Tag Archives: Britain

Cumbria: the Brand New Nuclear Waste Graveyard


Context  UK Government is asking local communities to consider having a nuclear waste repository in their area. This is a long-term and sensitive process. Communities are being given time and resource to weigh up the pros (jobs, funding, etc) and the potential cons (risks, image etc) before even entering into formal discussions with Government about what it might entail. The West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership is a group of organisations that are advising Allerdale and Copeland Borough Councils and the County Council on whether they should decide to participate in formal Government discussions.

£4billion underground facility is being proposed to hold UK’s stockpile of spent radioactive fuel from the past 70 years
Beauty spot: The Lake District was immortalised in William Wordsworth’s poem Daffodils Beauty spot: The Lake District was immortalised in William Wordsworth’s poem Daffodils

THOUSANDS of tons of deadly nuclear waste could be dumped below the Lake District.

A £4billion underground facility is being proposed to hold Britain’s stockpile of spent radioactive fuel from the past 70 years.

Town hall leaders are apparently set to give their approval because it will create around 500 jobs.

A consultation led by three Cumbrian councils is also expected to show local people are in favour of the dump at the world-renowned region, which was immortalised in William Wordsworth’s poem Daffodils.

The facility would be 3,000ft underground and hold over 17million cubic feet of waste – the equivalent of five Albert Halls. It will cover 10 square miles of floor space and have its own railway.

Lake District Nuclear Waste Graphic Waste plan: Facility would be 3,000ft underground

Alun Ellis, of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, said: “This stuff will be hazardous for hundreds of thousands of years. That timescale is why we need such a secure facility.

“It has to prevent this material getting out even if Britain is hit by another ice age glaciation.

“The upside is that after two million years it should be mostly harmless.”

The nuke “graveyard” is proposed for farmland in West Cumbria.

The results of the consultation run by the county council and Allerdale and Copeland borough councils are due to be published shortly.


WHO and Big Pharma Collaborate to Create Gonorrhea Epidemic


The United Nations (UN), through the World Health Organization (WHO) is decrying about a drug-resistant strain of gonorrhea. This virus is such a threat, according to WHO, that without preventative measures, millions of people will die.

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection that leads various forms of sterilization through pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirths and rendering males and females completely infertile.

This virus is most prevalent in under – developed nations such as Africa, India and parts of Asia. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has concluded more than 700,000 cases are reported annually worldwide.

Industrialized countries like Britain, Australia and France are reporting this same drug-resistant strain of gonorrhea.

Dr. Gail Bolan, director of the STD Division of the CDC said: “We certainly are worried about importation of resistance. It’s time to take these trends seriously.”

WHO has just released their Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), which pushes governments worldwide with the power of the UN to back them to coerce the increase of global vaccinations through strategic programs.

The details of GVAP include delivery of vaccines between 2011 – 2020 with aims to administer these immunizations to under developed nations like Africa and India. The initiative will attempt to exceed the UN’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) that “immunization . . . should be recognized as a core component of the human right to health”, the plan says. The plan’s mission is to “extend, by 2020 and beyond, the full benefit of immunization to all people.”

In a 2011 study , Japanese scientists discovered a “superbug” strain of gonorrhea that displayed resistance to all antibiotics known to mainstream medicine. The researchers warned that this virus is quickly becoming a global health threat.

Since this study, WHO has identified this virus’ presence in some of the major central banking countries, such as Australia, France, Norway, Sweden and Britain. While cephalosporin antibiotics are a “last resort” used to treat the virus, even this medical treatment is proving useless.

Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, member of the department of reproductive health and research at WHO, spoke at a briefing in Geneva, said that an estimated 106 million people are infected annually. “Gonorrhoea is becoming a major public health challenge. The organism is what we term a superbug – it has developed resistance to virtually every class of antibiotics that exists. If gonococcal infections become untreatable, the health implications are significant.”

WHO is calling for the focus to be turned toward “alternative treatments” for gonorrhea; such as new experimental vaccinations as a preventative measure.

Scientists at the Rockefeller University , led by Dr. Emil C. Gotschlich, have demonstrated that a protein of the bacterial cell’s outer membrane plays a vital role in the seduction. The protein, which seems to become incorporated in membranes of the human cells and forms pores in their surfaces, has been named porin.

Researchers at Stanford University Medical School , a globalist controlled college, announced that their potential gonorrhea vaccine had successfully prevented the gonorrhea bacteria from infecting human cells.

Gary Schoolnik, lead researcher, explains that “the key ingredient in the vaccine is a protein fragment that appears to provide protection against gonorrhea- causing bacteria. Our vaccine appears to work by preventing gonococcal bacteria from using pili, or specialized tiny hairlike appendages, to latch onto cells lining the urogenital tract. The pili enable the bacteria to adhere to cells, the first step in infection.”

In 1984, the US government issued a patent for a gonorrhea vaccine, in lieu of the technology being created. This vaccine’s potentials mirror the actualities Stanford now claims they have discovered.

The suggestion is that this strain simply mutated from genetic blueprints in nature, and as the overuse of antibiotics increases, their effectiveness decreases. Experts then explain that the only method that can be used against the disease is precautionary.

GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Abbott have come forth, willing to produce a new immunization for WHO.

Lusti-Narasimhan claims that although WHO has no idea about the extent of the gonorrhea threat, they are assuming this is the “tip of the iceberg” to justify their lack of verifiable data. “Without adequate surveillance we won’t know the extent of resistance…and without research into new antimicrobial agents there could soon be no effective treatment for patients.”

Francis Ndowa, former lead specialist for sexually transmitted infections at WHO, asserts that gonorrhea has been left to become a super-strain that does not have the same symptoms of traditional gonorrhea. Ndowa says: “the organism has readjusted itself to provide fewer symptoms so that it can survive longer. It’s an amazing interaction between man and pathogen.”

Experts for WHO claim that to reduce the strain’s ability to become even “greater” a new pharmaceutical drug must be created that treat, not only gonorrhea, but also combine two or more antibiotics within the one vaccination.

WHO is completely focused on early detection, which justifies the need for another global vaccination.Source


Case title: USA v. O'Dwyer but the filing was not available on July 13, 2012!

New York Times, July 13, 2012:


U.S. Pursuing a Middleman in Web Piracy

Published: July 12, 2012

Richard O’Dwyer, an enterprising 24-year-old college student from northern England, has found himself in the middle of a fierce battle between two of America’s great exports: Hollywood and the Internet.

At issue is a Web site he started that helped visitors find American movies and television shows online. Although the site did not serve up pirated content, American authorities say it provided links to sites that did. The Obama administration is seeking to extradite Mr. O’Dwyer from Britain on criminal charges of copyright infringement. The possible punishment: 10 years in a United States prison.

The case is the government’s most far-reaching effort so far to crack down on foreigners suspected of breaking American laws. It is unusual because it goes after a middleman, who the authorities say made a fair amount of money by pointing people to pirated content. Mr. O’Dwyer’s backers say the prosecution goes too far, squelching his free-speech right to publish links to other Web sites. …

The extradition case against Mr. O’Dwyer has turned him into something of a cause célèbre. Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales, is leading a crusade to save him, with an online petition that has gathered over 225,000 signatures worldwide in two weeks.

Still, the British home secretary, Theresa May, approved the extradition order in March and said Monday that she would let the order stand. Mr. O’Dwyer has appealed; a hearing in Britain is expected this fall. …

“America? They have nothing to do with me,” Mr. O’Dwyer’s mother said he had told her. He reopened his site as TVShack.cc, which he reckoned was beyond the reach of the United States.

A few months later came a knock on the door from the British police. A judge ruled that Mr. O’Dwyer would not be prosecuted in Britain. Instead, the United States would seek to extradite him.

His mother was stunned. “This is for fugitives and murderers and terrorists,” she recalled thinking. “Richard has never fled the scene of a crime. He has never left the U.K.!” …


U.S. District Court
Southern District of New York (Foley Square)
CRIMINAL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 1:10-mj-02471-UA-1

Case title: USA v. O’Dwyer
Date Filed: 11/05/2010

Assigned to: Judge Unassigned

Defendant (1)
Richard J. O’Dwyer
also known as

Pending Counts

Highest Offense Level (Opening)

Terminated Counts

Highest Offense Level (Terminated)


USA represented by David Miller
United States Attorney Office, SDNY
One Saint Andrew’s Plaza
New York, NY 10007
(212) 637-2484
Fax: (212) 637-2937
Email: David.Miller@usdoj.gov

John Michael Reh
U.S. Attorney’s Office, SDNY
One St. Andrew’s Plaza
New York, NY 10007
Fax: (212)-637-2937
Email: john.reh@usdoj.gov

Sarah Y. Lai
U.S. Attorney’s Office, SDNY (St Andw’s)
One St. Andrew’s Plaza
New York, NY 10007
(212) 637-1944
Fax: (212) 637-2527
Email: sarah.lai@usdoj.gov

Date Filed # Docket Text
11/05/2010 1 SEALED COMPLAINT as to Richard J. O’Dwyer (1) in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2319 and 371, 17 U.S.C. 506.. (Signed by Magistrate Judge James L. Cott) (gq). (Entered: 01/24/2012)
01/24/2011 3 SEALED AFFIRMATION AND APPLICATION of AUSA Sarah Y. Lai in Support by USA for an order unsealing the Complaint and the corresponding arrest warrant for the deft, for the limited purpose of allowing them to be attached to an extradition request and directing that the Complaint and all related documents, including this application and Order, remain sealed for all other purposes, as to Richard J. O’Dwyer. (gq) (Entered: 01/24/2012)
01/24/2011 4 SEALED ORDER as to Richard J. O’Dwyer…that Complaint No. 10 Mag. 2471, and the corresponding arrest warrant for the deft, be unsealed for the limited purpose of making copies available for an extradition request…that Complaint No. 10 Mag. 2471, the corresponding arrest warrant, and all other documents relating to the Complaint, including this Order and the accompanying application and affirmation of AUSA Lai, shall remain sealed for all other purposes until further order of this Court. (Signed by Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein on 1/24/2011)(gq) (Entered: 01/24/2012)
02/23/2011 5 AFFIDAVIT of AUSA John M. Reh in Support by USA of Request for Extradition as to Richard J. O’Dwyer. (Signed by USMJ Henry Pitman). (gq) (Entered: 01/25/2012)
09/12/2011 6 SEALED AFFIRMATION AND APPLICATION of AUSA John M. Reh in Support by USA of a request that the Court unseal the Complaint and Warrant in the above-captioned action, as to Richard J. O’Dwyer. (gq) (Entered: 01/25/2012)
09/13/2011 7 SEALED ORDER as to Richard J. O’Dwyer…that Complaint No. 10 Mag. 2471, and the corresponding arrest warrant for the deft, be unsealed, which will enable the Government to respond to press inquiries regarding the extradition of Richard J. O’Dwyer, a/k/a “Duffman,” the deft. (Signed by Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein on 9/13/2011)(gq) (Entered: 01/25/2012)
01/24/2012 8 SEALED AFFIRMATION AND APPLICATION of AUSA John M. Reh in Support by USA of a request that the Court unseal the Complaint and Warrant in the above captioned action, as to Richard J. O’Dwyer. (gq) (Entered: 01/25/2012)
01/24/2012 9 SEALED ORDER as to Richard J. O’Dwyer…that Complaint No. 10 Mag. 2471, and the corresponding arrest warrant for the deft, be unsealed, which will enable the Government to respond to press inquiries regarding the extradition of Richard J. O’Dwyer, a/k/a “Duffman,” the deft. (Signed by Magistrate Judge Michael H. Dolinger on 1/24/2012)(gq) (Entered: 01/25/2012)

BAE Army Systems Lobbying

BAE SYSTEMS uses many avenues to lobby governments and increase its sales. Its main advantage lies, however, in its sheer size and its ability to use its importance to the British defence industry to its advantage.

Monopoly over the defence industry

As has already been explained, BAE SYSTEMS owns most of the surviving shipbuilding capacity in Britain (see Products). As such it has the ability to use its massive holdings to influence government procurement policy, and to ensure the best deal for itself, rather than the taxpayer. Despite its international aspirations, BAE uses its status as a British company to further influence the Ministry of Defence; as the Defence Review put it, ‘deals with the MoD tend to come wrapped in the Union flag’.[30] Threats over job cuts and relocation are skilfully used to ensure that BAE lands the lions share of all MoD contracts. For instance, the MoD attempted in 1999 to break the monopoly enjoyed by Royal Ordinance (a BAE subsidiary) over fuel supply by purchasing propellant from a South African source. BAE reacted quickly, closing a propellant plant near Glasgow and threatening to shut down Royal Ordinance altogether. As a result, RO now has a guaranteed ten-year contract from the Ministry of Defence.

This behaviour has not gone unnoticed by other interested parties, with the chairman of Vosper calling BAE’s behaviour ‘outrageous’, and an article in the Spectator commenting on the ‘all-too comfortable relationship between a public-sector customer and one giant UK provider.’[31] Perhaps the recent dismissal of John Weston from his position as CEO of BAE SYSTEMS indicates that BAE is worried about this criticism; Weston had been widely criticised for ‘bullying’ the MoD, and it was a badly-kept secret that Geoff Hoon, the Minister for Defence, and Weston were not working well together. However, it seems unlikely that BAE will give up all of the advantages that their near-monopoly position gives them, simply because at the moment the MoD is in no position to go elsewhere for their supplies, given that it is government policy to ‘buy British’ wherever possible. At the time of writing, nearly 85% of the MoD’s procurement went through British companies[32], and most of that purchasing involved BAE SYSTEMS, in one way or another.

Government support for the defence industry

In fact, far from reining in an out-of-control company, the British government goes out of its way to promote and protect the British defence industry. In BAE SYSTEMS’ case, that effort goes right to the top, with Sir Richard Evans (Chairman of BAE) being described as ‘one of the few businessmen who can see Blair on request.'[33] This relationship between the company and the government is not something that is hidden, in fact in April 2001, Dr Lewis Moonie (Under-Secretary for Defence) informed the House of Commons that: ‘MoD has given full support to BAE SYSTEMS’ bid to supply Hawk jets to India…the Secretary of State for Defence and the Minister for Defence Procurement have met with BAE SYSTEMS and the Indian Government to discuss the Hawk proposal.’[34] According to the Guardian, The British government subsequently mounted an intensive campaign to sell 60 Hawk jets worth £1bn to India, in spite of the tremendous tensions in the Kashmir area. BAE SYSTEMS has already sold Jaguar combat aircraft to India in licensing deals the MoD refuses to disclose (see section on Corporate Crimes).[35] In other words, the Government has not only a policy of permitting, but also of supporting, promoting and even covering up arms deals. BAE boasts of commanding the loyalty of over 200 MPs, even describing them as “its” MPs.[36]

Financial backing from the Government

As well as the advantages that BAE gains from its size and links to government, the company also benefits from measures designed to make foreign investment more secure for British businesses. The ECGD (Export Credit Guarantee Department) underwrites many of BAE’s export contracts, meaning that the taxpayer takes the risk of the transaction, rather than the company. Essentially, the ECGD is there to enable companies such as BAE to enter into high-risk and dubious sales without the risk of large losses. It has been estimated that, in this way, the ECGD subsidises British arms exports to the tune of £227 million annually.[37]


Another government organisation that makes life easier for the arms industry is DESO (Defence Export Services Organisation). Most Government support to the arms industry is co-ordinated by DESO which has over 300 staff and provides a range of services to the arms industry and potential customers. These include technical and logistical support, advice on negotiation, offset and financing arrangements, assistance to industry in regional marketing, market research funding for exhibitions and facilitation for military support to sales. DESOs marketing and most military support services are provided free to industry. Net operating costs to the MoD are £16m, according to a press briefing by Saferworld.[38]

In addition, the Government uses MoD personnel, as well as embassies and defence attaches to promote arms exports. Also, the Government spends lots of money on official visits to promote the sale of defence equipment. Official visits by ministers and high-level delegations such as the Royal Family are frequently used to promote the sale of defence equipment. Another example was mentioned before; The Secretary of State for Defence met with BAE SYSTEMS and held talks with the Indian Government this year to discuss a BAe Hawk jet proposal. According to Saferworld, the Government’s efforts to promote arms exports cost the taxpayer £69 million.[39]

In short, BAE hardly need to pursue a vigorous lobbying style, as the playing field is tilted heavily in their direction already. Arms companies are heavily subsidised by the state as it is, and BAE’s size means that it can put additional pressure on the MoD to bend to its demands.

Tony and Dick
Whilst exploring the world of arms exports, BBC correspondent Will Self confirmed the existence of an intimate relationship between Tony Blair and BAE SYSTEMS chairman Sir Dick Evans. “It’s Evans, with his abrasive style and no-nonsense salesmanship, who is widely credited with bringing Our Tone on to the export team. Dick got Blair to write a piece for the BAE SYSTEMS newsletter in the run-up to the 1997 election saying: ‘Winning exports is vital to the long-term success of Britain’s defence industry.’ He also pledged New Labour’s support for the industry. Evan’s is said to enjoy the PM’s ear whenever he wants.”[40]

Lobbying groups

Despite its ability to coerce the UK Government, BAE SYSTEMS also belongs to several lobbying groups. The company is prominent in the TABD (Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue), which is a trans-continental business lobbying group, which describes itself as ‘a unique business-led process launched by the EU and US in 1995, [which] seeks to reinvigorate our economies by increasing transatlantic trade and investment opportunities through the removal of costly inefficiencies from excessive regulation, duplication and differences in EU and U.S. regulation.’[41] As anyone conversant with corporate speak will know, what this actually means is that the TABD is dedicated to eliminating all regulation which stops profit-making activity, regardless of its worth or importance; environmental regulations, labour standards and nationally owned public services have all come under attack from the TABD. Tellingly, the CEO of BAE, Mike Turner, is to be one of two co-chairs of the organisation for this year (2002).

BAE SYSTEMS is also a member of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). This organisation describes itself as the ‘World Business Organisation’, and has similar neo-liberalist aims to the TABD.. The European based research group, Corporate Europe Observatory, has this to say about the ICC: ‘The ICC has a long history of vigorously lobbying to weaken international environmental treaties…Examples include the Kyoto Protocol, the Convention on Biodiversity, and the Basel Convention against trade in toxic waste. In all of these UN negotiations, the International Chamber’s obstructive lobbying is in direct opposition to the Global Compact [a UN pledge for transnational corporations] principles it has pledged to pursue.’[42]

BAE also belongs to SBAC (Society of British Aerospace Companies), and, as by far the largest member, exercises a lot of power. John Weston, their ex-CEO, is currently President of SBAC. It seems unlikely that control of SBAC is very important to BAE however, given its own direct links to Government and the House of Commons.

The BAE SYSTEMS website provides links to Industry Associations, Government and Defence-related sites. See: http://www.baesystems.com/relatedlinks/relatedlinks.htm

BAE SYSTEMS is also looking after its future recruitment and ‘public relations’ by moving into the educational sector. BAE SYSTEMS has developed its PR machine far in advance of the traditional careers fair stall and occasional brochure. In 1998 it set up its ‘virtual university’, which awards Certificates in Management, supported by Lancaster and the Open University. BAE keeps expanding its ‘virtual university’, which is also supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The EPSRC is the largest of the seven UK Research Councils. It funds research and postgraduate training in universities and other organisations throughout the UK.[43] The UK research councils claim to be autonomous, non-departmental public bodies. However, they are funded from the science budget received from the Office of Science and Technology (part of the Government’s Department of Trade and Industry). So basically, the Government is funding research and training conducted for arms manufacturers through the EPSRC.

In addition to the ‘virtual university’, BAE SYSTEMS has partnerships of varying natures with many other universities, cooperating with Sheffield Hallam in the production of curriculum materials, and having research partnerships with Cambridge, Sheffield and Southampton Universities, amongst others. It also sends many of its young engineers back into secondary schools, to extol not only the benefits of an engineering career, but one with BAE SYSTEMS. In addition, the company has sponsored various events and ‘educational’ displays, such as the Mind Zone in the Millennium Dome, further linking its name with scientific and engineering excellence, and avoiding its real business of manufacturing weapons to kill people. Having capital far in excess of any other UK engineering firm (partly because of its size, and partly because of its massive reserves from the Al-Yammamah deal) it offers extremely rewarding packages to the best UK engineering students, ensuring that the arms industry continues to leech off the most promising talents in the sector.Source

Falklands oil players on the cusp of something huge

Desire Petroleum plc (Desire) is a UK company listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) dedicated to exploring for oil and gas in the North Falkland Basin.

Desire has recently completed a 6 well exploration programme. The 14/19-1 Liz well encountered dry gas and gas condensate at 2 separate levels while other wells recorded shows. The 14/15-4a farm-out well proved the southern extension of the Sea Lion and Casper discoveries and encountered hydrocarbons in the Beverley and Casper South (Shona) reservoirs. The resource potential of these discoveries is described in the April 2012 CPR Update.

The Sea Lion oil discovery and associated Casper/Casper South/Beverley reservoirs provide significant encouragement for the future potential of the North Falkland Basin. These successful play types are part of the east flank play which extends southwards in Desire operated acreage.

Desire has completed new 3D seismic acquisition over the east flank play and other key prospects (Ann, Pam and Helen). These data are currently being evaluated to provide a full update of the prospect inventory.

Stand by for action! The Falklands Islands could be making headlines again very shortly. And this time, it won’t be Cameron and Kirchner who are dominating the headlines.

On 11 May, Borders & Southern (BOR), one of the intrepid band of Falklands oil explorers, announced that it had spudded its Stebbing well. “The well duration”, said Borders, “is estimated to be 49 days”. 49 days from 11 May takes us to 29 June – so any day now we should be getting the result of this well. And the whole Falklands oil story should take another step forward.

If you have been a Penny Sleuth subscriber for a while, you will know that I keep a watchful eye over the Falklands, and take note of every rumble and roar. Just this year some of the Falklands’ oil explorers have seen share prices take a significant jump.

The most notable success so far has been Rockhopper’s Sea Lion discovery of 1.3 billion barrels – however, later on I shall tell you about a discovery which could prove to be up to three times this find!

While Cristina Kirchner and David Cameron were squaring up at the recent G20 meeting, and Argentinian officials were brandishing our prime minister a ‘colonialist’ for dismissing Kirchner’s call for talks on the sovereignty of the islands, the oil industry is carrying on pretty much regardless.
Tensions fraught between Cameron and Kirchner

Let me deal with the political situation first. In respect of her demands over the Falklands, Kirchner has shot herself squarely in the foot by the sudden decision to nationalise the Argentinian interests of the Spanish oil company Repsol.

Kirchner accused Repsol of a failure to invest in the country’s oil industry, but this seemed little more than a trumped up excuse for an act of piracy that made Kirchner no friends outside of her own country and her limited cabal of South American sympathisers. In her attempts to enlist international support for her claims to the Falklands, this act of high handedness can only backfire.

Cameron, meanwhile, is sticking to his line that the Falkland Islanders should be allowed to make up their own mind about their political future. There will be a referendum next year on the issue and the chances of the islanders committing their future to the Argentinian flag are very remote indeed.

The Falkland Islands, a British windswept archipelago in the southern Atlantic off the coast of Argentina, last had its moment in the media spotlight three decades ago, when the two nations fought a brief but vicious conflict after Buenos Aires invaded the islands, providing a PR boost to Argentina’s ruling junta.

But, Argentina lost, and the 11-week conflict claimed more than 900 lives, leaving Britain in control of the islands.

UK analytical firm Edison Investment Research is now reporting that the Falklands’ oil industry could potentially be worth $180 billion in royalties and taxes, news that has reignited the smoldering diplomatic dispute between London and Buenos Aires.

On 13 December British-based oil and gas exploration company Rockhopper Exploration Plc announced that a new well proved its Sea Lion field 80 miles off the Falklands coast is bigger than expected, and is now projecting that it could recover as much as 430 million barrels of crude from its Sea Lion concession, 80 miles off the Falklands coast. The announcement encouraged other firms prospecting in the Falklands’ offshore waters, most notably Borders and Southern Plc and Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd.

Since Rockhopper Exploration Plc’s announcement, Britain has moved a number of naval units into the Falklands’ waters, prompting on 16 February Argentina’s Foreign Ministry to issue a communique commenting on the alleged “militarization of the South Atlantic” after the United Kingdom “sent a destroyer, a nuclear submarine and a prince” to the Falklands, demanding that London “report on the presence of a nuclear submarine in an area that is free of nuclear weapons” before concluding that their presence would constitute a violation of international treaties.

Argentinean policy over the disputed island chain has both a domestic and diplomatic context. On 16 February Argentinean Foreign Minister Hector Timerman officially accepted the UN General Assembly’s offer to mediate between Argentina and Britain on the Falklands, stating that, “Argentine accepts the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s offer to provide his good offices and if Britain accepts them too then we are on the right path; the path to a diplomatic solution, which is what Argentina wants.”

But, being a democracy, not all Argentineans support their government’s current policy on the “Malvinas,” as the Falklands are known in Argentina. On 16 February La Nacion, a conservative newspaper frequently critical of governmental policy and Argentina’s second highest-circulation daily published a crucial commentary by Vicente Palermo on the “political maze” of the Falklands where he noted first that the chances of a change in stance on the part of the United Kingdom are very low and that successive Argentinean governments have done very little to win the islanders over, preferring to resort to “a policy of harassment and isolation,” which in the end will merely serve to empower the Falklanders’ lobby in Britain.

Even worse, earlier this month Catholic Bishop Jose Maria Arancedo called for the Argentinean claim to the Falkland Islands not to be used as a political issue.

Further losing the PR campaign at home, the previous day Buenos Aires’ Clarin newspaper reported on the police repression of a protest by former Falklands War conscripts in the capital, which the General Workers Union leader Hugo Moyano said marked a new trend in government policy.

The fact that Argentinean military conscripts lost their battle two decades ago against British military forces has made them in the eyes of many Argentineans unworthy of consideration. Commenting on the fact, another Clarin editorial by Eduardo van der Kooy noted the “government’s ability to create its own problems, even where they do not exist,” citing the Falkland Islands as an example, since President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s recent actions on the matter had made veterans of the war feel used and betrayed after they were not invited to the Presidential residence Casa Rosada for her speech on the Malvinas and remained dissatisfied by subsequent pronouncements on the subject.

On the plus side for Argentina, it has received backing from fellow Latin American countries, which have announced that they will not allow ships flying the Falklands flag to dock in their ports.

And if push comes to shove and military operations occur again, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, speaking last week at a meeting of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) told journalists, “If it should occur to the British Empire to attack Argentina militarily, Argentina won’t be alone this time. Venezuela is no power, but we’ve got some weapons, and the will to face any imperialist aggression.”

More ominously for Britain and the United States, on 10 February, except for Washington, the 34-nation Organization of American States (OAS), the entire hemispheric community minus Cuba, backed Argentina’s claim to the Falklands.
Buenos Aires is watching. On 17 February the Argentinean newspaper Ambito Financiero, citing confidential sources, reported that the Bahamian-flagged oil exploration rig

The Leiv Eiriksson platform, contracted by Borders and Southern Plc and Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd and prospecting Falklands waters alongside Rockhopper Exploration Plc’s Ocean Guardian oil rig, “was found, on 16 February, to be exploring in Argentine waters,” according to “irrefutable” satellite images.

In such a context, will Britain and the U.S. be willing to alienate the entire Western Hemisphere south of the Rio Grande on behalf of roughly 3,000 sheep herders?

Given the potential for conflict and Argentina’s determination not to let the issue slide, one can only hope that Rockhopper Exploration Plc’s along with Borders and Southern Plc and Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd offshore explorations come up dry and, if not, wonder how far Britain is willing to go to retain its control.

Las Malvinas(Falklands)-Latin Oil and Glory

The 30th anniversary of Britain’s invasion of the Falklands to remove an occupation force sent by Argentinian military dictator General Galtieri, comes at a time of renewed controversy over the British presence in the region writes Alan Thornett . The islands are adjacent to Argentina but 8,000 miles from Britain. The new controversy has been triggered by the escalating rush for oil and gas drilling, which is now around the Falklands—or the Malvinas as they are known in Argentina,

The situation is getting more tense and Argentina has responded by declaring the new drilling illegal, and is threatening action in the courts. It is already imposing travel sanctions against the islands with the support of other South America governments. British ships are being turned away from Argentinian ports if they have been involved with the Falklands. Last month two British cruise ships, the Adonia and the Star Princess, were turned way from Ushuaia, on the country’s southern tip, because they had previously called at Port Stanley in the Falklands.

Argentina’s transport workers’ federation has threatened to obstruct the loading and unloading of British ships in Argentine ports in order to press London to open sovereignty talks with Argentina. “We’re going to economically hurt British-flagged ships or British ships flying the flag of convenience,” said union leader Omar Suarez.

Britain in turn has sharply increased its military capability in the region, including, according to Argentina, nuclear submarines. Cameron has made renewed declarations to defend the islands by the use of whatever force is necessary.

Oil reserves and other riches of the South Atlantic and Antarctica were clearly behind the war in 1982. Thatcher’s government, however, vehemently denied it. Her only interest, she insisted, was to defend the self-determination of the 1800 Falkland Islanders who wanted to continue to be ruled by Britain.

Today’s developments put Thatcher’s war in 1982 in perspective. With peak oil and the price going up there is now a rush for exploration around the Island which have estimated reserves of around 8bn barrels—three times Britain’s reserves in the North Sea.

Drilling has been expanding rapidly. In the Sea Lion field, in a basin off the Islands, it is being carried out by Rockhopper Exploration PLC (RKH))—they like to name their destructive projects after the wildlife they are threatening. Sea Lion is estimated to hold 448m barrels of recoverable oil. This alone could transform the economics of the Falkland Islands, but it is only the start.

Recently the Borders and Southern oil company (BOR) began drilling South of the islands in a field with a capacity of 4.7bn barrels, ten times the capacity of Sea Lion. If this goes to plan it could transform the Falklands into the South Atlantic equivalent of an oil rich Gulf state—and all under British sovereignty.
The history

Yet Britain’s claim to sovereignty of the Falklands has always been spurious. The islands were originally taken by armed force by Britain from the Republic of Buenos Aires, as a part of Britain’s colonial expansion, during South America’s struggle for independence from Spain. The islands met the British Empire’s need for a whaling station and a resupply base for shipping bound for the Pacific around the Cape. They also provided a naval base in a strategic location.

By the time Argentina won independence from Spain it was in no position to challenge British sea power.

With the opening of the Panama Canal, however, most shipping abandoned the route around the Cape and the role of the islands declined. In fact Britain was even considering negotiating a transfer of the Islands to Argentine sovereignty in the 1970s until the potentiality of the region in terms of natural resources were realised and the policy sharply reversed.

Galtieri’s motivation for the occupation was more for domestic advantage than for Argentina’s historic claim to the Islands. He was facing his biggest economic and political crisis since he grabbed power six years earlier and saw invading the Falklands as a means of diverting attention from his despotic regime and gaining some popularity.

The political character of the Argentine regime, however, could not rightly determine our stand on this. The choice was between a rapacious British Imperialism defending one of its colonial possessions and the claim of a dependent, semi-colonial, country with a 130 year old injustice perpetrated in its own region of the world.

Thatcher was taken by surprise by the occupation but quickly responded and dispatched a task force, within a few days, with orders to use whatever force necessary to expel the argentine forces. Labour leader Michael Foot fully supported the dispatch of the task force and the jingoism which went with it, effectively endorsing the war drive.

Her justification for the war was the need to support for the right of self-determination of the Falklanders. This was in sharp contrast to the treatment meted out to the people of Diego Garcia, a British colonial possession in the Indian Ocean with a similar size population (slightly bigger) as the Falklands. They had been removed from their island a few years earlier, and denied the right of self-determination, because self-determination at that time stood in the way of Britain’s strategic interest—which was to lease the island to the USA for a cold war airbase.

Now because self-determination for the Falklanders suited British strategic interests as the justification for war Thatcher became a champion of it.
Natural resources

Thatcher real motivation behind the war was very different It was the defence of Britain’s prestige as an imperialist power and its geo-political interests. It was the natural resources of the region, in particular oil, however, which was there from the start—as was the oil lobby. In fact oil reserves had been found between the Falklands and Argentina four years earlier and this was emerging as a potential game changer in the region.

It was no accident, therefore, that most of the Falklands was already owned by an energy company, Coalite Ltd of Bolsover. With an eye to the potential energy they had taken over the Falkland Islands Company in 1973 (at the time of the Middle East oil crisis) and the first oil was found by Shell, working with them, a few years later.

In fact the Falkland Islands were a company operation from top to bottom. Coalite owned 50% of all Falklands land outright and another 25% though interlinked directorships. They also owned all the shops, most of the houses, the bank, and the shipping line which linked the Islands with Britain. Most people on the Islands worked for then an lived in tied cottages supplied by them.

Thatcher also saw the huge potential of waging war over the Falklands in terms domestic politics, where her popularity was at a low ebb. After the task force sailed for the South Atlantic the jingoism of the Tories was only matched by that of the Labour and SDP. Until now, the sovereignty, or even the whereabouts, of the Falklands had been a matter of indifference in Britain. Suddenly the islands became the jewel in the British crown to be defended to the last drop of British blood.

Thatcher won a messy victory after a 5-week conflict. It could have gone either way, given the logistics, despite Britain’s economic and military superiority and their knowledge of Argentina’s military capability, presumable, since it had been one of its principal arms suppliers.

There were 258 British service personnel killed in the conflict and 777 wounded. There were 649 Argentineans killed and 1,068 wounded. In what was clearly a war crime the antiquated Argentine warship the General Belgrano, with 1,000 sailors on board, was torpedoed by a British nuclear submarine as it was steaming away from the war zone with a loss of 368 sailors. It produced the Sun’s gut-wrenching ‘Gotcha’ headline.

Thatcher basked in the glory of victory as the task force returned home in triumph. It transformed the electoral fortunes of the Tories. Despite unemployment topping three million for the first time, the Tories rose dramatically in the opinion polls. What became the ‘Falkland factor’ carried them through the 1983 general election and give them a head start in the one after that. It became the basis for the attacks on the unions carried through at that time.
The left in Britain

Most of the left Internationally, including the Fourth International, supported Argentina despite the military dictatorship, and Galtieri’s self-serving motives. They recognised the legitimacy of Argentina’s historic claim to the islands and saw the war as a conflict between an imperialist power and a dependant, semi-colonial, country. This view was very strong amongst the South American left. In Argentina the left demonstrated under the banner: “Yes to the Malvinas, No to Galtieri”.

In Britain the left was more divided. The main organisation to reject this view was the Militant (now the Socialist Party (SP)). They refused to call for the task force to withdraw, or for Britain to end hostilities. They refused to condemn Britain’s war aims and they rejected the Argentine claim to the islands. They said that they were against both Thatcher and Galtieri, of course, as was everyone on the left. But when it came to taking a stance on the politics of the conflict they were essentially pro-British.

In fact they agreed with the main justification of the war advanced by the Thatcher government: that it was to defend the right of self-determination of the Falkland islanders.

The SP have claimed in recent years that their position was misrepresented or taken out of context in 1982. This is hard to accept, however. In fact five years ago at the time of the 25th anniversary of the war they re-published an article written at the time by Lynn Walsh called: Falklands war: what lessons for the labour movement? published in Militant International Review (Issue 22, June 1982).

Whist the SP claimed that this article demonstrated how much they had been misrepresented it does nothing of the sort. In fact it carries the disputed line with knobs on.

On their refusal to call for the withdraw of the task force and self determination for the Islanders it says the following: “Nor could the call to stop the war or withdraw the Fleet provide a basis even for a mass campaign of demonstrations, meetings, and agitation – because it leaves unanswered, in the eyes of workers, the vital question of the rights of the Falkland Islanders and the question of opposing a vicious military-police dictatorship in Argentina.”

It goes on to make a bizarre appeal for the election of a Labour Government which could then, it says, keep hold of the Falklands by appealing to the Argentine working class and continue the war on socialist lines! It puts it this way: “A socialist government would make a class appeal to the Argentinean workers. A Labour government could not just abandon the Falklanders and let Galtieri get on with it. But it would continue the war on socialist lines.”

The International Marxist Group (Socialist Resistance’s predecessor organisation and its paper, Socialist Challenge, who were strongly on the pro-Argentine line, published a full-page appeal to Militant supporter to reject the Militant position characterising it as a “class betrayal”. (Socialist Challenge number 245 May13th 1982)

The other organisation to take a similar position to Militant was the International Communist League (ICL)—today’s AWL. The ICL had recently fused with the WSL (the Workers Socialist League of which I was a member) to form a new organisation, also called the WSL. We had come together as two organisation of the same size to form a new organisation of around 350.

When the war broke out the members of the two previous organisations took diametrically opposite positions on it. We (ex-WSL) took a pro-Argentine position and the ex-ICL members took a position of neutrality, or ‘dual defeatist’ as they termed it. Since we were a minority on the National Committee (NC) it voted for neutrality. We campaigned for a special full-membership conference to decided the issue. When this took place it reversed the NC position voting by a margin of 151 to 149 (after two recounts) in favour of our pro-Argentina position. It was effectively the end of the fusion. We were all expelled some months later by decision of the National Committee on which we were still a minority.

The ICL along with Militant (and the British Government of course) based their position heavily on the right of self-determination of the Falklanders and their rejection of Argentina’s claim to sovereignty of the Islands. They also argued that Argentina was not an oppressed nation but an advanced, middle-ranking, capitalist country which was acting as a sub-imperialist power in the region.

For Britain the position was clear: support for the self-determination for the Falklanders was its passport to the riches of the region.

The 1,800 Falklanders, however, were not in any real sense a nation. They were a (rather down-trodden) settler population in a British colonial enclave and. They had no independence from Britain and even less from Coalite Ltd, as noted above. Whilst numbers were not decisive 1,800 people is roughly the population of the average street London. In 1982 there were 20,000 British nationals living in Argentina, for example—though Argentineans were excluded from the Falklands. Moreover the size and makeup of the population was determined mainly by the commercial decisions and employment requirements of Coalite Ltd.

They had been an essential component of Britain’s colonial occupation over many years. It was not acceptable that the ‘rights’ of these 1,800 inhabitants were raised above the rights of the Argentinian people—and the interests of a whole continent. It gave them a veto over the sovereignty of the Islands and made them into a mechanism for the presence of Britain in the South Atlantic. They were, moreover, seeking a status which could only be maintained in the long term with the support of British military force against the wishes of the South American masses.

They had every right to decent treatment, of course. They could have been given the right to return to Britain or move to New Zealand with full costs and compensation from the British government. Many of them already go to New Zealand or Britain when they face ill health and need hospital treatment or when they retire because they have to vacate the Coalite Ltd tied cottages in which they live.

Today, with the price of oil only likely to go up, whatever its short-term fluctuations, the current build up of tension is not going to go away. Britain will continue to strengthen its military commitment to the region and opposition will continue to mount against it across Latin America. From this point of view the debates around the conflict in 1983 are well worth some attention.Source

Hunger victims even in the progressed countries.

Teachers are trained to deal with various special needs, but the fundamental issue of hunger in UK classrooms is rarely discussed
• Call for teachers to complete a Guardian survey to probe into whether austerity is having a direct impact on pupil hunger

As teachers we have probably all had hungry children in our class. There wasn’t time for breakfast, they overslept, their sister/brother/dog/hamster had eaten all the Coco-Pops. You have heard the excuses and know the knock-on effects.

Few can say they witnessed a child actually foraging for pencil sharpenings to eat because they were so hungry. But I did.

Callum had come in early that cold winter morning and was helping his teacher with a few jobs before class – one of which was sharpening the pencils. I’d popped up from my year four classroom to borrow something or other and walked in to see him guiltily shoving a handful of wooden pencil shavings into his mouth.

I asked him what he was eating – he just shook his head didn’t speak and chewed harder. They must have tasted vile. The look on his face was this terrible combination of sheer embarrassment combined with desperation. It was something I will never forget.

I went to find his teacher and she quietly smuggled him down to the inner sanctum of the staff room where we made him some toast and gave him a cup of milk. It wasn’t the first time and yes social services were “aware”.

I thought that maybe he had pica – a craving for non-nutritious things such as dirt, wood or paper. My sister-in-law used to eat sticks of chalk during pregnancy but the truth was he was just plain famished.

We had a regular stream of hungry children – I was always grateful for my TA sneaking off just before breaktime to see if there was any free fruit left from the younger ones to share with some of the children in my class who you knew had had no breakfast.

The difference that bit of fruit made was colossal – it wasn’t just that they could no longer concentrate by the end of the first lesson but when the other kids pulled out an apple or a packet of crisps from their coat pockets to eat at break they too had something. They felt a little bit loved too and it helped to ease their way to lunch time. Socially, mentally and physically.

It is weird old place to be. Teacher training helped to prepare you for dealing with autistic children, those with ADHD, epilepsy, Down’s Syndrome, severe behaviour issues and of course you were always on the look-out for children with strange bruises/bites or burns when they got changed for PE but somehow something as fundamental as hunger was never discussed. Well not in any lecture I ever went to.

And for a teacher food often is a huge focus – certainly in primary schools your day is punctuated with trips to the staffroom and dipping into the goodies on offer – another chocolate left over from Christmas – oh I don’t mind if I do. Have you sampled so-and-so’s flapjack she made, oh and do have a piece of thingummybob’s birthday cake.

We had carefully packed lunchboxes, organic yoghurts and muesli bars and cartons of fresh juice. And all those hungry kids standing downwind of the staffroom door just so they can sniff the toast cooking.

But do you offer the hungry kid an apple, or something from your lunchbox? If you do have you unleashed an unhealthy precedent? Well for me there was no question – I sneaked my pupils the odd piece of fruit or even a sandwich. I even bought them the odd coat or two when they came to school shivering in just a jumper – and yes mum went mad but at least that child knew someone cared for them.

Breakfast clubs made a huge difference – I had one lad in my class who was autistic – he was also from a family of six and life was chaotic. But if he made it to breakfast club not only did he benefit from the routine of being there but he also got a full stomach and it really did help him to focus and concentrate. You could tell the days he didn’t go. On those days he was another regular at the staffroom toast kitchen.

We policed their lunchboxes – not to snatch away any bars of chocolate or packets of crisps but to make sure there was actually something in them. A single piece of dry white bread was one of the more memorable offerings – and it was then that a friendly call was made to the parent/s to suggest there must have been a muddle with the lunch boxes this morning and had some food fallen out of little Sue’s pack up?

Proper, empty stomach hunger is hard to ignore – no wonder some kids couldn’t give you a brilliant adjective we could use to describe a monster when the hunger monster inside of them was gurgling and gnawing away. I used to raise an eyebrow when parents pushed their toddlers into class assembly each week at 9am while their little ones stuffed a packet of Skips into their mouths but while it’s a million miles away from ideal at least its something – at least it is not pencil shavings.

I’ve been out of the classroom for a couple of years, but I’ve been speaking to current teachers and, anecdotally at least, it looks like this problem isn’t going away. If anything it’s getting worse.

This is where we need teachers’ help. The Guardian is interested in learning more about food poverty and pupil hunger issues and would very much like your input into some editorial research.
If you are a current teacher please take part our online survey, the data that comes out of it will be used in a Guardian editorial project. We are interested to know your views and what you see in your schools. Are more youngsters coming to school hungry? If so, why? How does it affect their studies and behaviour and what can be done? We would really like to hear your thoughts. The survey should take about five minute to complete.

Guardian Teacher Network members will also receive an email about the survey today.

The survey will sample a fixed number of respondents so if you want to take part please act now, or you might miss your chance to contribute.
If you are not a member yet please do sign up.

If you are not a teacher please do not fill in the survey. Your comments are most welcome in the comments field of this blog instead.

• Emma Drury is a contributing editor on the Guardian Teacher Network and is a qualified primary school teacher. Names have been changed.
This content is brought to you by Guardian Professional. Sign up to the Guardian Teacher Network to get access nearly 100,000 pages of teaching resources and join our growing community. Looking for your next role? See our Schools jobs site for thousands of the latest teaching, leadership and support jobs.

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Do you have something you want to share with colleagues – a resource of your own and why it works well with your students, or perhaps a brilliant piece of good practice in teaching or whole school activity that you know about it? If so please get in touch. If you would like to blog on the Guardian Teacher Network please email emma.drury@guardian.co.uk and please don’t be shy about commenting on blogs on this page.

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