Friday, October 29, 2010

More Scare Mongering as winter approaches

We had the same last year, scare mongering as winter approaches. The hardest to be hit will be the young,  the old, the vulnerable , the sick. Last summer Godon Browns Goverment told us if we did not give our children the vaccine ,we would see mass graves by September!
Pharmaceutical is an industry, big business and the bottom line, as  this article states, we need new drugs to  keep the money flowing in and our bodies full of toxins.

Article; Channel 4 News.

The bacteria, which has been linked to patients treated in hospitals in the Indian sub-continent, is resistant to nearly all antibiotics. Though first only found in patients being treated in hospital – we've found evidence that it may be widespread in the community in India and potentially elsewhere.

There have been 64 cases of the superbug in the UK and five people have died while infected. Since it was first identified in 2007 patients infected with the bacteria have now been found in 16 countries worldwide.

"The number of cases we've seen in the UK is quite small," said Dr David Livermore, director of the antibiotic resistance monitoring laboratory at the UK's Health Protection Agency in London.

"But we are importing bacteria with this type of resistance particularly from the Indian sub-continent – and when you look at population flows, it looks likely we will continue to import more and more."

"The fear has to be they will get traction within UK hospitals and they start to spread from patient to patient in the UK," Dr Livermore added.


The threat is from bacteria carrying a type of antibiotic resistance called NDM-1. It's the scientific shorthand for an enzyme that allows bacteria to break down some of the most powerful antibiotics used to treat life-threatening infections in hospitals.

The enzyme has been found in common bacteria like E.coli, a cause of routine infections after surgery or procedures like kidney dialysis. Normally these infections are simple to treat with antibiotics – but if the bacteria are carrying NDM-1 they are almost impossible to kill.
I am ashamed of the government's reaction. Dr Jayanta Sarma

Only two antibiotics can kill NDM-1 bacteria. One is toxic so doctors only use it in extreme cases. The other cannot be used to treat urinary tract infections – one of the most common infections caused by E.coli and therefore useless against this type of NDM-1 infection.

There are other forms of antibiotic resistant bacteria like MRSA and C. difficile against which drugs are becoming useless. But NDM-1 worries experts more. The gene for the enzyme can be passed from bacteria to bacteria so it has the potential to lead to scores of new species of superbugs.

Political interference

A team of British and Indian scientists published a paper in the Lancet Infectious Diseases medical journal earlier this year, linking the superbug to medical tourism to India and Pakistan.

Our investigation has found that further collaboration between Indian and British scientists was halted, after direct intervention by Indian health authorities. Many doctors in India voiced anger that the report would damage a burgeoning medical tourism industry in India.

Channel 4 News has obtained a copy of a letter from the Indian health ministry sent to Indian scientists who collaborated on the Lancet Infectious Diseases report. It challenges the researchers, suggesting that they broke the law by sending samples of bacteria overseas as part of the study.

None of the scientists we contacted in India would talk to us about the research, however one of them Dr Jayanta Sarma is now back in the UK working for the NHS in Northumberland.

"As and Indian, I am ashamed of the government's reaction," Dr Sarma said. "We need to do studies in the community [in India] to find out how far this superbug has spread to the population and what the danger is to the rest of the world."

Collating samples

None of the Indian researchers who worked on the Lancet Infectious Diseases study wanted to continue their collaboration with researchers here. So under the guidance of the lead author of the study, Dr Tim Walsh at the University of Cardiff, Channel 4 News conducted a study he and his Indian collaborators had wanted to carry out: collecting samples of water from sewers around New Delhi.
The finding is interesting, and disturbing. Dr David Livermore
Out of more than 120 sites across the city, we found 11 samples containing NDM-1 bacteria. The study only provides a crude snapshot of the presence of the bacteria outside hospitals, but it suggests NDM-1 in gut bacteria like E.coli may be widespread in people in Indian cities and perhaps elsewhere.

"It suggests NDM is spread all over Delhi and people are carrying [these bacteria] as part of their normal flora," said Professor Walsh.
Scientists warn against new superbug threat
Evidence that the superbug is present outside hospitals means that efforts to contain it - which have been partially successful for bugs like MRSA - may fail. However hard hospitals try to contain infections, they will be continually reintroduced from people bringing the infection into the hospital with them.

"The finding is interesting, and disturbing," said Dr Livermore. "It implies that control will be harder than if this was just a hospital acquired infection."

Though it is likely healthy people travelling to and from India may be carrying NDM-1bacteria with them, Dr Livermore suspects it's not yet widespread in the UK or other countries with better levels of sanitation. "It's important to remember, nearly all the cases we have seen so far in the UK have been linked to hospital treatment," he said.

Antibiotic mis-use

While NDM1 may have originated anywhere in the world, many experts think the widespread mis-use of antibiotics, poor sanitation and a rapidly expanding medical sector on the Indian subcontinent has led to the rise of the superbug there.

Though India has tough laws on antibiotic prescribing, many go unheeded. "A lot of antibiotic resistance in India is do the mis-use or overuse of antibiotics," said Dr Randeep Guleria, professor of medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.

Antibiotics are available without prescription from high street pharmacies and their overuse exposes more and more bacteria to the drugs. In such situations, constantly dividing bacteria quickly evolve resistance to antibiotics.
Such superbugs are everywhere. They're not a characteristic of one country. Dr V.M. Katoch
The overuse of powerful "last-resort" antibiotics in hospitals is blamed on the rise of superbugs like MRSA in Europe and the US. Indian health experts worry similar practices in India has led to the rise of bacteria like NDM-1.

Dr V.M. Katoch, Secretary of the Indian Department of Health Research told Channel 4 News that he was unaware who in the Health Ministry had sent the letter to scientists who worked on the Lancet Infectious Diseases study.

But he felt the research unfairly singled out India given that other countries, including the UK, are struggling to control antibiotic resistance. "Such superbugs are everywhere. They're not a characteristic of one country," he said.

Dr Katoch also denied that India was the epicentre of the NDM1 superbug. "NDM1 originated in the environment," he told Channel 4 News. "India has a problem, but India has the same problem other countries do."

The emergence and spread of NDM1 highlights a growing problem of antibiotic resistance worldwide and the dwindling arsenal of drugs to treat infections. In the last decade researchers have only produced a handful of new antibiotics.

"Against some bacteria like MRSA, were getting new antibiotics," says Dr Livermore. "But bacteria like those with NDM1-type resistance, I'm afraid the bacteria are winning. They're accumulating resistance faster than we're developing new drugs."

Many experts believe the threat of antibiotic resistance to modern medicine is so grave a global effort is needed to stop their spread and develop new drugs.

MPs slam Google in landmark parliamentary debate in internet privacy


Monday, October 25, 2010

Facebook sells sexuality information to advertisers

Facebook-privacy Following on from the news last week that Google committed a “serious violation of Canadians’ privacy rights, several academic papers published last week reveal that marketers can easily find and take private data on Facebook. The papers both reveal that advertisers may be able to learn sensitive, personal data from Facebook profiles even if the individual does not share their information beyond their circle of friends.

In the paper from Microsoft in India and the Max Planck Institute in Germany, researchers were able to find out the stated sexual preference of users. The researchers created six different accounts with a one female account and one male account stating that they prefer partners of the same gender. Adverts were monitored on all six of those profiles. It was found that specific ads were shown on the same sex preference profiles. This is nothing new, but the researchers determined that if users whose profiles identified themselves as gay clicked on gay online adverts then these users are identifying themselves as gay to those advertisers. The researchers did not seek to find out if researchers actually used this technique, but they noted that individual names were note stored in cookies, but advertisers could get additional, personal information if they asked the person to fill out a web form or send an email to the advertiser. Facebook commented on this research and said that it prohibits advertisers from using personal information obtained from running. But what is stopping them from doing so?

In a second paper, a researcher from Stanford University found that she was able to find out the age and sexual orientation as well from tailoring adverts. In her paper, Aleksandra Korolova, collected information from public sources (like public records or the phone listings) and tailored adverts to fit this information and the additional information of interest in the same sex. If the advert was delivered up to a certain profile, Ms. Korolova would know that they were gay just based on the when the advert was delivered. She notified Facebook who changed their advert targeting guidelines. Facebook now bans any advertisement that is too specific so that it shows to only 20 people or less.

What both of these papers represent is that privacy is not as clear cut as we may think. As a result of both of these papers, Facebook and even MySpace acknowledged that personal information was ‘accidently leaked’ to advertisers from profiles and friends of friends’ profiles. If this is the case, then there are advertisers out there who may have our information without our direct consent or indirect consent of privacy settings on social websites like Facebook. Clearly, the complexity of online privacy is growing at a constant rate and we all need to assume that the information we put online isn’t necessarily private. If you have any doubt, check out how a new online tracking company called RapLeaf is dealing with personal information.

By Dominique Lazanski

Source: BBW

Baby P doctor voluntary removal from register refused

Baby P Peter Connelly died from abuse despite 60 visits from authorities
A doctor accused of failing to spot signs that Baby P was being abused has had her application to be removed from the medical register rejected.
Dr Sabah Al-Zayyat, who is facing disciplinary action over her conduct, had applied for "voluntary erasure" from the medical register.
This would have avoided the need for a full misconduct hearing.
The General Medical Council has ruled that the "serious" allegations against her should be heard in public.
The GMC could ban her from UK working.

Related stories

Chairman Ralph Bergmann said: "The panel considers that to accede to the application for voluntary erasure would avoid a public, and necessary, examination of the facts of this case."
Public interest

Dr Al-Zayyat saw 17-month-old Peter Connelly at St Ann's Hospital in Haringey days before his death in 2007.
She is accused of failing to carry out an "adequate examination", investigate his injuries or admit him to hospital.

A post-mortem examination found he had probably suffered serious injuries, including a broken back and fractured ribs, before he was examined by Dr Al-Zayyat.

Dr Al-Zayyat is also accused of knowing Peter was on the child protection register.

She had her contract with Great Ormond Street hospital terminated after details of Peter's case came to light.
Dr Al-Zayyat, who did not attend this latest hearing, was originally due to face GMC disciplinary action in February.
The earlier session was adjourned after the panel heard she was "suicidal", unfit to defend herself and had left the country.
Mary O'Rourke QC, for Dr Al-Zayyat, told the GMC panel she would go to the High Court to seek a judicial review of its decision not to allow voluntary erasure

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Julian Assange IS the story.

Julian Assange's WikiLeaks has taken investigative journalism into the electronic age. But can he survive now that he has become the story?

The WikiLeaks website (, also available in modified form on the mirror site says it relies "on a network of dedicated volunteers around the globe". But the Australian Julian Assange is the organisation's public face.

Assange was pushed into the limelight earlier this year, on 5 April 2010, when WikiLeaks published film from a US Apache helicopter taken in 2007. The footage, which WikiLeaks titled Collateral Murder, shows 30mm cannon fire from two helicopters killing "about a dozen people, including two Reuters employees, in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad".

The US Government responded to the leak of the video by subjecting some of those connected to WikiLeaks to intense surveillance. US Private Bradley Manning has been arrested and charged with passing the video to Wikileaks, and could face a court martial.

In June of this year, after Collateral Murder but ahead of publication of the Afghan War Diary (see below), the Daily Beast website quoted a US official as saying: "We’d like to know where he is – we’d like his co-operation in this."

This touches on the contradiction at the heart of Assange's role as head of the whistleblowing website. His organisation exists, as he told the Centre for Investigative Journalism in August, to bring into the open "bits of information that are most likely to have an effect when they escape". Yet to survive the threats to his physical security that follow, he lives life of secrecy and subterfuge.

'International Subversive'
The Australian's name surfaces first in the 1990s, when he was working as a programmer, developing free and open source software. He also belonged to International Subversives, a hacker group. A report from May 1995 in Melbourne's The Age newspaper describes the start of committal proceedings against Assange, then 23 and charged with hacking offences, "including obtaining access to information, erasing data, alerting data and defrauding Telecom"

Two years later Assange and Suelette Dreyfus published Underground - Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier. The book, which is still available online, features a character called Mendax, allegedly based on Assange.

He has acknowledged that in 1999 he registered the domain name And in 2006 the American political newssheet CounterPunch referred to him as "Australia's most infamous former hacker".

But Assange did not taste true international renown until 2007, shortly after the foundation of WikiLeaks - an organisation established, in his words, "to find a way to not be scared to publish anything".

Among the earliest WikiLeaks revelations was the publication of a confidential report by the risk consultancy Kroll, commissioned by the Kenyan government, into the theft of more than £1bn of government money by former Kenyan president Daniel Arap Moi and his entourage.

Other notable WikiLeaks coups have included postings of the US military's operating manual for its Guantanamo prison camp, Trafigura's super-injunction to stop the release of a report on toxic dumping off the Ivory Coast, and the British National Party's membership list.

In 2008 domain registrar Dynadot took down the domain name after Swiss bank Julius Baer sued over publication of allegations of illegal activities on the Cayman Islands. The domain was subsequently reinstated.

In July of this year, WikiLeaks provoked a worldwide media storm when it published Afghan War Diary, a compendium of some 76,000 US military documents (15,000 more have yet to appear). At a press conference to coincide with the publication, Assange announced that the files could contain details of "thousands" of potential war crimes.

With the Afghan leak, the US military intensified its pursuit against of Assange. Reports say the Pentagon is contemplating prosecuting him for encouraging that theft of government property. Assange, who has been advised by sympathisers not to visit the United States, has said: "We have to avoid some countries, avoid travel, until we know where the political arrow is pointing."

Greater scrutiny
Public acclaim has also meant greater scrutiny of the financial and administrative structure of WikiLeaks. In December 2009 Assange estimated that Wikileaks running costs were 200,000 euros a year. The Germany-based Wau Holland Foundation, a charity named after the hacker founder of the Chaos Computer Club, has been the recipient – via the WikiLeaks website – of public donations to the whistleblower. The foundation’s charitable status means, according to Assange, that donors' money is protected from anti-WikiLeaks lawsuits.

WikiLeaks has used the eBay-owned PayPal online payments system as the channel for donations to Wau Holland. Another online money transfer service, the Investcorp-controlled Moneybookers, stopped collecting money for WikiLeaks in August 2010 in the wake of the Afghan War Diary leak, citing "recent publicity and the subsequent addition of the WikiLeaks entity to blacklists in Australia and watchlists in the USA".

WikiLeaks also uses, a Swedish online donation system set up by Peter Sunde, which effectively allows internet users to offer a financial tip in return for content they have enjoyed.

Peter Sunde is one of the founders of The Pirate Bay, the file-sharing website at the vanguard of the anti-copyright movement. Both WikiLeaks and The Pirate Bay are hosted in Sweden by PRQ, formerly owned by Pirate Bay founders Fredrik Neij and Gottfried Svartholm. PRQ's current owner, Mikael Viborg, is a former board member (according to Wikipedia) of the anti-copyright, pro-transparency Pirate Party.

PRQ has courted controversy for its libertarian philosophy. Viborg – who says he has never met Julian Assange - told a French website his company is committed to protecting the anonymity of its clients and to defending freedom of expression. In the same interview Viborg confirmed PRQ would be hosting the WikiLeaks publication of documents relating to the war in Iraq.

Calls to step down
WikiLeaks' recent high profile appears not to have helped Julian Assange's relationships with his colleagues. Daniel Schmitt (real name: Daniel Domscheit-Berg), the organisation’s German spokesman and Wikileaks' most prominent face after Assange, announced in Der Spiegel in September that he was standing down because the organisation, in his view, was focusing on large projects to the detriment of smaller ones.

Schmitt had also argued that Assange should withdraw from the public eye while he fights allegations made in August 2010 that he raped one woman and sexually harassed another while in Sweden - allegations which Assange has denied, saying "The charges are without basis". The same argument has been made by Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of her country’s Modern Media Initiative with close associations to WikiLeaks.

In fact, Assange advised the Icelandic government before it passed new laws in June of this year strengthening freedom of expression and protection for sources and whistleblowers. Jonsdottir has said of the new legislation that it will "deal with the fact that information doesn’t have borders any more".

But last month she joined calls for Assange, whom she describes as her "friend", to step aside until after the criminal investigation into the rape allegations is over. "I am not angry with Julian," she told The Daily Beast, "but this is a situation that has clearly gotten out of hand."

She continued: "I have strongly urged him to focus on the legalities that he’s dealing with and let some other people carry the torch."

With the publication of the Iraq war logs, the immediate focus of interest will inevitably be on the content of the leaks themselves. But the spotlight may again turn on Assange, and he may again have to refute the accusation that he, and not WikiLeaks, has become the story.

Source: Channel 4

Bush and Blairs Endless Love

Friday, October 22, 2010


The Southern Daily Echo has a disturbing follow-up to a story Dylan covered earlier this month, about a mother who confiscated a cricket ball from youths who kept whacking it into her garden.

To recap: as a result of this sensible act she received three visits from the police. She was required to attend the police station; she was arrested; she had her fingerprints, photograph and a DNA sample taken; she was questioned during a detention lasting five hours. And for what? To establish that she wasn't a thief. Of course she wasn't stealing the ball - she was simply doing what householders throughout the ages have done when scamps have knocked a ball into their garden.

Thank goodness, the CPS saw sense and the charges were dropped. But the way in which this was revealed to Mrs Cole is telling, and troubling.

When the police visited her home to inform her that the case was being discontinued, they took a press officer with them. He had a pre-prepared statement in her name which they wanted her to sign, effectively clearing the police of any blame.

The police preparing statements for suspects is the stuff of East German show trials, not democratic Britain. They've worsened the problem caused by their own basic mistake and pathetic overreaction by trying to put words in this poor woman's mouth.

It's absurd that Mrs Cole was ever charged, let alone the victim of the bullying she received from the police - she should receive an apology and her DNA should be removed from the database forthwith.
But sadly this sort of authoritarian overreaction is quite common. What's new, and lamentable, is the statement. This is a rather sinister development.
By Alex Deane



To date this is the most changed article by the BBC, 31 versions including title change.

Seems they at last found a version they were happy with.

Online Comments and Court Trials

Hammer Speaking to the Criminal Bar Association last week, Attorney General Dominic Grieve MP said that protecting the fairness of trials was becoming increasingly more difficult with rise in online media and blogging.  He went on to say that website owners should be responsible for posts and comments and he hopes to have ‘further discussions’ owners’ liability.
It is common for parties involved in publishing material relating to a current or upcoming trial to escape from the issue of liability under the argument that they innocently passed on materials. Distributors of said material can claim that they were unaware of that the material was information in a trial. Site owners could claim the same thing for comments made on their website on until they are made aware of a connection to a trial.
Though the proliferation of online publishing and distribution will continue to be an issue, Dominic Grieve went on to say the following in his comments:
"Does the system presently work? In blunt terms and with doubtless imperfections, in my view, it does. Although my office receives a substantial number of queries from legal representatives, the courts, the judiciary, members of the public and also members of the press there have been a comparatively small number of prosecutions under either the 1981 [Contempt of Court] Act or for breaches of other specific restrictions."
Issues of censorship, privacy, and multi-channel information distribution will no doubt shape this debate as it continues to become a bigger issue. For now we will wait and see.
By Dominique Lazanski

Coalition Agreement Broken

In resurrecting the Intercept Modernisation Programme, the Government breaks a clear, basic and fundamental promise

Watching laptop More details are emerging on the astonishing news Dan covered earlier: the appalling "Intercept Modernisation Programme" is to continue despite the Conservative Party's recent pledge to reverse the rise of the surveillance state. Actually, do have a look at that last link. It's remarkable that they've left the paper on their website; perhaps the thinking is that everyone's so concerned with the spending review that nobody will notice the rank hypocrisy? Whatever the explanation, leaving it up breaks with the longstanding tradition of repainting the commandments on the side of the barn whenever Napoleon changes his mind.
And it can't be blamed on the formation of the Coalition, either. The Coalition Agreement promised to "end the storage of internet and email records without good reason".
Buried in the Strategic Defence and Security Review, the Government plans to introduce
a programme to preserve the ability of the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to obtain communication data and to intercept communications
Couple this with the disgusting u-turn on the Summary Care Record, despite similarly clear and concrete promises, and a troubling picture emerges; it is fascinating and dreadful to see the speed of bureaucratic capture, the reversion to bureaucratic authoritarianism on show - intrusions are piling up so fast that my extended essay published last week is already out of date.
The IMP will allow the security services and the police to spy on the activities of everyone using a phone or the internet. Every communications provider will be obliged to store details of your communications for at least a year and obliged in due course to surrender them up to the authorities. The authorities will be able to track every phone call, email, text message and website visit made by the public on the absurd pretext that it will help to tackle crime or terrorism.
Just see how the surveillance state is being reversed, eh!?
By Alex Deane

Tony McNulty and civil liberties

Mcnulty There was a time in the summer of 2008 when one could barely turn on the television without seeing former Home Office Minister Tony McNulty’s sturdy defences of the Labour Party’s approach to law and order.  A stronger supporter of ID cards and ninety day incarceration it was impossible to find.
Reading The Times this morning it appears that McNulty, who lost his Harrow East seat in May, has had what the Americans call a “come to Jesus” moment, admitting the party “misjudged control orders, stop-and-search and other civil rights issues” while in government.
McNulty says: "Some policies [implemented by Labour] simply did not protect the public and others failed to strike the balance between public safety and liberty”.  He refers to control orders as a “clumsy tool” and now believes that the government should “move on” from provisions allowing the detention of suspects without trial for 28 days.
Sadly, McNulty’s full article is hidden behind The Times’ internet paywall – although it does appear on page 35 of the newspaper itself.
By Daniel Hamilton.


Dr David Kelly post-mortem details to be released

Dr David Kelly in 2003 Dr Kelly was the source of a BBC report casting doubt on government claims about Iraq's weapons
Secret medical evidence relating to the death in 2003 of Iraq weapons expert Dr David Kelly is to be released later by the UK government.
After the official inquiry into his death ended in 2004, details of the post-mortem examination and toxicology tests were classified for 70 years.
But they are now set to be published by the Ministry of Justice.
A group of doctors have called for the case to be reopened, arguing that the inquiry's suicide verdict was unsafe.

Related stories

Dr Kelly's body was found in woods close to his Oxfordshire home in 2003, after it was revealed he had provided the information for a BBC News story casting doubt on the government's claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction capable of being fired within 45 minutes.
That claim was a key part of the government's justification for launching the war in Iraq.
Instead of a coroner's inquest, then Prime Minister Tony Blair asked Lord Hutton to conduct an investigation, which found Dr Kelly had died from blood loss after slashing his wrist with a knife.

Doctors' doubts

  • A severed ulnar artery, the wound found to Dr Kelly's wrist, was unlikely to be life-threatening unless he had a blood-clotting deficiency
  • The detective. who found his body, said he did not see "much blood" at the scene
  • The conclusion that death occurred from a haemorrhage was unsafe because there had been no assessment of blood lost and of blood remaining in the great vessels
Lord Hutton declared that the medical evidence which led him to that verdict should be kept secret for the sake of the scientist's family.
However, in August a group of eight doctors who claimed Lord Hutton's conclusions were unproven wrote to the Times calling for the case to be reopened.
They argued that the wound to Dr Kelly's wrist was "extremely unlikely" to have been fatal, and cited testimony given by the detective who found his body, who said he did not see "much blood" at the scene.
Later that month, the Home Office pathologist who carried out the post-mortem examination said he had found no evidence of foul play.
Nicholas Hunt told the Sunday Times: "I felt very sorry for David Kelly and the way he had been treated by the government... I had every reason to look for something untoward and would dearly love to have found something.
"It was an absolute classic case of self-inflicted injury. You could illustrate a textbook with it."
A spokesman for Attorney General Dominic Grieve said earlier this year that if new evidence was put before him, he would consider whether an application for a new inquest should be made to the High Court.
When the Conservatives were in opposition, Mr Grieve backed calls for the investigation to be reopened as the public "have not been reassured" by the official verdict that Dr Kelly killed himself

BBC Have changed this article seven times to now include the Post Mortem results into Dr.Kellys death.

We now have version ten of the same article.

Dr.David Kelly Videos