Tories BOW to wealthy antiques dealers and DROP ban on elephant ivory in manifesto

Foxes, badgers, robins and now ELEPHANTS: hidden manifesto plan by Tories to allow ivory trade

Under David Cameron the Conservatives had pledged – along with other UK political parties – to put into place a ban on ivory trading. This follows bans by China, the US and other important ivory trading countries to end domestic trades in ivory by the end of 2017.

But there is no mention of the ban in Theresa May’s Tory 2017 manifesto. Sneakily, the Tories have decided to DROP their previous commitment to introducing a total ban on ivory trade in Britain. This comes after heavy pressure from wealthy antiques traders who have been lobbying Teresa May hard to drop the ban on ivory.

The most powerful UK antique traders association is the British Antique Dealers’ Association – whose president is Tory MP and pal of Theresa May, Lady Victoria Borwick.

On average, an elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory and their population has fallen by almost a third in Africa since 2007.

Interestingly, this policy puts the Tories in direct conflict with Prince William, who has been a vocal supporter of a total ban on ivory sales.

Will we see the Duke of Cambridge campaigning for Labour – which has pledged to introduce the total ban the Prince has been lobbying for?

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You can follow Tom on twitter at @ThomasPride    and at his webpage Prides Purge

The-west-coast-of-scotland-a-land-and-sea-nuclear-death-zone-the-real-reason-the-unionists-are-desperate-to-hang-on-to-scotland-part2 – This is heartbreaking

Scotland – Beautiful above – but deadly below and at sea

The Westminster government handed the USA large areas of Scotland’s mainland, islands and maritime areas forming part of a long term lease lend scheme ensuring the UK would be provided with nuclear weapons at an advantageous price.

Weapons currently include the Trident and around 200 nuclear warheads.

Successive Westminster governments routinely claim the weapons systems provide the UK with an independent nuclear deterrent but this is not the case since all systems fall under the control of the USA at all times and as such their use could never be authorised by a UK Prime minister.

The fore-going begs the question, why the hell do we have them?

 

 

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It is  fact that the US navy has been forbidden  for a number of years from using high intensity sonar in  US maritime areas because such use brings death and destruction to many of the oceans mammals who totally rely on their own form of sonar to communicate and organise their pods of youngsters and older members.

The Westminster government tolerates no such interference in Royal Navy operations or training.

So it’s a case of “come on over twice a year  boy’s to the Yanks and many other NATO naval forces”.

Joint operations involve the use of high frequency sonar, 1000 kilo bombs.

Carpet depth charging and bombing  of  large areas of the sea-floor and use of missiles.

The sea floor around the West coast of Scotland is a very large midden chock -a-block full of nasty debris, left overs from over 100 years of continuous abuse by the navies of the world at the invitation of Westminster.

 

 

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18 April 2008: Stranded Whales – Navy denies Use of Sonar Cause of Problem

The Royal Navy has denied sonar noise from warships caused whales to strand themselves on beaches.

The service was responding to concerns from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) ahead of the start of a major military exercise.

Society officials said 43 marine mammals have died since February.

Joint Warrior, to be staged off the west coast of Scotland, involved 36 warships and about 70 aircraft from the UK and 16 NATO countries.

The Royal Navy assault ship, HMS Bulwark, Type 23 frigates, mine-hunters, two submarines and Royal Marines took part.

Live firings at ranges and simulated bombing runs against island airports were amongst the activities.

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) said there have been stranding of Cuvier’s, pilot and Sowerby’s beaked whales.

The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to find out whether the first stranding of Cuvier’s off the islands of Islay, Tiree and Harris coincided with the use of military sonar.

A spokesman of WDCS, said: “So far, we have received a less than satisfactory response from the MoD, which indicates that sonar-related whale deaths are not being taken seriously and does not ease our suspicions that these events were indeed associated with naval activities.”

The Royal Navy told BBC Scotland that no whale stranding had been attributed to its use of sonar.

No vessels were in the area using sonar at time of the February stranding, a spokesman added.

The navy said it could not dispute sonar noise had an impact, but the service regarded itself as a world leader in using it responsibly.

Low frequency active sonar – the loudest used by the Royal Navy – will not be used outside of war-time when marine mammals were close by, the spokesman said.

He said specialists on board submarines can detect whales and dolphins using highly sensitive hydrophones.

Held twice a year, the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force-run exercise involve the US, France, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada, Latvia, Poland, Spain, Belgium, Norway, Italy, Turkey, Portugal and Norway.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/mobile/scotland/highlands_and_islands/7354852.stm

 

 

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28 October 2010: Experts monitor South Uist whales

Animal welfare experts visited South Uist to monitor the activities of a pod of pilot whales which had swum into Loch Carnan, a sea loch on the island. There were fears that the whales were about to beach themselves.

The area coastguard said the group of about 25 whales was still swimming in relatively deep water and had shown no signs of distress. They were last spotted near a small pier in Loch Carnan.

Officers from the Scottish SPCA and experts from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue group are on South Uist to monitor the animals.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-11643819

 

 

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29 October 2010: In pictures: Whales off course in Uist loch.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-11654151

 

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29 October 2010: Threat of mass whale stranding in South Uist remains

A group of whales in danger of becoming stranded off the coast of South Uist continue to be monitored.

The Scottish SPCA said the 24-strong pod of pilot whales are currently swimming freely in the bay at Loch Carnan, but the threat of stranding remains present.

The Scottish SPCA and British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) launched a rescue operation after members of the public had seen the animals close to shore.

Two teams of volunteers, including 10 medics and three inspectors from the Scottish SPCA, travelled from the mainland to the site, taking three vehicles, two rescue trailers and four sets of rescue pontoons.

The rescuers have also enlisted the help of Project Jonah, the New Zealand-based marine mammal rescue organisation which has experience in mass whale stranding and will be providing advice over the phone should a stranding occur.

A Scottish SPCA senior inspector said “After treacherous weather conditions overnight, we are relieved to report that although the pod of whales are still in the bay, they are swimming freely and have not yet stranded.

There are several juveniles in this group and they all seem to be quite happy at the moment.

We are privileged to see these animals up close, but we are also very aware that the threat of stranding remains, which would, of course, be disastrous.

We will continue to monitor the whales throughout the day, ready to act should the danger of stranding become a reality.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-11652688

 

 

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30 October 2010: South Uist whales ‘now safe’ at sea

Animal rescuers believe a pod of whales which were in danger of becoming stranded in a sea loch off the coast of South Uist are now safely at sea.

The Scottish SPCA and British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) had been monitoring the whales since they were spotted at Loch Carnan on Wednesday.

The coastguard reported no sign of the 24-strong pod on Saturday morning.

There were concerns the whales were in distress but experts said the behaviour was typical of adults protecting young.

A Scottish SPCA senior inspector said: “The coastguard has been out this morning and there was no sign of the whales, which is very good news.

There was a real fear of mass stranding and, while there is no guarantee they won’t return, we are hopeful the whales are now safe at sea and will stay there.

It may be that the juveniles in the pod were sick or too young for the rough seas and the adults kept them close to the shore for safety.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-11659010

 

 

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7 November 2010: Whales found dead on Donegal beach

Scientists have taken skin and tissue samples from 33 pilot whales which died off the coast of County Donegal.

Environmentalists are trying to establish how the whales beached on Rutland Island near Burton-port.

It’s thought they were the same group spotted in the Outer Hebrides at the end of October.

An expert from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said it was one of the biggest mass deaths of whales in Irish history.

He expressed concern that Royal Navy sonar equipment could have played a role adding that the Royal Navy had been exercising in the area off South Uist at the time but had moved away.

He said “Thirty or 40 pilot whales were spotted off the Outer Hebrides at South Uist last week.

It looked like they were going to strand. It was bad weather. They were not seen again. They’re a very strong and social group… so the sick and the healthy died here together.”

Campaigners are concerned that the latest very high frequency sonar equipment used routinely by the Royal Navy could have disturbed the navigational skills of this deep diving species of whales.

But a spokeswoman from the Royal Navy said that when the whales were spotted near South Uist, the closest navy ship was 50 miles away.

At that distance, she said, there was no way that the sonar equipment could have affected them.

But the pod had been spotted near Uist, between 24-36 hours following exposure to very high frequency sonar and at that time the Royal Navy and the Whales were very closely located.

Previously, the Royal Navy has denied that sonar noise from their warships could cause whales to beach.

However, in America, the US Navy was ordered not to use mid-frequency sonar during training exercises from 2007 and 2009, after a judge found in favour of campaigners who argued the devices harmed marine mammals in the area.

A team from Galway,  Mayo, Institute of Technology travelled to the scene off Donegal to take samples from the mammals.

Skin samples were also be sent to the Irish Cetacean Genetic Tissue Bank at the Natural History Museum in Dublin.

Sixty whales died in the 1960s off the west coast of Kerry and 35 to 40 animals died in north Kerry in 2001.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11705622

 

 

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20 May 2011: Fear for mass stranding of whales on South Uist

Marine animal experts are preparing for a potential mass stranding of more than 60 pilot whales in South Uist in the Western Isles.

The whales were spotted in Loch Carnan on Thursday afternoon and about 20 were said to have cuts to their heads.

It is thought the injuries may have been caused by the whales’ attempts to strand themselves on the rocky foreshore of the sea loch.

However, animal welfare experts think they may not be in imminent danger.

A spokesman for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), at the scene, said “low tide has come and gone and the whales have remained out at sea.

They are not in imminent danger of stranding. We are just keeping an eye on them and see what they do next.

We are trying to make sure they don’t become distressed. Rather than try to stop them coming ashore, we would let them come ashore and then try to deal with that situation when it arose.

We have got several sets of pontoons with us, which is our whale re floatation equipment, and we have got more on the way.

We have currently got 12 sets congregating on the Uists, which is basically every set in the UK. We are going to let them play out whatever role they want to do and take it as it comes.”

The pod had been moving back and forth from the shore and rescuers said the animals were “very vocal”, which may be a sign of distress.

The whales, a deep water species, have moved from the loch back to a nearby bay, where they were first spotted.

In October 2010 a pod of pilot whales were in danger in the same sea loch. Days later, 33 whales, thought to be the same group, were discovered dead on a beach in County Donegal.

The Scottish SPCA, said: “It is incredible that a second pod, this time probably more than twice the size of the one previous, has arrived in the same area.

There is no reason we know of why they would have come to the same location.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-13466462

 

 

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20 May 2011: In pictures: At risk South Uist pilot whales.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-13469173

 

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21 May 2011: Whales at risk of beaching on South Uist leave loch Carnan

A pod of more than 60 whales at risk of beaching in the Western Isles are leaving the area and attempting to swim south.

Marine experts said the whales had moved from Loch Carnan, South Uist, but were “hugging” the coastline.

The pod was first spotted on Thursday afternoon and it was feared they could die in a mass stranding.

The Scottish government has sent marine protection vessel Hirta to shadow the pod’s movements.

A spokesman said the use of acoustic devices would be avoided.

Weather conditions were poor with high winds, rough seas and moderate visibility due to low cloud and rain.

A spokesman for the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), said: “Medics on the scene at Loch Carnan, South Uist, are reporting that the pod of pilot whales has now moved from the location they were in earlier and appear to be endeavouring to leave and head south, but hugging the coastline.

The remainder of the coastline is predominantly rocky with numerous inlets and bays which give a separate set of dangers to the creatures.”

Volunteers are keeping watch for the whales around these dangerous areas.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-13483100

 

 

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23 May 2011: Two whales found dead in Loch Carnan

A second pilot whale has been found dead in a Hebridean loch after experts feared more than 60 of the animals had been at risk of becoming beached.

The pod had left the shallow waters of Loch Carnan in South Uist on Saturday, but returned later that night.

They have now headed out of the area – but an animal welfare charity confirmed another whale’s body had been found.

Tests on a body found earlier suggested the female died from disease, not because it was stranded on rocks.

Marine experts said the rest of the pod had now  had left the area but those involved would continue to monitor the Pod’s progress south.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-13496653

 

 

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22 July 2011: Fifteen pilot whales in trouble in Kyle of Durness

Two whales have come ashore and up to 15 others were in difficulty in shallow water at Kyle of Durness, on the north Highland coast.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said the whales were believed to be from a pod of as many as 60.

A Royal Navy bomb disposal team training in the area has offered its help in any rescue effort.

Highland Council countryside rangers and coastguard volunteers have been monitoring the situation.

A (WDCS) field officer, said the area was remote and it would take rescuers sometime to reach the scene. He said: “It is going to be tricky.It is a remote and difficult place to get to.

The latest report is that two of the whales were stranded on the shore, 15 were in shallow water and at significant risk of becoming stranded and at least another 20 whales appeared to be heading towards the shallows. Whales failing to make it back out to sea do not survive.

Post mortem examinations will then be completed with the aim of identifying what caused them to come ashore. This enables the Stranding Scheme to monitor trends in causes of marine stranding which in turn allows identification of any new or developing hazards to marine mammals in Scottish waters.”

 

 

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23 July 2011: Volunteers monitor coast for fresh whale beaching

Rescuers who guided 44 pilot whales out of shallow waters are monitoring a remote Highlands coastline to make sure they do not become stranded again.

Medics from British Divers Marine Life Rescue, the coastguard and the Navy were called to the Kyle of Durness after the pod of more than 60 was spotted.

Forty-four were encouraged back to sea but 25 did not survive.

Rescuers said that three whales still alive would be euthanased as their condition was not good for refloating.

Post mortems examinations will be carried out out on bodies on the shore to find out the cause of the stranding and the deaths of the whales.

The team of helpers managed to rotate whales that were upside down to prevent them from drowning when the tide came in.

Medics from as far as Newcastle responded to the incident and nine sets of pontoons were delivered to the site overnight.

Although they were not used because the estuary flooded too quickly, they will remain on the site in case they are needed.

A number of volunteers are currently searching the coast, lochs and headlands for evidence of the whales which had returned to open water.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-14260666

 

 

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25 July 2011: Whales stranded in Sutherland ‘seemed healthy’

Experts examining the carcasses of 25 dead pilot whales say they were apparently healthy animals before getting stranded on a Sutherland beach.

They were part of a pod of 60 whales which got into difficulty in Balnakiel Bay and the Kyle of Durness. Rescuers managed to help most to deeper water.

Scientists have now taken samples from the dead whales to try to establish why they beached. One of the team told the BBC that the animals showed no obvious injuries.

However, she added that more detailed analysis was needed before they could speculate on why they came ashore.

About 25 of the 60 whales which got into trouble did not survive, and post-mortem examinations are being carried out out to establish the cause of the stranding and the deaths of the whales.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-14276042

 

 

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April 2015: UK Cetacean Stranding Investigation Programme (2011-2014)

Mission: To provide a coordinated approach to the surveillance of cetacean stranding and to investigate major causes of death of stranded cetaceans in the UK.

The project will also collect data on UK stranded seals, marine turtles and basking sharks.

The outputs form this project include the ability to determine the causes of death in cetaceans and using stranding events to monitor the incidence of disease to identify any substantial new threats to conservation status, will ensure that the UK complies with a number of national and international agreements, obligations, including the habitats directive and the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans in the Baltic and North Sea (ASCOBANS). Objective parameters:

* Collate, analyse and report data for all cetacean stranding around the coast of the UK.

* Determine the major causes of death in stranded cetaceans, including by-catch and physical trauma, in order to identify any substantial new threats to their conservation.

* Undertake surveillance on the incidence of disease in stranded cetaceans in order to identify any substantial new threats to their conservation status.

* Investigate any interaction between feeding behaviour, fisheries and stranded cetaceans through examination of the contents of the stomach, recording any evidence of ‘litter’.

* Maintain a database bringing together accurate and geo-reference data on both stranding and post mortem data, allowing end users to interrogate such data using the Internet.

* Make information on stranding and post-mortems results available departmental quarterly and publicly available by annual reports.

 

 

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April 2015: Today it was revealed that the deaths of a large number (at least 19) of long finned Pilot Whales near the range in 2011 was caused by military activity (the disposal of ordnance on the sea bed) at the military range.

The reference contained the assessment of the sequence of events that led to a significant loss of marine life.

With characteristic understatement the marine scientists employed by DEFRA to draw up the report suggested how such events could be avoided henceforth by adopting the following measures in ‘mitigation’:

1). Consider deployment of acoustic monitoring equipment in the waters around Garvie Island to properly characterise the extent and magnitude of the detonation blast profile.

Systems for real time monitoring are available and this is probably more effective in the long term and more reliable in poor weather.

2). Consider deployment of passive acoustic monitoring equipment as a tool to assess the presence of ecolocating odontocetes in the critical area.

3). Train and use marine mammal observers to be stationed on appropriate vantage points to scan for cetaceans along a section of coastline either side of Garvie Island and develop systems for relaying this information to central control.

4). Improve communication systems between members of the disposal team and shore based observers.

5). Avoid serial detonations in a small time window.

6). Whenever possible, the type of charge used to deactivate devices should be one which burns out rather than explodes the target (a technique routinely used in some parts of the world.)

Burn out systems enjoy a good success rate with no significant extra cost in terms of time, resources or diver safety.

Given the potential damage to marine life from the ‘high order’ explosions of conventional disposal techniques, it is questionable why this method has not been used routinely in the past.

 

 

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20 June 2015: SNP criticise undersea detonations after whale deaths

The SNP has called for an end to explosives being detonated in the sea around Scotland following a report into the deaths of 19 whales in 2011.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) study suggested military activity may have harmed the long finned pilot whales.

The 19 were among 39 that stranded at Kyle of Durness a day after three explosions at nearby Cape Wrath.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it accepted the report’s findings.

Seventy distressed whales were spotted in the shallow waters of the Kyle of Durness on 22 July 2011.

Despite attempts by rescuers to coax them back out to sea, 39 were left stranded by the tide.

Defra’s report into the incident said that three 1,000lb (454kg) explosives were exploded underwater at the nearby Cape Wrath military firing range the day before the stranding, while there was another blast shortly after the animals got into difficulty.

The report said it would be reasonable to conclude that these underwater detonations may have had a significant effect on the behaviour hearing and navigational abilities of the animals.

 

 

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Rob Gibson, SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, said: “This report confirms what we already suspected but the Ministry of Defence tried to cover up – the detonating of bombs led to the whales being deafened, forced off course and dying on the beach at Kyle of Durness.

The efforts of the local people in the Kyle of Durness to save the beached whales were incredible – but sadly the animals could not be saved and many died.

Scotland’s seas are blessed with many marine mammals, including more than 20 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises.

It is our responsibility, where possible, to do all we can to protect these wonderful and popular species.”

He also criticised the length of time it had taken for the report to be published.

A spokesman for the MoD said: “The MoD accepts the findings of the Durness Mass Stranding report which identified a number of possible factors that may have influenced events, one of which was the detonation of underwater explosives. ”

The recommendations will be considered by the MoD and implemented where appropriate.

Additional mitigation has already been put in place during munitions disposal activities conducted since 2011.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-33268200

 

 

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11 April 2015: NATO ships arrive in Scotland for massive joint exercises

The exercises entail deployment of substantial NATO maritime resources, although the UK itself lacks maritime patrol vessels for North Sea security.

A recent report by the European Leadership Foundation also found that many NATO members were cutting overall military spending.

The Royal United Services Institute estimated that the UK is set for even deeper cuts to military budgets, and will reallocate ‘war pensions’ into military spending to meet NATO targets.

Not withstanding financial difficulties NATO’s Standing Naval Forces arrived in Scotland for the largest-ever Joint Warrior Drill, which included 50 ships, 70 aircraft and 13,000 personnel from 14 countries.

Joint Warrior is held twice a year – in April and October. Naval and aerial activities are concentrated off the coast of Scotland, including amphibious landings. The exercises have been going on for a long time.

In total nearly 12,000 military personnel are involved giving it a powerful level of robustness.

Many nations participate, including: The US, The Netherlands, Canada, France, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Germany and others.

 

 

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Captain Gennaro Carola, Standing NATO Maritime Group Two’s (SNMG2) Chief of Staff said: ” This exercise provides opportunity for us to work with our Allied shipmates.

Lieutenant Commander Matthew Hamm, USS Vicksburg’s operations officer said: “for most US Sailors, our training and qualifications are done with other US Navy.

Ships; multinational exercises like this help our sailors learn how to cooperate and excel with other navies in a challenging and multidimensional environment.

The aim of the exercises is to provide complex and coordinated training between military forces from various countries and to integrate land and maritime forces.

They will also have an anti-terrorist dimension. Joint Warrior is a very good opportunity to showcase the interoperability skills we as an Alliance maritime force are always perfecting.

With this exercise we have a chance to work together on a large scale and to implement all of the lessons learned from our previous exercises. It will be an exciting and busy time at sea,”

 

 

Royal Marines from J Company, 42 CDO preparing for an amphibious assault whilst onboard HMS Bulwark. The Marines used Landing Craft Utilities to transport them, their vehicles and equipment to shore from HMS Bulwark's landing dock. HMS Bulwark is currently carrying out Exercise Joint Warrior off the coast of Scotland.

 

 

Many of the aircraft involved will fly from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray and Prestwick airport, a pseudo civilian airport with an extra long runway to the South of Glasgow in Ayrshire

Plane spotters are apparently already flocking to Prestwick, according to local media, while local residents in the Northwest of Scotland have been warned that they might be disturbed by low flying helicopters.

A government spokesman said: “Prestwick stands ready to play its part in Joint Warrior and our involvement shows we have the expertise, capability and resources to routinely host Europe’s largest military exercise.

We look forward to hosting numerous aircraft including various fast jets, helicopters and transport aircraft such as Hawks, Falcon 20s, A340s and C130s, from the RAF and the Royal Navy as well as those from many other NATO countries including France, Belgium and Holland.”

 

Prestwick’s Chief Executive Iain Cochrane said.

“Many of the ships involved have already started arriving at the Faslane naval base on the Clyde to the west of Glasgow.

The Royal Navy has said that jamming will be limited to an area in the Northwest of Scotland and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland has warned hikers that there may be disruption to GPS devises and to take a map and compass as well.

The last time Joint Warrior took place in Scotland in 2011 jamming was suspended after complaints by fishermen in the Western Isles.

The war games come just weeks after a Scottish fishermen, Angus Macleod, said the nets of his trawler were snagged by a submarine resulting in his nets being dragged continually in front of his boat.

Such encounters can be dangerous for fishermen and he said he and his four crew were “extremely lucky”.

http://rt.com/uk/248921-nato-scotland-joint-excercises/

 

 

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You can follow Calton Jock at his webpage CaltonJock

UK Fracking: Job Estimates “plucked out of thin air”

Thirty-one miles south of London, nestled amongst the southern English countryside and almost entirely surrounded by woodland, rests the little village of Balcombe in West Sussex. Not particularly well known for anything, if you’d have looked up Balcombe on the web before say, 2010, It’s more than likely that your search would have predominantly produced pictures and information on the Balcombe Estate, a collection of relatively well-to-do looking buildings that were built way back in 1856.

Over the past few years, however, this has changed dramatically. Any search of the web for Balcombe now becomes saturated with online articles detailing the fierce protesting of hydraulic fracturing by environmental groups and local people. Opposition to the controversial technique reached its peak in the summer of 2013 when weeks of protests were held over the decision of British fracking pioneer Cuadrilla Resources to drill an exploratory well in the Lower Stumble area.

The protests seemed to work as, in January of 2014, Cuadrilla released the following statement; “The analysis of the samples obtained from the exploration well confirmed that the target rock underneath Lower Stumble is naturally fractured. The presence of these fractures and the nature of the rock means that we do not intend to hydraulically fracture the exploration well”

To date, Balcombe itself has remained “frack-free”, falling just short of roughly fifty-two square kilometre Cuadrilla exploration zone (one in which you would be forgiven for assuming the rocks were not already “naturally fractured”). However, other protests across Britain have not been so successful as much of the country is still up for grabs with estimates going up to as high as 60% of UK land being made available to fracking companies through government licensing rounds.

The UK seems to be one of only a handful of European nations going against the grain and looking to aggressively expand their fracking industry. France and Bulgaria have banned any fracking activity whatsoever and countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Ireland and Sweden all have various suspensions in place due to significant health and environmental issues.

What could the reasoning behind this be? Some of the most recent data shows that Europe’s energy consumption as a whole is decreasing, even data local to the UK shows that, since 2006, primary energy consumption has been steadily falling. So why do prominent figures in the British establishment continue to insist on fracking?

Prime Minister David Cameron himself has previously stated, “Shale gas is important for our country” and“could bring 74,000 jobs, over £3bn of investment, give us cheaper energy for the future, and increase our energy security”. However, Andy Chyba, former leadership candidate for the Welsh Green Party and a familiar face to the UK anti-fracking movement disagrees. He argues, “Like every number you have ever heard regarding the potential of fracking, these numbers are essentially plucked out of thin air. What we do know, regarding jobs, is that the vast majority will be short-term, relatively low skill, relatively low pay jobs involved in delivery driving and security.”

“Like every number you have ever heard regarding the (employment) potential of fracking, these numbers are essentially plucked out of thin air”

So what makes the UK differ from other European countries? The same arguments being put forward in other places are being put forward here, yet still, the industry is expanding? There are even tax incentives being thrown at any council willing to have their land drilled by offering them 100% of all the business rates received, rather than the usual 50%. Surely the very fact that schemes like this are having to be enacted shows how unwanted fracking is amongst those living in and around proposed sites.

However, the UK stance begins to make a little more sense when you see who has been put in charge and where. Liz Truss MP has been Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs since July of 2014 when she replaced Conservative climate change denier, Owen Patterson. Truss is also a former employee of Shell (yes, the oil company) where she worked as a commercial manager.

Barton MossAfter the recent general election, Amber Rudd MP became the new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change under the now entirely Conservative government. Rudd’s appointment must have been met with praise from the fracking companies as she has previously come out in support of the drilling stating that the prevention of fracking at certain sites was not “practical” and would “unduly constrain” fracking firms.

Now, herein lies a bigger issue, TTIP. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is an EU-US trade deal that is still currently being negotiated. At first, this doesn’t seem too worrying until you discover that the investment chapter of TTIP would look to grant corporations a whole range of new rights and also allow them to set up secret international tribunals in order to enforce those rights. Believe it or not, this investor-state-dispute settlement mechanism or ISDS would enable corporations to sue any government they see as having stood in the way of profits being made, perhaps via the creation of pesky environmentally protective policies.

This is a problem, as it would most likely mean any new policy created after TTIP would primarily be established not for the wellbeing of the people and environment, but for the wealth of corporations and shareholders. And that means a green light for fracking.

If the United Kingdom is to commit to a truly sustainable future, it must kerb its desire for even more unreliable, untested, unwanted technology and begin to move towards a more renewable-focused energy policy. 

You can follow Ryan Morwood  at the News Leak website 

The Unfair Narrative on Global Warming and Development: Why it must be challenged

The industries that have primarily caused, are still causing, and will continue to cause climate change, are the recipients of huge subsidies.According to Kevin Anderson, deputy director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, global subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, both indirect and direct, amounted to $5.3 trillion dollars in 2015. Or to frame it another way, 6.5% of global GDP. Roughly $10m per minute. That’s right you read it correctly- 10 million dollars per minute.

These figures are from the IMF, hardly a hotbed of radical thinking as Anderson points out. This astronomical figure also includes the cost in health terms of air pollution, high coal use in China and India and, “broader externalities from vehicle use like traffic congestion and accidents”, according to the IMF report.

“Externalities” in mainstream economics meaning: the negative consequence of market transactions which have not been factored into the market price of, in this instance, fossil fuels. The unaccounted for external impact in this case is the ill health, and deaths, of millions.

In plain language, someone else picks up the bill for the actual consequences and impacts of dirty energy emissions.

Yet set this figure against the $100 billion dollars pledged per annum, and remember only pledged, by rich developing countries at COP 21 towards adaptation and mitigation of climate change in poor countries. To put this in context, 100 billion dollars is 53 times less than is provided through subsidies to the global extractive companies by international governments.

According to a recent report by Oxfam even that paltry amount is nowhere near being adhered to. The report says that up to date only 16% of international climate finance, of the $100 billion committed, has so far been dedicated to adaptation. The contrast in priorities is stark.

The 2015 figure of $5.3 Trillion dollars is probably not much different in real economic terms than in previous years, or for 2016 for that matter. Tally those figures up since say 2009, the year of the Copenhagen Climate Accord, and at a conservative estimate give or take a few dollars, it amounts to between approximately $25 to £30 Trillion dollars.

What this amounts to is a global welfare programme for the global fossil fuel industry, and a few crumbs from the well-endowed table of neoliberalism for those who’ll be worst affected the coming ravages of global warming.

Note the astonishing irony of all of this: the industries that have primarily caused, are still causing, and will continue to cause climate change, are the recipients of huge subsidies. Whilst the marginalised are promised a paltry and relatively insignificant amount to mitigate and adapt to the consequences of the problem they did little or nothing to bring about.

Amongst those consequences: Arctic sea ice and land-based glaciers are melting; sea-levels are rising threatening coastal regions where most of world’s population lives; and ocean acidification is now critically disrupting aquatic ecosystems. Additionally, global warming increases both extremes of the earth’s water cycle, which will mean two things: one, more heatwaves and droughts because of a warmer atmosphere, and two, a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapour, so more extreme rainfall.

Not a bad government hand-out for the fossil fuel industry, given their primary role in all of the above.

2015, we were told, was to be a defining year for finally getting to grips with the challenges, and implicitly the failures and impacts of global economic development. Last September we had the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New York, and then in December in Paris, there was a global agreement, of sorts, on tackling climate change, COP 21.

The SDGs, although not without some merit, has its focus on the eradication of extreme poverty by 2030. Yet nowhere in the final text, or in the conceptual thinking underpinning the goals, is there any mention of wealth accumulation and hoarding, and conspicuous overconsumption by us in the rich world, as primary causes of the mass impoverishment of the world’s poor.

In short, the central focus is on eradicating poverty in developing countries. Not on taxing wealth & income equitably, or even cutting back on our consumption levels.

Instead of this “global wish-list”, as a friend of mine who works in the development industry calls it, we should focus on and reveal the structural causes of poverty. By revealing these causes, we will reveal the global architecture that allows it to continue. Global poverty in the 21stcentury, just like climate change, is created and caused by economic and social systems. Neither are “acts of god”.

Take global tax havens for example. While billions are siphoned off into off-shore tax accounts by transnational subsidiaries, SDG 17.1 boldly states the importance of supporting “… domestic resource mobilization… to improve domestic capacity for tax and other revenue collection.”

It is actually relatively simple to achieve more revenue collection. If large corporate entities would stop profit shifting billions into off-shore subsidiaries in the world’s tax havens where they pay little or no tax, away from national treasuries in developing countries, at the industrial scale they are currently doing it at, a sizable part of poverty could be addressed. In turn, poor countries could then spend their tax revenue on health, education, sanitation, and a basic welfare net for the very poor.

This would be one way of shifting the dominant narrative on development, by refocusing at least in part on wealth instead of focusing on poverty ad nauseam as somehow a “natural” part of human existence, to be eradicated as if it was somehow an infectious disease.

In Ireland where I live we should also refocus our development priorities, away from current practices. Take the three following examples.

In a recent study commissioned by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, it was reported that in 2012 US multinationals “profit shifted” $100 billion in income to Ireland as a means of lowering their tax bills. All mostly legal, although obviously not ethical. Yet even a small percentage of this figure if taxed adequately, through a global financial transaction tax for instance, could build thousands of schools in poor countries.

Secondly, in 2014 at the UN, Ireland voted against the establishment of a set of principles which are designed to work towards a multilateral legal framework for sovereign debt restructuring processes. Given what we know about odious debt inflicted upon developing countries-for example, the World Bank & IMF structural adjustment policies and the onerous conditionality clauses attached to them, the removal of price controls on staple foods for instance, was it really in the best interests of the world’s poor for Ireland to oppose such a potentially progressive move?

Is it also in their best interests for Ireland to act and behave as a tax haven?

And thirdly, on the domestic front, we now have a new government ministry called the department of Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources.

This now means that the ministry tasked to hold Ireland to its COP 21 obligations of lowering emissions is also responsible for granting offshore exploration licences for oil and gas in the seas off Ireland’s coast. The companies involved in the latest round of licensing options include ExxonMobil & British Petroleum, companies at the forefront of billions upon billions of gigatonnes of carbon emissions in recent decades.

Magical Thinking?

This surely doesn’t bode well for Ireland’s commitment to “embrace the transition to a low carbon and climate resilient future”. In a recent government paper on energy policy, it was posited that Ireland’s low-carbon energy future, “means that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the energy sector will be reduced by between 80% and 95%, compared to 1990 levels, by 2050, and will fall to zero or below by 2100.” 95% in 34 years? If this target doesn’t seem feasible, on the face of it, it is because it isn’t.

In fact, if we don’t reduce carbon energy demand and production very soon, Kevin Anderson and others are arguing that we are heading towards 3C or 4C global warming by the end of the century. If so, and it is looking likely, the repercussions will be profound. The 2c figure was always a political compromise anyhow, as is the notion of squaring the idea of sustainable growth with our current economic and industrial orthodoxy.

Anderson is critically questioning, as any good scientist should be, of the popular narrative on climate change and he is unequivocal on the implications of his findings. Essentially he is saying there is a widening gulf between “the soaring political rhetoric” and the frightening realities of rapidly escalating greenhouse gas emissions. He is flatly contradicting much of the received analyses and conclusions, and the “magical thinking” around climate change. Essentially he is saying rapid reductions in fossil fuel emissions are needed right away if we are to avoid a future few of us can really imagine.

Instead in the Paris Agreement (COP 21) we have: an “aspiration” to limit global warming to 1.5C, but with no plan to achieve it; INDCs (intended nationally determined contributions) are voluntary and “non-punitive” and aren’t even sufficient to curb a 2C rise much less a 1.5C rise; extraordinarily, aviation and shipping emissions are exempt; and perhaps most importantly of all no concrete date has been set for peak carbon emissions, never mind even zero emissions. And, in the whole 32 page text, there is not one mention of fossil fuels.

The dominant development narrative is at best piecemeal and only incrementally effective, if we are to seriously face climate change-with all its terrifying tipping points and feedback loops-and global poverty, then we must urgently rewrite the narrative, and more importantly, the processes and drivers underpinning this narrative.

The Author:

Mark Kernan is a writer, commentator and part-time lecturer at University College Cork, Ireland on issues relating to globalisation, development and human rights. He has a Masters in International Human Rights and is one of the Ecologist New Voices contributors

Originally published at www.theecologist.org on July 18, 2016.

You can also follow Mark Kernan on twitter at @markkernan1 or at his blog page Mark Kernan

THE GREEN MAN

I drift on the threshold of a dream but the rumble of a passing chemical tanker shakes the room and I am pulled kicking and screaming back to waking consciousness. I lay in the semidarkness, the orange glow of the fracking flares send hellish shadows dancing across the ceiling. I reach for the bottle at my bedside and swig deeply, flushing the greasy aftertaste of airbourne pollution from my over-dry mouth.
My sinuses throb and I blow my nose in vain, trying to clear my airways. The tangy metallic taste of blood trickles down my throat again, over-thinned blood vessels rupturing once more.
“I can’t go on like this…” I repeat my mantra for the thousandth time.
The loud tick of the wind up clock eventually lulls me into a fitful sleep….
My sores and rashes are gone. I breathe deeply, filling my lungs with clean fresh air for the first time in too many years than I care to remember.
I look around in confusion… I am standing by the chain-link fence surrounding the waste sludge retention pond. Suddenly I am bathed in a flickering glow of three separate drilling flares towering around me like giant rusting dragons spouting flames into the heavens. Yet I feel no heat and the normally acrid air smells impossibly sweet…
My attention is immediately drawn to a loud GLOOP followed by another as large bubbles broke the glossy surface of the hellish pond. Without realising it, I am standing at the edge of the rank waters, among the small dead animals that ring the pond, their dried husk carcasses untouched even by the flies stare up at me with voiceless accusation in their hollow eye sockets.
The bubbles grew and a figure rose from the glossy broth. A head…shoulders…dark liquid dripped from voluptuous breasts as the figure rose to stand on the surface.
Two simple words whispered into my mind,
“Heal me…”
I was transfixed, mouth agape in awe as the oily figure glided slowly towards me.
“Heal me…” it repeated.
A dripping arm was raised, fingers spread, palm outwards.
“Heal me…”
I nod instinctively as the hand touches my bare chest. Electric fire sweeps into me, driving tendrils and roots of thorny energy into every fibre of my being. My head tilts to the heavens and a roar of pain and ecstasy pours out my mouth….
I wake up and gasp in pain as my entire body is enveloped in a pulsating sensation of pins and needles. I manage to grab my specs and stumble into the bathroom, the room spinning horrendously. Then it stops.
I grip the cool edge of the ceramic basin, panting, sweat dripping from my nose and chin. Then the coughing started… deep wracking spasms…I bark like a sick dog till an awful taste begins to burn the back of my throat. I spit into the basin…a small red lump with black stringy tendrils sliding slowly towards the plug hole.
I swipe my bare arm across my bloody mouth and my glasses fall from the bridge of my nose. The world becomes instantly sharp and clear…it dawned on me…I no longer needed my thick spectacles. I drew a deep breath, and for the first time in an age there was no tight pain. Instinctively I pulled a length of toilet paper and began to blow my nose. I felt immediate relief as a stream of dark mucus was ejected onto the scrunched up paper.
What the hell is happening to me?
As I stand up straight, joints that had been crippling me for months began to feel smooth and fluid and I moved slowly into the bedroom. Suddenly I catch a glimpse of myself in the wardrobe mirror. I stop dead in my tracks as I see the large green handprint in the centre of my chest.
“Heal Me…”
Memory flooded back into me…
The Goddess in the pond…
The Oily Angel…
Neurons fired…Connections fused and grew organically… as my body healed itself.
Now…I must repay my debt….then I passed out.
I wake up but don’t return to waking consciousness. I remain on the floor with my eyes lightly closed. It felt like I was sinking into the floor as colours blossom in my mind’s eye. The bright blooms dissolve into fantastic fractal fireworks. I lay there and just let it happen.
Suddenly, without sensing movement I am standing among long grasses, surrounded by a majestic ring of lofty standing stones. Through the soles of my ethereal feet I feel a slight tremor, little more than a vibration, but it was growing rapidly.
Day turns instantly to night as the sun wheels in the sky and the moon rises…
Small vortices of pale blue light dance on the lichen covered monoliths surrounding me. The darkening sky above roils as pendulous clouds scud in on growing winds. A deep rumble crashes and moments later lightning forks down lancing the earth before me.
I stand firm, unaffected by the growing storm.
The thrumming below my feet ceases as the long grass parts and the earth rises in a rich loamy lump. A single round stone, about the size of my head, ejects itself from the earth to land on the grass at my feet.
“You are Whole…” the voice fills the air as the dark stone begins to glow a deep fiery red. “Son of the Stars, for too long your have brethren pierced my skin and burrow deep. Poisons have replaced purity. My being has been violated and I need you to put an end to this, lest I take too firm an action that would harm too many of the Creator’s spark carriers. I now empower you to deliver my wrath to the base creatures that fail or choose to heed all warnings.”
The ball at my feet pulsed. “Step forth and receive Earth.”
I lift the bright ball effortlessly and in moments it burst with a blinding flash, covering me in with a filament thin coating of stone. A deep slow pulse now swirled in the centre of my being and instantly I feel, no I know, this is the energy of the planet earth.
Suddenly a great gust of wind lifts me from the grass, sweeping me skywards tumbling head over heels towering clouds.
It took a few moments to realise that I could control my movement with a thought. I bob and weave between the clouds, exhilaration electrifying me to higher levels despite I had endured. A force stops me in mid-flight. The wall surrounding me spun tornado fast, a stroboscopic image forming on the moving wall.
A face of sorts.
The roar of a storm boomed, “Step forth and receive Air.” Tendrils of vapours snaked and warped, twisted and twined into a milky ball hanging before the swirling wall. I do not need to step, mind you, a thought is enough to move and I reach for the ball of Air, but my astral hands pass through it, dissolving and reforming instantly.
I sense amusement.
Then it dawned on me. Air… I push my face into the ball and took a deep breath. Freezing cold energy filled my chest, ran down my spine, up into the base of my skull then down across my shoulders and burst into my fingertips with an iceburn buzz.

Down, down, down I plunge, plummeting like a stone. I should be afraid…but I am not. I go with the flow and instead of landing gently on the ground below I penetrate it.
I pass through the earth, the rock, deep waters, down, down, down. I am in darkness, absolute pitch. But not hemmed in. No…I am in a cave and for the first time I feel something…heat! I could feel the weight of rocks above me, miles thick. I could feel the heat below me, very close.
“Step forth and receive Fire.”
I place my hand upon the rugged floor below me.
Raw power, raging and fierce! Wow…I snatch my hand back instinctively.
Glowing cracks light the darkness as stone grinds on stone. Chunks of floor sink and vanish into the molten brightness.
I hang suspended in a vast subterranean cathedral, the hot crimson carpet below my feet. The swirling surface begins to bubble and boil, flecks of light pass painlessly through my feet. A pair of ridges rose from the lava, then a slope of stepped scales as a humungous head rises on a long serpentine neck. Below the ridges a pair of black diamond eyes open and pierced me with a sharp gaze.
“Ahhh, She has sent you…” hissed the Dragon telepathically, its long forked tongue lashing out whip fast, cracking the air before me, “for cleansing…”
I barely had time to think before the beast drew a deep breath and exhaled a jet of roaring, luminous flame through me.
I raise my arms, standing cruciform, the fire blasting my soul raw. I feel my thoughts strip away and nothing exists for me but the flame.
Time stretches and I become a single point of energy, yet simultaneously I become everywhere and everything. In moments I am the earth. I feel the magnetic pull of the moon and the ebb and flow of the seas. I feel the myriad stab of many needle pricks, the surge of diabolical poisons and it hurts.
The flame stops and I fizzle back into semi-consciousness.
“You are ready…” hisses the Dragon as it turns and slinks slowly into the magma.
I am.
I plunge into the lava and roar with the dragon swimming in the molten tide. Together we soar inwards towards the very core of the world. Wild exhilaration sweeps through me and I climb between fiery wings and ride the beast to the brilliance of the rotating crystal core. I fly twice round the core and we slingshot outwards at a wild tangent, rocketing at tremendous speed. I sense a thickening of the mantle around me and I give a push off from the dragon as it veers back inwards in a radiant arc and I am propelled with even greater energy.
Massive vibrations accompany my passing, and suddenly I am ejected, spat into an azure sky, boiling dust, ash and crackling lightning are my companions as the volcano below me erupts spectacularly. I carry on skyward, the remote island below dwindles to a green spot in a vast sea.
“Come…” I hear the command of the Goddess.
Automatically I sweep back in an arc and plunge into the deep blue sea. I feel. I can really feel the pain amplified through the water. I can taste the taint of pollutants and poisons. On a molecular level I feel the stabbing of radioactivity, all around me the creatures of the oceans know it.
They are suffering and we caused it.
“You have the Earth, the Air, the Fire and the Water – You now know me.”
I do.
And now I know what to do.
I waken up once more. This time I am not groggy.
I remember…Everything.
The dim light in the bedroom is claustrophobic and as I rise easily to my feet I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror.
I am hypnotised by my reflection. I step close to the mirror door of the wardrobe.
My skin is now a bright luminous green. My heart is visible in my chest, glowing bright red and with each beat I can see my hot blood circulating throughout my body. I don’t have a single hair on my head…haha I am as bald as a coot.
The room vibrates, the image of a massive tanker pops into my mind’s eye. I turn and leave the bedroom, and sprint down the hall and almost rip the front door from it’s hinges. I don’t stop running till I am standing in the middle of the road. I stand with arms spread wide as the roar of the air horn and the screech of burning rubber tells me that the driver has spotted me.
The tanker skids to a halt and the driver and his security guard escort jump down onto the dusty road.
“What the…?” The burley driver exclaims at the sight of me.
“Its not Halloween, freak! Get off the fucking road!” spits the security guard an extending truncheon slipping into his gloved grip.
I look from one to the other, the driver looks wary, and the security guard just mean and stupid.
“Turn your tanker back. You do not need to take it to the drill site today.” I say radiating calm.
“Screw you, Green man!” The butt of the stick slams into the pit of my stomach and I whoosh out an unwanted breath.
His gloved fist smashed into my nose and top lip, bursting it in a blossom of pain. My head flies back and small fountain of blood spills on the dust. I fall to my knees and watch my blood spatter the ground below me. Instantly small green tendrils sprout from the blood, thickening and growing.
I push myself to stand among a small patch of green in the dusty expanse of the road. The plants sweep up my legs and enmesh me with a fine crisscross of life. I touch the pair standing agape at my transformation. Sprouts of green spread over them, tightening, incapacitating. I did not need to hurt them. I begin to walk down the road, dark tyre treads and suspicious spill stains colour the dust a rusty yellow.
The land around me is dying… No birds sing, no insects chirrup.
Each step is a real chore as the chemicals burn into the bare soles of my green feet. Yet I press on till I crest the ridge and I stop surveying the wide valley below. The entire valley is stippled with a dozen wells all ringed by a security fence. The rotten egg smell of hydrogen Sulphide and God knows what other lethal concoction of chemicals wafts up on the warm breeze.
From this vantage point I can see a small band of ragtag protestors – dedicated and persistent. They have been protesting this site since the earth movers had levelled the land and prepared for the drilling.
These brave souls were, until yesterday, like myself. They suffered the same terrible symptoms, sacrificing their own dear health to bring fracking to the attention of the “Sleeping” masses, who relied upon our government controlled media for all their information and “Truths.”
I stumble down the slope towards the main gate. I am getting dizzy now, as my heightened senses are now being constantly bombarded by the sounds and energy radiating from the site. The ground was shaking from the pounding of heavy machinery and the very air shimmering with electromagnetic pulsing from the huge pumps and motors. Invisible pollutants rose into the stale air, a black miasma swirling in noxious columns, staining the clouds. It is little wonder the land is ill.
I approach the group and pass silently between them, ignoring the stares and wide eyed looks of fear. One or two, perhaps, pull phones from their pockets and click the video buttons, recording my visit.
DANGER ELECTRIFIED FENCE signs hang on a razor wire topped chain metal, a pictogram showing a wee man lying on the floor with a big black zigzag hitting his body making it obvious to any who did not understand the words.
I am trying ever so hard to block out the surging feelings of sickness, this is really hard…I feel…I feel the pain in the earth…
A single tear rolls down my green cheek and lands in the dust between my feet. A single daisy sprouts from the stained dust, then another.
My attention is snatched from this tiny miracle by two large SUV’s rolling to a screeching halt on the other side of the fence. Four large men got out and stood in full riot gear. I looked at them and they looked at me. I could feel their hate and a tinge of fear. I did manage a small smile as I reached out and placed the palms of my hands on the steelwork.
Instantly I am shocked, the muscles in my hands involuntarily gripping the chain. Muscles spasm to what feels like breaking point. But I feel no pain. I push the energy down into the pit of my tightened stomach and let it GROW!
Seconds seem like hours and I barely hear the scream of one of the protestors as smoke rises from my shoulder and head. I don’t hear a thing but the harmonious song of the earth’s core.
Then I unleash it.
In one huge force of will I send an electromagnetic pulse outwards in a bubble that sweeps invisibly through the valley. Instantly every piece of electrical equipment is fried and slowly all the machinery grinds to a grumbling halt.
Silence.
Complete and utter silence.
I pull my charred hands from the metal, leaving a bloody coating of crackling skin.
Still no pain. I sway on uncertain legs.
The security are now being joined by many filthy men in oily coveralls.
I point at the group.
“This…Must…Cease!”
I point at the nearest drill tower and suddenly creeping vines snake up the structure. In a moment it resembles a massive green Christmas tree.
Instantly I am tired and ravenously hungry…it is a hunger unlike any I have ever felt! I know that I need nourishment and rest. So without another word I turn and head home.
I don’t remember walking back up the hill to my home. I don’t remember eating the entire contents of the fridge or drinking about FIVE litres of bottled water. But I did. Then I switched on the television and fell asleep to the news channel on their fifteen minute repeat cycle of lies and propaganda.
I have no idea how long I slept, but when I awoke it was dark and the house was being shaken by something. I think it might be a helicopter…or something.
I have a strange feeling of destiny, a heavy leaden weight of stone in the bottom of my gut.
I am distracted for a moment by a glimpse of the news channel… The tickertape news headline catches my eye. “Dozens killed by terrorist strike at Fracking site.”
The grim faced news reader is telling the people terrorists have struck in the heart of rural England. I recognise the view on the screen as my own county. But the images shown are unbelievable –Dozens of fires raging uncontrollably, metal twisted and torn in jagged fingers of steel. Bodies litter the ground in tatters.
I sit up on the end of my bed as the reporter announces that the terrorist cell is surrounded in a house… My house.
The roar above once again. Bright light floods the room from batteries of spotlights.
I cannot believe what my government has done.
All of those innocent people…slaughtered…
A deep sorrow floods me and I get a surge of energy rising up my spine and into the base of my skull.
“MY CHAMPION”
“My Goddess.” I reply, “I am sorry…I tried…” – more tears.
“IT IS NOT OVER.”
I feel her energy swirling through me and I float on the feeling.
Somewhere in the distance of my perception I hear the front door being battered in and see two small round canisters roll down the hall…
I feel warmth of arms around me in a hug.
Twin explosions of bright light and horrendous sound shake the room, shattering glass…but I feel nothing.
I sit there and smile as three armoured men burst into the room, red lances of laser sights cover every angle in the room.
The first bullet enters my chest and explodes from my back… a second enters under my chin and takes the top of my head clean off…
Death is not the end. I know now, that I am home in my natural state. I am linked to all things and all times. My connection to the Earth and the Goddess is pure and strong now. The gifts of Earth, Fire, Water and Air have linked me to her.
Instantly after my untimely demise I am floating amidst the carnage. The shattered husk that was my body is still sprawled on the bed. The armed men still go through the house, room by room, as if this was a den of terrorists.
I can see now with all my senses. The men appear to me as columns of living flame, swirling with radiant colourful auras shot through with many colours.
This death is my destiny, my reason for choosing this life and now I must finish things.
I reach out mentally, sensing the gathered media storm outside my house. I can hear them all and know the lies that they are perpetuating on behalf of the rotten establishment that keeps mankind under their boot heels.
In an instant I perceive the world as an entirety, I am part of the Whole and I am simultaneously one with her. I feel like a satellite in orbit above the country and I turn my attention to the south…to London.
I plunge straight through the small lead lined window into the debating chamber of the House of Commons. There is standing room only inside. A secret debate is being held between the Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrats. Last year the Scots, Welsh and Irish were shunned from these hallowed halls because the Scottish National Party had won a landslide election in Scotland and held the balance of power. They instantly did a deal that they would withdraw from the UK parliament and be part of the UK in name only, but were fully autonomous.
I hover between the hanging globe lighting and listen as they plan and scheme together as one single party. The pretence of opposition is dropped by the Labour party here as the TV cameras are barred from this debate.
I listen as one single Tory MP raises concerns about Fracking and the harm it could pose her constituents…only to be jeered into submission.
Then I notice the shadows…
They are alive and fluid. They slither between the men, black serpents of negativity.
I see the Prime Minister laughing at his back bencher and hear him as if from afar… “My Dear, Fracking is SUPPOSED to harm them!”
I had read about evil in the upper echelons of society, and although I was interested in it, I had always supposed chaps like David Icke were just bampots and lunatics seeking attention…how wrong could I be!
I lowered myself to rest upon the Speaker’s table.
Every one of the MP’s were cloaked in writhing shadows, darker than sin.
I felt a building righteous rage with every word that darkened the room. Tighter and tighter my anger coiled till I sent out a burst of energy straight up into the sky, dimming the lighting momentarily as it swept into the gathering thunderheads. I followed it like an angry arrow.
With the speed of thought I brewed a storm unlike any witnessed since the time of the great deluge. High in the upper atmosphere I caused a mighty depression of pressure, but I kept it under control.
I spread my consciousness out to all the corners of the earth and drew in the power of the winds. Simultaneously, all over England, fantastic fingers of cloud spun in localised tornados. Lightning danced and cracked continuously as I directed the vortexes to the Fracking sites all over the land.
Every single toxic waste pond was sucked up into the high atmosphere, and contained in a single noxious sphere of death.
I plunged downwards once more passing straight into the Chamber once more.
I reached out and passed my hand through the wood of the ancient table, feeling the molecules react to my energy. I send a pulse of power out through the wood and into the floor, then up the walls. A change in frequency petrified the wood, turning it to stone.
The MPs did not notice.
They did notice however when the windows blew in all along the one wall, showering them in needle fragments. The place went mad with scrambling men and screaming women. The winds turned the room into a swirl of papers.
Some tried to push the doors, but they were unable to budge them.
Then I pulled down the Fracking waste.
It started as a fine spray, stinking and sticky. Then thousands of gallons of the toxic sludge began to flood the chamber. They trampled each other, screaming with the burning pain of the acids and worse. Knee deep turned to waste deep then to neck. I reached down deep into the earth and called for the Dragon.
The answer came with a deep rumble that shook the room and a localised quake of high magnitude. A rift formed on the floor and opened a shaft all the way to the molten magma of the mantle. Millions of gallons of waste, and the bodies of over 500 MPs vanished down the hole and burned in the heat of the Earth’s Revenge.

Epilogue
Scotland has declared a moratorium on Fracking.The SNP has declared it will not be allowed in Scotland until it is PROVEN safe and after a PUBLIC Consultation. Which in my book says NEVER.
The MP’s of Westminster have indeed had a vote on this too, but the Tory Party has pushed against it and the Labour party Abstained once again on a bill that could have stopped this terrible practice getting off the ground in England and Wales.
Sometimes I look at these people who run this country and despair, but it us YOU who has the power to stop them. You don’t need to die to save the world, you just need to vote. You need to send the Frackers of Westminster a clear message in this General Election.
The Green Man resides in us all, we all love our families and we all love the land on which we live.

 

featured image green man link

fracking and the death of the green society

So the Tories got there way and marched back in to power this time all on their own to do whatever they please ok it’s a slim majority but with the abstain party in opposition sorry the Labour party it seems they have taken this as a green light to do what they want . Speaking of green we have all read and heard about the cuts to disability to screwing of the Scotland bill or the welfare but what has slipped under the radar is their attack on the green policies.

The Government has all but abolished the flagship green homes scheme which encouraged homeowners to cut down on their energy bills through new boilers insulation as well as other ideas gone and they plan to replace it with well nothing .The Green investment bank often used by Cameron and Osbourne as there card to say they were green friendly is to have 70% of it sold off according to Sajid Javid the business secretary.

Scotland as we know are big fans of onshore wind farms as a way forward but that is also getting axed as Amber Rudd the energy and climate secretary says it should pay for itself and has no future, lovely even though it has attracted a lot of investment and can be the most efficient way of producing low carbon energy. Solar power is for the chop too even though the sector has seen it grow steadily over the last couple of years and don’t mention Tidal power still waiting for Government funding .

So what are we going to do without solar, wind or tidal well the Governments big plan is FRACKING yes fracking the one thing every environmental group says we shouldn’t touch with a barge pole. John Ashton a former special envoy on climate change said “you can be in favour of fracking and you can be in favour of tackling climate change, but you can’t be in favour of both”. New York State banned fracking after a public health commissioner found serious health risks it has even been banned in Denton, Texas known as the birth place of Fracking and if it’s too dangerous for the Americans that’s saying something.

With the media seeming oblivious to the dangers of fracking and the lack of coverage on television the public are still dead against it 43% at last poll where against it and over a quarter of a million people signed a petition against it but still the government want to press ahead. There has even been talk that the Government will relax laws to allow fracking under our national parks which is an utter disgrace. So what can be done well get in touch with your local MP to protest against it or get in touch with any anti fracking groups near you I’m sure you will find them on social media or on the internet. Fracking is a real danger to our environment and our health and as the government is proving they don’t give a damn, the only green they are interested in is your money.

featured image link to Enviroment

The Hunts not on

 

 

SNP have they been flushed out re fox hunting?

The SNP MPs have just announced that they will vote against relaxing the laws on hunting with dogs via the following media release: http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2015/jul/snp-fox-hunting-vote
SNP Westminster group leader Angus Robertson MP said:

“We totally oppose fox hunting, and when there are moves in the Scottish Parliament to review whether the existing Scottish ban is strong enough, it is in the Scottish interest to maintain the existing ban in England and Wales for Holyrood to consider.

At which point the cries of “It’s a trap” and “They’ve broken their principles” could be heard all over social media.

To put it bluntly – bollocks.

The SNP would have been castigated whatever they had decided to do. They are still members of a UK parliament, representing not only their constituents but the will of the people. We all know that their inboxes have been filled with people in England & Wales asking them to vote against this regressive change.

Only in January this year did YouGov release data showing that 51% of the public support the ban, (49% in rural areas) against 33% supporting it (39% rural) https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/01/09/british-people-still-support-fox-hunting-ban/

Last year, Scotland was told it was an integral part of the UK and should stay and take a lead in the way the union was run. Well, as UK MPs the SNP have the right to vote on this, and despite the practice of avoiding legislation that only affects England and Wales, are still able to.

If the SNP are going to fall foul of the right-wing press I would rather it be in the support of a progressive policy stemming animal cruelty, than for abstaining and letting Labour (remember them, the official opposition ha ha ) go on about how they allowed foxes to die in horrific ways.

fox hunting is wrong full stop
fox hunting is wrong full stop

The bottom line is that fox hunting is cruel and should not take place in the 21st century. The foxes die horrifically and the hounds used to hunt them are treated badly or put down if they are deemed unsuitable for the hunt.  http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/thousands-healthy-foxhounds—including-6061265?ICID=FB_mirror_main
To call any activity a  sport which involves blooding new riders, seems to be a misnomer.

Ah, but it’s pest control they say, Really? It takes requires a pack of dogs and a group of riders in fancy dress to kill one fox? It’s remarkable then, how many times false dens for the convenient breeding of cubs has been uncovered as outlined in this Guardian article http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/feb/17/hunting.ruralaffairs

When it comes down to it, those that support relaxing the ban hate the SNP anyway, whereas those that want it to stay in place will see them as allies.  They wanted us in the UK, now they have to put up with the consequences.

And finally, there is the tit for tat approach to the Scotland Bill and EVEL, it may be a bit “we’ll show you” but they have the right to do so. Angus Robertson’s last comment reminding the Tories of their slim majority, and Labour that they should actually you know be an opposition party, cheered me up after the nightmare of last week’s budget.

My main hope is that after this the loopholes that still allow hunting with dogs in Scotland will be closed by Holyrood, and that this horrific practice will be finally consigned to the history books forever.

featured image by Brian Falconer    picture of beagle attacking link

you can follow Simone on twitter at @cee4cat

 

Trident No More

A couple of years ago, on a very wet afternoon, I attended an anti-Trident demo. Many people marching, including as part of the SNP contingent, had been active in the anti-Trident movement for decades, and I’ve been on many similar marches since joining the SNP 14 years ago.

I’d taken my own wee boy along – CND demos normally have a great family atmosphere and he and a couple of the other kids were busy stamping in puddles in George Square. But it did make me reflect on what the point of marching is, if so many people had done it for such a long time, and wonder if my son would be attending rallies as a student.

Marches tend to be quite an “outsider” action. While insider groups get to access to decision makers, their concerns at least partially addressed, rallies can be a last resort when those holding power have refused to listen.

One of the reasons I was particularly gutted by the “no” vote was the fact that it closed the fast track to Scotland removing nuclear weapons from our soil. However, the election of 56 anti-Trident SNP MPs shows us that opposition to Trident remains strong, even if we might have to keep working for independence.

people have protesting against wmd for decades
people have protesting against wmd for decades

With the issue of nuclear weapons, we can’t accept Westminster’s insistence on renewing Trident, and until Scotland is a nuke free zone, we need to keep doing everything we can to highlight why Trident is unjustifiable.

Trident renewal will cost £100bn, a massive sum when people struggle to get by, and when local authorities are considering swingeing cuts on schools and libraries.

The moral case for ridding ourselves of Trident has been much discussed, but the grim presence of weapons of mass destruction a few miles away from Glasgow is completely at odds with the sort of society many people living in the West of Scotland want to be part of.

It’s also worth reminding ourselves that there’s nothing inevitable about hosting nuclear weapons. The vast majority of countries around the world do not have nuclear weapons.

Small countries can also make a big difference – since the 1980s, nuclear weapons have been illegal in New Zealand, and the country has resisted pressure from the US to repeal the legislation.

Although rallies can’t force themselves to change the UK Government’s mind on Trident, I am proud to live in a country where the First Minister often speaks up against nuclear weapons and also addresses anti-nuclear rallies.

So, although we might be marching for longer than we hoped for, it is vital to keep the pressure up, both on the streets and in the House of Commons, on this important issue. I firmly believe our children will, one day, thank us for it.

You can follow Jen Dunn on twitter @Jen4Indy

1960s cnd march picture and featured image  link

you can check out more at the Scotland CND website

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Nature doesn’t care whether we are happy

Nature doesn’t care whether we are happy

A lot has been said and written about the fact that we hardly ever live in the present – in fact, whole religions have been based on it. Most of us tend to either regret things from the past, or worry about the future. Now if that sounds too negative to you, let’s reword it: Most of us either indulge in happy memories or are eagerly anticipating the future.Take your pick. Either way, it’s the present moment that mostly eludes us, and I for one am at a stage in my life where I find the situation outright absurd. Why does the future take up so much of my time and (mental) energy, when I know by now through experience that most of my projections will never come true? Mark Twain once said that he had been through some terrible things in his life, some of which actually happened!And the whole subject seems to be interwoven with questions of spirituality – live the ‘here and now’, that’s all there is to it. That’s how you are going to experience God…….

For nature, as long as the human race persists, it has done its job
For nature, as long as the human race persists, it has done its job

Lately I`ve come to understand something fundamental about the whole subject. It’s all connected with a simple trick evolution played on the human race in order for it to survive.

See, cavemen started to remember unpleasant events. They remembered another member of their tribe who went into certain parts of the woods, and never came back since the wolves feasted on him. They remembered their sister-in-law who suddenly fell ill and died. She had eaten that funny  looking meat.

And they went beyond what animals did. They started to think about how to get to the wolves first, before they got to them. They started to scheme, to imagine, to project the future. And that’s how homo sapiens survived.

So there is a pretty straightforward, natural reason, based on evolution, why we are how we are, why we keep missing that precious ‘now’, why Nirvana keeps eluding us.

And nature doesn’t care whether we are happy. For nature, as long as the human race persists, it has done its job.

I guess the rest is up to each of us……..

Attributions

picture of waterfall link   featured image link
You can read more from Georg Grey at Keeping The Babel at Bay

When Will We Act

To my amazement today I sat down to hear of a story of monkey skulls, stuffed birds of prey, reptiles, ivory and even tiger’s head where discovered in a raid on a house. Now where was this raid China maybe India even or perhaps somewhere in Africa, well you would be wrong wait for it Newton Abbott in Devon. I know Devon not really renowned for its illegal animal trade but in this day in age should we really be surprised. It seems that a 40 year old man was caught trying to smuggle a chameleon in formaldehyde customs which led to the raid and the discovery of the other endangered species and parts.

It seems as a human race when it comes to our animal brothers we just don’t give a toss, we argue about fox hunting to use dogs or not use dogs an argument which will be debated in the house of commons this year well how about we just don’t hunt them at all any sport which leads to an animal’s death isn’t a sporting death it’s murder plain and simple. Try and tell me that the African reserves that raise lions and wildlife to be hunted by rich Foreigner’s isn’t wrong and I can feel you all nod your head in approval so what’s the difference well none.Now we all sit and tut when we see these stories in papers, social media and on the news but how many of us actually do anything and I am as guilty as the next person.

50% of all elephants in Mozambique have been lost to poachers in 5 years
50% of all elephants in Mozambique have been lost to poachers in 5 years

Now I hear you say what can I do sitting on my couch in Inverness or making my cuppa in Reading it’s not like we can troop around the world like Superman saving Rhinos and all the rest of the endangered species and you would be right. But you see there is something you can do and before you shake your head I know times are tight and every penny counts but for £15 a month you could join Greenpeace which fight the good cause for all species as well as the environment or for £4.50 a month you can join W.W.F sponsor an animal and make a difference my kids did and they get monthly letters to see the great work they do.

We in UK to be fair are pretty good when it comes to animal rights unlike Bulgaria(renowned for their dancing bears  in which the animals are treated. some of the most barbaric ways) where their tourism industry are openly advertising and encouraging you to go there and hunt their Bears even though it’s illegal and carries a 3 year sentence but the real tragedy is Africa a beautiful country with wonderful people and a majestic array of wildlife but still seem intent on destroying these animals with a carelessness of a kid disposing a crisp packet in a bin. In Mozambique in the last 5 years they have managed to lose 50% of their Elephant’s to poachers that’s just sad and their Government don’t seem to have an answer to stop it. In one raid in the country 340 Elephant tusks and 64 Rhino horns where discovered which led to 2 Chinese men being arrested. Where will it end well if we don’t take notice soon with the extinction of some of the greatest animals to have walked this planet.

Attributions

Elephants picture  and featured picture