepted the mantle of both seeking to sustain her sister in Bali, and campaigning for her freedom. An intelligent, articulate and capable woman, she rapidly became a prime target for media vilification and abuse.

Over the years, there must have been many times when Mercedes felt totally isolated and desperate, as she struggled valiantly for her sister's life. The courage she has demonstrated in sustaining her efforts is very well illustrated by the following piece, which was provided by the Women For Schapelle Corby group.


In scurrying to cover the government's sale of Schapelle and her human rights, the Australian media vilified her family with smear after smear, and blatant lie after blatant lie. They worked tirelessly to create a barrier between the public, and the innocent woman left stranded in a hell hole. One tried and tested tactic was to character assassinate her loved ones. None more so than her beloved sister, Mercedes.

What the media created in the public psyche though was a soap character, moulded to suit their twisted agenda. The truth about Mercedes, however, is the exact opposite of their shameful creation.

The extracts below are from a single article from a few years ago.



Wild accusations, controversial TV reports and harassment by complete strangers, are just a few of the daily horrors Mercedes Corby faces. Here, the 32-year-old talks about a happy childhood, the day of her sister's arrest and the hell that followed.

Before Schapelle was arrested in Bali two-and- a-half years ago, I enjoyed a happy life. I’d never had to endure any major crisis; I didn’t really know what stress was, before that horrible day. Then, my carefree life vanished into yesterday. Never could I have imagined the pain and turmoil that would come to fill the daily lives of my whole family.

I’m the eldest of six children – three boys and three girls – and I loved growing up in a big family. Until I was 10, I had just two siblings – Schapelle and Michael. We had a tight bond, with only a year between each of us. Schapelle and I were best friends, sharing a bedroom, friends and clothes.

We did everything together. We could spend hours sitting in the grass making daisy chains or putting together dance routines. Schapelle’s always been a bit shy and I’ve often felt very protective of her – although she can definitely stand up for herself when she needs to.

Our parents split up when I was five, but it didn’t affect us much, as we still saw heaps of Dad. Mum and Dad stayed close friends and although we lived with Mum, we spent most of our school holidays up on Dad’s land at the beach. Despite the age gap, we were also very close to our three younger siblings.

Our home was full of people, fun and laughter. We were an outdoors family with Mum forever telling us, “Get outside, you kids.”

I spent most of my childhood playing sports, riding bikes, at the beach, and Mum took us on regular weekend camping trips down the coast. As teenagers, Schapelle, Michael and I got hooked on surfing. We joined a local Gold Coast Surf Club and spent our weekends patrolling the beaches and hitting the surf.

My close school friends were also in the club. We had a lot of great times. To me, there’s nothing better than the sun, surf, being fit and being able to share it with family and friends. I became the surf club’s first-aid officer in my late teens. We competed against other clubs, with my team often making the state finals.

Mum worked hard to give us everything she’d missed out on in her own childhood. She’d done it tough, spending her early years in and out of orphanages. She’s never complained or felt sorry for herself, but it made her determined to give us a good life.

She’s the most protective, loving, generous mum we could ask for. She worked two or three factory jobs to pay for nice clothes, holidays and after-school classes. She sent Schapelle, Michael and I to Toe Kwon Do classes. Schapelle and I also did ballet lessons for about 10 years. Although I was a bit of a tomboy, I loved dancing, concerts and costumes. I saved most of my costumes to pass onto my daughter, Nyeleigh, who now does ballet in Bali.

In 2004, we decided to take a five-month holiday to Bali, before Wayan started school on the Gold Coast. We had our little girl, Nyeleigh, by then, and felt it would be our last chance to give the two children a real taste of their dad’s culture and spend time with his family. We planned to be home by Christmas. But it didn’t work out. We didn’t get home. Instead, our lives turned to hell.

Nothing could have prepared us for the shock and trauma. It was incomprehensible. We’d been in Bali for about eight weeks when Schapelle was arrested on October 8, 2004, at Bali International Airport with 4.2kg of marijuana in her boogie-board bag.

She’d come to Bali for a two-week surfing holiday and to help me celebrate my 30th birthday – a milestone I was dreading.

Then, suddenly, my little sister was facing the death penalty. We’d crashed into a whole new life. It was surreal. I felt a darkness fill my heart. It’s never shifted; it won’t until my sister is free.

I lost 10kg through stress-induced vomiting and diarrhoea in those first few weeks. Pain and distress hit the moment I woke up and, most of the day, I felt as if battery acid was burning holes in my stomach.

Seeing Schapelle each day in a small concrete cell was shattering. We had to talk through the bars.

She would always try to be brave, but could rarely stop the tears pouring down her cheeks.

We were both so scared. We’d clasp each other's hands for comfort. Saying goodbye each day was soul destroying. It was the hardest and loneliest feeling in the world to walk away. I usually didn’t make it far before I threw up.

Often I’d hear Schapelle’s faint voice calling after me in the distance: “Bye Merc. I love you Merc.”

I’d turn around to wave to her, and see her clinging to the bars like a terrified child, watching me walk away.

I knew she usually collapsed into a sobbing mess after I left. I’d call back, “See you tomorrow, Schapelle,” trying to keep my voice steady, “You’ll be OK.”

But we both knew that nothing was OK. She was my precious little sister, who I’d always loved and protected, and there seemed absolutely nothing I could do to protect her now.

Two-and-a-half years later, we’ve adjusted as best we can. Time has helped us to live with this situation. We will never accept it – we’ll keep fighting. But we’ve started to build a new life in Bali. I owed it to myself, my kids, my husband and Schapelle, to put some normality back into our daily lives.

I was a social recluse for the first 18 months. I couldn’t go out and enjoy myself, even with close friends. I’d get too upset thinking about my sister locked in a cage – as she calls it. My whole life was focused on our fight to prove her innocence.

I’d spend hours online and on the phone, desperately searching for help and answers.

I still do, but I also have to make the best of this precious life. Schapelle wants me to do that.

She’s losing her life day by day. She doesn’t want that for me, too. She’s so pleased when I seem happier. That’s Schapelle; always concerned about others.

The kids and Schapelle love to see each other. They still don’t quite understand why she can’t leave with us. They used to ask about it all the time, “Why can’t Auntie Pelle come with us, Mum?” They’d feel the sadness, too. They don’t say it as often now, although just a couple of weeks ago, Wayan asked, “When’s Auntie Pelle going home to Australia, Mum?” “Not sure, honey.” He left it at that.

It’s my beautiful children who’ve helped keep me sane through this ordeal. Although we wanted our children to be educated in Australia, we’ve had to accept a different path for them. What has happened to Schapelle has changed the course of their lives. We will stay here as long as Schapelle is in jail.

The attention has created a lot of extra strain. We’d never had anything to do with the media before and thought we were doing the right thing by speaking to journalists, trying to get the message out that Schapelle was innocent.

Our lawyers at the time also told us to speak out so that it would push the Australian Government to help. It didn’t.

Many appalling and untrue things have also been written and said about my family and me. It deeply upsets me, although I try to be strong, and do my best not to let these cruel and nasty stories get me down.

I’ve been broken a few times, where my strength vanishes and I collapse into a lifeless heap on the floor.

But I can’t stay down for long. I know I have to pull myself together, not only for me, but for my family and friends.

One thing that angers me is when reporters who’ve never met me, or my family, call us uneducated or unskilled, even ‘trash’. They know nothing about us. For the record, my father is a well-educated and smart man; he’s an electrical engineer and has had good jobs all his life. There are Corby's who have university degrees. My mother has worked very hard all her life to support her family. These people don’t know us. They don’t know that I finished school, went to college, speak four languages fluently and am learning a fifth.

I now have three beautiful children and I take my role as a mother very seriously.

I’m trying to live as normal a life as possible, but I’ve forgotten what it feels like to live without stress and strain, and to feel good. My heart aches with sadness. My little sister is losing her life.

We never know what hell is around the next turn. People often used to comment that I looked very young for my age. Now I know I look a lot older than I am.

I live with an aching heaviness, a deep sadness and a tightness in my stomach, like an elastic band has been twisted tightly around it. Will my beautiful sister ever get to have a family or enjoy her life?

I love my sister and I miss her. I miss shopping with her, going out to dinner. She’s my best friend and she’s locked away from us all.

I know she is innocent and I will keep fighting for her freedom and for answers. I will never stop. I will never give up.

Mercedes is a victim too: a courageous intelligent woman whose love for her sister shines through like a beacon, as she fights for Schapelle's life day after day, week after week, year after year. A wonderful sister and an incredibly warm person.

You are not alone Mercedes: please know that every member of this Facebook group is by your side, and will fight with you for Schapelle until justice prevails and she is free.

Schapelle Corby's family are a hard working, proud, decent people. They have strong ethical and moral values, which are increasingly rare, and have proved themselves to be trusting, loyal, and incredibly courageous.

Like Schapelle Corby herself, they are innocent victims of this truly shocking political horror story.

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UN human rights expert questions targeted killings and use of lethal force

UN human rights expert questions targeted killings and use of lethal force

Special Rapporteur Christof Heyns

20 October 2011 –
The United Nations human rights expert on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions stressed today that States must respect international standards on the use of lethal force during arrests, and cautioned over the emerging trend of using unmanned aircraft to kill suspects.

“International standards provide adequate room for States to pursue their legitimate security interests, both at home and abroad,” said Christof Heyns, the Special Rapporteur, presenting his report to the General Assembly on the use of force by law enforcement officers during arrest or situations where arrest is a reasonable possibility.

“Abusing them to meet short-term needs, especially in counter-terrorism operations, could do long-term damage to the protection of human rights.” Life may be taken away by the State only as a way of protecting other lives, he added.

Mr. Heyns presented to the Assembly the results of a review of national legislation dealing with arrests in more than 100 countries.

He emphasized that in many countries, the test of whether a fleeing suspect may be shot still relates only to the severity of the offence committed and not to the potential harm that the person in question holds for society at large.

“While it is correct that lethal force should not be used unless there is a reasonable suspicion that the suspect has committed a crime involving serious violence, or has threatened to do so, that is not enough.

“For deadly force to be used by the police, there must be an immediate or ongoing threat to the public if the person were to escape.”

Firearms, he said, should not be used to stop a suspected thief, or someone who has committed a crime of passion and does not pose an ongoing threat, Mr. Heyns noted.

On targeted killings, the Special Rapporteur said the current use of drones and raids into countries where there is not a recognized armed conflict to kill an opponent, such as in Pakistan or Yemen, is highly problematic

While such operations may be designed to hit a particular target, civilian casualties remain, and it is used on such a large scale that it can hardly be described as targeted.

“The use of such methods by some States to eliminate opponents in countries around the world raises the question why other States should not engage in the same practices. The danger is one of a global war without borders, in which no one is safe,” stressed Mr. Heyns.

He called on the international community to engage in a serious debate on how to deal with the emerging and dangerous trend.

News Tracker: past stories on this issue

UN independent expert voices concerns over the practice of targeted killings


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Ecstasy trial planned to test benefits for trauma victims | Science | The Guardian

Ecstasy trial planned to test benefits for trauma victims

Scientists hope to overcome tabloid anger after US trial suggests clubbers' drug can bring dramatic improvements for PTSD sufferers

A pile of ecstasy tablets
Ecstasy tablets contain MDMA, which could be effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, a US trial suggests.

Doctors are planning the first clinical trial of ecstasy in the UK, to see whether the drug can be beneficial to the traumatised survivors of child abuse, rape and war.

Ecstasy and other illegal drugs such as LSD and magic mushrooms are potentially useful in treating people with serious psychological disturbance who cannot begin to face up to their distress, some psychiatrists and therapists believe. But because of public fear and tabloid anger about illegal drugs, scientists say they find it almost impossible to explore their potential.

Professor David Nutt, the psychopharmacologist who used to head the government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs until he fell out with the Labour home secretary and was sacked, said: "I feel quite strongly that many drugs with therapeutic potential have been denied to patients and researchers because of the drugs regulation. The drugs have been made illegal in a vain attempt to stop kids using them, but people haven't thought about the negative consequences."

Nutt and the Taunton-based psychiatrist Dr Ben Sessa are two of the British scientists who hope to repeat an experiment on patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) undertaken in the US which, although small, was successful and has caused some in the scientific community to think what was until recently unthinkable. It involved 20 people who had been in therapy and on pills for an average of 19 years. Twelve were given MDMA – or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, the chemical compound found, often adulterated, in ecstasy tablets. The rest had placebo pills but were later also given the chance to take MDMA. Each one had a therapy session, lying back in a reclining chair in a pleasant flower-decorated room in South Carolina, wearing an eyemask.

Sometimes they listened to music on headphones and sometimes they talked to the therapist, all the while thinking about the events that had caused such profound distress that they had been unable to revisit it in past psychotherapy sessions.

The response rate was a remarkable 83% – 10 out of the 12 showed significant improvement two months after the second of two MDMA therapy sessions. That compared with 25% of those on the placebo. There were no serious side-effects and no long-term problems.

"I expected it was going to be effective," said Michael Mithoefer, the psychiatrist who ran the US study and carried out the psychotherapy with his wife, Ann. "I suppose we wouldn't have done it otherwise. But I didn't necessarily expect we'd find such statistical significance in that number [of people]. That was the icing on the cake."

The high number of troops returning with PTSD from Afghanistan and Iraq is attracting special attention to the study in the US. Only one of the 20 was a veteran, while the rest had suffered childhood sexual abuse, rape or other kinds of assault. Mithoefer's next study will be on veterans alone.

Nutt said PTSD is "an extraordinarily disabling condition and we don't have any really effective treatments. In order to deal with trauma, you have to be able to re-engage with the memory and then deal with it. For many people, as soon as the memory comes into consciousness, so does the fear and disgust".

Mithoefer said the participants did not appear to have joined the trial in hopes of some sort of high. "I don't think that was much of a factor at all. Some people were referred by their therapist and had never taken any drugs and were quite anxious about the whole thing and for them it was a last resort.

" Interestingly, several people said after their session: 'I don't know why they call this ecstasy' – because it was not an ecstatic experience. They were revisiting the trauma. It was very difficult and painful work, but the ecstasy gave them the feeling they could do it."

People spoke of getting past a barrier. One said: "I feel like I'm walking in a place I've needed to go for so long and just didn't know how to get there.

"I feel like I know myself better than I ever have before. Now I know I'm a normal person. I've been through some bad stuff, but … those are things have happened to me, not who I am … This is me. The medicine helps, but this is in me."

Another said: "I have respect for my emotions now (rather than fear of them). What's most comforting is knowing now I can handle difficult feelings without being overwhelmed. I realise feeling the fear and anger is not nearly as big a deal as I thought it would be."

Ben Sessa said he hoped to recreate the study in the UK but "with an added twist – lots of neuroimaging". The only brain scans that have been done are of recreational ecstasy users, whose drugs may be contaminated and who have probably taken other substances, too.The death in 1995 of Leah Betts after taking ecstasy, from drinking too much water in response to a campaign warning ravers of the danger of dehydration, had prevented rational debate or scientific advance.

MDMA, he said, "is not about dancing around nightclubs – it's a really useful psychiatric drug".

Nutt said it made him angry that MDMA and LSD had been banned before any doctor could establish their potential benefit. LSD was being tried among terminal cancer patients.

"When I started in medicine in 1969 they were starting to see some interesting data in the use of LSD to help people make sense of dying. I don't think it is fair that because a drug is misused it should be banned from use in medicine," he said Heroin has been around for a hundred years so although it is illegal for street use, at least we have got that..

Leading the movement to get MDMA licensed for medical use is Rick Doblin, the founder in 1986 in the US of Maps, the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which backed Mithoefer's trial. "I think the chances of getting a licence are excellent. We have demonstrated an excellent level of safety. It's worked. It's necessary," he said. "It is probably going to take 10 years and $10m to do it."

Doblin, whose organisation relies on philanthropic donors, has no idea where that money will come from. Nutt and Sessa, whose proposed trial in the UK would boost the chances of MDMA entering the (locked) psychiatric drug cabinet are waiting for a response to their modest grant application from one of the UK's leading medical research funders. Sessa is optimistic; battle-scarred Nutt less so. Ecstasy will for ever be controversial. "If we get the study funded and into the public domain," said Nutt, "the Daily Mail will try to have it banned."

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Thursday, 20 October 2011

Key facts - The Poverty Site UK


  • The most commonly used threshold of low income is a household income that is 60% or less of the average (median) British household income in that year.  For a discussion of why this is the most commonly used threshold, see the page on choices of low-income thresholds.  The latest year for which household income data is available is 2008/09.  In that year, the 60% threshold was worth: £119 per week for single adult with no dependent children; £206 per week for a couple with no dependent children; £202 per week for a single adult with two dependent children under 14; and £288 per week for a couple with two dependent children under 14.  These sums of money are measured after income tax, council tax and housing costs have been deducted, where housing costs include rents, mortgage interest (but not the repayment of principal), buildings insurance and water charges.  They therefore represent what the household has available to spend on everything else it needs, from food and heating to travel and entertainment.
  • In 2008/09, 13½ million people in the UK were living in households below this low-income threshold.  This is around a fifth (22%) of the population. See further analyses
  • This 13½ million figure is an increase of 1½ million compared with four years previously, 2004/05.  The increases over the last four years follow six uninterrupted years of decreases from 1998/1999 to 2004/05 and are the first increases since 1996/97. See further analyses
  • The number of people on low incomes is still lower (just) than it was during the early 1990s but is much greater than in the early 1980s. See further analyses
  • The proportions of children and pensioners who are in low-income households are both lower than a decade ago.  In contrast, the proportion for working-age adults without dependent children is a bit higher.  A third of all people in low-income households are now working-age adults without dependent children, and the majority of these are single adults rather than couples. See further analyses
  • Around a third of all disabled adults aged 25 to retirement are living in low-income households.  This is twice the rate of that for non-disabled adults.  The main reason why so many disabled people are in low-income households is their high levels of worklessness.  A graduate with a work-limiting disability is more likely to be lacking but wanting work than an unqualified person with no disability. See further analyses
  • Among working-age adults in low income, more than half now live in families where someone is in paid work. See further analyses
  • The level of Income Support for both pensioners and families with two or more children has gone up faster than average earnings since the late 1990s, but that for working-age adults without children has fallen considerably behind. See further analyses
  • Half of all people in social housing are in low-income households compared to one in seven of those in other housing tenures. See further analyses
  • Inner London is deeply divided: it has by far the highest proportion of people in low income but also a high proportion of people on a high income. See further analyses
  • Over the last decade, the poorest tenth of the population have, on average, seen a fall in their real incomes after deducting housing costs.  This is in sharp contrast with the rest of the income distribution, which, on average, has seen substantial rises in their real incomes.  The richest tenth of the population have seen much bigger proportional rises in their incomes than any other group. See further analyses
  • More than half of all low-income households are paying full Council Tax, noticeably higher than in the mid-1990s. See further analyses
  • The UK has a higher proportion of its population in relative low income than most other EU countries: of the 27 EU countries, only 4 have a higher rate than the UK.  The proportion of people living in relative low income in the UK is twice that of the Netherlands and one-and-a-half times that of France. See further analyses


Child poverty

  • The number of children living in low-income households was 3.9 million in 2008/09 (measuring income after deducting housing costs).  The government's short term child poverty target was to reduce the number of children in low-income households by a quarter by 2004/05 compared with 1998/99.  This implied a maximum of 3.3 million children living in low-income households by 2004/05.  Given that the actual number in 2008/09 was 3.9 million, the government is still 0.6 million above its 2004/05 target.  See further analyses
  • Children are more likely to live in low-income households as adults. See further analyses
  • A half of all lone parents are in low income, more than twice the rate for couples with children. See further analyses
  • More than half of all the children in low-income households have someone in their family doing paid work. See further analyses
  • Tax credits now help more than a million children in working families out of low income but the number needing such help has risen sharply. See further analyses
  • Although the number of children who are in workless households is somewhat lower than a decade ago, the UK still has a higher proportion than any other EU country. See further analyses


Older people

  • Until the last few years, the proportion of pensioners living in low-income households had been falling sharply, from 29% of all pensioners in 1997/98 to 17% in 2005/06.  There has, however, been no significant reduction since 2005/06.  Pensioners now account for just one sixth of all the people in low-income households. See further analyses
  • A third of all pensioner households entitled to Pension Credit are not claiming it. See further analyses
  • The proportion of people aged 75 and over who receive home care to help them live at home has almost halved since the mid-1990s.  County councils and unitary authorities support far fewer households than either urban or Welsh authorities. See further analyses



  • In 2010, there were 4.7 million people of working age who wanted to be in paid work but were not.  The number has been rising since 2005, when it stood at 3.4 million.  Only half of these people are officially unemployed, with the others being considered to be 'economically inactive', either because they are able to started work immediately or because they are not actively seeking work.  Lone parents and those who are sick or disabled usually count as 'economically inactive' rather than 'unemployed'. See further analyses
  • Until 2008, the number of people claiming out-of-work benefits had been falling steadily.  Between February 2008 and February 2010, however, numbers rose sharply, back to the levels of a decade previously.  All of this rise was in the number of unemployed claimants, which, by February 2010, was actually substantially higher than a decade previously.  The number of sick or disabled claimants remained unchanged. See further analyses
  • One in four adults with a work-limiting disability are not working but want to.  This compares with one in fifteen of those with no work-limiting disability.  At all levels of qualification, the proportion of people with a work-limiting disability who lack but want paid work is much greater than for those without a work-limiting disability. See further analyses
  • In 2010, the unemployment rate among young adults aged 16 to 24 was 25%.  This proportion has been rising since 2004, when it was 12%. See further analyses
  • Throughout most of the last decade, around two-fifths of those losing their job had had that job for less than six months.  Only a quarter of temporary employees do not want a permanent job. See further analyses
  • People without qualifications are three times less likely to receive job-related training compared with those with some qualifications. See further analyses


Low pay

  • Around 3½ million adults aged 22 to retirement were paid less than £7 per hour in 2010.  Two-thirds of these were women and more than half were part-time workers. See further analyses
  • The proportion of workers aged 22 and over who were low paid fell between 2002 and 2005 but has remained broadly unchanged since then. See further analyses
  • Though still substantial, the pay gap between low-paid men and low-paid women is less than a decade ago. See further analyses
  • A quarter of workers earning less than £7 per hour work in the public sector. See further analyses
  • The lower a person's qualifications, the more likely they are to be low paid.  For example, half of employees aged 25 to 29 with no GCSES at grade C or above were paid less than £7 per hour in 2009 compared to one in ten of those with degrees or equivalent.  All levels of qualifications appear to make a noticeable difference compared with the level below. See further analyses
  • In 2010, just one in nine employees earning £7 an hour or less belonged to a trade union, a much smaller proportion than for those with higher hourly earnings. See further analyses
  • One in six working-age households are now in receipt of tax credits over and above the (non-means tested) family element.  In total, three times as many households are now in receipt of tax credits compared with a decade ago. See further analyses



  • 11-year-olds: over the last decade, the proportion of 11 year-olds not reaching level 4 at Key Stage 2 has fallen from 25% to 19% for English, and from 28% to 20% in Maths.  These proportions are also falling for schools with a high number of children from deprived backgrounds, from more than 40% to around 30% for both English and Maths. See further analyses
  • 16-year olds: 7% of pupils in England obtained fewer than 5 GCSEs or equivalent in 2009/10.  This proportion has fallen in each year since 2004/05.  By contrast, the proportion between the late 1990s and the early 2000s had remained unchanged.See further analyses
  • One in ten 16- to 18-year-olds are not in education, employment or training. See further analyses
  • The number of permanent exclusions has fallen by a third over the last six years. See further analyses



  • Health inequalities associated with class, income or deprivation are pervasive and can be found in all aspects of health, from infant death to the risk of mental ill-health.  The limited information on progress over time (infant death, low birthweight) shows no sign that they are shrinking.
  • Men aged 25-64 from routine or manual backgrounds are twice as likely to die as those from managerial or professional backgrounds and there are also sizeable differences for women.  Scotland has by far the highest proportion of premature deaths for both men and women. See further analyses
  • Adults in the poorest fifth of the income distribution are much more likely to be at risk of developing a mental illness as those on average incomes. See further analyses
  • Two-fifths of adults aged 45-64 on below-average incomes have a limiting long-standing illness or disability, more than twice the rate for those on above-average incomes. See further analyses
  • Children from manual social backgrounds are 35% more likely to die as infants than children from non-manual social backgrounds. See further analyses
  • Babies from manual social backgrounds are somewhat more likely to be of low birthweight than those from non-manual social backgrounds. See further analyses
  • Teenage motherhood is eight times as common amongst those from manual social backgrounds as for those from professional backgrounds. See further analyses
  • 5-year-olds in Wales and Scotland have, on average, more than twice as many missing, decayed or filled teeth as 5-year-olds in the West Midlands. See further analyses



  • Both burglaries and violent crimes have halved over the last decade. See further analyses
  • Households with no household insurance are more than three times as likely to be burgled as those with insurance.  Half of those on low income do not have any household insurance compared with one in five households on average incomes. See further analyses



  • 5% of people live in overcrowded conditions.  Overcrowding is four times as prevalent in social rented housing as in owner-occupation. See further analyses
  • The number of newly homeless households has fallen by three-quarters since 2003.  Although most prevalent London and the West Midlands, homelessness is to be found throughout the country. See further analyses
  • Although now rising sharply, the number of new social housing dwellings over the last decade has been well below that required to keep up with demographic change. See further analyses
  • Although poorer households remain more likely to lack central heating, the proportion who did so in 2003/04 (the latest data available) was actually less than that for households on average incomes in 1999/00. See further analyses
  • A third of homes in England were classified as non-decent in 2008. See further analyses
  • Both overall and among those in low income, single-person households are much more likely to be in fuel poverty than other household types. See further analyses
  • The number of mortgage re-possessions fell in 2010, having risen sharply in the period from 2004 to 2009. See further analyses



  • Around a third of all disabled adults aged 25 to retirement are living in low-income households.  This is twice the rate of that for non-disabled adults. See further analyses
  • The main reason why so many disabled people are in low-income households is their high levels of worklessness.  60% of disabled working-age adults are not in paid work compared to only 15% of their non-disabled counterparts.  A third of these people - 1 million people - say that they want to work but that they have not been able to find a job. See further analyses
  • At all levels of qualification, the proportion of disabled people who lack, but want, paid work is much greater than for their non-disabled counterparts. See further analyses
  • Three-quarters of working-age people receiving a key out-of-work benefit for two years or more are sick or disabled. See further analyses
  • Two-fifths of all adults aged 45-64 on below-average incomes have a limiting longstanding illness or disability, more than twice the rate for those on above-average incomes. See further analyses


Ethnic minorities

  • Two-fifths of people from ethnic minorities live in low-income households, twice the rate for White people. See further analyses
  • For all ethnic groups, the proportion of people who are in low-income households is slightly lower than a decade ago.  See further analyses
  • Within this, there are big variations by ethnic group.  For example, more than half of people from Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic backgrounds live in low-income households.  By contrast, 20% of people from White ethnic backgrounds live in low-income households, as do 30% of people from Indian and Black Caribbean ethnic backgrounds . See further analyses
  • The differences are particularly great for families where at least one adult is in paid work: in these families, around 65% of Bangladeshis, 50% of Pakistanis and 30% of Black Africans are in low-income households, much higher than the 10-20% for White British, White Other, Indians and Black Caribbeans. See further analyses
  • A quarter of working-age Bangladeshi, Black Caribbean and Black African households are workless. See further analyses
  • Around a third of Bangladeshis and Pakistanis are not in paid work and say that they do not want paid work, a much higher proportion than that for any other ethnic group.  Most Bangladeshi and Pakistani women are not in paid work.   See further analyses
  • Almost half of all Bangladeshis and Pakistanis earn less than £7 per hour.  Bangladeshis and Pakistanis have both the lowest work rates and, once in work, the highest likelihood of low pay. See further analyses
  • At both 11 and 16, deprived White British boys are more likely to fail to reach educational thresholds than either deprived White British girls or deprived boys or girls from any other ethnic group. See further analyses
  • Black Caribbean pupils are three times as likely to be excluded from school as White pupils. See further analyses
  • Black young adults are four times as likely as white young adults to be in prison. See further analyses

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