This video from the USA says about itself:
16 March 2018
This video from the USA says about itself:
Translated from Dutch daily De Volkskrant, 15 March 2018:
The ten board members of the automaker [Volkswagen] were jointly paid 50.3 million euros in 2017 compared to 39.5 million the year before. Top boss Matthias Müller saw his annual salary including secondary employment conditions rise by about 40 percent to 10.1 million euros.
This 2010 video says about itself:
Shell Oil – The Awful Truth
Shell Nigeria is one of the largest oil producers in the Royal Dutch/Shell Group. 80% of the oil extraction in Nigeria is in the Niger Delta, the southeast region of the country. The Delta is home to many small minority ethnic groups, including the Ogoni, all of which suffer egregious exploitation by multinational oil companies, like Shell.
Shell provides over 50% of the income keeping the Nigerian dictatorship in power. Although oil from Ogoniland has provided approximately $30 billion to the economy of Nigeria, the people of Ogoni see little to nothing from their contribution to Shell‘s pocketbook. Shell has done next to nothing to help Ogoni.
By 1996, Shell employed only 88 Ogoni (0.0002% of the Ogoni population, and only 2% of Shell‘s employees in Nigeria). Ogoni villages have no clean water, electricity, abysmal health care, no jobs for displaced farmers and fisher persons and face the effects of unrestrained environmental molestation by Shell everyday.
Since Shell began drilling oil in Ogoniland in 1958, the people of Ogoniland have had pipelines built across their farmlands and in front of their homes, suffered endemic oil leaks from these very pipelines, been forced to live with the constant flaring of gas. This environmental assault has smothered land with oil, killed masses of fish and other aquatic life, and introduced devastating acid rain to the land of the Ogoni.
For the Ogoni, a people dependent upon farming and fishing, the poisoning of the land and water has had devastating economic and health consequences. Shell claims to clean up its oil spills, but such “clean-ups” consist of techniques like burning the crude which results in a permanent layer of crusted oil metres thick and scooping oil into holes dug in surrounding earth.
Both Shell and the government admit that Shell contributes to the funding of the military in the Delta region. Under the auspices of “protecting” Shell from peaceful demonstrators in the village of Umeuchem (10 miles from Ogoni), the police killed 80 people, destroyed houses and vital crops.
Shell conceded it twice paid the military for going to specific villages. Although it disputes that the purpose of these excursions was to quiet dissent, each of the military missions paid for by Shell resulted in Ogoni fatalities.
Shell has also admitted purchasing weapons for the police force who guard its facilities, and there is growing suspicion that Shell funds a much greater portion of the military than previously admitted.
Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni 8 were leaders of MOSOP, the Movement for Survival of the Ogoni People. As outspoken environmental and human rights activists, they declared that Shell was not welcome in Ogoniland. On November 10, 1995, they were hanged after a trial by a special military tribunal (whose decisions cannot be appealed) in the murder of four other Ogoni activists.
The defendants’ lawyers were harassed and denied access to their clients. Although none of them were near the town where the murders occurred, they were convicted and sentenced to death in a trial that many heads of state strongly condemned for a stunning lack of evidence, unmasked partiality towards the prosecution and the haste of the trial. The executions were carried out a mere eight days after the decision. Two witnesses against the MOSOP leaders admitted that Shell and the military bribed them to testify against Ken Saro-Wiwa with promises of money and jobs at Shell.
Ken’s final words before his execution were: “The struggle continues!“
By Conrad Landin in Britain:
Friday, March 16, 2018
North Sea: Oil workers ‘should get pay rise in line with bosses’s extra £800k’
NORTH SEA oil workers should get a pay rise in line with the staggering increase handed to Shell’s top boss, unions said today.
Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden saw his total pay packet rise by almost £800,000 last year.
He trousered a total of £7.811 million, including a £2.6m bonus, which was a quarter more than the previous year.
The oil giant more than tripled its bottom line profits to £8.5 billion, following the temporary rise in the Brent crude price to $70 a barrel.
Shell said its earnings were bolstered by higher production levels from new oil fields. These had offset declines from existing fields. The group has also begun a massive asset-stripping programme.
But workers on North Sea oil platforms have faced an assault on jobs, pay and conditions since the oil price crashed two years ago.
Many workers are employed through contractors rather than directly by oil companies.
If Shell’s performance “is good enough for the bosses to get huge increases, then it’s good enough for the workers as well”, Unite official Tommy Campbell said.
“Because they’re the ones doing the hard graft drilling for the oil.”
The situation reminds me of the Dutch ING bank. Recently, ING planned to give its CEO a million euro 50% pay rise; while rank and file ING workers would get a 1.7% ‘rise’ (really a wage cut because of inflation).
The plan caused big indignation among trade unionists and others. Many savers withdrew their ING accounts in protest. Then, ING stopped the 50% rise plan.
This video from London, England says about itself:
Lucy Chiswell – Charles I: King and Collector, exhibition at Royal Academy, by WinkBall
29 January 2018
Royal Academy of Arts in London celebrates its 250th birthday in 2018 with landmark exhibition, showcasing art collection assembled by the Stuart King Charles I, on display for the first time since the 17th century. Runs until April 15.
By Breeze Barrington in London, England:
Monday, March 12, 2018
How Charles I lost his head over his lust for the world’s greatest art collection
There’s another story to be told about the monarch’s collection of masterpieces currently on show at the Royal Academy, says BREEZE BARRINGTON
GREAT leaders like to demonstrate their power. These days it tends to be shows of military might and grand parades of state-of-the-art weaponry.
But Renaissance monarchs and nobles amassed huge collections of art, the better to show off their cultural sophistication. Charles I was no exception and the current exhibition at the Royal Academy indicates the extent of his obsession with collecting the finest art and artists, one which was ultimately to cost him his head.
Walk through Charles I: King and Collector, which represents only a small fraction of the Stuart king’s entire collection, and you can see how art functioned as a political display of power and magnificence.
But behind the austere painted faces of the king and court, there is another story to be told. Reuniting works for the first time in 350 years, it captures a singular moment in British history, as an unscrupulous king created arguably the most impressive art collection in the world while ostracising his parliament and people and catapulting himself on to the scaffold.
When James I succeeded Elizabeth I to the throne in 1603, it quickly became apparent that here was a more “continental” monarch. He was descended from the Bourbons through his mother, his court spoke in French, he was determined to create a unity between his three kingdoms of Scotland, England and Ireland and to marry his children into powerful courts of Europe.
Under his rule, England was “open for business” and could now reap the rewards of the freedom of movement artists had enjoyed on the continent for generations. Over the next 40 years, the English would greet the likes of Van Dyck, Orazio, Artemesia Gentileschi and Rubens.
Art, more than merely decorative, functioned as a symbol of power and wealth, displayed at particular diplomatic events to put across messages of majesty and status. Art and diplomacy were completely inseparable at this point and James’s son Prince Charles was determined to present himself at the forefront of European power. He turned to art to project this image of majesty.
The story of Charles as collector starts with an imprudent trip to the rigid court of Spain. To Charles, he and his companion — the king’s favourite, The Duke of Buckingham — were chivalrous knights on a voyage to woo and wed a European princess.
To Buckingham, they were art collectors ready to reap the spoils of a court already housing an array of masterpieces. They took with them Buckingham’s art agent and a handful of courtiers well versed in collecting and Spanish etiquette.
The trip was costly both diplomatically and financially, but they came back with a great haul of art, gifted, bought and possibly even stolen, in the case of a sculpture of Samson Slaying a Philistine.
Charles had caught the collecting bug with an acute love of Titian.
When they arrived at the Spanish court, they witnessed an unimaginable kind of majesty. The Habsburgs owned some of the most splendid art in the world — the walls were covered with works by Titian, Bosch, Correggio, Velazquez — and sumptuous tapestries woven with gold and silver thread. No-one in England had ever seen anything like this before and the experience had a profound effect on the group.
To the Spanish, his sudden arrival could only mean one thing — he may be willing to become a Catholic. In an attempt to show Charles all that Catholicism had to offer, he was given pride of place at the great festival of Corpus Christi. It was a feast for the eyes. The streets were lined with great tapestries and he saw how Philip IV was revered by his people, almost as a deity. Though he had no thoughts of conversion, Charles saw the tempting reality of a king treated almost as a god, with an art collection to rival any other in existence.
We can see from paintings of the prince upon his return that he took on Spanish fashion and a new kind of majesty was implemented.
As well as falling in love with art and ceremony, Charles was immediately besotted with his potential bride and accounts describe his constant impatience to see her — on one occasion even breaking into her garden only to be met with shrieks of terror from the virtuous princess. This is clearly not the way a prince was expected to behave and, if a union had ever been possible, his ideas of diplomacy drew an end to it.
As possibilities for a marriage dwindled into oblivion, the Stuart courtiers scavenged what they could get their hands on and the trip turned into little more than an art collectors’ holiday.
This visit was financially ruinous. James wrote to his son begging him to come home, telling him that the royal purse was empty. Vast sums of money were spent on elaborate clothing, jewels and art, as well as an elephant and camels.
When they returned home, Charles and Buckingham were determined on war with Spain and the latter took an invading fleet to Cadiz in 1625. It was another complete fiasco and the cost was immeasurable, both in terms of money and loss of lives, without making a dent in the Spanish army.
The trip to Spain was a definitive moment for Charles — a diplomatic and financial disaster and the first of many ill-judged moves that would come to characterise his reign. He returned to England determined to be the most prominent king in Europe, a great collector, almost divine and, above all, indisputably powerful.
He would continue to spend vast amounts of money on art, clothes and court entertainments. He would ostracise an already distant parliament and, within four years of becoming king, engage in an 11-year personal rule under which he would impose unpopular and barely legal taxes on his people.
His immovability on matters of state and religion would embroil his three kingdoms in a civil war that would last a decade and he would maintain his divine right to rule until parliament had no choice but to condemn him for treason.
On January 30 1649, Charles was walked from St James Palace to the Banqueting House in Whitehall where, sat under the extraordinary ceiling painting by Rubens depicting his father in divine glory, he would settle his affairs before being led onto a purpose-built scaffold and beheaded.
Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector and under him the crown jewels were melted down and the gems sold, along with the majority of this enormous art collection, a necessary move to recoup some of the money lost under decades of decadent monarchs.
What we see in the exhibition is around 7 per cent of the original collection and, walking through, it is easy to see how the king lost his head.
This is an edited version of an article by Breeze Barrington, PhD Candidate in Early Modern Tapestry, Queen Mary University of London, which first appeared in The Conversation, theconversation.com. Charles I: King and Collector runs at the Royal Academy in London until April 15, details: royalacademy.org.uk.
By Robert Stevens in London, England:
“It’s certainly not going to shut me up”
14 March 2018
Joe Delaney, a local resident, has a record of seeking justice for the victims and survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire that has earned him the respect of the entire local community in North Kensington. Having lived in a flat adjacent to Grenfell Tower, he was evacuated after the inferno that claimed at least 71 lives and left behind a toxic and burned out shell. He has been forced to live in hotel accommodation ever since.
His plight was used by the Sunday Times to mount a filthy attack in a February 25 article , “‘Homeless’ Grenfell Tower activist Joe Delaney has flat.” It ran with a subtitle alleging, “A campaigner claiming cash for food while put up in a hotel is still using his own home.”
The Times, Daily Mail, the Sun and the Daily Express all ran with claims that Delaney is living the high life on the public purse, with the Times writing that Delaney is “still using his north Kensington apartment”, while “claiming food allowances of up to £300 per week and has a hotel room funded by the taxpayer.”
Robert Stevens: The right-wing media claim you are living in the lap of luxury in a four star £120 a night hotel!
Joe Delaney: I am in a hotel room that is 9 or 10 feet by 9 or 10 feet, so I can assure you it’s hardly the lap of luxury. It certainly doesn’t look anything like the picture that they ran alongside their piece!
Everyone that was in my part of the estate has access to their flat. And because the hotel rooms are so small, we all often come back, just to grab things because we can’t keep everything with us in the hotel rooms.
There are certainly no times when I have slept at the flat because I find that impossible. I did try a couple of times, on the advice of my therapist to see if I could. But this was well before Christmas, in the immediate aftermath.
The only other times I have been there overnight was when I had to get my emails together to submit to the police inquiry and when I had to write my Core Participant Application for the public inquiry. All the information that I needed was on my desktop computer.
I think it is something like 40 percent of the people from my part of the estate have left in total to be put in hotels and temporary accommodation. The council have been saying from the start that you can come back, but it’s at your own risk. When the building still hasn’t been declared fire safe, despite the work they’ve done since June 14, it’s just a shocking indictment on them as a landlord. How dare they say to people ‘Come back at your own risk?’ They haven’t even properly told us what those risks are.
There are a couple of [evacuated] people in the same hotel I am because it’s one that allows dogs. £120-a-night is cheap for staying in the capital. It would get you a Premier Inn if you are lucky! And they are not paying that much either, because they’ve made so many bookings for so long I know that they’re getting a discount.
RS: The Sunday Times article was a political sting operation, including undercover photography, and suggests they had access to your personal data. Where did they get this from?
JD: I’ve complained about this to Kensington and Chelsea council. I think the only place that information could have come from was the council because the Times knew that I was in another hotel, prior to the one that I’m in now. That rules out anyone at the current hotel saying anything as they were unaware of this fact. The reporter knew the date that I moved into this hotel, because he asked me to confirm it.
There is the timing of the story as well—it is just a bit too convenient for the council, particularly the Conservative members. They had just wound up the Scrutiny Committee [Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee] because they were saying that they’d been threatened by locals, which is nonsense. I’m on the Scrutiny Committee, and while they got a bit boisterous at times, no one was in any danger.
The other issue is the Grenfell Task Force, the central government body, is due to submit another report on the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea very soon, and that’s going to be absolutely scathing because I’ve spoken with some of the civil servants involved.
The third issue is that we have elections coming up in May. And the Conservative group is absolutely determined to keep hold of RBKC council. They think that if they do lose control, they will lose their power to determine how the council responds to the public inquiry, and it could mean that some of them end up behind bars.
These are the same tactics employed while the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation [who managed Grenfell Tower on behalf of the council] was in place. There were regular smear campaigns against people who raised what proved to be 100 percent legitimate safety concerns.
RS: The Sunday Times made repeated reference to the fact that you are accessing a £300 weekly food allowance, implying you are not entitled to it with the claim that you are staying at your flat.
JD: That’s £42 per day. To give you an idea, to get one meal in a hotel it’s £20. So even two meals a day at the hotel a day would eat that up. The other thing they were offering was £90 per day if you chose to take it as room service. I chose not to because I thought that was a ridiculous waste of money. And frankly, I didn’t want to feel like a school child where I had to report to a certain place at a certain time every day to eat. Also, I have not been able to work since the fire, so giving me £300 per week means the council have got an absolute bargain because I guarantee I earned a lot more than that when I was actually working.
RS: The Times secretly took surveillance photos of you.
JD: My treatment doesn’t surprise me. The only negative pieces that have appeared about anyone to do with this campaign have been hatchet-jobs originating at the Times or the Sunday Times, so they know their audience.
They had pictures of me leaving my flat early in the morning. Well, there were quite a few mornings when I would go back to the flat early. It doesn’t mean that I stayed there at night! They didn’t release those pictures to me, despite me asking, or tell me what days they were taken so I could give them an explanation for those visits.
I’ve had to go back on several occasions quite early in the morning, because the council wanted access to undertake fire safety work that should have been done years ago. I’ve had to come back for CO2 tests, for a new door being fitted. Every time the council made an appointment with me, they never kept it! I would usually have to spend two or three days here, just to get work done that should have been done in one day. My post still comes to the flat, which I have to collect because it’s not been redirected to the hotels.
The other issue the Sunday Times raised was that I hadn’t spent every night at the hotel. That’s true. I’ve often spent nights at family or friends’ places, which I am perfectly entitled to do. The hotel is meant to be my home for now, and no one is forced to spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week cooped up at home—and not in a single room. I should have a base from which I can work, and I don’t.
RS: Have you any legal redress?
JD: Not really, it’s not like I could just get money to mount a case against them. And given the way that they wrote the piece, it’s very iffy whether I could prove that it was libelous or defamatory. You would be looking at thousands of pounds to instruct a solicitor, to instruct a QC, then take the matter to court, and then there’s also the issue of costs if you lose.
But I can prove that the Sunday Times attack is spurious by citing the admission of the journalist involved! Gabriel Pogrun sent an email to my legal representatives stating, “I have at no point made any allegation of fraud whatsoever or even used that word.”
He says they had no intention of implying that I was committing fraud, so why was the piece worded that way then? The whole tone of the piece implied I was collecting funds that I was not entitled to, and that I was being dishonest and manipulative to do so.
That’s not where to look for dishonesty. People are being asked to pay rent and service charges by the council for places that don’t meet the decent homes standard, which is outrageous. Those charges were restored again on February 5. They’re saying we’ll charge you 100 percent of the rent, and then people can apply to have 50 percent of that refunded.
I threatened them by saying, ‘If you start charging people service charges, I will help everyone write letters of claim to you about every single issue.’ At the moment, people are willing to let things slide when they’re not being charged for services they don’t actually receive!
A smear campaign is underway against all those seeking to establish the truth about Grenfell. Conservative councillors have a lot to be worried about because quite a few of them should be facing jail terms: The former leader of the council Nicholas Paget-Brown for starters, and the old deputy, Rock Feilding-Mellen. Those two most definitely should be facing a prison term.
Rock Feilding-Mellen authorized the change to the cheaper flammable cladding, which was against the European Union procurement regulations. They’d taken the contract specifying one type of cladding and then he wanted to save money. An investigation by BBC Newsnight had leaked emails to show this.
It was annoying to have the Sunday Times thing published about me, but they have not been able to refute any of the arguments I’ve put forward. That’s exactly what happened with Stormzy [the grime artist who attacked the government live on TV during the BRIT awards]. The narrative with him was, “Well look, he grew up in a council house, so he should be grateful for what he has now, so shut up. This is none of his concern, none of his business.”
It is 72 deaths by the way, because I attended the funeral of victim number 72 on Saturday. [Maria Del Pilar Burton was the wife of Nick Burton. Both managed to escape from Grenfell tower and were hospitalised as a result.]
The police are trying to argue that Maria’s death had nothing to do with the fire, but everyone around here knows that’s utter nonsense. We’re up to 72 deaths, but the police are currently saying that her death won’t be included as part of the final figure.
The other issue I have had with the police is the methodology used to calculate who was in the tower and who wasn’t at the time it burned. That tower burned at temperatures hotter than a crematorium, so it’s very likely you’re not going to find any remains of some people. The only way you’re going to guarantee who’s in there is to use some of the tactics used during the London riots, where they positioned where people’s mobile phones were.
In this part of London, you can do that to within about one square meter, because there are that many mobile phone masts in the area. Why are they willing to employ that for a few pounds’ worth of property damage, but not to find out whether people were killed in Grenfell?
RS: The campaign against you followed an attack by the same newspapers on the Justice For Grenfell group and other groups and individuals in December and then on the film that tells the truth about the Grenfell fire and its causes, Failed by the State.
JD: Yes, there was the attack on Justice For Grenfell, there was the attack on Ed Daffarn, who was from the Grenfell Action Group I work with. It’s shooting the messenger again. I know Dan Renwick and I know Ishmael, the two people behind Failed by the State, and I can assure you that neither of them are Kremlin agents! They are just local residents—Ishmael lives on the estate, Dan lives in the area. They are just people who wanted certain questions answered and wanted to put certain information out there.
Let’s be honest, I’m white and well spoken. That’s how come I was picked on. That was why Failed by the State was picked on—it was well presented and well-articulated. That’s what they don’t like, because then it doesn’t fit with their claim that the tower was packed up to the rafters with illegal immigrants who shouldn’t have been there anyway.
There is absolutely no justification for why that tower burned. There is no reasonable, understandable explanation that can be given for the events that led up to that disaster. Or the appalling handling of the fallout from that disaster since June 14. It’s easier just to paint a picture that we’re all like characters from Shameless, milking the system for as much as we can and taking advantage of a tragedy. We’re certainly not doing that.
It’s our friends and family that died in that tower. So how dare anyone, the council, central government or the media, present us as people attempting to cash in on this appalling tragedy that affected people that we know, or that we are related to, or that we lived next door to? That is an utterly outrageous smear.
No similar Sunday Times investigation has taken place into individuals among the entities who made the decisions that led to the Grenfell inferno. Are they following Rock Feilding-Mellen on his country estate, which he’s fled to since the night of the fire? Are they following anyone at Rydon? Are they following anyone at the Building Research Establishment? No, they’re not. They threw time, money and resources into having me followed, and what were they able to come up with? That I’d been back to my flat!
Their smears are not going to stick. I am back with the police on Friday for another lengthy interview about events prior to Grenfell and the night itself. I’ve already given hours of testimony and I’ve got hours more to come. It’s certainly not going to shut me up. I say, bring it on!
At its next meeting on Saturday March 17 at 2 p.m. at the Maxilla Social Club, the Grenfell Fire Forum, initiated by the Socialist Equality Party, will discuss the issues involved in the attack by the Sunday Times on Joe Delaney. All are welcome to attend. Full details below
Grenfell Fire Forum meeting
Saturday, March 17, 2 p.m.
Maxilla Hall Social Club
2 Maxilla Walk, London, W10 6SW
(nearest tube—Latimer Road)
For further information visit the Grenfell Fire Forum Facebook page.
This video shows a wild quail calling in the Basque country in Spain.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
[Pro-animals organisation] Wakker Dier and the television program Keuringsdienst van Waarde of the KRO–NCRV [broadcasting organisations] say that an egg wholesaler in Barneveld has committed fraud when selling quail eggs to Dutch supermarkets. They draw that conclusion after weeks of research.
The company reported on the packaging that these were Dutch free-range eggs. But that is not true, say the activists and the TV makers. The eggs come from battery cages in France.
Wakker Dier and Keuringsdienst van Waarde started their research after a report from a whistleblower. It was strange that the supermarkets were full of Dutch free-range eggs during the festive season in December, while there are few companies that keep free-range quails.
The investigation showed that all quail eggs of the wholesale trader in Barneveld came from France. The wholesaler in Barneveld says that they were indeed French eggs, but that it was an emergency solution.
“The business of our supplier burnt down, killing all the quails, and because we were in the fipronil crisis, we could not find empty pens where we could put other quails. Then it was decided to get the eggs from France.”
This video about Canada says about itself:
13 March 2018