The Unsuitablog

Exposing Ethical Hypocrites Everywhere!

Archive for the 'Political Hypocrisy' Category

Strikes vs Royal Weddings

Posted by keith on 26th November 2011

There is going to be a strike in Britain on Wednesday. The UK Government are condemning it. This is starting to appear all over Facebook:

When the government decide we can have a day off for the royal wedding it doesn’t damage the economy, but when the workers decide to strike for a day it costs the UK economy half a billion….

Is there something funny going on?

Quite.

Posted in Corporate Hypocrisy, Government Policies, Political Hypocrisy | No Comments »

Jordanian Cultural Heritage Enriched by Sustainable Star Trek Resort

Posted by keith on 25th October 2011

There is part of me wanting this to be a spoof, but most of me knows it’s real. I’m talking about the latest hair-brained scheme to tempt the mindless tourist into spending cash, in this case in the state of Jordan.

Hi Keith,

Building a sustainable, energy efficient luxury resort and theme park is an engineering challenge in and of itself: both are traditionally water- and energy-intensive. But in Jordan, where only 10 inches of rain fall per year and energy and water security is always tenuous, achieving as much self-sufficiency as possible is a necessity.

That’s why -as you may have heard-the $1.5 billion dollar Star Trek-themed Red Sea Astrarium in Jordan is being built with on-site renewable energy production facilities, integrated grey water and solid waste management systems, and numerous other cutting edge efficiency measures.

The reduction of the potable water use of the resort buildings alone will save 57.6 million gallons per year (as compared to business as usual). That’s enough water to serve the annual drinking needs of 303,000 people.

If you’re interested, I’d like to connect you with the engineers from Arup that developed the design, for a peek behind the curtain and a frank discussion about the nuts and bolts of the project.

Arup’s plans will:
- reduce water and energy usage by up to 20%,
- reduce resort cooling demand by up to 19%, and
- allow the Astrarium to produce 15 to 20% of its energy from on-site using renewables.

Any interest?

Best,
Courtney
chamilton@groupsjr.com

You can learn more about the Red Sea Astrarium here: http://www.arup.com/Projects/Red_Sea_Astrarium.aspx

Clearly Courtney is just a hired drone who takes no interest in her copy otherwise, in the name of all that is holy, she would have realised what an unwittingly hilarious piece of greenwashing PR bilge this is. You only need to try and digest the phrase “Building a sustainable, energy efficient luxury resort and theme park” to realise that. The obvious response is: “So why build the fucking thing in the first place?!”

But I am more polite than that:

This is a joke, yes? A “sustainable” luxury report and theme park that is completely superfluous and about as relevant to the Jordanian culture as building a copy of the Great Wall of China in New York – that’s hilarious. Well done.

Keith

No response, and how rude is that? There are three forces at work here – not in preventing a response, you understand, I’m not paranoid – in making such a concept possible in the first place:

1) A nation or corporation that promises to pay a nation, so desperate for money that they will stoop to such incredible depths to make a project like this happen. According to the Business Anti-Corruption Portal:

“Despite the absence of any significant natural resources, Jordan has succeeded in attracting foreign investments through economic reforms and has demonstrated solid economic growth rates, while the government has gradually been implementing policies to improve competition and to foster transparency. The need for such policies have gained strength under the circumstances that Jordan has witnessed and which are strongly related to the public uprisings that have swept the Arabic region since early 2011. Public dissatisfaction with government policies and the rule of law has mobilised the King and the government to initiate reforms to improve the political, economic and social climate of the country.”

Which obviously includes attracting as many tourists as possible regardless of the cultural, social and environmental implications of implementing a straight-down-the-middle capitalist attitude. The announcement of the project was made in May 2011:

Rubicon Group Holding (RGH), a diversified global entertainment organization producing innovative digital animated content and location-based attractions, will design and produce The Red Sea Astrarium (TRSA), a 184-acre themed entertainment resort located in Aqaba, Jordan, which, through a license from CBS Consumer Products, will prominently feature an amazing attraction inspired by the 2009 international hit motion picture, Star Trek. The “Star Trek” attraction is being creatively developed by Paramount Recreation.

That announcement was made today by Randa S. Ayoubi, CEO of Rubicon Group Holding, at the Jordanian-American Business Forum, under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, in a special signing ceremony attended by business leaders from Jordan and the United States.

2) An engineering company determined to prove its “green” credentials, despite being a major provider of oil and gas infrastructure, aviation services, mining infrastructure and massive commercial developments. Arup are all this and far more; and as such gloss over their activities with a thick layer of greenwash, everywhere you look. The Astrarium is no exception:

The Red Sea Astrarium (Astrarium) represents an opportunity to demonstrate Jordan’s commitment to innovation and sustainable development. Resort developments, particularly those that target a global audience, increasingly reflect the global interest in sustainable development. The Astrarium will be at the forefront of sustainable resort development by implementing Arup’s infrastructure recommendations.

The Astrarium is a planned 184 acre entertainment resort and virtual reality theme park showcasing the rich cultural history and future of Jordan and the Middle East. Situated on a soaring plateau close to the Port City of Aqaba, the park includes four hotels, an entertainment district, a man-made saltwater lagoon, and two waterfront areas, one anchored by a ‘Star Trek’ themed attraction.

Brought in to provide infrastructure planning and design of the development’s energy, water, wastewater, solid waste, mobility and logistical management systems, the Astrarium presented a number of challenges to the Arup team. Located 200 metres above sea level in the mountains bordering the Red Sea, the site has no natural source of potable water thanks to the region’s arid climate while the development itself will have a substantial energy demand due to the array of attractions and amenities.

Words and thoughts consistently fail me with every sentence of this remarkable piece of rhetorical bullshit. One thing it does wrap up nicely is that there is NO SUCH THING AS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.

3) A PR company so willing to bend over and take whatever any corporation cares to shove in their direction that they will deliver, en masse, complete lies in order to make a fast buck.

Anyone wishing to undermine any of these three forces has my complete blessing; if you have any success let me know, I would love to see this all come toppling down.

Posted in Company Policies, Corporate Hypocrisy, Government Policies, Political Hypocrisy, Promotions, Techno Fixes | 2 Comments »

An Open Letter to Mike Gonzalez, and Everyone Else Writing About Evo Morales

Posted by keith on 4th October 2011

To: Professor Mike Gonzalez, Glasgow University

Hi Mike

I’ve just read your article “Eva Morales Defence of Mother Earth Rings Hollow in Bolivia” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/oct/03/evo-morales-indigenous-people-protest) and am a little concerned. I assume (hope) you weren’t responsible for the headline as that only reflects a personal opinion, even though the headline implies this as fact. You are no doubt more qualified than me to comment on the political situation in Bolivia, but to suggest that the actions of an over-zealous police force reflects on Morales’ worldview when earlier in the article you show it was subordinates of Morales who ordered and defended the actions of the police is confused, if not dangerous.

There is a huge amount of economic interest in Bolivia, as you correctly state, and to ignore the enormously powerful forces of corporatism and state-sponsored agitation (as has been rife in South America over the past 45 years) in favour of an attack on Morales principles is disingenuous to say the least. A common tactic in past regime changes has been to undermine the head of state through the buying out of lesser politicians, and creating a feeling of unrest on the street by the spreading of rumours, the control of the military and subsequent violence to suppress dissent, and other tactics more subtle yet just as effective. I, and others like me, suspect this is happening at this very moment.

Mainstream NGOs are, of course, blind to such activities as they will always pursue the populist agenda, i.e. that which supports the viewpoints expounded by the bulk of their supporters – after all, where would they get funding from if they were campaigning counter to the viewpoints of their funders? Of course the frontline prevention of unethical activities has to take place, but to report on this and ignore the background of supremely powerful influences bent on regime change (and how better to make it happen than to tar the regime with the brush of “inhumanity” – how ironic given the previous paragraph) is not acceptable. The real kicker here is that none of the mainstream NGOs have signed up to the ground breaking People’s Agreement of Cochabamba, or the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth which Morales himself has pushed for since 2009. This is a telling sign, if not absolute evidence, of the mainstream bias of the media bodies and NGOs reporting on the current situation in Bolivia.

I would urge you to read the article at http://wrongkindofgreen.org/2011/09/30/who-really-leads-on-the-environment-bolivia-verses-the-movement-the-facts-speak-for-themselves/, and perhaps ask that your article be amended to reflect the wider background of corporate and state influence in South America.

Kind regards

Keith Farnish

(More information at http://wrongkindofgreen.org/2011/09/30/peak-hypocrisy-u-s-organizations-exploit-bolivia-crisis/)

Posted in Government Policies, Human Rights, Media Hypocrisy, NGO Hypocrisy, Political Hypocrisy | No Comments »

The Consumer Culture Will Never Be Convicted

Posted by keith on 17th August 2011

Green Acres Mall Walmart Stampede

November 28, 2008: As the recession really started to bite in the Western world, something was stirring in the minds of people across the USA. Black Friday, that time of year when, traditionally, retail businesses move from being in the “red” to being in the “black”, had taken on a Pavlovian significance. Pre-programmed individuals, now operating as a herd, took to the streets in the early hours to elbow their way to the doors of big-box stores in every city. At the Green Acres Mall – whoever thought up that name deserves an award for creative expression – just outside New York City, the Walmart store was under siege; a siege of the company’s own making. Approaching 5am and the fuse had been lit by a notice taped to the front door, implying that shopping was now on a war footing: “Blitz Line Starts Here” it read. The New York Times takes up the story:

By 4:55, with no police officers in sight, the crowd of more than 2,000 had become a rabble, and could be held back no longer. Fists banged and shoulders pressed on the sliding-glass double doors, which bowed in with the weight of the assault. Six to 10 workers inside tried to push back, but it was hopeless.

Suddenly, witnesses and the police said, the doors shattered, and the shrieking mob surged through in a blind rush for holiday bargains. One worker, Jdimytai Damour, 34, was thrown back onto the black linoleum tiles and trampled in the stampede that streamed over and around him. Others who had stood alongside Mr. Damour trying to hold the doors were also hurled back and run over, witnesses said.

Some workers who saw what was happening fought their way through the surge to get to Mr. Damour, but he had been fatally injured, the police said. Emergency workers tried to revive Mr. Damour, a temporary worker hired for the holiday season, at the scene, but he was pronounced dead an hour later at Franklin Hospital Medical Center in Valley Stream.

Four other people, including a 28-year-old woman who was described as eight months pregnant, were treated at the hospital for minor injuries.

Detective Lt. Michael Fleming, who is in charge of the investigation for the Nassau police, said the store lacked adequate security. He called the scene “utter chaos” and said the “crowd was out of control.” As for those who had run over the victim, criminal charges were possible, the lieutenant said. “I’ve heard other people call this an accident, but it is not,” he said. “Certainly it was a foreseeable act.”

As I write, over one thousand people have been arrested in England for various offences related to the events, described as “riots” by the mainstream media, that took place between 6 and 10 August, 2011. Two men have been sentenced to four years imprisonment for “incitement to rioting” on Facebook. On first sight this might seem like a reasonable sentence, given that 5 people, to date, were killed at least in the vicinity of the events, if not directly as a result of them. But take a look at the outcome of the “incitement” carried out by these two men:

Jordan Blackshaw, 20, set up an “event” called Smash Down in Northwich Town for the night of 8 August on the social networking site but no one apart from the police, who were monitoring the page, turned up at the pre-arranged meeting point outside a McDonalds restaurant. Blackshaw was promptly arrested.

Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, of Latchford, Warrington, used his Facebook account in the early hours of 9 August to design a web page entitled The Warrington Riots. The court was told it caused a wave of panic in the town. When he woke up the following morning with a hangover, he removed the page and apologised, saying it had been a joke. His message was distributed to 400 Facebook contacts, but no rioting broke out as a result.

Six months after the trampling to death of Jdimytai Damour – a death that was directly attributable to the shopping frenzy whipped up by Walmart’s Black Friday campaigning and the consumer culture that Walmart are an integral part of – the company were fined $7000 for “inadequate crowd management”. No mention was made of the nature of the event that led to the death of Jdimytai Damour in the formal letter sent by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to the CEO of Walmart and other major retailers, such as JC Penney and Target. Although Walmart fought the original citation, they needn’t have bothered because the consumer culture – the lifeblood of mass retail activity – got away scot-free.

The true cause of the Walmart death did not pass Peter S. Goodman by, though. In a New York Times article published the day after the stampede, he stated: “For decades, Americans have been effectively programmed to shop. China, Japan and other foreign powers have provided the wherewithal to purchase their goods by buying staggering quantities of American debt. Financial institutions have scattered credit card offers as if they were takeout menus and turned our houses into A.T.M.’s. Hollywood and Madison Avenue have excelled at persuading us that the holiday season is a time to spend lavishly or risk being found insufficiently appreciative of our loved ones.”

Fast forward to August 2011, and in a scathing indictment of the culture within which the English unrest took place, the comedian and broadcaster Russell Brand writes: “Amidst the bleakness of this social landscape, squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity. That daily, hourly, incessantly enforces the egregious, deceitful message that you are what you wear, what you drive, what you watch and what you watch it on, in livid, neon pixels. The only light in their lives comes from these luminous corporate messages. No wonder they have their fucking hoods up.” Russell Brand seems to be one of the few lights in the corporate and politically generated swill masquerading as journalism.

So we look again at the four year sentences handed down to Jordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan for “incitement” to riots that never occured, and wonder why, if the real cause of looting and the violence that often surrounds such incidents is the simple desire to attain the consumer goods that we are implored to seek out, the huge corporations that make money from our desires never have the finger pointed at their activities. And we have to conclude that without the consumer culture there would be no economic growth, and without economic growth there would be no more industrial civilization. That is a price that no politician, CEO, media-mogul or investment banker ever wants to pay.

And that is why the consumer culture will never be convicted.

Posted in Corporate Hypocrisy, Media Hypocrisy, Political Hypocrisy | 2 Comments »

I’m On The Run

Posted by keith on 7th June 2011

Actually I’m not. It would have been quite exciting to have been writing a blog from an internet cafe somewhere, or hijacking a wireless connection outside an office building, but it seems I am safe and snug in my home completely bereft of law enforcement officers hammering at my door demanding I complete the 2011 Census. Following on from my public announcement that I would be breaking the “law” (actually breaching the terms of the Census Act, as they aren’t allowed to call it a law) there was a mixture of wholehearted support, denial that the census was anything but an important social tool, and personal appeals to just fill the damn thing in.

As expected I received a few visits from the census taker, a very nice lady in her 50s, I would say, who continued to follow the official line regardless of what I said, although towards the end I did sense that she felt she would rather be somewhere else than at my door listening to various problems I had with the execution of the census. What emerged prior to census day really sealed my position though. It turned out that, during an experimental testing of the census materials, I couldn’t get the envelope to stick down. After all the claims of security on the Scotland’s Census website with regards to CACI (UK) Ltd, they couldn’t even use proper envelope glue, effectively making the act of posting the census form a security failure in itself. It wasn’t just me – of the four people I asked in Scotland, two of them had already noticed this, one had stuck their envelope successfully, and one hadn’t checked. As the two people weren’t even that local to me then I have to assume the problem was more widespread than just my local office.

This I passed onto the Census Office, my local MSP, my MP and a couple of newspapers. The resulting publicity over this complete balls-up was…zero. It seemed that the census was sacrosanct and nothing would be allowed to cast a pall over its exulted status – especially given the amount of money and airtime being utilised telling people that the MUST FILL IN THE FORM. A £1000 fine loomed, so we were all told.

After the second note of non-compliance had been put through my letter box, I bumped into the census taker outside my gate. The conversation went something like this:

“Have you filled in your census form yet?”

“No.”

“You do know that you have to fill it in or you will get a fine.”

“Yes.”

And I walked off to buy a local paper.

The next time I met the census taker was on my doorstep. She was a bit less smiley than usual. I explained that this was nothing personal but I would not be filling in my census form until the Census Office had explained how they were going to deal with the likely security breaches resulting from the failure of the envelopes to seal, and that I had absolutely no confidence in their ability to keep confidential data from a military contractor given that they couldn’t even keep their data safe from casual sorting office glances. This was noted, and that was the last time I ever saw her.

I expected a formal letter soon afterwards. None came. It has been six weeks since the Census was supposed to have been filled in. According to the Census Web Site, this is the compliance process:

1. Your census taker (enumerator) will visit to remind you to complete the questionnaire and offer help and advice to do so. If you’re out, they will leave a reminder card.

2. If the questionnaire is still not with us after seven days, your census taker will visit again and, if you’re out, will leave a second reminder card.

3. If you refuse to take part, that information will be forwarded to the census non-compliance team.

4. You will be sent a warning letter from the Registrar General Duncan Macniven. Warning letters are also issued to people who publicly state that they refuse to fill in a census and/or encourage others not to.

5. You may also be visited by census non-compliance officers and your case may be referred to the Procurator Fiscal. Successful prosecutions will result in a fine of up to £1,000 and a criminal record.

No letter, even though I publicly stated my refusal to fill in the census, and encouraged others not to do so. No visit from non-compliance officers. Nothing.

I am very disappointed; I wanted a fight, in court, and in public. It would have been a great pleasure to explain to the media and the courts that despite my calls to the Census Office and my so-called representatives, no public statement was made, not even the pathetic “You could stick it down with tape” one official respondant suggested, with regards to the impending security breach. I would have loved to have got the Census Office to publicly state that despite not even being able to source a decent glue we should still trust our personal information to a company that used state privilege to escape prosecution for repeated human rights violations.

If it happens, you’ll be the first to know.

Posted in Cover Ups, Exposure, Government Policies, Political Hypocrisy | 2 Comments »

Everyone Must Follow The Rules (Apart From Those Who Make The Rules)

Posted by keith on 4th May 2011

Enjoy the moment – the personification of Evil is dead. Take to the streets and express your sheer joy at the end of a symbol. Paint your banners and hold them high; unfurl your flags and wave them in the night sky; don your army surplus trousers and bare your chests: we have a winner folks, and it’s the US of A!

Now haul that son-of-a-bitch in front of the public and make him justify his atrocities. How did he raise such a complex network of followers and stay safe for 30 years? Where did the money and the weapons come from? How did he cause so much destruction with so few people? Force him to explain the killings. Why does he hate the West so much? Why, just why?

Sorry, we can’t do that, we seem to have killed him. Bullet to the back of the head – easy mistake to make. We will speak for him.

But the body. There has to be a body we can examine, if not gloat over, and confirm that the bogeyman is once and for all dead. Show the world that the conspiracy nuts were wrong – he didn’t die ten years ago in Tora Bora; he wasn’t killed in a shoot-out in Kabul; he didn’t breathe his last before now. The palace of Islamist dreams held his evil self right on the doorstep of the Pakistani authorities, and America smoked him out. His lifeless self lies on the slab.

Sorry, we can’t do that, we dumped him in the ocean where the fishes feed on his flesh. Muslim tradition, you see. We had his body, ok – there’s DNA and everything.

Now if you don’t mind we have interviews to do; elections to win; oil to pump and an empire to run.

Hold those flags up higher.

Posted in Political Hypocrisy | 3 Comments »

Irony Alert! Red Tape Challenge a Breach of National Security

Posted by keith on 18th April 2011

I’ve just come off the phone after speaking to a nice person at the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. She sounded a little concerned, or maybe that was just bemusement, after I pointed out that the UK Government’s latest brain-busting measure – known, all chummily, as the Red Tape Challenge – is actually in breach of national security. Why does this matter? Well, it’s taken a little bit of research, but essentially the government appears to have been so hasty to roll out yet another pro-business, pro Daily Mail / Sun Reader, pro corporate industrial lobby idea, that they haven’t bothered to check their own legislation, nor considered what Cutting Red Tape would actually mean.

According to the RTC web site, the aim of the project is:

about harnessing the experience and ideas of those who deal with regulation day-in, day-out to help us cut red tape. Through this site we’re gathering your thoughts on which regulations should stay, which can be merged, which can be scrapped and so on. Ministers and government officials will then use this information to help them cut the right regulations in the right way.

There are, apparently, 21,000 pieces of legislation that are up for review and the real focus comes clear not much further down the page:

The challenge aims to look at the stock of over 21,000 statutory rules and regulations that are active in the UK today. The priority will be to focus on regulations that we know place the biggest burdens on businesses and society.

The Red Tape Challenge starts to look like a nasty piece of work already, as it’s clearly about making it easier for businesses to do what they want more easily, which is essentially to make money. The fillip of “society” at the end is revealed to be code for “more business” as the RTC is actually being run by a team at the Department for Innovation, Business and Skills (the old Department for Trade and Industry).

You can call them if you like to check: it’s 020 7215 5720 and I know it’s that department because it’s in the number range for the old DTI. I also know this because on the BIS website is a big banner promoting the project.

The BIS’s watchword is “growth“; in fact the entire UK government’s watchword is “growth”:

Growth is the Government’s top priority and every part of Government is focused on it. But we need to grow differently.

Growth must be sustainable, shared and balanced – across the country and between sectors of the economy.

There is a clear and active role for Government to create the conditions for the private sector to grow and remove unnecessary barriers that can stifle growth.

And there is a strong role for BIS, as the Department for Growth, in enabling this.

Almost everything that BIS does – from investing in skills to making markets more dynamic and reducing regulation, and from promoting trade to boosting innovation and helping people start and grow a business – helps drive growth.

Growth, especially private sector growth, is a guarantee of environmental harm. It is economic growth that leads to greenhouse gas emissions. Here’s a graph I produced for another article:

So, we have an obvious desire – unless, somehow they have overlooked this massively obvious correlation – by the UK government to cause environmental damage. Bear in mind that it would be childs play to construct similar graphs comparing trade to global deforestation, species extinction, water toxification, oceanic fish depletion and so on. Economic growth= environmental damage, end of story.

Then we have this interesting statement on the RTC page:

Are any regulations excluded?

The exercise will not examine regulations in relation to tax or national security.

Ok, so what is National Security. It’s not so hard to find that out because I used to work in something called Business Continuity Management which meant regular contact with the various rules that governed contingency planning at all scales. National Security actually means the protection of anything that is covered by National Emergency legislation; in the UK this falls under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. Obviously this is not going to be repealed by the Red Tape Challenge (actually I don’t think anything is, but that’s another matter entirely) as it is at the core of national security legislation. What is particularly interesting are the definitions listed in the Act itself:

19 Meaning of “emergency”

(1)In this Part “emergency” means—

(a)an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in the United Kingdom or in a Part or region,

(b)an event or situation which threatens serious damage to the environment of the United Kingdom or of a Part or region, or

(c)war, or terrorism, which threatens serious damage to the security of the United Kingdom.

(2)For the purposes of subsection (1)(a) an event or situation threatens damage to human welfare only if it involves, causes or may cause—

(a)loss of human life,
(b)human illness or injury,
(c)homelessness,
(d)damage to property,
(e)disruption of a supply of money, food, water, energy or fuel,
(f)disruption of a system of communication,
(g)disruption of facilities for transport, or
(h)disruption of services relating to health.

(3)For the purposes of subsection (1)(b) an event or situation threatens damage to the environment only if it involves, causes or may cause—

(a)contamination of land, water or air with biological, chemical or radio-active matter, or
(b)disruption or destruction of plant life or animal life.

Ring any bells? Yep, the things related to environmental damage are precisely those that are caused by economic growth, including radioactive matter (hint: Fukushima). Strange also then that is a whole section on the Red Tape Challenge related to the 278 regulations that currently provide at least a bit of protection to the very environment that, were it threatened – say, by a lack of regulation – would be a breach of national security!

Care to take another look at this Mr Cameron, or are you too busy thinking up another business-loving scheme to care?

Posted in Government Policies, Political Hypocrisy | 2 Comments »

Switch Your Lights ON for Earth Hour!

Posted by keith on 24th March 2011

Earth Hour Sucks tower block

Once upon a time there was just greenwash: corporations and governments went to great lengths to convince a concerned public that they were doing everything they could to help the natural environment return to its former glory. All the time they were filling their bank accounts and pumping up their career prospects. You could be green and profitable and no one would suspect the former was nothing but a lie.

Then the non-profits got involved and things started to become complicated. Partnerships were drawn up between the biggest “environmental” NGOs and the most destructive corporations on Earth, all for a tiny sliver of the corporate pie, and a large wad of environmental fuzziness. The corporations looked good; the NGOs got their funding; the planet continued to fry and die.

And then it went even further. Greenwash became partnership became parody as the NGOs fully embraced both the corporate world and the trivial activities they put forward as symbols of their committment to a better world. And a better world it would be: if all you cared about was making money, that is.

Earth Hour 2011 is nearly upon us, and it stands as the ultimate parody of this great coming together of all that is evil in the world of greenwashing. I don’t use the term “evil” lightly. A person cannot be evil; an action can. Earth Hour is evil because it not only allows corporations, politicians, urban sprawls and industrial monoliths to look good in the eyes of a naive public, it actively attacks genuine attempts to try and undermine the very things that feed off Earth Day. An ordinary person in the thrall of industrial civilization cannot fail to be impressed by the sight of a thousand buildings simultaneously switching off their lights in the name of planet Earth; how can something as mundane as building non-dependent communities compete with such glamour.

How can supergluing the valves on the Las Vegas fountains compete with the casinos on the strip switching off their lights for an hour?

How can setting up a community barter scheme compete with Canary Wharf in London switching off its lights for an hour?

How can creating food self-sufficiency compete with Sears in Canada switching off or dimming its lights for an hour?

How can groups of people finding that time spent embracing their local environment rather than jetting across the world compete with Skycity in New Zealand switching off its lights for an hour?

Well, exactly. It’s bullshit, all of it!

And that is why, for Earth Hour 2011, at 8.30pm on Saturday 26th March, if you are doing nothing more important then switch all your lights on. Every single one.

You might have to fight with that part of you that says, “This is wasteful!” but you need to fight it. That one hour spent consciously doing the exact opposite of what the industrial system would like you to think is the right thing to do is what will help cut that link between the machine and your own individual humanity.

Earth Hour is Evil.

SWITCH ON YOUR LIGHTS ON MARCH 26TH.

Posted in Campaigns, Corporate Hypocrisy, NGO Hypocrisy, Political Hypocrisy, Sabotage, Symbolic Action | 22 Comments »

International Atomic Energy Agency Spinning Like Crazy!

Posted by keith on 13th March 2011

Courtesy of BBC News website

In the light of the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsumani, government and internation agencies are working like crazy to ensure no news remains good news regarding the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Yet from the BBC we hear the following:

There are now problems at the number three reactor – the concern is that it is overheating. They’re trying to pump sea water through it at the moment. That’s an unusual, somewhat innovative solution to the problem. But the fact that they’re prepared to consider unusual solutions like that gives you a hint of just how serious the problem is.

This is a very difficult issue for the Japanese government. There has always been concern here about the safety of nuclear power stations, about the wisdom of building nuclear power stations, on which Japan relies hugely for its energy needs, in a country which is so prone to earthquakes.

They’re also aware that they don’t want to cause panic. On Saturday we saw the exclusion zone around this plant gradually increase. First of all it was just a few kilometres, now it’s much wider. But obviously once that exclusion zone is extended, you’ve then got to get the people out. So it’s important, they would say, not to cause unnecessary panic. And that’s why they’re trying to play this down as much as they can.

The World Nuclear Association are being fairly up-front with the facts, albeit holding back on speculation about possible outcomes; thus we read from them:

Operations to relieve pressure in the containment of Fukushima Daiichi 3 have taken place after the failure of a core coolant system.

The news comes one day after the plant’s first reactor was effectively written off as a result of a hydrogen explosion and the move to inject seawater to make certain of cooling the reactor core. Two days ago were the earthquake and tsunami that have proven Japan’s worst ever natural disaster.

Reactors 1, 2 and 3 were in operation at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (Tepco’s) east coast power station when the earthquake struck. Three other reactors were already shut for inspection and all three operating units underwent automatic shutdown as expected. Because plant power and grid power were unavailable during the earthquake, diesel generators started automatically to supply power for decay heat removal.

This situation continued for one hour until the plant was hit by the tsunami wave, which stopped the generators and left the plant in black-out conditions. The loss of power meant inevitable rises in temperature within the reactor system as well increases in pressure. Engineers fought for many hours to install mobile power units to replace the diesels and managed to stabilise conditions at units 2 and 3.

However, there was not enough power to provide sufficient coolant to unit 1, which came under greater and greater strain from falling water levels and steady pressure rises. Tepco found it necessary yesterday to vent steam from the reactor containment. Next, the world saw a sharp hydrogen explosion destroy a portion of the reactor building roof. Prime minister Naoto Kan ordered the situation brought under control by the injection of seawater to the reactor vessel.

Now Tepco has reported it has not been able to restart unit 3′s high pressure injection system after an automatic stop. This has left the reactor without sufficient coolant and obligated Tepco to notify government of an emergency situation.

Yet what do we hear from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which purports to speak for the entire nuclear industry and all governments that have nuclear capability:

Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that Units 1, 2, and 4 at the Fukushima Daini retain off-site power. Daini Unit 3 is in a safe, cold shutdown, according to Japanese officials.

Even the WNA are incredulous at this statement; their Twitter feed states:

#IAEA quashes reports of problems at #Fukushima Daiichi 3 #nuclear #japan #earthquake

Which leads us to the obvious conclusion that there is a huge cover-up taking place, but failing in part because there is too much obvious contradiction of information. In this situation the best approach is to listen to your nearest equivalent to a trusted news source and not listen to a word emanating from government (Japanese or otherwise) or the IAEA.

Posted in Cover Ups, Government Policies, Political Hypocrisy | 11 Comments »

UK Census 2011: Why I Will Be Breaking The Law on March 27, 2011

Posted by keith on 28th February 2011

On Sunday March 27, 2011 I will be breaking the law.

If you live in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland then I would also like you to break the law. We can do it together, and I know for a fact that an awful lot of people will be doing the same.

The UK Census 2011 is being held on that date, and everyone is expected to have their details recorded and sent back to the government for processing. Except it won’t, because it is not the job of the government to do the processing – and that is the key to why I will be breaking the law.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the Census data will be recorded and processed by one of the largest arms manufacturers in the world. In Scotland the Census data will be recorded and processed by a company wholly owned by a military services contractor. The following extract from the 2011 Census Security Report puts the two contractors in context:

The review team are aware that this has been a matter of public interest and note that the use of UK and EU subcontractors places Lockheed-Martin UK at arm’s length from the data gathered in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland. Once the data capture infrastructure has been completed. there will be a ‘scrubbing’ stage in which all routes of access for Lockheed-Martin UK employees will be removed and the Census Ofices will formally assume control, with Steria, an EU company, undertaking the necessary data management and administrative functions. There have been public assurances that the contractual arrangements have been structured to ensure that only sub-contractors registered and based in the UK, and either UK or EU owned, will have access to personal census data. No Lockheed-Martin staff (from either the US parent or UK company) will have access to any personal census data. The approach adopted by GROS [General Register Office for Scotland] has been similar, and GROS will play a major role in controlling access to the infrastructure used for processing data supplied in the 2011 Census. It is a condition of the contract with CACI (UK) that personal census information will not leave the UK. GROS have confirmed that CACI (UK)’s sub-contractors with access to 2011 Census data have no US links and that the Act, therefore, does not apply to them. GROS have also given public assurances on contractor confidentiality in this area.

It is important to note that under Patriot Act rules, any data processed by a US company for any reason can legally (under US law) be utilised for the purposes of National Security. In the case of the UK Census it is of great interest to National Security who has whatever name, living in whatever place, having whatever religious beliefs, holding whatever passport and having whatever country of origin (and maybe staying in whatever country for more than 30 days a year). This information is being collected, and there is nothing any foreign government can do to legally stop the US government and its agencies from using that data if the data gets into the US-based processing facilities of either Lockheed-Martin or CACI International Inc.

This fact has been recognised by the Office of National Statistics, revealed in a startling passage:

Concerns expressed about the possibility of the US Patriot Act being used by US intelligence services have been addressed by a number of additional contractual and operational safeguards. These arrangements have been put in place to ensure to that US authorities are unable to access census data.

The ONS know they have no legal powers to prevent the access to data, so they are merely going to try and do their best to make sure it can’t happen. Yeah, right!

And that isn’t even the major issue. As mentioned above, both of the companies involved in gathering and carrying out the initial data processing are involved in providing arms (in one case) and services (in both cases) to military operations.

The Office of National Statistics has awarded the England, Wales and Northern Ireland contract to Lockheed Martin, one of the largest arms companies in the world. From their own website:

While a pilot engaging an enemy in armed conflict is a defining moment, air power is more than just aircraft. Air power includes actual aircraft, training, focused logistics, munitions, and even targeting and navigation systems – all the interconnected pieces necessary to complete their missions successfully. Lockheed Martin is a global leader in the design, manufacture and support of military aircraft.

Lockheed Martin provides high altitude airborne reconnaissance that includes state of the art imagery sensors that collect intelligence in all weather and light conditions. This enables the warfighter to download and transmit data in real time via satellite to multiple ground stations and other manned and unmanned aircraft around the world.

The General Register Office for Scotland has awarded the Scotland contract to CACI (UK) Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CACI International Inc. From their own website:

In support of DISA CACI also provides global net-centric solutions to our nation’s warfighters under all conditions of peace and war. CACI is the predominant IT services provider supporting a highly sensitive DISA agency that designs, operates and maintains presidential communication systems. CACI integrated computer network security solutions that formed a network which the National Security Agency (NSA) evaluated as one of the most secure government IT networks in the U.S.

Missile Defense Agency (MDA) – As the market leader in contracting and acquisition support, CACI has supported the MDA since 1993 by providing complex contracting and acquisition services. CACI’s expertise has been pivotal in evolving and transforming MDA’s mission over many years. CACI’s services are essential to awarding multiple billion dollar missile defense systems and associated services contracts. This cornerstone program has led CACI to become the premier contracting and acquisition support contractor and for the entire DoD and federal civilian marketplace.

Having companies like this deal with public census data is rather like having Monsanto carry out your gardening. They might be able to do the job, but do you really trust them to do the right thing; and do you really feel comfortable paying them to do the job given what they routinely do to the natural ecosystems of the world?

So that is why I will be breaking the law on Sunday March 27, 2011. And that’s why I will be explaining to the census-taker when they come to my door to collect the form that, for both data security and ethical reasons I wish to have no part in the Census. I will not be filling it in.

I know for a fact that I won’t be going to jail, despite what some media sources have been claiming, and I probably won’t even get a fine*; but if push comes to shove, here are some other things I might be trying to avoid giving any satisfaction to the peddlers of blood gathering the data:

1) Spoiling the Census form by making it illegible;

2) Filling in vague data that provides no useful information, but is not false in any way;

3) Filibusting on the doorstep, so that the census-taker runs out of time;

4) Claiming the rights of a Conscientious Objector given the business of the business of the companies involved (particulaly useful if this ever goes to court, for more information read this article).

I don’t think I will be the only person doing this…

– ————

*From the Census Act 1920

Penalties.

(1)If any person—

(a)refuses or neglects to comply with or acts in contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or any Order in Council or regulations made under this Act; or

(b)being a person required under this Act to make a statutory declaration with respect to the performance of his duties, makes a false declaration; or

(c)being a person required by any Order in Council or regulations made under this Act to make, sign, or deliver any document, makes, signs, or delivers, or causes to be made, signed, or delivered a false document; or

(d)being a person required in pursuance of any such Order in Council or regulations to answer any question, refuses to answer or gives a false answer to that question;

he shall for each offence be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

Posted in Advice, Human Rights, Political Hypocrisy, Sabotage | 6 Comments »