Our first readers today, from Brazil and Serbia, missed news from Scientists for Global Responsibility

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Our associate member of SGR, which is also affiliated to the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility (INES), reports for new readers (see last week’s stats below) that its members include natural scientists, social scientists, engineers, IT professionals and architects.

neIts work is focused on four main issues: security and disarmament; climate change and energy, including nuclear power; who controls science and technology? and emerging technologies. A recent newsletter covers science and engineering for war; shale gas and fracking; risks of nuclear weapons use; chemical weaponry and World War I; controlling global carbon emissions; UK domestic energy efficiency programmes and corporate influence on research on genetically-modified crops.

Some links:

Shale gas and fracking: examining the evidence
Gwen Harrison MSc and Dr Stuart Parkinson, SGR, summarise SGR’s recent briefing which finds numerous causes for concern regarding the planned extraction of shale gas in the UK.

Too close for comfort: cases of near nuclear use and options for policy
Sasan Aghlani MSc, Chatham House, outlines just how close the world has come to the inadvertent use of nuclear weapons in the last 60 years – and suggests some immediate measures to reduce the risks.

CapGlobalCarbon: a global response to a global problem
John Jopling, Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability, argues that a radical addition is needed to the international system for curbing carbon emissions.

UK household energy policy: another fine mess
Dr Philip Webber, SGR/ Yorkshire Energy Services, describes the recent string of failures in the government’s home energy efficiency programmes and what needs to be done about them.

Scientific publication in peril: the Séralini affair
Dr Eva Novotny discusses the controversy surrounding an academic paper showing health problems in a feeding trial of a GM crop – and what it says about corporate influence in this field.

To see other news go to http://www.sgr.org.uk/


News from Sabine McNeill

In happier days Sabine wrote about a meeting with Austin Mitchell MP and John Hemming MP who both encouraged/congratulated her on going to Brussels as all three agree that human rights issues are not ‘getting anywhere in the UK’.

sabine brussels

Now the issue of children’s rights is being recognised as pan-European

At the end of May she welcomes ‘a critical new beginning’, as Latvian Tatjana Zdanoka, a young MEP, takes the lead in the EU Parliament. Latvian Laila Brice who has been fighting Merton Council for her daughter for years presented her petition on the same day as Sabine did in March last year. Since then, Latvia and Lithuania have followed Slovakia in questioning the UK Government.

In meetings and by handing a folder of evidence to EC vice president Frans Timmermans, Sabine has sincerely been operating on behalf of all the children who have been wrongly taken into care and adopted against their parents’ will. To hear an EU presentation by Sabine click here.

She later said, in an email message, “I have only taken on cases that are representative of the worst of their kind, and I can’t do it any more! I have reached a stage of suffering from ‘too muchness’ that can hardly be beaten, it seems…”

Allegations of Satanic abuse in Hampstead which Sabine is convinced are truthful, are, according to a High Court Judge, ‘baseless’. In that case, why have those who made the allegations not been charged with slander, libel, defamation etc? So many news items about high-level ‘coverups’ are emerging that the public at large can only wonder whether this is a genuine case or fabricated.

She sends a link to her one-page story: http://sabinemcneill.pressbooks.com/chapter/regarding-my-own-case/

In February, after receiving a letter from a senior solicitor (Harrow Council), telling her to consider her position very carefully and seek appropriate legal advice, Sabine left the country in February fearing arrest and writes:

  • my pension credit was stopped on 22 May and I am supported by friends and donations;
  • my housing benefit was stopped because the police came to the flat and my landlord informed Camden Council;
  • my Facebook and Change.org accounts have been closed;
  • and videos have been deleted from my Google Drive.

a comitasAfter receiving the following news from Edward de Boer (pseudonym: Alexander Comitas) she writes “I can’t tell you how stressful my life is and has become, but this, too, will pass! Hence it was such a joy, relief and release to get that music dedicated! I now put the composer’s text and links on this blog post”. An extract from his message:

“First of all, I would like to express my sympathy to you. It is incredible what you went through and are still going through. I am certain, though, that all these terrible things will turn out not to have been in vain, and I hope you will derive at least a bit of solace from this thought, too. The story of Alisa and Gabriel gave me the impetus to transcribe a composition for brassband and dedicate this version to the children, to their grandparents and to their mother and her partner. But I felt I wanted to compose something for you as well. So I wrote a short Prelude for wind orchestra, based on the ending of Coming to Light, and not too difficult to play. I attached the score of this piece to this mail, and I hope you will accept the dedication.

“Meanwhile, I would like to end this e-mail with the final words from this preface: in my view, you are a heroic woman and it is with deep admiration that I would like to dedicate this composition to you”.

News from Zerbanoo and Richard Gifford

See a 2011 summary of the Giffords’ earlier involvement on a sister site.

Officially part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, but also claimed by nearby Mauritius, the Chagos Islands were home to the Chagossians for more than a century and a half until the United Kingdom evicted them in the early 1970s and allowed the United States to build a military base on Diego Garcia, the largest of the Chagos Islands. Since 1971, the atoll has been inhabited only by military and civilian contracted personnel.

chagos-deep-space-surveillance-facilityOn Monday 22 June the Supreme Court heard two appeals by former residents of the Chagos Islands who were forcibly removed from their homeland more than 40 years ago. The appeals were watched here by many on ‘live streaming’. In the Guardian, “Prominent lawyer Richard Gifford, who has worked with Chagossians for almost two decades, argues that “Iraq changed everything,” tracking the reluctance to support Chagossian return to the Diego Garcia US military base’s role in to the controversial 2003 US-UK led invasion of Iraq”. The UK Chagos Support Association added: “That the case has returned to the Supreme Court is also a testament to the relentless efforts of Richard Gifford over many years to discover the true facts and reveal what appear to be attempts to conceal information”. The full case can now be watched online here.

supreme court header2The main case concerned the application to set aside the House of Lords decision which upheld the abolition of the Right of Abode in the Chagos islands. The Supreme Court website has a summary here.

The second case was an appeal against the upholding of the Marine Protected Area around Chagos, which was declared by David Miliband MP, then foreign secretary, on 1st April 2010. It bans all fishing which has been identified as the main source of sustenance and economic activity for the population if they were permitted to return.

Belated disclosure of evidence

A panel of five supreme court justices, led by president Lord Neuberger, heard that the legal challenge was brought on the grounds of alleged “material non-disclosure” by the foreign secretary relating to a 2002 feasibility study into the resettlement of former inhabitants. In law this is called a breach of the “Duty of Candour”.

Specifically these documents included a copy of the draft of the 2002 feasibility study, correspondence, and the comments of an FCO scientific adviser, Charles Sheppard. Lawyers for the Chagossians suspected that these documents existed and had been asking for them since 2005 but the FCO and the Government lawyers (Treasury Solicitor) had claimed that they had all been destroyed. This was untrue and they were finally disclosed in May 2012.

The documents show that the FCO’s scientific adviser was unqualified to comment on the key areas of the report concerning present and future storms and wave-overtopping and flooding of the islands. As a result he endorsed a report whose science was fundamentally flawed and whose final conclusion, on which the Government’s case in the House of Lords was based, was also wrong.

Up-to-date scientific evidence demonstrates that the 2002 analysis was flawed

chagos coral reefIt had originally been alleged that the islands were at risk from rising sea-levels which would eventually make them uninhabitable. However the islands are protected by one of the healthiest coral reef systems in the cleanest waters in the world. As a result, the ecosystems of the Chagos have so far proven resilient to climate change and environmental disruptions.

“These low-lying coral islands should continue to be able to support human habitation, as they have done for much of the last 200 years”

A search finds that in a 2012 paper: Contemporary sea level in the Chagos Archipelago, central Indian Ocean, [Dunne, R.P., Barbosa, S.M. and Woodworth, P.L. 2012. Global and Planetary Change 82-83: 25-37] finds that both earlier analyses cited “were based only on short tide-gauge data sets, involved inappropriate statistical methods, and as a result have given an erroneous impression of the magnitude and significance of sea-level rise in this area”.

Dunne et al. examined what they describe as “the up-to-date evidence of recent sea-level change in the Chagos Archipelago from tide gauge, satellite altimeter records, and ocean models.”…”there is no evidence of any statistically significant sea-level rise either from the Diego Garcia tide gauge (1988-2000 and 2003-2011) or in the satellite altimetry record (1993-2011).”…They say “there is no evidence of subsidence in the islands,” adding that on Diego Garcia there was actually crustal uplift of 0.63 ± 0.28 mm/year between 1996 and 2009, as recorded by GPS. And they add that “there is no evidence of changes in the wind or wave environment in the past 20 years.”…these results suggest that this has been a relatively stable physical environment, and that these low-lying coral islands should continue to be able to support human habitation, as they have done for much of the last 200 years. [Richard P. Dunne, Susana M. Barbosa, Philip L. Woodworth 2012: Global and Planetary Change]

Counsel for the Chagossians in the Supreme Court, Ed Fitzgerald QC, told the court that a serious injustice had occurred and invited the judges to overturn the 2008 decision and to restore the right of abode. Judgment was reserved.

News from Molly Scott Cato

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Molly will celebrate her first year as the first Green MEP for the South West on the stage at Glastonbury Festival this weekend.

‘To discuss the ‘calamitous change’ the next five years could bring’, she will join campaigner/singer Charlotte Church, civil liberties activist Shami Chakrabati, Yes Scotland’s Pat Kane and Labour’s Ken Livingstone to talk politics, 1.30-2.30opm at the festival’s ‘Left Field’ on Sunday: the debate: 2015 WTF!?! Trying to make sense of it all, Sunday 28th June.

molly glastonburySeen here (far right) with Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and Glastonbury founder, Michael Eavis

She will also be on the platform at the Green Futures field.

A link to the Anglia Ruskin University report on stimulating the green economy through quantitative easing, commissioned by Molly, may be seen here.

News from Rianne ten Veen

rianne 6An article by Rianne was published in the Tikkun magazine which brings together progressive Jewish, Christian transformation and strategies for political and economic democratization., Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Wiccan, secular humanist, and agnostic/atheist voices to talk about social transformation and strategies for political and economic democratization.

Looking to the Qur’an in an Age of Climate Disaster was published in April and opens:

Natural disasters are occurring nearly five times as often now as they were in the 1970s, according to a 2014 report by the World Meteorological Organization. Both developed and developing countries are bearing the burden of repeated floods, droughts, and temperature extremes.

Are we, humanity, innocent in all of this? In the Qur’an, God says: “Evil has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned, that He [God] may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return” (30:41).

This passage from the Qur’an points toward a truth that scientists have been articulating as well: 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate warming trends over the past century are very likely (scientific language for “quite certainly”) due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. And yet, mired in denial, we are continuing to move in the wrong direction.

Credit: Creative Commons/Pentocelo (Tomb of Hafez)

Credit: Creative Commons/Pentocelo (Tomb of Hafez)

Natural disasters alone have cost the world 3.8 trillion dollars since 1980, according to the World Bank’s 2014 World Development Report. It is depressing to think about the thousands of people suffering the personal costs of these increasingly frequent disasters, all of whom are someone’s mother, father, friend, daughter, son, husband, or wife. How can one have hope?

By urging us to reflect on God as the source of our sustenance, this passage reminds us to see the world around us as a sacred domain rather than to use it wastefully for our own purposes—indeed, “squanderers” are described as brothers of the devil in the Qur’an (17:27). This idea reappears in a story told by Aishah, the wife of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who says that when the Prophet lived in his house, he used to repair his own shoes, sew his own clothes, and carry out all such household chores without complaint or want for more. The idea behind this story was to show Muslims that “menial” tasks were not degrading for God’s Prophet.

The rest of this article is only available to subscribers and NSP members — subscribe or join now to read the rest!

News from Pat Conaty

pat conaty 3Pat Conaty writes, with reference to a Concerned Co-operator’s blog:

Good to see this material on the Italian model. I have been working with Co-operatives UK and the Wales Co-operative Centre over the past two years to work out ways to introduce their revolutionary multi-stakeholder co-op model here.

The Italian model has been adapted and replicated in Quebec since 1994 and in Japan by the Seikatsu Food co-ops. The growth rates of innovative co-ops in both countries is striking.

He sent a link to a Guardian article, a web page at Co-operatives UK and a link to the report on Social Co-operatives launched last July in Cardiff by Ed Mayo. *

Pat adds that there is a Social Co-operatives Development Forum now meeting regularly in Cardiff and something similar is needed in England, though the laws with respect to social care in each country are different.

The Forum had an inaugural meeting in London in February and the second meeting will be held in Birmingham on 7th May. There is growing grassroots interest in advancing the Italian model here.

*A review of Pat’s report and a link to it may be read here: http://www.thenews.coop/87497/news/community/social-care-co-operatives-can-be-the-solution-against-government-austerity-measures/


News from Jackie Carpenter

trelay visitors to eden project 1

Here are several members of the Trelay community on a visit to the Eden project in Cornwall which is described as nestling in a huge crater with massive structures housing the ‘largest rainforest in captivity’, stunning plants, exhibitions and stories.

A ‘cliff-hanger’: the fate of the laboratory. Jackie earlier sent the intriguing news that this – the Plant Materials Processing Roomwas being built by Roger with many willing assistants.

trelay laboratory

The foundations had been levelled, the windows were installed and the wooden frame erected. Was the exterior build completed in March as planned? Some community members have expressed interest in making ‘balms and creams’ and Roger will be able to make his eco-soap and fertilizer there.

Roger writes: “I recently had a small part in science history! This involved giving a talk at the Science Museum about my time with James Lovelock aboard the research vessel Shackleton on a voyage to the Antarctic. I helped in the first global measurements of the substances which later became known as the ozone depleting gases, Jim’s wonder machine the Electron Capture Detector did the measurements (with me operating for some of the time) and the very machine took centre stage in the exhibition of his work in the museum”.

roger lovelock antarctic

Solar panels have been connected and produce quite a bit of electricity even on a dull day. They were commissioned on the 13th March and have already produced nearly 2000kWh of electricity. And that is only half what it should be as they had some problems doing all the electrical connections. In the next newsletter we hope to hear that the problems were quickly ‘sorted’.

There’s MUCH more news and if you would like to read the whole newsletter, the wholesale cleaning of the kitchen, the building of an orangery, news from FEASTA founded in Dublin in 1998 by our late colleague Richard Douthwaite, food growing, animal rearing and news of a birth and death at Trelay, contact details follow:

Trelay Farm, St Genny’s, Bude, Cornwall EX23 0NJ


01840 230 482