Trident ‘not the only option’ to deter war

Trident is not the only option to deter war, a candidate and homeland security researcher in the by-election for Llantrisant Town has said.

Freeman of Llantrisant Jonathan Bishop, who is standing as an independent for the town and who is a strong supporter of the Llantrisant War Memorial Campaign, questions whether Britain going it alone with Trident will actually protect national security.

Freeman Bishop, who studied economics at Aberystwyth University and has a masters of laws degree in European Union law, says Britain must look beyond its own shores. “Much of the cost of Trident involves paying other NATO members to provide the labour and materials,” he said. “With NATO members facing the same threats from the same international powers and terrorists, we should be sharing the control and costs of a nuclear deterrent with our allies.

Freeman Jonathan Bishop believes a shared nuclear deterrent between NATO members will reduce the cost of Trident for British taxpayers.
HOMELAND ECONOMICS: Freeman Jonathan Bishop believes a shared nuclear deterrent between NATO members will reduce the cost of Trident for British taxpayers. Courtesy: Jonathan Bishop Limited

Freeman Bishop, who has patented technology that can reduce the number of civilian casualties in warzones, says the government should ask whether an independent deterrent is actually an option. “Homeland security is not just about renewing Trident,” he said. “The Royal Air Force is instrumental in defending British airspace and the National Crime Agency needs expansion to protect us from new threats,” he said. “Renewing Trident might be an issue for Labour MPs fearful of losing their seats to Tories in the 2020 General Election, but in my view we should be collaborating with our allies in NATO to achieve a more affordable shared deterrent.

It is not clear whether Labour candidate Liz Smith agrees with her husband Owen Smith, MP, over his strong support for another Trident programme. But another independent in the election, Louisa Mills, who works for a London-based woodcraft organization, is clear where she stands, saying she wants to send “peace and love energy across the world – near and far.

Louisa Mills wants to send "peace and love energy across the world - near and far."
PEACE IN OUR TIME?: Louisa Mills wants to send “peace and love energy across the world – near and far.” Courtesy: Copyright(c) Louisa May Mills.

Ashu M. G. Solo is a former infantry officer and platoon commander understudy. “Peaceniks turn a blind eye to genocide and ethnic cleansing and ignore atrocities by foreign dictators,” he said. “They trust foreign tyranny more than their own military, care more about domestic lives than foreign lives, put domestic prosperity over foreign liberty, and prefer peace under tyranny over war for liberty.

Freeman Bishop, who is a member of the Institute of Marine Engineering and Technology, says defence policy is not as simple as war being the opposite of peace. “Whether we like it or not, war has been a reality for the last 5,000 years and things are unlikely to change any time soon,” he said.  “In my view we should be reducing the number of nuclear powers in the world to between four and six with NATO being one of them, which would mean they would be an ‘oligopoly,’  so that at some point in the distant future, they could all disarm at once.
Both my grandfathers were involved in World War II, one as a gunner and the other as a miner, so as nice as we would like the world to be, unilateral disarmament like some peaceniks call for will not work.

Concerns over NATO police operation

As the Home Office announces “one of the UK’s largest-ever policing deployments” in South Wales at the 2014 NATO Summit, concerns have been raised about public safety for those wanting to protest peacefully.

POLICE THREAT: Concerns are raised that scenes like this at the G20 summit in London where police traumatize protesters will be repeated in South Wales at the 2014 NATO summit. Courtesy: Kashfi Halford
POLICE THREAT: Concerns are raised that scenes like this at the G20 summit in London where police traumatize protesters will be repeated in South Wales at the 2014 NATO summit. Courtesy: Kashfi Halford

The 2009 G20 summit in London resulted in a number of members of the public suffering trauma through being mishandled by police when trying to protest peacefully. Concerns have been raised by human rights advocates that there would be a repeat of the violence from police officers at the NATO summit in South Wales. Ashu M.G. Solo is a civil rights activist. “The police should be equipped with miniature lapel cameras to protect themselves and the people,” he said.

Questioned about the risks to the public at the NATO summit from overzealous police officers, a Home Office spokesperson said: “It is up to the police how they want to police it.”

Members of the public caught up in any violence against them by the police are advised to make a complaint via the Independent Police Complaints Commission. They can be contacted by phone at 0300 020 0096 or via their website at http://www.ipcc.gov.uk

Twitter reacts positively to ‘condemned’ holocaust comments

Dubbed the 21st century Winston Churchill, the UK Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Bradford has received praise from across the political divide on Twitter, but not it seems within his own party.

During the Great Depression in the 1930s, Winston Churchill spent most of his time trying to bring attention to the situation in Nazi Germany, but was not listened to.  David Ward MP seems to be to be sitting in the same boat nearly a century later. His Liberal Democratic Party colleagues condemned his comments, which questioned the treatment of Palestinians by Israel and eloquently expressed concerns about the holocaust that is going on in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Chris Davies MEP (@ChrisDaviesMEP) was fully supportive of Ward. “Lib Dem leadership quite wrong to ‘reprimand’ David Ward,” he said. “David Ward’s words could have been better chosen, but why do people who have suffered so much now inflict suffering upon Palestinians?”

And Eugene Henry, who described herself as a Labour Party supporter, questioned the intentions of Mr Ward’s party. She said, “David Ward was condemned for condemning atrocities? Lib Dems courting the Jewish vote by any chance?!”

The State of Israel is heading up a holocaust of Palestinians, including through abusing women and children. Courtesy: Ruth Pollard
GRAPHIC:  The State of Israel is committing a holocaust of Palestinians, including through abusing women and children.  Courtesy:  Ruth Pollard

David Ward MP’s original comments that he posted to his website were, “Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.”

Palestinian attacks have been argued to be primarily a reaction to Israeli terrorism. It is believed that Israel has killed 12 times more Palestinian children than those Israeli minors killed by Palestinians.

Human rights activist Ashu MG Solo said that David Ward MP’s comments were a welcome change from the Zionist biases that plague the western establishment. “Most western political parties are in the pockets of the pro-Israel lobby composed of Zionist Jews, right-wing Christians, the military industrial complex, Muslim haters, and ignorant voters,” Solo said.  “They cover up the truth and call anyone who tells the truth about Israel an ‘anti-Semite.’  David Ward is a courageous politician who is telling people the truth.”

Solo said the truth is that Israel is committing a slow genocide of Palestinians to steal as much of their land as possible.  “Israel murders as many Palestinians as it can, makes life hell for Palestinians, and deprives Palestinians of food and water while providing plenty of food and water to Jewish settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” Solo said.  “Western funding and support of Israeli terrorism is the top cause of jihadi terrorism against the west.”

“Israel has been using the holocaust committed by Nazi Germany as an excuse to commit its own holocaust against Palestinians,” Solo said. “One holocaust doesn’t justify another.” Ashu Solo suggested that people should remember, condemn, and combat all holocausts instead of just the one committed by Nazi Germany.

Allegations against public servant ‘untrue’

Allegations of tax avoidance against a Swansea civil servant have been claimed by a Welsh Government official to be unsubstantiated.

Eleri Lewis, who is a senior administrator at the Welsh Government’s Redundancy Action Scheme, ReAct, was accused of two counts of evading car tax between 2004 and 2005.  In 2012, Eleri Lewis refused to give a former director of an IT firm funding to retrain as a subject specialist for a career in lecturing or expert witness. The IT director believes that Eleri Lewis was overly suspicious of him because of her history.  When he robustly challenged one of her staff, she said she did not like his “tone” and suggested that he would not “attain a positive outcome” in his application because of it.

Sian Bryant, a spokesperson for the Welsh Government, said the allegations against Eleri Lewis of the Department for Education and Skills were “completely untrue and as such the whistleblowing panel will not be considering them at their next meeting.”

Some have questioned whether the response was adequate when it was considered only by one of Eleri Lewis’s colleagues at the Welsh Government and not the independent whistleblowing committee. Ashu M. G. Solo, known for fighting against extreme corruption in Canada, said this looks like a cover-up.  “A full investigation should take place independent of the Welsh Government. It’s clear that Eleri Lewis acted inappropriately by denying someone state aid just because she didn’t like his tone.”

City councillor in racism row

A city councillor in Saskatoon, Canada has been criticised for allowing the posting of racist comments on his Facebook personal page and fan page following a civil rights activist challenging the city over its promotion of Christmas and preferential treatment of Christianity.

Councillor Darren Hill posted the comment “merry Christmas everyone” on his profile after a Canadian-born civil rights campaigner, Ashu M. G. Solo, who happens to not be white, made a civil rights complaint about city owned buses displaying a Christmas greeting while ignoring holidays from all other religions.

Nathan Frisen said: I am quickly losing tolerance for those that come here for freedom and then want to stomp on our freedoms. If you don't like it, leave & I will gladly help point the way out! So, Ashu Solo, I would love to put you on the next boat back to whatever country you came from so you and enjoy the freedoms there!
Nathan Friesen posts racist messages on Facebook. Courtesy: Facebook

Friends of Councillor Darren Hill posted abusive comments, several of them racist. One user named Nathan Friesen said that Ashu Solo should be put on the “next boat” back to “whatever country (he) came from.” This was a reference to the phrase “come over on a banana boat,” which refers to Afro-Caribbean people who found work in Europe to get out of a bad situation where they were not given an education or other opportunities.

Nathan Friesen was defended by one of Darren Hill’s other friends. “Hey Nathan let me know, ill be glad to help carry their luggage and drive em to the airport,” said Brian Nixon.

Cody Garnier said: "I love how its people coming to canada (sic) bitching. Dont (sic) dome here then try and switch our rules and traditions. Its (sic) like having a sleep over and having the guest telling you how to run a household. Go back if you dont (sic) like it. I mean this in the least racist way." Cody Garnier then said: "Oh and merry chirstmas (sic) folks."
Cody Garnier makes an apparently racist remark by telling Ashu Solo not to “come” to Canada. Courtesy: Facebook

Another user known as Cody Garnier was equally abusive of Solo with one comment echoing the racist one by Nathan Friesen. “Don’t come here then try and switch our rules and traditions. It is like having a sleep over and having the guest telling you how to run a household,” Garnier said. “Go back if you don’t like it.”

Solo, who was a representative on the city’s Cultural Diversity and Race Relations Committee, said his treatment was appalling. “I was born here, served in the army reserve here, and don’t have to accept religion in government here,” Solo said.

Councillor Darren Hill says he doesn’t tolerate racist comments, but didn’t remove them from his Facebook page. “I will not tolerate racist comments, comments that do not respect another person’s beliefs, or comments suggesting any individual does not belong in Canada,” he said. “As an elected official I represent people of all faiths and people of no faith. I do however; believe in the right for public institutions to continue to recognize the century old tradition of Christmas and what it was founded on.”

But Ashu M. G. Solo said that this was not good enough. “Hill saw the racist and bigoted comments and chose to leave them on his Facebook pages,” Solo said. “A decent politician or person would immediately delete the bigoted remarks and purge the friends who made them. Hill is tolerating discriminatory remarks toward religious and ethnic minorities on his Facebook pages and perpetuating negative stereotypes by allowing these comments to remain. Darren Hill should be ashamed of himself.”

Hill claims he won’t tolerate comments that don’t respect another person’s beliefs, but Solo said he isn’t respecting other people’s beliefs by saying “merry Christmas” to people who he knows don’t celebrate it. “Saying ‘merry Christmas’ instead of ‘happy holidays’ to people who you know don’t celebrate it is bigoted and an attempt to push one’s religious beliefs on people who don’t share them,” Solo said. “Otherwise people would not oppose saying ‘happy holidays’ instead of ‘merry Christmas.'”

This is not the first time that racism has hit the headlines with regards to politicians not respecting human rights campaigners. In December 2012, Diane Abbott, the Labour Member of Parliament for Hackney and Stoke Newington, blocked a civil rights activist when they held her to account over her seemingly racist remarks saying that white people like to play the game of “divide and rule.” Diane Abbott faced calls to resign from across the political divide, including Dr Blaine Robin of Luton Borough Council. It is unclear whether such demands will be made of Councillor Darren Hill for indirectly supporting racism by not removing the offensive posts on his Facebook profiles.

Mixed reaction to cameras on cops

Pontypridd has possibly become the first town in the United Kingdom to have a police officer fitted with a camera. Reaction to it is mixed.

Beat manager Constable Colin Price of South Wales Police is claimed to have taken the step to achieve “lower theft and anti-social behaviour.”  The camera will be strapped around the officer’s belt to help shoppers “feel safe.”

Equality activist and cyber rights expert Jonathan Bishop said it should also help many of the vulnerable people in the town feel safe and the roll-out should be speeded up.  “When I was a town councillor in neighbouring Treforest, I heard all these stories about how drunken or vulnerable people were being manhandled by coppers and then charged under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986,” he said.  “This new technology should mean that police officers are more likely to act professionally, knowing they are on camera as well!”

But some residents in Pontypridd are more sceptical.  Friends of the Earth campaigner Richard Reast said the cameras will have little positive impact:  “I had my bike vandalised in Pontypridd and there are not enough CCTV cameras in the town.”

Recent events might suggest that the use of these cameras on cops is essential.  In December 2009, a police car in Washington DC was pelted with a snowball, and an officer, identified only as Det. Baylor, got out of his car and brandished his gun at the crowd.  ReasonTV’s Dan Hayes was on the scene capturing the tense confrontation between police and citizens who chanted, “Don’t bring a gun to a snowball fight!”  The video below contains strong language.

Paul Bevan, who is Head of Community Safety at the local authority that oversees Pontypridd, said the initiative should be welcomed.  “This is yet another example of how we can take advantage of state-of-the-art technology for the wider benefit of those who live in and visit Pontypridd, particularly during the festive period.”

Jonathan Bishop, who is an expert in affective computing and information security, says the cameras need to be independently monitored and use the latest emotion recognition technologies.  “These cameras, like all CCTV in my view, should be used by volunteers at Neighbourhood Watch and not law enforcement authorities with vested interests,” he said. “With the latest emotion recognition technology, it would mean these volunteers can be warned whenever the police are causing harassment, alarm, or distress to the members of the public they are supposed to be protecting.”

Civil rights activist Ashu M. G. Solo said that cameras on cops are extremely important to prevent abuses of authority.  “Cameras on cops are needed everywhere, so that those who enforce the law cannot be above the law,” Solo said.

IT professional maltreated at Royal Glamorgan Hospital

An IT professional was physically and verbally assaulted during a visit to Royal Glamorgan Hospital near Llantrisant following an unexpected referral to the hospital’s day unit.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, suffers from epilepsy and depression. He had not taken his morning dose of Lamotrigine, an anti-epileptic and mood stabilising medication. He was refused it by the on-ward doctor at Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Dr Ala, and told to contact his general practitioner (GP).

The man did contact his GP service using his mobile phone.  They said they would fax the prescription to the pharmacy at Royal Glamorgan Hospital. It turned out that the pharmacy’s fax machine was not working and they told him to go to the accident and emergency (A&E) department of Royal Glamorgan Hospital.

The man, disoriented at this point, struggled to find his way to A&E and even paramedics would not help him. By the time he got to the A&E department at Royal Glamorgan Hospital, he was in a bad state and asked the staff in an aggressive tone but with measured words to give him his medication. They would not, so the man tried to phone the police on his mobile, but couldn’t get a signal. Then the hospital phone was broken. He asked the staff at the A&E department at Royal Glamorgan Hospital to give him a phone to call the police and they wouldn’t. Then when he went into the triage room to dial 999, they manhandled the phone off him. When he walked outside to try to get a signal on his mobile phone while in desperate need of his medication, they said “if you come back in we will call the police.”

The man, who is a senior member of an IT professional body, then complained to the Cwm Taf Health Board, who manage Royal Glamorgan Hospital, and instead of showing concern for staff and patients and putting patient safety at Royal Glamorgan Hospital first, they fabricated and changed their story.

Allison Williams in the chief executive of Cwm Taf Health Board. She has refused to investigate new training in incident management for her staff who assaulted a patient who is a senior IT professional.

Allison Williams is the chief executive officer of Cwm Taf Health Board and spoke following the initial investigation into hospital procedures. “The investigation has concluded that staff dealt with (the IT professional) on 12th July 2012 in accordance with this policy,” Allison Williams said. Allison Williams said that the man “advised staff that (he) had spoken to (his) GP who had arranged the medication for (him) and that (he was) to go to the Pharmacy Department.” Even though his condition worsened, Alison Williams admitted, “Sister Berry explained to the Pharmacist that (he) had not been referred from the Department and that (he) should be asked to return to the Department to wait for (his) blood results.” The man had by that point been told by the pharmacy to go to A&E at Royal Glamorgan Hospital where he was eventually assaulted. Despite communications from the senior IT professional, Allison Williams refused to review procedures to ensure staff had the right training, so that they did not make situations escalate to the point that patients were assaulted by staff as in this case or that staff were assaulted by patients as in other cases more widely reported in the media. Even the public service ombudsman for Wales did not take the complaint seriously. Joanne Smith on behalf of the Ombudsman Service said that their internal advisers were of the opinion that “the action taken by the consultant (Dr Ala) was appropriate.”

Ashu MG Solo, a prominent equality and human rights campaigner and representative on a city diversity committee, said that by not taking the case seriously, the public sector in Wales is putting themselves at risk of legal action for negligence or recklessness if another member of the public is injured or if a member of staff is injured. “The hospital staff should be extremely ashamed of themselves for not trying to help a patient in distress and for not being more sensitive to his medical conditions,” Solo said. “Hospital staff have a legal duty to accommodate when the situation calls for it, particularly for persons with disabilities or medical conditions, regardless of what the regular procedures are. Individuals with disabilities are casualties of chance. Let them not also be casualties of hospitals.”

Twitter in ginger baby frenzy

Within hours of the announcement that William Windsor and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were expecting a baby, Twitter was filled with offensive jokes about the baby being ginger.

Ben Everitt, who describes himself as a “policy/strategy geek and big four consulting escapee with more than an active interest in politics and community,” reported a work discussion. “Conversation in the office has already turned to whether it will come out ginger. Consensus is that it’s great economic news, though #kate,” he tweeted.

Elliott Web, who describes himself as a “freelance radio presenter and voiceover artist,” made a reference to a possible infidelity in the Royal Family. “Nice royal baby news, unless it comes out ginger in which case we’ll get the very first royal DNA test on Jeremy Kyle #kate,” he joked on Twitter.

“Monarchists being excited about this expected baby who could rule over them really shows how ridiculous they are,” Ashu M G Solo, a prominent civil rights activist, said.  “This future baby has done nothing to deserve the honors that will be bestowed upon him or her, but they still want to be future subjects of this baby.  Let all people be created equal.”

Ginger jokes may be an accepted part of free speech, but for some it is not a laughing matter. In October, Matthew Woods was jailed for 10 days for making offensive jokes about missing five-year-old April Jones. One of the so-called jokes was “Who in their right mind would abduct a ginger kid?” Campaigns were set up on Facebook, such as “Free Matthew Woods,” in order to speak up for the perceived miscarriage of justice.

Jonathan Bishop, who runs The Crocels Trolling Academy, said in both cases this is free speech, “My best friend Mark’s girlfriend is ginger and she gets her fair share of jokes from me and others,” he said. “We have to accept that in a democratic society, people are going to say things that are offensive to some, but that doesn’t mean people should go to jail for exercising such free speech.”

Solo, who is also a prominent interdisciplinary researcher, said he prefers redheads and argues that lawmakers in the UK should embrace the old adage that sticks and stones can break our bones, but words can never hurt us. “These jokes are offensive and irrational, but don’t warrant criminal charges,” Solo said. “Different people find different things offensive. When we start banning one form of speech, we are on a slippery slope to banning other forms of speech that can have more merit. Excluding libel and slander, let everyone enjoy full free speech for only then can society reach.”

 

Internet shut down by President Bashar al-Assad

The Syrian government has shut down public communications networks connected to the Internet across the country as they try to gain control in the ongoing civil war.

Known as the Syrian Uprisings, the armed conflict has been ongoing since 15 March 2010 and is seen by some as part of a wider social media-led liberation movement known as the Arab Spring.  Protesters have demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad as well as the end to nearly five decades of Ba’ath Party rule.

In response, al-Assad has shut down the Internet across the country and cut mobile phone services as part of an effort to hold back so-called rebels, enabling government troops to effortlessly wage fierce battles near the capital’s airport.

International airlines were forced to suspend flights following the Internet blackout, an unprecedented event in Syria’s 20-month-old civil war against the president.

A prominent human rights activist and interdisciplinary researcher, Ashu M. G. Solo, said that no modern country can function properly without the Internet.  “By shutting down the Internet, Assad has taken Syria from the information age to a dark age,” Solo said.  “Assad can try to delay the end of his brutally repressive dictatorship with these desperate measures, but he won’t be able to stay in power for long.  Liberty and democracy are rapidly spreading throughout the Middle East and North Africa.”

Israel call for social media censorship in Gaza holocaust

The Israeli Defence Force is asking witnesses to the atrocities in Gaza as part of what the Israeli Government called a “holocaust” not to let the locations of the bombings be shared on social media websites like Twitter and Facebook.

Social networking has become a major force in upholding civil liberties and human rights in recent years, including the Arab Spring uprisings.

A spokesperson from the VentureBeat news service spoke highly of the role of social networking services in exposing human rights abuses like this.  “In today’s connected world, social media is prevalent during any sort of conflict,” they said.  “It helped coordinate recent riots in London, and it even let one witness provide an account of the killing of Osama Bin Laden though the man didn’t know what he was tweeting about at the time.”

An outspoken human rights activist and interdisciplinary researcher, Ashu M G Solo, described Israel’s crimes against humanity as abhorrent.  “Israel is a fascist and imperialist country that is committing a slow genocide of Palestinians and that has killed 12 times more Palestinian kids than Israeli kids killed by Palestinians,” he said. “They purposely deprive Palestinians of safe drinking water and food while giving plenty of water and food to Jewish settlers in West Bank and Gaza.”

The United Kingdom’s Foreign Minister, William Hague, is blaming the “holocaust” in Gaza on its military service, Hamas. Courtesy: Wikipedia

Earlier the United Kingdom Foreign Minister, William Hague, condemned the violence by blaming the holocaust on Palestinians. He said: “We will be discussing today among the foreign ministers the terrible situation in Gaza, the continuation of rocket fire from Gaza on to Israel that, in our view, has precipitated the current crisis.”

But the spokesperson from VentureBeat is not convinced that it is as one-sided as the former Conservative Party leader thinks, “The IDF is concerned that the Hamas military will be able to better calculate where bombs could land if it knows how far off the bombs were from their intended targets.  Hamas could do this by looking at the GPS information for that image or social post, which is often readily available.”

Ashu MG Solo also supported the view of the relevance of social media to combating Israel’s actions. “The mainstream media doesn’t cover these atrocities because of the power of the pro-Israel lobby,” Solo said. “Social media has helped significantly in bringing these crimes against humanity to the attention of the public and should do so even more in the future.”