Author Archives: daedalus

Somebody’s Watching Me

The Friday Night Song

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Hysteria

The Friday Night Song

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World

The Friday Night Song

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Speak To Me Someone

The Friday Night Song

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Investigatory Powers Act

‘The Investigatory Powers Act is world-leading legislation’
Amber Rudd (Home Secretary)

One might ask, what part of the world are we leading exactly:
North Korea, Cuba, China and Saudi Arabia?

north-korea
Passed into UK law on 29th November 2016 with barely a whimper.
(Replaces the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act – DRIPA)

‘…it establishes a dangerous new norm, where surveillance of all citizens’ online activity is seen as the baseline for a peaceful society.

Collect evidence first, the government is saying, and find the criminals later.’
Jim Killock (Open Rights Group)

At a Glance:
Telecoms providers obligated to retain data on British Citizens web activity (ICR) for 12 months.

Legalises the surveillance and ‘Targeted Equipment Interference’ (hacking) activities undertaken over many years by GCHQ and other agencies, including the collection of metadata and hacking of individuals computers and phones. (As exposed by Edward Snowden in 2013)

Legalises the wider power of ‘Bulk Equipment Interference’ (Mass Hacking) into large groups of computers and mobile phones of citizens overseas.

Provides for access by 48 named groups to the stored data, and establishes a ‘Request Filter’ (Common Database) enabling access through a single source. (Still being defined by the Home Office)

Allows access to masses of stored personal data, even if the person under scrutiny is not suspected of any wrongdoing.

Police can request viewing journalists’ call and web records. (Seen as a potential death sentence for whistleblowing and investigative journalism).

Technology companies and service providers can be asked to remove encryption on a given user’s device or service, where ‘Practicable’.
However, unlike the Apple case in the US, it’s expected that any cases in the UK will take place in private.
‘Any warrants issued to a company to decrypt users’ data will come with a gagging order, forbidding the firm from discussing it. There wouldn’t be any public debate about it.’ Harmit Kambo (Privacy International)

Who can access our data?
Amongst the more obvious police, military, and security services are a few less obvious, including:

Food Standards Agency
Department for Work and Pensions
Department for Transport
Department of Health
Revenue and Customs
English Ambulance Trust
Scottish Ambulance Service
Welsh Ambulance Service
Health and Safety Executive
Fire and Rescue Authority
Competition and Markets Authority

Comments:

‘The UK now has a surveillance law that is more suited to a dictatorship than a democracy.’
Jim Killock (Open Rights Group)

‘We have created the tools for repression.’
Lord Strasburger

‘None of us online are now guaranteed the right to communicate privately and, most importantly, securely.’
Renate Samson (Big Brother Watch)

‘The UK … joining the likes of China and Russia in collecting everyone’s browsing habits.’
Anne Jellema, ( World Wide Web Foundation)

This snoopers charter ‘has no place in modern democracy. The bulk collection of everyone’s internet browsing data is disproportionate, creates a security nightmare for the ISPs who must store the data, and rides roughshod over our right to privacy.’
Sir Tim Berners-Lee Inventor of World Wide Web.

‘It’s sad that the Snowden revelations backfired so spectacularly here. Rather than rolling back powers, they’ve been used to legitimize these practices.’ Harmit Kambo (Privacy International)

‘The UK has just legalised the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy. It goes farther than many autocracies.’
Edward Snowden (NSA whistle blower)

Investigatory Powers Act 2016
Links to all 305 pages;

Click to access ukpga_20160025_en.pdf


http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2016/25/contents/enacted

I wonder how many of our MPs have read, and understood, this piece of art?

Other Sources:
http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/23/13718768/uk-surveillance-laws-explained-investigatory-powers-bill
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/19/extreme-surveillance-becomes-uk-law-with-barely-a-whimper
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/governments-snoopers-charter-has-no-place-modern-democracy-says-inventor-world-wide-web-1594092
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/investigatory-powers-act-becomes-law-royal-assent_uk_583d91d8e4b072ec0d60680d
http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/23/13718768/uk-surveillance-laws-explained-investigatory-powers-bill
http://arstechnica.co.uk/tech-policy/2016/11/investigatory-powers-act-imminent-peers-clear-path-for-uk-super-snoop-law/
http://www.jomec.co.uk/blog/how-the-uk-got-a-world-leading-surveillance-law/
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/27/nsa-gchq-smartphone-app-angry-birds-personal-data

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Anthem

The Friday Night Song

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The Land of Make Believe

The Friday Night Song

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Somewhere Only We Know

The Friday Night Song

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The Ecstasy of Gold

The Friday Night Song

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Bad Day

The Friday Night Song

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EU Plans to Become Superstate

If true, we Brexited just in time…

EU Documents signed by both the French and German foreign mimisters released by the Polish channel TVP.INFO on 27th June 2016;

TVP.INFO

The main assumptions of the document:

• Member countries without the right to its own army and special services.
• The unification of criminal law and the tax system.
• Member without their own currency and central bank.
• Uniform visa system.
• A common foreign policy with other countries and international organizations.
• Limited role of NATO.

TVP.INFO

(From TVP.INFO – watermark removed only to aid reading clarity);
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How the EU destroyed Greece…

The seven simple steps to plunder a country’s assets.


Music by the Clash – Should I Stay or Should I Go?

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O Mio Babbino Caro

The Friday Night Song.

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The European Union Pub Quiz

On 23rd June the UK has the opportunity to vote either ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’.

UK-and-EU-flags

Dissatisfaction with the EU, particularly the recognition by some other member countries of their loss of national control, suggest that if the UK votes to ‘Leave’ the EU, then a slow collapse of the EU could follow if other countries move to take a similar exit path.

However, if the UK votes to ‘Remain’, then a very different scenario might play out. The recent split vote, which narrowly avoided electing an extreme President in Austria, might well provide a clue to the future.

Is it possible that the EU will collapse into disorder, driven by the rise of extremist elements (or views like those of the Prime Minister of Slovakia), and partly fostered by a growing realization that the EU is an anti-democratic organization seemingly having little or no interest in the individual?

If so, history may later teach that this UK referendum was Europe’s last chance to secure a peaceful exit from what might transpire to be a very dangerous club.

Before hot-footing down to the polls (or the pub), now would seem to be an opportune time to undertake a Pub-Quiz to see what we really know about the EU. Just click the link in the questions to reveal the answer.

Here’s a quick teaser:
How many Presidents hold office in European Union Institutions right now? (This answer is at bottom of page)

The following might help untangle just a few of these Institutions.

A. The European Commission.

IF

European Commission Building

This administrative body comprises 28 appointed (not elected) officials who are the creators and instigators of all new EU legislation. They define the Regulations and EU Directives which are ultimately passed for approval by the European Parliament and the European Council. All members swear an Oath at the European Court of Justice pledging to respect Treaties, and to be independent, representing the general interest of the EU rather than their home state.

Officials are appointed by their national government (one per member country), and are tasked with specific responsibilities. The European Commission employs around 23,000 civil servants. Past commissioners for the UK include;
Chris Patten (1999) – Commissioner for External Relations
Neil Kinnock (1995) Transport and (1999) – Vice President, Administrative Reform and Audit
Lord Mandleson (2004 – 2008) – Trade Commissioner

QUIZ:
Who is the current European Commission President?

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Who represents the UK at the European Commission, and for a bonus point, what is his area of responsibility?

B. The European Council.

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The role of the European Council is to define the political direction and priorities of the European Union. It is responsible for economic policies, international agreements, foreign and security policy. It represents the highest level of political dealings between the 28 country leaders.

It nominates and appoints candidates to high profile EU level roles, such as to the European Central Bank and the Commission. Although the Council itself does not pass laws, it can instruct the EU Commission to make proposals to address issues they raise.

The 28 members comprise the heads of each member state, plus their appointed Permanent Representative, their Deputy, and a Representative for the Political and Security Committee.

It is here that the UK has become the most out-voted EU country, and it has failed 55 times (out of 55 attempts) to block laws. In percentage terms, the UK has successfully voted ‘Yes’ 91% of the time, but what underlies this is the increasing dilution of the UK’s share of voice at the Council, Parliament, and elsewhere in the EU.

QUIZ:
Name the President of the European Council.
(Not to be confused with the ‘Presidency of the Council of the European Union‘, which is soon to be held by Slovakia)

6283-itok=iVM-iHcE

Name any one of the UK permanent representatives on the EU Council.

C. The European Parliament.
This is the part of the EU that has officials elected by the voters of the countries.

euro-parliament
From 28 countries, 741 members are elected every five years.
In the UK there are 12 Electoral regions, and each region is represented by between 3 to 10 MEPs, giving a total of 73 UK MEPs

Each party puts forward a list of candidates, and the electorate votes for the party of their choice. Voters are unable to vote for specific candidates by name (unless the candidate is standing as an ‘Independent”. The votes are allocated on a quota system, and the first seat goes to the first named person on the list, and so on.

Whilst in the EU parliament, MEPs sit within a similar political group, of which there are nine. These 9 are divided into two: The Juncker Commission (with 475 seats), and the Opposition and Non-Aligned (276 seats). There is no specific representation of a country.

The EU Parliament cannot propose new legislation, it can only vote on legislation that has been handed to them by the EU Commission. Legislation approved by the EU Parliament takes one of two main forms; Directive or Regulation. There is also a ‘Decision’ which affects only a certain issue or country at a time.

‘Directive’s are legal acts which require member states to achieve the objectives, but without the EU dictating how it should be achieved.
‘Regulations’ are self executing measures that automatically pass into law without the involvement of national governments.

QUIZ:
Who is the President of the European Parliament?

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Which UK party has the most MEPs?

Name any of the nine political groups in the EU Parliament (The UK have MEPs in 8 of these groups)

Which city does the Brussels based EU Parliament relocate to once a month every month?

During this move thousands of boxes of information and around 5,000 people are relocated generating an estimated 10,200 tonnes of CO2 every year at an estimated cost of £130m

Why do they do it?
Because it’s in the Treaty, and despite MEPs voting 3 to 1 to scrap it, the French have a veto and seem happy with the arrangement (and the revenue it generates).

What percentage of UK laws introduced between 2010 and 2013 originated from the EU?

Trick Question – The simple answer is that no one knows for certain.

When the House of Commons Library tried to count, they calculated anywhere up to 59%, although that might include regulations that don’t directly affect the UK, such as olive oil or tobacco production.

D. The European Court of Justice.

General view of the buildings of the Court of Justice of the European Communities This is the highest court in the EU, and should not be confused with other similar sounding courts, or the European Court of Human Rights. It has one judge from each member state (28) with 11 Advocate General, although hearings are usually with 3, 5 or 15 judges.

The Court of Justice interprets EU law to make sure it is applied in the same way in all EU countries, and settles legal disputes between EU institutions and national governments.

This court prevails over any national legal system, and is the supreme legal arbitrator.

The current President of the Court of Justice is Koen Lenaerts

 

Answer to the ‘quick teaser’ question – ‘how many Presidents?’ is: at least SEVEN

 

The only Pub-Quiz question now is :
Will you vote to ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’?
(Answers on your ballot paper only please)

 

 

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Dark Road

The Friday Night Song

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All About TTIP & ISDS

Just reading about BHS and how easily money can be made
(if you have the right contacts);

Sir Philip Green bought BHS for £200m in 2002, extracted £400m and then sold it to a consortium for £1 in 2015

The consortium, Retail Aquisitions led by Dominic Chappell, extracted £25m before putting it into administration on Monday (25 April 2016) with debts of over £1.3bn.

No need for them to worry too much about about the £571m pensions black hole left in BHS, which will, in all probability, be largely filled by the Government’s Pensions Protection Scheme.

Nice work if you can get it. Green is said to be worth 3.5billion

If I’d realised the investment would return £25m within a year, I could have offered Sir Philip £2 for it.

All of which serves as a timely reminder of what Corporations might hope to gain if the TTIP deal is concluded in the EU, which was largely the reason Obama was in Europe this week. Little surprise that he should want the UK to remain in the EU.

RT reporter Jonathan Pie’s view of TTIP, January 2016

And from the Independent yesterday;

Mr Obama’s trip to Europe has been seen as an effort to drum up support for TTIP before the end of his time in the White House.

He has been pushing for its completion since parties were scheduled to sign in 2014, promising the treaty would remove “regulatory and bureaucratic irritants and blockages to trade”.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will have “few or no benefits to the UK”, according to the only official assessment of the deal commissioned by the UK Government.

The warning was disclosed in response to a Freedom of Information request by anti-TTIP campaigners Global Justice Now.

‘…the deal could give corporations the power to sue governments when they pass regulation that could hit firms’ profits through an international court called the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).’

‘United Nations figures show US companies have made billions of dollars by suing other governments nearly 130 times in the past 15 years under similar free-trade agreements.

Details of the cases are often secret, but notorious precedents include tobacco giant Philip Morris suing Australia and Uruguay for putting health warnings on cigarette packets.’

“Ultimately, we conclude that an EU-US investment treaty that does contain ISDS is likely to have few or no benefits to the UK, while having meaningful economic and political costs,” the report said.

What is TTIP? And six reasons why the answer should scare you
Lee Williams, Independent October 2015

1 The NHS
Public services, especially the NHS, are in the firing line. One of the main aims of TTIP is to open up Europe’s public health, education and water services to US companies. This could essentially mean the privatisation of the NHS.

2 Food and environmental safety
TTIP’s ‘regulatory convergence’ agenda will seek to bring EU standards on food safety and the environment closer to those of the US. But US regulations are much less strict, with 70 per cent of all processed foods sold in US supermarkets now containing genetically modified ingredients. By contrast, the EU allows virtually no GM foods.

3 Banking regulations
TTIP cuts both ways. The UK, under the influence of the all-powerful City of London, is thought to be seeking a loosening of US banking regulations, effectively handing all those powers back to the bankers.

4 Privacy
The ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) was thrown out by a massive majority in the European Parliament in 2012 after a huge public backlash against what was rightly seen as an attack on individual privacy where internet service providers would be required to monitor people’s online activity. It’s feared that TTIP could be bringing back ACTA’s central elements, proving that if the democratic approach doesn’t work, there’s always the back door.

5 Jobs
The EU has admitted that TTIP will probably cause unemployment as jobs switch to the US, where labour standards and trade union rights are lower. It has even advised EU members to draw on European support funds to compensate for the expected unemployment.

6 Democracy
TTIP’s biggest threat to society is its inherent assault on democracy. One of the main aims of TTIP is the introduction of Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS), which allow companies to sue governments if those governments’ policies cause a loss of profits. In effect it means unelected transnational corporations can dictate the policies of democratically elected governments.

More about TTIP in these 2015 videos;

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Lithium

The Friday Night Song

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Harvey Proctor Press Conference Draft Speech

 

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We’re Watching & We’re Waiting

The Friday Night Song

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Hotel California

The Friday Night Song

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