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Sunday, 28 November 2010


An anti-nuclear protestor with stickers reading 'Nuclear power? no thanks' demonstrates against a nuclear waste shipment in Dannenberg, northern Germany, on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010. The words read: 'Nuclear power plant? no'. A castor train with nuclear waste is underway from French La Hague to the nuclear interim storage plant in nearby Gorleben. (AP Photo/dapd, Philipp Guelland)
Thousands of Germans have been peacefully blocking nuclear waste transport this week and oddly, the local media aren't all condemning them, writes Marian Turner
Three thousand anti-nuclear protestors have spent several nights this week in temperatures hovering around freezing in northern Germany, blocking the transport of 11 trucks carrying radioactive waste to a medium-term storage facility. A quick search of the Australian media websites finds short articles referring to a "tense standoff with police" and "violent protests (with) police wielding batons".
The tone here in Germany is different. The protests have been blanketing the headlines for all week and this highly successful anti-nuclear blockade is receiving positive and encouraging media attention.
This is the twelfth time that German nuclear waste has been transported from a treatment plant in La Hague, France to a storage facility in a former salt mine in Gorleben, Germany.
The "castor transports" — castor stands for Cask for Transport and Storage Of Radioactive material — have become an annual event in the calendars of environmental activists. The protestors come to block the train tracks and roads, physically delaying the transport. The point is not to try to stop the transport from occurring — everyone knows that the waste has to safely reach its destination — but rather to draw the transport out as long as possible. The previous record for the delay was 79 hours in 2008.
But this year the protests have coincided with a recent parliamentary vote on the extension of use of nuclear power in Germany, and public sentiment is high. When the waste reached its final destination early on Tuesday morning it was 92 hours late, marking the longest anti-nuclear transport protest in German history.
The protestors gathered over the weekend in the relatively sparsely populated area, coming from across the country and representing multiple anti-nuclear protest groups. The organisers held crash courses in the woods on how to sit heavily, how to link arms to create physical barriers, how to allow oneself to be carried away with as much resistance as possible while avoiding injury.
On Sunday approximately 50,000 people protested, and around 3000 stayed to camp on the train tracks overnight. They huddled in thermal blankets and around campfires until the police came to remove them soon after midnight. Some pepper spray was used and a few batons were wielded, but the protest was remarkably peaceful. The activists were carried one by one away from the tracks and into a holding pen until eventually the way was cleared. The train carrying the waste got to its station late on Monday morning.
And then the protestors rallied again, preparing themselves for another night in the cold, this time to block the road from the station to the final storage place. Local farmers joined in by rounding up herds of goats and sheep and letting them loose on the route. Greenpeace borrowed a truck from a local brewery, parked it across the road and used it to anchor two activists into the asphalt. The two current chairs of the German Greens, Claudia Roth and Cem Ă–zdemir, peered out from under their thermal blankets to be photographed.
The Greens are currently enjoying unprecedented political popularity in Germany, and clearly the party decided to risk a few potential sick days to have a major presence at the protest. This time the police began to clear the road in the early hours of the morning, again laboriously picking up individual protestors and moving them to the side of the road. The arrival of the castor wagons at the storage facility a few hours later was a disappointment to no-one, rather the protest was hailed as a triumph.
The national media romanticised the event, describing a local grandmother making industrial quantities of soup for the protestors and a 29 year old mother from Leipzig whose husband stayed home to look after the two children so she could join the protest, filming wood being chopped for a pizza oven in the demonstrators’ camp and photographing police trucks with sticks propped against the wheels to form the emblematic X of the campaign. Spiegel Online set up a "Gorleben-Liveticker" so readers could follow the action hour by hour.
The positive light in which the protest has been cast in the media reflects the fact that the nuclear issue is currently reaching broadly into the German psyche. The country’s 17 nuclear power plants were scheduled to close in 2020, but Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government last month voted to extend their lifetime by up to 14 years. In September tens of thousands of people protested across the country against the bill, and nuclear power remains a hot topic.
The protest was also unusually peaceful. This was not a greenies v authorities demonstration. Police were quoted as describing the Greenpeace truck maneuver as "very cool" and many officers would probably themselves have preferred to sit down and join in. The major complaints from the authorities reported in the media were about the fact that the police were working 20 or 30 hour shifts and that their catering was poorly organised compared to that of the protestors.
This year’s Castor protest was a success in its duration, ingenuity and inclusivity. It demonstrated that protests can be peaceful and yet still extremely effective. There is no doubt that many German voters are against continuing nuclear energy supply. It is now up to Opposition parties to change from protesting against a course of action to working towards an alternative.
The German Greens have a current campaign called Energie 2050, in which they claim it is possible for Germany to become completely independent of fossil fuels, including nuclear power, by 2050. This is a genuine policy platform from a party with more than 10 per cent of seats in the federal parliament. It seems it is no longer questionable that a highly industrialised, densely populated country can supply its energy needs from renewable sources, and Germans this week

Thursday, 25 November 2010


The government’s proposed reforms to legal aid will have a catastrophic effect on those who have suffered as a result of negligent medical treatment says the human rights law group.
Kenneth Clarke told Parliament on Monday that Legal aid will still routinely be available in civil and family cases where people’s life or liberty is at stake, or where there is risk of serious physical harm or the immediate loss of their home.
he clearly did not mean that the destruction of a person’s life or the suffering of seriously physical harm through the mismanagement of their medical treatment was to be included within this. If he had meant that he would have proposed at the same time that clinical negligence would continue to be funded by legal aid.

Instead of safeguarding the interests of those citizens – such as a catastrophically injured child – who find themselves in the greatest need at a time when they are least able to meet it, what Kenneth Clarke proposed is nothing short of the emasculation of the legal aid system and a full frontal attack upon access to justice.
Serious though this allegation may sound there can be little doubt that the present administration knows full well what effect its proposals will have. In truth, it does not care. It knows as both the legal aid funder of clinical negligence litigation and as the defendant compensator (as it is in the vast majority of clinical negligence cases) that access to justice is extremely costly to it in costs and damages, and that by attacking access to justice its outlay in both regards will be reduced substantially.
Of course, it has been said by the administration and will no doubt be said again and again that in substitution for legal aid there will be put in place a revised ‘no win, no fee’ system more than sufficient to meet the access to justice shortfall. This contention is spurious. The reasons are two-fold. First, the author of the revised ‘no win, no fee’ system does not agree that this is the case as is plain from his report. Secondly, the revised ‘no win, no fee’ proposals are themselves subject to serious drawbacks (a subject for another day).
In the words of Lord Justice Jackson, the author of the revised ‘no win, no fee’ system proposals, the maintenance of legal aid is crucial to his proposed changes to the no win, no fee system. Lord Justice Jackson said this about legal aid in his recent report on the funding of litigation:
Legal aid is still available for some key areas of litigation, in particular clinical negligence, housing cases and judicial review. It is vital that legal aid remains in these areas. However, the continued tightening of financial eligibility criteria, so as to exclude people who could not possibly afford to litigate, inhibits access to justice in those key areas. In my view any further tightening of the financial eligibility criteria would be unacceptable.
I do not make any recommendation in this chapter for the expansion or restoration of legal aid. I do, however, stress the vital necessity of making no further cutbacks in legal aid availability or eligibility. The legal aid system plays a crucial role in promoting access to justice at proportionate costs in key areas.
So the question must be asked why is the Government ignoring Lord Justice Jackson’s recommendations, stated in the strongest terms, in relation to legal aid whilst at the same time relying upon his report in support of its other central proposal, that is the proposed change to the ‘no win, no fee’ litigation funding regime.
The answer is that this Government has no interest at all in maintaining access to justice because, as the defendant, it sees this as the problem itself. Thanks to

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Art of Dreaming

The seers of don Juan’s line first noticed that our perception shifts much more fluidly when we are sleeping—a time when the assemblage point moves naturally—but chaotically; and so they made the effort to bring order and purpose to that movement through a whole set of practices designed to help one open doors of awareness in one’s sleeping hoursstarting with being aware when one is in a dream, and holding one’s attention on the items of that dream—and recognizing that one can act in that dream. And so, as our teachers pointed out, dreaming is a key part of moving past the habit of feeling like a victim, or believing that ‘someone is doing something to us,’ awake or asleep. We don’t have to, for example, be chased by a pack of dogs, or coworkers, or what have you, in our dreams—we can turn and ask them to stop. We don’t have to long wistfully to know what are the contents of that fascinating book with the golden cover sitting on the table. We can walk over to it, open the cover and start reading.  If we are trained in mathematics, we can find solutions to complex equations—as Einstein did in his dreams. We can continue working on the essay, or the piece of music, or the architectural design, or the relationships we are working on in our waking hours; we can find inspiration and solutions and insight for an infinite number of things.
So the answer to how one’s sleeping dreams can affect one’s waking life is both individual and unlimited—each one ultimately finds that answer for herself or himself.
This leads us to a key parallel step in one’s daily awareness: To be aware that in waking life, one is also in a dream—a position of the assemblage point—and that just as one can act in dreams of night, one can also act in dreams of day. So we can look at: What kind of dreams are we living in our days? Dreams of joy? Struggle? Fear? Love?
Our teachers told us that there is a constant interplay between our waking and sleeping awareness, and that whatever kinds of dreams you are living in one state, you will be living those kinds of dreams in the other.
It’s all a question of where we put our attention. Because we have this marvelous inherent ability to choose the focus of our attention, we have a tremendous influence on our own experience. Modern physics, starting with Werner Heisenberg, and just about any discipline involving awareness, is now making a similar statement.
As some of you may have heard, our teachers encouraged us to be scientists of perception: Don’t take our word for it, they said—go investigate, find it out for yourself in your own experience. Find out if a shift of attention results in a shift of experience. You are more than capable of doing that.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

UK Police Officers beat and strip naked an innocent woman then charge her with assaulting police

Stephanie Rutter, 25, can be seen being pinned down naked and defenceless by four officers after she was stripped naked in a police cell.

The hairdresser had been arrested after a row with her boyfriend. When she arrived at the police station police officers cut her clothes off leaving her naked. Later these brutal officers handcuffed her and put her in leg restraints.

Stephanie was then said to have attacked a woman police sergeant, a woman PC and a male and female detention officer.

What has hapened to our police force when inncocent women young and old are beaten and abused and raped in custody suits all over the UK. With just the odd case every comming before the court where the video evidence has not dissapeared.
Stephanie mother of one was cleared of assaulting the 4 police officers who brutally beat her after a court was shown CCTV footage of them attacking HER. Why did the Crown Prosecution Service waste tax payers money on pursuing this inncoent lady brutalised by Police officers who we also pay for.?

The charges agianst this vulnerable mum were dropped after her lawyer produced the CCTV at Runcorn Magistrates' Court, Cheshire. Stephanie, from Runcorn, was shown being elbowed in the jaw and pinned to the floor.

Stephanie said: "It was four on one - and they won. They left me in the cell with blood dripping down my face and covered in bruises. I thought my jaw was broken."

She said she was "overjoyed" at being cleared, adding: "Justice has been done."

She is now taking civil action against the officers. Strangely despite the overwhelming evidence the four police officers who brutally attacked this defenceless lady are not being charged.
British People can no-longer trust the police who have too much power and regularly abuse the most vulnerable.