Saturday, December 19, 2009

S.Yorks Police Farce - at it again - negiligent, abusive cowards

Right. I've had it with South Yorkshire Police Farce. I've now witnessed dozens of cases, and know of many others anecdotally, where they have behaved in a completely negligent, bullying, cowardly, abusive - and quite possibly criminal - fashion. I've never seen a Police Farce like it. Its time to start making a record of their actions and this blog is as good a place to do it.

A bit of personal background just to clarify matters - I've worked as a nightclub doorman on and off for over a decade. Truth be told I haven't needed to do the job for years, what with jobs during the day ranging from IT consultant to researcher. I've kept my hand in though because I don't want to go soft and I see tough times ahead. It also confers a lot of social benefits, including having a much better intelligence network in the City than the police have. They could share it if we trusted eachother, but since the introduction of the complete farce and sinkhole of money that is the SIA (Security Industry Authority), relationships between doorstaff and the police in the city have moved rapidly from neutrality to complete distrust. The Police - apparently driven by targets madness - find doorstaff a particularly easy group to score points off and there's no better way to do this than use the threat of the idiot SIA. But that's another story.

This week they took the piss beyond belief. I don't like to litter too many of my blog posts with swearing, in this case however I have to use the expletives to express the rage and frustration at what is occurring - and is largely invisible to the general public.

Wednesday 16th Dec 2009 - Incident 1
Wednesday night they arrive at the club for one of their regular 'harassment rounds'. They said they have come to find drunk people in the club (!!). In they go, search through roughly 1100 people and manage to find one person who, they think, is "too drunk". They drag him out into the freezing weather. He's just wearing a shirt. He seems to sober up pretty rapidly and is compos mentis. He asks if he can go back in to find his friends and get his jacket and wallet (apparently in the care of his friends). On account of his distinctly non-paralytic state the club staff are more than happy to let him back in. The police refuse however. They send him on his way, in the freezing cold, without his friends, jacket or wallet. Presumably because they couldn't stand the possibility that he was actually in a relatively fit state and it was more important to save face than consider his well being.

But wait, there's more.....

There are six police officers stood intimidatingly outside the club. A call comes in over the emergency radio (given to all venues in the City) from another venue. Its kicking off and they need police assistance urgently. The CCTV centre tells them that "there are no units available". Oddly enough our lying eyes can see six "units" doing fuck all stood outside our venue. The member of staff in the box office who looks after the radio comes out to the front and demands that the police go to assist immediately. After a bit of grumbling they piss off.

Ten minutes later they are back, "looking for drunk people", Oh and holding the club responsible for what people half a mile a way are doing through being "too drunk". Meanwhile, calls are coming in again over the emergency radio from the same venue, more desperate this time, saying that the situation is escalating and they really really need the police there. The "units" outside our place stay put, busy "looking for drunk people".

Friday 18th Dec 2009 - Incident 2

The police turn up mob-handed again. Go in for another one of their tours looking for "drunk people". They come out of the club and announce to the staff that the club is "serving alcohol to drunk people". What the fucking fuck? Its a nightclub you stupid cunts. And those who know our venue know that its one of the safest places to be in town drunk or sober. (Meanwhile we have the Gangster's paradise around the corner that attracts gangs from all over the country who regularly attack eachother with champagne bottles, bring knives, guns, set fire to cars outside etc. But they get a clean bill of health from South Yorks Plod...).

Anyway, the "units" announce that they will return in half an hour and if we are still "serving alcohol to drunk people", they will close the venue down.

There aren't words to describe the seething anger at this point.

They turned up again later and planted themselves in a line a few meters away, directly opposite the main entrance to the club. Anyone would think that we had just had a riot at the club. The club's customers come out, as they always do, generally chilled out and happily drunk to be presented with intimidation from our local "units".

I spoke to the club management about it. Apparently the club is coming in for "special treatment". Why? Well the council has decided that the era of cheap alcohol must come to an end in all venues. Our venue doesn't agree and is still providing cheap vodka deals. So, in the absence of any vaguely fucking relevant laws, they decide to engage in harassment.

South Yorkshire Police Farce has form.

I wish these kinds of incidents were the exception rather than the norm with South Yorkshire Police. To my great disappointment they are not. Here's a small selection of other similar incidents recently:

- After talking to staff from other venues it appears that, often on the same nights, there are mysteriously "no units available" when an emergency call goes in. The emergency radio isn't used lightly - calling the police out on it can cause problems when the venue's license is up for review. A particularly low example was when one venue's doorstaff pulled all the customers back in and barred the doors because there was a gang outside brandishing a shotgun. An emergency call went out - apparently the police would not come unless the staff "were sure that it was a real firearm".

- Brett Blake was stabbed to death last year in a city venue. Here's what the news reports didn't mention: The police were already outside the venue in force when it was kicking off inside. They refused to go in. Multiple people were hurt with knife wounds, including staff. The venue in question only had two exits, easily covered. The police could have easily nabbed the people responsible literally red handed. One of the doorstaff who had been fighting to protect customers inside from at least one knife-wielding assailant came out, covered in blood. He demanded that the police go in. They refused. He called them "a bunch of useless bastards". They arrested him.

- About a year back I gave evidence in legal proceedings that directly contradicted the "evidence" provided by one of our wonderful local officers who was trying to climb the greasy pole by getting a club closed down "for not operating a membership scheme for its under 18s night" (n.b. this was an occasional night that was kept completely separately from the adult nights, ending at 8pm....). What, it transpired, the police had been doing is engaging in what I can only describe as "evidence construction". Aside from my testimony as a witness, I also pointed out that if the police are to construct evidence then they might want to use a calendar. The night on which several officers apparently claimed to have seen several youths under 18, (n.b. they didn't actually age check these alleged youths), clearly under the influence of alcohol,(they saw from being sat in their car) and clearly having had attended the under-18s night (there was no under-18s night on the night specified - in fact, the date they gave was for a night renowned throughout the city for having an average age of 35+).

- We had a massive ruck outside the club with a gang of 20-something hoolies. They were throwing bricks, sticks and whatever else they could find at us. A police car had been sat about 200m away watching the whole thing. After the gang had gone, they cruised down and demanded to know what we had done to start it. (This was one of many incidents where police were actually there, witnessing something from beginning to end and letting the assailants walk away scot free).

- We threw three lads out who had been causing trouble inside. When outside the club they threatened two separate groups of people with a knife, then ran up the road, beat up some kids (including one girl) and came back to stand outside the club again. One of the groups called the police. Two officers turned up. Despite multiple witnesses we had to harass them - harass them!! To go and have a word with the lads in question. They didn't even search them, despite allegations from multiple witnesses that they had been threatened with a knife.

- One of our staff was on their own working the early doors for a band. A group of kids came running down the street being chased by another gang Of No Specific Appearance. Our member of staff let the kids hide inside the club and told the following scrotes to fuck off. They did and came back later with two dogs and knives. An emergency call went out. Apparently the police were too busy (at 7pm) to come deal with knife wielding Youths of No Specific Appearance with dogs, threatening to kill a member of staff and do god knows what to a bunch of kids.

I could go on.....these stories go on and on and I'm sick to fucking death of it. And those are just some of my stories - there are plenty of other people in South Yorkshire who could tell you more. So I've resolved to start making a record of every one of these incidents. I've got to the point where I really don't care about my badge any more. Frankly, if you're interested in keeping people in a nightclub safe from predatory criminals and just garden variety dickheads, you're better off being a member of the public than a badged member of door staff. And forget phoning the police for help. I don't understand what we pay the South Yorkshire Police to do except make "normal" people's lives a complete and abject misery.

If it keeps on this way there is going to be some kind of ugly reckoning.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Green snake in the grass

What would you think if I told you that the furore over climategate was not the most critical topic where the AGW lobby was concerned? How would you feel if I said that the EU and our almost silent drift into a federal super-state should not be at the top of your list for ways to raise your blood pressure? What would you think if I pointed out, at the centre of all of this - where Climategate has been the signal symptom pulling back the curtain - there was, at base a sustained assault on reason itself?

Hyperbole? Paranoia? Read on....

Buried deep within the furore over Climategate is a deeper and far more insidious issue, so far only mentioned in passing by a few in the odd comment on Climategate, and only one politically focused blogger recently (at least in direct relation to AGW "science"), along with a handful of lone voices scattered around from some time before climategate - for example here. Despite its critical seriousness, this issue didn't reach critical mass in the blogosphere, being commented on by a few disparate observers.

What is this hidden monster to which I refer?

It is the fact that many of those involved in what I will call the 'AGW confluence' (the historically unprecedented coming together of (many previously disparate) interests around the AGW issue), are followers of the philosophy of "post-normal science".

As BuyTheTruth explains in their blog on this topic. This isn't just a case of science being politicised and brought, or even a case of moving from modern to "post-modern" science (where post-modernism at least provides a useful contribution of highlighting the subjective element in everything). It is an altogether more fundamental shift. And in using the term "post normal science", they hoped we wouldn't notice. They were right.

BTT's blog really deserves very wide readership - wider than that of Climategate itself. The stakes here couldn't be higher. I've tried getting a few of the high-traffic Libertarian bloggers interested, but no joy so I decided to go into some detail on this issue myself and hope it will be picked up by my fellow bloggers:

The idea behind "post normal science" (PNS) is to make science instrumental and democratic (even "moral"). I hope you balked at reading that idea, just like I did. We libertarian minded folk naturally seek a political settlement that maximises the liberty of the individual. The idea of applying such a principle to Science however is pure anathema, yet that is exactly what has happened. And it has not simply morphed into a scientific tyranny of the majority (despite the oft cited "thousands" of scientists supposedly supporting the IPCC conclusions unequivocally) - it is the brought and paid for appearance of (tyranny of the) majority that counts. PNS scientists and philosphers don't care for truth you see - only 'values'.

The originator of this philosophy is one Jerome Ravetz. If the following quote from Ravetz doesn't make your head explode, you probably need to read it twice:

"…climate change models are a form of “seduction”…advocates of the models…recruit possible supporters, and then keep them on board when the inadequacy of the models becomes apparent. This is what is understood as “seduction”; but it should be observed that the process may well be directed even more to the modelers themselves, to maintain their own sense of worth in the face of disillusioning experience.

…but if they are not predictors, then what on earth are they? The models can be rescued only by being explained as having a metaphorical function, designed to teach us about ourselves and our perspectives under the guise of describing or predicting the future states of the planet…A general recognition of models as metaphors will not come easily. As metaphors, computer models are too subtle…for easy detection. And those who created them may well have been prevented…from being aware of their essential character."


This is as nasty and insidious as nasty and insidious gets.

And the glove fits more perfectly than you could imagine:

"The theory of Post-Normal Science…needs to be renewed and enriched…The time is not ripe for a modification of PNS, and so the best move forward is to raise the issue of Sustainability. For that I sketch a theory of complex systems, with special attention to pathologies and failures. That provides the foundation for a use of ‘contradiction’ as a problem incapable of resolution in its own terms, and also of ‘characteristic contradiction’ that drives a system to a crisis. With those materials it is possible to state the characteristic contradiction of our modern industrial civilisation, and provide a diagram with heuristic power."
[emphasis mine]

I'll repeat BuyTheTruth's commentary here as there is no point paraphrasing what is probably expressed more succinctly than I would have done:

"Heuristic power is the power to explain ‘factual novelties’. ‘Contradiction’ and ‘characteristic contradiction’ are Marxist speak. Heard about ’sustainability’ recently? You bet! Ravetz gives the Greens the tools they need to do their dirty work. He gives them the philosophical blueprint to attack modern industrial civilization. Now, let’s be clear: post-normal science is one of the manipulative arts that Machiavelli would have been proud of."
[My emphasis]

Instead of "truth", what we should have instead is "quality" (c.f. the idea of "value added data" coming out of Climategate.....)

Another doozy is quoted by BuyTheTruth, from Eva Kunseler, Towards a new paradigm of Science in scientific policy advising:

"The exercise of scholarly activities is defined by the dominance of goal orientation where scientific goals are controlled by political or societal actors…Scientists’ integrity lies not in disinterestedness but in their behaviour as stakeholders.

....he guiding principle of normal science – the goal of achievement of factual knowledge - must be modified to fit the post-normal principle…For this purpose, post-normal scientists should be capable of establishing extended peer communities and allow for ‘extended facts’ from non-scientific experts

....Involved social actors must agree on the definition of perceptions, narratives, interpretation of models, data and indicators."


Is *any* of this making you feel sick yet? For me its positively vomit inducing. Are you getting this? Scientists should no longer pursue the goal of being "disinterested", they should be considered, instead "stakeholders". This is a paradigm shift onwards from the post-modernist observation that no science, or scientist is value free. That's one of the whole points of the scientific enterprise - that different scientists correct one another's bias.

Another quote provided by BuyTheTruth from a critic of "post normal science", Richard Fernandez really hits the spot:

"All in all, the notion of “post-normal science” seems like a complete contradiction in terms or a perversion of the standard definition of science as commonly understood. It appears to be an elaborate and dishonest attempt to pass off the preferences of a single group as some kind of pseudo-science. There’s a much simpler term for this dishonest phrase: politics. Post-normal science is nothing but a cheap and lying term for a political diktat; for the rule of the self-appointed over everyone else. Whatever truth “Global Warming” may contain it has surely been damaged by its association with this disreputable and vile concept which brazenly casts aside the need for any factual basis and declares in the most unambiguous terms that whatever values it chooses to promote constitutes a truth unimpeachable by reality and a set of values that none dare challenge."

I'm at risk of repeating BuyTheTruth's entire blog, so I must recommend in the strongest possible terms that you read the original in full. As far as I'm concerned, the collated quotations from Mike Hulme are more damning than if he was caught anally raping goats (without lube) in sacrificial rituals to gaia and the almighty Al Ogre (and this list of quotes alone is worth reading BTT for). And claiming "out of context quotes" won't cut it. He hides these conclusions in amongst lots of reasonable sounding points. I've read enough of his quotes in context now to see that he does indeed mean it.

Look at the way Hulme, in the Guardian, dismisses sceptics Singer and Avery: "So this book from Singer and Avery can be understood in a different way: as a challenge to the process of climate change science, or to the values they believe to be implicit in the science, rather than as a direct challenge to scientific knowledge."

At points in Hulme's piece in the Guardian it seems that his main intention is to ask scientists to be very open about the values that inform their inquiry. Obviously this is something I applaud. However, his conclusion - here and elsewhere - appears to be that because scientists do bring values to the table, we should give up on rational truth-seeking traditional scientific behaviour and focus instead on transmitting these values, using science as a vehicle, as he reveals here: "What matters about climate change is not whether we can predict the future with some desired level of certainty and accuracy; it is whether we have sufficient foresight, supported by wisdom, to allow our perspective about the future, and our responsibility for it, to be altered."



Shockingly, the highest profile treatment this has received has been from Melanie Phillips, who draws equally sinister conclusions to myself, BTT and the few others who have encountered these carrion ridden philosophers.

The reason they escaped notice is because - in 2007 when Phillips was writing - no one even realised what the CRU was, or how critical it was to the IPCC conclusions, never mind the individual names of its members. What climategate has done for us is more valuable than reveal the dodgy science behind a key pillar of the "consensus" - it has revealed the work of this insidious bunch and their underlying philosophy. Instead of just asking "is this junk science", we are now obliged to ask - did they ever, at any point, even care that it was junk science if they believed in PNS?

One scientific blogger writes:

"Hulme has collected some of the most disgraceful, immoral, anti-scientific, and anti-civilization principles how science should interact with the society that I can imagine. He has brought the methods of the Inquisition right to the 21st century and combined them with the most modern methods to brainwash, corrupt, and intimidate people.

He is completely open that he wants to return us to the Middle Ages when a church ideology dictated what scientists could think and what they couldn't think, what they could learn and what they couldn't learn if they didn't want to lose influence or life, for that matter. It just sounds extremely worrisome."


And later he says... "Why should anyone sensible ever take Hulme's criticism of Fred Singer and Dennis Avery seriously if Hulme's approach to science is a self-described fraud?"

Why indeed. And this was precisely the question I was asking myself whilst originally reading Hulme's proclamations on Singer and Avery.

A problem we have is Hulme can make himself appear as one slippery customer. He makes a lot of valid points about the philosophy of science and subjectivity (I can fully appreciate this as I'm a philosophy graduate myself). Yet the fact he makes a few reasonable and insightful points should not, by any stretch of the imagination, distract one from witnessing the conclusions he draws. One trap that it is easy to fall into is to assess his writing using rationalist, scientific values yourself. To do that is to not understand Hulme et al. You see - he himself is already beyond those values, engaging in "Post Normal Science".

To be fair to Ravetz, it appears that Hulme and others have taken and twisted his orginal philosphy somewhat, at least if one of the commentators on BTT's blog is to be believed (see the entries from 'tallbloke'). I've yet to spend much time on Ravetz's original work, though I intend to go through everything produced by these folks, from Ravetz onward, with a very fine tooth comb. Reading Hulme in the original is pretty clear though. He really does believe this philosophy, even if it is a distorted version of Ravetz's original vision. I'm having trouble believing Ravetz's innocence however, given that he has been appearing, with Hulme, to comment on Climategate. And if you read the comments from 'tallbloke' over at BTT, you realise he might have made the same mistake I almost made - forgetting that these guys are not writing from the same rationalist perspective as you, already having 'gone beyond' as it were.

Both of them have written an article for the BBC on this issue. I find this equally disturbing and hilarious and wonder what the hell the BBC editor was smoking when he agreed to publish it. Apparently "Doing science in 2010 demands something rather different from scientists than did science in 1960, or even in 1985." - it does? Other than perhaps now requiring a desktop computer and internet connection? Read their proposals for "extended peer review" - to include "individuals from industry, environmental organisations and government officials as peer reviewers of early drafts of their assessments".

In the article they also subtly (re)introduce the idea of the "democritisation" of science. Something that sounds so reasonable on the surface because so many unthinking dolts have been trained to think that "democracy" automatically equals "good"; worse they do this under the cover of demanding more openness. More openness and "democratised science" are most certainly NOT synonymous.

The calls for publicly owned scientific knowledge and increased openness are so seductive. Yet these are things that should affect the end-result of investigations, not redirect the flow of the scientific method itself. "'Show your working' is the imperative given to scientists when preparing for publication to peers.

There, it refers to techniques.

Now, with the public as partner in the creation and implementation of scientific knowledge in the policy domain, the injunction has a new and enhanced meaning."


Amen to the first sentence. Of course we want to see how scientists have worked out their data. As to the second part though - no, no and thrice NO! The 'public as a partner in the creation of scientific knowledge'? When it enters the realm of politics, there is certainly a case to be made for public involvement in the "implementation" stage (assuming this doesn't have a special "post normal" meaning). But creation? What is this supposed to be? Interactive myth making?

This is terrifying, even in the lamed-down version for the BBC (which, I suspect was much more subtle owning to Ravetz's influence...).

And its funny how so many of these confluences come together. Again - from BTT: Not just a radical Marxist past for Hulme. Also apparently a major player previously in CND. This is particularly apropos to note given the recent questions raised by UKIP's Nigel Farage regarding the most powerful woman in the world, Cathy Ashton, and her past. And then there's the revelations about just how much influence the Soviets had, via espionage, over (now) prominent Labour figures back in the 80s.....

The more I have looked into this, the more the metaphor of a snake is very appropriate, given the mythological links to notions of original sin and - of course - snake oil salesmen.....only in this case it isn't a snake in a tree offering us a bite of the apple of knowledge. Its one hidden in the grass at our feet, about to bite us and sap our strength before we even dare reach for the goddamned tree....

And some people appear to be making the dangerous mistake of thinking that Hulme is giving us description of what has occurred. No folks - he's selling us a prescription!!


From inside the science bunker


A quick bit of background - I'm a philosophy and politics graduate. Twice in philosophy (BA, MA) and once in Politics (MA). I've also spent the last three years working at a scientific lab in a university. So I thought I'd seek out some reactions on climategate - and boy, have they been depressing.

A lot of the scientists appear to have taken the official damage control line at face value. They simply would not believe the most damaging accusations. One of them, someone I actually hold in high regard, even patronisingly accused me of not being critical enough and of 'believing everything I read in the papers'. If only it had been in the damn papers! I asked him if he'd looked at the emails, or files himself? No. Interestingly I also argue with him frequently on the EU too. And no, he hasn't read the consolidated treaties as amended by Lisbon. Who the hell isn't sufficiently critical?

Another scientist said he was completely unsurprised and said he thought it was completely normal that they'd seek to protect their funding first and foremost. All well and good but this is research that will fundamentally change the world. Literally. He opined that research funding is fundamentally too politicised. Which was amusing to hear from a scientist. I've been pilloried by a number of my (now ex) friends who were committed AGWers for constantly asking the political questions. Climategate has completely vindicated me on that score (hasn't changed anything for them though, I got back in touch with one who's reaction was that 'even if it turned out CRU was an al-quaeda front, it wouldn't change anything because the rest of the science is settled and CRU were such a small part of it'). Right.

I also had a bad experience with senior staff from the EU commission who attended a conference I was supposed to be presenting research at last week. They seem to think the Commission's priorities and choice of research funding is value free. The discussion was on the future direction of technology and what the EU will fund. It seems decisions on this will be made on the basis of 'European values'. When pressed they said that "of course" principles like "solidarity" will trump those of "subsidarity". That 'value free' research funding again, from the body that is the buyer, seller *and* regulator of the research. I think I scotched a few career opportunities here by asking too many pointed questions and regularly trying to draw people back to the politics of the science. I guess maybe I'm behind the times and with regard to the EU, we're in the realm of "post normal" politics.

One minor victory I did have however was speaking to one of the lead scientists behind what one could consider the university's environmental unit. He didn't believe it at first, but went away and had a look himself at the climategate material, only to return quite shaken. Good. As much as I like the man, and didn't want to upset him it at least caused him to reassess.

The problem is, there seems to be an institutional bias to take things on trust from other scientists. I used to feel like that until I started investigating the politics, realising that - just like with journalists - I would finally have to check everything myself.

Hulme is - to repeat the point - a slippery one because he appears to occasionally attack the "consensus", including colleagues such as Jones. The problem is, he's not criticising them for having engaged in a travesty of science, not to mention academic integrity, he's criticising them from the position that they aren't engaging properly in Post Normal Science.

Also - see this bizaare op-ed from Hulme in the WSJ. A common thread in Hulme's work is to point out how unbelievably complex climate science is, whilst at the same time proclaiming that the AGW is certain. Apparently the old model of science, and how science should be used, "places much too great a burden on science, certainly on climate science with all of its struggles with complexity, contingency and uncertainty.". He goes on to identify the fact that climate science had been so politicised as a fundamental flaw in the traditional model of science itself. Never mind the fact that it was the AGW shills themselves who polarised it themselves. Lots of readers have already expressed disgust (and cancelled subscriptions) at publications such as Nature and Scientific American for shamelessly promoting the "denier" meme. That wasn't a failure in the scientific method, it was a consciously made and personal failure of the scientists themselves.

Another disturbing angle is the fact that we've heard this kind of thing before...


Back to the future - Neocons reloaded


The editor of Antiwar.com, Justin Raimondo, tirelessly documented many of the hidden links and shenanigans of that cabal we came to know as the 'Neocons'. One of the most striking aspects of his research was to spell out the philosophy underlying that collection of warmongering corrupt liars. The similarities with the philosophy of 'post-normal' science are striking.

The neocons were inspired by philosopher, Leo Strauss. For Strauss, society should be 'guided' by an appropriate self-appointed elite.He also praised the art of political lying - lying for the 'social good'.

Raimondo also details that other common thread - the radical left wing past of the main actors. Its a shame he doesn't go into more detail on that other pernicious strand - the fact that as soon as bad things are done with state power a concerted effort is made to associate this with the 'right'.

On that issue, Burt Blumert from lewrockwell.com is worth quoting: "Neocons, as ex-Trotskyites, are bad enough, but those who follow the pro-pagan Leo Strauss are deadly. He advocated the Big Lie. Forgive me for all the gory details, but these people – with their other leaders like Bill Buckley and Irving Kristol and the help of the CIA – perverted the American right into loving the welfare-warfare state."

These were also the chaps who famously derided the anti-war movement as part of "the reality based community". The neocon vision was to 're-shape' and determine reality (for social good, of course!).

Sound familiar?

It's one of those things that ensure partisan divisions keep the elements of the 'left' and 'right', who actually substantively agree on certain issues, fighting uselessly with one another. Meanwhile the powermongers at the helm continue directing the ship of state to despicable ends and they don't care whether we call them 'left' or 'right'. Worth noting perhaps how the current crop of neocons have lauded their new War President. The confusions in names, allegiances etc, almost seem sometimes to be consciously chosen to maximise confusion, doubt and conflict - acting like a chinese finger trap for your mind.

The similarity of vitriolic counter-attack is also striking: People attacking the neo-cons were labelled 'anti-semitic'. Critics of AGW - as we all well know now - are 'deniers'. Curious, no?




So what next?

Apologies to those who have been waiting for the next part of the Lisbon treaty analysis - it is coming. This current issue however, in my view, is so serious it trumps everything else I've been concerned about for the last few years. What these "post normal scientists" are discussing is the murder of reason. And for very particular political goals, supposedly for our own good. Climategate has given the opportunity to see how one particular cell has been influence directly by this kind of arrogant misanthropic anti-scientific thinking. What needs to happen now is not just a weeding out of everyone who was part of the Climategate team, and mapping the extent to which their flawed research has infiltrated and corrupted the body of research making up the IPCC. I, for one, intend to go far beyond that and seek out all of these 'post normal scientists'. They don't just threaten the end of our economies, or freedom, or even the end of science. They promise the end of reason itself.

I've found the enemy's heart and I intend to stab it.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Registering the Climategate Dissent

I have in the offing a longer piece on Climategate, dealing with an underlying issue that I've not seen taken up in detail yet. Whilst there is a lot of good work already done on analysing the confluence of political, financial and media interests behind Climategate, there is a snake in the grass yet to be properly aired.....more on that in the next few days.

In the meantime I felt compelled to write a brief blog post though because of today's headlines. Whilst a lot of deserved focus has gone to the Express printing a Climategate story on its front page, the lesser known breakthrough appears to have been in the Environmental-Shill extraordinaire - the "Independent".

For as front page news, the "Independent" has reported on the climate sceptics within the Tories. As soon as I saw it I wondered how many people, up until that point, were even aware that there *were* climate sceptics in the party. What is especially surprising is that the coverage of this dissent actually seems fairly even handed. They still couldn't bring themselves to mention Climategate however, though it was great to see David Davis's contribution, referring to proposed Green measures as "hair-shirt policies".

Then, of course, one gets to the rest of the paper.

On the front page, above the 'Cameron hit by Tory backlash on environment' is a big 'RED ALERT' banner highlighting the "FREE 20-page climate change supplement" inside. Looking through it after having read the coverage of the Tory sceptics, it is difficult to believe that the paper does not have an editor who not only has multiple-personality disorder, but also co-exists in two different parallel universes.

All the usual platitudes are there in the supplement:

- The front page of the supplement has the obligatory picture of cooling towers belching evil -uh - water vapour into the air.

- Turn the page and not only are we told that we have "Twelve days to save the world", but "We face a threat as terrible as that posed by Hitler". Godwin's law invoked even before we hit the first sentence? For fucks sake.

- Next its "Time to confront the invisible enemy that threatens us all". This section goes on to detail how "No government in the world now thinks that global warming is hugely exaggerated".

- Loads of terrifying statistics on the next page, including the Independent surpassing itself yet again, and after its recent screaming frontpage warning of rises of 6 degrees, now ups the stakes to 7 degrees. No source is given of course.

- And then, (after a full page advert for Soya) - surprise! The recent floods in the UK are signs of AGW! Full colour, two page spreads of high waterlines.

- It gets even worse on the next double page - almost nothing but dramatic pictures of the recent bushfire in Australia.

- And more! Another two page spread showing the devastation from Hurricanes. All courtesy of course of our invisible enemy!

- The final doublespread - showing a large body of ice - quotes "a selection of public figures who ought to know what they are talking about". I found that particularly funny as I thought I'd zero in randomly on one and landed on James Lovelock. He says "...the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now unprecedented". This is a blatant falsehood. If he'd appended "human- contributed" carbon dioxide it would have been true. Who cares about precision on this issue though, eh?

- We're almost done at this point - with a full page table outlining different scenarios given various rises in temperature, from 2 degrees through to six degrees. All of which, as the article states at the top, based upon the figure that "the world grew 0.74 degrees hotter in the 20th century". What seems to have passed the writer by is that it is this very figure that is now in serious doubt as a result of Climategate. Doesn't stop a good bit of scaremongering though, because the page is finished off, after detailing successively more terrifying scenarios with - guess what!? That's right, the obligatory picture of a stranded polar bear. FFS.

Hidden bonus!

If you're still conscious at this point, a big bonus buried within pages 26-27 of the paper is a hit piece on Ron Paul who is - according to the "Independent" a promoter of a "radical brand of extreme libertarianism" (I thought it was just plain old 'Libertarianism' myself...) He apparently appeals to "libertarian-minded college kids" (not us, sensible, adults obviously) and is "the token nutjob". Of particular note is what the paper has to say on his economic policy; apparently wanting to end the monopoly position of the Fed is wanting to "take the US back to a Nineteenth-centure version of every-man-for-himself capitalism".



It's been a long while since I've read anything in the Independent beyond its latest hysterical front page. Its simply difficult to imagine a more sickeningly obvious propaganda rag with a very loose grasp on accuracy. I can only hope - like the New Statesman - that it continues hemorrhaging readers. Its demise is long overdue and well deserved.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Revealing Lisbon - Part 1


This is my commentary on the consolidated Lisbon treaty, working through it line by line, containing all the amendments to the various treaties (Maastricht, Rome and Amsterdam (which itself was an amendment to the Rome Treaty)).

This is a work in progress - please bear with me as I may have to come back and make amendments as I get deeper into the treaty, where some of the amendments clarify previously covered sections. This, part 1 covers the amendments to Maastricht, including *some* references to the amendments made to Rome that are relevant to the Maastricht amendments.

While considering the entire EU project, in monstrous form now that we are truly locked into it by Lisbon, it is well worth keeping two charts in mind, - hat tip to Tom Paine for alerting me to these, both from Wat Tyler:

i) The graph that matters

and

ii) The "worst placed in the world" graph.

In particular in ii) look at the performance of Norway! Not only is Norway outside the EU, it also had the foresight to create a Sovereign fund from its Oil and Gas wealth.

As an amusing sidenote - on the - tiny - plus side of all this, with the new 18 members of the European Parliament coming in as a result of Lisbon, one of them is from Sweden's Pirate Party, giving them their second seat. Not that much can be done with 100 seats there, never mind 2.

General observations

- It turns out the office of the "High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy" (*not* created with Lisbon as as commonly been reported, but just with expanded powers) is actually substantially more powerful than the position of President of the Council. Maybe that was the game all along - promote Blair for the presidency, fail and get someone in the back door as the High Rep. This post is effectively a very powerful, Euro version of the Foreign Secretary, so I will interchangeably refer to this position as such where I don't have to explicitly identify it as the 'High Representative' (even the damn name sticks in my craw).

- Most of the final power seems to be vested in the council. This puts tremendous strain on the individual heads of state as single points of failure. It also means they will not represent a plurality of views as the Parliament at least has the potential to do so. This also brings to a head the issue of having an unelected leader - e.g. Brown. Some people have said this issue of an unelected head doesn't matter. In the context of the European Council being the only real effective vetoing power in the spaghetti mess that is EU governance it matters a great deal and the personality, capacities and perspectives of that individual person are thus crucial.

- Well worth bearing in mind Vaclav Klaus's comments regarding the distinct lack of an 'official opposition' in the functioning of the EU Parliament before anyone gets too excited about its potential capabilities.

Despite it being the "consolidated version" - I *still* had to use external references for key clarifications. Particularly tricky was the - often out of context - references to roles such as 'president', 'council' etc, of which there are more than one and it isn't always clear which one is meant!

N.B. This represents the *total force* of Lisbon amendments and previous treaties. Many of the provisions are not completely new; most are strengthened.

- Contrary to the "this isn't the constitution" propaganda, this consolidated document states clearly in its opening notes - "The treaty retains most of the content of the proposed EU Constitution which was rejected in the French and Dutch referendums". Sometimes it feels like they really are laughing at us....

As to my suitability for this task? I can beg only the qualification of a Master's degree in Politics and International Relations (with an EU elective) and over recent years regular contact with EU officials research work, plus having been an avid EU watcher for a number of years. In practice none of this should matter though - as the treaty should be intelligible for any educated lay person in any of the member states. It falls far short of such promise however.

This is of course the kind of job we pay our "representatives"(fah!) to do and expect our glorious, our incredible, our LIONs of world journalism in the British mainstream media to do when our Lords, Ladies, Masters and Mistresses let us down. Unfortunately it comes down - again - to concerned citizens.....

Because these notes ended up being far more extensive than I expected, I've decided to highlight the most pressing and outrageous parts with a link to Grumpy Old Twat's 'WTFF!?' link immediately prior to, or after said part. If you see that link, what follows isn't good. At all. However, it does deserve your full attention. And given that this document has already grown to 6000+ words and I'm only a third of the way through, you could save yourself by skimming down to just the sections near those WTFF!!? Links.

Opening notes

- At the bottom of the 'Key to Symbols' table, is mentioned the Passerelle Article (Article 48). This is one part of the constitution that has caused so much stir as it is what enables the "self-modifying" behaviour. This is the piece of the legislation that means there may never need be another treaty, as by vote of the relevant Eurocrats, it can modify itself. As blogger EU referendum put it, this should be called - on account of its incredible power - instead, the "dual carriageway" clause. It states (and in so doing, feels like they're laughing in our faces again) that such changes, using the Dual Carriageway clause currently require unanimity of a vote on the European Council (*not* the same thing as the European Parliament btw - see later), but "It may alter unanimity to voting by qualified majority". If that still sounds kind of representative and democratic to you, wait until you see my comments on what the treaty says on the European Council later.

OK - step by step:

Amendments to Maastricht
(Maastricht being referred to now as "The Treaty on European Union (TEU)").

- The preamble explicitly identifies the highest representative of member states responsible for signing off on this. In case you didn't know already, for the UK, this was the Queen. Bless her complete and utter fucking silence on the dissolution of British sovereignty.

- Typo on the very first page - "esatblishment" - nice one guys!

- Principle of "sustainable development" is now introduced several times into the legal binding of this treaty.

- ALSO inserted (amongst other things): "price stability", "social market economy", "aiming at full employment", "social progress", "social justice", "free and fair trade", "eradication of poverty", "protection of human rights, in particular the rights of the child [Ed: why the hell is this one privileged??]" and "a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment"

Reading those statements, many may not see immediate reason to object. At least some of them seem like laudable goals, right? If you're not already well studied in the behaviour of the political class however, (such as how certain positive human rights can be played off against one another for political advantage), you should consider carefully what abuses can easily be carried out in the name of any of the above, very vague, ideals, which are now enshrined in law. and given a mandate to be made flesh by the Union.

- The Charter of Fundamental Rights is now to be regarded as having the same legal status as the other Treaties (i.e. on a par with the constitution). Which is just great as it means even more legalese to plough through in order to find clauses that can be selectively played off against one another.

- The Council now appears to have the power to "suspend certain of the rights deriving from the application of the treaties to the Member State in question, including the voting rights". Reading this in its entirety, the council can do this on the basis of "breaches" of the values referred to in Article 2 (those values being "respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities". No room for abuse in such a long list of vague concepts that political philosophers have argued about for centuries is there?). The possible consequence of any member state seen to violate these values are that it can have all of its essential, beneficial, rights (including voting) removed by the council, yet still be held to other binding parts. Are we having fun yet!?

- A bit later the treaty asserts that "Decisions shall be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen". How this is to happen isn't spelled out at all. Needless to say it gave me a good belly laugh.

- Three further interesting clauses worth repeating in full here:

(From article 10):
"4. Political parties at European level contribute to forming European political awareness and to expressing the will of citizens of the Union."

(From Article 11):

"1. The institutions shall, by appropriate means, give citizens and representative associations the opportunity to make known and publicly exchange their views in all areas of Union action."

and

"2. The institutions shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with representative associations and civil society."

^ More comedy gold it seems. I'm speculating that many people reading this post will already have some interest in politics. Can any of you clearly identify where / how the glorious government of Old Blighty has worked to achieve any of the above? I'm having trouble myself. How much do you even know about your MEP, never mind what other "options" are available for "dialogue"? - What, where, when, why, who?

- Another amusing claim - the Commission is to "ensure that the Union's actions are coherent and transparent". Oh gods. Stop making me laugh so much.

OK here's your first major spanner:

WTFF!!?

- Want to demand that the Commission makes a change of some kind? No problem. All you need is one million citizens. Not only that, this one million have to be "nationals of a significant number of Member States". A clause so sufficiently fucking vague (no, there is NO further clarification on this - how many member states?), that its easy to slide out of. And that's assuming you can get the herculean task achieved of a million citizens from even two member states to agree on anything.

- Apparently, the number of members of the European Parliament shall not ever exceed 750 (plus one - the president). Also, there is a minimum threshold of six members per Member State. Well that's great news. It means that in future EU expansion, in search of more people to fucking subsidise, it will only ever be able to swallow 125 out of the world's (roughly, depending how you count them), 195 nations. Wow, what a relief! As if it wasn't bad enough having to deal with 646 self-absorbed, greasy pole climbing, troughing, corrupt genetic defectives in the national parliament, I now have to also be concerned about up to another 750 on the continent. And that's not including all the unelected members who hold the real power, but more on that shortly.... They call this being degressively proportional, a name I that seems somehow appropriate.

- Article 14 reminds us about the nature of the European Parliament. This is actually the (yes *the* one and only) democratic element at work here (and before you say 'elected heads of state in the Council', I give you Gordon Brown). The Ministers of the European Parliament (MEPs) "shall be elected for a term of five years by direct universal suffrage in a free and secret ballot". Hold onto your fucking hats, because from here on in it gets worse:

- The European Council (what?! You thought a parliament would be enough?) "shall not exercise legislative functions." Phew. Or not. As the Council "shall define the general political directions and priorities" of the EU. That's still perhaps the most important share of power even without direct legislative capability. They can't specify the exact details of the debate, but they can specify its terms. The main veto power seems to sit with the Council also.

- And how is the Council made up? It consists of "the Heads of State or Government of the Member States". It also has the - brand spanking new - position of president (separate from the president of the European Commission or the president of the Council of Ministers - confused yet?). This was the role Blair was being tipped for. It also involves the other EU Foreign Sec. It should be noted however though that this expanded EU Foreign Secretary role is treated very differently to the Council President role..... (see below).

- The council apparently has to rule by consensus (except when it doesn't - exceptions abound throughout the treaty). Useful eh? As I'm sure the members of any collective decision making at an Anarchist social centre can tell you. Those who all agree with eachother *already* and stick around anyway....

- Now the council president is voted on by the members of the council, requiring a qualified majority and for a term of 2.5 years, renewable once. They are also not allowed to hold a national office, which is why Blair is in the running as he's busy being a worldwide tax dodging tourist...

- Article 15, 6, (d), the president, after the council meetings, is obliged to "present a report to the European Parliament after each of the meetings of the European Council". Will we, the hoi polloi, get to see it? It doesn't specify. Personally I doubt it and UKIP's Lord Pearson doesn't think we'll see it at any stage outside the EU Parliament.

- Next up, in article 16, we have another body, The Council of Ministers. Just to confuse you further (and if you were naughty, and jumped ahead in reading the treaty, you wouldn't have a clue which council, or president was being referred to here, because the context is all relative). To get in on *this* council, you only need to be considered as at "ministerial level" within your national government. This group is supposed to represent "relevant" ministers for the discussion at hand. This means if discussing agriculture, they have the agricultural ministers, security and its the justice and home affairs ministers.

However, it does have permanent members:

And the sidenote clarifies that this does indeed include civil servants. And looking at the current list for the UK, that is exactly what it consists of, for us at least. I didn't have a clue who any of them were, or how I'd make them accountable either. And the primary contact email given is for the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (ukrep@fco.gov.uk). Great.

...here comes major spanner #2:

WTFF!!?

- Guess what? This bunch of unnacountable civil service hoons from across the empire, sorry, "Union", have legislative powers. Just to put that in context - the heads of state in the Council DO NOT have direct legislative powers (even though they, are, however tenuously, accountable in *some* sense to their electorate). However the relatively faceless, and - not voted for - civil servants in the Council of Ministers DO have direct legislative powers.

And it gets even better. The Council of Ministers can bypass the European Parliament. It is supposed to work "jointly" with the European Parliament, but is not obliged to follow its will. i.e. the undemocratic, permanent group staffed by unelected unaccountable civil servants can ride roughshod over the democratic chamber. There is much usage of terms such as "consult" with regards to the Parliament; the strongest term used is "consent", meaning a qualified majority where the Parliament gets the incredible ability to rubber stamp something. Most of the time it seems the EU Parliament should feel privileged to even see the damn proposals (and thus be "consulted").

The permanent members by the way are known as COREPER. And they are "responsible for preparing the work of the Council" (of ministers). Oh, and by the way, their meetings are private. Ain't democracy great?

- Now, we get to the European Commission.

- *sigh* - yes its yet another powerful group within the EU framework. You remember the Parliament? You know, the guys and gals who vote on stuff and who are, in turn, voted in or out by us? You'd think they would have been the ones to initiate legislation wouldn't you?

- Nope - it is the European Commission who decide on the legislation itself - "Union legislative acts may be adopted only on the basis of a Commission proposal". So the parliament can vote legislation up or down, but they can't decide what it is in the first place, only make amendments and (at best) throw it back to the Commission (the Commission, who's terms of reference and overall direction is determined by the Council).

- So who are the Commissioners? Well they have terms of five years and are selected on the basis of - wait for it "their general competence and European commitment...persons whose independence is beyond doubt." Uhm. "European commitment"? "Independence beyond doubt". Right. Not only that, they are forbidden from taking "instructions from any government or other institution, body, office or entity". In other words, they are there not to represent us, but the dream of Pan Europa.

- The Commission is supposed to, currently, be made up of one national from each member state (plus the positions of President (it isn't clear *which* president) and the EU Foreign Secretary. However, from 2014 this will change. The Commission then only needs to represent two thirds of member states at any one time. This opens the door to a substantial abuse of power because at any one time, one or more nations could be completely unrepresented and yet subject to legislation determined by the other Commissioners. This also obviously makes an individual, or small grouping, of member states even less likelier to make a principled stand.

- The Commission president gets to appoint Lieutenants (sorry, "Vice-presidents"). The president also has the power to compel Commission member to resign - except for the EU Foreign Secretary who cannot be so compelled (in this case, only being sackable from the Commission by the European Council. Goddamn these interlocking relationships are more complex than a teenage emo soap drama). The more I read about this latter position, the more it seems significantly more powerful than the office of President in the European Council. Given the rotating nature of the Commission its quite possible too to create a perpetual chain of mutual masturbation between successive presidents and their appointees. But I don't need to tell anyone who has studied the nature of political expediency that.

- In another complex twist to these relationships, whilst the Parliament gets to vote on the president, it is the council who proposes the candidate in the first place. More rubber stamping from the "democratic" chamber.

- The council and the president then decide the other members of the commission. Therefore the only stage at which any kind of accountability enters the process is when the Parliament gets to vote on a pre-selected candidate. FFS!

- Here's the supposed safety valve: "the European Parliament may vote on a motion on censure of the Commission".
- They've never succeeded in doing this before (AFAIK) - look at what happened last time ("the major political groups in the parliament, including the EPP-ED group (to which British Conservatives are affiliated -- some reluctantly) started ferocious campaigns of pressure and intimidation to get members to withdraw their names"). Oh yeah. There's a system to be confident in.

- They also can't censure individual members, it has to be the whole Commission. That really limits its usefulness as any kind of check or balance.


The Court of Justice

- The Court of Justice itself is supposed to have one judge from each member state.
- The General Court "shall include at least one judge per Member State".
- AGAIN, the selection criterion is: "persons whose independence is beyond doubt." Uh huh. (No mention of "European Commitment" this time though).

Interesting clause in Article 21:
- "foster the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of developing countries, with the primary aim of eradicating poverty." - I really don't see those two goals as compatible.

Also

- "encourage the integration of all countries into the world economy, including through the progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade." - Utter hypocrisy. No mention here of the EU's protectionist practices.

Foreign and Security Policy.

This is one of the parts where it gets really serious. And this one is definitely spanner time - worth reading all of the notes I've made for this section:


OK - time for another: WTFF!?

Article 24, paragraph 3 repeated in full:

"The Member States shall support the Union's external and security policy actively and unreservedly in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity and shall comply with the Union's action in this area.
The Member States shall work together to enhance and develop their mutual political solidarity. They shall refrain from any action which is contrary to the interests of the Union or likely to impair its effectiveness as a cohesive force in international relations.
The Council and the High Representative shall ensure compliance with these principles."


Combined with further clauses (see later), this effectively marks the end of both independent operation of British Armed Forces and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Moreover, the combined legal bindings mean that both are also to be subject to "the Union's" wishes in future.

To illustrate further:

The treaty formalises the existence of the "European External Action Service" (i.e. the EU Foreign Service). Its particulars, like specific military policy of the Union are not clarified in the treaty, however powers given to the Council to determine both ARE. It specifies (Article 28, paragraph 1) that "Where the international situation requires operational action", member states will be bound by the decisions of the Council in military and foreign affairs.

The only exception to this is in "emergency situation" which require an immediate national response. Even in such cases however, it is a requirement that the Council is informed immediately.

There has to be an opt-out though, right? Sort of.....

The member of the council (head of state) can *abstain* from the vote on a military/foreign policy if they disagree with it. However, all this means is that the objecting member state (or rather, the head of, who - for reasons given above - isn't necessarily representative of that member state anyway)is not committed to the particular action voted on. Moreover, they ARE obliged to recognise the Union itself being committed to this action and are told, explicitly in "...a spirit of mutual solidarity, the Member State concerned shall refrain from any action likedly to conflict with or impede Union action based on that decision and the other Member States shall respect its position."

In other words, an objecting member state is expected to shut up and stay out of the way. The *only* safety valve offered here is the clause that one third of the member states abstaining is sufficient to stop a proposal.

This, needless to say will impact severely on British strategic and foreign policy goals.

A vague veto right is given in the last subparagraph of section 2; only usable for "vital and stated reasons of national policy".

The problem is, this "safety valve" is a fucking farce anyway, because later on, paragraph 4 (in the same article) nullifies paragraphs 2 and 3 (those allowing for abstension) for "decisions having military or defence implications". - FFS!!

Weakening of UN security council powers

If there was any doubt that Britain's military and foreign policy independence was not already holed below the water line, this should finish it off: Another doozy worth quoting in full, Article 34, Section 2, subparagraphs 2 and 3:

"Member States which are also members of the United Nations Security Council will concert and keep the other Member States and the High Representative fully informed. Member States which are permanent members of the Security Council will, in the execution of their functions, defend the positions and interests of the Union, without prejudice to their responsibilities under the provisions of the United Nations Charter.

When the Union has defined a position on a subject which is on the United Nations Security Council agenda, those Member States which sit on the Security Council shall request that the High Representative be invited to present the Union's position."


In other words, the independent positions of France and the U.K. on the security council are GONE and they are obliged now to go through the EU Foreign secretary.

- And what influence does the democratic chamber (the Parliament) have on these policies? They are allowed to "ask questions" and "make recommendations" - i.e. NO legal binding power, even a veto. FFS.

- It also looks like the member states with the best developed military structures will be asked to do most of the heavy lifting (no surprise there). What is irritating beyond belief though is clause 2. in Article 41 that seems to state that any costs incurred for military or defence implications are to be taken on by the member states, *not* the Union. It gets better - Article 41, clause 2, subparagraph 2 states that any state using the previously mentioned abstention clause will not be compelled to contribute to "military or defence" expenditure. In other words, the member states with no military to speak of can simply register an abstension and not be expected to pay anything towards a security or defence operation full stop. FFS!!

- Let's clarify that commitment again - Article 42, Section 7: "If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power". The accompanying note restates this, in case you were in doubt: "Mutual assistance clause for ALL member states in case of an armed aggression."

Summary: Fuckwit extremist in Estonia decides to bomb a building in Russia, Russian forces invade Estonia in response, British forces are legally compelled to respond immediately and start fighting Ivan, meanwhile the British taxpayer, not the Union, has to foot the cost.


- A "start up fund", to be taken from Members' contributions is introduced, which is expected to "provide the Union with an operational capacity drawing on civil and military assets". This is intended to fund the following:

- Disarmament
- Humanitarian tasks
- Military assistance
- Combat forces
- Conflict prevention
- Peace-making
- Stabilistaion

- ^ With such a vague list of terms, could this "security" remit get *any* damn wider!?

- The "specific character" of NATO commitments are to be "respected". Oh great, that makes me feel better. It is purposefully soft language re: NATO; the language specifying obligations to the Union and Member States is significantly stronger.

- If you were in any doubt that the EU intends to become a cohesive and large military power, consider this clause: (Article 42, Section 3) "Member States shall undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities". This is to be overseen by the European Defence Agency (an entity already in existence, and a long way ahead in its future planning by the way....).

Foreign Policy

- Article 33 gives the Foreign Secretary the ability to create "special representatives" to carry out their work. So, like the Council president, they can create their own Morlocks.

It is far more interesting from Article 35 onwards (plus other scattered references, earlier and in amendments to the Rome Treaty) however:

- Diplomatic and Consular missions are now expected to effectively harmonise their activities and policies. If there was *any* doubt left that an EU wide diplomatic service was to replace the national ones, this should clear it up:

- All Member State foreign services are now expected to renegotiate their agreements with foreign states to the effect that any member state embassy must now be able to represent citizens from *any* of the member states. This is a fucking huge diplomatic change!! And again, confirmation that national missions will essentially be replaced - its going to work like McDonalds franchises.

Amendments to the treaty and Getting out

- Turns out that Cameron can't practically do any of the things he said he would. That is to say - technically he could - but the provisions in the treaty make it clear that what he is proposing would be exceptionally difficult.

- Proposals can be made by any member state to increase OR reduce the competencies conferred on the Union (for what competencies it has already been awarded, see later). Going on the basis of history, I expect the trend to be almost completely in the direction of increasing competency.

- Unfortunately just to agree to discuss such a change - every branch of the EU governing infrastructure has to be involved - the Council, the Parliament AND the Commission (COREPER will probably be in there slithering around by default also, but this is not explicitly specified).

- "Recommendations" regarding proposed changes have to be adopted by consensus - i.e. not even the change itself, just recommendations regarding it!!!!!!

- The Council has the option, with permission of the Parliament, to avoid convening everyone (i.e. Council, Commission, Parliament), in which case the Council is the only body that discusses it. I really can't see this happening with regard to *anything* involving Britain "renegotiating", not that it makes much of a difference as the assault course is just then all the other heads of state.

- Here's the first super-giant killer clause for everything Dave proposed: Article 47, Section 2, subparagraph 6/7: "The amendments shall enter into force after being ratified by all the member states in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements". Remember Dave's "referendum lock"? The problem is *all* the member states have such a lock on any changes that might be proposed for Britain. Fantastic. It also means Dave wasn't promising anything new at all. This was already in the treaty.

- For general changes to the treaty involving Part Three of the Treaty of Rome (covering the internal workings of the union) that do not include new competencies, an Inter-governmental conference is not required - this is the often described 'self-amending' part of the treaty. Amendments however do still have to be approved by all member states. This is one part where Dave's proposals *could* hold the show up, though not necessarily to the UK's benefit (and this also explains the hostile reaction to his proposals) as any future UK government could use it to hold up progress in the EU machinery.

- If I've understood Article 48 correctly, national parliaments DO have a veto when it comes to new competencies, but not for the 'self-amending' treaty section (as long as proposed changes do not include competencies, obviously). So again, Dave was being disingenuous. His proposals for clawing *back* power for the UK however are up a certain creek for the reasons already outlined above - it really does require consent of all the other Member States for any significant change (and a change to the UK's terms and conditions *would* be an alteration of competencies).

- Requirements in the Treaty of Rome that require the council to act in unanimity, can instead be decided by qualified majority (except for defense).

For actual withdrawal, here's the second super giant-killer for Davy Boy:

- Withdrawal requires a qualified majority in the Council (currently 72%) and the consent of the Parliament (though the latter, as usual is more like an afterthought than an actual obstacle). In other words, everyone else gets to vote on whether or not we leave, moreover, any discussions of the conditions of our leaving we are *not* party to (Article 50, section 4). Looking at the charts put up by Wat Tyler on the UK's net contribution, I can't see this agreement being reached any time soon. Can you?

Closing clauses in the modified Maastricht treaty:

Worthy of note:

- NO sunset, or even review, clause. "This treaty is concluded for an unlimited period."

- Protocols and Annexes are legally binding, "declarations" are not. I can see the protocols and annexes clearly, not sure what is meant by declarations though.

- Disputes over interpretation are expected to resolve issues in French, as the "language of the Court and the negotiations".

More of this anon as I work through the Rome amendments and the Protocols.......

By way of a final word for this section though, I'd like to leave you with the words of Professor R. Daniel Kelemen (Rutgers University), and this was before Lisbon was close to being ratified:

"Unencumbered by the prejudice that the EU is sui generis and uncomparable, federalism scholars now regularly treat the EU as a case in their comparative studies (Friedman-Goldstein, 2001; Fillippov, Ordeshook, Shevtsova, 2004; Roden, 2005; Bednar, 2006). For the purposes of the present analysis, the EU has the necessary minimal attributes of a federal system and crucially the EU is riven with many of the same tensions that afflict federal systems."


Welcome, citizen, to the United States of Europe.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

**EXCLUSIVE** - Nick Clegg says "we are not a sect" (and willing to drop liberal values to get votes....)


Several hours ago I attended 'An Evening with the Liberal Democrats' at Sheffield University. Representing the Liberal Democrats were Nick Clegg, Paddy Ashdown and Paul Scriven (LD councillor and leader of Sheffield City Council). After a sickening propaganda video with various LD voters praising Clegg and the LDs (without identifying a single policy), the representatives got down to business. All three gave a brief polemical stint mostly involving slating Labour and the Tories and asking, rhetorically, "who do you trust".

After this the floor was opened for questions.

I managed to get in first and went straight for a salvo aimed at Clegg. I identified myself as a member of the Libertarian Party and said that there were many reasons I was a member of LPUK and not the LDs. This was because, I explained, they did not deserve the name 'Liberal' and should instead, as others have remarked, more accurately call themselves "social democrats". I pointed out numerous examples where they seemed willing to eject their liberal principles in the interests of (what they thought were) populist sentiments. I specified in particular their attitude to the EU and the fact that they no longer supported a referendum and ended by saying that the closer they got to power, the more they were willing to eject principles, pander to populism and therefore were just more of the same - the same political class as the 'big two'.

Clegg got very shirty with me. He got on a full head of steam, gesticulating boldy as he told me (and everyone else) that he passionately disagreed with everything I said. What was particularly amusing is that just prior to the questions starting he said that he was really pleased to see everyone attending, whatever their political background and said he welcomed disagreement and discussion.

According to Clegg, the Liberal Democrats are "not a sect" and "are intending to win an election" and therefore "need to make our [their] policies understandable." and "not preaching on matters of principle" I heckled back "so what are your principles?" he ignored me and continued his tirade, claiming that being in Europe was best for the country.

Now I don't know about you dear reader, however I interpreted that as a direct vindication of what I said: Clegg was admitting that he and his party were perfectly happy to jettison their principles in order to gain votes. I had to hold back the urge to respond with expletives.

Paddy also responded to me shortly after, though only on the issue of the Lisbon Treaty. According to Mr. Pantsdown - and see if you can get your head around this cognitive dissonance - "Lisbon is not a big shifting in power. It's a pooling of sovereignty." Unless we both have diametrically opposed understandings of the meaning of 'sovereignty', the compromising of it is - to me - about the largest shift of power I can imagine between states. He went on to claim "if it was a big shift in power, and not just tinkering around the edges, the Liberal Democrats would not be supporting it."

So there you have it folks - no answer to the question of a referendum, they know better than we do. And the pooling of sovereignty is "not a big shifting in power". Go back to sleep silly little people asking questions.

But there's more.....some of their answers to other questions were equally hilarious and/or disturbing:

"My home is on loan from the British taxpayer"
In response to a question about being caught out on expenses, Cleggs' response was hilarious. Apparently the reason he thought it was fine to land the taxpayer with the bill for his gardening was because he considered his home "on loan" from the British taxpayer and he wanted to make sure it was nice. He also said that as a result when he sold his home, any profit made would go straight back to the taxpayer.

Of course Nick, of course. (Incidentally, he also got very shirty with this questioner as he did with me).

All three representatives continually referenced the idea of handing power back down to local levels. I couldn't help thinking that what they actually mean by this is handing over to Brussels' plans for regionalisation.

Green Issues

This was fun. Clegg made some astonishing and worrying commitments here. Not only should 1st world taxpayers apparently pay for third world nations to "leapfrog" industrialization and use "sustainable" technologies instead, but - wait for it - Clegg wants to give legal force to the AWG consensus. Amusingly, after all this preaching, someone asked him if he would be in Copenhagen. His excuse? Apparently he's not going because his place is here in the UK harassing the government on these issues. Right.

As an extra, hilarious addendum, councillor Paul Scriven boasted how Sheffield City Council was now giving away green waste sacks for garden refuse. Apparently this is a "green" measure. No it isn't you twat. You're just giving away bags to people who a) have gardens to tend and b) have the time to tend them usefully. How does it reduce anyone's carbon footprint. He also claimed they were "free". The fact that political officials can still say this kind of thing with a straight face highlights the woeful financial literacy of the nation. Of course it isn't free. It's paid for by the Council, funded by Council Tax which is paid for by.....



Sheffield's finest

I've had quite a few interactions with Sheffield's LD councillors. I've watched them debate issues I've had an interest in also in the council chambers. They make lots of grand promises, then break them. The clearest thing to any observer is that what they care about most is giving the Labour Councillors a kicking and looking good to the electorate.

Imagine Mr. Scriven's response then, when a man suddenly stood up at the front and identified himself as a teacher and LD member who was having serious second thoughts about the party since they had taken control of Sheffield City Council. Apparently the council were closing his school down and he thought this was completely unjustified. I don't know the details of this one, but Scriven's response was very telling, especially after the teacher alleged that another councillor, one Andrew Sangar claimed that "whatever Clegg says doesn't matter, Sheffield City Council will still do what it wants."

Scriven went on to state how badly the school was failing, that most pupils came out with five GCSEs or less. A woman in the audience suddenly said "my daughter got thirteen GCSEs from that school". Scriven dismissed her, saying "well done", and continued his rant. He said that the LDs were not closing the school, but in "consultation", at which point I let out a loud belly laugh and everyone stopped to look at me, even Scriven. He went on to give a rousing case for making sure every kid had a fair chance blah blah blah. Unfortunately his delivery was good enough that he got a big round of applause.

So - in summary - the Lib Dems, from this performance, were far worse than I thought they were already. Top grade snake oil salesmen from Lord to MP to councillor. And they proved me right - all they offer is just more of the same.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sibel reveals all! Time to take action

Sibel Edmonds has finally revealed everything she knows, risking imprisonment or worse. The MSM will of course try to bury this story - I'd like to ask everyone to please circulate this story, especially as it has so many important British links (vis a vis The Griffins, Libya, BCCI and more). Remember, she is “the most gagged person in the history of the United States of America.” - for years now she has been silenced by the draconian state secrets privilege.

Despite the substantial british connections in the international web identified by Sibel, our own MSM has been missing in action (again). For anyone wondering why I have stuck with this story so doggedly, aside from wishing to support a woman of such integrity as Sibel, it is also because this is one of the fault lines of the British corporate-government-criminal nexus exposed for us to see - and one that we can attack with vigour. It packages together neatly all of the hypocrisy, lies and corruption at the heart of Her Majesty's Government and its organs.

Comment from Invictus on Sibel's blog: "We are forever in the debt of those of you endowed with morality, conscience and good soul, whom volunteer to work for civil services, only to have your native goodness used against you, by those entrenched in gvt, whose sole purpose is to maintain and retain power, and NOT serve us, the American Citizenry, their employers."

Description from Brad Friedman: "The exclusive interview lays out the details of what can be described as nothing short of a national security cancer that has metastasized throughout the U.S. government, to the covert monetary, military, and strategic intelligence benefit of our allies and enemies alike."

And Obama's stomping ground, where he's best connected? Chicago.

Turks break Obama's security bubble - http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/sep/23/turkish-diplomats-cause-scuffle-around-obama/

Joe Lauria - interview - A.Q. Khan network is still active.
Freign minister of India & Ambassador - interviewed by Joe.