Posts tagged UK

The real concern here is a shotgun approach to justice that sprays its punishment over thousands of people who are engaged in their democratic right to protest simply because a small handful of people committed digital vandalism. This is the kind of overreaction that usually occurs when a government is trying to squash dissent; it’s not unlike what happens in other, more oppressive countries.

Since 2008, activists around the world have rallied around the name ‘Anonymous’ to take collective action and voice political discontent. The last two years in particular have been a watershed moment in the history of hacktivism: Never before have so many geeks and hackers wielded their keyboards for the sake of political expression, dissent, and direct action.

Even though some Anonymous participants did engage in actions that were illegal, the ensemble itself poses no threat to national security. The GCHQ has no business infecting activists’ systems with malware and thwarting their communications. And if we’re going to prosecute activists and put them in jail for large amounts of time for making a website unavailable for 10 minutes, then that same limitation should apply to anyone who breaks the law — be they a hacker, our next door neighbor, or the GCHQ.

U.K. nuclear employees ordered to stay home amid increased radiation levels

The Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site, in Cumbria, north-west England, told all non-essential employees not to come to work after the elevated levels were picked up by a monitor at the north end of the site.

"Levels of radioactivity detected are above naturally occurring radiation but well below that which would call for any actions to be taken by the workforce on or off the site," said a statement posted on Sellafield’s website.

"The site is at normal status and employees and operational plants are continuing to operate as investigations continue. All our facilities have positively confirmed there are no abnormal conditions and are operating normally."

The plant is on the coast of the Irish Sea about 300 miles northwest of London and employs more than 10,000 staff. Despite the decreased workforce, it said the facility was still operating a full capacity.

Britain’s nuclear decommissioning authority told Reuters that it was unclear where the radiation is coming from.

A spokesman for the U.K.’s Department of Energy and Climate Change said it was in constant contact with Sellafield, and that there was no reason to believe the situation was more serious than the operator had claimed, Reuters reported.

Sellafield processes spent fuel and no longer produces power from nuclear. It is undergoing a decommissioning and dismantling program, run by a consortium of British company Amec, French group Areva, and U.S. firm URS. 

Reuters contributed to this report.

This is some I didn’t hear on the BBC World Service for the half-hour I was listening to it over night Pacific time.

The Passage - fundraising initiative for the homeless

Sarah Teather is right. The Lib Dems have abandoned their principles by chasing the anti-immigrant vote – Telegraph Blogs

…The real issue is immigration and the Liberal Democrats’s apparent new aim to rebrand themselves as tub-thumping anti-immigrants. Earlier this year, Nick Clegg advocated doubling fines levied on businesses employing immigrants in breach of the rules, introducing a £1,000 deposit for some immigrants entering the country and abandoning the policy of an earned amnesty for illegal immigrants with a strong history of working in Britain.

Clegg’s message is that “a vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for an immigration system they can believe in.” And these are all measures that are popular.

But if the Lib Dems are only about opinion polls, then they are about nothing. When they ratchet up their anti-immigrant rhetoric, they give off the whiff of inauthenticity. If it sounds half-hearted, that’s because it is.

Rather than playing a losing game of chasing opinion polls, the Lib Dems might be better of trying to change conventional wisdom. Immigration brings far more to Britain than it takes away. Net immigration brings in at least £7 billion a year, according to the OECD.

This is what happens when you become the Tories’ poodle.

Throughout the interview, Wark abandons even the pretence of doing what journalism is supposed to be about: interrogating the centres of power and holding them to account.

Instead Wark mimics adversarial journalism by interrogating the US journalist Glenn Greenwald about his role in the NSA leaks, as though she’s a novice MI5 recruit. To do this she has to parrot British government misinformation and fire at him questions so childish even she seems to realise half way through them how embarrassing they are.

This is actually how most Newsnight interviews run: creating the theatre of conflict between journalist and interviewee that conceals the real issues rather than revealing them. If one wanted to produce news that looked honest while actually being deeply dishonest this is exactly how one would do it.

if the questioning, detention, and search of Miranda was for a purpose other than to determine if he was a terrorist, then it was unlawful

Advocating Progress: Obama Lowered the Deficit Faster Than Any President Since Clinton


Late Friday afternoon, the Treasury Department published the official report on the U.S. budget deficit for the most recent fiscal year: $1.089 trillion. While that’s obviously still a very large budget shortfall, the deficit is $200 billion smaller than it was last year,…

This is where you get tangled up and made to be a fool with your partisanship.

Democrats frequently cross the line when they are dared by right-wing demagogues in to debt scare tactics. It’s foolish because there is well regarded academic field which has studied what people do in markets and how governments should interact with them. Anyone whose taken Econ 1 and 2 knows that austerity brings economies to a halt. The Obama Administration is bragging about something that is damaging it’s constituencies. If you don’t believe me, read about what it’s doing to Mr. Cameron’s Great Britain.

She reminded Ian of His Mum

This week, after being mocked in the press with an attack piece by the Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn, schoolteacher Lucy Meadows committed suicide.

Lucy was raised male, but had recently undergone a transition to live as female — which for Littlejohn was reason enough to attack her in column. Leading with the mocking headline “He’s not only in the wrong body… he’s in the wrong job”, Littlejohn belittled and harassed Meadows, referring to her decision as her “personal problems” and playing on the outdated scare tactic that LGBT people are a threat to children.

Join me in signing a petition to the Daily Mail to fire Richard Littlejohn, issue an apology, and institute an editorial review to ensure that this never happens again.

Chris Brown, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics (LSE), said Britain had been “mind-bogglingly stupid to raise the issue in the first place”, regardless of how it was worded.

“Anyone with Diplomacy 101, as the Americans call it, would know that it (the threat) would backfire,” he told AFP.

“If you asked a room of my first-year students about what Britain has done, I believe that even they would not have made such a fundamental error.”

Police are guarding the exits of the embassy in London’s exclusive Knightsbridge district, but have so far made no move to enter it.

Brown said there was “no chance” that Britain would apply the law and enter the embassy to extract Assange, who Sweden wants to question over accusations of rape and molestation.

“All it did is deflect away from the main point, which is that Assange is wanted for questioning on a criminal charge,” he said. “The British government has bumbled into a pointless argument.”