Sunday, June 30, 2013

I repeat -

Friday, June 28, 2013

"I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker." Barack Obama.
Lying bastard. If Edward Snowden takes a flight from Moscow, or wherever he is, US warplanes will be shadowing that flight. They will probably buzz it, and attempt to divert it and force it to land on US territory, or on some US helot state territory (EU, Baltic, etc.).
He was a hacker when he worked for the surveillance state, so some hackers good, some hackers bad. Who decides? Why, Barrack Obama - who else?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Corsica non avrai mai bene." Old Napoleon is supposed to have said this as the ship carrying him to Elba passed the island of his birth. Did he still use Italian, or Corsu, at this time in his life? I doubt it. I wonder who was there to hear his utterance.
Bene or male (Don't Corsicans say ?) the island is going to be in the news at the weekend.
Cavendish for the first yellow jersey - of the competition and of Cavendish - sprint finish. That's the plan. "Vedremo che vedremo", as, I'm sure, Napoleon never said.

Monday, June 24, 2013

UK media are informing us that the nine climbers murdered in Gilgit-Baltistan were killed by Islamic militants. What a relief it must be for their families to know that they weren't the victims of terrorists.
It turns out that 'militants' were Taliban, who are about to engage in negotiations with the Frankish invaders of Afghanistan. Well no, these were Pakistani Taliban, not those gentlefolk of the Afghan Taliban.
No negotiations with terrorists, but they can talk with militants.
The Taliban know that the Franks are going to scuttle off anyway, but being gentlemen (as we've just learned) they're giving them a chance to save face.
So what of al-Qa'ida? Now that they are allies of the Frankish infidels in Syria, do we stop calling them terrorists? At the moment, it seems, the "accepted terminology", Dude, is "units of the Free Syrian Army".

Correction, 25.6.13: I've done it again, misquoting. Walter Sobchak's phrase was "preferred nomenclature", not "accepted terminology". I should take my deteriorating memory into account and check before "quoting".
"I don't bloody BELIEVE it!" (Victor Meldrew)

This morning I got my free TV licence through the post, a little perk for those who reach the age of 75 years, as I do in a few days. I'm covered for three years.

This morning I opened my paper and read the headline, "Pensioners face losing free TV licences".

Friday, June 21, 2013

Media reports today that 18 independent experts investigating a 10-year period (2002-2012) for the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child accuse Israel of routinely abusing Palestinian children, including torturing those in police custody & using some as human shields. Most of the estimated 7,000 Palestinian children arrested, interrogated, & incarcerated were charged with throwing rocks which can get a child up to 20 years in jail.
According to the report, many children in custody are brought before military courts in leg shackles; others are held in solitary confinement for months. It also reported that between January 2010 & March 2013 alone there were 14 cases of Israeli soldiers using Palestinian children as human shields to enter potentially dangerous buildings or stand in front of military vehicles to deter rock throwing. Soldiers convicted of forcing a 9-year-old child at gunpoint to search bags suspected of containing explosives received a suspended sentence of 3 months & were demoted.
The report also calls attention to the hundreds of children killed & thousands injured by Israel’s periodic murderous bombing assaults on Gaza as well as the violence of Israeli land confiscations, unlawful settlements on Palestinian lands, construction of the barrier wall, & destruction of Palestinian homes & livelihoods which “constitute severe & continuous violations of the rights of Palestinian children & their families.”
The UN agency may be just catching up to what Palestinians have been alleging & photojournalism has been documenting for nearly 65 years but it has handed the Palestinian solidarity movement a mighty weapon against the violence of the Zionist monstrosity called Israel. Nothing could more powerfully damn the Zionist project than the torture of children.
Zionists of all persuasions & their supporters need to ask themselves if this is the kind of thing they want to be identified with, if there is anything salvageable in such a state, if it’s possible to save some aspects of Zionism & trash the worst aspects. In fact, this utter debasement is the political logic of Zionism & the entire edifice on which the state was built. Support Palestinian solidarity by boycotting all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729)!

(Copyleft Mary Scully)
A handy piece of information I picked up listening to the news on my local BBC station -
People with diabetes were once twice as likely to die of the disease than people without diabetes.

"Shome mishtake here shurely." (Private Eye)*

*Corrected. In spite of being a regular reader of the magazine for decades I managed to get this supposed editorial comment wrong.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"I'm going to tell you something. I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria.
"This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer minister for foreign affairs, if I would like to participate."
Roland Dumas, former French Foreign Minister

Monday, June 17, 2013

Two stories about my native city on the Yorkshire TV news today.
First, a big increase in shoplifting resulting from people stealing basic foodstuffs in order to feed themselves.
Second, Hull's determination to throw away millions in a futile attempt to become 'city of culture'.
Turning on the state broadcasting service this morning I heard the man Humphreys declare the situation in Syria is "the worst human tragedy of our time". What time is that, Humphreys - this week?
In my time there was World War 2, and millions dead. Suharto's coup in Indonesia, a million dead. The Iraq war goes on, though the slaughter is now perpetrated by locals instead of invaders. We know the Yanks and the Brits didn't keep count of the dead but others did, and the number was higher than in Syria. The children dying of hunger and disease in a disaster created by the oil-grabbers - who's counting? No 'human tragedy' there. NATO brings freedom and democracy by the same methods as the Assad regime's dealing of death and destruction. Funny that.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Does this mean I'm safe from the surveillance state snoopers? One never knows.

Giant US government Internet spying scandal revealed

The Washington Post and The Guardian have revealed a US government mass Internet surveillance program code-named "PRISM". They report that the NSA and the FBI have been tapping directly into the servers of nine US service providers, including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL and Skype, and began this surveillance program at least seven years ago.
These revelations are shaking up an international debate.
StartPage has always been very outspoken when it comes to protecting people's privacy and civil liberties. So it won't surprise you that we are a strong opponent of overreaching, unaccountable spy programs like PRISM. In the past, even government surveillance programs that were begun with good intentions have become tools for abuse, for example tracking civil rights and anti-war protesters.
Programs like PRISM undermine our Privacy, disrupt faith in governments, and are a danger to the free Internet.
StartPage and its sister search engine Ixquick have in their 14-year history never provided a single byte of user data to the US government, or any other government or agency. Not under PRISM, nor under any other program in the US, nor under any program anywhere in the world. We are not like Yahoo, Facebook, Google, Apple, Skype, or the other US companies who got caught up in the web of PRISM surveillance.

Here's how we are different:

•StartPage does not store any user data. We make this perfectly clear to everyone, including any governmental agencies. We do not record the IP addresses of our users and we don't use tracking cookies, so there is literally no data about you on our servers to access. Since we don't even know who our customers are, we can't share anything with Big Brother. In fact, we've never gotten even a single request from a governmental authority to supply user data in the fourteen years we've been in business.

•StartPage uses encryption (HTTPS) by default. Encryption prevents snooping. Your searches are encrypted, so others can't "tap" the Internet connection to snoop what you're searching for. This combination of not storing data together with using strong encryption for the connections is key in protecting your Privacy.

•Our company is based in The Netherlands, Europe. US jurisdiction does not apply to us, at least not directly. Any request or demand from ANY government (including the US) to deliver user data, will be thoroughly checked by our lawyers, and we will not comply unless the law which actually applies to us would undeniably require it from us. And even in that hypothetical situation, we refer to our first point; we don't even have any user data to give. We will never cooperate with voluntary spying programs like PRISM.

•StartPage cannot be forced to start spying. Given the strong protection of the Right to Privacy in Europe , European governments cannot just start forcing service providers like us to implement a blanket spying program on their users. And if that ever changed, we would fight this to the end.


It's not just our policy - it's our business.

We are working hard to offer you an encrypted email service later this year called StartMail. We have to stand up and protect our freedoms from increasing overreach from data gatherers. You've made the right choice by using Now is the time to tell others!


Robert E.G. Beens
CEO and

Sunday, June 09, 2013

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography now has an entry on Lily Bilocca of Hull, written by Brian W. Lavery.
A couple of things I've been told about Mrs. Bilocca by people who knew her, and disliked the media's portrayal of her.

The name "Big Lil" was foisted on her by the national press. Those who knew her called her Lily or Mrs. Bilocca.
The role of spokesperson for the trawlermen's wives was not of her choosing. Mrs B. was known on Hessle road because she spent her spare time going from door to door collecting signatures to a petition. This was for radios and radio operators to be made compulsory on trawlers, which was not the case at the time. When three trawlers were lost in one month with only one crewman surviving from all three, the women of the fishing community took action. As Mrs. Bilocca's work for trawler safety was known she was approached to take the role of the women's spokesperson.
After the campaign petered out, politicians having sidetracked the women into a parliamentary dead end, Mrs. Bilocca found that she was blacklisted. Brian Lavery touches on this in his article without using the word 'blacklist'.

The DNB can be accessed with a library card number. The entry is entitled "Lillian Bilocca".

Thursday, June 06, 2013

I note that the BBC is pushing hard for action on Syria. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, any country with a Muslim majority. Buy more Yankee bombs, Cameron, the BBC wants more dead children.
Meanwhile the self-styled socialist, Hollande, is proving to be a more enthusiastic warmonger than any Tory minister. Has he got shares in the arms industry? We should be told.
Reports from refugee camps about the plight of those fleeing the west's proxy war in Syria. I don't remember the British newshounds getting so worked up over the million Iraqi refugees displaced by Bush and Blair's illegal war.