Tag Archives: Amnesty International

Awaiting next week

Whatever happens, will happen. You see, the E3 is on next week and in this it will be the week of gamers. We will see presentations from the big makers and they will either wow or BS us. The interesting part is that this is the one week in the year where we either do not care or we cannot tell the difference. You could tell a little better if you are actually there, but that is not for all to do, unless you live in California that is.

The big players will give us on Saturday the 10th the EA press conference, the day after it will be for Microsoft and Bethesda to ‘wow’ its public. Monday will be Ubisoft and Sony, followed that day after by Nintendo and several small presentations with two unannounced AAA games. There is a chance that the new GTA expansion Gunrunners will take one of them. Tuesday till Thursday, from 19:30 (LA time), we will get the Giant Bomb Live (whatever that is). During those days we will get additional presentations some like Shadow of War (Shadow of Mordor 2) is set, and we will see demonstrations of games (titles not given, other than the platform they are on) and the rest is about seeing the stands and watching what wealthy gamers can enjoy in person. It is the chaos all gamers desire. There are already games in place, games by marketeers. You see Ubisoft is in a difficult position. When we see: ‘New Assassin’s Creed: Origins Leak Shows Main Character, Pyramid, And Bonus Content‘ we see a title that implies that either the issue of Ubisoft not knowing how to deal with security, which is a problem. Or, what is more likely is that its marketing department is dipping its toes in the water trying to see the feedback. The second is more likely as this is pretty much the last chance Ubisoft has to recapture the audience it lost from this franchise and that is a large audience. The fact that it is safer nowadays to just wait 8 weeks and buy the limited editions with 50% discount gives you the idea of their loss. In the old days those boxes would be sold out even before the first day of release was even close to happening, Ubisoft lost that much. The EA presentation is a hard one. When we consider what is confirmed, than they do have an issue, however, they might have surprises for us, which most tend to have. For EA it is a hard one, because they are kicking off E3 2017. Bethesda did such an amazing overwhelming job last year that EA is in a tough position, I am not writing them off, but until we see a gossip part of something truly amazing, EA might not rock-da-house so to speak. Bethesda comes the next day with several titles that will capture the minds of gamers. Several of them are all about shooting; at least one will be about shooting, stabbing and killing Nazi’s, so Blazkowitz is expected to be nearby. The Evil within 2 is announced through rumour, which is a nice surprise. After giving us a different kind of nightmare a few years ago, we will get to see what will make us fear what is under the bed this year. In addition Elder Scrolls online players will get to see more, so there is that to look forward to. The latest rumour is that there is a small chance that we will get a first glimpse of the new Elder Scrolls game, and a smaller chance that a tease for the next Fallout will hit our eyes in roughly 3 days 4 hours and a few minutes. We got a fistful of teaser last year with the upcoming god of War last year from Sony. The title is still not out, so we should expect to see more of that game, hopefully updated with an actual date of release. For the PS4pro fans, we should be hopeful to see David Braben show off the PS4 edition of Elite Dangerous, as this version is out on June 27th, which is less than 2 weeks after the E3. This E3 will be a lot more about DLC’s, so the Blizzard fans will get to see loads of upcoming stuff. The list of people awaiting the Diablo 3 addition is larger than the LA White pages, so this is something we hope to see the official release date on. Another reason to seek YouTube on the E3 events is to see the floors. When you realise that the booths of Ubisoft, Bethesda, Microsoft and Activision are the size of a department store, you know you will get to see unique things that the non-visitors will envy you for; especially, when you start forwarding the ‘selfies’ with a larger than life Butcher (Evil within, 2013). This is just one of several halls described, so when I say that the E3 is the gamers place to be, I am understating the need to be there by a fair amount. It gets even wilder when you realise that in another hall, the Sony stand is larger than the Bethesda and Microsoft combined, so we will very likely get to see a few more things regarding all things PS4pro.

In the end, do not just take my word, find the E3 events and watch the presentations. Those will show you for one what you missed out on and it will also be a first step in creating your upcoming Christmas wish list. So far the last three years have shown me what was coming and how much I was unaware of the games I really wanted. One presentation is unknown to be there, but the Subnautica early release on Xbox One was overwhelming. Not just as a game, but as the game grew and as we got more and more, the game will become an absolute must on the PS4, which is expected to be released in September 2017. Oh, and the E3 is not just software, hardware players like NVidia will also be present, so any new hardware development for PC graphics will be visible too.

So as we are awaiting the arrival of next week, for those who are a little over the bulk promises from political parties, the escalations in France and Germany’s move from Turkey, there is the option to just get into gaming and see where that leaves your sanity. In addition, as you get deeper into Call of Duty, you might find yourself more and more imagining these Nazi’s to be ISIS fighters; there is no war like the present I say. So as I leave Activision with the idea of a free DLC, so that we can practice. I also leave you with the comment of Josh Hutcherson in Red Dawn, where he states: “Dude, we are living Call of Duty and it sucks!

That is to make you aware of the difference between gaming in a lazy chair and an actual theatre of war. Because as we seek a little escapism from reality, which is good for the soul at times. We should not forget that the deadly reality is on several doorsteps; in addition, the implied changes I suggested yesterday were partially implemented by France less than 24 hours later. What were the chances of me predicting that? I offer the thought that this was not a game and the changes required in Europe seem to be adopted in France, which is good as they lack a level of security that the UK has due to the fact that it is an island. In addition, the BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-40195212) gives us more on Youssef Zaghba and more important, the fact that Italy placed Youssef on the SIS2 list, which now beckons the call on how Youssef actually entered the UK. If it was though the Netherlands (Ferry) or the smaller airfields like Rotterdam or Eindhoven, the question becomes how diligent are these checks? There are a few unknowns, but it seems that within Schengen, certain unchecked issues are now an actual security concern. So as we see certain implied accusations, we need to wonder whether Youssef was on SIS2, and if so when was he added?

These are all issues awaiting us for next week, one is all about recreation, one is about anything but recreations and the rest falls in the middle. We can argue, or have a conversation how the terror curve is an inverted recreation curve, yet in all this; the one element that I raised yesterday is now coming to the forefront. I mentioned that we need to think in new ways, we need a new approach to tackle intelligence solutions. The one part they all ignore, or philosophise around it, is that the better game designers have been developing at the edge of hardware possibilities and software creativity for years, a few literally for decades. It is not the worst idea for some of the larger players in the field of security find a way to have a serious conversation with some developers in regards to how creative solutions in data parsing could be found. Some of the larger developers have been doing just that for a decade or more.

As I stated, and I stand by that ‘we need to stop looking in the same direction and regard any box to be obsolete, we need to start being creative to the application of data and technology‘, it is that approach that got me to solve the NHS IT issue. The foundation took a mere hour to ‘solve’.

To those doubting me (always a valid option), I now have a few dozen I told you so articles where what I stated and those following learned came with a difference of weeks, not hours. So I reckon I have made my point a few times. When it comes to the upcoming elections, my larger fear is that Corbyn succeeds by swaying the people to dive the UK in a deeper debt, one that it cannot overcome for decades, it leaves the UK too vulnerable. So consider your choice, and also consider the bleeding hearts of Amnesty International. As they proclaim on loss of rights in Paris, they seem to leave the people in the dark on the dangers that France has faced a few times and how these dangers for now persist. There is a time and a place for everything, and for the most I have never opposed peaceful protests, yet these tend to escalate fast, and it only takes a few people to escalate it beyond proportions. In a time when a man attacking people with a hammer near Notre Dame is just another moment of extremism, is the question, should we protest now, at a time when groups get targeted by extremists? There is nothing stopping them to do this online, via Facebook or Twitter. As stated, it is not about the protest it is about the timing in the light of events as they are happening in Europe. Perhaps my thoughts are wrong on this, and you are welcome to oppose that. Yet with the amount of attacks, with the dangers as the flood of extremists is not known, do you want to be the person starting a peaceful protest, only to guide those who agree to a dangerous life threatening situation?

I do not proclaim to be wise enough to have the answer here; I am merely going on common sense here. So as we get towards and through next week. Perhaps at that point will the information be shown that I was right or wrong? I am happy to be wrong, I am less happy that me, myself and I setting the wrong stage costing the lives of others. That is fair too, is it not?

So as we see the throne of games evolve over the next week on the stages of politics, policies and PlayStation, we need to try and identify, what is marketing and what is BS marketing. The difference will impact the lives of many. It is easy to shrug it off when it is a $100 video game; it is less entertaining when it causes 15 years of austerity. I’ll let you decide on how fair that is, when in doubt, see austerity in action by watching the news on Greece!

 

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Is it merely a need to know?

It is more than just an opinion piece, when we saw the week begin with a piece from George Clooney (yes, that one) and John Prendergast, both responsible for the start of the NGO ‘Not On Our Watch‘, the people might took notice (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/20/dirty-money-africa-atrocities-uk-banks), the title ‘British banks are go-betweens in global conflict. This can be stopped‘ was even more alluring, but then we see the quote “It is time to act against the kind of corruption that enables governments and armed groups especially in east and central Africa – the deadliest interlinked zone of conflict in the world – to prosecute wars and carry out mass atrocities“, everyone decided to take another nap. Actually, I cannot blame them. It sounds so intense and essential, but if there is one part the population at large does not care about, than it is another corruption article from a place the bulk of the people never cared about it in the first place. Now, this is the plain reality that the people seem to have. Can I blame them? Is it a valid point of view?

This becomes part of the centre that we lose when we see that implied levels of corruption are impeding our quality of life in Europe. I discussed part of it in ‘When a Newspaper gets it wrong‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/02/16/when-a-newspaper-gets-it-wrong/). The article linked here implies a lot, especially when you realise that we are faced with British Champagne stories in an age where any member of the EU mentioning it should not even be allowed to be a member of the EU parliament. Then we get “The National Crime Agency judges that billions of pounds of suspected proceeds of corruption are laundered through the UK each year“, which might be true, might not be true, but most important, when we realise that there is also the quote “the international community has failed to fully deploy the anti-money laundering measures“, I would like to see a comparison on a national level, you see, comparing the UK numbers (where possible) with the numbers of Europe’s largest Transit harbour on the planet (read: Rotterdam) and as such the container laundering schemes where it goes on for more iterations of laundering as the bitcoin is used. So how can we see how much is laundered per nation? Is the UK the big player here? How does the UK compare to the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy and Poland? Can we see those numbers please? You see, as we read “These kinds of financial-pressure measures can help save lives“, the bulk of the readers seem to ignore, or remain ignorant on how the pharmaceutical industry funnels billions, all perfectly legal and as such taxation is avoided. Yes, it makes perfect sense to focus on millions and not address the billions missed. Oh, and perhaps can we see the expected, or predicted time table from the quote “Our team is gathering the evidence needed“, now, let’s be honest, that such a given is next to impossible, but a few changes fought for at present might restore the essential need of legal overhauls, a side that does not seem to make the press that often and more important, the more Clooney stories we get, the less gets overhauled or clearly illuminated that an overhaul is essential. Now the quote we see at the end “a real difference can be made in ending wars in Africa and the mass atrocities that accompany them if we target those that are benefiting financially from the mayhem and suffering“, we can only agree with the principle need. I will not oppose that as such. Yet, it has only been a month since the article at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jan/26/nigerian-oil-pollution-shell-uk-corporations  and as such, when we hear ‘Nigerian oil pollution claims against Shell cannot be heard in UK, court rules‘ and the issues of pollution against the Royal Dutch Shell, we need to take a moment to consider whether the futility that team Clooney and Prendergast (Team CP) is bringing to the media. The given subtitle ‘Campaigners hoped case would pave way for lawsuits to be brought against corporations for actions abroad‘ is another part in that the issues cannot be properly examined. This we see in “Shell has denied liability and argued last November that the challenge involves “fundamentally Nigerian issues” that should be heard in a Nigerian court“, now it is important to know that I did not study the court notes. So, if we can accept that the court did do a proper hearing and accepted the relevant issues, than no matter what Team CP brings us, the simple truth is that the dangers of any Nigerian court would properly stop the issues correctly seemingly would become almost pointless (if we accept the corruption part that team CP claims. In addition, when we read the accusation ‘A man collecting polluted water at an illegal oil refinery site‘ gives us even more, especially when we concentrate on the word ‘illegal‘, so is Royal Dutch Shell connected to the illegal refinery site? What evidence is there? So now we get the case that team CP is concentrating on a few numbskulls with the limited possibility to stop millions, whilst the players they need to go for is walking away with billions. In that regard their actions are implied to be ‘doomed to fail’ and that is in the most likely positive version, a more negative version is that massive amounts of times are wasted and nothing gets to be achieved. It is in addition likely that the Royal Dutch Shell would assist team CP with other meaningless cases whilst the Royal Dutch Shell remains out of reach. So how is that for justice?

This we see confirmed in the quote “Joe Westby, campaigner on business and human rights at Amnesty International, said: “This ruling could mean that the communities will never receive meaningful compensation, and that the oil spills will be not be properly cleaned up”“, which supports the view I am having and I got to the conclusion as fast as I was reading the article, only to see that other experts agree with me. The final quote “The company says the Bille and Ogale communities’ problems with oil spills are due to sabotage, theft from pipelines, and illegal refining“, which if proven shows the innocence of Shell to some degree, and it shows to the larger degree that team CP have very little chance of success to the degree they need it as change in Nigerian environmental legislation would be essential to force initial change. Apart from that view, there is still the illegal refining, that takes equipment, which beckons the question how much has the Nigerian government confiscated? How many people got prosecuted in all this? There is no clear answer of success and there likely will not ever be one as illegal refiners are in the same category as illegal poachers, as the need or ivory continues, the number of elephants will decrease in Africa until the animal is extinct, then what?

Unless the Nigerian government starts hunting down these transgressors with success and extreme prejudice, they end up not having any level of success. Greed is the ultimate equaliser, the need of the one outweigh the ability of many. A reality that has continued on a near global scale since the early 1900’s. Change is too slow and without harsh levels of success, the opinion piece on and from team CP is not going anywhere but into the circular storage and archiving solution (read: trashcan).

In this Shell has no consideration to assist, the government has no place to start and as the wrong parties are more and more likely blamed we get a situation that until the proper papers are filed, the people involved have no option left to move in any direction, which works great for the facilitators of these events. Someone is making a bundle and as these parties cannot be correctly and accurately identified, the actions against them remain empty, unresolved and hollow.

 

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Within the Entitlement of Relevance

Very early this morning an article made it into the Guardian. The title ‘David Cameron boasts of ‘brilliant’ UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia‘, (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/25/david-cameron-brilliant-uk-arms-exports-saudi-arabia-bae), which is fair enough. The UK is one of those nations that actually has an arms export option. It is nowhere near the size of the US, but that is not the point here.

When we read: “on the day the European parliament voted for an arms embargo on the country over its bombardment of Yemen“, we should be asking: ‘and why do we care about that?‘, yet this is not the case. We see both “At almost the same time, the European parliament voted in favour of an EU-wide ban on arms being sold to Saudi Arabia in protest at its heavy aerial bombing of Yemen, which has been condemned by the UN” as well as “The vote does not force EU member states to comply but it increases pressure on national governments to re-examine their relationships with Riyadh“. Which is a joke of sizeable proportions (reasoning will follow). Finally we see: “The Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has been extremely critical of Cameron’s relationship with Saudi Arabia because of its human rights record, prompting an angry response from Riyadh“, which could be seen as a humorous climax in labour less form.

We need to deal with the quotes so that it all makes sense to you, but there is one more element in that story. That we see from: “Oliver Sprague, Amnesty International UK’s arms controls director, said: “The ‘brilliant things’ that David Cameron says BAE sells include massive amounts of weaponry for the Saudi Arabia military, despite Saudi Arabia’s dreadful record in Yemen“. I needed to add this to all this, because there is the start.

You see, I am on the fence here. I will happily support Amnesty International, because for the most it is a force of good. When I see the title ‘UK’s arms controls director‘ I wonder if AI lost the plot a little. Let’s be clear here. It makes sense that AI has people on the payroll who understand weapons, understands mines, chemical ordnance. That makes perfect sense. AI is in need of knowledge on many levels and plenty of their work is in places where people tend to passionately not like each other (as in: with clubs, machetes and automatic weapons). Yet, when AI is wasting time on a valid business deal, we should ask a few additional questions. Now, we should quickly mention another side. At https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/amnesty-expert-barred-london-arms-fair, we see ‘Amnesty expert barred from London arms fair‘ as well as his quote “They’ve kept me out, but the question is: what has DSEi got to hide?” Let me answer that instead of the DSEi. You see, I could with my own expertise attend that event, and like him, I will equally hear “alas sir, you didn’t meet the criteria for registration“, even though there should be a few around in that field who know my skill levels in that regard. It is not skill or expertise, you see, it is about CLEARANCE LEVELS. These events are frequented by a massive who’s who of unregistered events, with a decent amount of government employees who need to talk shop, having non-cleared people on that fair tends to be a little unsettling for several reasons. In part because this world has its own rules, you obey those rules or you stop functioning in that world. There is every chance that I could accidently make the mistake whilst Oliver Sprague would intentionally do these things. Most of these people shy away from cameras (apart from those special social functions), they are there to talk shop!

You see, I have every respect for Amnesty International, they have done many good things in the past and will continue this in the future. For example stop torture makes perfect sense. There is also a questionable part from AI, it is nice to talk about the Human Rights Act, yet in the decades they have never succeeded in championing the need to add Spousal Abuse to article 3 of that HRA. Is spousal abuse not torture in its own rights? In that regard AI likes to be very visible, but in some way the big fights are never really fought (or better stated have not been fought for a long time). They have shown success stories every year, but landmark achievements have been absent for some time. Let’s get back to the initial story, but do not forget this part as it has bearing.

You see, the next part is slightly more entertaining. That tends to be the case whenever the honourable Jeremy Corbyn gets involved. Apart from the fashion comments we have seen in the last two days. The actual issue is his choice to get to the CND-rally, which is not a bad thing, but in light of timing, he decides to walk away from the national Labour campaign day, where he would be persuading voters to back Britain’s membership of the EU. This leaves to mind, is this a first inkling that even labour expects Brexit to become a reality? Whether that is true or not, this event has a direct bearing on the British population within this year, the CND rally has been going on for decades, so there would be another one next year. There is no other story beyond that. When you lead the labour party, it must be about the party, not about temporary ideology, because the CND is temporary at best and all ideological. I state that because there is no doubt that the UK would never instigate it, it would however respond if need be. Jeremy knows this (or he should not run the labour party). In all this I accept and understand that this is an option to rub elbows with people like SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood and Caroline Lucas of the Green Party. Yes, those meetings make perfect sense, yet that means that none of them are really there for a CND rally. That is not an accusation, it is not wrong, but it leads to questions; questions that can slow down any election for a massive amount.

Two events all with issues of relevance, relevance from within those people from their point of view.

Now we take another gander, a gander towards the path of Saudi Arabia. Most people refuse to understand (read: accept) two elements. The first is that Saudi Arabia is a sovereign nation, a nation founded in 1932 by the House of Saud. The most important part here is that this is a Muslim nation, it is a nation of laws, in their case it was the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia in 1924 when King Abdul-Aziz made Shura a foundation of his government in order to fulfil the divine order by applying Shariah (Islamic Jurisprudence) and Shura as parts of it. So, we have a clear given, a monarchy that lives by Muslim rule of law, Shariah law. We might not comprehend, understand it or even accept it. But in the Nation of Saudi Arabia it has forever been law. I still do not understand how people go about trying to enforce their rules upon others. You see, when I hear these ‘moralists’ speak on how Sharia Law is so ‘barbaric’, they in equal measure forget that their own governments abandoned them as markets collapsed twice since 2004, no decent part of the involved parties went to prison and absolutely no laws were properly instigated and enforced against greed and in that regard, the least said about flawed corporate tax laws the better. In light of all this consider another fact that applies to the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia, the previous assembly had 70% of its members with a PhD, 49% got their degree in the US and 20% from a University in Europe. So this is a group highly educated. Initially, going back to the beginning, the council was entrusted with drafting the basic laws for the administration of the country. Which is interesting as the US started in a similar way, a nation of laws under god (their Christian version). When we see the Shura council, we see in Article one “and following His Messenger Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH) in consulting his Companions, and urging the (Muslim) Nation to engage in consultation. The Shura council shall be established to exercise the tasks entrusted to it, according to this Law and the Basic Law of Governance while adhering to Quran and the Path (Sunnah) of his Messenger (PBUH), maintaining brotherly ties and cooperating unto righteousness and piety“, so as others judge the actions of Saudi Arabia, ask yourself, in the last 5 years alone, how many instances from large corporations and government have we seen, where ‘maintaining brotherly ties and cooperating unto righteousness and piety‘ were never part of any consideration? You only have to look at your pension plan, healthcare or deficits to see that ‘brotherly‘ is nowhere to be found.

This too is relevant to the entirety of the situation when we return to the honourable Jeremy Corbyn. Several sources stated “Jeremy Corbyn has called on David Cameron to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia after a United Nations report found the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen had “conducted airstrikes targeting civilians”“, based on what evidence would be my first question (not stating the validity of the UN), apart from that, Corbyn has a direct responsibility, you see, the UK had coffers that need to be filled, the UK has product that can be sold. We have seen how UK Labour was willing to spend money they never had, leaving the UK in massive debt. The last thing he should do is call for a suspension. Let me explain that part.

  1. This arms deal is not with some organisation like Hezbollah, it is a legitimate sovereign government of an established nation. The UK has every right to sell products to this nation.
  2. Whenever the west gets directly involved in any Middle Eastern event, it becomes a massive mess, in all this after half a decade, the west has done next to nothing regarding Syria, Europe has to deal with massive waves of refugees and there is no end in sight. Amnesty International knows this. They also know that Sharia Law is another matter, it is not for them to judge; it is for them to accept that the sovereign nation of Saudi Arabia has every right to keep their own set of laws.
  3. Hezbollah and other players in Yemen are not part of an established government, they overthrew governments and the mess that followed has been ongoing ever since. In that light, there are too many question marks in too many places.

I believe that any Middle Eastern issue should be resolved by the Middle Eastern nations themselves. With escalation on the south border and firing of missiles into Saudi Arabia, they have every rights to protect themselves in any way they need to. That is also part of the equation. In that regard Islam 101 gives us two parts “Fight against those who fight against you in the way of Allah, but do not transgress, for Allah does not love transgressors” as well as “Kill them whenever you confront them and drive them out from where they drove you out. (For though killing is sinful) wrongful persecution is even worse than killing. Do not fight against them near the Holy Mosque unless they fight against you; but if they fight against you kill them, for that is the reward of such unbelievers“. The next part is also from the Quran, but I am not sure whether this is Sharia: “The Quran sanctions violence to counter violence. If one studies history of Arab tribes before Islam and fierce fighting they indulged in one would be convinced that the philosophy of passive resistance would not have worked in that environment“. This is the kicker, we see that passive resistance was not a solution, because of the mess that Arab spring left the Middle East. In that Saudi Arabia has a right to counter its attacks, which means that we do not get to say too much on how a sovereign state defends itself. In addition, with the amount of ‘additional’ groups in Yemen, can we be certain who is who there?

But do not fear, Smith is here!

You see, I am very willing to join BAE and become ‘the’ sales person there (I know a person who would join me, so a team of 2 could be achieved), I will take a decent sales income and of course the 3.75% bonus on surplus sales and 3.25% bonus on sales targets reached. I reckon that I can sell the Eurofighter Typhoon military planes, with consultancy, training and guidance. In addition, I will be happy to provide for ammunition and ordnance. As stated, we Commonwealth nations need to stick together and I am happy to aid in the support and consultancy of those jets.

This now gets us to the final part ‘an arms embargo on the country over its bombardment of Yemen‘. What data is there? What evidence is there? We know for a fact that Hezbollah is there, that the Iranians are all over this, which is interesting as they are supporting the party overthrowing the legitimate government. So is there more? Is this perhaps an organised annexing of Yemen for Iran? The elements that gives value to that are indeed in play, whether this is a factual interpretation is not clear, too much data is not available to me, as well as too much time has passed from the start of all this.

And the final part in all this is “The vote does not force EU member states to comply“, which makes the EU a lame duck organisation. All that time and all these events for something that holds no real value. Now let’s take the headcount for a second. Oliver Sprague, a civilian with no political power, a person who leads by instigating those who have power and only in events where it is beneficial to those people could something possibly happen (not in this case though). Jeremy Corbyn, a political headpiece, but not one that is currently in office, he is merely in opposition and as such he is about visibility and branding himself (politically plugging is also a term that applies in this case). These two non-deciders are opposing a nation that needs commerce that needs to export as many of their products as possible.

In the defence of the two non-deciders I must add, from our values, we might have issues and it is nice that the UN is also about values, yet in all this, apart from condemnation there has been very little against terrorist elements. Of all the condemnations we have seen since Syria has a little issue in 2011, how much actions have been taken and for how many millions of Syrians has it been too late? Too many speakers for inactions, too little actions on economy and actual actions on the HRA (like the little addendum to article three I mentioned earlier).

So within the title of relevance seems to apply to too many people, it includes me as well, for the mere reason that my blog has no effect on the actions of the UK Foreign Office. It is just my view on the matter, like it was the view of Oliver Sprague, Jeremy Corbyn and the EU parliament. We are all simply non-deciders. The deciders are the currently elected UK government headed by David Cameron as well as the Monarchy of Saudi Arabia, under King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. They both get to look at the ‘toothless’ response from the EU parliament, who might be entering their final sitting soon enough.

Our voices might sound nice, our words might read nice, but neither bring food to the table, which is the concern of the Conservative Party, one that they are actually addressing.

 

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True torture

This issue started a while before this. The title “Tony Abbott: Australians ‘sick of being lectured to’ by United Nations, after report finds anti-torture breach” is just an incentive for emotion. (at http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-australians-sick-of-being-lectured-to-by-united-nations-after-report-finds-antitorture-breach-20150309-13z3j0.html).

There are two quotes that need to be looked at: “Mr Abbott’s criticism of the UN follows his attack last month of Australian Human Rights Commission President Gillian Triggs, in which he called the report she commissioned on children in detention a ‘political stitch-up’” and “The United Nations report, by the UN’s special rapporteur on torture, finds Australia is violating the rights of asylum seekers on multiple fronts under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment“.

I am all for human rights! I think Human rights are important, but what about the people ‘orchestrating’ the message?

Let’s that a look at the message ‘U.N. Urges U.S. To Treat Migrants as Refugees’ (at http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/07/08/329774643/u-n-urges-u-s-to-treat-migrants-as-refugees). The message seems to be clear, but what is that message? When we consider the quote “The refugee agency is particularly concerned about the large number of unaccompanied children arriving in the U.S. Washington estimates more than 90,000 unaccompanied children will arrive by the end of September“.

This was the news of last year. You see, what we all ignore (especially Labor and Greens) is that this all has a cost, it does not matter whether it is in Australia, Canada or America. When we accept refugees we accept financial responsibility to some extent. This is the not so nice part if us trying to be good and humane, there is a cost and we do not shy away from it, but we have limits, we all do! With every irresponsible act of spending what none have we limit our options and limit those who we allow in as well.

There is however another side, the side from the UN as we see the title ‘Asylum seeker torture report: United Nations special rapporteur Juan Mendez responds to Tony Abbott criticism‘ (at http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/asylum-seeker-torture-report-united-nations-special-rapporteur-juan-mendez-responds-to-tony-abbott-criticism-20150310-13zrwz.html). The quote “I think we in the United Nations also deserve respect and I wish the Prime Minister had taken my views on this more seriously and engaged with my rapporteurship more constructively” is a defence and a subtitle, also a statement that is not incorrect, but perhaps incomplete. When we see the quote “Among the concerns raised by the report was that escalating violence on Manus Island, and the ‘intimidation and ill-treatment of two asylum seekers’ who gave statements about last year’s violent clashes at the centre was in breach of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” issues come to light. Now, it is important that I am not making any claims of dishonesty or that the claims are lies. There would be no way for me to prove it. In addition, it is nice that we get these ‘verdicts’ from the UN, an administrative group where those ‘voices’ are incomes vastly above minimum wage, an income fuelled by other governments, but guess what, EVERY single one of these nations are in debt, not one excluded! Yet, this is not about money, or the income of some of these comfortable living executives. Let’s take a look at some of the elements.

Let’s restate the phrase: “intimidation and ill-treatment of two asylum seekers“, now, I am willing to blindly accept the following:

  1. There are likely more than 2 victims
  2. Let’s accept that in every case it is always both intimidation and ill-treatment

Now let’s take a look at the information form Amnesty international (at http://www.amnesty.org.au/refugees/comments/33587/), where they state the following: “There are currently 1,100 asylum seekers detained on Manus Island, all of whom are men who arrived without their families. These men have fled war, chilling acts of torture, threats of death, or profound discrimination. Many of them have made the desperate decision to make a perilous journey from Indonesia and other countries, including Sri Lanka, to Australia“.

Now, let’s be realistic and accept that more than two people have faced certain ordeals, there is no way for me to clearly find (at present) how many faced events. But if we take 20 people, than the issue revolves around 1.8% opposed to 0.18%. 1.8% might be too large, and I would agree with it, but we all seem to forget that a detention centre like that, is a place with constant pressures and clashing cultures, there are uncertain times ahead for many of these people, so pressures will come to a boil pretty fast in a place like that.

I am trying not to trivialise, but the need for better statistics is evidently required before we start a dictionary war between Australian parliament and the UN, whilst we know that the media is ‘presiding’ both sides whilst they enjoy the benefit of the occurring discord.

Yet, in the end, the actual culprit has not once been named. Oh, evil villain, oh master of the dischordian principle that weighs the loom of infinity unto the hands of fate. I have seen thee oh villain and I name thee………. (wait for it)………. Tax-Man!

Yes, in all the issues of emotion, so many forget that humanitarian aid must be paid for. Humanitarian causes require funds to exist, as do immigration centres, because they are a pure cost for any government. Which is one reason why Greece is getting rid of them tout-suit! In addition, they are so broke they are now returning to the need for WW2 reparations from Germany, which I will not condemn, but in reality, their own Tax-Man did not do anything, which covers close to 1/3rd of all their debt. So as they ignored current debts (and irresponsible spending), they go back to WW2. It makes perfect sense, the Greek PM and that finance ‘Rock Star’ have no other options (if they want to remain in power), but this is not about the Greek debt!

This is about refugees and the truth is that many nations (most of them), they are all failing refugees, mainly because of Tax-Man. You see, this super villain relies on the help of its sidekick Mrs. Poli Titian and this sidekick has been overspending, giving tax breaks to large corporations in a whimsy notion that under those condition more money would come in. It was a flawed approach, because they all rely on people SPENDING money. Guess what? They overspend on luxuries and are now paying it off, many have no jobs and many more have been in an income world that resembles the world of Frozen, whilst the cost of living is still rising. All this adds up to empty coffers.

So Mr Juan Mendez, where will these costs come from? This is not my lashing out, this is me actually asking. I remain in favour to help refugees as much as possible, but how? We need to make massive changes to the way of life we now have. Mrs Poli Titian needs to actually instigate massive changes. Not just in Australia, US, Canada et al. ALL nations need to accept certain changes. We need to readdress the way we think and I will admit right here, right now that I am at a loss how to go best about it.

In my view, there is an option, but it is not one you like, not one you will even find acceptable or humane.

  1. Retirement homes are as per now only for those without family. If they have family, they must go there. This needs to be a global change

Yes, you are all upset now. Yet consider, if we unite families we shrink the costs of arranging all this, yet in answer, those funds will ALL go to legal aid, health care aid and refugee aid.

  1. Refugees can come in, but only assigned to volunteer positions for places like Salvation Army, St. Vincent, Red Cross and other volunteer places. For this they receive room and board. It will give aid to other places, work force and support. For that they will receive a place in our community and after 5 years they will get automatic citizenship.

Non-compliance means expulsion from that nation!

This is not even that harsh, the situation could become a lot worse soon enough, then what will we do? As we get all these academic people (and governmental expert consultants) telling us how things will get better soon, hoping that they can avoid actually answering the question in earnest.

The Greek example of their detention centres might have been the most outspoken, but I feel certain that they are not the worst, not by a long shot. Real refugees want to work towards a better future, my solution seems to be less, but it still gives them a guaranteed future for them and their children.

The parliament of Australia site gave me two paragraphs that matter (at http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp0001/01RP05).

Asylum seekers are drawn to particular countries by a range of obvious factors-proximity, family and ethnic community networks, employment opportunities and wage levels, generosity of welfare systems, levels of tolerance within existing societies, and the accessibility of determination systems. In Europe last year 70 per cent of asylum seekers sought protection in just four countries-Germany, Britain, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Acceptance rates are more revealing of a country’s political priorities, or its attitude to migration, or the weight of numbers it has had to deal with, or its diplomatic relations with ‘sending’ countries, than the genuineness of refugee claims” and “Australia is perhaps unique amongst Western countries in its capacity and willingness to remove failed asylum seekers; in other countries most failed asylum seekers simply remain. Australia has however joined other countries in attempting to discourage new applicants. The most minimal welfare payment, special benefit, is provided to illegally arrived asylum seekers even after they have been determined to be Convention refugees; they are provided with temporary visas with no family reunion entitlements; and they are denied access to settlement services tailored for and provided free to off-shore refugees

In my view refugees would (read: should) willingly go to any place that will accept them, this information gives a slightly different view. It is also interesting that the information is incorrect. The Dutch numbers are going down, whilst the Swedish numbers were going up. Moreover, the Swedish numbers are over 25% higher, yet the premise of the writ is not strongly affected. In this light we will see that the economies of the large 6, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands and Switzerland will soon change stronger and stronger if large changes are not made. Reasoning is that ‘in earnest’ (not in condemnation of any kind), refugees are an economic burden. They often cannot speak the language, the culture is different and there will be other moments that will stop them from becoming an asset to any future (most important their own future).

The solution that I am proposing might seem ‘inhumane’, but they are cast in places where people are less likely to take advantage of them. They will be in places helping their new nation and as such themselves as well and they will get exposed to a strong impulse of skills, language and cultural foundations that will only propel them stronger in future. In that light their children will already be eligible for schools and will help them build even stronger foundations.

Is my plan the best? No, it is not, but by giving it to large industries, who gave a massive part of that to their own members of the board is certainly never going to be a solution. This is not some anti-industry chant. The issue is that life in any environment requires equilibrium. A ‘coalition’ and politicians with their ‘after-elected’ need, as I personally see it, have been uniting for the need of a few and that need has been answered for these few to such an extent that the many are now no longer regarded as essential. We have now entered into the realm of trimming. Not the trimming of the fat, but the trimming of non-consumers and in the short minded view of the industry, those, of whom they think no one needs. But in that same view we will also trim our humanity, reduced to be workers, for the lessened good of consuming.

My view is not a good one, but as I see it, it beats where we are moving towards. In the end, is my view just an exaggerated negative view? I personally wish it was so, but consider the following facts:

External debt and population

  1. Germany – 5.5 trillion – 81m
  2. France – 5.7 trillion – 64m
  3. United Kingdom – 9.5 trillion – 65m
  4. Sweden – 1.1 trillion – 10m
  5. Netherlands – 2.5 trillion – 17m
  6. Switzerland – 1.6 trillion – 8m

Now take the next part in close (but sceptical consideration), one report claims that for the UK servicing the debt costs a mere £43bn, which amounts to the entire defence spending of the UK. The UK collected a forecasted 650 billion in taxation last year, taking 6% of the budget away just to keep Even Steven, so if the UK wants to move forward they need to budget on 90% whilst collecting the 100% forecasted part. It is quite the miracle to make that happen. Now the UK and Germany are doing reasonably well (compared too many other nations), but they too have issues. When we look at Sweden and the Netherlands; that image swifts a lot faster in a downward spiral. Perhaps some will remember the issues Switzerland and their currency had a little over a month ago in my article ‘A seesaw for three‘ on January 18th 2015 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/01/18/a-seesaw-for-three/)

We now see the picture adding up to a lot more hardship, and add to that the refugees:

  1. Germany 571K – 144
  2. France 210K – 310
  3. United Kingdom – 194K – 319
  4. Sweden – 86K – 106
  5. Netherlands – 75K – 222
  6. Switzerland – 50K – 154

Now the view is almost complete. So for Germany we see 571,000 refugees, which means one refugee per 144 non refugees. The 144 pay for the way of one refugee. We could think that this is easy, but now consider that taxation is down, so the required money is not getting in (for various reasons). Now we see the problem, how can any government continue to support a sliding scale? This is not about fairness, because it is not fair on the refugee. I will be on the first line stating this, but when the bills are due, fairness will no longer be a factor. If we want to resolve the refugee solution, so that we all can continue giving them a future, something must give way. We can hope for a much better economy, but that is a ludicrous fantasy, even if the economy suddenly upgrades by 15%, these nations will still be hurt by the overspending and the consequential bills that became the headache for well over a decade.

So in my view we either change the way the refugee issues are addressed, or soon thereafter Australia will not be the only one sending back refugees, with the consequential nightmare that such actions will bring.

So as I contemplate the words of Juan Mendez, I wonder if Mr Mendez has considered the dangers of true torture when funds run truly dry on a near global basis. We all need to look at how it can be made better as we all should consider such steps, but in addition, no one seems to be looking at the cost of it all, yet the pressures of the rising costs of helping refugees getting a future are not being addressed in this economy, why not?

 

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Below the skin of life

Like many others, I looked at what is going on in Ferguson Missouri and I wonder how things went so out of control. As per today, as I saw events erupt, I decided to take a little look at why this was happening. Not the fact of the boy who was shot, but what brought all this about. Doesn’t it seem strange that the events as they are evolving, that there is little to no mention at all in the press on this?

So what got all this started?

Well there is more than one story. First the one in USA Today (at http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/08/14/michael-brown-ferguson-missouri-timeline/14051827/)

12:01 p.m. – The officer encounters Michael Brown and a friend as they walk down a street. Brown is shot to death as a result of the encounter.

This is not much, is it?

We get a lot more from the NY Times (at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/18/us/michael-brown-autopsy-shows-he-was-shot-at-least-6-times.html) Here we see: “At 12:01 p.m., they were stopped by Darren Wilson, a police officer, who ordered them off the road and onto the sidewalk, Mr Johnson, who is 22, later said“.

So this is because two kids were walking on the road and they were told to get on the sidewalk?

I am certain that the press is not hammering on this fact, but it seems to me that this escalation is purely due to events that go way beyond the mere shooting of a teenager named Michael Brown.

The wiki page (not too reliable a source) is slightly more informative, which seemed to be a combination of three papers. There we find: “Michael Brown, an 18-year-old male, died after being shot at least six times by Darren Wilson, a 28-year-old Ferguson Police Department officer. Brown was walking in the middle of the street along with his friend Dorian Johnson when Wilson stopped them and told them to use the sidewalk. From there, a conflict between the two erupted at the vehicle, as Brown allegedly assaulted the officer through his window. The officer allegedly reached for his weapon inside his vehicle shooting Brown in the thumb then shooting when Brown allegedly charged the officer, ending with Brown’s death from multiple gunshot wounds“.

So from this part we see a policeman alleged to be under attack. I use alleged as there is conflicting evidence on this. As you read the NY Times article, which is a very good and informative read, we also see a first inkling on how much limelight attention this is drawing.

The article also has a statement that is part of the problem “Thousands of protesters demanding information and justice for what was widely viewed as a reckless shooting took to the streets here in rallies that ranged from peaceful to violent“, this reads in two ways. The first is that if the entire part of moving to the sidewalk is true, then not only did Michael Brown bring this on himself (based on the evidence), but consider this, a cop tells you to get off the road and walk on the footpath, you do this, matter closed, no deaths, no shootings and no city on fire.

Is this oversimplifying the matter?

The second part is that if we alter the previous statement a little (for illustration) “Thousands of protesters demanding information and justice for what was widely viewed as a reckless shooting took to the streets here, rallying violently“, this is not done for correctness, this is done to illustrate one particular group that has been there all along. If you doubt me, then look at the photos of Ferguson in flames. This also leaves a clear indication that there is a lot more at play then we are seeing.

What we see here does not even come close to the London Looting scene from August 6th until August 11th 2011.

There is however a lot more, certain events are escalated in view by possible the press and possibly several political players. Can someone explain to me how it comes that the Brown family, they are, as we can all agree under a sad situation allowed to address a UN conference in Geneva on torture? This is seen in ‘Brown family returns to Ferguson from UN conference in Geneva‘ (at http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/brown-family-returns-ferguson-un-conference-geneva). If we look at Amnesty International (at http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT40/001/2003), we see a document where on page 36, at 2.4 we see “The CRIPA provided the federal government with an important civil remedy, enabling the US (federal) Department of Justice to seek federal court orders or injunctions to eliminate patterns of abuse or unconstitutional conditions in state and local institutions“. This in itself is not an answer, what is shown that there are issues in play, there are remedies and legal avenues, so why were the Browns in Geneva? Was this a political play and a waste of time? Yes, I state a waste of time, because there are many issues in the world, many nations where torture is a real issue, where in many nations domestic violence against women (which I personally see as torture), is still at the foundation of society ignoring it all the way up to the top of national legislation. This includes Australia, the United Kingdom and several EEC nations as well.

It sounds extremely harsh to say it, but the shooting of an African American walking on the road does not cut it for the UN on torture (but it should be investigated).

It should be investigated, for the reason that we see the statement by Dr Baden in the NY Times to be “The bullets did not appear to have been shot from very close range because no gunpowder was present on his body

Yet, NBC (at http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/michael-brown-shooting/vonderrit-myers-case-cops-say-shot-teen-had-gunshot-residue-n225761) states: “The St. Louis teenager fatally shot by an off-duty officer, which set off fresh protests in an already tense atmosphere, had gunshot residue on his hand and the waistband of his jeans, according to lab results released Tuesday by the police department“.

So there is a conflict of data already, according to the NY Times: “Dr Baden, 80 80, is a well-known New York-based medical examiner, who is one of only about 400 board-certified forensic pathologists in the nation. He reviewed the autopsies of both President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr., and has performed more than 20,000 autopsies himself“. It seems that this person is top notch in his field, which gives ample questions on where the NBC information comes from.

The entire issue that the police officer was attacked in his car! If we go back to USA Today, we see as the timeline for August 10th at 10:00 “10 a.m. – Michael Brown, 18, was unarmed, St. Louis County Police Chief Joe Belmar says in a news conference. Belmar says Brown physically assaulted the officer, and during a struggle between the two, Brown reached for the officer’s gun. One shot was fired in the car followed by other gunshots outside of the car“.

We now have an issue, there is conflicting evidence and the gunshot residue is part of the smoking gun (it really is). So, what happened?

There is an issue on several levels and no matter how the Grand Jury goes; there are massive issues, because the death of one teen (in a nation with well over 17,000 homicides in 16 states) does not seem like a big number (statistically speaking). Linked to this is one more part that we saw in the NY Times “According to what has emerged so far, on Saturday, Aug. 9, Mr Brown, along with a companion, Dorian Johnson, was walking in the middle of Canfield Drive, a fistful of cigarillos in Mr Brown’s hand, police say, which a videotape shows he stole from a liquor store on West Florissant Ave.“, so we see a possible result of a crime, which can only come to light after the facts, we see a shooting with conflicting data.

There is a lot going on in Ferguson, Missouri, yet the press are all focussing on the fires, I have seen little to nothing in regards to how these fires got started in the first place. Is this the direct consequence of a collapsed economy, a collapsed morale anticipating no future? If so, then Ferguson is only the tip of the iceberg and we will see a lot more escalations, likely far beyond the state borders of Missouri.

 

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