March 31, 2008

Activism: Don't forget GAZA!!


End the Siege of Gaza!
End Israeli Occupation!

Saturday 5th April 4-6pm
Protest opposite No 10 Downing Street
Whitehall, London

Situation in Gaza worsens

As the humanitarian crisis continues to worsen in Gaza, the statements from Israeli army spokespeople and ministers continue to be issued warning of further military interventions and a full scale invasion of Gaza.

International protests are continuing to take place against the siege of Gaza and the increasing horrific death toll. In Israel’s operation that it named ‘Operation Warm Winter’, the Israeli army killed 120 in Gaza between 27 February and 3 March, 60 on one day alone. A quarter of those killed that week were children. The death toll as a result of those delayed or denied access to essential treatment outside Gaza reached 117 by 25 March.

Organisations working on the ground including Christian Aid, Save the Children, Amnesty and Oxfam have released a report, called The Gaza Strip — a humanitarian implosion. The report explains that ‘the situation for 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is worse now than it has ever been since the start of the Israeli military occupation in 1967.’ It says the humanitarian crisis is a ‘direct result of on-going collective punishment of ordinary men, women and children’ which ‘is illegal under international law’. Movement in and out of Gaza is ‘all but impossible’ and the report says supplies of food and water, sewage treatment, and basic healthcare ‘can no longer be taken for granted’. Hospitals cannot generate electricity to keep essential equipment working, and sewage is flowing through streets and into the sea.

See the report here:

Amnesty International: Israeli army denying cancer patient vital treatment

Windsor JNF dinner Protest



Demonstrate against Israel's 60th Birthday celebrations at Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire. Come with banners and placards and join us at the main entrance to the castle, Henry V111th Gate, Castle Hill, Off High Street, Windsor, Berks.

M4, Junction 6. Follow signs for Windsor and Town Centre.
M3, Junction 3. Follow signs for Windsor.

By Rail:
Paddington to Slough (22 mins). Shuttle train from Slough to Windsor (5 mins) .
Waterloo to Windsor, direct line (50mins).
Train stations and car parking 4 minute walk to Castle entrance which is in the centre of Windsor.

Sixty years of ethnic cleansing by Royal Appointment. The Duke of Edinburgh will be hosting a special banquet for the Jewish National Fund at Windsor Castle on Monday 7th April to celebrate Israel's Birthday. Shimon Peres has been invited as guest of honour and both Gordon Brown and David Cameron both JNF patrons will no doubt be on the guest list. Join us at 6pm on the day to show your disgust at this Royal endorsement of ethnic cleansing.

For more information:

Organised by Bucks and Berks PSC
For more information please contact the PSC office.


National Demonstration for Palestine

Saturday 10th May 2008



Assemble 1pm Temple Underground station/ Victoria Embankment, rally in Trafalgar Square.

Organised by: BMI, PSC, PFB. Supported by UNISON, Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), Association of Palestinian Community UK , Friends of Al Aqsa UK, War on Want, Jewish Socialist Group, Pax Christi, Stop the War Coalition, Britain Palestine Twinning Network , Midlands Palestinian Community Association.

Please make sure to put this date in your diary right now and start booking transport to London. Contact your local PSC branch for coaches and to find out how you can help.


PSC and Al Zaytouna Dabke group present
by Ghassan Kanafani
Thursday 8th, Friday the 9th and Saturday the 10th of May 2008
Doors open 7pm – Start 7:30 prompt.
The first adaptation of Ghassan Kanafani’s “Returning to Haifa” fusing music, theatre, contemporary and traditional Palestinian dance, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Nakba (1948 Palestinian catastrophe).
At the Greenwood Theatre, Weston Street, London SE1 3RA
Closest Underground: London Bridge tube and train station.
View a map here:
Tickets: Advance Booking: Adults: £15, conc: £12 // On the door: Adults: £17, Conc: £15
Tickets from the PSC 0207 700 6192 and
Or send cheque to PSC Box BM PSA WC1N3XX London.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Tel: 020 7700 6192
Fax: 020 7609 7779



After the many dramatic events over the past two weeks - we're all
saved! At least that is the message being preached in the US.

The Dow is above 12,000 again. The S&P 500 is above 1300. The US
Dollar even had a global rally in the lead-up to Easter. Its nemesis,
Gold, fell nearly $US 86 in three trading days and Oil went back to
$US 100.

That General Perception Is Entirely False:

In principle, not one economic or financial issue has been solved or
even addressed. All the fundamental US problems are still there. They
have been literally papered over. The Fed cut interest rates and
slammed still more new fresh money into the US financial system to
keep it liquid. The Fed is exposing its own balance sheet to an
amazing degree, offering up $US 400 Billion in Treasuries as short
duration "swaps" in return for unmarketable toxic sludge of US
mortgage paper.

The Fed had held about $US 800 Billion in Treasury paper, paper that
it acquired by "monetising" the US Treasury's debts. This paper is at
the core of the Fed's financial holdings. It is the Fed's major
"asset". Now, by having sent $US 400 Billion out the door, the Fed has
in fact sold down its capital by half. Please note here that the Fed's
liabilities - the US Federal Reserve Notes (US Dollars) - have not
fallen in quantity.

If any private financial company had done what the Fed has done, most
people in finance would instantly recognise that its liability to
asset ratio had doubled. That alone would make holding its
liabilities, US Dollars, much more dangerous. What is certain is that
the Fed cannot repeat what it has just done. To do so would strip it
entirely of capital on its own balance sheet. If the Fed is not now
"done" - then it is done for!

General Notice To All Privateer Subscribers:

In The Privateer's judgement, this is the turning point around the
vast pivot which was the US economy. This pivot is now crumbling. The
most important centre point of the post WW II world has been undone.
After this false lull, there are tumultuous events ahead financially,
economically and geo-strategically.

Another neocon detail to deal with - the WAR on drugs

It is RUMORED (hahaha) that another act of the Canadian neocons will be to criminalize ALL "illegal" drug usage - that means THEY control the drugs AND that young people doomed to long jail sentences would be glad to sign up for military service . the "either sign or you get raped in a prison" option.

Never put anything past the slimey neocons, Nothing. No matter what it costs the taxpayer, as the money in their minds is THEIRS, THEIRS, THEIRS once they get in, even as a MINORITY government.

The first official trailer from the long awaited "AMERICAN DRUG WAR" from sacredcow-com

35 years after Nixon started the war on drugs, we have over one million non-violent drug offenders living behind bars.The War on Drugs has become the longest and most costly war in American history, the question has become, how much more can the country endure? Inspired by the death of four family members from "legal drugs" Texas filmmaker Kevin Booth sets out to discover why the Drug War has become such a big failure.

Three and a half years in the making, the film follows gang members, former DEA agents, CIA officers, narcotics officers, judges, politicians, prisoners and celebrities.

Most notably the film befriends Freeway Ricky Ross; the man many accuse for starting the Crack epidemic, who after being arrested discovered that his cocaine source had been working for the CIA.AMERICAN DRUG WAR shows how money, power and greed have corrupted not just drug pushers and dope fiends, but an entire government. More importantly, it shows what can be done about it.

This is not some 'pro-drug' stoner film, but a collection of expert testimonials from the ground troops on the front lines of the drug war, the ones who are fighting it and the ones who are living it.

After 4 years of production including several sold out test screenings in New York, Austin & Los Angeles, the final version of American Drug War "the last white hope" is locked and loaded

AH oh!! I hope this is NOT Iran here we come!!

Russian intelligence sees U.S. military buildup on Iran border

Coincidentally as U.S. Forces assembled on the Iranian border, there was a massive explosion in the best port to the handle the logistics supporting that move. Some fireworks are covers for bigger fireworks it appears.

Russian intelligence sees U.S. military buildup on Iran border

17:31 | 27/ 03/ 2007

MOSCOW, March 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russian military intelligence services are reporting a flurry of activity by U.S. Armed Forces near Iran's borders, a high-ranking security source said Tuesday.

"The latest military intelligence data point to heightened U.S. military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran,"
the official said, adding that the Pentagon has probably not yet made a final decision as to when an attack will be launched.

He said the Pentagon is looking for a way to deliver a strike against Iran

"that would enable the Americans to bring the country to its knees at minimal cost."

He also said the U.S. Naval presence in the Persian Gulf has for the first time in the past four years reached the level that existed shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Col.-Gen. Leonid Ivashov, vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical Sciences, said last week that the Pentagon is planning to deliver a massive air strike on Iran's military infrastructure in the near future.

A new U.S. carrier battle group has been dispatched to the Gulf.

The USS John C. Stennis, with a crew of 3,200 and around 80 fixed-wing aircraft, including F/A-18 Hornet and Superhornet fighter-bombers, eight support ships and four nuclear submarines are heading for the Gulf, where a similar group led by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has been deployed since December 2006.

The U.S. is also sending Patriot anti-missile systems to the region.

Unfair Dealing: The Toronto Homegrown Terror Threat 1/6

Summer 2006 - Canadian law enforcement round up 18 young Muslims, and arrest them on terrorism charges...
Were they a legitimate threat? Or were the Canadian people fooled?

Questions and comments can be directed to the team that created Unfair Dealing, at

More neocon BULLSHIT In Ontario! Score another bs point for Stockwell Day.

only 2 newsgroups picked this up; and the Calgary Sun.
That also says something about the Mainstream media!!


In a stealth attack on the freedom to report on government malfeasance, police or prison corruption, and to do investigative research in areas where then nanny state fears to tread, the federal federal has decided to eliminate the right of the media to question prisoners. To add insult to injury the inane comments about bomb making and leaking details of the prison's security system are an insult to reason. The ultimate security system in a democratic state is a free and independent press able to talk to criminals which can and will include the worst sort of offenders - patsies, political prisoners, and other threats to a corrupt state.

Federal prisoners could be muzzled from media


Canadian Press

March 30, 2008 at 11:44 AM EDT

WINNIPEG — Staff at Canada's penitentiaries have been told that they can turn down requests from reporters to interview inmates out of concern they could be discussing how to build bombs or skirt the prison's security system.

It's part of a broader policy that also allows the Correctional Service of Canada to deny access if there are concerns that media coverage could revictimize those who suffered from the inmate's crimes, or if a prison committee decides it would be "contrary to the objectives of the offender's correctional plan."

Public safety is the priority in any decision about whether to allow inmates to speak, said Jeff Campbell, communications manager for corrections in the Prairies region.

The guidelines, which Mr. Campbell said he received last year, mean that reporters must outline why they want to interview an inmate so the request can be reviewed by a case management team. That team can include a psychologist and parole and corrections officers.

"If you were talking about how to make a bomb or how to zap the security system, that sort of thing, certainly that would be a concern for the on-site folks in terms of the security of the institution," Mr. Campbell said from Saskatoon.

At Stony Mountain Institution in Manitoba, it used to be fairly easy to talk to inmates such as Frank Ostrowski, a convict who has been trying to convince people for two decades that he's not guilty of the 1986 murder for which he was convicted. Now reporters wanting a word with Mr. Ostrowski — even if they've been speaking regularly with him for years — have to tell a prison media handler each time why they want an interview.

No exceptions.

The policy also requires the institution to consider how a story would affect the safety of people outside its walls.

"Are you going to discuss someone who says, 'On the eighth of July when I walk out of this place, I'm going to track down so-and-so and I'm going to burn their house,' or whatever? That would pose, I think, a concern for the safety of that person," said Mr. Campbell.

"That's an extreme example, obviously, but again, that's something we review with the institutional head, who has the ultimate jurisdiction with granting those requests."

While it's understood that safety is a concern, the suggestion that a media story about an inmate could traumatize victims doesn't make a lot of sense considering the same details would be revealed in court and at parole board hearings, said Jean-Claude Bernheim, the head of a Quebec prisoners rights group

"Free speech must be applied to the inmates," said Mr. Bernheim, a criminology professor based in Montreal.

Craig Jones of the John Howard Society prisoners advocacy group said he has not heard of the guidelines but isn't surprised given the current political climate in Ottawa.

"This government is very controlling of all communications. I think they've put everyone on notice that they don't want anybody speaking extemporaneously or at liberty," said Mr. Jones, the executive director of the Kingston-based organization.

"They are looking, as much as possible, to control every message."

Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, who is ultimately responsible for Canada's prison system, deferred all questions to the Correctional Service of Canada.

Guy Campeau, the service's acting director of media relations, denied the suggestion that Ottawa is trying to control messages. He noted that only "a clear, clear minority" of reporters' requests to interview inmates are turned down.

"You seem to think we don't want people to talk to certain people. That's not the case here. We have very strict guidelines, and they're in the policy, and we abide by them," Mr. Campeau said from Ottawa.

Mr. Campeau also said the policy has been in place for a number of years, although he may have reminded staff about it last year.

Constitutional law professor Debra Parkes says the government is allowed to limit some prisoners' rights as long as there are strong reasons with a social objective — such as public safety.

But historically the media have played an important role in helping uncover wrongful convictions, so Ms. Parkes feels the government has to be careful about restricting charter rights such as freedom of expression.

"Frankly, as someone who researches in the area of prisoners' rights, I think media interest in what goes on inside prisons is very important in a free and democratic society," said Ms. Parkes, who teaches at the University of Manitoba.

YE ES!! The shit is hitting the fan over detainees!! Yessirree, Bob!!

Failed Terror Trials Raise New Questions


The Associated Press

Salim Ahmed Hamdan is seen in this
undated file photo provided by
Prof. Neal Katyal. Military judges
dismissed charges Monday June 4, 2007
against Hamdan, a Guantanamo detainee
accused of chauffeuring Osama bin Laden,
throwing up roadblocks to the
Bush administration’s attempt to try
terror suspects in military courts.
(AP Photo/photo courtesy of Prof. Neal Katyal)

Failed attempts to charge two terror suspects left the Pentagon scrambling Tuesday to determine a next step and emboldened Democrats who said the rulings exposed a flawed court system.

Military judges ruled Monday that the Pentagon could not prosecute Salim Ahmed Hamdan and Omar Khadr because they had not first been identified as “unlawful” enemy combatants, as required by a law passed last year by Congress.

Hamdan, of Yemen, is believed to have been chauffeur to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Khadr is a Canadian who was arrested at 15 on an Afghan battlefield, accused of killing a U. S. soldier.

The decision dealt a blow to the Bush administration in its efforts to begin prosecuting dozens of detainees regarded as the nation’s most dangerous terrorist suspects.

U. S. officials chalked up the ruling to semantics and said they were considering their options.

“We certainly disagree with the ruling,” said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino on Tuesday. The Defense Department “is looking at the opportunities for appeal, and what they would say.”

Lawmakers and legal experts agreed the decision was not necessarily a showstopper for the trials, and that new legislation might not be necessary to convict Hamdan and Khadr. Democratic critics, however, said the ruling proved the current law was shabbily written.

Last year, Republicans and the White House pushed through legislation authorizing the war-crimes trials after the Supreme Court threw out President Bush’s previous system as illegal and in violation of international treaties.

Bush established the specialized tribunal system shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks but had not been able to convict any terrorists because of legal hurdles. After the law passed, the administration convicted Australian David Hicks, who pleaded guilty in March to providing material support to al-Qaida. He is serving a nine-month sentence in Australia.

“Five-and-a-half years later, we find what happens with that kind of arrogant, go-it-alone attitude even conservative courts say ‘no,’” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Leahy, D-Vt., and other Democrats have drafted legislation that would address various aspects of the law they say is unfair or unconstitutional.

On Thursday, Leahy’s panel is expected to pass a bill that would allow detainees to protest their detentions in federal court; the law passed last year specifically stripped federal courts of their ability to hear habeas corpus challenges. The measure is likely to be offered as an amendment to a $649 billion defense policy bill on the Senate floor later this month.

Co-sponsors of the Judiciary bill include Sen. Arlen Specter, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, and Democratic presidential hopefuls: Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Barack Obama of Illinois, Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and Joe Biden of Delaware.

“The current system of prosecuting enemy combatants is not only inefficient and ineffective, it is also hurting America’s moral standing in the world and corroding the foundation of freedom upon which our nation was built,” said Dodd, who also has a separate proposal that would make more sweeping changes.

The defense policy bill, drafted by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee, is already on track to grant new rights to terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, including access to a lawyer regardless of whether the prisoners are put on trial. The bill also would narrow the definition of an enemy combatant and tighten restrictions on the types of evidence used to keep a person detained.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a member of the Judiciary Committee, said she wants to go farther to close Guantanamo Bay prison altogether. The prison holds some 380 military detainees suspected of terrorism.

Republicans are expected to oppose most of the Democratic proposals, particularly Leahy’s attempt to restore habeas corpus rights for detainees.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who helped write the law being used to prosecute detainees, said he thought Monday’s ruling showed the process was working. (?????))

“In the rule of law, words matter,” said Graham, R-S. C., referring to the distinction made by the judges that the detainees must be specifically deemed “unlawful” before being subjected to the military commission. “Lawful” enemy combatants are entitled to prisoner of war status under the Geneva Conventions.

“The best thing we can do is let the legal community work this out before we try to jump in,” said Graham, a member of the Armed Services and Judiciary committees.

Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman, said Tuesday the prosecution is considering its options, which include filing an appeal, and noted that the court of military commissions review would be the “appropriate venue for the appeals process.”

One hurdle, however, is that the review court does not exist yet, said Marine Col. Dwight Sullivan, chief of military defense attorneys at Guantanamo Bay.

Another hurdle is sentiment in Congress that Democrats were not involved in helping create the trials and that the law was hastily written. Then there’s the administration’s patience in general.

“The only way this will spell the end of the military commissions is if this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” said Gregory S. McNeal, a law professor at Pennsylvania State University. “In other words, it only means the end if this is the final delay which forces the executive branch to reconsider their whole policy. I don’t believe that is likely.”

Associated Press writer Michael Warren in Mexico City contributed to this report.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

New item on the UK police state ..

Watchdog's threat to 42-day terror law

This article appeared in the Guardian on Monday March 31 2008 on p1 of the Top stories section. It was last updated at 02:35 on March 31 2008.
An armed British police officer stands guard on Whitehall in London

An armed British police officer stands guard on Whitehall in London. Photograph: Matt Dunham/AP

The government's own human rights watchdog threatened last night to launch a legal challenge to Labour's plan to introduce a law that would let police detain terror suspects without charge for 42 days.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission says the key part of the counter-terrorism bill goes against human rights law and may breach the Race Relations Act.

As the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, renewed her appeal to Labour backbenchers to support the measure - amid growing international criticism - the EHRC prepared to brief MPs before the bill's second reading in the Commons tomorrow. The commission makes clear it will mount a legal challenge if the 42-day limit wins parliamentary backing.

"If adopted, we may seek to use our legal powers to challenge the lawfulness of the provisions and to establish clear legal principles on the use of pre-trial detention," it says in a briefing note to MPs.

The threat of a legal challenge from the EHRC, which has powers to take judicial review on legislation it considers may be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, is another setback to a government determined to increase the time terrorism suspects can be held without charge from 28 to 42 days.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky and the American Civil Liberties Union have led an international outcry against the plan, which is opposed at home by the Tories and Liberal Democrats.

The government receives a further blow today when Lord Dear, the former chief inspector of constabulary, says a change in law would be a "propaganda coup" for al-Qaida. In a Guardian article, Dear writes that every chief constable he has spoken to regards the change as unnecessary.

Dear writes: "Make no mistake, extending pre-charge detention would most certainly be a propaganda coup for al-Qaida and its ilk. When I was an undergraduate reading law at university in the 60s, every self-respecting student had a poster of Che Guevara on their wall and knew something of the writings of [Herbert] Marcuse. Both of those terrorist luminaries said repeatedly that the best course for a terrorist was to provoke a government to overreact to a threat by eroding civil liberties, increasing executive powers and diminishing due process by the denial of justice."

The deep unease about the new measures was underlined by the EHRC. Set up last October under the chairman Trevor Phillips, it has specific power to take legal action over potential breaches of the Race Relations Act. The commission says it accepts that circumstances might arise which make an increase in the 28 day limit on pre-charge detention helpful to the police in obtaining evidence but this should not be at the expense of fundamental human rights.

It has told the Home Office that a "positive and compelling case" must be made before the maximum limit on pre-charge detention is raised, given its potential impact on liberty, the likelihood of its disproportionate impact on the Muslim community, and the risk of operational error.

"We consider that despite being restricted to particular and specific contingencies, the provisions set out by the Home Office are unlikely to meet threshold tests of public interest, justification or fairness," the commission adds.

It says the proposed safeguard of parliamentary scrutiny of each order will be meaningless without giving MPs detailed information on each suspect. Yet that would raise constitutional issues.

The commission says the proposed change also raises "very difficult issues" under race equality laws as it is being established to deal with a particular religious and racial minority. The EHRC believes it carries a high risk of damaging community relations, as Muslims are more likely to be regarded with suspicion.

The government is expected to win a Commons majority tomorrow for the bill's second reading. But Smith faces the prospect of defeat when detailed votes are held on the 42 days issue at the report stage in May after the local elections.

She said yesterday she believed the 42-day extension would be passed. But she told the BBC: "I hope parliamentarians will take their responsibility seriously to give those that we task with keeping us safe from terrorism the tools that we need to do it. I need to make the argument to parliament. As home secretary my responsibility is to do what I believe ... it is necessary to protect this country from the serious, sustained, and in some ways growing threat from international terrorism."

Smith stressed that the government was only taking a precautionary "reserve power" to increase the maximum period for detention without charge to be used in the exceptional circumstances of the country facing multiple terror plots.

Fast facts on THIS DEPRESSION (yet to be named)

Again, items from the Center for American Progress . (for historical purposes, as the KlusterfucK gathers more momentum - ongoing items are tagged either "fiscal crisis" or klusterfuck on this blog)

"The number of Americans receiving food stamps is projected to reach 28 million in the coming year, the highest level since the aid program began in the 1960s." The economic slowdown caused the "recent rises in many states," say officials and experts. At the same time, after rising by 100,000 for the second month in a row, the number of Americans working part time jobs out of economic necessity reached the highest level since 1993.

"Average gasoline prices hit another all-time high, according to a survey conducted for motorist organization AAA. The average price of regular rose to $3.287 a gallon, up from $3.286 the previous day, according to the AAA Web site. The price averaged $3.165 a month ago. A year ago, American drivers were paying $2.673."

The ruling class GREENING of America (under false pretenses) gets HUGE Push!!

From the Center for American Progress.

If you are a regular reader, you have a good guess at my reaction to this.

A dumbed down population is going to have a real good time dealing with the new 'sainted' Al Gore and his profit making $chemes, is what I am going to say to THIS.

For shame, Al Gore!! For shame!! Some of us know what you are up to.

Take your dynasty and go off to Latin America with the REST of the ripoff America WAR CRIMINALS taking your private jet with you. I know what you did to Kosova; I know what you did to the victims of the war on drugs. I have watched you rip off good women's energy many many many times in the past two decades - and, sir, you do not fool me now either.

And I must say - the inclusion of Nancy Pelosi in all this is just ducky.

Nice how you shared that Nobel Prize with the inuit, Al. REAL niiiiiiice.


GORE LAUNCHES $300 MILLION CLIMATE CHANGE CAMPAIGN: Today, former Vice President Al Gore and his organization, the Alliance for Climate Protection, launch a bipartisan, $300 million, three-year campaign to push for climate change legislation. A press release heralded the campaign as "unprecedented in scale for a public policy issue," and the Washington Post reports that the group "aims to enlist 10 million volunteers through a combination of network and cable commercials, display ads...and online social networks." Gore said he and his wife Tipper had donated all the profits from his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, to this new campaign -- called the "We" campaign -- along with his Nobel Peace Prize money. The campaign will launch TV ads later this week that "will team up offbeat celebrity couples who may not have much in common but share a belief that it is important to address climate change." The first such ad features Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich, and others will pair up Al Sharpton and Pat Robertson, and the Dixie Chicks and Toby Keith. Sign up for the campaign here, and watch its debut ad here.

ON reTHUG cronyism and the HUD crisis ..

From Center for American Progress -

many fine links throughout ..

Alphonso Gets Evicted

This morning, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson announced he is stepping down effective April 18. While the White House has so far refused to give a reason for his departure, Jackson faces ongoing probes "by a federal grand jury, the Justice Department, the FBI and the HUD inspector general." Earlier this month, Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) sent a letter to President Bush "urging him to request Mr. Jackson's resignation, arguing that accusations of wrongdoing had made him ineffective." Their calls joined similar ones from Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) in 2006. Jackson was one of Bush's few remaining holdovers from Texas, after a parade of these loyalists -- including Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, and Dan Bartlett -- left the White House last year. Like so many of Bush's Texas friends, Jackson's legacy will be one of incompetence, corruption, and political cronyism. While he was busy awarding lucrative no-bid contracts to his golfing buddies and erecting giant photo homages to himself, the nation was spiraling into the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression.

A PHILADELPHIA STORY: One of the most recent scandals to come to light focuses on Jackson's willingness to retaliate against employees unwilling to participate in his cronyism. In 2006, Jackson allegedly demanded that the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) "transfer a $2 million public property" at a "substantial discount" to Kenny Gamble, a developer, former soul-music songwriter, and friend of Jackson's. When PHA director Carl Greene refused, Jackson and his aides called Philadelphia's mayor and "followed up with 'menacing' threats about the property and other housing programs in at least a dozen letters and phone calls over an 11-month period." For example, Orlando Cabrera, then-assistant secretary at HUD, suggested in an e-mail that the agency "make his [Green's] life less happy." Kim Kendrick, an assistant secretary who oversaw accessible housing, proposed that they "[t]ake away all of his Federal dollars." According to Green, Jackson's politically motivated plan to remove federal funds from Philadelphia "could raise rents for most of its 84,000 low-income tenants and force the layoffs of 250 people." "This kind of stuff undermines public confidence in our officials," Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) said to Jackson during a recent congressional hearing.

LOYAL BUSHIES ONLY: In May 2007, Jackson testified to Congress, "I don't touch contracts." In retrospect, that statement appears to have been at best a gross inaccuracy, and at worst, an outright lie. In 2006, Jackson told a group of business leaders in Texas that he refuses to award contracts to people who disagree with the President. During this controversial speech on April 28, 2006, Jackson recounted a conversation he had with a prospective contractor who had a "heck of a proposal." This contractor, however, told Jackson, "I don't like President Bush." Jackson said that he thought to himself, "Brother, you have a disconnect -- the president is elected, I was selected." Jackson subsequently refused to award the man the contract, despite the merits of the proposal. A former HUD assistant secretary also confirmed that Jackson told agency employees to "consider presidential supporters when you are considering the selected candidates for discretionary contracts." He also said that he "did not want contracts" awarded to certain "political groups," which included "Democrats." Jackson's actions appeared to violate the Federal Aquisition Regulations (48 CFR 3.101-1), which states, "Government business shall be conducted in a manner above reproach and...with complete impartiality and with preferential treatment for none."

CRONYISM OVER COMPETENCE: In Oct. 2007, federal investigators looked into whether, after Hurricane Katrina, Jackson lined up an emergency "no-bid contract" at the HUD-controlled Housing Authority of New Orleans for "golfing buddy" and friend William Hairston. According to HUD, the emergency contract paid Hairston $392,000 over a year and a half; Hairston's partner companies also received "direct contracts" with HUD. One of the companies which received a contract in New Orleans, Columbia Residential, had "significant financial ties to Jackson." Jackson's wife also had "ties to two companies that did business with the New Orleans authority." Atlanta lawyer Michael Hollis, another Jackson friend, "appears to have been paid approximately $1 million for managing the troubled Virgin Islands Housing Authority," despite having "no experience in running a public housing agency." A "top Jackson aide" reportedly made it clear to officials within HUD that "Jackson wanted Hollis" for the job. Curiously, Hollis received more than four times the salary of his predecessor.

For those needing a good education on the Depression ..

impeachment toolkit: New Hampshire ACTIVISM 4/16, 2008

New Hampshire HR 24, a bill to impeach Bush-Cheney for crimes against the Constitution and Humanity

Global Research, March 29, 2008

New Hampshire State Representative Betty Hall, age 87, Brookline, NH, is fighting to save the nation from the Bush-Cheney cabal and return us to constitutional democracy, with her bill, HR 24, to the NH State House, to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

If passed on 4-16-08, when it is scheduled for vote before the entire NH House, the bill will go under state seal, without need of governor signature, to the US House for review, demanding in the name of New Hampshire's people that Congress begin impeachment hearings immediately for Bush-Cheney high crimes against the Constitution, the American people, and humanity.

I am writing to you because I know that you are patriots. Betty Hall is fighting for us, and more importantly, for our children, and theirs. Betty needs our help. Accordingly, on Monday, 4-14-08, the New England impeachment community has organized an HR 24 lobbying and rally forum, featuring:

Daniel Ellsberg, Vietnam War Era Icon, Who Saved Countless US, Vietnamese and Other Lives By Releasing the Pentagon Papers

Ramsey Clark, Former US Attorney General Under President Lyndon Johnson

Dr. Robert Bowman, Former Director of the "Star Wars" Space Weapon Program, Now Its Most Ardent Critic

Other Renowned Public Fugures Committed to our Constitution and Peace in Our World


Monday, April 14, 2008, 3 PM to 11 PM

Where: Capital Center for the Arts, 44 S, Main Street, Concord, NH

Purpose: To lobby uncommitted NH lawmakers to vote for HR 24, and to rally North East supporters of impeachment

All NH legislators will be invited to meet and greet our special guests from 3 to 6 PM.

The public is invited too. You are invited, and encouraged to bring your families and friends to meet Drs. Ellsberg and Bowman, Ramsey Clark, and other writers, scholars, poets, actors, thinkers and activists for impeachment. Starting at At 7 PM, there will be a "Rally for Impeachment" in the main thater (1309 seats), when special guests will make speeches, music will be played, and solidarity for impeachment to save the nation and the planet will be enhanced.

We also need your financial support. Deeply dedicated activists have generously underwritten this event. Some guests are appearing free of charge. We are seeking immediate donations to be sure that our funding is adequate, and if possible, so that current underwriters can be reimbursed. A $10 fee may be charged at the door for this purpose.

Please call or email me with questions: 860-693-2687,

NH and Betty Hall can change history on 4-16-08 by passing the first state House Bush-Cheney bill of impeachment. I hope that you will all join us in Concord on 4-14-08, or donate as you can to this necessary effort for our children's futures.


Harold Burbank

For NH State Rep. Betty Hall, and her HR 24, a bill to impeach Bush-Cheney for crimes against the Constitution and humanity

Attorney Harold H. Burbank,
II 84 N. Mountain Rd. Canton, CT 06019 860.693.2687 email

Impeachment Toolkit: Allen Roland on PTSD and vets .. MUST READ

Believe me, this article is CHILLING. With well-armed, desperate troops, very badly damaged and a declaration of MARTIAL LAW and a drive to push people to accept the "domestic mercenaries" option ..

Things will be HELL .. I mean it . LITERAL HELL ON EARTH.

There is NO rule of law at present - merely a two-tiered justice system in place in both the US and in Canada.

There is a failure of WILL to implement proper public policy - even as Baghdad falls. The huge huge soul sickness that envelops us is a disaster in the making.

Allen knows well what he is talking about about PTSD, and I have posted his great articles on healing from PTSD previously.

As the theocracy comes forward to claim control of the government, just consider the very real possibilities .. and the US is already BROKE .. and all this information is applicable to Afghani vets here in Canada as well.

I wrote my warnings about this on OpED quite a while ago -


The PR goes on and on and on - the Cheney ripoffs of US taxpayer funds to "reconstruct" Iraq and Afghanistan for Halliburton/KBR citadels continues. Reconstruction funds (see my SIGIR/Stuart Bowen links) continue to go missing.

And those who suffer grave physical and moral problems continue to get little or nothing. ENOUGH!! Keep the spotlight on this issue!!

I know ALL about PTSD - I have ALL seventeen symptoms. It's horrifying and can make you completely dysfunctional. No, I get no help up here in Canada although I suffer from it, save from my GP.

We have TONS of work to do ahead of us to heal as nations from these bloody, bloody soul destroying wars brought on by NEOCONS, and paid for by US, the taxpayers and productive people (and you do not need to be a vet or a taxpayer to be productive, either!!) New public health policies cannot be ignored at a US federal level, that is for SURE.

All I can say is this - FOR SHAME! Bring on the ICC hearings and bring them on SOON!!
Please sign this impeachment petition!

Bring a focus on ALL the problems.

Send pennies, dimes, nickels and $500 bills to Let them have a platform everywhere. They do a GREAT JOB, as I often say.

While BuZh and buddies (Michael Mukasey for one) allow torturous tasers to proliferate and Big Pharma continues to see POISONS in the form of atypical antipsychotics and suicide-inducing antidepressants, this is what is TRULY GOING ON!! It is HORRIFYING. Let the vets who have committed WAR CRIMES long and loudly and GRIEVE what they have done - But DON'T let them commit suicide from lack of funding or lack of concern on our parts.

Please. My own son went on mainstream TV on this issue. Now he has lost his wife and his children .. and no, he does not speak with me. That doesn't matter, I love him anyway and have NO desire to see him suffer. NONE. Particularly not in THIS horrific way. He is my SON and those are my grandchildren - the future of AMERICA with valuable BLOOD And ties to American soil who need to know their FULL HISTORY.

Help me help them. I say this again, PLEASE.

So much damage, so much healing to be done .. things to cry long and deeply about. The Empire is falling . is this what we want America's (and Canada's) "legacy" to look like as it sinks deeper into the morality void for its citizens?



by Allen L Roland

Tell A Friend
Army 1st Lt. Jullian Philip Goodrum in his room in the Mologne House at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Goodrum suffers from PTSD. Nina Berman / Redux

Our European friends clearly see Bush for what he really is and what we refuse to acknowledge ~ a moral coward masquerading as a world leader. Posed on his wooden horse of hubris he has become a modern day Don Quixote flailing away at the windmills of the evil world he himself has created and remaining in deliberate denial of the human chaos and unneccessary deaths he is reponsible for: Allen L Roland

And so our troops trudge on ~ fighting an enemy they can't see, fighting for an illegal occupation they don't believe in, fighting to stay moral and sane in a foreign country where they are despised and hated ~ is it any wonder that they turn suicidal when Bush extends or demands another tour so that he will not have to face his incredible moral failure on his own watch.
They have, in essence, become cannon fodder for Cheney and Bush's failed criminal neocon pipe dream. Is it any wonder that they can see no way out ~ particularly in light of a timid self serving Congress who refuses to listen to the vast majority of Americans who want them sent home now.

And get this ~ Last year, the VA's Inspector General issued a report estimating that 1,000 veterans under its care commit suicide every year.

They are, indeed, the walking dead and Aaron Glantz gives us a short update on this nightmare scenario.

Allen L Roland

Suicidal and Facing a Third Tour in IraBy Aaron Glantz

05/17/07 - -- -SAN FRANCISCO, May 15 (IPS) - At the beginning of May, Corporal Cloy Richards tried to kill himself.

He punched out all his windows and cut major arteries," his mother Tina Richards told IPS. "He had to go to the hospital because he almost bled to death."

loy Richards, who lives in rural Salem, Missouri, has served two deployments in the Marine Corps in Iraq. The military lists him as 80-percent combat disabled.

His mother says he has knee and arm injuries, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, and currently has a claim pending with the Army for a traumatic brain injury.

"It's something that affects us every single day," Tina said, "when he's 23 years old and he can't even climb the stairs. He has bad nightmares where he thinks he's back in Iraq."

Richards said her son sustained most of his injuries after his first tour in Iraq, adding that the family protested his second deployment to no avail. After four years on active duty, Cloy Richards is now in the individual ready reserve and faces the possibility of a third deployment to Iraq.

New guidelines released by the Pentagon in December allow commanders to redeploy soldiers suffering from traumatic stress disorders

According to the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, service-members with "a psychiatric disorder in remission, or whose residual symptoms do not impair duty performance" may be considered for duty downrange. It lists post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a "treatable" problem.

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to an event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. A person having a flashback may lose touch with reality and believe that the traumatic incident is happening all over again.

"It's just terrifying," said Dr. Karen Seal, a clinician at San Francisco's Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centre who treats soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological illnesses.

Seal told IPS that patients under her care have been deployed despite serious mental health conditions.

"I feel like writing them a medical excuse," she said, "but that's not my responsibility as a VA clinician. Because I'm a VA provider, I don't have the authority to do that."

According to a study co-authored by Seal and her colleagues at the Centre, about one- third of the more than 100,000 returning veterans seen at VA facilities between Sep. 30, 2001 and Sep. 30, 2005 were diagnosed with mental illness or a psycho-social disorder such as homelessness and marital problems, including domestic violence. Over half suffered from more than one disorder.

Other researchers suggest those statistics may only represent the tip of the iceberg. Many veterans, they note, don't come forward to seek care. The stigma associated with post- traumatic stress disorder may account for part of this gap, they say.

In addition, according to recent report by Linda Bilmes of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, waiting lists for returning veterans are "so long as to effectively deny treatment to a number of veterans."

In the May 2006 edition of Psychiatric News, Bilmes notes that VA Undersecretary of Health Policy Coordination Frances Murphy wrote that when services are available, "waiting lists render that care virtually inaccessible."

There is also the issue of geography.

"One of the disconnects and failures in planning for this war is that the Veterans Administration is essentially configured in an urban way," Bilmes told IPS. "That makes a lot of sense for recruiting specialists and staffing the facilities. However, recruiting for the military in this war tends to come primarily from small, rural America. So, what we don't have is enough mental health care for veterans in these rural communities when they come home."

Last Thursday, the VA's Inspector General issued a report estimating that 1,000 veterans under its care commit suicide every year.

The report also found that vets are at increased risk of suicide because many VA clinics don't have 24-hour care or adequate mental health screening, and lack properly trained personnel.

The report, which was requested last year by Rep. Michael Michaud, a Democrat of Maine, said clinics should work harder so veterans can seek treatment without feeling stigmatised, and recommended additional screening for patients with traumatic brain injury, a type of brain damage caused by projectiles like roadside bombs which many are calling the "signature injury" of the Iraq war.

"The problem is that traumatic brain injury, which is an anatomic, physiologic problem, sort of intermingles with post-traumatic stress disorder," Dr. William Schecter, the chief of surgery at San Francisco General Hospital, explained to IPS. "This is going to be a lifelong challenge for the individuals who have suffered these injuries." (END/2007)

Yet another chilling UK news item!! My o my!! Wake up Canada!!

Charity commision to launch investigation

(and let me say this NOW, we must be careful here in Canada as the crazies in Parliament just now are sure to follow suit with this kind of activity!! US evangelicals are the ones trying to rewrite the US Constitution, remember??

Now might be a very good time to draw up a list of Canadian MPs with similiar proclivites and WATCH THEM like hawks!!

Remember this, Canadians - the deal to have Isrealis run ALL Canadian computers has already been inked by the insidious Stockwell day, hahahaha Minister of "Public" Safety .. The Socialism for the Rich political agenda gets more entrenched by the DAY - yes, here in CANADA. The tasars are arriving, the surveillance equipment being purchased, the corporatization of our universities proceeding on neocon schedule .. need I say more???)

My buddies and I are already keeping track of the moves of the family values groups that Harper is allowing to snipe away at laws on the BOOKS. The assault on movie making and the CENSORSHIP that the fundies/evangelicals want is continuing .. Mattie J is writing on THAT and we get some feedback as the article gets accessed ... not all of it very nice either!!

Has anyone else read Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, or see the movie? If not, I suggest sincerely that you DO.

Yes, it CAN happen here!!


Sunday, 30 March 2008

An evangelical Christian charity leading opposition to new laws on embryo research is funding interns in MPs' offices, an investigation by The Independent on Sunday has discovered.

Christian Action, Research and Education (Care) faces inquiries into its lobbying activities by the Charity Commission and the House of Commons standards watchdog after accessing Parliament at the highest levels.

Twelve research assistants sponsored by Care are Commons pass-holders, allowing them unrestricted access to Westminster in the run-up to highly sensitive and potentially close votes on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Bill next month. At least two MPs face questions after they omitted to declare they have Care-sponsored staff.

Charities are allowed to carry out political campaigning, but Charity Commission rules state they "must not give support or funding to a political party, or to a candidate or politician".

Last week, after pressure from the Roman Catholic Church, Gordon Brown allowed a free vote on the most contentious parts of the Bill, including the creation of "admixed" human and animal embryos for scientific research, "saviour" siblings and changing the rules on the need for a father in cases of IVF treatment. An amendment calling for a reduction in the abortion time limit is also expected.

Many undecided MPs have said they will "vote with their postbag" on the key issues.

Care, which has no connection with other charities sharing similar names, has masterminded opposition to the Bill within the Palace of Westminster, writing to MPs and holding meetings. The extent to which the charity, which has links to the powerful Christian right in America, has created a presence inside Parliament raised fresh fears last night over political lobbying. Commons standards watchdogs have previously raised concern about access to Parliament enjoyed by lobby groups.

According to the MPs' register of interests, at least eight Care interns have been employed in the Commons since September, including in the offices of senior party managers whose roles will be influential at voting time. They include Conservative chairman Caroline Spelman, Tory assistant chief whip Alistair Burt and Liberal Democrat chief whip Paul Burstow.

Care interns also work for shadow justice minister David Burrowes, Lib Dem environment spokesman Steve Webb, Tory backbenchers Gary Streeter and Stephen Crabb and Labour backbencher Andy Reed. Care's annual report claims there are up to 12 interns at Westminster – potentially meaning another four MPs have not declared their staff.

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing on the part of any of the MPs who employ Care research assistants. Six have registered interests under "sponsorship or financial or material support".

But Mr Burstow and Mr Crabb face questions because, while their members of staff have recorded that they are sponsored by Care, the two MPs – in breach of parliamentary rules – have failed to record this in the main register.

Mr Burstow admitted the oversight, but said he had not seen the researcher carrying out any lobbying on the Bill. "It is a complete boob on my part," he said. "I should have reported him and registered him properly with the registrar. I shall be doing so on Monday.

"I am aware that Care have sent publications [on the Bill] to all members of Parliament, including myself. In my experience of this, they have been at all times scrupulous in the way they have behaved in respect of lobbying me. Some of the votes I will cast during the free votes on some of the issues will not necessarily agree with Care."

As research assistants, Care's interns can go unaccompanied to nearly all areas of Parliament and are allowed free access to documents that are out of bounds to journalists. Their passes also allow them to interact with all MPs in Portcullis House, the main meeting area of Westminster.

When the IoS revealed details of Care's activities in Parliament to the Charity Commission, a spokesman said it would consider taking action on the matter: "We are aware of the internship arrangement that Care has in place, and are currently considering whether this programme raises any matters for the Commission to take forward."

Labour MP Kevin Barron, a member of the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee, said: "The issue of lobbying and pass-holders has been around for a long time. I am not surprised that this is happening, but it does concern me."

Care receives donations of more than £2m a year, and spends nearly £70,000 on its intern programme. The charity, along with another pressure group, Passion for Life, has conducted a national campaign tour, Time to Draw the Line, which on Friday took in the Prime Minister's Kirkcaldy constituency.

Care's website carries a link to a polemical four-minute video by Passion for Life, which warns:

"During 2008 the Government is pushing for a law which will have some devastating effects on the value of human life."

Care campaigned against the repeal of Section 28, which banned the "promotion" of homosexuality in schools, and helped defeat laws on assisted dying in the House of Lords last year. Its work has been condemned in the Lords as "propaganda". Some MPs, for example, want lower limits for abortion in the light of scientific developments, but favour extending embryo research.

The scientific community says the legislation is essential to help treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and motor neurone disease.

The Charity Commission has recently drawn up guidelines on political campaigning, based on the 2006 Charities Act, because of concerns that some groups are stretching the definition of charitable work. It states: "Trustees must take care to avoid an approach which is purely focused on political activity as this could call into question the propriety of their actions, or ultimately, their charitable status."

Care has run an internship programme for 10 years. The Charity Commission looked into its activities during the repeal of Section 28. At the time, Care's chairman, the Rev Lyndon Bowring, said the interns "explicitly" did not take part in lobbying.

No one at Care could be contacted for comment last night. But on its website and in its latest annual report, Care is open about the "public advocacy work" – lobbying – that interns carry out: "Personal contact is maintained by our public affairs department with members of the parliamentary institutions." Interns, it says, "will be engaged in the world of policy and advocacy, whether in Westminster, in Edinburgh, in Brussels, in the media, or in the Third sector."

The Oxford University geneticist Professor Richard Dawkins said last night: "If only these restless busybodies would keep their prejudices to themselves, nobody would object. But they can't resist inflicting their ignorant opinions on others."

The Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris, who has led support for the Bill, said: "Care pushes the boundaries of charitable status. It is a clever initiative [to place interns] because once they have parliamentary experience they have an advantage over others in the employment market to get powerful positions in other organisations. It is clear that patient and medical research charities will have to divert funds and resources into writing to MPs who are undecided [over] the Bill."

Mrs Spelman last night said her intern had "nothing to do with the HFE Bill". A spokesman for the MP said she had not expressed a view on how she would vote, adding: "The intern does constituency and casework."

Various religious figures have sought to influence MPs as the legislation makes its way through the House of Commons. But yesterday the most senior Catholic scientist in Britain attacked the church's position. Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, chief executive of the Medical Research Council, told The Times that there was nothing in the legislation that was incompatible with his Catholic faith.

Jewish leaders supported his view. Baroness Julia Neuberger, who was on the scrutiny committee for the Bill, told the Jewish Chronicle: "As Jews, we have a different view on when life begins to the Catholic view. We don't think of life beginning at the moment of conception."


A religious charity with deep political roots
By Jane Merrick

Care, a self-proclaimed moral guardian concerned with family and religious issues, has a highly organised network of members reaching into some of the most influential areas of British society.

The charity led the campaign to retain "Section 28", which banned schools from teaching about homosexuality, and last year helped defeat a Lords Bill on assisted suicide.

Besides Westminster, interns have been placed in the Scottish and European Parliaments, the BBC and Whitehall. The Treasury revealed last month that Care was among the organisations that had seconded employees to it since 1997. Claire Wilson-Thomas, who had been Care's public policy manager, was a policy analyst at the Treasury from 2001 to 2004.

Care's chairman of 20 years, the Rev Lyndon Bowring, is also a member of the Evangelical Alliance.

Its patron, the Rev John Stott, is an evangelical Christian described as "the most respected clergyman in the world today" by American preacher Billy Graham.

The charity runs Care Confidential, a pregnancy advice centre offering counselling for women who are considering abortion, and a sex education programme in secondary schools called Evaluate, which encourages children to abstain from sex.

Care says it "helps to bring Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy, education and practical caring initiatives".

It also fosters "the encouragement of community engagement resulting in action, whether caring initiatives or involvement in local or national politics".

Providing "evidence" against the HFE Bill, its website quotes Jeremiah 1:5:

"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you."

The charity has between 50,000 and 100,000 supporters and offers members a "Purify" CD of songs and scriptures that promises to cleanse individuals of their sins.


The Bill that has divided the cabinet

The battle against the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill has divided politicians along moral and political lines. What is it that really troubles them?

Q What does the Bill propose?

A To update existing legislation on assisted reproduction and the use of embryos in scientific research and therapy. Christian groups have welcomed the ban on couples selecting the sex of their baby – except for health reasons – and a proposed amendment to reduce the upper limit for abortions from 24 weeks to 20.

Q What are the objections?

A The Bill would make it easier for lesbian couples to have children using IVF, and remove the requirement for IVF clinics to consider the "need for a father" when taking account of the welfare of a child in administering treatment. It would allow the creation of so-called saviour siblings, where doctors would select not only an embryo for IVF that could create a new child, but also tissue that might be able to treat an existing sick sibling. The most contentious proposal is the plan to "tamper" with nature, by allowing "hybrid" embryos created from human and animal genetic material.

Q Why is it seen as necessary?

A Medical technology has progressed rapidly since the 1990 Human Embryology Act, and scientists claim the law must keep pace to allow further breakthroughs. The creation of hybrid embryos could address the shortage of human eggs available for research, helping find cures for multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease and Alzheimer's, among others.

Q Will it survive?

A The Bill's many opponents, include Roman Catholic church leaders. While Prime Minister Gordon Brown will allow his MPs a free vote on some aspects of the Bill, that might not be enough to satisfy the consciences of many, including three Catholics in the Cabinet.

Q When could it become law?

A The Bill has been debated by the Lords and is awaiting a Commons second reading. Even if it survives a rebellion, it is not expected to reach the Statute Book until next year.

Q Would it permit scientists to carry out any embryological research project?

A Although the watchdog Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has agreed in principle to the creation of human-animal hybrids, it has stressed that each application for a research licence must be considered closely on its own merits.


CARE connections

Stephen Crabb

Tory MP, Preseli. His entry on the register of interests doesn't mention Care. But register of research assistants lists Christina Lineen, Care intern, under his name.

Paul Burstow

Lib Dem Chief Whip, MP for Sutton & Cheam. Entry on the register does not mention Care, but register of assistants lists David Peacock from Care under the MP's name.

Steve Webb

Liberal Democrat environment spokesman and MP for Northavon. His diary secretary Jodie Martin is provided by Care. Member of Parliamentary Christian Fellowship.

Andy Reed

Labour MP, Loughborough. Intern John Powner from Care. Mr Reed went on Bible Society trip to Middle East; David Landrum, researcher for the society, also works for him.

Gary Streeter

Tory MP, Devon South West. Intern Andrew Griffiths provided by Care. Mr Streeter is a Christian, registers a Bible Society visit of last autumn to Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Alistair Burt

Conservative deputy chairman, the party's assistant chief whip and MP for North East Bedfordshire. His intern Paul Brennan is provided by Care.

David Burrowes

Shadow justice minister, MP for Enfield Southgate; intern Gemma Parry provided by Care. Mr Burrowes helped to scrutinise earlier draft of Embryology Bill.

Caroline Spelman

Conservative Party chair, MP for Meriden. Intern Sarah Bridgman provided by Care. Mrs Spelman is a trustee of the Conservative Christian Fellowship.

Interesting? Click here to explore further

This link has very important information .. please access the Independent article to access it. It would NOT copy into blogger software and I gave up. But it is really really good information!!