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WikiLeaks: The advantages and disadvantages of publicity

Well, almost no-one had heard of WikiLeaks last year, but two things have changed that. Firstly a move to shut their web presence down totally by a Californian judge acting on behalf of a bank they’ve blown the whistle on. (I think the bank is Swiss, and they’re using US law to suspend the domain of a Swedish site. That’s how long people’s arms are these days. ) Secondly they were featured on the Culture Show last night on BBC.

The effect of the publicity has been to direct huge amounts of  traffic to the site…  which is down, ironically not because they’ve been taken down, but because they’ve run out of money. I think the story probably goes deeper on their side, but certainly does on their adversaries’ who have brought about the suspension of WikiLeaks’ PayPal account, so they simply can’t receive any finance.

I’m sure a way will be found, especially with all the increased publicity. I think some of the guys putting the site together were involved in one or two of the bit torrent sites, and they know a thing or two about litigation, shutdown and restart.

But while they’re down, I’ve found a mirror site which still works. Here is the address:


I’m not broadcasting this on Facebook, as we don’t know how long the main site will be down for, so I’m hoping this may slide under the radar enough that existing reports can be more widely distributed on the net in the meantime, giving the increased traffic the information they are seeking.

Seek deep, spread it wide.

Taxing Issues

Good people – I bear wondrous news! There’s been a development concerning the dreaded Council Tax – but I pray: please read my preamble first. Context first; good news to follow.

So. Let me be clear: I want to pay towards my local services. I want my bin emptied, and I want places for the kids to play. Sometimes the roads need to be dug up, though I dare say it could be organised better. But here’s the thing: I want to define what my money gets spent on and how. I want a say in my community. Yes, I have got time – I’ll make time, dammit. It’s my community and it’s a two way support relationship.

And that’s why I think Council Tax (Poll Tax, or Community Charge as was) is rubbish, and should be cleared away with the rest of the refuse. And refuse we did, back in the day. To my recollection it’s the last imposition that caused outright riots in the streets. But here we are, with a massive tax that no one likes. When I first started banging on about Common Law vs Acts and Statutory Instruments, the taxes and fines we are tricked into coughing up, and the realities of where our tax money goes, the very first question I was asked – almost without exception – was “can I get out of paying Council Tax?!”

Even by people who worked for the Council.

Well, I’m pleased to say it may at last be possible. But first back to the real issue.

You’re being asked to pay a lot of money towards local services. However, you’ve no option on how much to contribute, what it gets spent on, no real breakdown of it, and certainly no real accounting or accountability. You have no idea, really, have you? Where’s your nearest park? How much was spent on it last year? Doing what? Do you really care? That’s what the councils will argue; you shouldn’t have to worry about all that – they’ll take care of it all. Now hand over your loot or they’ll send the bailiffs round and fuck up your precious little credit rating.

There’s no dialogue about it because you’ve got no say. It’s a one way conversation. Your council can give you a flimsy little glossy full of meaningless rhetoric and a couple of broadbrush spend figures with no real explanation or definition, because basically you have to pay – it’s an obligation, not an option. They drove past the house you presently live in back in 1991, had a rough guess at what it was worth, and that’s that. Here’s the bill, pay up. In advance. It’s the law.

Except it’s not.

It’s an Act. The Local Government Finance Act of 1992, to be specific. Here – have a gander:


And as you know from all the stuff I’ve been researching, questioning, boggling at and sharing over the last few months, Acts, Statutes and Statutory Instruments are not law. They are given the force of law, by consent. Your consent. Although, as has been seen by some of the info brought to light, those organisations set up to make all the money from such things can be very tricksy about gaining your consent.

English words with completely separate legal meanings; giving you the impression that you have no right to object; threats and the prospect of wrath and brimstone befalling you if you demur. Including prison.

And that’s the biggie. When your faces lit up with the prospect of not paying this unfair blanket levy – which I believe will be proved to be as much of a swindle as MPs expenses if we ever see the real accounts for the Councils – I reminded you that any perceived non payment or other threat to this income stream would be stamped on pretty hard, and the ’92 act affords them big boots. You may remember old ladies being sent to prison back in the early days of the tax, to make a point to the rest of us. No threat to this income stream will be tolerated, especially when it generates £140 Billion every year.

So those intrepid souls who sought to take issue with the wide variety of the ‘invitations to pay’ tested the framework of the law with lesser  examples – parking fines, bank charges, credit cards, car tax and ownership – then move on to bigger game, such as income tax, corporation tax, birth registration, mortgages and so on.

Well, much of the ground has been tested, and found to be fairly firm. And so, here is the news, ladies and gentlemen: one brave soul has taken on Council Tax…  and WON.

Yesssss…. yesyesyes!!

So, without further ado, here is a link to the case (originally posted on nocounciltax.com)


So, over to you! Let’s have your thoughts or actions. I’ll keep you posted on any developments I hear.

Why didn’t I just post the link at the beginning? Because – and I want to state this again! – I see this as an opportunity to take responsibility in our communities, not shirk it. Depriving bullies (and they are; I can personally attest) from their pocket money at a time when they are most desperate is the best leverage to consultation that I can think of.

Repeat the mantra: It’s all about money! It’s always about the money!

You’re no longer a peaceful protester: you’re now a ‘Domestic Extremist’

You might like to check out this link to some Guardian research.

I’ll copy and paste to the bottom of this comment just in case it disappears.

My immediate thoughts are that people protest issues which they feel the existing system has failed to address. If civil liberty, free speech and the right to peacefully protest are among those issues, you’re a bit stuffed, really, aren’t you?

Also gob smacking is the notion that campaigning against war makes you ‘Extreme Left-Wing’.  Even if we limit ‘anti-war’ to the ones UK PLC desires to wage (wage being an interesting term, when one considers the assets of said company are ourselves) that still amounts to a whole heap more ‘Extreme Left-Wing’ers in this fair isle than previously imagined. Weren’t there about 2 million of them actually taking to the streets in protest before our corporate nation attacked Iraq? Well they’re stitching that shut. You’ll all be on CCTV this time, on police records, and every other database that serves corporate interest.

Also worth making the point: if the majority of the UK population are ‘anti-war’, and are therefore classified Extreme Left wing, what does that make the minoriy of people classifying them? just a thought.

Finally – check out the closing comments and justifications. These people are spending £9 million (that’s the bit they’re admitting to) of your money compiling a database for private interest of good, peaceful people, classifying them as pre-criminals (the ‘pre’ bit can be dropped at will very, very soon), and opening them to further surveillance and intrusion as though they had committed a major crime. There must be a compelling and watertight case for doing so, right? Or the Police and all associated with the suggestion would throw the whole thing out, if only as a complete waste of time and resources.

Now go and look at that justification. Unbelievable. Literally.

If every sentence doesn’t scream ‘Danger! Danger!’ at you, then you’ve been living somewhere else for a very long time now.

What’s the solution?

My gut feeling is that this database has been underway for years already. It will go ahead even if a huge furore erupts now and they say it has been dropped. It won’t be. It’s been admitted to being valuable. All that will happen is that it will be funded from somewhere else, and collated by a new committee, so it disappears behind the accountability smokescreen again.

We can’t stop it. So the only solution is to render it completely bloody useless. Let’s get half the population on it in one form or another. If it’s too inclusive, and doesn’t have enough real definition to differentiate a violent hoodlum from a peaceful protester then it’s no use to anyone. If you’re anti-war in any sense, and know other people who are; if you care about the environment enough to object  to people are hell bent on ruining it, then get yourself listed. There’s already a Facebook Group – start with that and then let’s find a way to get everyone we know on that list. And let’s appropriate their definition. If there really were millions of Domestic Extremists in this country, it would scare the shit out of them.


Here’s that text, just in case the link is down.


Police compiling database of ‘domestic extremists’

(AFP) – 6 days ago

LONDON — Police are compiling a database of “domestic extremists” who participate in demonstrations and marches, the Guardian reported on Monday.

The database, which includes details of activists — including photographs and vehicle details — features people seen at public demonstrations, for example anti-war rallies and environmental protests, the paper said.

The policing of demonstrations became a major issue following the G20 protests in April.

One man died when he collapsed after being hit by an officer and police also faced criticism for employing the controversial technique of “kettling” — the compulsory containment of large crowds.

The Guardian said senior officers said the term “domestic extremism” could include activists suspected of committing minor public order offences, such as civil disobedience.

Three national police units responsible for combating “domestic extremism” are run by the police committee for “terrorism and allied matters,” the daily said.

The committee gets nine million pounds in public funding and employs around 100 people.

The main unit is the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), which maintains the central database holding information supplied from forces around the country. It routinely deploys surveillance squads at rallies.

NPOIU works with the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit and the National Domestic Extremism Team.

The Guardian said the units had four categories of domestic extremism: animal rights campaigns; far-right groups; “extreme left-wing” protest groups, including anti-war campaigners; and “environmental extremism”.

A spokesman for the units said people on the database “should not be worried”.

“There are lots of reasons why people might be on the database,” he said.

“Not everyone on there is a criminal and not everyone on there is a domestic extremist but we have got to build up a picture of what is happening.

“Those people may be able to help us in the future.

“It’s an intelligence database not an evidence database.

“Protesting is not a criminal offence but there is occasionally a line that is crossed when people commit offences.”

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.

Hello world!

It's not your average office

It's not your average office

Well, it’s yet another blog, as WordPress so helpfully points out. I’m not even sure what I’m going to cover here, either, though my inclination is that this might be a perfect forum for some of the information that’s coming to light at the moment about our rights and freedoms – and I mean this in its broadest sense. What do you think your rights as a human being are?

No, it’s not a campaign site that will give you something worthy to do in your spare time away from the daily grind.

I hope this will be about living fully, completely, joyfully, and that is about informing ourselves, sharing that information with others, and choosing Life and Love.

I’ll be adding some links and info, and maybe some thoughts about them. May I encourage you to do the same, here or on your own site?

It’s full moon, Celtic New Year, and I’m listening to Led Zep. It’s not such a bad place to start.