Tag Archives | UK

CCTV Looking Out For Them Not You

cctv advocates reading list
Essential reading for all CCTV advocates

How did the United Kingdom, a country that supposedly had such high regard for individual freedom, fall under the spell of an all pervasive surveillance state? To understand how the spell was cast and why it was effective, we need to look back to the 1990s when the CCTV camera gold rush began in earnest.

A key catalyst was the manufacture of consent — the government, assisted by its trusted media, went on a charm offensive to create support for CCTV cameras. Despite the fact that the technology was untested and therefore had no evidence in support of their claims, they promoted cameras as a magical solution to fix all of society’s ills.

Central government funding and the creation of the CCTV myth

In the 1990s, the central government invited local councils to bid for funding in a series of “competitions” called “City Challenge”. Shortly after the announcement of one such funding round in 1994, the Home Office published a guidance document entitled ‘CCTV – Looking out for you’ [1].… Read the rest

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How Thatcher’s Government Covered Up a VIP Pedophile Ring

Now that most of the major figures are dead, the truth is emerging about the systematic sexual abuse of children by members of the British government, reports Nico Hines at Daily Beast:

A newspaper editor was handed startling evidence that Britain’s top law enforcement official knew there was a VIP pedophile network in Westminster, at the heart of the British government. What happened next in the summer of 1984 helps to explain how shocking allegations of rape and murder against some of the country’s most powerful men went unchecked for decades.

Reagan-Thatcher cabinet talks.jpg

Thatcher’s Ministry meets Reagan’s cabinet in 1981.

 
Less than 24 hours after starting to inquire about the dossier presented to him by a senior Labour Party politician, the editor was confronted in his office by a furious member of parliament who threatened him and demanded the documents. “He was frothing at the mouth and really shouting and spitting in my face,” Don Hale told The Daily Beast.

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The Three Most Desirable Jobs in Britain: Author, Librarian, Academic

It seems that Britain is about to change from a nation of shopkeepers to a nation of bookworms if this report in the Independent is to be believed:

Forget dreams of a glittering career in Premier League football or Hollywood. The three most desirable jobs in Britain are an author, a librarian and an academic, according to a new study that suggests the country is increasingly bookish in its career aspirations.

British Museum Reading Room by Eneas (CC)

British Museum Reading Room by Eneas (CC)

 

The “aura of prestige” connected with a career in writing or academia is preferable to jobs that brought promises of wealth and celebrity status, according to a Yougov survey with more than 14,000 respondents.

Being an author was the most popular choice among both men and women, with more than 60 per cent selecting it as their dream job. It was followed by a career as a librarian (54 per cent) and in academia (51 per cent).

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Science for the People!

CC-BY: BSSRS/Wellcome Images

CC-BY: BSSRS/Wellcome Images

There’s a smell in Battersea, south-west London. Today, there are streams of the internet devoted to a whiff of toast commuters notice on the train over the river. It’s something to do with local coffee roasters, apparently. But in the early 1970s, the area was very different economically, and the stink wasn’t nearly so pleasant. The strong stench – described at the time as “like dead bodies” – was colloquially known as “The Battersea Smell”.

There was various speculation about causes. Most likely was that the stench came from one or two local factories – the gin distillers John Watney and Co and the glucose manufacturers Garton Sons and Co. But no one really knew. Moreover, the local council seemed to be actively avoiding trying to find out, and avoiding attempting to do much about it.

As a local paper at the time noted, “We can get to the moon, phone relatives in Australia, perform miracles of surgery but a simple matter like getting rid of a smell seems to baffle everyone.”

Residents were especially annoyed as the local council insisted they use (expensive) smokeless fuel to cut air pollution yet seemed to do nothing about the stink.… Read the rest

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British Jihadis to Undergo Forced De-Radicalization

Although the British government’s motives may be honorable, deprogramming anyone sounds scarily close to brainwashing. Breitbart has the story:

Britain’s governing coalition has agreed that potential Jihadis who return to Britain from abroad should be forced to undergo a de-radicalisation programme when they arrive back in the UK.

Iraqi insurgents with guns.JPG

Photo: Menendj (CC)

The proposal is one of a series of measures agreed by the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats who form Britain’s coalition government. Also proposed is a new law to force airlines to share full passenger lists with police and security agencies, and plans to temporarily suspend to passports of UK citizens fighting for ISIS, preventing them from coming home.

According to the Sun, talks over the measures were “tense” and going on well into the night last night, ahead of the Prime Minister’s emergency statement in the House of Commons this afternoon.

The proposals come after the UK’s offical terror threat level was raised last week to severe, meaning that an attack is “highly likely”.

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Leaked Documents Reveal GCHQ Has Tools to Manipulate Online Information

Government_Communications_Headquarters_logo.svgDocuments have been leaked that show how the GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) has tools that can manipulate online information.

via The Guardian:

The disclosure comes the day before the UK parliament is due to begin up to three days’ debate on emergency legislation governing British surveillance capabilities. With cross-party support the bill is expected to be voted through this week.

Among the programs revealed in the document are:

• GATEWAY: the “ability to artificially increase traffic to a website”.

• CLEAN SWEEP which “masquerade[s] Facebook wall posts for individuals or entire countries”.

• SCRAPHEAP CHALLENGE for “perfect spoofing of emails from BlackBerry targets”.

• UNDERPASS to “change outcome of online polls”.

• SPRING BISHOP to find “private photos of targets on Facebook”.

The document also details a range of programs designed to collect and store public postings from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, and to make automated postings on several of the social networks.

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British Man Wearing Pig Mask Arrested For Impersonating A Police Officer

PIC: Manchester Evening News (C)

PIC: Manchester Evening News (C)

Really? I think he should sue (eeeeeeeeeee!).

Greater Manchester Police arrested a man who put on a pig mask, toy helmet and reflective jacket in order to perform “comical parodies” about the behavior of law enforcement officials.

New Moston man Steven Peers was arrested on suspicion of impersonating a police officer after he put on the costume to call attention to how GMP officers conducted themselves during anti-fracking protests.

The 46-year-old was arrested after being stopped by an officer outside a police station.

“My reaction to being arrested was total disbelief. I was wearing a toy hat and a pig mask and was arrested for impersonating a police officer. It’s ridiculous,” Peers told the Manchester Evening News. “If they want to take it to court they will be a laughingstock because there is no substance to it whatsoever.”

via Steven Peers wears pig mask and is arrested for impersonating a police officer – UPI.com.… Read the rest

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Controversial Study States UK and France Will Run Out of Fossil Fuel in Five Years

Begun, the resource wars have. (Okay, they’ve been going on for a long time, but I’m not missing a chance to use a Star Wars joke – even if it’s from the prequels.) Anyway, read the story and check out the report. Your mileage may vary…

The UK will run out of its own gas, coal, and oil within the next five years, according to a report released by the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin University. And France, which continues to rely heavily on nuclear energy, could run out of its remaining fossils fuels within the next year, reports the BBC. This means that the two countries could soon become completely reliant on global fossil fuel suppliers such as Russia, Norway, and Qatar.

THE UK HAS 4.5 YEARS OF COAL LEFT

The report, which outlines worldwide fossil fuel vulnerabilities, paints a varying picture of Europe’s natural resources. Given the UK’s current rate of fossil fuel consumption and its current known reserves, the country is said to have 5.2 years of oil, 4.5 years of coal, and three years of gas left.

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I, Camera – The 5 Laws of FFUCams

FFUCam in action
A FFUCam spreading trust
[ based on image by West Midlands Police ]

Everyone knows that the camera never lies. That’s a definitely true fact. The flip side to this fact is of course the additional fact that people can and do lie – frequently. So when it comes to lying, cameras are clearly more trustworthy, reliable and generally better than people. Everyone has known this since the phrase “the camera never lies” was first discovered in 1857 (the date might be a lie of course, after all I’m only human).

The incredible thing is that despite everyone knowing that the camera never lies and is better than people, this beacon of moral certitude was so massively under utilised.

Let us consider the evidence before us in a forensic and thorough way.

Do cameras commit murder? No.
Are cameras ever drunk and disorderly? No.
Do cameras abuse their position in society?… Read the rest

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UK Government Looks to ‘Armed Propaganda’ to Win Wars

PIC: ComradeJackson (CC)

PIC: ComradeJackson (CC)

The UK’s Ministry of Defence is looking to the behavioral sciences  – “armed propaganda” – to win wars.

Via The Guardian:

Techniques such as deception and propaganda have been the mainstay of warfare for thousands of years, but there is a growing belief that the modern world has changed so fundamentally that war itself needs to be refigured. Confrontations between standing armies of large nation states are becoming rare while conflicts with guerrilla or terrorist groups, barely distinguishable from the local population, are increasingly common. In other words, overwhelming firepower no longer guarantees victory.

As a result, dissuading people from taking up arms is as much of a military objective as killing the people who actually engage your troops. To the insurgent, influence is crucial, owing to the impossibility of winning the conflict through the force of arms. Violence, then, becomes not an act of war, but an illustration of resistance.

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