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FAS Secrecy News– August 2019


Below is this months FAS Secrecy Newsletter. Some very interesting artlcles and research papers are in links in this months newsletter.

DOMESTIC TERRORISM: SOME CONSIDERATIONS

The problem of domestic terrorism is distinct from that of foreign terrorism because of the constitutional protections enjoyed by U.S. persons, the Congressional Research Service explained last week.

“Constitutional principles – – including federalism and the rights to free speech, free association, peaceable assembly, petition for the redress of grievances – – may complicate the task of conferring domestic law enforcement with the tools of foreign intelligence gathering.” See Domestic Terrorism: Some Considerations, CRS Legal Sidebar, August 12, 2019.

Some other noteworthy new publications from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

Convergence of Cyberspace Operations and Electronic Warfare, CRS In Focus, August 13, 2019

Renewed Great Power Competition: Implications for Defense–Issues for Congress, updated August 5, 2019

U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel, updated August 7, 2019

U.S.-North Korea Relations, CRS In Focus, updated August 13, 2019 (which notes that “Pyongyang appears to be losing its ability to control information inflows from the outside world.”)

Russia’s Nuclear Weapons: Doctrine, Forces, and Modernization, August 5, 2019

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Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

The Secrecy News Blog is at:

https://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/

Chuck Feeney–The Duty Free King who Gave it All Away


chuck-feeney-1

Charles “Chuck” Feeney (born April 23, 1931) is an Irish-American businessman who made his fortune from pioneering Duty Free Shopping

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He is also an important philanthropist who founded The Atlantic Philanthropies, one of the largest private foundations in the world. Among many of the countries his money has been spent/invested in is his home country, Ireland. He is known as the Billionaire Who Made It, Then Gave It Away!”  He is regarded as a huge influence in the life of Bill Gates, who set up the Giving Pledge Global charitable organization. In February 2011, Feeney actually became a signatory to The Giving Pledge. In his letter to Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, the founders of The Giving Pledge, he says of his pledge ” I cannot think of a more personally rewarding and appropriate use of wealth”

feeney&bill gates
Chuck Feeney & Bill Gates

“I cannot think of a more personally rewarding and appropriate use of wealth than to give while one is living — to personally devote oneself to meaningful efforts to improve the human condition.”

He made his fortune as a co-founder of the Duty Free Shoppers Group, which pioneered the concept of duty-free shopping. Feeney gave away his fortune in secret for many years, until a business dispute resulted in his identity being revealed in 1997. Over the course of his life, Feeney has given away more than $8 billion.

He has donated around $1 billion to education in Ireland, such as the University of Limerick and Dublin City University. Feeney has also given to political parties and has provided substantial personal donations to Sinn- Féin in working to support the peace effort in Ireland. He has also supported the modernization of public-health structures in Vietnam.

Brendan O’Regan established the world’s first duty-free shop at Shannon Airport in Ireland in 1947 it remains in operation today

Chuck Feeney – the Secret Irish-American Billionaire who gave it all away

Democrats talk with Native American Community Leaders in run up to 2020 Election


Bernie Sanders

Democratic presidential candidates including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro and Marianne Williamson will be attending a forum of Native Americans in Sioux City in Iowa on Monday and Tuesday the forum called for following the death of longtime Native American activist Frank LaMere. They will obviously be trying to gain support from the community in the coming 2020 Presidential election.

Tribal leaders and citizens will talk with candidates about issues including health care, education and violence against National American women.

Marcella LeBeau Two Kettles Band

Marcella LeBeau, a 99-year-old citizen of the Two Kettles Band of the Lakota and who is a registered Democrat said that in the past politicians largely overlooked Native American issues

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“We’re like a third-world country,” she said. “No one really listens to us.”  

Marcella LeBeau, Democrat and Lakota Native American

 

Many Native Americans it is believed are not reflected in the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey due to living in “hard-to-count” rural areas so the census cannot accurately measure their voter registration. Census estimates say Native Americans make up around 1.7% — or 5.3 million — of the U.S. population, and suggest that more than 3.7 million Native Americans are of voting age.

As more Native Americans gain access to the polls, they may be a powerful asset for candidates. Analysts believe that the Native American vote could help swing the vote towards a democratic win.

“..are you going to pay attention to this group that has traditionally been ignored?”
Nicole Willis, Outreach Advisor

Nicole Willis, a citizen of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, living in Seattle said of the canvassing of Native American voters “It’s almost like a moral test of a candidate. Like, are you going to pay attention to this group that has traditionally been ignored?” Nicole should know as she was the Native American outreach adviser to President Barack Obama, as well as a presidential advisor to Bernie Sanders in 2016.

Bill Maher on Recession, Donald Trump and endangered species


bill-maher

Comedian Bill Maher explained in a recent TV show that his calls for another economic recession would jeopardize President Trump’s chances at reelection in 2020 and he described as “very worth” to end Trump policies.

Speaking with journalists Betsy Woodruff and Carl Hulse, and also political consultant Rick Wilson;  Maher singled out Fox New’s presenter Sean Hannity who opposes the idea of rooting for a recession, saying he wasn’t a genie and “I do not have this power.” he added “I’m just saying we can survive a recession. We’ve had 47 of them. We’ve had one every time there’s a Republican president,” Then speaking recession in comparison to President Trump’s decision to roll back protections for endangered species he said; “They don’t last forever? You know what lasts forever? Wiping out species!”

The protections for endangered species now permit for economic factors to be weighed before adding animals to the list. The “Real-Time” host blasted Trump over the move.

Bill Maher said Americans have had over 40 recessions throughout Republican Presidencies 

Binman Ben Bird Presents Cake to 100 year old Dorothy


Isn’t it great to read a heartwarming story above is ITV’s reporting of the story that’s gone viral and the mobile footage of Refuse Collector Ben Bird presenting Centenian Dorothy Ballard known locally in the Kidderminster area as ‘Mercy’ with a birthday cake on her 100th Year celebration has been viewed over 4 million times.

“She Makes me Laugh Every Week”

Ben who’s done the bin collection for 8 years struck up a friendship with Mercy and made regular calls to her for chats and said “she makes me laugh every week”

When he discovered he would be working his collection on the day of her birthday he decided to make and present her with the cake he’d promised when she turned 100 years.

Russian Protest over Fair Voting in Moscow Duma Elections 2019


Saturday, August 10, 2019

8:49 PM

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Up to about 60,000 people haver demonstrated in Moscow today demanding free elections in Russia, in what is being seen as one of the country’s biggest political protests since 2011.

Protesters gathered on Saturday at the central Prospekt Andreya Sakharova street for their fourth consecutive weekend demonstration over the exclusion of opposition and independent candidates from the Moscow’s city council ballot.

Some protester’s carried placards with “Give us the right to vote!” and others carrying pictures of activists arrested at earlier protests.

The protests started after after the verification of the signatures collected by the candidates, the Moscow City Election Commission (MCEC) refused to register most of independent opposition candidates.

In Moscow it is acceptle to have peaceful assemblies but rallies are prohibited.

One of the candidates in the election whose candidacy was refused is the very popular Lyubov Sobol lawyer of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, member of the Russian Opposition Coordination Council (2012-2013). She has been arrested by police and has been on a hunger strike following the 27th July Rally in Moscow. The Russian Government invoked a criminal case against candidates Dmitry Gudkov and Ivan Zhdanov, Alexander Solovyov and Nikolai Balandin for hindering the ‘electoral rights of the work of the election commission’ (article 141 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation)

Also anumber of candidates and rally organisers have been taken in for interrogation. Lyubov Sobol who went on hunger strike in the MCEC building was pulled out publicly from the building as she filmed this on social media with guards maintaining the heavy handed eviction was to “shake out bedbugs and parasites” of the sofa she occupied.

Worldwide there as been condemnation and concern over the treatment of the opposition candidates for the Moscow City Duma election which is due to be held on September 8, 2019

“Active Measures”–the Trump/Putin Connection


Active Measures is a 2018 documentary film by director Jack Bryan. It is the first major documentary to address the allegations of “collusion” between the Trump campaign and agents of the Russian state.

Owen Gleiberman, chief film critic for Variety writes of it :  “…Active Measures names the names and fills in the flowchart of Trump’s corruption with gripping authority

The film also incorporates the research of Christopher Steele the MI6 officer who was tasked with providing his own personal intelligence insight into the Trump Russian associations – his intelligence document was discredited by the Trump administration ask fake news and Donald Trump described him as a ‘failed spy’. It is almost completely agreed by most people that there was indeed Russian Government involvement in the 2016 US elections and in ultimately Donald Trump’s election presidential candidacy. Mr. Steele now is being asked by the US Government to answer questions relating to his connections with the FBI.

In 1997 when the political analyst Aleksandr Dugin (a fascist nationalist) who authored the “Foundations of Geopolitics” the book now almost a textbook in the academy of the General Staff of the Russian military.

Click here to see the film

active measures

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Scrap Digital Tax, or no Free Trade Deal


Logos Of FAANG Tech CompaniesThe US will not negotiate a free trade deal with the UK unless a new digital services tax is dropped, according to a newspaper report – Source: Sky News

The measure, which was proposed in 2018 by then chancellor Philip Hammond in response to fears that technology giants were not paying their fair share of tax, is due to come into effect in April next year.

But US President Donald Trump’s administration is demanding that it be ditched, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The threat had been “communicated to the UK government at multiple levels”, the newspaper said, quoting a source as saying: “The message was, ‘if you go ahead and introduce this tax, we will not begin free trade negotiations with you’.”

 

 

Amy Winehouse – We only said goodbye in words


Amy Winehouse tragically died on 23 July 2011 at the age of 27.

The popular jazz singer shot to stardom in 2003 after her first studio album, Frank, was released and won her a raft of nominations and awards, including the Ivor Novello that year.

Winehouse was immediately distinctive, both in terms of music – in an era dominated by girl and boy bands hers was an incredible, authentic and big-selling jazz voice carrying the most original lyrics out – and style, with her winged eyeliner, beehive hair and growing collection of tattoos.

More than Frank, it was Back to Black that solidified Winehouse’s place firmly comfortably-alongside-but-also-outside jazz, and into popular culture and mainstream mass consciousness.

TRUMP MEETS WITH SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES ON CENSORSHIP


SOURCE THE HILL ‘Hillicon News’

President Trump on Thursday denounced the world’s top social media companies as being biased against him and his supporters and pledged that his administration will be exploring “regulatory and legislative solutions” to protect free speech online.

“We have terrible bias, we have censorship like nobody has any understanding or nobody can believe,” he said.

Trump’s remarks came at the White House’s controversial “social media summit,” which drew about 250 attendees including top administration officials and a crowd of right-wing social media personalities.

The summit incited pushback and controversy even before it kicked off, as Democrats and leading tech groups greeted it with criticism and skepticism.

The event itself featured panels and discussions followed by a long and winding speech from Trump, which came off as a campaign speech at certain points as he touted his administration’s economic and trade accomplishments. The president spent the bulk of the speech boasting about his own prolific social media following — he has hundreds of millions of followers across multiple platforms and regularly takes to Twitter to break news and insult his foes.

Trump also acknowledged that social media has been a boon to him on the campaign trail and in the Oval Office, saying press releases rarely get pickup on their own but “if I put it out on social media, it’s like an explosion” and noting that he’s watched his follower count tick up.

What’s next: The president announced that he will be convening a meeting of the companies at the White House next week over concerns that they routinely censor right-wing perspectives. “We’re going to be calling a big meeting for the companies, they have to be here,” Trump said, adding that he’ll be inviting Republican and Democratic members of Congress to join.

The big picture: The White House’s escalating campaign will add to the troubles of tech companies, which have spent years denying claims of political bias as unfounded and unfair. Facebook, Twitter and Google — none of which were invited to the summit, which featured ample talk of bias and the unparalleled power of Big Tech — all declined to comment on the meeting.

Sir Kim Darroch Resigns amid Boris non-support


Diplomatic row causes resignation of Kim Darroch British US Ambassador

Politically and news wise it’s been an interesting month.

News has been focused on  Brexit,  naturally, whilst we have witnessed the whittling down of candidates for new Prime Minister (Boris Johnson is the likely one in the polls to win with only the Conservative Party members and MPs decision to elect him. Then the sad almost forced resignation of Sir Kim Darroch following email leaks criticizing the Trump administration and Donald Trump personally threatening non-cooperation with the British US Ambassador.  The untenable situation for the ambassador was further compounded with an obvious absence of support from Boris Johnson during his live  televised debate with opposition candidate Jeremy Hunt who in reply to a question on the ambassadors future, supported him. The incident that ensued from the leak also brings into question how politics can affect the civil service that tries to remain obviously impartial when dealing with what looks like a chaotic diplomatic scenario under the Trump administration and a president who

The foreign office civil service is furious today describing the lack of support shown to Sir Kim by Boris (undoubtedly to keep an amicable relationship with President Donald Trump once elected as PM in two weeks).

Teresa May wanted to have a cash-giveaway before her tenure is up in two weeks including a spending plan to provide £27 Billion over 3 years on education and awarding pay raises to teachers in the plan, Some suggesting not surprisingly but perhaps cynically that the spending plans are a political sweetener before leaving office and Philip Hammond criticizing the lack of frugality of the spending plan

Amnesty Report on Ogoni Nine’s case against Shell Oil


29 April 2019, 12:02 UTC

A Dutch court will this week (Wednesday 1 May) rule on an historic case against Shell, in which the oil giant stands accused of instigating a raft of horrifying human rights violations committed by the Nigerian government against the Ogoni people.

Esther Kiobel, Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula are suing Shell over what they say is its role in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of their husbands by the Nigerian military, following a brutal crackdown on Ogoni protests against Shell’s devastating pollution of the region in the 1990s.

“This decision will hopefully mark an important step towards justice for the Ogoni Nine,” said Mark Dummett, Head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International.

“These women believe their husbands would still be alive today were it not for Shell’s relentless pursuit of profit, which encouraged the Nigerian government’s bloody crackdown on protesters even when it knew the human cost.

“Despite a cache of evidence against Shell, the company has managed to dodge justice for years. This ruling could have great significance for people everywhere who have been harmed by the greed and recklessness of global corporations, and have struggled to hold them to account.”

Esther Kiobel and Victoria Bera will be in attendance at The District Court of The Hague, along with representatives from Amnesty International.

Taking a powerful multinational corporation to court for harm it has caused overseas is an extremely lengthy process. Esther Kiobel first filed a case against Shell in New York in 2002, but in 2013 the US Supreme Court ruled that the US did not have jurisdiction to hear the case – meaning the US courts never got to examine the substance of the allegations against Shell.

The Ogoni Nine

Amnesty International has independently documented Shell’s role in killings, rape and torture carried out by the Nigerian government in its effort to crush protests.

Barinem Kiobel, Baribor Bera, Nordu Eawo and Paul Levula were hanged in 1995 after a blatantly unfair trial. Their widows are now demanding compensation and a public apology from Shell for the role the company played in these events. Five other men, including protest leader and writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, were executed alongside them. They have become collectively known as the Ogoni Nine.

The four plaintiffs accuse Shell of being instrumental in the unlawful arrest and detention of their husbands; the violation of their husbands’ physical integrity; the violation of their right to a fair trial and to life, and their own right to a family life. Amnesty International supported Esther Kiobel to bring the case to the Netherlands in 2017, and detailed Shell’s role in the arrests and executions in a briefing, In The Dock. The plaintiffs are also calling for the court to order Shell to hand over more than 100,000 internal documents marked as confidential by the company during the US proceedings between 2002 and 2013, which are crucial to the case.

For more information about Esther Kiobel’s battle for justice, please see One Woman Vs Shell

From <https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/04/nigerianetherlandsshell-involvement-in-execution-of-ogoni-nine-to-be-decided-by-court/>

Teresa May the Poison Challice


Teresa May, PM and previous Home Secretary resigning over her failure to get a bill past her ‘baying for blood’ party and Conservative party eager only to see her go.

 

Jeremy Kyle Show Axed


 

This is Jon Culshaw’s impersonation of the “Jeremy Kyle show”, showing the protagonist in all his glory as judge and jury dealing with the lives of his guests. Some have described the show from the outset as a modern day form of live tv ‘bear baiting’. It has however consistently had a large share of afternoon television rating and was one of ITV’s most popular shows, it was the anglicised version of precursory show’s such as the US “Jerry Springer Show”, and in Britain “Trisha” (now shown on UK’s Channel 5). The Jeremy Kyle show format differed though in so far as the fact that ultimately it’s host gave his own opinion and judgement on his guest’s life situations.

What do you think do you like him or loathe him?

After 14 years on television and with guests saying the show changed their life or ruined it; the show’s final date was 10th May 2019 following the death of a guest participant, Steve Dymond who took his life due to his split with his partner following a lie detector result on the show which ITV has decided not to broadcast.

A former guest Dwayne Davison in an interview with the Guardian newspaper said following his appearance on the Jeremy Kyle Show he was labelled the most hated Jeremy Kyle guest ever.  He struggled for work and was mocked in the street as a result, and tried to kill himself after sustained public shaming.

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“It’s the worst thing that has ever happened in my life,” Davison said. “They put the spoon in and stirred around my whole life.”  Mr Davison said the show provoked participants into causing offence;  believing footage was edited in such a way to portray guests unfavourably and that attempts at aftercare belied due to the production team’s use of footage.

.I read a great article about the show a few years ago from the media section of the Guardian from an original article in the Observer on the modern day TV phenomena that is the “Jeremy Kyle Show”.

For the full article see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/sep/07/itv.television

 

 

 

 

 

CSW Defence & security focus: DSTL in the Future


Written by Gary Aitkenhead on 29 April 2019 in Interview in CSW

As the UK faces increasingly complex global threats, our defence and security organisations must work more collaboratively than ever. Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory gives an interview with CSW

What has been the biggest challenge facing your organisation in the past 12 months?

The response to the incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury – the lab moved into a 24/7 operational footing for weeks with a large number of our people involved. Throughout this we had our challenges with significant, often adverse misleading information circulating online, which impacted on our reputation, public perception and on some of our staff. Of course, our support to the incide nts also impacted on our normal operations as we still needed to meet the ongoing requirements of our customers, but the commitment from our people was fantastic and everyone worked extremely hard to ensure Dstl responded effectively to this unprecedented event. The eyes of the world were on us, and I am incredibly proud of Dstl and the response at pace from across government, both local and national police and the military and the many others involved.

How is your organisation adapting to reflect Britain’s changing place in the world?

Our research is world-class in many areas and so we continue to work closely with many partner nations. We have a focus on the US, European bilateral collaborations (such as recent increasing work with Germany), and are broadening to new emerging areas with Japan and India. NATO and 5EYES (UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) remain key intelligence and collaboration partners with multiple joint cyber projects, and this is not expected to change as the UK exits the EU. We continually adapt to seek new opportunities, as demonstrated through the sharing of cyber defence experiences with Estonia, one of our NATO partners.

DSTL also continues to support Britain’s industry and academia through both research funding (approx £270m this year and expected to increase next year) to exploit their ideas, as part of the MoD’s “promote our prosperity” priority. We also licence our intellectual property to SME and large companies that attracts private funding resulting in UK exports and jobs.

What opportunities or innovations are you excited about in the coming years that will help you improve public outcomes?

Information technology is developing very quickly and defence is adapting to fully exploit these new opportunities for Information advantage, with initiatives being led by Dstl and our military customers. We are focused on protecting and exploiting both data and information to maximise their value for decision making and to sustain our advantage in future conflicts. Effort includes exploiting the best signal processing to extract more information from raw sensor data, and techniques like machine learning to exploit large information data sets.

What do you think your role will look like in 20 years’ time?

It’s always going to be a challenge for any organisation to predict the future, but this is where Dstl works best: working out where and when S&T – science and technology – is needed and at what time in the future. I would expect that in 20 years we will still be working, as we are now, to be ahead of the pace of change with S&T, with artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles being the norm and most likely quantum computing seeing real world applications.

About the author : Gary Aitkenhead is chief executive of the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) this is from an article in CSW

The Victorian Deadly “Home Sweet Home”


 The Victorian Lounge and Parlours

 

The Victorians used Arsenic in their Dye process for wallpaper in the homes of many affluent urban middle class settled in Victorian Cities. Due to the smog outside people felt at home with the windows shut and their Victorian fire places burning while slowly inhaling and ingesting the deadly poison.

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The Victorian Wardrobe

 

The Victorian woman was seen as the house maker (Dicken’s even describes the ‘angel of the home’ in Edwin Drood) and Victorian woman increasingly wore corsets that constricted and even damaged the bodies inner organs and made normal breathing confined – this mode of dress appearance soon became championed against by the Rational Dress Society whose members included Constance Wilde (wife of Oscar Wilde). Even today the look of a narrower waist line still persists in fashion.

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In the Kitchen

 

The Victorian age heralded gas lighting and gas central heating but these inventions were not always fully tested and gas piping often was prone to corrode which saw the emergence of cases of gas poisoning (the many gas companies would promote their utility as ‘natural gas’ and quite harmless, but with the advent of heating boilers and gas cookers that were not proper ventilated being sold as standalone and offering capability for heating water for steam heating these devices became pressure cookers waiting to explode. The Victorians also saw electricity first introduced into the homes – with new lighting the pinnacle of the modern Victorian technological era, but once again without proper safety many homes were destroyed by explosions caused by leaking gas and electrical ignition. It was only until 1923 that Gas Safety Regulations came into force.

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The Victorian Nursery

 

One would assume the Victorian nursery would offer safety to the children of the middle class Victorian household, after all new laws came into power over child labour in the Victorian Era and because child mortality was still high (154,000 infants under the age of one year died annually between 1880 and 1890); the children of the Victorian middle classes could surely expect to be cherished, and the new manufacturing of children’s toys and their marketing led to to the new Victorian home consumer culture offering entertainment for children of a household. Toys with any form of level of pigmented colour would often have high levels of metals to create these painted items so white items may have contained lead and many toys had high toxic levels of lead which caused nausea; disorientation and eventually over prolonged use death. Lead was a common ingredient in painted metal toys and even though known as a poisonous metal since Roman times, it was a great preserver of wood. Lead absorption caused development abnormalities in children

The use of lead was so widely used in homes for painting interior walls and wooden surfaces that even in the 1920s when European laws forbid lead use in paints – Britain only finally banned and regulated lead levels in paints in the 1970s! .

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Co-Incidentally, in the Victorian age the use of Laudanum, an opiate often combined with alcohol as a syrup provided to children of poorer families was often sold over the counter as a quieting medicine of young infants and babies who cried due to hunger. The use of such over the counter medicines disguised the growing problem of Victorian child malnourishment.

Another deadly killer arose from the Victorian attitude to modesty in breatfeeding their children and this led to the presumption that alternatives such as bottle feeding as mentioned in Mrs. Beaton’s Good Housekeeping Guide as to it’s application, what was not known in Victorian days even with the urban growth of sewerage being set up nationally was the requirement to properly sterilise bottles – these victorian ‘baby feeders’ were a magnet to bacterial growth on the porous parts of the feeding device often causing severe intestinal and respiratory infion resulting in countless infant mortalities.  

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The East India Company


Sunday, April 28, 2019

8:29 PM

The East India Company was formulated soon after the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 when London Merchants became aware of the Spanish and Portuguese of the trading in the far east of the globe and pertiioned for permission to sail to the Indian Ocean and it became one of the first corporations with Limited Liability by virtue of Queen Elizabeth I Royal Charter in 1600.  The dominance of the company It lasted for two further centuries as one of the exporting trading companies, it also saw the creation of wars over territory, the colonisation of lands a new colonial master in the form of the United Kingdom which eventually took Governance of its lands while profiting from the abundance of itd resources and trading commodities;  it also however made world trading possible due to the limited liability which enshrined protection to the investors – this became crucial in the 19th Century development of transport structures such as the railway network in Britain and its then colonies.

Adam Smith though was critical of the Limited Liability model in his book the “Wealth of Nations” citing his concern over the management of investors’ money.

In 1770 a famine in Bengal wiped out a lot of the East India’s trade and British regulators saved it from bankruptcy from exempting it from tariffs of tea exports to the American colonies which eventually led to the Boston Tea Party tax opposition and which led to the American Revolution and the signing of the “Declaration of Independence” between  13 British colonies of the United States and Britain. A key player in the Declaration was John Adams who became the 2nd President of the United States and was a founding father of the US and met with King George III to petition for US independence from the United Kingdom.

The company was involved in a great many wars in it’s desire to win on trading including the Carnatic Wars,  a series of three military conflicts in the middle of the 18th century in India. The conflicts involved numerous nominally independent rulers and their vassals, struggles for succession and territory, and included a diplomatic and military struggle over the succession of power of the  Mughal Empire of India between the French East India Company and the British East India Company.

It also  saw the The Indian Rebellion of 1857 (also known as the Indian Mutiny or Sepoy Mutiny and under the  Government of India Act 1858, the British Government nationalised the company. The Crown took over its Indian possessions, its administrative powers and machinery, and its armed forces.

The companies HQ originally was in Leadenhall Street in London, and eventually moved to Crosby House, then Bishopsgate and later the area where Lloyds of London now stands.

Eluid Kipchoga completes the second fastest in London Marathon History


Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge today became the first runner to cross the finishing line of the final day (day 3) of the Virgin Money London Marathon of 26.2 miles from Blackheath to The Mall (Near Buckingham Palace).

Prince Harry made an unannounced appearance on the day to watch the Marathon.

Eliud ran the second fastest marathon in history to win the London Marathon for a fourth time,  Britain’s Mo Farah finished fifth.

Kipchoge, completed the marathon in two hours two minutes 38 seconds.

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WikiLeaks Julian Assange Arrested


LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 11: Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police vehicle on his arrival at Westminster Magistrates court on April 11, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Julian Assange has been forcibly arrested and taken out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after having spent 6 years in the Embassy where he was initially granted asylum.

The WikiLeaks founder and editor shouted “This is unlawful” as Police officers took him out of the embassy.

Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case, a cast that has since been dropped.

At Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday he was found guilty of failing to surrender to the court on bail.

He now faces US federal conspiracy charges related to one of the largest ever leaks of government secrets. The UK will now decide whether to extradite Assange, in response to allegations by the Department for Justice that he conspired with former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to download four classified databases. If found guilty by the US courts he faces  up to five years in prison in the US on the charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

One of the Swedish women who made the 2010 allegations against Assange, whose rape case was closed by Swedish prosecutors in 2017, told the Guardian she was opposed to his extradition to the United States.

“I would be very surprised and sad if Julian is handed over to the US,” she said via email, asking for her name not to be used.

“For me this was never about anything else than his misconduct against me and other women, and his refusal to take responsibility for this. Too bad my case could never be investigated properly, but the arrest will not change this, the case cannot be opened. I am prepared to testify if the other case opens up again.

At Westminster Magistrates Court

While Assange waited for his legal team to arrive he sat in the dock reading Gore Vidal’s “history of the national security state”. He also waved and gave a thumbs up to a supporter in the public gallery clad in a yellow vest.

Assange shouted “this is unlawful” as police officers struggled to drag him from the Ecuadorian embassy this morning, the court heard. “This is unlawful, I’m not leaving,” he said.

In a tweet, Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, said: “We strongly condemn the detention of Julian Assange and the violation of freedom of speech. Our solidarity with this brother who is persecuted by the US government for revealing its human rights violations, murders of civilians and diplomatic espionage.”

Julian Assange Arrested Today in London (Video Source: BBC News)

Police Advice on Common Scams


Police advice on common scams

Action Fraud and the Metropolitan Police are aware of the current scams being employed. And some are quite audacious. most scammers rely on fear and employ techniques to precipitate either quick financial transactions or gain access to important personal information.

Phone numbers

Some phone companies provide national numbers and premium rate numbers, such as 0800 or 0845, to businesses or individuals, who often don’t need to provide ID to get them.

Scammers often use these numbers. They’ll divert them to unregistered pay-as-you-go mobile numbers or to a separate answering service, making them difficult to trace.

Because of this, don’t rely on the appearance of a phone number to tell you what sort it is.

For example, 0208 is usually a London number and 07952 a UK mobile number. But scammers buy these numbers to trick you into believing the business is legitimately based somewhere that it really isn’t.

Scammers also use software to have any number they wish to appear on your phone’s caller ID screen. This method, known as ‘spoofing’, means they can appear to be calling from a legitimate number linked to a person or company, when in fact they aren’t.

Courier Scams

In most cases of courier fraud, a fraudster phones their victim and claims to be from their bank, the police or other law enforcement authority. They then con the victim into revealing their PIN and credit or debit card details. Sadly, the most common victims of courier fraud are the elderly.

Examples of Courier Scams

A scammer calls you, claiming to be from your bank or a police officer. They tell you either that:

  • a fraudulent payment has been spotted on your card that needs sorting out
  • someone has been arrested using your details and cards

The other common trick is for a courier to deliver an item to your door and then ask you to pay the delivery charge at your door using a point of sale credit card terminal PDQ card reader which copies the relevant account and chip and pin information.

Action Fraud highlight the current scams (in alphabetical order) that they currently know of that are affecting consumers and the general public.

Here is the “The Little Book of Big Scams” and below is a video published by Richmond Police.

Boris – the Irresistible Rise

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