Daily archives: July 31, 2007

Energy Blues

I was reading an article by David Aaronovitch in which he argued that the recent floods in the UK were a blip and we certainly should not waste money on flood defences. I am not going to provide a link to the fat thug – google it if you must.

It caused me to ponder the curious link between climate change denial and support for the War in Iraq. High profile climate change deniers like Aaronovitch and barking Melanie Phillips are a major part of the hardcore rump of those who still support the Iraq War. (Adam Bolton on Sky News assured us this morning “The Surge is starting to work”. He was of course saying that from the safety of a Washington street. I should like to see Adam stand in a Baghdad street outside the Green Zone and tell us that). But to return to my tenuous thread of thought, why are climate change deniers particularly keen on the Iraq war? There is a common factor in hydrocarbons, but the two don’t link together in an irresistible way.

Climate change is especially on my mind at the moment as I am trying to help Ghana with power generation. Ghana’s marvellous hydroelectric system – the Akosombo Dam and Volta Lake – has been suffering long term decline through dwindling rainfall, that now threatens to become long term catastrophic, and to undermine one of Africa’s best developed and managed economies. In searching for solutions I discover that very similar factors are now causing major problems to established hydro schemes in both Turkey and Tajikistan, and presumably elsewhere too. I do not merely believe in man-made climate change, I believe it is impacting at a rate far quicker than we have generally appreciated.

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Who’s a Terrorist?

According to Sky News, a former BNP candidate was jailed today for possession of a large number of chemicals including hydrogen peroxide, acetone, and hydrochloric acid, the main ingredients of TATP. This explosive acheived notoriety due to its alleged use in the 7/7 bombs and other incidents.

From Orange

A former British National Party candidate has been jailed for two-and-a-half years for possessing explosive chemicals.

Robert Cottage, 49, was cleared after two trials of conspiracy to cause explosions but had earlier pleaded guilty to amassing the chemicals. Police discovered a huge stockpile of chemicals and food at his home in Colne, Lancashire last September.

Officers mounted the operation after Cottage’s wife told a social worker she was concerned about the substances and her husband’s belief that immigrants were swamping Britain.

The court heard that Cottage feared the country was on the brink of civil war. He appeared at Manchester’s Crown Square Court to be sentenced in relation to the charge of possession.

From The Muslim News

A former British National Party (BNP) candidate and a dentist were cleared of plotting explosions on July 12, despite being accused of possessing the largest sum of chemical explosives of its type ever found domestically in Lancashire….

Former BNP candidate Robert Cottage, of Colne, and David Jackson, of Nelson, had stockpiled chemicals they bought on the internet and discussed using them to cause explosions.

The record haul included the discovery of a rocket launcher, a nuclear biological suit, BB guns, gas masks two 56 kilogram bags of sugar, a box of mini flares, 34 gas canisters, a selection of pellets and an air pistol. Officers also found a series of printed bomb recipes from The Anarchis’s Handbook, downloaded from the internet.

Lancashire police were forced to deny accusations the trial would have been handled differently if one of the terrorism suspects had been Muslim.

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Caught in a Kafkaesque System

There is not much to add to this excellent report, except that some of the “Intelligence material” against these poor people almost certainly comes from foreign torture chambers and the extraordinary rendition system.

By Peter Griffiths

LONDON (Reuters) – Terrorism suspects held under virtual house arrest in Britain suffer “Kafkaesque” treatment in special courts that review secret evidence against them, a committee of legislators said on Monday.

The committee’s report said “no right-minded person” would think the suspects had a fair hearing when they often had no idea of the case against them.

It likened the system to the Star Chamber, a secretive and oppressive English court abolished in 1641.

“This is a process that is offensive both to the basic principles of natural justice as we know it and to British ideas of fair play,” said Andrew Dinsmore, chairman of the Joint Committee on Human Rights


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Court of Appeal Issues Secret Rulings on Deportation and Torture Case

From Amnesty International

On 30 July 2007 the Court of Appeal of England and Wales gave judgment in an important test case concerning the appeals of three Algerian men against their deportation to Algeria on “national security” grounds. The judgment is in two parts: an open judgment, and a closed, i.e. secret, judgment not disclosed to the appellants, their lawyers of choice or the public.

In each of the three cases the Court of Appeal ruled that the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) should reconsider them. In two of the three, the Court of Appeal reached this conclusion on grounds that are secret. Amnesty International considers that it is doubly disturbing that these two men not only were not told the UK authorities’ case against them, but will not now be told the grounds on which the SIAC is to reconsider that very case. The principle that justice should not only be done but be seen to be done seems to have been turned on its head.

For the full statement go here

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