INBOX warmwell April - Mid August 2004
Aug 12 ~ The environmental audit committee is calling for a "more imaginative and radical strategy" on sustainable energy and the reduction of harmful emissions - particularly for transport and domestic energy efficiency. See website " ..It also warns that the Treasury cannot expect industry to provide investment in alternative fuels unless it has a long-term strategy itself. " Guardian
This reminds us of DEFRA's expectation that farming should shoulder the burdens of animal disease protection while the government itself dithers over policies. Its own Contingency Plan on FMD fails to reflect the spirit of the EU Directive (See front page) - as did its recent "Exercise Hornbeam".
Aug 12 ~ " The government has confirmed it has failed to find the source that leaked the Hutton report to the Sun on the eve of its publication in January, despite a six-month hunt by solicitors..." reports the Guardian. One is left wondering what these solicitors did during the six months. The Sun's political editor, Trevor Kavanagh, has said that nobody had approached him or asked him any questions during the inquiry ...
Aug 12 ~ Hurricane Bonnie is on its way to Florida and Alabama. The actual report from the hurricane centre reports winds of 60 mph maximum. The BBC, on the other hand, reports on the "Millions of people .. put on alert" and that "people have rushed to supermarkets to stock up.."
Aug 12 ~Scientists in the United States have found a way "to turn lazy monkeys into workaholics using gene therapy". Everyone happy with this sort of gene therapy "research"? See jokey BBC report with its suggestion that this "could aid depression". Not mine.
Aug 12 ~ People could be arrested for all offences, even minor ones such as dropping litter, under Home Office proposals BBC
Aug 11 ~ "This is the worst nomination in the history of the job," said former CIA Director Stansfield Turner, who served as U.S. spymaster under Democrat Jimmy Carter..." Reuters reports on George Bush's appointment of a new head of the CIA: "...Democrats questioned whether Goss, a Republican congressman from the key election battleground of Florida, was too partisan for the position and promised tough questions in the U.S. Senate, which must confirm his nomination..Porter Goss will need to answer tough questions about his record ...."
Aug 11 ~ No such "tough questioning" for the appointment of the new Chief Scientific Advisor to the Ministry of Defence. Bryn's researches about the appointment of Professor Roy Anderson seem to confirm doubts about the way the appointment was advertised and the time scale involved. There has been little discussion of this controversial appointment when one considers the nature of the advice given by Prof Anderson at the start of the FMD crisis.
Aug 11 ~ Najaf. Things are looking increasingly nasty. The Independent says " The battle for control of the holy Shia city intensified after helicopter gunships, artillery and tanks were used to try to clear the city's hallowed cemetery - the graveyard is a hideout of militiamen led by the cleric Muqtada Sadr...."There will be no sanctuary for thugs and criminals in Najaf ..."
Aug 11 ~ Those of us who express public concern about the encroaching powers of the EU (and I am very happy to work and live in Europe and consider myself as European as my French friends) are still being dubbed "xenophobic". BBC: "Europe Minister Denis MacShane says the Eurosceptic press is fuelling xenophobia" Neil O'Brien (campaign director of Vote No) is at least reported as saying: "Denis MacShane is insulting two thirds of voters by trying to link criticism of Europe with xenophobia. The Government have no real arguments for the European Constitution and are now just trying to bully people into voting for it."
Aug 11 ~ "Japan's nuclear energy industry faced fresh criticism yesterday after it emerged that a severely corroded cooling pipe that caused Monday's fatal accident at a nuclear power plant had not been properly inspected for 28 years despite warnings that it posed a safety threat." Guardian
Aug 10 ~ "Josephine Dickinson’s diary-style record of how foot and mouth disease affected rural communities in 2001 is included in her latest collection published this year." News and Star
Aug 10 ~ "...It is to be hoped that the objections of figures such as Jack Straw and Lord Falconer to a renewal of the Terrorism Act - combined with recent trenchant criticisms from the Commons Joint Committee on Human Rights - is an indication that the Home Secretary's authoritarian revolution has reached its high water mark." The Home Secretary's authoritarian revolution has done nothing to make us safer Independent comment (portfolio)
Aug 10 ~ "Organic" debate - even in Norway, "any brilliant idea is met with rules and regulations and permit applications every way you turn..." as this email showed.
Aug 10 ~ A huge chunk of rock, roughly the size of the Isle of Man, is "on the brink" of breaking off the volcanic island of La Palma in the Canaries. This could cause a mega tsunami ...More
Aug 10 ~ "There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with Tony Blair - party workers are refusing to turn out and canvass," Independent article Blair faces vote of no-confidence over war
Aug 10 ~ so many people are taking Prozac nowadays it is building up in rivers and groundwater ...Norman Baker MP... "a case of hidden mass medication upon the unsuspecting public". He says: "It is alarming that there is no monitoring of levels of Prozac and other pharmacy residues in our drinking water." BBC
Aug 10 ~ David Blunkett faces a cabinet backlash over his plans to overhaul anti-terrorism laws aimed at deterring an attack in Britain. See democracy page ".... US Supreme Court ruling that more than 500 foreigners held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba had the right to challenge their indefinite detention could leave Britain exposed if a similar policy continues to be applied at Belmarsh."
Aug 10 ~ "the White House had asked them to announce the arrest or killing of any "high-value [al-Qaeda] target" any time between July 26 and 28, the first three days of the Democratic Convention." See Iraq page and for the original source of this information. "..nearly 40 percent of the public believes the White House is manipulating the threat level for political reasons."
Aug 10 ~ "Max and the fledgling organisation Depletion Scotland are on a crusade to warn us now to prepare, to switch to low-energy lifestyles, line up alternative energy sources (even nuclear) and get ready. Experts at a recent Association for the Study of Peak Oil conference suggested quadrupling the price of oil to concentrate our minds. ..worryingly, Max has been to see his MP, Alistair Darling, he’s been to the DTI and various other bodies. He’s shown them his graphs and charts, made his reasoned arguments. And yet new airport extensions are announced, new motorways… economic growth is still seen as our unassailable right. .." Scotland on Sunday and see warmwell's peak oil pages, updated daily since the end of April.
Aug 10 ~ "Tragically, Blair still appears to believe that if he can only explain it one more time, we will get it. But Tony, we get the message - we just don't accept it. ....Iraq is Blair's poll tax, a fundamental breach of trust, demonstration of arrogance and strategic blunder for which the party as a whole is paying the price."Patrick Wintour in Monday's Guardian
Aug 10 ~ "Prescott has to persuade the prime minister that the future of the Labour party is just as important as the greater glory of the leader who cuckoos in its nest." Comment from Guardian, Monday.
Aug 10 ~ We are grateful to Bryn for bringing to our attention the public debate at Exeter University on September 7 "Is agriculture in decline? What does the future hold for Britain's countryside? Will our farms become show pieces for the enjoyment of weekending urbanites? Is there a distinctive countryside quality we should be fighting to preserve? Does it matter?"
We agree with Bryn and others that the answers, sadly, are Yes, Gloom, yes, yes and YES
Aug 9 ~ Construction of BP's controversial $3bn (£1.6bn) oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea to Turkey resumed only after the intervention of Donald Rumsfeld, the US Secretary of Defense, and other senior members of the Bush administration, it has emerged. Independent Aug 8 ~ "There is alarm at the highest levels in both the services and the Ministry of Defence over an extraordinary gamble that the Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, is taking with Britain's Armed Forces in the name of European integration. " Booker's Notebook
Aug 8 ~ The home secretary rejects demands for more openness about the latest terror threats. BBC
Aug 8 ~ Juan Cole comments: "Blunkett's measured tones barely disguise his fury at the Bush administration for having gone public with details that have endangered an ongoing British investigation and forced the premature arrest of twelve suspects, against whom it is not clear a case can be made at this point."
Aug 8 ~ "I am delighted to learn of the Prince of Wales's views. His Royal Highness's support on this matter would be invaluable. He understands there is nothing incompatible with being green and being opposed to wind turbines...." Campbell Dunford, the chief executive of the Renewable Energy Foundation, formed last month to press for a review of Britain's energy strategy quoted in the Sunday Telegraph. (Prince Charles thinks wind farms are "horrendous")
Aug 7 ~ The State of Kansas has just completed "High Plains Guardian", simulating an "an agroterrorism attack" involving an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. It involved " .. all hoofed animals, even deer, to be killed within a mile and a half of any infected farm or livestock yard....." Kansascity.com
Dr.Cummins of Amarillo Biosciences, Inc.believes immune modulation with oral interferon and vaccination is a better way to respond - "the (US) government's attempt to eradicate FMD will require the slaughter and disposal of millions of animals. Nothing could please terrorists more than to watch the US Government kill millions of animals in response to their agroterrorism. After all, the FMD generally kills less than 1% of affected animals but the government's response kills 100%..." from Press Release Amarillo Biosciences, Inc.
Aug 5/6 ~ A timely article in the Guardian on Wednesday reminds us that in the three years since the September 11 attacks, there have been fewer "terror" incidents per year than at any time in the last 20 years. "... what the media are responding to is not an increase in the problem but an increase of political rhetoric... terrorism ranks high on the public's list of concerns, while climate change scarcely registers.... issues like global warming can be brushed aside. "
Aug 5/6 ~ Email received about the vCJD case. Yet another example of the whipping up of public fear? "...the new unfortunate victim is of a different genetic type than that involved before. But to jump from that to the vision of half the population dying of vCJD? What sort of scaremongering is this? To make it the TOP story in the BBC news today?..."
We checked ProMed mail for the non-scaremonger version. "Whether non-homozygotes can also develop vCJD, albeit with a longer incubation period, is as yet unknown."
Aug 5/6 ~ "Senior British counter-terrorist sources yesterday denied they had found any specific plot to attack Heathrow or any other British airport. The source of the alarming stories about a plan to bomb Britain's biggest airport appears to be four-year-old information held by an al-Qa'ida computer expert arrested in Pakistan last month. .." Independent We find it significant that the UN report ( "...governments should ensure that they were accurately reflecting "real risk....and (should) refrain from generating undue fear of terrorism,"Reuters) has not been widely reported.
Aug 5/6 ~ Farmers who receive compensation for cattle affected by bovine tuberculosis or brucellosis will no longer be able to choose their own valuer. FWi
Aug 5/6 ~ A healthy dog in South Africa has been put down by ignorant officialdom - to the grief of its owners. "The officials felt she could transmit foot-and-mouth disease. ... A Pretoria vet said it is unlikely for a dog to transmit foot-and-mouth disease." News24.com
Aug 5/6 ~ "Bush questioners, not Bush bashers". The tone, right now at least, is more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger..." Bruce Springsteen will go on tour in support of the Democrats. MoveOn.org is closely involved in organising the tours. See Independent "we dived headlong into an unnecessary war in Iraq, we ran record deficits, we granted tax cuts to the richest 1 per cent (corporate bigwigs, well-to-do guitar players), increasing the division of wealth that threatens to destroy our social contract with one another." (Bruce Springsteen)
Aug 5/6 ~ Poor old Dubya: "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we," he said. "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." Independent
Aug 5/6 ~ "Mr Bradshaw insisted that he was "not squeamish about culling". And he acknowledged that badgers do play a role in the spread of the disease. But he said that any badger culling strategy had to be based on "sound science", particularly the long-awaited outcome of the so-called Krebs trials...." WMN "Sound Science"? a rare bird in these days of the politicisation of scientific advice, when, in the interests of trade, "not being squeamish about culling" is considered the answer to much curable animal disease.
Aug 5/6 ~ "...withering views on the bureaucratic stranglehold he believes the European Union exerts on farmers today. “It is INTOLERABLE that people who ought to be working among their stock are stuck in offices making sure they’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s, just so they can get three-quarters of their income from Brussels,” he says.." A refreshing article from Whitehaven News about the Cumbria countryman, Patrick Gordon-Duff-Pennington and his memoirs, Those Blue Remembered Hills. (His remarks about Margaret Beckett, though brief, were interesting.)
Aug 5/6 ~ "The three main pillars of 'further political integration' with the EU are Economic and Monetary Union, the Constitution and Regionalisation, but the latter is frequently and conveniently overlooked..." Read Neil Herron's plea for help in preparation for 4th November, 2004 when the North East referendum takes place. "..we do need support to achieve the victory."
Aug 5/6 ~ Cheering news from a United Nations report which criticised "governments" for "whipping up exaggerated fears of terrorism among their populations" The report was completed in April - even before the latest declaration of "a state of alert" in the United States, duly followed by Britain. AFP says "...reaction to Sunday's alert was not the first time the administration faced questions about whether it has been improperly politicizing the war on terrorism."
Aug 5/6 ~Anti-terrorist officers have been granted a 72-hour extension to question 12 men arrested in the "terror" raids . See icLondon.co.uk
Aug 5/6 ~ Russia's withdrawal of a promised financial lifeline for Yukos and scepticism about OPEC's surplus capacity suggests that 50 dollars a barrel may be a real possibility. Oil page
Aug 5/6 ~ "...The widespread cynicism about the alerts, which may have no grounding, is a product of Bush's intense politicisation of national security and his record of misleading statements about almost every aspect of war." What the terror alerts really tell us Sidney Blumenthal in the Guardian
Aug 4 ~ " ... measures that appear to weaken controls on planning in the countryside, while doing little to ease the affordable housing crisis ..Eyebrows were also raised at the Government's decision to retain the controversial planning exception for large mansions in the countryside - provided they are built to "innovative, cutting edge" designs. ..." WMN today on "New Rules threat to Local Beauty"
Aug 4 ~ Dick Cheney has accused the Democrats for high oil prices..".I don't often find Dick Cheney amusing, but I fell off my sofa belly-laughing over this one." - see extract from Juan Cole's informed comment website
Aug 4 ~ Michael Meacher "burst the bubble of etiquette and respectability at Westminster" and there is an article about this decent, eloquent and fearless politician in today's Guardian
Aug 4 ~ "... the effects of energy depletion go way beyond paying more at the pump. It will literally get down to the question of how you will feed yourself and your family..."The End of Suburbia" points out that no combination of alternative fuels can run and maintain our current system as it is now." Peak Oil news
Aug 4 ~ So Howard Dalton was not even given Georgina Downs' evidence. DEFRA's advice was that there is no need further to regulate pesticides Unarguable evidence demonstrating the impact crop-spraying has had on health has been repeatedly dismissed or sat on. Is DEFRA really so anxious to protect the interests of the powerful chemical companies that it will sacrifice public health instead ?
Aug 4 ~ What's more.....a "US scientist who led investigations suggesting that nerve agents injured troops in the first Gulf war yesterday called on British researchers to join the hunt for reliable brain scans and other tests." Guardian Gulf War Syndrome, so steadfastly denied by the government cannot be made to disappear so easily.
Aug 4 ~ Now the Guardian is at it. Making cruel fun of the government's nice leaflets about what to do in a terror attack....
Aug 4 ~ The Independent and the the Guardian reports on the embarrassment for the US administration now that it has emerged that "new" intelligence about al-Qa'ida's plans to attack US financial institutions - "information that led to an official alert and a slew of fresh security measures - was up to four years old and predated the 11 September attacks." See also Iraq page
And now, in the UK, yet another well publicised police swoop; thirteen "suspected terrorists" were arrested just as Tony Blair has been pressured to spell out the real level of the terrorism threat in Britain.
Aug 3 ~ The Journal reports that the National Scrapie Plan has now collected over one million blood samples from over 21,000 flock visits.".... It is now at a position where it can start to review the progress (in terms of development of genotypes) of individual breeds. This analysis will help judge if the goals of the National Scrapie Plan are being met and should help to ensure that an optimal balance is maintained between genotype improvement and other breeding considerations." ... but an article as recent as yesterday on the "World Socialist Website" trots out the old scare: ".... the fatal sheep disease scrapie could be masking BSE. If this proves correct most of the UK flock would have to be slaughtered...."
Aug 3 ~ "We are also hoping to introduce a £60 a hectare premium for organic farming to encourage people to adopt the methods - twice the level of non-organic subsidies." Ben Bradshaw has been visiting an organic farm in South Devon yesterday to launch a Government report calling for more organic food to be served in schools and hospitals. WMN
Aug 3 ~"... we should treat with scepticism the claims made for the numbers of deaths - 30,000 or 50,000 are the figures being bandied about - when we know that similar statistics proved very wrong in Kosovo and Iraq. .." A deeply disturbing article by John Laughland from yesterday's Guardian, reminding us that scepticism about what has been said about the "moral reasons" for war is more essential than ever and that oil will be the driving factor for military intervention in Sudan.
Aug 3 ~ Peter Kilfoyle, the Labour MP who introduced the rebel amendment in the Iraq debate in March 2003, has written in the Guardian today "...rich individuals are dining at the table where trade unionists used to eat. ..... I never imagined today's sense of despair among many Labour people - but then I never imagined a Labour government applying Thatcherite policies through democratic centralist methods." Read in full
Aug 3 ~ Does this government really want to import all food and see farming disappear? How is DEFRA going to interpret the EU "no milk from TB reactors" rule? See warmwell front page
Aug 3 ~ "Long may the phantom raspberry blowers continue!" writes a regular emailer. Meanwhile the Independent (portfolio) story: "... Was it coincidence then that soon after the end of the parliamentary term came news the Government was dispensing with the services of two people who had caused it particular embarrassment?" As the Guardian Leader onJuly 27 says, " Mr Morrison did a public service in saying what he did and it is disgraceful that his contract has been terminated. Maybe he should sue for wrongful dismissal, which would at least provide a chance to dig for more of the facts that have still not come out. Civil servants have human rights too."
Aug 3 ~ Tom Mangold's revelations about John Scarlett - the "golden nuggets" - has not been denied by Number Ten. See Independent and democracy page.
Aug 3 ~ Basic freedoms to protest are being systematically undermined by anti-terror legislation - George Monbiot. See democracy page
Aug 3 ~ You can fool all the people only some of the time.... The Independent lead story is refreshing - as is the whole newspaper in these dark days. Extract:
"some people were sceptical yesterday as to the nature of the administration's latest warning.... It's hard to know what to make [of it]. None of us outside the administration have access to the intelligence which led to this determination," (Howard Dean ) "I am concerned that every time something happens that's not good for President Bush, he plays this trump card, which is terrorism....there have been numerous terror alerts since the 11 September attacks that appear to have been based on little more than chatter. Some - such as the arrest of Jose Padilla, the alleged "dirty-bomber" - have been announced in a way designed to have maximum political impact. Other warnings have been based on information later shown to be incorrect. "While the story is "balanced", these are the sentences that carry the punch.
Aug 2 ~ Tony Blair has defied two anti-sleaze watchdogs to make it easier for senior civil servants to take up lucrative private sector jobs. Democracy page
Aug 2 ~ "... Two recent studies by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the David Hume Institute blow some much needed fresh air across wind power's musty arguments. These studies highlight a few ways in which the wind environmentalists are deceiving consumers." See windfarm page
Aug 2 ~ DEFRA's 2004 Rural Strategy "With the launch of its 2004 Rural Strategy, DEFRA has once again missed an opportunity to show that it understands the full contribution of farming to sustainable development." FARM responds, telling DEFRA and Mrs Beckett to "look beyond the conventional balance sheet".
Aug 2 ~ Steve Moxon, the immigration whistleblower whose allegations led to the resignation of the Home Office minister Beverley Hughes, is to take the government to employment tribunal after being sacked for "breach of contract". See Independent
Aug 2 ~ Robert Fisk (Iraq page) " don’t think we’re going to learn much more about Saddam’s future court appearances. Salem Chalabi, the brother of convicted fraudster Ahmad and the man entrusted by the Americans with the tribunal, told the Iraqi press two weeks ago that all media would be excluded from future court hearings. And I can see why. Because if Saddam does a Milosevic, he’ll want to talk about the real intelligence and military connections of his regime - which were primarily with the United States. "
August 2 ~ John Scarlett, now the new head of MI6, tried to persuade weapons inspectors in Iraq to harden up a report on their hunt for weapons of mass destruction, it was claimed yesterday. See democracy page
August 2 ~ Chernobyl. The fallout from the disaster on 26 April 1986 may include considerably more than has ever been admitted. The BBC reported on Saturday the sudden deportation of a British scientist, Dr Alan Flowers, from Belarus while on a lecture tour. " At the time of the tragedy, many believe the then Soviet Union seeded clouds to make them rain on Belarus. The move was aimed at preventing winds from blowing contaminated material towards Moscow, theorists say... "
August 1 2004 ~ Booker's Notebook "Paul Ramsden of the OSS Group says: "After the 'fridge mountain' and the 'scrap tyre pile', must we now expect Defra and the EA to provide us with a 'waste oil lake'? For decades the UK has had an exemplary record in managing its used lubricating oils. By recycling them as fuel, it has been possible to provide an environmentally benign service, at little or no cost to the producers. Now this is under threat from officials who seem preoccupied with an over-literal interpretation of the rules, regardless of the environmental consequences." See also democracy page
July 31 ~ Practical help and hope in Dafur. News of Kids for Kids "Nine paravets (villagers) have recently completed their initial training, been awarded their certificates, and are back in their villages awaiting the goats. They have been issued with veterinary drugs for a revolving scheme for each village. 225 households have been selected (roughly 25 in each village) for the goat loan project. Two volunteers have received donkeys so that they can go and purchase 1350 nanny goats and 225 billies...."
July 31 ~ WMN " Energy experts now are warning that the Government will not meet its target of producing 10 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2010. The prediction pulls apart assumptions that onshore wind power can be the main driver behind the renewables strategy. And it sharpens the debate over whether the UK will need to revert to nuclear power .."
July 31 ~ From the September 2004 edition of Esquire "... It's one thing to get trashed by Michael Moore. But when Nobel laureates, a vast majority of the scientific community, and a host of current and former diplomats, intelligence operatives, and military officials line up against you, it becomes increasingly difficult to characterize the opposition as fringe wackos.
Does anyone really favor an administration that so shamelessly lies? One that so tenaciously clings to secrecy, not to protect the American people, but to protect itself? That so willfully misrepresents its true aims and so knowingly misleads the people from whom it derives its power? I simply cannot think so....Come November 2, we will have a choice: We can embrace a lie, or we can restore a measure of integrity to our government. We can choose, as a bumper sticker I spotted in Seattle put it, SOMEONE ELSE FOR PRESIDENT."
July 31 ~ "... to be able to compete for business in a world where buyers scoured the world for least cost products they (farmers) also needed to be relieved of red tape and over regulation. Producers who delivered the highest standards of animal welfare and food hygiene should be rewarded with clear country of origin of labels and premium prices." Lord Plumb opening the National Sheep Event 2004. FWi
July 31 ~ "the Blair government proved itself incapable of getting to grips with its own food and agriculture-related disaster. Politics – the desire to hold and win an early election – was given precedence." Dr Jeremy Bray's book would be less embarrassing for the government if it had not been written by the late Labour MP for Motherwell and Wishaw. Interesting that no one dared publish it - except his widow at her own expense.
July 30 ~ See Democracy page for the report on how a Westcountry Euro MP was heckled at a Regional Assembly two weeks ago - and told, by the chairman, that his three minute speech was "too political". Regional Assemblies are not at all political it would appear. The referendums that should have taken place have been postponed for reasons that have nothing to do with politics, but are "good for democracy", according to Mr Prescott.
July 30 ~ The WMN on the factory farming of cows: "... Pigs and chickens went that way and milk will have to if we are not careful. It's not what customers or farmers want to see. It's more like factory farming. I'm sure we will see more of it. The bigger operations will just keep expanding and the smaller ones will have to get out..." If we are not careful suggests that farmers themselves can change the government's mind. But only a change of government can do that. If then.
July 30 ~"in places the ice is dropping at a rate of one metre a month.." The BBC reports that the Greenland ice sheet is melting 10 times faster than was predicted. In April this year there was the prediction that if the ice cap melts, global average sea level will rise by about 7m (23ft) - and the Greenland ice sheet might not re-grow even if the global climate were returned to pre-industrial conditions. Not surprising then that the Independent led this morning with the non-breeding puffins...
July 30 ~ "Anglesey used to be rich farmland. Now the only rich farms are wind farms. There are lots round Amlwch. However, there is one outstanding farm shop:..." See continuation of Hilary Peters' ediary
July 30 ~ Warmwell has not quite been able to bring itself to comment on the shower of booklets on terror attacks about to plop their way into UK households. Luckily, we do not have to. Do not miss http://www.preparingforemergencies.co.uk/ ".... We are also launching a national advertising campaign letting you know to look out for the booklet coming through your letterboxes during August. In no way does this resemble the Reader's Digest Prize Draw..." (email comment)
July 30 - Orchid Biosciences USA are pleased with their financial results ($28.1 million for the six months ended June 30, 2004): " we experienced increased testing volumes in our scrapie genotyping service and successfully renewed our contract with the U.K. government as their major provider of this testing." See home page on the scrapie question. One wonders how much UK tax goes on this genotyping.
July 30 ~ Matt Simmons says that Saudi Arabia's pumping capacity is in decline. He is no anti -establishment crank and the message is perhaps beginning to sink in that the world is in trouble. High energy prices have a knock-on effect on everything else. See peak oil page Simmons says the world has always taken Saudi Arabia at its word for its oil assets. He now believes that it cannot be trusted. Like everyone else fed up with the current political climate of secrecy and back-covering, Matt Simmons is calling for a "new era of transparency". He is calling for verifiable data in the world of oil production - particularly in Saudi Arabia.
July 30 2004 ~ Cumbria County Council will now take DEFRA to court over the unpaid £9 million pound bill for work carried out during the foot and mouth outbreak unless Alun Michael can sort out the claim before it is too late. See Cumbria News and Star. (See also FPB Campaign page)
July 30 ~ The Independent leads on what it feels is even more front page news than Kerry's speeches or the non-saga of Erikkson - namely the desperate plight of Scottish seabirds, unable to find food."Scottish seabirds have failed to breed this summer, a wildlife catastrophe linked by scientists directly to global warming."
July 30 ~ As both Iraq and Afghanistan sink further into miserable quagmires, the Labour chairman of the FASC, Donald Anderson, says that the Iraq war might well have increased the terror threat. The FASC report is commented on by the BBC and Independent here.
See also the comments by Juan Cole on the feasibilty of a Muslim force in Iraq. As he says, most Muslim countries would refuse to go under a US military command. However, his comment on the "Kerry plan" appears largely optimistic. Iraq page
July 30 ~ Seattlepi.com reports that Californian scientists say they have created the first synthetic version of a rogue prion. After a year of trying, they have succeeded in making ill with a TSE a group of unfortunate genetically modified mice by injecting the synthetically battered proteins directly into their brains. "A renaissance in prion research," cries Prusiner, assuming that this "proves" his infectious prion theory. However, Dr. Laura Manuelidis, a Yale University neuropathologist says, "If something is really there in science, it is there in a major way, it's not something you have to coax out of hiding."
July 30 ~ Today Programe looks at possible legislation "tough new powers" designed to stop protests against vivisection. The Minister says that this is legislation against "extremism" and denies that existing laws are adequate. John Humphrys reminds her that laws covering protests outside people's houses etc are already in place."No plans" for using soldiers to help guard Life Science Research establishments says the Minister. On the issue of ID cards, also raised by John Humphrys, she was not impressive nor reassuring.
July 30 ~ A fundamental change in the relationship between the State and the individual. See Democracy Page on the Home Affairs Committee's response to the ID card scheme. Those who carelessly proclaim that there is nothing to worry about if we are honest and good ("Napoleon is always right; I will work harder") forget that giving up total responsibility for our lives to central government will be the thin end of a very unpredictable wedge. Listen again (new window) to the Today Programme on the threat of "function creep".
July 29 ~ Kids for Kids is not trying to improve the local breed but make what already works in this area available to war torn and hungry families. No political posturing - just a project with achievable and sustainable goals that genuinely benefits children and involves wonderful goats!
July 28 ~ Vice- President Dick Cheney made a speech at the London Institute of Petroleum Autumn lunch in 1999 when he was Chairman of Halliburton. A key passage from his speech was: “That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day.” It suggested that he at that time was fully aware of the issue of peak oil. ( Read more at http://www.peakoil.net (pdf))
July 28 ~ Forbes.com ~ "Russia's largest oil company raised the possibility today that it may be forced to stop production, sending crude oil prices sharply higher. .. According to news reports, Yukos has received a cease-work order from Russian bailiffs that cover its largest production unit, Yuganskneftegaz. ..Traders doubt that OPEC has the capacity to pump more should Yukos turn off the taps..." Peak Oil News
July 28 ~ "..there is no point in recommending devolution of economic and social policy if devolution means bringing it back into the arms of central government through the guise of regional development agencies," said Andrew George last June when the Haskins Report advocated that large elements of Defra's work should devolve to regions like the Westcountry. But the WMN today reports that there is little enthusiasm for the South West Regional Development Agency's conference - in Cheltenham - in Spetember. "There are a lot of people who are frustrated because there's a lot of talking going on and not much action.."
July 28 ~ The government's refusal to hold an inquiry into the alleged killing of six Iraqis by UK troops is to be challenged. BBC
July 28 ~ Juan Cole writes today, " there is no longer any doubt that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, no active nuclear weapons program, no ability to deliver anything lethal to the US homeland, and no operational cooperation with al-Qaeda. These things are not matters of opinion. They are indisputable. Ipso facto, if an intelligent person continues to allege them, he is prevaricating." See Iraq/"Terror" page.
July 28 ~ Simon Jenkins (The Times) on Dafur: "So what do we do about Sudan? I mean really do, not just pose. Do we scold it? Or do we condemn it, sanction it, threaten it, bomb and invade it? ..... A year ago I wrote wondering why we were invading Iraq when Sudan might reasonably claim our prior attention. Everyone, except Tony Blair, knew that Iraq was no immediate threat...... A decade of sanctions did not topple Saddam. They enriched his cronies and made him the sixth wealthiest man in the world. But they contributed to the death from disease of many more Iraqis than eventually did Western bombers. The idea of impoverishing the Sudanese people in their present misery to avenge the atrocities of their rulers is obscene." Read in full
July 27 ~ warmwell.com hears dark mutterings from time to time about the desirability of the live export of UK Ministers. We note from the Scotsman today however that Margaret Beckett " took 25 trips, notching up 75 days away" last year, taking 70 officials with her on her foreign visits. We couldn't possibly comment.
July 27 ~ We are concerned to read in FWi that a Greenpeace energy campaigner, Jim Footner, has called the Conservative party's policy on in-shore windfarms "irresponsible". Jonathan Porrit has said "the case for windfarms has been damaged by those companies seeking to build turbines in sensitive locations".
July 27 ~ "As a mother of three small children I do not want them to look at me in a few years time and ask me why I didn't do anything about this. Our landscape would be destroyed." WMN and windfarm page Nick Harvey MP said that North Devon is "far more suited" to tidal projects.
Even ".. Jonathan Porritt..who reports to Tony Blair as chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission, feels the case for windfarms has been damaged by those companies seeking to build turbines in sensitive locations." WMN
July 27 ~ "... it is not nearly enough that we are good, decent people; that we are polite; that we take care of our kids; that we are kind, thoughtful and reasonable. These are important and good. But if, in addition, we simply do what we are told, if we don't think for ourselves - if we don't have the capacity to say 'no', to cause trouble, to be disobedient - then we may well end up the architects of somebody's hell....To be ignorant, to not give a damn about how the world works - to assume that our task is merely to do what we're told and otherwise lose ourselves in entertainment - is deeply immoral. " A medialens link worth reading in full.
July 27 ~ "If the Commission refuses to close the fishery, Britain will act unilaterally to ban it within UK territorial waters. Announced by the Fisheries Minister, Ben Bradshaw, the move comes in the wake of mounting evidence of the scale of the killing as increasing numbers of dead dolphins and porpoises are washed up along the Channel coastline..." Independent
July 27 2004~ A new joint report by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering to be published on Thursday.... marks an abrupt change of attitude by the Royal Society, which has been one of the principal cheerleaders for genetically modified crops and foods.... vindicates Prince Charles who ...warned of the risks .... no exact parallel between nanotechnology and GM, but (the report) devotes much space to learning the lessons from the failure of scientists to win public trust during the debate over modified crops and foods. ..." Geoffrey Lean in the IoS
July 27 ~ Two cases of West Nile Virus infection have been confirmed in Ireland. Mosquito-borne, it killed 264 in the USA in 2003. "The Department of Health announced, in May 2004, that it had drawn up plans for dealing with an outbreak of the potentially deadly West Nile virus as a precaution." Pro-Med
July 27 2004 ~ Independent - British scientists to store DNA of endangered species for posterity - " the cloning of extinct animals would be next to meaningless unless their habitat in the wild was also restored. However, one practical use of the frozen ark would be to preserve the genetic diversity of a species that is already in decline and undergoing a potentially serious shrinkage of its gene pool, which leads to a dangerously inbred population" said the science author Colin Tudge
July 27 ~ "As an island nation, why are we not doing more to harness power from wave and tide? "Could we not use our deep-sea expertise to take a lead in offshore wind? Should we not do more to help farmers develop green energy from forestry and agriculture?" Tim Yeo. See FWi
July 27 ~ Warmwell has been asked to list the MPs who opposed the war in Iraq. Here are those who supported the rebel amendment. Here is the full debate of March 18 2003. Here is the speech of the wholly respected John Denham, former Home Office Minister who, one year later, told the Guardian, "The central issue for me was the lack of international support for, what I regarded, as essentially a preventative initiative rather than a response to an immediate threat."
July 26 ~ Reuters reports that Mordechai Vanunu (abducted by Israeli agents and convicted of treason in 1986 after discussing his work as a mid-level Dimona technician with the Sunday Times) has had his appeal to leave Israel rejected. His revelations led independent experts to conclude Israel had amassed between 100 and 200 nuclear weapons (or WMD as they are sometimes called)
July 26 ~ in a devastating report published in March, the news magazine Der Spiegel exposed what it called "The Windmill Madness". What had begun as "the dream of environmentally friendly energy" had turned out to mean the 'highly subsidised destruction of the landscape'. Windfarms
July 26 ~ The decapitation of the BBC (See transcript of interview with Sir John Walker) ....We read in the Telegraph article below "... Greg Dyke, the BBC's director general, Gavyn Davies, its chairman, and Andrew Gilligan, a reporter, all lost their jobs after the BBC was criticised by Lord Hutton for reporting that Downing Street "sexed up" its dossier about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The BBC is also moving Richard Sambrook, its head of news at the time of the Gilligan story, into a less sensitive post."
July 26 ~ Alan Simpson, a Labour MP, said: "The only people who have paid the price for this mistaken war are those who have told what this country believes to be the truth." (Telegraph)
July 26 ~ John Morrison, an adviser to the parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC) and a former deputy chief of defence intelligence has been sacked by Number 10. It is alleged that this is as a direct result of his decision to give an interview for a BBC1 Panorama programme in which he said that the intelligence community reacted with disbelief to Tony Blair's claim in September 2002 that Iraq posed a "serious and current" threat to the UK. "When I heard him using those words, I could almost hear the collective raspberry going up around Whitehall." Listen again (new window) to the interview on this subject with Sir John Walker on the Today Programme or read warmwell transcript
July 26 ~ A car bomb exploded near a Baghdad bridge and mortar fire struck several locations in the capital this morning. Meanwhile, Ann Clywd was telling the Today programme (Listen again) that Baghdad was quiet.
July 26 ~ Some of the most important news articles from yesterday at a glance. Mo Mowlam on Peter Mandelson, British Army officers stripped of veto powers over Iraq abuse cases, Butler 'wrong' on Iraq uranium link, or read all
July 25 ~ We need a national debate on privacy - see Democracy page
July 25 ~ Wind farms "Mr Howard's statement tomorrow, backed by Professor Bellamy, could be the turning point in Britain's gullible acceptance of what has been described as "the greatest scam since the South Sea Bubble". Booker's Notebook
July 25 ~ Booker's Notebook: According to Morley "....When, after my article, Mr Burt tried to contact the same official for confirmation, he was told Mr Brierley was "on holiday" and had been "misquoted" ..." More dodging and weaving from the government.
July 25 ~" In meticulous detail, the 567-page report, including 116 pages of detailed footnotes in tiny, eye-straining type, rewrote the history of Sept. 11, 2001, correcting the historical record in ways large and small and shattering myths that might otherwise have been accepted as truth for generations.." New York Times article on the 9/11 report " the commission found that an attack described as unimaginable had in fact been imagined, repeatedly. The commission said that several threat reports circulated within the government in the late 1990's raised the explicit possibility of an attack using airliners as missiles....." Read in full
July 25 ~ ".. it is so heartening to read both in the letters and articles that so many people - and some very eminent ones - share our concerns." email
July 25 ~ "The enduring legacy of Magna Carta lies in clauses 39 and 40, which state that "no free man shall be taken or imprisoned or deprived ... except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land", and "to no one will we sell, to no one will we deny or delay right or justice". .." see Democracy page and Tristram Hunt's article from the Guardian
July 24 2004 ~ "On the back of the menu, itself light green in colour, I sketched out a "green paper" containing the things which a strong and confident parliament - if we possessed one - would look at post-Butler and Hutton..." Read Richard Hennessy in the Guardian (in full on democracy page)
July 24 ~ The decision of the 9/11 Commission not to disband will mean that Iraq and security will stay at the forefront of the election campaign. See Guardian
July 24 ~ One of the most interesting and well informed letters in today's crop from the Independent takes heed - as we do - of the importance of the waning of cheap oil......"Mr Blair does not find it in his or our best interests to offer us grown-up, real-world choices: if you want to continue to live like this, we will need to do certain unpleasant things on your behalf; if you don't like those things, start preparing for a materially less comfortable future. "
July 24 ~ The Forum of Private Businesses (www.fpb.co.uk) have been hard at work campaigning on behalf of the contractors involved in the Foot and Mouth clean-up. Farmers or contractors still owed money by DEFRA might consider joining the FPB campaign
July 24 ~ Let's hope we'll always have Parris. Here he is with Blair has won — in his playground cheat way in the Times. "...licking their wounds while the press lick Mr Blair’s shoes, the opposition parties have — with an almost lone exception. It was with a huge cheer from my sofa that, watching the Commons debate on Butler this week, I heard the following from an almost unknown young Conservative MP. ..." Read in full on warmwell's democracy page
July 24 ~ "Mr Tedd said the company had no control over what was loaded onto the lorries transporting the dead animals, many of which had apparently been dug up after previously being buried at Longtown’s old airfield. And it had no say in how those carcasses were treated at the rendering plant. MAFF or MLC officials controlled every stage of the process, and the company’s staff and directors simply had to do what they were told, he said." Cumbria News and Star
July 23 - Depleted Uranium "American troops are coming home poisoned -- not by Saddam -- but by their own government's weapons of mass and indiscriminate destruction." Link sent - and see also warmwell's DU page
July 23 ~ Apologies to the emailer who writes, "noticed in today's 'inbox'. ( quotes paragraph below)
"I'm sure you didn't mean to besmirch the great and venerable ZNet :-) the Reuters report actually appears on the IT site zdnet."
Indeed not. The link was correct but the "d" was carelessly omitted. Now corrected. And long live the great and venerable Znet indeed.
July 23 ~ Mr Bradshaw acknowledged that Government trials of so-called "dolphin-friendly" nets had failed to halt the carnage. The ever excellent and independent Western Morning News reports
July 23 ~ " It is interesting that the US press is willing to accept Butler's conclusion on the uranium from Niger claim so unquestioningly" warmwell's Niger page
July 23 ~ Anthony Gibson has warned that the Government's shake-up of rural agencies could lead to the countryside being turned into a "large garden for urban Britain". WMN
July 23 ~ "A cynic might suggest that the No 10 spin machine (which we were assured was dismantled, or at least curtailed, out of respect for the memory of Dr Kelly) is attempting to ensure that Blair makes good his getaway from the smouldering wreckage of Iraq by hijacking the headlines..." more reassuring glimpses into the feelings of the population via the Independent letters page
July 23 ~ Ash Moor , the pit that cost £10 million of taxpayers' money to take carcasses during the foot and mouth outbreak of 2001 and was never used. See North Devon Journal "the future ownership of the site still needs confirmation" The article also mentions " the Hand It Back campaign by the Journal, backed by key figures to get Ash Moor handed over to the people of Devon"
July 23 ~ a conference of scientists and poultry farmers convened in Hanoi, Tue 20 Jul 2004, to discuss a possible vaccination program against avian influenza. However, no decision has been made yet. See Pro-Med website
July 23 ~"... but we would have left Iraq an unsafe, unsecure country that did pose a threat to the region and the world." Mr Blair at his monthly press conference refusing to apologise for British deaths.
(Some of us might suggest the live export of Bush, Blair, Cheney and co to an area north of Baghdad on a fact finding mission. In Iraq 900 US soldiers are now dead - 60 British and thousands of Iraqi men, women and children. Staff Sgt. A.J. Dean [said] . . . "I don't have any idea of what we're trying to do out here," he said, "... and I don't think our commanders do either. I feel deceived personally. I don't trust anything Rumsfeld says, and I think Wolfowitz is even dirtier" . . .)
July 23 ~ "The truth is that nobody wants an extra layer of professional politicians leeching more tax out of the pockets of hard-working people. The reasons you've given for pulling these referendums is a fig-leaf to disguise the real reason. The fact is a majority of Labour MPs were in covert or open rebellion in the North West and Yorkshire this week." Democracy page on the postponing of Regional Assembly referendums.
July 23 ~ Between his stints as secretary of defence and vice-president, Cheney was in charge of Halliburton when it was circumventing strict UN sanctions, helping to rebuild Iraq and enriching Saddam Hussein. ( Guardian)
July 23 ~ As the American emailer who first put this message in circulation wrote: "Feel free to pass this on. If you don't send it to at least 10 other people, we're likely to be stuck with Bush for 4 more years. "
July 22 ~ Jonathan Freedland, in the Guardian, put into a fine article yesterday the deep concerns felt by so many of us: "It's as if Tony Blair and friends live on a different planet, where the usual rules of reason and logic do not apply....In government, it seems, there is no buck... " The perils of power - read in full
July 22 ~ "European Commission president Romano Prodi has warned about the dangers of having a referendum on the Constitution saying that if the treaty is rejected it would be a "huge setback" for European integration......." http://euobserver.com/?aid=16970&rk=1
July 22 ~ WMN "14 bungalows for the elderly which he said would "become famous throughout the country" for the way they were connected to ground source heat pumps and collect heat from the soil. They are the first social housing in Britain to have earth energy heating..." (Excellent news - but Mr Timms still cannot see that onshore wind power, on the other hand, is a dreadful mistake. See windfarms)
July 22 ~ "By any other name"... 330 DEFRA technology staff will become IBM employees..."after consultation with unions"
IBM gets DEFRA's contract " to help modernize and manage its technology services", believed by some to be worth 1.5 billion dollars - or about £0.81 billion - "Among the initial projects IBM will undertake is an investigation of wireless radio tags for use in identifying, tagging and tracking livestock. " See report on Zdnet.comwhich trots out "3.7 million cattle killed" for FMD, a figure presumably supplied by DEFRA. (See warmwell front page for a discussion of the real number of animals killed)
July 22 ~ "a massive energy conservation drive is needed; and it is becoming increasingly likely that nuclear energy will have to be resurrected.." See peak oil page
July 21 ~ "We simply cannot have business as usual. Even if we wanted it, the daily news from Iraq wouldn't allow it," said Tam Dalyell, asking for the resignation of Tony Blair yesterday. See article:'This isn't about the normal argy-bargy of politics. It is about 13,000 civilian deaths'
- and the daily news about Iraq - on warmwell daily since Feb 2003, which will put Blair's "rejoice that Iraq can have such a future" in terrifying perspective.
July 21 ~ The Butler Debate in the Independent What's the verdict on your Leader?click here
'Rejoice over Iraq': fury at Blair's echo of Thatcher click here
Defiant Blair concedes errors of style but not of substance click here
Howard's failure to hit home plunges Tories into despair click here
Intelligence expert says Scarlett's MI6 appointment raises 'issue of credibility' click here
Kennedy demands apology from PM click here
'This isn't about the normal argy-bargy of politics. It is about 13,000 civilian deaths' click here
(or read all)
July 20 ~ today's debate - Independent
As Jon Snow says this evening. "Blair's got away with it official: Set piece debate under way in the House of Commons as I write. No one's put a glove on Blair so far. The politicking over the Iraq War has run out of steam. The Government seem to have got away with few repercussions give or take the resignation of John Scarlett. ..." (See Scotsman "Scarlett should go, says Cook")
July 20 ~ "the impression that the situation in Iraq itself is much improved is down to Iraq fatigue in the media..." ( see Guardian's Oliver Miles today.) HL Menkhen thought that "the function of a newspaper in a democracy is to act as a sort of chronic opposition to the reigning quacks" But on they reign...
July 20~ What Mr Blair said in 1998 about military action in Iraq and did NOT say in 2002...http://butlerreview.org/meyerballs.html
July 20 ~ DEFRA is still disputing charges from contractors who worked during the 2001 epidemic. £53.3m of invoices remain outstanding. icWales
July 20 ~ Brucellosis in Cornwall. DEFRA admit that they may never identify the origin of the "one-off" infection of bovine brucellosis that caused such misery to one highly respected family in March. The FWi report says, "the available evidence suggests that the infection became established sometime between Spring 2002 and Spring 2003. .." The "available evidence" suggests that DEFRA knows rather more than it is saying publicly.
July 20 ~ Relatives of a Filipino hostage freed in Iraq greeted news of his release on Tuesday with cheers and tears. See Reuters
July 20 ~ "The Government has limited the scope for a Labour rebellion at the end of today's debate by ensuring it takes place on a technical motion that cannot be amended. " Independent
July 20 ~ The Foreign Affairs Select Committee will meet tomorrow to discuss whether to reopen its inquiry into the Iraq war after the Butler report revealed last week that MI6 withdrew crucial evidence that bolstered the case for war because it was discredited....Richard Ottaway, a former Tory member of the committee, who was involved in the Kelly inquiry, called for Mr (Donald) Anderson to reopen the inquiry or resign. "The inquiry we carried out has clearly been denied vital information. The chairman should reopen the inquiry or he should resign."..." Independent
July 20 ~ A fresh wave of violence in Iraq over the weekend left 10 dead and 62 wounded, (Reuters)
July 20 ~ An emailer writes: "...none of it sticks or gets to Blair. Jonathan Freedland was spot on - and his box of knives - but who will use them? the sadness is that the way Blair misled this country - and Hutton - is scandalous but he is being allowed to get away with it. Greg Dyke and Gilligan have done their bits - and now all accept the Dossier was sexed up - but still Blair is never held to account. There is no acceptance of responsibility - no-one is to blame - and despite the litany of fall-out, Iraq a total mess, terrorism an even greater threat and a morally bankrupt and deceiving UK Govt - no person or political party seems capable of intervening and saying - we cannot go on and like this and Blair must go."
July 19 ~ " an urgent shift to a new global economy where more local production, less long distance trade, and more low input agriculture becomes the norm and at the same time where there is a crash programme of saving energy and shifting to a range of renewables" Colin Hines in the Guardian. See peak oil page
July 19 ~ The spoof Butler Report website - or for the real thing go to http://www.butlerreview.org.uk
To download whole report as pdf (we found "save target as" on right click the best way)
July 19 ~"British constitutional arrangements are crumbling. The votes of one in four of the people in the 2001 election produced a majority of 64 per cent in the Commons. This means almost anything can be rammed through the Commons and the only resistance comes from the House of Lords. Power has been sucked into No 10 and policy is driven by headline-grabbing announcements. It means that checks and balances have broken down..." Clare Short in the Guardian
July 19 ~ Butler leaves 10 questions about the legality of the war largely unanswered. Luckily, there are still legal minds that care. See Guardian "A breach of the peace" by Philippe Sands QC, professor of law at University College London and a barrister at Matrix Chambers
July 19 ~ Anthony Sampson asked: "how was Campbell allowed to wield such extraordinary power in Whitehall, as an ex-tabloid journalist with little experience of intelligence? Because the Government had asked for a special Order in Council, to enable him to give orders to civil servants. It was a much disputed precedent eventually approved by the Secretary of the Cabinet - who was then Sir Robin Butler, now Lord Butler... " (Remember the discussion on this website about Campbell's degree of vetting?)
Similarly, we wonder about the appointment of men of the order of Professor Roy Anderson and Sir John Krebs to their positions of enormous influence. How and why has it happened?)
July 19 ~ Tomorrow's debate on Iraq must not be - as some commentators have suggested- the "last chance" to debate the way in which the country was led towards war against Iraq. If it is, then heaven help us.
See the democracy page for some of today's good media comment - or read a selection on one single page here.
July 19 ~ Windfarm protest: "A quiet beautiful village, an historic place with rare Kite under threat from wretched blades" The village of Llanfynydd, south Wales, will be transformed into Llanhyfryddawelllehynafolybarcud- prindanfygythiadtrienusyrhafnauole later today, for one week only. It will eclipse Llanfairpwllgwyngyll- gogerychwyrndrobwchllantysiliogogogoch in north Wales, which currently holds the longest name title. Telegraph
July 18 ~ Michael Howard says he would not have backed a key Commons vote on the Iraq war had he known of intelligence flaws...BBC
How short memories are.. The early sections of the warmwell war archives show that the information needed for a sound understanding of the realities of the situation were there for all to see in March 2003. Robin Cook's resignation exploded the notion that the Prime Minister had "further devastating evidence" about the threat posed by Iraq. If there really had been further evidence of a "clear and present threat" from Iraq it would surely have been shared with Mr Cook. Robin Cook dismissed Mr Blair's claim that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to Britain and insisted the Iraqi dictator had no weapons of mass destruction capable of being deployed against his enemies. He said that the regime of weapons inspections and sanctions imposed on Iraq since the Gulf War had contained Saddam more effectively than military action had in 1991. (Archives)
July 18 ~ Michael writes, "who can we trust when the government is so corrupt? ... for most of my life I really didn't care - until they killed my animals. ..."
July 18 ~ Wind turbines - "It’s like fish farming. This is being driven by the big boys,” ..."... mountain writer and broadcaster Cameron McNeish, who has likened the proposed pylon route to “taking a blade to a Rembrandt”, ".. there are signs that the strands of opposition are coalescing into a nationwide struggle" Sunday Herald. See windfarms page
July 18 ~ "It might be thought the only "Climate Change Co-Ordinator" worthy of the name was the Almighty. But whether He is disabled, black and a woman is obviously a matter still open to learned debate." Booker's Notebook on one of the many "weird and wonderful official posts advertised in The Guardian, for which we taxpayers are expected to foot the bill." See also his opinion of the appointment of Prof Roy Anderson. "... Quite how the ability to simulate Aids epidemics on a computer, or to mastermind the slaughter of millions of healthy animals, will qualify Prof Anderson to advise the Ministry of Defence on weapons of mass destruction is not immediately clear."
July 18 ~ Butler found this omission "surprising". Others might say it demonstrated a wilful refusal to seek the truth..." Democracy page
July 18 ~ "If Downing Street is banking on the electorate not being able to make the distinction between being lied to and being misled by omission, Smith (Geraldine Smith, the Labour MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale) believes they are deluding themselves. Her conclusion? “The Prime Minister is fatally damaged. The time has come for him to go with honour and dignity at a time of his choosing. The alternative is to wait until his enemies drag him down or the electorate makes the decision for him.”
But Blair shows no signs of running, and his party, looking at a guaranteed third term, shows no signs of wanting to dump him. ." Sunday Herald.
July 18 ~ Tony Blair was warned before the Iraq war by the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, that a UN court could rule Britain's invasion unlawful, The Independent on Sunday has learnt.
The warning was in Lord Goldsmith's so far undisclosed legal opinion from 7 March last year, less than two weeks before the conflict began. July 18 ~ Downing Street secured vital changes to the Butler Report before its publication, watering down an explicit criticism of Tony Blair and the way he made the case for war in the House of Commons. Sunday Telegraph
July 17 ~ "Despite having five years to prepare for the introduction of the EU landfill directive, the Government yesterday confirmed that Britain still had nowhere to dispose of more than one million tons of the five million tons of toxic waste that will be generated this year." WMN
July 17 ~ "It accuses the Government of pursuing a wind power policy that has led to a "developer-led feeding frenzy that is neither green nor sustainable" see windfarms page
July 17 ~ " ....SSSIs are the country's very best wildlife and geological sites..... there are real fears that CAP reform could lead to many farmers quitting the land - creating under-grazing problems .... In a report on the management of Britain's designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), the Commons Rural Affairs Committee urged ministers to reconsider a planned cut of 33 million in next year's budget for the wildlife watchdog English Nature." WMN
July 17 ~ "Tony Blair's official spokesman said MI6 decided not to tell the Hutton inquiry that crucial intelligence on Saddam's chemical and biological weapons was unsound. The security services, he said, felt it was "too sensitive'' to be made public. The head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, also decided not to tell Mr Blair." - Independent. No comment needed .
July 17 ~ " In an ideal world, we would pump Butler full of whatever new truth serum the CIA developed under poor old George Tenet, whose career could not resist the earthier language of Washington. Then he would tell us plainly what he thinks of the prime minister and his gruesome cabal of unelected sofa-hoggers for turning the heavily qualified and luminescently diffident offerings of MI6 into the kind of apocalypse-speak that slots so neatly into Mr Murdoch's Sun..." Guardian comment
July 17 ~ Friends of the Earth have criticised Government plans for a limited consultation on GM 'coexistence' as it is not clear whether the wider public will have the opportunity to get involved. Only a number of meetings with a selection of stakeholders will be held over the summer.
July 17 ~ The alarming reports on the Iraq/'war on terror' page include news by Robert Fisk that over a dozen Iraq academics have been murdered in recent months - "university staff suspect that there is a campaign to strip Iraq of its academics, to complete the destruction of Iraq's cultural identity which began with the destruction of the Baghdad Koranic library, the national archives and the looting of the archaeological museum when the American army entered Baghdad..." The Scotsman today reports on the suspicion that a young Scots journalist was killed by the CIA.
July 16 ~ Guardian "...fresh chops are 89% pork - the rest is added water, dried glucose syrup, polyphosphates to hold the water in, preservative and "partially deodorised rosemary extract". ..Tesco confirmed it had been injecting its "Finest" pork for about three years...This watered down pork costs £6.99 a kilo, almost double the price of unadulterated meat from an independent butcher.....The Food Standards Agency - the government's independent safety watchdog - has known about the practice since February..."
July 16 ~ "MPs demand Blair ends his presidential style and gives cabinet ministers more say" Independent
July 16 ~ Hutton's investigation was "not told that information which helped Tony Blair claim that Saddam Hussein posed a "serious and current" threat had already been discredited and withdrawn by MI6." Independent
July 16 ~ Samuel Coker, PhD, Technical Director and Principal Scientist,R&D, Pall Corp. gave an oral presentation on the research results"Removal of Infectious Prion from Naturally Infected Red Blood Cell Concentrates" on July 13, 2004 at the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh. "The soon to be released Leukotrap(R) Affinity Prion Reduction Filter will provide the dual benefit of reducing harmful white blood cells while also reducing infectious prions, the rogue proteins that cause variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD). ....These experts contend that the possibility of further increases in the number of cases, even a human epidemic of vCJD, cannot be dismissed. Since the risk of vCJD is not restricted to the UK, the examination of the history of blood donation may be required in other European countries and elsewhere..." Pall Corp. press release
July 16 ~ Windustry "...centralised decision-making and localised devastation...the German grid is now plagued by the unpredictability of wind power generation...The only beneficiaries have been the super-rich Germans who have invested in wind farms because of the huge tax breaks - not to mention the politicians in the industry's pocket. " Telegraph comment. The public is waking up to the "Green Stalinism" perpetrated in the name of the environment - which is why we are soon to be subjected to two billion pounds worth of "education" from our own taxes. See below
July 15 ~ Some of the day's best comment on the Butler Report
July 15 ~ The House of Lords science and technology committee has said the "intermittent" nature of wind power meant it would always require back-up from other sources and that ministers should look much harder at other forms of renewable energy - particularly tidal and wave power and biomass. It has also called on ministers to commission independent research into claims that low frequency noise emitted by wind turbines could damage human health. Windfarms
July 15 ~ Everything a politician ought to be..... Mike Woodin has died of cancer. An articulate and good-humoured spokesman for Green politics on radio and television, he was one of the party's main strategic thinkers. Caroline Lucas says, " Mike was everything a Green politician ought to be. His real talent was in combining a radical and inspiring vision of how the world ought to be with the practical steps to get there. He lived his politics every day of his life with an intensity and commitment that were an inspiration to all of us." (See also Independent)
July 15 ~ Sir John Krebs will leave the FSA next April to become the Principal of Jesus College in Oxford.
July 15 ~ Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian
"So Lord Butler did not thrust a dagger into the prime minister or anyone else yesterday. Instead he presented parliament, press and public with an elegant, walnut-encased, velvet-lined box full of sharpened knives. "You might use these," he seemed to say. "I couldn't possibly."15 July 2004 " War dossier left out warnings on flawed intelligence, says Butler " Telegraph
July 15 ~ "Sir: It would seem that the Butler saw everything but said nothing." One of the several laconic letters in today's Independent.
How used we are getting to those in power without responsibility behaving irresponsibly and indefensibly - and then being defended by those in whom we thought we were justified in having confidence.
July 15 ~ "Lord Butler cleared Tony Blair of any deliberate attempt to "mislead" the country in the run-up to the war in Iraq. But the body of his report tells a different story..."
July 15 ~ The Independent: The Butler report
The intelligence: flawed The dossier: dodgy The 45-minute claim: wrong Dr Brian Jones: vindicated Iraq's link to al-Qa'ida: unproven The public: misled The case for war: exaggerated And who was to blame? No one
July 15 ~ Simon Jenkins in the Times
July 15 ~ FARM's protest against Tesco at the Royal Welsh Show will start at 10.45am on Monday 19th July, NOT 4.00pm. Also, if you are planning to attend, then please get in contact with Peter Lundgren - 01526 398 309 / 07751 112303
July 15 ~ "Butler mysteriously found "no evidence" that the intelligence had been "embellished". It must be said that he does not appear to have looked very hard for such evidence. He might have interviewed Alastair Campbell, for instance. .."
Boris Johnson (Telegraph) on Butler
July 14 ~ "The case for war was sexed up...it's official..." Jon Snow's verdict.
July 14 ~ "Trading Standards and the State Veterinary Service will have greater powers of entry" FWi
While any legislation that really gave animals greater protection is to be welcomed, the past actions of the SVS and Trading Standards hardly inspire confidence in the "greater powers" given them by the draft Animal Welfare Bill.
July 14 2004 ~ The 'outer limits' of possible criticism are limited indeed....
Simon Jenkins today:"Last February I wrote that the run-up to the Iraq invasion needed no further inquiry. Lord Hutton had reported. He found copious evidence that Tony Blair and his entourage were guilty of deceiving the public, and duly declared them innocent. ..... Everyone who fabricated the case for invading Iraq will be blamed. Then each will be individually let off the hook. ..." Read in full
Meanwhile, the BBC reports, "when it came to pronouncing on who was responsible for the way the intelligence was "sold" to the public and Parliament, he named no names."
July 14 ~ France will hold a referendum on the European Union constitution next year. Reuters
July 14 ~ Simon Jenkins today "Nothing better testifies to Mr Blair’s lawyer instincts than his reluctance to admit that he might have been wrong. ..... Last Easter I saw him asked about WMD on American television by George Stephanopoulos. “They are there. We shall find them,” Mr Blair replied. “You’re kidding me,” said his interviewer. “I’m not,” retorted Mr Blair with a glare. Mr Stephanopoulos shuddered. Here was surely a prince of darkness."
July 14 ~ Guardian report on the Butler findings. 1.05 pm
July 14 ~ Intelligence reports on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction in the run up to the Iraq war were open to doubt and seriously flawed. Butler Inquiry Scotsman report "The report also criticised the Government's controversial dossier on Iraqi weapons, published in the run up to war, saying that it went to the "outer limits"of the available intelligence.It said that Tony Blair's statement in the Commons may have "reinforced the impression" that there was "fuller and firmer" intelligence behind the assessments in the dossier than was actually the case...."
July 14 ~ "Something has obviously gone wrong when confident assertions that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction have to be abandoned. " Independent
July 14 ~ No 'lethal silver bullet' Times "Well-informed sources suggested yesterday that the Government was relaxed about all this potentially incendiary material. They do not expect Mr Powell’s memo (warmwell page) to feature significantly and point out that the Niger claims (warmwell page) have already been declared valid by the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. Whitehall officials say that the Government did not rely on Foreign Office advice but that of Lord Goldsmith (warmwell page), the Attorney-General..."
The Iraq war and all the controversy surrounding it was chronicled on warmwell, day by day, from February 2003. See archives.
July 13 ~ Eve of the Butler report. An emailer writes, "The trailing of info from Butler drives me mad - it just seems accepted practice. I wish he would take vengeance and surprise them all with some shock announcement when he addresses everyone tomorrow! Pigs might fly."
See also David Clark's Comment in the Guardian. See Iraq page. "Had Blair been genuine in his belief that Iraq posed a serious threat, all he needed to do was publish a declassified version of the intelligence reports on which his conclusions were based."
This is so evident. Did we really need Butler to tell us more? On August 28 2003, Mr Blair told the Hutton inquiry that allegations reported by the BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan were so serious that, if true, he would have had to resign. " if the allegation had been true, it would have merited my resignation" (Independent Aug 2003)....Is there anyone left in the country who does not believe that the dossier was indeed "sexed-up"?
July 13 ~ prosecution of traders who continue to use imperial measures - see http://www.conservatives.com/news/article.cfm?obj_id=110297
Mr Chalke (Conservative Group Leader on the Local Government Association): "We have all read in the newspapers recently the cases brought against traders. These cases, although technically enforcing the law, hardly have public support and often harm the credibility of local government."
July 13 ~ Gamma Interferon for bovine TB. The EFRA committee has ".. called on DEFRA to offer farmers an incentive to take part in trials of the test.....the committee said the government should move quickly to testing vaccination in badgers. It added that research into cattle vaccines should continue, and that greater effort and resources should be devoted to such research. .." FWi
July 13 ~ £20 million owed to farmers in Northern Ireland has not been paid by the government. See David Lidington's question to Ian Pearson.
July 13 ~ George Monbiot today on why, after Butler, we could do with another inquiry.... "whose purpose is to discover why journalists help governments to lie to the people..."
July 13 ~ EFRA Committee "Our focus has been the vaccination of cattle and badgers, the gamma interferon test, husbandry, trace elements and the lessons to be learnt from Ireland...." and on "consultation" "... Defra must surely know by now what its key stakeholders think about this matter ... Now is the time for decisions and actions
.....culling badgers could only ever be a limited part of a policy to deal with the problem of bovine TB … ...." Scotsman. (We're concerned to note the phrase "bovine TB has been, at least until recently, a growing problem in the UK" Surely the all party EFRA committee has not swallowed the "14% drop" fiction?)
July 13 ~ "... all the while the scattered campaign groups are becoming more knowledgeable and interactive. Save the Vale drew on a range of community expertise, from engineering to agricultural, to argue its case, create its own website, and produce independent reports and campaign material...." WMN and see Save the Vale website
July 10/13 ~ WMN begins "a series of articles exploring how the countryside has become a battlefield over climate change and a looming energy crisis." See windfarms page
July 10/13 ~ Keypoints of the Spending Review Guardian include "Budget for Defra to rise from £3.2bn to £3.5bn to aid rural economy."
July 10/13 ~ "Mr (Gavyn) Davies said the experience had turned him off politics and public life and revealed that he no longer even intended to vote Labour. "I don't have the skills of a senior politician and I don't want them. I don't like them. Nothing of the past 12 months has made me like them more," he said..." Guardian
July 10/13 ~ " Mr Blair's case for war was supposedly based on evidence that Saddam had chemical and biological weapons stockpiles and was trying to produce more. But MI6 has since withdrawn the assessment underpinning that case..." Butler acts to prevent PM 'spinning' his report in the Independent. Read in full.
July 10/13 ~ "Conspicuous by its absence in today's spending review was any reference to the problems of hazardous waste where the Government's failure is impeding the private sector in its quest to provide suitable sites for its disposal." Tim Yeo, on the subject of DEFRA and the Spending Review.
July 10/13 ~ "This weekend Tony Blair is holed up in Chequers plotting how to deal with the Butler fallout. .." Two articles from the Sunday Herald
July 10/13 ~ "If Sir Simon were, for instance, to look up the Animal By-Products Regulations 2003, implementing EC Regulation 1774/2002, he would find that this one piece of legislation puts more than 500 new criminal offences on the statute book, each punishable by a fine up to £20,000 or up to two years in prison. It is far from untypical..." Booker's Notebook
July 10/13 ~ Apart from its extremely silly headline (which is, surely, unlikely to have been Geoffrey Lean's) we are glad to see this article in the Independent on Sunday about the Prince of Wales and his timely and well researched interventions. (Read in full) Warmwell has warmly admired HRH since the beginning of the foot and mouth crisis when we became aware of his genuine personal anguish at what was happening and his quiet attempts to improve things. How very different from the unfeeling pragmatism of the 'public servants' with their paradoxical inability to grasp the concept of "Ich Dien".
July 10/13 2004 ~ The government, via the DTI, is so aware of the growing opposition to wind farms that it is launching a PR campaign costing 2 million pounds. The Sunday Times informs us.
See also windfarm page on warmwell: ".... two of the biggest wind "farms" in Europe have 159 turbines and cover thousands of acres between them but together they take a year to produce less than four days' output from a single 2,000 megawatts conventional power station - which takes up 1 percent of the acreage."
July 10/13 ~ The editor of the Russian edition of the business magazine Forbes has been gunned down in the street in Moscow. He'd dared to question the business methods of many the of the country's richest and most ruthless oligarchs. Channel 4
July 10/13 ~ Choose your words carefully if you want to be misunderstood Matthew Parris on words again - and what the government actually means by "choice"
July 10 ~ email on farming forum and the writer links to "FARMERS are left disappointed by an error which affected the prime lamb competition at the Royal Show" on FWi
She comments: "Traceability ? Don't make me laugh. In our experience, it's typical. We send off lambs, individually tagged but no note is taken, only a slaughter number. The farmers are doing their bit, the abattoirs aren't!"
July 8/9 ~ When the JIC reported that intelligence was "limited" and based mainly on "assessment", Mr Blair said the matter was "beyond doubt." Panorama next Sunday
July 8/9 ~ An emailer writes, " ..... Perhaps the difference was that the US Inquiry was open, up in front of the cameras, and transparent - and there was no fudging of the outcome. Here we have the Butler Inquiry behind closed doors - and we don't get to hear the evidence.
Just like Anderson - Scarlett has to be kept inside the tent - and on side with the Govt. If ditched they would no doubt have much to say which would embarrass Blair and the Govt. As it is Blair can't get rid of Anderson or Scarlett - they know too much."
July 8 ~ An emailer writes, "The extract from Today neatly encapsulates both Anderson's present situation and the Hornbeam scenario; that is, denial that anything could have been done differently in 2001, whilst leaving the door open to change in future.
We should have foreseen that that would have been the outcome of Hornbeam. Obviously they were not going to say in effect: 'this is what we should have done last time'. However, phrases such as "science changes over time and therefore policy advice changes" will slowly construct the new reality - we hope. "
July 8 ~ No Defra report on Exercise Hornbeam until the Autumn. According to DEFRA, a " lessons learned" report will be issued in the Autumn and an updated plan will be circulated for consultation before being laid before Parliament next March.
July 8 ~ Cruelty on farms found "offensive". Not the cruelty itself - only the temerity of the Hillside Animal Sanctuary for having shown pictures of what is going on to school children. Six complaints were received by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after 35,000 leaflets were distributed. Although it upheld the complaints "... it rejected claims that the leaflet "misleadingly implied that animal cruelty on farms was common" EDP24.co uk
July 7 ~ Thanks to those who informed us that Roy Anderson, Chair of the new Science Advisory Council that will give DEFRA its advice in future, told the nation this morning that the advice he gave to DEFRA last time on the contiguous cull would remain the same today. In spite of this, he said, "as time evolves and new scientific advances are made, it enables us to look again at options of vaccination and field diagnosis for some of these very important infectious diseases" Today Programme interview transcript.
One is left wondering exactly which "scientific advances" he feels are still needed to avoid a repeat of the mass killing of 2001- particularly since he cannot be unaware of the conclusions of the OIE International Conference on the Control of Infectious Animal Diseases by Vaccination this year. .
July 7 ~ "The biggest problem farmers have with bureaucrats is that despite the fact there are an awful lot of them they don't seem to be getting the job right. It is very frustrating for the farmer who spends more time filling in forms than he does farming to be told that forms have got lost. Whether it is big government or small government it should at least be competent." Ian Johnson quoted in the WMN today
July 7 ~ Andrew George says the major supermarkets who wield so much power should face investigations by the Office of Fair Trading ..."20 dairy farms have been reduced to two during my lifetime......what I do object to is the almost criminal manner of its present decline. We have the best climate and conditions for grass growing. We have one of the most efficient dairy systems with the largest average herd size in Europe. So it is astonishing that UK farmers have been receiving significantly lower farmgate prices than any comparable EU countries and it doesn't take an Einstein to work out something is going seriously wrong. " WMN
July 7 ~ Joyce de Silva this morning showed that Compassion in World Farming is not content with the decision of the Judge last year that it was legal for broiler hens to be starved during their miserable life. She points out that UK broiler "farmers" are not only treating the birds cruelly but are also in breach of EU law - a law added to by the UK in 2000 "DEFRA has misunderstood the law". Listen again to Farming Today
July 7 ~ Not only petrol problems in the US. Now blood as well. UK donors who were not welcome because of fears of "Mad Cow" are now going to be allowed to donate blood after all. See Blood Supplies Dwindle as Summer Heats Up, USA. As an emailer writes, "Why? I wonder what the change is?"
July 7 ~ An emailer alerts us to: "According to official statistics, there were merely 923 cattle infected with BSE in France during the last 13 years. That leaves an estimated 290,000 BSE animals unaccounted for in the official records." See Deutsche Welle Poor old France. Described now as "sitting on a potential health time bomb ". Well, we shall see.
July 6 ~ "There are more Defra bureaucrats than there are dairy farmers in England." Oliver Letwin in today's Telegraph
July 6 ~ Blair's warning to the House of Commons Liaison Committee today, (echoing David King in March) was that "Climate change is the biggest problem facing the world". But for climate change, read "the end of cheap oil".
"Oil and gas will run out too fast for doomsday global warming scenarios to materialise" said Sweden's University of Uppsala in 2003. Michael Meacher knew this to be true when he wrote in the FT in January this year: "Iraq is only the first example of the cost - both in cash and in soldiers' lives - of facing down resistance or fighting resource wars in key oil-producing regions, a cost that even the US may find unsustainable." warmwell's peak oil page
July 6 ~ The DTI White Paper "Making Globalisation a Force for Good" was unveiled today. Christian Aid's senior trade policy officer, said: "The white paper makes it clear that the government is still addicted to liberalisation as a cure for all ills. There is nice new language, such as recognition of supply-side constraints, strong condemnation of northern protectionism and double standards, but no new thinking. This is not a radical new agenda to make trade work for development, but a free trade agenda with add-ons.
The other big gap is the lack of concrete proposals. .... there are precious few concrete suggestions as to what the UK government will do." Guardian
July 6 ~"... in the studios of Channel 5 Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell cook up a plot to "anoint" Brown as the next leader. This is either breathtaking arrogance, or the pair of them know something we don't and are giving new meaning to the phrase "Brown-nosing". ..." Jackie Ashley in the Guardian today.
July 6 ~ Mr Blair grilled by Select Committee heads - Guardian: " he was pressed by several MPs - both Labour and Tory - to list the achievement of his "special relationship" with the US..... Showing some real anger, he said: "And if you really want to know, I think most countries round the world would give their eye teeth to have that relationship. And it is a shame that here it is seen somehow as a sign of mockery that we have the closeness of that relationship."
July 6 ~ On the findings of the Public Accounts Committee re DEFRA's Cattle Tracing System
Daily Mirror".... Problems with the system have already resulted in £14million penalties from the European Commission, which could soar to £50million."
BBC "It costs £30m every year to run but the committee found more than one million uncorrected anomalies in the system."
July 6 ~ "Margaret Beckett also succeeded in displaying the schizophrenia that is spreading throughout the industry...Asked how much further Britain can go in developing local and regional food sourcing mechanisms, Beckett said she could not provide an absolute answer but that there was room for expansion. The Prime Minister and food minister Lord Whitty were firmly behind this kind of iniative, she said.
But what about the global miles issues that arose from out-of-season produce imports of food that could be grown here? Again, no clear-cut answer except to say these were issues that "needed to be examined by buyers and consumers. " Scotsman
July 6 ~ Edward Leigh, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee criticised DEFRA's "hugely burdonsome system" of cattle tracking with all its bureaucracy, the form filling that falls on the farmer and the reliance on the postal system - because it doesn't work. He remarked that it was just as well that committees such as the all party Public Accounts Committee could give departments a "kick up the pants" when necessary. Today programme (listen again)
July 6 ~ "After approx 2 weeks we were told that the government wasn't going to vaccinate after all and that thousands of people who spent 3 hours in a barn stabbing oranges would soon be receiving fat paychecks. ..." The memories of a 2001 vaccination trainee - who wrote yesterday "Please feel free to quote anything you need from the e-mail. The more people speaking out and telling the truth through the barrage of media lies the better. Living out of England has given me a fresh perspective of the country, government and media saturation in the UK... the public is under constant pressure to 'not question' 'shut-up' and 'obey' ..."
July 6 ~ FARM's protest - and its t-shirt publicising the low value Tesco puts on farmers was given good coverage on Farming Today.
July 6 ~ Fahrenheit 9/11 "Newsday reported on a self-described “ardent Bush/Cheney supporter” who went to see the film on Long Island, and his quiet reaction afterwards. He said, "It's really given me pause to think about what's really going on. There was just too much - too much to discount." The man then bought three more tickets for another showing of the film."
July 6 ~ Dr Rowan Williams has urged the UK Government to take the lead in pressing the contraction and convergence agenda. In a lecture in London, entitled Changing The Myths We Live By, he said we had to avert a global ecological crisis that could ultimately jeopardise "our viability as a species" (see also peak oil news)
July 5 ~ "To this day, not one politician has paid the price for the war, Britain's worst overseas debacle in 50 years. And the official responsible for bogus claims about Saddam's WMD, John Scarlett? Why, Mr Blair made him the new head of MI6..." Daily Mail comment on the rumours surrounding the Butler report. "Lord Butler, we are told, is anxious that his conclusions shouldn't provoke the incredulity which greeted the Hutton report and intends to be hard-hitting. Well, we shall see. There is no doubt he should be fiercely critical..."
July 5 ~ Landfill regulations - complete chaos all round "... the two different figures in the RIA and the main text of the Statutory Instrument are causing complete chaos all round...” Shadow Environment Minister, Anne McIntosh MP before the debate on the Statutory Instrument, The Landfill (Scheme Year and Maximum Landfill Amount) Regulations 2004
As we read in Booker's Notebook, our waste system is on the verge of breakdown. On July 15, to comply with the EC's landfill directive, 99/31, the vast majority of Britain's 218 landfill sites were closed to "hazardous waste", leaving only five still open.
July 5 ~ "We expect some dairy farmers will leave the sector, accelerating the existing long-term trend..." Margaret Beckett WMN
Andrew George says: "The truth is that the Government is happy to stand idly by and watch our desperate dairy farmers pushed beyond the edge of viability,"
July 5 2004 ~ WMD report shatters Blair's credibility - says the Scotsman this morning. See Iraq/"terror"page.
July 3/4 ~ "... the committee wanted to get back to the ideals that founded the Labour Party." We read on the BBC website that Tony Benn, Michael Meacher, and MPs John McDonnell, Lynne Jones and Alice Mahon are among those creating the Labour Representation Committee (LRC).
July 3/4 ~ "sources say the Butler report will show that Blair’s claim was false." See democracy page
July 3/4 ~"The legal juggernaut has started moving again for 2 of the British Guantanamo detainees, with a new case filed in the US courts to get them freed after more than 2 years in custody without charge or trial. As new investigations are launched into alleged prisoner abuses in Afghanistan, could the issue be resolved sooner rather than later, as the US government tries to settle the mess before the Presidential elections?" Channel 4 update
July 3/4 ~ Things are getting increasingly ugly in Iraq. On the whole, the UK media have stopped bothering to report on them, it seems.
July 3/4 ~ Pdf files are always rather tricky for those with poor connection speeds or old computers. Some of defra's recent files have been converted on warmwell to html. DEFRA pdf files on FMD control - as html pages for those without Acrobat etc. Includes: Control policy communications strategy, Contingency plan, Contingency plan annexes (Decision Tree etc), other Vaccination documents. See also warmwell's technical pages
July 3/4 ~ Thanks to Mona for this information on EU pet passport scheme, operational from July 3 2004.
July 2 ~ DEFRA's Question and Answer pdf sheet on vaccination - in html form on warmwell. (Readers aware of the realities of the 2001 outbreak may find both its use of language and its blurring of the truth offensive): However, one paragraph is clear:
"An EU Decision to introduce emergency vaccination may be made when outbreaks threaten to become widespread or when other Member States are at risk. This can be either at the request of the Member State at risk or initiated by the Commission itself."A year ago, the European Union Council of Ministers reached agreement that emergency vaccination must move to the forefront of control measures instead of being a last resort
July 2 ~ Horse passports "Alun Michael admitted last month that there was a huge backlog in processing the applications - and that many owners had not yet applied. The department has so far just 179,000 passports, out of a horse population believed to be between 600,000 and 900,000, and there are 37,000 applications waiting to be dealt with." WMN
July 2 ~ Ordering "The Killing Pens" Janet Hughes will be unable to complete the printing unless those wanting to pre-order a copy remember to send the cost (£10) and p&p (£2) with their order. See note and please do not delay if you are supporting Janet and want one of the first copies.
More than ever this week we need to remember the wrongs so successfully hushed up. There has never been a critical retrospective post-mortem of the modelling that inspired the killing.
July 2 ~ Muckspreader "....It was all very well for Mr Blair not to allow a proper enquiry. But at least the EU wanted to avoid any repetition of such a disaster, which was why last year it produced the 226-page directive 2003/85, laying down in exhaustive detail how any future FMD outbreaks must be handled.
No more mass-slaughter of animals. No more funeral pyres. No more closure of the countryside to tourists.
Above all, as the measure of first resort, the use of emergency vaccination. .."
July 2 ~ Was vaccination "used" during Hornbeam? We don't know and are hoping for enlightenment. This comment received last night : "I heard on BBC Radio 4, on Tuesday evening (day 1 of Exercise Hornbeam), that there would be vaccination of cattle in North Wales and Cheshire. There was nothing about this exercise on Farming Today this morning (Thursday)."
July 2 ~ peaceful demonstration outside the Tesco stand at the Royal show on Monday 5th July to protest the low prices paid to dairy farmers and Tesco's failure to ensure that their producers get a fair share of the profits in the milk chain. See message from FARM
July 2 ~ "... India has been haunted in recent weeks by newspaper pictures of farmers who had hanged themselves. (Nearly 3,000 farmers have taken their lives in Andhra Pradesh over the past six years) "The previous government of Atal Behari Vajpayee campaigned on the economic boom. In Andhra Pradesh, it was Mr Vajpayee's local ally, Chandrababu Naidu, who bore the brunt of the electorate's discontent. Mr Naidu was the darling of the World Bank and international IT corporations. As chief minister of the state, he enticed Microsoft and Dell to its capital, Hyderabad, and won £1.2bn of cheap loans from the World Bank, and £67m from Britain's Department for International Development..." Independent
July 2 ~ "... the new "independent" government in Baghdad yesterday gave Saddam Hussein an initial trial hearing that was worthy of the brutal old dictator." Robert Fisk in the Independent
July 1 ~ Why is DEFRA's FMD helpline not an FMD helpline? Bryn writes to "share my experience using the Defra FMD Helpline in relation to Operation Hornbeam. I wanted to see what the state of play was, as a concerned citizen, engaging in the spirit of the simulation exercise..."
July 1 ~ Vaccination - No lessons learnt? The Scientific inquiry by the Royal Society, chaired by Sir Brian Follett recommended that Emergency vaccination to be used as "a major tool of first resort" to prevent a foot and mouth outbreak becoming an epidemic. The aim is to "vaccinate to live" and for animals to enter the food chain in the normal way.
July 1 ~ ".... the government undertook huge scale firewall culling when it came to believe that the contingency plan had completely failed. The extent to which the firewall was what might properly be called a deliberate decision remains a matter of extreme contention which the official inquiries have done little to quiet. All its key components—the three kilometre circle, the 24/48 hour disposal scheme, the refusal to vaccinate, etc.—were improvisations produced by panicked decision-making which will never be fully understood." The power to panic: the Animal Health Act 2002
June 30 ~ "Having examined all the issues, we recommended that for the future emergency vaccination should be a tool of first rather than last resort, with the vaccinated animals allowed to live and subsequently go into the food chain..."Gavin McCrone, Vice-Chairman, Royal Society of Edinburgh Inquiry into Foot and Mouth Disease Scotland on Sunday, 18 August 2002
July 19 ~The "farmer" in this report sent an injured bull 65 miles to the abattoir. He was fined £200.
See brief note from Mary to regular readers
June 30 ~ "a humiliating climb-down by a biotech bully. Bayer tried to use their massive financial muscle to prevent members of the public having access to important health and environmental data about substances that are sprayed on our food crops every day..." FoE press release. See also pesticides page
June 30 ~ BBC "....the NFU is not convinced the (Exercise Hornbeam) simulation by Defra will have any benefit for the farming community. NFU South West regional director, Anthony Gibson, said ....
"It's when you don't know where the disease is and you have to go in for precautionary measures, creating firebreaks to stop the disease spreading, that it causes difficulties. If you can create that firebreak by vaccinating animals, rather than slaughtering thousands and thousands of them, then that has got to be a better way."Warmwell comment : It is not only the "better way" ethically. It is also the only way if the EU Directive is followed and only animals shown by testing to be infected or contaminated are killed. We have always been most grateful to Mr Gibson for his humane and outspoken criticism of the government contiguous cull policies. We understand, however, that the central NFU office has now "basically gagged Gibson from further comment on FMD and the contiguous cull."
June 30 ~ "Vaccinating apparently devalues the price of an animal." Ananova's report on Exercise Hornbeam. And the price of devaluing the reputation of a nation in 2001?
June 30 ~ WMN "Adrian Flook, Conservative MP for Taunton, accused ministers of hitting an industry that was already down. Mr Flook said: "Farming, especially dairy farming, is an integral part of what makes the South West countryside. It provides food for us, but also attracts tourists into our area. The undermining of dairy farming is therefore a double whammy for the South West. The Government is not just letting our farmers down - it is totally undermining us."
June 30 ~ undiagnosed encephalitic illness in sheep and cattle deemed not to pose a risk to humans
...the Health Protection Agency (who were asked by DEFRA to assess the risk ) agreed that they "didn’t pose a significant risk to human health. ....no apparent link has been identified between these cases and the cases represented a variety of clinical and pathological findings." See News Medical net
June 30 ~ "The NFU Council is meeting today to consider a proposal for a `Buyers Charter' as an alternative to the failing Supermarket Code of Practice. Friends of the Earth warns that this voluntary approach will not stop the big retailers bullying their suppliers...Supermarkets have had four years to put their own houses in order since the Competition Commission first highlighted their unfair treatment of suppliers. They have clearly failed. The only way forward is for a strong statutory code .... It is also essential that an independent body is set up ..... ."
June 30 ~ "The decision by the US Supreme Court that the prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba have the right to challenge their captivity in American courts is wise and brave. It is wise because the notion that these captives would have no legal status at all, and for however long they were held, is wrong. It is brave because the majority on the court have acted against the wishes of the Bush Administration ..." Times
June 30 ~ "...ranks among the most inept in the history of the West’s global interventions. Mr Bremer leaves with some 10,000 Iraqis and 900 Westerners dead inside a year, a smashed administration and an economy wrecked ...... “elected councils”..... have no authority because they have no protection. Without troops to enforce their decisions, they are mere conduits for American money to the mafias that now perforce run Iraq......Mr Blair claims preposterously that Iraqi women under the present mullahs are “more free” than under secular Saddam. Women do not walk safe in Iraq’s streets..." Simon Jenkins in the Times. See also Iraq pages
June 30 ~ " speculation is that the Butler committee will look into the way in which decisions were taken by Mr Blair's tight but informal inner circle in the run-up to the Iraq war." Blow for Blair as Butler prepares to release report on eve of by-elections - Independent
June 29 ~ "The disease is judged to have entered the country via infected sheep imported from another European country, unlike in 2001 when the exact source was never confirmed."
A paragraph from the middle of the Scotsman's report on Exercise Hornbeam. In the realtime exercise, the Ministry "knows" the exact source. The exact source of the disease was certainly never confirmed in 2001 - but how many times have we heard that pigswill was the source? (What is the extent of DEFRA's knowledge about the recent brucellosis outbreak? Aujeszky's? )
June 29 ~ The 60th British soldier died in Iraq yesterday as the handover of power took place in a small inside room in the office of Iyad Allawi, Iraq's new interim prime minister. The event was announced after it took place.
June 29 ~ "The power struggle between David Blunkett and the Humberside chief constable moved to the courts yesterday when the Home Secretary applied for an injunction to force the suspension of the police officer." Independent
June 29 ~ ".. If the animal tests positive, it would be the second case of mad cow discovered in the United States. In December 2003, a single Holstein on a Washington state farm was found to have the disease, prompting more than 50 countries to ban imports of U.S. beef. Japan and South Korea, 2 of the biggest export markets for U.S. beef, still have their bans in effect despite the efforts of American officials to get them lifted..." Daily News yesterday.
The madness of BSE is set to continue. Alternative research that questions the current dogma about the disease itself and its assumed link with vCJD continues to be ignored and unfunded. At the heart of all this is the multi billion poundsworth of trade and of lucrative research - juggernauts not to be stopped by mere reason and questioning.
June 29 ~ UK votes in favour of Monsanto NK 603 maize for animal feed - but it is rejected by EU Ministers. See GM page FoE says ".... Agriculture ministers will vote within three months on the use of NK 603 in food. If agriculture ministers fail to agree, it is up to the Commission to decide whether the import of NK 603 maize will be allowed without the support of member states"
Warmwell comment: "It is a humiliation for the UK that the government appears to have crept into Monsanto's pocket. Our agricultural colleges now virtually speak with the voice of the makers of Agent Orange."
June 29 ~ Bovine TB Blogspot. New forum / discussion blog now under construction. http://bovinetb.blogspot.com Please add comments, questions and material.
June 29 ~ An emailer writes, "........Thanks also for posting details of Janet Hughes book; I have ordered one and had a warm and positive reply from Janet. She is still digging stuff up, and it promises to be a most interesting read." See also this message about Janet Hughes' book, "The Killing Pens"
To pre-order ( and thereby help cover costs) please email Janet at email@example.com. The book should be available from August and for pre-ordered books the cost will be £10 plus post and packaging.
June 28 ~"... a much bigger question, which is how far do we want politicians directly to control the activities of police authorities and, crucially, police officers themselves." See democracy page
June 28 ~ "We will challenge these elements in Iraq, the anti-democratic elements, by even bringing the handover of sovereignty before June 30 as a sign we are ready for it." Press Association
"We will challenge the bull we have maddened by leaping over the gate sooner rather than later as a sign that we are not frightened of it."
June 28 ~ In their different ways, they quietly and persistently continue the struggle against the government's approach to animal "health". Their fight is unsung, unpaid and unrewarding. If you are reading this, you may well be one of them. One wonders if the policy makers, with access to taxpayers' money, research and secretarial staff, and blinkered by politics, ever wonder why on earth we should be driven to continue. Bryn's letter gives a clue, perhaps
June 28 ~ ".....In the process of studying FMD virus transmission from carrier to susceptible cattle, carriers of FMD virus were inoculated intranasally with IBR virus in an effort to create a stress which might increase excretion of FMD virus from carrier cattle. However, FMD virus disappeared from the esophageal-pharyngeal fluid of the 2 carrier animals 1 day after IBR virus inoculation and was not detected again during the 4-week sampling period..." Bryn Wayt forwards this letter from Joe Cummins to Gavin Thomson on the subject of FMD and oral interferon. Read the letter on warmwell's technical pages
June 27 ~ "Farmers expected to pay more after epidemics" - so runs the article in Friday's FT. and another "consultation" is on its way. Ben Bradshaw's idea of what was "unfair" about compensating farmers for culled animals is different from that of Wolfgang Kreissl-Dörfler's Committee and the EU Parliament: DEFRA is, of course, very anxious to save money where it can now that £1 billion - " a sum it seems the UK Government may now never be in a position to claim." ( Booker's Notebook 18/01/2004) will not be paid by an EU unimpressed by the UK handling of FMD in 2001.
June 27 ~ Confusion reigns over what the EU Directive actually says about vaccinated meat and its treatment. Meanwhile,Booker's Notebook today, comments on how officials will blunder on regardless rather than admit that they do not understand: "One inevitable consequence of the avalanche of ill-drafted diktats which pour out of Brussels is that even the officials charged with enforcing those laws can get totally confused as to what they mean..."
June 27 ~ "The USDA is planning the construction of powerplants to be fueled by the carcasses of US livestock slaughtered by the USDA in response to FMD and other diseases introduced by agroterrorists. This enlightened thinking prevails at USDA while thoughts of developing alternatives to depopulation are suppressed." (Thanks to Bryn Wayt for passing on this ugly piece of news about the US Department of Agriculture.) We can only hope that sanity prevails at USDA. A planned response based on already existing technology that allows for the survival of animals is surely the only way for decent governments to proceed.
June 27 ~ Following the news release from DEFRA about its Animal Health and Welfare Strategy we read this comment on a forum. The writer evidently shares our exasperation with the childishly PC nonsense to come out of government these days. His comment reminds us of the true story of the DEFRA official who asked a farmer what sex his bull was.
June 26 ~ Thank Heavens for Simon Jenkins. The antidote to the Emperor's New Clothes style of journalism.
"...The BBC has decided that its helpless journalists need “five core values”. These are said to be accuracy, public interest, impartiality, independence and accountability. Nobody could object, of course, but then the point of mission statements is to be beyond objection. They are pure corporate jobsworth. Yet why has the BBC omitted such standbys as inclusiveness, partnership, outreach, ethnic minority and paedophile awareness? What has it against the disabled? Why no Welsh? Why are there only five values, or could the committee not remove its other mitten? . ...."Read in full
June 26 ~ TB statistics. Our correspondent writes, "... they put all the monthly figures up in 3 different places (on the DEFRA website) and then after a period of time compress into annual, so meaningful monthly comparisons cannot be made. The point of this is that Bradshaw has done a comparison with early 2003, and arrived at a drop of 14% but the Defra website specifically warns against just such an exercise due to 'extraordinary circumstances' (FMD + backlog on tests) which make for no comparisons!" (See front page)
June 25 ~ "Campaigners opposed to wind power in Scotland have described Perth and Kinross Council’s newly-adopted wind-power strategy as "a stitch-up and a sell-out to the wind generators" Scotsman. See also warmwell's page on wind power. Of course we need alternative energy. But the UK wind power scheme is, in James Lovelock's words, "not going to cut it."
June 25 ~ DEFRA launches Animal Health and Welfare Strategy "....The strategy sets a vision for the future of animal health and welfare and lists a series of targets it wants to have achieved by 2014. ...... more controversially, it adds that DEFRA would also like to see that the costs of health and welfare are "appropriately balanced between industry and the taxpayer"...." FWi
June 25 ~ "If FMD virus is introduced by terrorists in multiple locations," said Dr. Cummins, "the (US) government's attempt to eradicate FMD will require the slaughter and disposal of millions of animals. Nothing could please terrorists more than to watch the US Government kill millions of animals in response to their agroterrorism. After all, the FMD generally kills less than 1% of affected animals but the government's response kills 100%. What we need is a planned response that allows survival of our livestock. Dr. Paszek and I believe immune modulation with oral interferon and vaccination is a better way to respond to FMD." from Press Release Amarillo Biosciences, Inc.
June 24 ~ "The British Library is starting the first phase of a project that may eventually lead to it archiving all UK Web sites..." ZDnet.co.uk
June 24 ~ Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, premiered in Washington Wednesday night to wide applause. " If this movie can inspire a few of that 50 per cent that did not vote in this country to get back involved, to re-engage, then the movie will have accomplished something important," Moore told the Associated Press. . Read CBC News
June 24 ~ Police and soldiers in five Iraqi cities have been hit by what some say were co-ordinated attacks. The worst strikes were in Mosul, where at least 44 people died and 216 were hurt by a series of car bombs. See Reuters
June 24 ~ "...in the US, Cepheid has expanded its license with Applied Biosystems, currently covering the use of real-time thermal cyclers in specific diagnostics, to include additional diagnostics, research and other applications. The license extends the areas in which Cepheid can market its thermal cycler products, including its Smart Cycler and GeneXpert real-time PCR ranges. Cepheid has paid Applied Biosystems a $11.4 million (€9.4m) fee to extend the license. .." Drug researcher.com
June 23/24 ~ UNITED NATIONS, June 23 — The United States withdrew on Wednesday its new United Nations draft resolution seeking renewal of the immunity of its peace keeping personnel from prosecution of the International Criminal Court (ICC) due to lackof support in the Security Council.
June 23 ~ " How touching of Mr Patten to care so much about parliamentary democracy. One wonders why he does not feel the same way about the fact that parliament has no right to reject legislation and regulations that are pouring in from the EU, each initiated by that very unparliamentary body: the Commission." comments Helen on the EU Referendum blogspot. (See Chris Patten's remarks in the Telegraph today)
June 23 2004~ Hugh writes on the subject of vaccination and supermarkets (see front page story)
"If Supermarkets do not wish to sell meat from vaccinated animals, then they should withdraw most of their lamb and a proportion of their pork. Routine vaccination is common practice in most sheep flocks and many pig herds and has been so for a very long time. "June 23 ~ We're grateful to Sue from the Remus Horse Sanctuary in Essex for sending this message about Janet Hughes' forthcoming book. "...My book contains evidence not only of ineptitude, but also of pre-meditation for the eradication of our small farms. It is the only means left to me to place this evidence in the public domain. The Government hid behind a wall of excuses, and escaped any accountability with the weak promise that lessons would be learned...."
June 23 ~ "The oil giant Shell, already under scrutiny for overstating its oil reserves, stands accused of polluting communities, damaging wildlife habitats and failing to live up to its promise of environmental and social responsibility in a new report launched by Friends of the Earth today (Wednesday 23 June), ahead of the company's annual general meeting..." Friends of the Earth
June 23 ~ The Mirror says that Tony Blair is under pressure to appoint a woman as Britain's next EU Commissioner as he finalises a summer Cabinet reshuffle. He wanted Peter Mandelson - but has been advised against...
June 23 ~ "Milk industry officials believe the bullish milk market will be short-lived."
http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/mld/myrtlebeachonline/news/breaking_news/8984434.htm Thanks to Pat for this.
June 23 ~ False proof of age, student and national ID cards are all freely available to buy on the internet, a study reveals. See democracy page
June 23 ~ Maeve Sherlock of the Refugee Council said: "An asylum system that is humane and efficient is in everybody's best interests. The current system fails on both counts. .... " BBC on the Audit Office's conclusion that £200m could have been saved if ministers invested in case work rather than on removing failed asylum seekers.
June 22 ~ No time today to upload very much. Apologies. This however must be an exception. How cheering.
June 22 ~ Guardian comment "... it is media politics, not parliamentary politics, that shapes Britain's existential argument about relations with Europe now. There was an exquisite symbol of this on the BBC yesterday when Trevor Kavanagh of the Sun and Simon Kelner of the Independent argued the issues of the EU constitution..." See democracy page
June 21 ~ The wording of official documents is the modern equivalent of the Emperor's New Clothes technique. Jargon is a good hiding place. DEFRA itself produces long documents of eye-glazing gobbledegook. Only those who really want clarity of communication are prepared or able to use good English. The confusion sown, wittingly or half-wittedly by DEFRA, about the fate of meat after vaccination is very worrying. Possibly, officials at DEFRA themselves have not understood the key issues lurking in the language of the EU Directive on FMD control. The most important of these for meat producers ( Article 58 para 13) is that post vaccination and testing, meat destined for the UK market does not need de-boning. Yet paragraph 28 of the vaccination scenarios pdf posting on Defra implies de-boning for sheep meat would still be needed. Meat from ruminants for the home market does not require de-boning or heat treatment. It is essential that the UK sheep industry understands this.
June 21 ~ "those lame-brained drongos in the EU have spent the last few decades dismantling our arrangements for dealing with toxic waste and replacing it with, er… absolutely nothing.. . " EUReferendum blogspot. posted by Dr Richard North yesterday. (Read Booker's Notebook on this impending catastrophe)
June 21 ~ "...Greenpeace campaigner Sarah North said: "Our climbers have stopped a massive GM cargo unloading in Bristol, but now we want this ship to turn around and go back to America." The Etoile was carrying GM maize from America destined for dairy farms to feed cows..."BBC See also GM page
June 21 ~ "One feature of modern government that shows its condescension reaching the point of self-parody is the charade known as "consultation". The Government pretends to "consult" those affected by its actions, then carries on doing exactly what it intended to do in the first place. ..." Christopher Booker's Notebook deplores the fact that policy on pesticides will not change in spite of the determined campaign by Georgina Downs".... The trouble is that ministers cannot afford to admit that pesticides can endanger public health. These products have been licensed by the Government as safe to use." Booker's Notebook contains also the usual news of the disheartening and unnecessary idiocies with which an over-zealous government is making life harder for us. Read in full
June 18 - 20 ~ "CPRE's Head of Rural Policy Tom Oliver said: 'The Government claims that local landscape designations are preventing "necessary" development. 'But they have offered no evidence of this. Which begs the question: "Who should be deciding local planning issues – the locally elected council which knows its patch, or the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in Whitehall?"' http://www.wind-farm.org/modules.
June 18 - 20 ~"More than 2 million pigs, cattle and sheep were culled during the 2001 epidemic." proclaims the Guardian's Paul Brown. "More than" is right. A conservative estimate of the true figure of animals and their young - the vast majority uninfected - including breeding stock and rare animals never intended for slaughter, is ten million In the name of "animal health" dreadful things were done in 2001 to animals and people. They can never be forgotten. Penrith and the Borders MP at the time, David Maclean, said at the Cumbria Inquiry that "bureaucracy and red tape prevented action to stop the disease's spread." In April 2001, Mr Maclean carried out a survey which showed that, contrary to what is widely believed, the majority of farmers and vets who were surveyed in Cumbria at the time were in favour of vaccination. Legislation was rushed through in 2002 to make the mass killing retrospecively legal - but it was an unholy mess. The true scale of the disaster for the animals, for their owners and for the rural community should never be forgotten - and never, ever repeated.
June 18 - 20 ~ RSPCA "...according to critics, the welfare of many millions of animals which are intensively farmed, or exported live to overseas markets, is being deliberately ignored. Four Corners asks (Australian TV) if the RSPCA is still “for all creatures great and small”, or if it has now become a creature tamed by the multi-million dollar industries it is meant to police."
June 18 - 20 ~ "...if anybody has created "a permissive environment" for terrorists in Iraq, surely it is Blair and Bush and the occupation force. Blair's constant refusal to accept reality in the face of overwhelming evidence must surely be a symptom of some deeper psychiatric malaise that ought to disqualify him from office once and for all. Why does the Labour Party not take action to spare him and the country any further embarrassment or suffering?" Letter in the Independent from Chris Webster
June 18 - 20 ~ "Al-Qaida may 'reward' American president with strike aimed at keeping him in office, senior intelligence man says .." Guardian
June 18 - 20 ~ DEFRA's real time alert exercise (which conicides with the date on which the EU FMD Directive actually has to be transposed into UK law) is being reported in such a way as to suggest that the decision whether or not to vaccinate will depend, among other things, on "the weather" - together with the worryingly misleading sentence "after vaccination, meat has to be heat-treated or deboned and matured until after the country's F&M-free status is established." The criteria for vaccination are laid out in Annex X of the Directive. As for the heat treatments of meat and milk, the Directive provides for derogation from these treatments once the Protection or Surveillance Zone has been in place for more than 30 days.
June 18 - 20 ~" ...Last night, civil liberties campaigners voiced concerns about governments sharing biometric data through international databases. "There is now a total obsession with this technology as a way of combatting anything and everything and it's a fallacy," said Barry Hugill of Liberty. "Once you begin to compile massive databases it's a matter of common sense that you are going to get the most horrendous mix-ups, with the wrong people being accused and the the wrong information being shared around the world." Guardian
June 18 - 20 ~ "a classic case of none being so blind as those who will not see." ...."The ugly fact which Mr Bush cannot contemplate - far less let his public know - is that far from scotching the terrorist snake, the war has created new fertile ground for it, with almost daily bombings which can no longer be blamed on "Saddam remnants"." Guardian Leader on friday. See Iraq page
June 18 ~"Cheney as much as admitted that he gets his news on these things from the National Review, a rightwing magazine that is not known for having real experts on the Arab world, the sort who know Arabic and have lived there, on the staff. Bush took cover in the 1994 Sudan meetings between al-Qaeda and Iraqi secret police, which went nowhere. ." Professor Juan Cole, quoted on the Iraq page
June 18 2004 ~ "On the morning of 9/11, the existing protocol was unsuited in every respect for what was about to happen," the report asserted. "What ensued was a hurried attempt to create an improvised defence by officials who had never encountered or trained against the situation they faced." The Independent reports on the Commission's findings, the report of which will be published next month.
June 18 ~ Blunkett admits diplomat was right over visas fiasco. See Democracy page
June 18 ~ Brussels: Acrimony, brinkmanship and a summit in turmoil ..The Independent reports
June 18 ~ Simon Jenkins "The hooligan housing lobby has gone berserk" "...Treasury statistics on Britain’s so-called housing “shortage” are among the most mendacious that department has ever published. ..." Read in full
June 18 ~ The outbreaks of FMD in both Brazil and Peru make even more urgent the streamlining and proper clear instructions to all about Britain's own contingency plans.
June 18 ~ Lord Sainsbury has dismissed a report drawn up the respected economist Professor David Simpson on behalf of the independent Scottish think tank, the David Hume Institute
WMN "Tilting at windmills: the economics of wind power", concluded that the Government's "preoccupation" with windfarms will cost consumers billions of pounds but "make no substantial contribution" to reducing the carbon dioxide emissions blamed for global warming..." See warmwell's windfarms page
June 17 ~ American Indoctrination -- The harsh reality of public school (Special to LibertyForum.org) "Indoctrination. Forced conformity. Government worship. A blending of Christianity with "patriotism." The wholesale assembly-line production of jingoistic, unquestioning drones, assaulted at their most impressionable time in life."
Sue writes, "I don't usualy forward items off of public forums, but this is very disturbing, and goes someway to explaining why the majority of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11 dispite all the evidence to the contrary. ..."
June 17 ~ Tesco ".. is damaging communities, putting local shops out of business, and threatening the livelihoods of many UK farmers....Farmers describe how Tesco has ignored their pleas for fairer prices and the impacts this has on the environment and rural communities. They say a stricter code of practice is essential. ....... Its search for cheap food across the globe clocks up polluting food miles.... " FOE briefing for MPs
June 17 ~ The first request by British scientists to clone human embryos has been discussed by experts. BBC
June 17 ~ EU leaders meet in Brussels today try to agree on a constitution for all 25-member states. Gordon Brown has said ".. Europe must avoid endorsing a federal-style fiscal policy which would make the Commission and not member states responsible for fiscal discipline.."
June 17 ~ The refuting of Bush and Cheney's claim of links between the September 11th attacks and Iraq by the commission investigating the 11 September terror attacks on the United States is getting into headlines across the world today. See Iraq page and the transcript of the hearing yesterday in the Washington Post
June 17 ~ The BMA says the UK is failing to tap into the valuable experience of refugee doctors. BBC
June 16 ~ (Press Association) "The Commission investigating the Sept 11 attacks have reported that it found “no credible evidence” of a link between Iraq and al-Qaida in attacks against the US" - more detail on Iraq page
June 16 ~ "The desire for a trading rather than political union accords with the view of most Tories, and with many Labour supporters. .." Simon Jenkins today in the Times: "Now Howard must make peace with the UKIP"
June 16 ~ Alan Simpson, the Labour secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on War and the Law, said "huge questions" remained about why the cases had taken so long to investigate. "The speed with which the Government was able to investigate the mocked-up photographs falsely sold to the Daily Mirror begs the question of why there have been such extensive delays on investigating allegations of abuse, brutality and humiliation in Iraq," he said. The UK abuse photographs
June 16 ~ AID groups and human-rights campaigners have dismissed Tony Blair's claim that he and his government are doing "all that we can" for the people of Darfur in western Sudan. Scotsman
June 16 ~ The Independent reports that "A group of heavy-hitting former US diplomats and military officials has called on the American public to vote George Bush out of office in November. .." See Iraq/"Terror" page
June 15 ~ "...Campbell went much further. Neither Haines nor Ingham had a fraction of the power that Campbell had over the whole of Whitehall. Neither had the same status as equal partner to the Prime Minister. Neither had the same politically motivated staff and sophisticated media apparatus at their fingertips. And neither took the art of manipulation and disinformation to such extremes." From an extract of Campbell: the wages of spin in the ndependent. (See democracy pages on warmwell)
June 15 ~ ".....we must repeat the obvious fact: no country has to be part of the European Union, accept its legislation and regulatory structure or its Constitution in order to trade with the countries of the Single Market. Norway does it, Switzerland does it, Japan does it, the United States does it. And many others.
No country needs to be part of the European Union in order to have a political alliance with some or all of its members. The problem at the moment is that it will become more and more difficult to have agreements and alliances with other countries except where the EU says so. ..." part of a post from Helen.
June 15 ~ Re the Muckspreader article, we have received a comment from Heather: "the statement 'Thoroughbred horses must in addition have a 'silhouette' signed by a vet,'is incorrect, I believe (just for the record) - ALL horses must have this, or be chipped..........(& deep fat fried & served with fish..........)..."
June 15 ~ The Independent (http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/story.jsp?story=531699) reports this morning that ".... Mr Blair rejected growing demands from Labour MPs for him to apologise over the Iraq war, which ministers have blamed for the party's poor showing in the council and European elections. One senior cabinet minister said: "He won't say sorry. He can't. It would bring the whole thing tumbling down on him."..."
June 15 ~ "... Ms (Elizabeth) Wilmshurst, a respected and experienced government lawyer, said that she had disagreed with the attorney general's view that the war was legal" See Guardian report on Iraq/Terror pages together with an important article from medialens about the legality of the Iraq war.
June 14 ~ Bush foreign policy under renewed attack, from within.
US elections: American policy in Iraq will come under renewed attack from within when 26 former diplomats and military officers issue a statement critical of the White House. Guardian
June 14 ~ Red Cross ultimatum to US on Saddam
World: Release him, charge him or break international law, Bush told. Guardian
June 14 ~ "Michael Moore is contemplating making the prime minister his next victim...."Guardian
June 14 ~ An emailer writes, "It seems that James Cameron is going to be made to suffer for the humiliating exit of Beverly Hughes. He is being accused of leaking the information for "political motives". I hope the press will leap on this story and protect him. We so desperately need our whistleblowers. No one else seems prepared to call the government on its opportunism and lack of principle. " (See democracy page)
June 14 ~ The strong showing in Poland of two Eurosceptic parties reflected growing disillusionment over elusive prosperity (Independent)
June 14 ~ Terry Waite is giving a speech today about conditions in Guantanamo and at Abu Ghraib, comparing the plight of detainees with his own captivity. He said on the Today programme that UK Ministers should speak out much more strongly, that the UK had "gone along" with the US in its treatment of suspects, UK officials even being present during interrogations. (Read again Richard Norton Taylor from Saturday's Guardian on A torturer's charter about the secret documents showing that US interrogators consider themselves to be above the law.)
June 14 ~ At last, an independent inquiry is going to be held into the condition of thousands of British troops who have suffered ill-health after serving in the first Gulf War. See news in the Independent
June 14 2004 ~ After being elected, Mr Kilroy-Silk said: "As poll after poll has demonstrated, voters want our country back from Brussels. They want it back from a corrupt, dictatorial regime and we are going to get it back for them." See also Independent
Jun 13 ~ ".... the expensive spin coming from those who are making millions out of the great ‘wind scam’." Read Christopher Booker's article The Case Against ‘The Mendip Wind Monster’ from the Wells Gazette
Jun 13 ~ "The truth of this week's G8 joy is not that peace has broken out in Iraq but that it has broken out among the G8. Allies are friends again. Washington made a desperate bid to send Nato on a suicide mission to Baghdad, but France wisely vetoed it. Mr Blair was fobbed off with the usual promise on Israel. Mr Bush tried to boost the morale of his neocons with a mad plan for a "Greater Middle East". This was Blairised as a "Broader Middle East Initiative" and rendered meaningless. Am I growing old or has 21st-century diplomacy dumbed down? .." Simon Jenkins in Friday's Times.
June 13 ~ "In all the scenarios, the decline of oil was about now, or at the latest, within five years. She referred to both Iraq and Afghanistan as wars to facilitate access to oil, saying she hoped that nobody present still believed the purposes were searches for weapons or to provide democracy to those countries..." New Zealand's Jeanette Fitzsimmons quoted in Scoop.co.nz and see also warmwell's pages on the energy crisis
June 13 ~"After the screening, no one raced up the aisles to get to their car, no one pushed to be first at the reception, and people were talking about the film long after it ended .." Daily Variety (Hollywood)
Fahrenheit 9/11, has had a preview showing in Hollywood. After the film, Michael Moore thanked Lions Gate and IFC, which will distribute the film in North America. "They came in to save the day and to make sure this film could be seen by every American." The film will open on June 25 in what Moore said is the "widest distribution of any documentary ever."
June 12 ~ "...If the complexity of our economies is impossible to sustain, our best hope is to start to dismantle them before they collapse. This isn't very likely to happen. Faced with a choice between a bang and a whimper, our governments are likely to choose the bang, waging ever more extravagant wars to keep the show on the road. Terrorists, alert to both the west's rising need and the vulnerability of the pipeline and tanker networks, will respond with their own oil wars. .." George Monbiot in the Guardian
June 12 ~ A this link to the labyrinthine DEFRA website and a page that says that the killing of the garden centre robins (below) was "legal". Since Defra said at the time that the application for a licence to kill the birds was only awarded "after it was considered by an experienced wildlife management adviser" and in view of the Rural Development Service's criticisms of DEFRA itself, we find DEFRA's reproachful tone towards the garden centre very odd.
May/June ~ Last word. "Helena Kennedy: You’re right, Anthony - I’ll have the last word, and it’s this: the leverage has to come from us, from “we the people”, that things have to be done differently."
From a discussion with Anthony Sampson and Helena Kennedy on the democracy page
May/June ~ It is hoped that the website will be able to return after a short break. Emails still very welcome and encouraging.
A new CD Rom of warmwell's Foot and Mouth archives is now available. It contains over 3000 files of contemporary news, first hand accounts, veterinary opinion, submissions to the various enquiries and many related links. Together, they tell a very different story from the official one. The CD includes its own search engine and is available for anyone who is seriously intending to research the UK foot and mouth crisis of 2001. Inquiries will be answered on our return.
May 31 ~ Re "postal voting" We hear of the excellent suggestion that " a cheap postcard or piece of paper be enclosed with the ballot paper, addressed to the relevant electoral Returning Officer. It should say something like:
Dear Sir/MadamSee http://www.neilherron.co.uk/
I wish to use the Complaints procedure to lodge a vigorous protest against being forced to vote by post. Please send me full details of your Complaints Procedure by return of post. Please also refer my protest in your written post-election report to the Electoral Commission.
May 28 ~ "Hook, line and sinker" is the revealing headline of Jon Snow's Channel 4 email about Abu Hamza. "... it seems we are inconsistent about whose law prevails." He also reveals that Iyad Allawi ran the Iraqi National Accord who brought us the claim that Saddam was 45 minutes from a major chemical weapons attack.
May 28 ~ For the Sydney Morning Herald to be asking serious questions about the Nick Berg video suggests that there are serious questions to answer
May 28 ~ Dave, to whom many thanks for the links, has read the New Statesman article "Another Fake" He asks: "Why did Trinity Mirror bay for Piers Morgan's blood? Was the 'Mirror' not selling well? Was it losing money? Was it losing circulation? Were its readers unhappy? Were the advertisers cross? if any of these were true, then maybe ... maybe the editor should change. But for telling the truth? An editor is sacked for publishing the truth? The truth that war is horrible? All best wishes to Piers Morgan in whatever is his next adventure."
May 28 ~ "Should pro GM hard-liners like Commissioner David Byrne still succeed in adopting a Commission proposal for GM contamination thresholds in seeds, such a proposal could only be overruled by a qualified (2/3) majority of member states in the Council of Ministers...." Save our Seeds petition
May 28 ~ "Get ready for a showdown over oil prices in the near future, and long term, get ready to dust off that bicycle. .. Sales of the automotive monstrosity, the Hummer H2, have fallen 24 per cent in the first four months of this year. I can think of no better index of an improving planet. " Toronto Star and see also peak oil page
May 28 ~ Another email from Australia " Big business is causing so much hardship ..... Transporting food longer distances creates problems with freshness with the result being more preservatives need to be added to our food so it doesn't 'go off'. The more preservatives, the bigger the danger to our health. .......With the knowledge we have at our fingertips we should be capable of producing more and healthier food for local consumption everywhere. .... we need to alter our attitude towards local agriculture and redefine what we really want from life."
May 28 ~ Geoff Hoon has announced that 370 extra British troops are being sent to Iraq, bringing the total to 8,900. says the BBC. Read the Independent on clues that many more will be sent - but only after the elections of June 10 "..why is there a need to put the Royal Marines on 10 days notice for something happening three months from now? And are the elite Royal Marines really going to be used as teachers for Iraqi civil defence?"
May 27/28 ~ "Almost amused by the suggestion on Vnunet.com " IBM has won the £1.4bn deal to run DEFRA" (if only) ...but not smiling at the sales prattle of Alun Michael, nor this: "three data repositories created around Defra's primary areas of responsibility - land, animals and customers. Information held in the repositories will be available to anyone who needs to use it to deliver rural, environmental or land policy, including agencies, non-departmental public bodies and regional development agencies." Can someone explain who exactly DEFRA's"customers" are? Do not customers have the right to take their custom elsewhere? And what "data" exactly is to be made available to any agencies, non-departmental public bodies and regional development agencies who want it?
May 27/28 ~ The bone fiasco. The Times today reports that "A DEFRA spokeswoman suggested that the (Ceredigion) council had “over-interpreted” the regulations ..."
May 27 ~ "My information is that Britain is trying to send 5,000 more troops to help secure Najaf which is outside the UK theatre of control.." writes Jon Snow this evening.
The Guardian reported on May 25 that two out of three voters say NO to more UK troops for Iraq. (So much for John Reid's claim on the radio today that "'we are listening to the people, and we do act on what they tell us" )
May 27 ~ "campaigners against onshore windfarms vowed to fight this latest move, saying it would "desecrate" one of the most beautiful landscapes in the region....The benefits of onshore turbines are vastly exaggerated. The damage to the landscape will be overwhelming.." See windfarms page
May 27 ~ "Rise in greenhouse-gas emissions from transport" was the headline in a report showing a surge in pollution from the air and freight industries. "....It was to be published in the week Tony Blair and Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett made statements on Britain's role in fighting climate change. But it was substituted with another, published last Friday, which did not mention transport emissions. ..." This is London - and this is our government, who denied that the substitution was made for political reasons..( Later. We see that FOE is on the case.)
May 27 ~ An emailer writes, " we read on the DEFRA page 'Genus Plc employs some 1500 staff worldwide, inclusive of veterinary personnel. During the 2001 FMD crisis Genus Plc was an active contributor in the effort to control and overcome the outbreak.' Anyone know how? Was this the abortive and costly "training" exercise in vaccination that never got off the ground? Did Genus make any contribution to any of the Inquiries?"
May 27 ~ Defra announced yesterday that a contract has been awarded to Genus Plc, a multinational agricultural biotechnology company, to provide emergency vaccination, "if required", in the event of a future foot and mouth disease outbreak in Great Britain. See DEFRA page (Thanks to Bryn and Mona)
May 27 ~ A detailed email today about an EU Directive (enforced in the UK by the use of no fewer than FOUR Statutory Instruments) interpreted by DEFRA to stop butchers providing bones for dogs - see below. The email concludes: ".... it would appear that the Directive was not intended to cover a butcher selling or giving me raw bones as raw petfood - providing that the bones were from an animal that was fit and destined for human consumption.....Perhaps this is a case where dog owners and other interested parties should write to their MPs/MEPs and question the UK interpretation of EC Directive 1774/2002. " Read in full
(faxyourmp.com takes only moments and is more effective than email.)
May 27 ~ ..and we read on the farmtalking forum "We are urged to re-cycle tin cans yet we must incinerate bones, precious mineral stores that mankind has been re-cycling for thousands of years..."
May 27 ~ Norm has commented on the Corporate Watch report "..... The environmentalists are railing at the big farmer and not the local producer and should make this more and more clear in their arguments. They ultimately want the same as the traditional farmer, a good environment where a diverse crop is grown and the land and animals are healthy."
May 26 ~ "I do feel that my country - I am English - is losing a lot of what I grew up with. I feel we are eroding ourselves to Brussels." The Independent article on the celebrities who are backing UKIP
May 26 ~ "Farmers and environmentalists, instead of accusing each other ,should be working together to transform the food system and to create a pattern of food production based on respect for the land and the needs of local communities rather than exploitation and greed." link to Report from Corporate Watch. Many thanks to Val.
May 26 ~ EU Animal by-products regulations of 2003 are being interpreted by DEFRA to mean that butchers may no longer give a dog a bone...See BBCWales
May 26 ~ Friends of the Earth International delivered a petition to the World Trade Organization (WTO) yesterday signed by more than 100,000 people from 91 countries and more than 544 organizations representing 48 million people in a spectacular action in Geneva ".....If the WTO rules in favour of the US-led coalition the EU faces economic sanctions or must accept more GM food. Such a decision would also make it more difficult for developing countries to protect their citizens from risks associated with GM crops and foods. But it will help biotech corporations access new markets more easily, particularly in the South. .."
May 26 ~ Roger on the Wyevale Garden Centre and its short way with robins....
May 25 ~ " I have been looking at the salt/potassium ratio our bodies need" writes Norm - and sends us the results of a fascinating home experiment.
May 25 ~ a new strain of the deadly Ebola virus has already killed four people in western Sudan, African researchers say they are mystified by a disease which appears to be killing the baobab trees, West Nile virus is on the increase; there seem to be stories of increasing alarm in the news all the time. While cases of Lyme's disease were rare in SW France last year, they have rocketed this year - and friendly readers will be sad to learn that Morgan has caught it.
May 25 ~ The Independent report on US Marine Staff Sergeant Jimmy Massey ". .. who says remorse keeps him awake at night.."....The demonstrators had the ability to fire at us or at the tank, but they didn't. The survivor was hiding behind a column about 150 metres away from us. I pointed at him and waved my weapon to tell him to get away. Half of his foot had been cut off. He went away dragging his foot. We were all laughing and cheering. .......One day we would go into a city and set up roadblocks where civilian casualties would take place, and then the next morning we would undertake a humanitarian mission," he said. "How do we expect people who've seen their brothers and mothers killed to turn around and welcome us with open arms?"
May 24 ~ Nesting robins killed at a garden centre to comply with the Food Safety Act 1990.
Scotsman ".... Defra said the application for a licence to kill the birds was only awarded after it was considered by an experienced wildlife management adviser..."
Time perhaps to remember Mahatma Ghandi's words: "One can measure the greatness and the moral progress of a nation by looking at how it treats her animals."
May 24 ~ Things are never simple. While we applaud and indeed, revere, James Lovelock (who is that rare thing, a brilliant scientist with both humour and integrity ) we nevertheless worry that sheep in Scotland are Wales still contaminated by the fallout from Chernobyl in April 1986 - and that there may well be a connection between this incident and TSEs such as BSE, blamed on scrapie infected meat meal fed to cattle. The economic fallout from BSE has been incalculable while lack of proof about the disease is as well kept a secret as it is a source of enormous wealth to some.
May 24 ~ Something rotten in the State....
"One of Britain's most notorious illegal meat traders will escape prosecution despite being caught running a warehouse packed with 30 tonnes of dangerous and rotting produce. .." Guardian See also "Meat Crimes" published here last week. "... the potentially huge financial rewards far outweigh the risks of being caught. .." The "risks" for the powerful and well connected seem very slight indeed.
May 24 ~ Michael Moore, whose film Fahrenheit 9/11 has won the Palme d'Or at Cannes, is now turning his attention to the issue of Peak Oil.
Common Dreams org "....He is planning films "on the Israelis and Palestinians, and the oil industry and lack of oil we are going to be faced with".
May 24 ~ " ... If we just go on for another 40 or 50 years faffing around, they'll have no chance at all, it'll back to the Stone Age. There'll be people around still. But civilisation will go." ..... a massive and immediate expansion of nuclear power is urgently needed says James Lovelock in the Independent. ( The meeting, "Gaia and Global Change", will be held at Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon, from 2-5 June. The final day will be open to the public.)
May 23 ~ Telling the truth about FMD 2001. An important email.
May 23 ~ How others see us..."The weary British electorate might well respond, "It's all right for you ... but we didn't vote for a world leader. We voted for someone who'd make the bloody schools and hospitals and trains work."...."Both in public and in private he seems sometimes to be retreating into denial. He must be one of the last British citizens who still think that the fabled WMD will yet turn up in Iraq, and he has refused to acknowledge the degree to which he misled parliament and country.
Nor has he grasped the degree to which his policy of engagement in Europe is in complete disarray." From an article about Tony Blair by Geoffrey Wheatcroft in the Atlantic Review. A spin too far
May 23 ~ The Government has announced that it is establishing a national centre for "best practice" in animal testing.
May 23 ~ David Blunkett has lost three appeals over a High Court judgment that he was wrong to refuse housing to destitute asylum seekers. See BBC report
May 23 ~ Having seen on the Pro-Med website several references to both bubonic and pneumonic plague, the report that " The Black Death could be lying dormant and could strike again" is not unexpected. See BBC report
May 23 ~ Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 has won the Palme d'Or at Cannes. The film received a 15-minute standing ovation when it was screened on Monday.
May 23 ~ Coalition forces 'seek immunity' The coalition in Iraq wants its troops to remain immune from prosecution by Iraqis after the handover of power. http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/-/2/hi/uk_news/3739561.stm
May 23 ~ Oil prices - Gordon Brown's worry is reported in the Sunday Times. See Peak oil news page
May 21 ~ Big muscle and spite win over Percy Schmeiser. Words fail us (almost) See GM page for the latest outrage by Monsanto.
May 21 ~ Bryn writes (re the speech by Dr Yunes Teinaz about the disgraceful meat crime in the UK) "I have more related data from HM Customs from their newly published "Spring Departmental Report 2004". More seized meat (119,278 kg - between 1st April and 31 Dec 2003) and of course no prosecutions!"
May 21 ~ The alarmist vCJD story is already raising worries that the DoH will further delay removing the the OTMS ban. See FWi. "...the team was unable to use a definitive vCJD test meaning the survey lacks statistical accuracy...Scientists are also unsure as to how many people will go on to develop the disease and how many will act as carriers. .....Sir Donald Curry ....called the DoH's delays "procrastination" and "unhelpful," ..."
(There have been two deaths from vCJD in 2004. The Golden Egg of very large research grants, no one has any proof of what causes this very rare amd distressing disease nor knows how it is spread.)
May 21 ~3 warmwell readers write:
Pat: "Prof. Collinge and the rest of the SEAC lot, and CJD Surveillance Unit operating since the turn of the century achieving nothing all, afraid that their gravy train is grinding to a halt. So rightly pointing out that funding time must be coming around!! ...How many more times must the BBC and the Media be reminded that there has been no proven link between eating infected meat and vCJD. 141 people have died but no one says OVER 10 YEARS. The millions of pounds of taxpayers money already wasted and the SEAC committee on their nice little earners are determined that it won't stop..." and
Bryn:"The squeaky gate that makes the most noise gets the oil!....Lamentable Press reporting, and fishing for funds says it all. " and
Brent: "Here we go again..."
May 21 ~ "...More than a million putrid and diseased chicken and turkey carcasses got into the food chain between January 2000 and March 2001.... The food trade and food enforcers collectively cannot be proud of the series of failures that allowed meat, not even suitable for pet food, to find its way into national food distribution. ...Responsibility of enforcing the legislation falls upon the Meat Hygiene service which is an executive Agency of the Food Standards Agency .." A disturbing speech by Dr Yunes Teinaz, Senior Environmental Health Officer London Borough of Haringey, given yesterday.
May 21 ~ 'Thousands may be harbouring CJD' shout the headlines
Professor John Collinge, vCJD and the panic button is pressed again. Just when you thought it was safe to assume that common sense had reasserted itself, along comes another story about three appendixes harbouring what might be the rogue prion protein to prepare the ground for...what? More hundreds of thousands in research grants? See BBC for the catalyst story.
May 21 ~ An emailer writes;"With electronic voting becoming an issue in the UK I thought this article would be interesting. Having worked with computers since 1974 I wouldn't trust elecronic voting with a barge pole!". He sends this link. ( see also democracy page)
May 20 ~ "the Love affair with Chalabi is over, the US seem to fear they've created a monster, a man who might linkup with Iran or with Muqtada al Sadr, the rebellious cleric holed up in Najaf. Oh dear, oh dear. And beware, for Chalabi knows where a lot of bodies are buried and where Rumsfeld's finger prints can be found..." from Jon Snow's Channel 4 news update.
May 20 ~ "Israel is now carrying out a systematic rampage of murder and terror in Gaza before the eyes of the world." Aljazeerah.net
May 20 ~ "..they overrode the objections of Secretary of State Colin Powell and America's top military lawyers—and they left underlings to sweat the details of what actually happened to prisoners in these lawless places. .Originally, Geneva Conventions protections were stripped only from Qaeda and Taliban prisoners. But later Rumsfeld himself, impressed by the success of techniques used against Qaeda suspects at Guantanamo Bay, seemingly set in motion a process that led to their use in Iraq, even though that war was supposed to have been governed by the Geneva Conventions. ." The Newsweek article "The Roots of Torture" is important.
May 20 ~ Read on the farmtalking forum re the NSP (see front page) "..I certainly wish that our government would do their homework before rushing in with legislation which subsequently turns out to be flawed. This happens time and again and then, no inquiry, no-one's to blame, nothing is learned and they repeat the exercise almost ad infinitum......................What a cock-eyed world we live in..."
May 20 ~ "United States-led coalition in Iraq was left reeling last night after local reports said up to 45 wedding guests, including many children, had been killed in an air strike in the west of the country." Scotsman
May 20 ~ "...of such ingredients these days are great mountains made" Jon Snow on the purple powder missile. Democracy page
May 19 ~ "... the biggest landscape structures in the human history of the area just to generate piffling amounts of intermittent electricity and thus reduce very small amounts of carbon dioxide emissions. This is about politics and money, not the environment and conservation." The WMN today. See windfarms page
May 19 ~ George Monbiot writes today that Tony Blair's policies have just been put to the test by an electorate in India "blessed with a viable opposition.." The infamous Vision 2020 , paid for by UK tax is "one of those documents whose summary says one thing and whose contents quite another" Read how uncannily familiar was the scheme that promised education and healthcare for all, claimed it would "generate employment" in the countryside, and went on to insist that more than 20 million people should be thrown off the land. This is what we paid for
May 19 ~ Sonia Gandhi has stunned the Indian electorate by turning down the chance to become India's first foreign-born prime minister. Telegraph
May 19 ~ The Telegraph's waspish attack on Michael Moore today is worth looking at for its use of emotive language with no factual substance attempting to hook into the envy or prejudice of its reader - the tool of the propagandist. We continue to read the Telegraph for the quality of a few writers such as Ambrose Evans-Pritchard and Joshua Rozenberg. Like most things and most people, the Telegraph is a strange, grey mixture of good and bad.
May 19 ~ The government has asked 138 hunts to dispose of fallen stock, under regulations introduced last summer. However, Tony Blair says he'll use the Parliament Act if the House of Lords block the politically important Hunting Bill. See Fallen Stock page, latest news.
May 18 ~ The FAO report giving a cautious backing to some GM crops is discussed in the Independent today - or go straight to warmwell GM page
May 18 ~ Greenpeace activists dressed as pantomime cows occupied part of the London headquarters of supermarket giant Sainsbury's yesterday, claiming that the company supplies milk from cows fed on genetically modified animal feed. (Independent)
May 18 ~ Organisers of the long- awaited scheme to collect and dispose of dead farm animals say it is still not ready... See fallen stock page
May 18 ~ Electoral Commission..."Mr Younger, a former managing director of the BBC World Service, wants the Government to tighten the rules on spending in referendum campaigns before the vote on the proposed European Union constitution....The Government plans to run a £5m information campaign ..." Independent last week.
May 17 ~ "The reform of the CAP to introduce single farm payments was supposed to reduce the overall administrative burden but experts on the frontline have consistently told us they need more not fewer inspectors. The reality on the ground is a saga of mismanagement and incompetence not reform." See article in the FT today about the DEFRA bureaucrats employed to count sheep....
May 17 ~ Article 8: American Bill of Rights "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."
Juan Cole Rumsfeld Plays "M", Gives License to Kill
May 17 ~ "the Abu Ghuraib prison torture scandal has severely undermined the US in Italy, where the public was always much more ambivalent about the war than the rightwing government of Silvio Berlusconi. (Italy's force is the third biggest in Iraq, after the US and Britain..) ...the Italians have a small, exposed force, and they know it is US policy that is endangering it, and they know that the policy grows out of unnecessary and adventurist goals." Juan Cole comment.
May 17 ~ An emailer writes (with news links) about the forced resignation of Piers Morgan "...lies have been used to excuse a carpetbagging incursion to secure control of a nation's oil supply and has any politician resigned over this monstrous charade that has cost the lives of thousands of civilians? No, of course not."
May 17 ~ The Independent reports today that the Ministry of Defence sensed a comprehensive victory over the Daily Mirror. "When this report is published, Piers Morgan is going to have his balls fried," said one "senior official"
So much for the calibre of MoD officialdom and its command of the English language. Meanwhile pressure to reveal confidential sources mounts at the Mirror. A nasty sense of déja vu prevails in which unanswerable accusations of wrong doing are somehow spun inside out by the powerful. The effect of all this will be to make the media even more frightened of whistleblowers' claims. But, in this case at least, the authorities' 'quiet satisfaction' may be short-lived. See Iraq page
May 17 ~ According to today's Independent, Shire horses - intelligent, and environmentally friendly - could become a dying breed in Britain. France "has set up national studs to ensure the survival of their native breeds with the top stallions being maintained by state funding." (When there is no more cheap petrol, we may rather wish we had done the same....)
May 17 ~ High petrol prices are making many Koreans leave their cars at home. Meanwhile a timely article on an Australian website: "Oils ain't just oils, they're to die for" "... How about spending our money not on oil wars, which make the world a much more dangerous place for ordinary people, but on a war against the need for so much oil?"
See Peak Oil news news
May 16 ~ "Trained as traffic cops, used to issuing speeding tickets, they found themselves obeying a different and more horrifying set of commands.." (Iraq page) As we saw in 2001, petty officials all too easily become coercive, blank-faced carriers out of "orders".
May 16 ~ An emailer, quoting "Secrecy and wishful thinking, the Pentagon official said, are defining characteristics of Rumsfeld’s Pentagon" (see Iraq page) writes today "The same could be said of Scudamore's Defra, and his handling of FMD in 2001. But who will now be in charge? The Science Advisory Council? From bad to worse?"
May 14 ~ Piers Morgan has resigned.
May 14 ~ Maxine Carr's identity and whereabouts are to be kept secret. The press challenge to the high court injunction failed. Guardian
May 14 ~ “Labour have clearly let the farming community down, the foot and mouth crisis in 2001 was incompetently managed. The Conservatives have consistently demanded a public inquiry to find out where the disease originated. Four years on and farmers still do not know the truth." Owen Paterson's talk in Penrith tonight at 7:30pm at the Hired Lad, Auction Mart, Penrith. All welcome.
May 14 ~ Oil prices climbed to their highest level in 21 years today (Peak oil news)
"global warming is not anywhere the most important problem in the world..." Bjorn Lomborg's paper( short pdf file) makes some urgent points. They disagree with Sir (or is it Lord now?) David King's pronouncements - but we particularly like (page 3 of 6 ) "..do we want to handle global warming in the most efficient way or do we want to use global warming as a stepping stone to other political projects? Before we make this clear to ourselves and others, the debate will continue to be muddled."
May 14 ~ "A brown field site full of ghastly pollution was cleared ten years ago and planted with thousands of trees. There was filthy blue asbestos there too. Now, after this season's successes, Swindon Town football club want to build a new stadium. You've guessed it, they want to saw ten thousand trees down and the Council is happy to oblige..." Jon Snow's Channel 4 newsletter
May 14 ~ FOE Bite Back campaign.
George Bush has filed a legal dispute at the WTO, accusing the European Union of blocking trade by restricting GMOs. If successful, not only will the EU have to accept genetically modified food and farming but so will the rest of the world. Click here if you would like to sign the Citizens' Objection. More than 450 organisations world-wide are supporting the Bite Back Citizens' Objection, representing 38 million people. 75,000 individuals have signed. Every single signature is important.
May 14 ~ "Tony Blair has dismissed talk of his resignation as "froth" but some in his party say the revelations of prisoner abuse in Iraq could be the final straw for the damaged prime minister...Blair's trust ratings have plummeted..." Reuters
May 14 ~ Trains and Buses Plan to Evacuate Londoners in Doomsday Attack - Scotsman headline to PA news report. Interesting. As Josie Appleton wrote last week "... the war on terror has become a state of mind, where any shred of evidence sparks off fantastic speculation about the terrible things that might happen to us.."
Does anyone else remember the Beyond the Fringe sketch on civil defence? "Our advice is to be out of the area where the attacks are about to happen. Get right out of the area. If you're in it, you're really in it. ..."
A recent US State Department report into patterns of global terrorism found that terrorist attacks are at their lowest ebb for years. There were 190 in 2003, compared to 440 in 1995 and 665 in 1987. Even so, on Sunday, the BBC's Panorama, instead of pooh-poohing the "imminence" of an attack on London, joins in the terror fest.
May 14 ~ Shafiq Rasul and Asif Iqbal, from Tipton in the West Midlands, detailed a string of abuses which they claim were inflicted upon them by US interrogators at the American camp for suspected terrorists in Cuba. Their detailed allegations bear strong similarities to the allegations now being levelled at US personnel in Iraq. Independent
May 13/14 ~ Questions persist about the Nicholas Berg case There are contradictions
May 13 ~ The Rumsfeld has landed. In Baghdad. Jon Snow's comment: "If you weren't running a war it might almost be funny. Donald Rumsfeld has taken an emergency dash to Baghdad and, within moments of landing, started to talk a kind of gibberish on the tarmac, all sorts of disconnected thoughts and words cascading into hilarious sentences..."
May 13 ~ Fallen Stock page "I am pleased at the progress the Board has made in delivering a workable scheme...." Ben Bradshaw is pleased at what others have called a shambles.
May 13 ~ Oil is now at 41 dollars a barrel. Peak Oil news
May 13 ~ The proliferation of speed cameras has failed to make roads significantly safer. Reuters
May 13 ~ American authorities "...thought he was a spy..."
There is considerably more mystery surrounding the death of Nicholas Berg than is getting into most of the papers. For many, his death has had the effect of rallying pro-war sentiments and putting the "Coalition" abuses to one side.
May 13 ~The Financial Times reports: " Downing Street... in attempting to defend the handling of the report, put the blame largely on the Red Cross's insistence that its findings remain confidential. "...it would be wrong to breach confidentiality further by showing it to ministers."
Number 10 also tried to play down a suggestion by Geoff Hoon, defence secretary, that Adam Ingram, armed forces minister, would tomorrow be " clarifying" his claim last week that the government had received no warnings about abuse from outside bodies."
Q. When is a lie not a lie?
A. When it is clarified.
May 13 ~"A few bad apples"? Human Rights Watch accuses American troops in Afghanistan of "systemic" abuse of prisoners similar to those reported in Iraq. The group said it had repeatedly warned Washington about the problems. They included sleep deprivation, exposure to freezing temperatures, severe beatings, and detainees being stripped and photographed naked. BBC
May 12 ~ An emailer writes, "Thank God for Jonathan Freedland (Guardian) and did others share the desire to bawl in frustrated anguish as I did at this morning's extraordinary "Thought for the Day" on Radio 4? Since when was it "Thought for the Day-worthy" to hide inhuman treatment in order to "support our boys". Sickening."
May 12 ~ Anyone in the vicinity of Penrith should be aware of Owen Paterson's talk on friday. It is also the subject of a press release by the Conservative Party today
May 12 ~ Israel's outbreak of FMD is officially over, with none of the 1979 susceptible animals nor any of the actual cases dead, destroyed or slaughtered. Screening, inspection, serological testing, and additional studies showed that the disease had not spread. See FMD front page
May 12 ~ And so to Syria....The Cato Institute policy analysis "Taking the Wrong Road to Damascus"(pdf) "...not only Iraq but other Middle Eastern countries, too, could be on the list for regime change....Syria’s government is near the top of the target list..." Read in full
May 12 ~ "... I am disappointed that energy from biomass has not developed as quickly in the UK as elsewhere in Europe." Chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) "We think the UK should focus on low-tech solutions with technology that is known to work, as they do in Europe"
May 12 ~ "I'm very much afraid to say that I think that Adam Ingram may have materially misled the House of Commons," Conservative defence spokesman Nicholas Soames said. Reuters (Amnesty alerted Adam Ingram to its concerns late last year . He acknowledged receipt of its letter.)
May 12 ~ "We were worried about Iraq but we never imagined it would be as bad as this," one Labour MP said. "It couldn't be any worse. Iraq blots out everything else." A poll yesterday put support for Labour at 32 percent -- a 17-year low.
May 12 ~ May 11 ~ General Taguba has been got at? ....
An emailer writes, "...having seen an excerpt on Taguba' evidence relayed tonight by Channel 4, my immediate reaction was that he had been "silenced" - it was quite extraordinary. Except it isn't."
Taguba told Congress today that his investigators had been told about participation by "other government agencies or contractors'' in the abuse. Other government agencies is a euphemism for the CIA.
( The full Taguba report, marked "SECRET/NO FOREIGN DISSEMINATION" has now been widely posted on the internet both as html and in pdf. form; example http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/reports/2004/800-mp-bde.htm)
May 11 ~ "....challenges are more urgent than meeting Kyoto targets for greenhouse-gas emissions. Lack of adequate preparation for peak oil could result in catastrophe." Peak Oil news
May 11 ~ "It's like pressing on towards Moscow as the snow starts falling..." Guardian comment on - and plea that - Mr Blair re-engage with the Britain the rest of us inhabit.
May 11 ~ Monsanto is dropping plans for GM wheat Daily Mail
As the website "Millions against Monsanto" says, "If you're talking about PCBs, Agent Orange, Bovine Growth Hormone, water privatization, biopiracy, untested/unlabeled genetically engineered organisms, or persecuting small family farmers, you're talking about the Monsanto Corporation." But Monsanto - rather like Gaddafi - is a favoured friend of our government, allowed to fund agricultural colleges throughout the UK and exert an influence that is felt by many to be as secret as it is pernicious.
May 11 ~ For once, we feel we must quote from the Mirror, "....the weak, untrustworthy, flabby mouth of Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon. ......his poor old deputy, Adam Ingram, was obliged to face the wrath of Parliament....told MPs that he had received no "adverse or other reports" from the Red Cross about the conduct of British soldiers in Iraq. .. ..Hoon had to admit yesterday that he had seen the document "very recently."
..... We have been here before. This is an uncanny replay of the David Kelly affair, in which ministers lie and lie again about what they knew and trust to luck they will never get found out. ....... Hoon, Blair and Ingram yesterday shamed us - and the soldiers whose good name they pretend to hold dear." Mirror
May 10 ~ Energy Crisis: What alternatives? James Lovelock has said that "wind power won't cut it..." (windfarms page) Now the CEO of Exxon Mobile says "it would take 84 square miles of solar panels to replace the energy that a single gas station sells on a single day. It would take solar panels covering all of New Jersey to replace the energy dispensed by just 100 gas stations in a single day." See Peak Oil news.
May 10 ~ Peter Greenhill writes, "Prof Derek Ellwood, a consultant microbiologist of great standing and who lives here in Keswick will be giving an informal talk on 11th. June. Derek`s immense knowledge will be of value as he has some seriously unique ideas about dealing with TB in both cattle and badgers. He also wants to tell farmers about animal diseases so that they can take action on their own farms. The flyer is attached. If anyone can make it, they will be welcome. Entrance is free "
May 10 ~ Petroleum World reports ".... The current oil price, even when it reaches the 45 - 50 US dollars/bbl region, driven by the complete loss of all credibility by the Bush and Blair regimes in their so-called 'liberation' of Iraq, is far lower than that needed to induce 'price elastic' falls in demand.....By 2005-2006 every drop that Iraq can be made - or persuaded by higher prices - to produce will be needed to prevent 'structural supply shortfall' from emerging on world oil markets. Whatever Saudi princes with an option on Bush re-election may wish to pump, to make up for missing supply, will soon be way out of their capacity and scope...." warmwell's Peak Oil News
May 10 ~ On French television last night Tony Blair, with his characteristic phraseology, said, "We've already made it absolutely clear we apologize deeply to anyone who's been mistreated by any of our soldiers. That is absolutely and totally unacceptable." But the Government was told a year ago that British troops had tortured Iraqi prisoners, according to Amnesty International last night. Where does that leave Adam Ingram's assertion that he had received no "adverse" reports from any outside body on the treatment of prisoners by British soldiers?
An opinion poll for the Independent shows voters support the withdrawal of all British troops by the end of next month by a majority of two to one. See also Reuters
May 10 ~ Anne writes, "According to the Mail on Sunday, the same General Miller (who was on television news last night, and gave me the shivers up my spine) was invited to Iraq from Guantanamo to spend a few weeks in August and September to improve their interrogation techniques (because of "success" at Guantanamo). After his visit apparently better results were obtained...."
Guardian on Saturday
Maj Gen Geoffrey Miller, formerly of Guantánamo and now overseeing Iraq's US-run prisons, promises to open up Abu Ghraib and to reform its regime. But Gen Miller is also reported as still defending the use of sleep deprivation to break down prisoners: a clear infringement of the UN convention against torture and the Geneva conventions.May 10 ~ The curtain of our innocence is ripped away by photographs." USA Today "We now have the new symbol of this war. It is no longer the picture of Saddam's statue tipping over — it's a girl with an Iraqi on a leash........Pictures bring you inside, whether you see yourself driving a new car or as a hapless prisoner who is being abused."
May 9 ~ "...a new 130-page draft of the European constitution was shown to contain more threats to the Government's "red line" positions defending Britain's national interests." Democracy page on today's row (See Sunday Telegraph)
May 9 ~ "Bush and Blair say they are shocked by the abuse of war prisoners ... but they knew about it two years ago" - Sunday Herald. see Iraq page.
May 9 ~ "I was told to make it hell" Scotland on Sunday about the female US soldier following orders "....She is also accused of telling him that if he fell off the box he would be electrocuted..."
We have always known that torture of prisoners happens. We have always known that weak people will follow cruel orders, able to distance themselves from taking responsibility. What is outrageous in these stories is the pretence from the White House and Number 10 that they "didn't know" and their outpourings of sorrow. So far, the propaganda machines have been unable to put an admirable spin on the grotesque photographs that are now shocking the populations of both East and West.
May 9 ~ (Lord Pearson) " will doubtless be opposed by a phalanx of ex-commissioners, bursting with indignation at the thought that receiving £60,000 a year on condition that one shows loyalty to the EU could conceivably be considered an "interest" to be declared." Booker's Notebook
May 9 ~ From India to Jamaica we read "Rising oil prices are leading to new fears about the future of the world economy" See Peak Oil news page
May 8 ~ A week before the bloody clash today in Basra we read "Events in Iraq have been spinning out of control - and out of control of the spinners - so fast on so many fronts that the W word - withdrawal - is now being mentioned...." BBC
May 8 ~ For those who love ships and loathe planes (and a change of subject)....Simon Jenkins in the Times today:
" .... I can see weak-kneed governments, such as the present one, continuing to make motoring ever cheaper and increasing congestion so that every motorway is a permanent crawl. I can see a day when all movement on land and in the air becomes unpleasant, costly and inconvenient.May 8 ~ A fourth soldier has come forward claiming to have further evidence about British troops abusing Iraqi prisoners - including more allegations that "trophy photos" were taken. Scotsman
Then perhaps we shall return to the good old days, to the lonely sea and the sky...."
May 8 ~ Matthew Parris (Times) argues that Bush should have another term just so that his grand experiment can be shown to have well and truly failed. Similarly, Mr Blair has "enjoyed the two terms that he probably deserved to prove that fine words and a lot of fiddling about cannot be a permanent prescription for government. His time, too, will come, and when it does nobody will be able to claim that the Third Way was not given a fair crack of the whip. The Third Way is dead: we have let its own originator kill it." Read in full
May 8 ~ The former Labour minister, Stephen "pants-on-fire" Byers,Guardian 2002 now says that the government needs to "boost its effort to defeat anti-Europeans" We are not anti- Europeans, Mr Byers. Many citizens of Europe are also deeply alarmed at the emerging supranationalism of the EU.
May 8 ~ rats in the UK sewers vital to dispose of the clogged fats...(email from Robert Persey on the German system for swill feeding)
May 7/8 ~ Microsoft's security patch against Sasser virus. Link to relevant page
May 7/8 ~ Bryn sends this report of the total number of animals in the FMD outbreaks in Israel during the period from January to April 2004. He says "... NB the last two columns"
May 7/8 ~ An emailer writes, "Does Donald Rumsfeld think that his apologies, together with his ludicrous suggestions of monetary compensation - are in some way honourable and admirable? He embodies the two most unpleasant human characteristics that link the concerns of your website: the inevitable corrupting effects of power and the capacity for acts of atrocious cruelty against victims deemed to be without feelings. The cruelty we saw in 2001 has never been acknowledged and no one has apologised. Doomed and panicked animals were pursued by laughing killers on quadbikes - and I still weep to remember it. Those who say "They were only animals" prove the point...."
May 7/8 ~ SVS hierarchy is being moved to Worcester
The Scotsman on Wednesday : "....it was indicated that any such recommendations would be subject to wider consultation. But according to Peter Jinman, immediate past president of the British Veterinary Association, there was no such consultation..."
May 7 ~ Oil reached 40 dollars a barrel today. (See also warmwell's Peak Oil news)
May 7 ~ Warmwell and many of its readers are deeply grateful to Peter Ainsworth for his robust work at the helm of the Environmental Audit Committee (See GM page) As one emailer puts it, "...what a shame he wasn't in charge of the EFRA Select Committee when it was looking at FMD. Would have been very different I think..."
And so say all of us.
May 7 ~ Argentina's bitter harvest "... the US and Argentina together account for 84 per cent of the GM crops planted in the world. But as others, including the UK, seem increasingly prepared to authorise the commercial growing of GM crops, they may be well advised to look to Argentina to see how it can go wrong.." article from New Scientist, 17 April 2004
May 7 ~ Polly Toynbee today; "... Atrocities are entirely predictable wherever absolute power holds the utterly helpless in secret: that is a universal law of human nature. In peace, that is as true of old people, the mentally ill and children in institutions hidden from view. In war, degraded captives bring out an instinctive disgust, contempt and violence in the captors who degrade them. That is why habeas corpus was the founding principle of British justice...." Read in full
May 7 ~ Sheep show rises from the ashes of FMD Scotsman
May 7 ~ DEFRA has backtracked on its targets for Co2 emissions reductions in its revised National Allocation Plan (NAP), submitted to the EU last week, and published for "consultation" this week (even though the DEFRA webpage says "consultation must therefore close on Friday 12th March 2004 at 5pm")
The CBI chief says ".. the Government deserves credit for listening to business concerns about cutting greenhouse gas emissions." Ah...business concerns. Where does that leave Mr Blair's statement last week that climate change was, "the most important environmental issue facing the world today"?
May 7 ~ DEFRA fiddles while waste burns.... " We also need imaginative product policies that will cut off waste at source. Otherwise, we will continue to bury and burn valuable resources." says the Green alliance who have called for a waste disposal tax in opposition to the findings of a Defra review.
May 7 ~ Depleted Uranium "What is most astonishing is that most Americans have never even heard of DU, and few (14%) fully understand what it is, where its being used, and who is being targeted by its usage. DU is one of the Pentagon's best-kept secrets, its most widely-used genocidal weapon for wiping out entire populations quietly and covertly...." (Information Clearing House.info)
May 7 ~ Reuters raises its own eyebrows...on the extraordinary promotion of John Scarlett: "The government has named John Scarlett as the new head of its MI6 spy agency, raising eyebrows given his previous involvement in a dossier on Iraq's weapons that sparked a political storm last year..."
May 6 ~ ""I make no bones about it. I have some reservations about people who have never been in the face of battle, so to speak, who are making cavalier decisions about sending men and women out to die."
Powell aides go public on rift with Bush See Iraq page
May 6 ~ "....Arabs are angered that President Bush has expressed only regrets, but offered no formal apology in his interviews on Arabic-language satellite television. His attempt to place the blame on a small handful of perpetrators reminds Muslim viewers of their own fruitless attempts to convince the American public that September 11 itself was the work of a small handful of terrorists. .." JuanCole.com
May 6 ~ We learn today that John Scarlett has been given the top job at MI6.
And we remember Henry Porter's words on September 06 2003
"....A novelist might suggest that Scarlett was playing the long game, perhaps nurturing an ambition to succeed Sir Richard Dearlove as 'C' at MI6, a post he has already been passed over for once. Can we seriously suggest that the JIC's chairman would go so far as to manipulate the evidence in a matter of war and peace to suit his plans? That is certainly the stuff of thrillers, but it seems highly unlikely in the real world...."May 6 ~ "...in spite of all the hype about al-Qaeda in Britain, there is little sign of terrorists queuing up to attack. Although Dr Magnus Ranstorp's report won headlines such as 'Britain will be target of terrorism attack "sooner or later"', the report actually concluded that the danger from Islamic suicide bombers was small, and arguably little different to that posed by the IRA....." article by Josie Appleton on the spiked-on-line website is well worth reading in full.
May 6 ~ The authenticity of the actual photographs is not what matters. Read Simon Jenkins. See also Piers Morgan's statement in full
An emailer writes, "Very easy to get into conspiracy mode with this government.... Another source of media opposition disposed of. Similarities with Gilligan and BBC's treatment?"
May 6 ~ "It is ironic that following the fall of the Baathist regime, George Bush should have said, “...there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq...
...The culture of impunity is reinforced by the refusal of both the US and Israel to accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court when charges of war crimes or genocide are raised against their citizens. By contrast, British troops accused of misconduct could be brought before the court because their government has accepted its jurisdiction. ”. See website "Axis of Logic"
May 6 ~ Pilot scheme for ID cards. See you in the "enrolment pod" ....or perhaps not for a while, since the government's lack of expertise when it comes to anything connected with databases or IT in general is finally dawning on the Home Secretary. See democracy page
May 6 ~ President Bush wants to open the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to the oil companies. Sen. John Kerry wants to lobby OPEC. Energy expert David Goodstein has a message for both of them and all of us: Get used to it; the days of cheap oil are gone for good. (Mercury News - see peak oil page) Listen to Radio 4 at 8.30 tonight on the implications of peak oil.
May 5 ~ Warmwell's problems with Hotmail seem to be resolved. Apologies.
May 5 ~ World oil prices shot up to their highest level in 13 years yesterday. See peak oil news. There will be a BBC Radio 4 programme on this subject tomorrow evening.
May 4 ~ "Halliburton, the company Mr Cheney led until he became vice-president, has just posted $5bn (£2.8bn) in revenues for the last quarter, 80% of which is due to the no-bid contract it "won" to rebuild Iraq. Perhaps that uncertain goal for which Americans are dying isn't so uncertain after all." The Guardian today on the Svengali-like influence of Dick Cheney on Mr Bush.
May 4 ~ "We former diplomats applaud our 52 British colleagues who recently sent a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair criticising his Middle East policy and calling on Britain to exert more influence over the United States." See Iraq page
May 3 ~ In 2001 it was the deaths of farm animals and their young that made us aware - and to our grief, it was the British who were responsible - of the reality of cruel killing, paying off, indifference, lethal incompetence and official denial. Robert Fisk's latest article
"... in Basra, on the eve of a visit by Tony Blair, I visited the British Army's press office in the city to ask about the death of 26--year--old Baha Mousa. The dead man's family had given me British documents proving that ... the British Army had itself tried to pay off the family if they would give up any legal claim against the soldiers who so cruelly killed their son. I was met with yawns ...."May 3 ~ a sad comment on the state of mainstream journalism in the United States. John Negroponte, the Power Elite and the Washington Post By Abu Spinoza "...It also reveals that mainstream newspapers seem not to care whether Negroponte or other U.S. government representatives will also resort to the use of deaths squads and local proxies in Iraq and the Middle East. True enough Paul Bremer is already using Iraqi forces to occupy the country, kill Iraqi civilians and control the population, but John Negroponte’s considerable experience may lead to the introduction of more systematic, vicious and lethal patterns of liquidations and disappearances in Iraq."
May 3 ~ "Many of us patriotic Americans who feel we should not be in Iraq, believe Tony Blair is greatly responsible. If Britain had denied support for this aggression and had insisted on a common EU approach, George Bush and the neo-con chickenhawks around him would have had no choice but to let the UN continue to do the job of containing Saddam. Blair undermined the efforts of Colin Powell. ..." Guardian letter
May 3 ~ "There is a growing expectation that Lord Sainsbury, the Labour peer and patriarch of the supermarket group, is preparing to quit his controversial position as science and innovation minister at the next general election in order to put more of his time into trying to rebuild the troubled family business." Guardian
May 3 ~ "A fifty-three-page report, obtained by The New Yorker, written by Major General Antonio M. Taguba and not meant for public release, was completed in late February. Its conclusions about the institutional failures of the Army prison system were devastating." See Iraq page
May 3 ~ The "Foreign fighters" lies are intended to lay the groundwork for US wars against, and occupations of, Syria and Iran. See Iraq page today
May 3 ~ "... increasing cohesion of Russian and Saudi energy policies is occurring against a backdrop in which the oil supply/demand balance is tighter than usual and long-term depletion rates are much higher than is generally recognized." See peak oil news page
May 2 ~ In researching Naomi Klein, we have come across "Reclaim The Streets" - now an international movement and an idea that you may agree is well worth backing.
May 2 ~ Doctors say some 600 people died in the siege of Fallujah and the Iraqi general brought in to restore order says there never were foreign fighters there at all. Washington Post.
May 2 - A serving Army officer has claimed that British troops are inflicting serious and unlawful beatings on Iraqi prisoners. The unnamed officer, who fought in the Iraq campaign and was there in the aftermath, told GMTV that senior officers were aware of the attacks and there was "a nod and a wink to certain things".
May 2 ~ Observer "'The amazing thing is that people are now asking: "Who will you back in a leadership campaign?"' said one member of the Government, reclining on the leather benches of the Strangers bar in the Commons last week. 'People are already talking of the post-Blair era.'
....If Blair were to go early, Tories also fear they would lose a potent weapon - exploiting his associations with excessive spin and untrustworthiness, linked to the row over WMD in Iraq. .... "
Oh, for politicians in Great Britain who could be more grown-up than those described by Woodward.
May 2 ~ Prince Bandar has " promised the president that Saudi Arabia will lower oil prices in the months before the election - to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on election day."
.....We make no apology for the extensive coverage of Bob Woodward's revelations on the Iraq page. The crassness, the playground bully language, the utter lack of foresight, the President's "mission"....all these things are terrifying - just as the terror on this child's face in one of the links provided by Norm of violence in the Middle East is a terrifying reminder of what feeds terror.
May 2 ~ General Suggests Abuses at Iraq Jail Were Encouraged New York Times "..... General Karpinski said that while the reservists involved were "bad people" and deserved punishment, she suspected they were acting with the encouragement, if not at the direction, of military intelligence units that ran the special cellblock used for interrogation..."
May 2 ~ "Amnesty International (AI) said it was not shocked by the images because they supported existing and widespread claims that rogue elements in the British military were abusing Iraqi civilians." Scotsman
May 2 ~ Norm writes, "If the so called images produced for the media are false then who could be the ones responsible for the atrocities? Maybe we should look at the people that are controlling the activities in the Middle East." and sends some important links for which we are very grateful.
May 2 ~ Following remarks by Chris Patten that chuildren should be "educated" about Europe..."It's the electorate who need to have the constitution, and the past treaties leading up to it, spelled out to them in detail," says Gill, "not the youngest and most impressionable who need to be brainwashed."
May 2 ~ Michael Howard says that the Conservatives will put Britain first and negotiate to restore national control over British fisheries. (Tory press release)
May 1 ~ "Even those who believe that this is the decade that oil will peak and decline had thought that the Middle East, and Saudi Arabia in particular, would be immune for at least another ten to fifteen years. Now it seems even that shard of confidence might be misplaced." Peak Oil news page
May 1 ~ Near the beginning of the FMD horrors, Martin Bell said on Question Times that he was "ashamed to be British" - and on Thursday the UK government congratulated itself on the fantastic job it had done during the outbreak.
Photographs of the way the so-called "Coalition" has been treating prisoners requires perhaps a stronger adjective than "ashamed". Iraq page "intelligence officers and private-sector "investigators" hired by the Pentagon, .... told the low-ranking soldiers to soften up the prisoners and then congratulated them for the "fantastic job" they were doing...." The British photographs are as horrific. The Independent has the courage to suggest that this grinning cruelty may be widespread.
May 1 ~ For Bilderberg watchers. The Bilderberg Conference this year: Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees - Stresa, Italy. Thursday June 3rd to Sunday June 6th 2004.
May 1 ~ defiant email from Germany "I had a look at yesterday's debate and found it, as a friend of mine would say : obnoxious. ....One day they will regret what they have done, the "survivors" are the ones that are usually a pain in the neck of the authorities."
May 1 ~ Another "maverick researcher" challenges the prion theory. "He's just threatening to other people's research. There's an awful lot of jealousy in the field," says the editor of the leading neuropathology journal in the U.S. who has taken flak for publishing Bastian's work. "There is something else binding to that protein," says Bastion. "Whether I'm right or wrong (about spiroplasma), we should be going in a different direction." See Milwaukie Journal and warmwell's BSE/vCJD page
May 1 ~ Today is "World Press Freedom Day" The UN is concerned at lack of press coverageof many vital issues and has launched "Ten Stories the World Should Know More About."
May 1 ~ An emailer writes re part of Alan Beat's latest smallholders' newsletter: "Apart from the winter time , when we are sometimes forced to buy free range eggs from a supermarket, all our eggs come from around here and fortunately from several sources. One particular seller rescues hens from batteries to try and give them a couple of decent years of scratching around naturally. Thay cannot peck around because their beaks have been clipped. They arrive in a hell of a state. Some with hardly any feathers at all. But give 'em a month or two out in the daylight and dirt, they grow feathers, put on weight,and lay a few eggs as a thank you. And the eggs are delicious. You have to join the queue to get 'em though. If the EU or anybody else tries to stop that around here, there will be a few grey haired marchers on the streets... "
April 30 ~ vomitorium needed for last page of yesterday's debate "Resolved, That this House commends the action taken by this Government to eradicate exotic plant and animal disease when it occurs, and to control endemic disease; congratulates the Government on its actions that have succeeded in reducing the number of BSE clinical cases to just 184 last year; further congratulates the Government on eradicating a major outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in seven months and on implementing the recommendations of the Lessons Learned and Royal Society Inquiries so that Government is better prepared to tackle a future outbreak of a major livestock disease; welcomes the significant progress made to tackle illegal imports both by increasing enforcement activity at the border and blah blah sickening blah"
April 30 ~ Every other EU country looks at this piece of ludicrous legislation and puts it into the ‘not received bin’, but good old Defra gets hold of it and gold plates it! So we have been told by Defra that this legislation will not only apply to eggs sold through markets but to every single egg that leaves the premises of production - even if the eggs are given away! See part of Alan Beat's latest smallholders' newsletter
April 30 ~ WMN Now give us a Public Inquiry
April 29 ~ "...in the past ten years, there's been a major recognition of the need to maintain organic materials in soil." article in Nature "...And with the turn of the millennium, farmers have started to embrace approaches that keep soil structure intact and cut the high level of inputs — energy, fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides — that characterize intensive agriculture"
For Archive 2001 - April 2004
The ILPH are petitioning the European Parliament asking them to use their powers to exclude UK horses and ponies from the live slaughter trade. Sign petition here (ILPH)(new window appears) See below for further information