Badger killing and British Prince Charles

This is called Video of Badgers, UK wild badgers at the sett (Meles meles).

From Lion Aid:

Prince Charles versus Badgers

15 May 2015

After years of legal battles, the contents of Prince Charles’ letter to various UK government ministers have now finally seen the light of day.

Not very exciting to say the least. So why the years of legal battles? That could be another issue.

But meanwhile, was Prince Charles just an “opinionated meddler or an informed spokesman” as the press has called him? There is certainly no doubt that Prince Charles has immediate access to the highest levels of government denied the average person. The media was certainly exercised by this level of preferred treatment.

One of his letters dealt with the issue of badgers and their role in bovine tuberculosis in UK cattle. He said badgers should be culled. The Labour government at the time took no action, but the current Conservative government enthusiastically embarked on what Prince Charles proposed.

Now here comes the rub. Badgers are a Protected Species in the UK. And Prince Charles is the President of WWF-UK. Conservation of endangered and protected species like badgers in the UK should start with him. Yet here is Prince Charles pushing to cull badgers, whose role in the overall epizootiology of tuberculosis still needs much further investigation, and there is emerging evidence based on advanced techniques that their role might be minimal. In fact, infected cows might be spreading tuberculosis to badgers. Should a retraction now be in order, especially since Prince Charles went so far as to label those pushing for badger conservation as “intellectually dishonest”?

Meanwhile, Prince Charles in another letter expressed concern about the survival of albatrosses due to commercial overfishing of their prey?


More Iraq war, more badger killing, British Prince Charles urged Tony Blair

Tony Blair's bloody Iraq war, cartoon

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Prince Charles ‘black spider’ memos reveal lobbying of Tony Blair

Publication of royal’s letters following freedom of information battle reveals correspondence with PM on helicopters, farming and complementary medicine

Read the letters in full

A cache of secret memos sent by Prince Charles to senior UK ministers has finally been published, following a 10-year freedom of information battle between the Guardian and the government. The letters reveal that Charles lobbied ministers, including the former prime minister Tony Blair, on a wide range of issues, including agriculture, the armed forces, architecture and homeopathy. …

The letters, published at 4pm on Wednesday, reveal how Charles lobbied Tony Blair when he was prime minister to replace Lynx military helicopters. Charles complained: “I fear this one more example of our armed forces being asked to do an extremely challenging job [the Iraq war] without the necessary resources.” …

The relationship between Charles and the prime minister was so close that Blair even asked Charles directly what he wanted him to do about encouraging the use of herbal medicines in the UK, which some scientists believe do not work. Charles complained that an EU directive was having a “deleterious effect on the complementary medicine sector by effectively outlawing the use of certain herbal extracts”.

He wrote: “You rightly asked me what could be done about it,” and said he would ask an aide at his complementary health charity to produce “a detailed briefing … so that your advisers can look at it”. Blair replied: “We can do quite a lot here … we will be consulting with your contacts and others on the best way to do this – we simply cannot have burdensome regulation here.”

This video says about itself:

Counting young badgers in province Drenthe (Holland)

June 4 2013: there are ten badgers on this sett: female with three youngsters, female with four youngsters and a very big male.

The Guardian article continues:

In another letter to Blair, Charles attacked the government’s proposed programme for tackling bovine tuberculosis, warning: “There is no evidence that this will include a commitment to deal with the badger problem in the immediate future.” …

In one stridently expressed and explicit policy demand, he said: “I urge you to look again at introducing a proper cull of badgers where it is necessary. I for one cannot understand how the ‘badger lobby’ seem to mind not at all about the slaughter of thousands of expensive cattle, and yet object to a managed cull of an overpopulation of badgers. To me this is intellectually dishonest.”

Tony Blair resigns as Middle East peace envoy. Former British PM has written to UN chief to confirm resignation from job he took in 2007: here.

British Prince Charles visits Saudi Arabia, where beheadings continue

This video from the USA says about itself:

Saudi King Abdullah‘s Revised Human Rights History

27 January 2015

World leaders are paying tribute to late Saudi King Abdullah in spite of his seemingly deplorable human rights record, a tyrannical government that treated women as second class citizens, and an aggressive foreign policy. President Obama and Prince Charles, who went to Jeddah to pay his respects in person, are among the offenders with human rights advocates criticizing their sympathetic response. We take a look at the reverential reactions, in this Lip News clip with Elliot Hill and Mark Sovel.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Saudi Arabia executions ‘extraordinarily high’ as state executes 28 people in five weeks

The Syrian man was found guilty of smuggling amphetamines

Heather Saul

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Saudi Arabia has reportedly executed a Syrian man on the same day Prince Charles arrived in the Kingdom amid calls from campaigners to raise human rights concerns.

The Saudi Press Agency said Abdullah Mohammed al-Ahmed was executed Tuesday in the northwestern al-Jawf province after the Supreme Court confirmed his conviction and sentence for smuggling amphetamines into the country.

It does not say how he was executed, … although methods used in the Kingdom include beheading and firing squad. His death marks the 28th execution in 2015 alone, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Prince Charles has a good relationship with the Saudi royal family and has been under pressure to use his trip to raise the case of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison.

Amnesty International had expressed hope that Charles would use his unique position to “pass on a few well-chosen words” to King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and his royal hosts.

Read more:

Saudi Arabia explains difference between state executions and Isis’s

But this latest execution casts doubts as to how willing the Kingdom might be to listen to fears over human rights abuses. King Salman oversaw his first beheading just five days after succeeding his late brother King Abdullah.

The kingdom follows a strict interpretation of Islamic law and applies the death penalty on crimes such as murder, rape, apostasy and witchcraft. Rights groups have criticised executions carried out for non-lethal crimes.

Adam Coogle, a MENA researcher for HRW, said there are so many executions taking place in the Arab state that it is not unusual for one to take place on the same day as an international visit.

He told The Independent that out of the 28 executions which occurred in January and February 2015, 11 were for non-violent drug offences – an “extraordinarily high” figure he condemned as “particularly egregious”.

“Between 1 January and 4 August 2014, only 15 executions took place. They finished the year on 87, and that pace has continued,” he said. “If they keep on this pace it will be a record in the context of the past two years.”

Mr Coogle says he is unsure what is behind the surge in executions. “It could be that they are trying to appear as though they are tough on crime and willing to deliver ‘justice’, but I don’t know. I haven’t seen any official comments on this jump.

“The major point is that although executions are not prohibited under international human rights law, they are strongly discouraged and they should be reserved only for only the most serious crimes.

“It’s been made clear under international human rights law that people should not be killed for non-violent drug laws. Saudi Arabia, a member of the Human Rights Council, is clearly flouting this.”

Total number of executions in Saudi Arabia this year reaches 28: here.

FOREIGN DONORS AND THE CLINTON FOUNDATION: “The Clinton Foundation has dropped its self-imposed ban on collecting funds from foreign governments and is winning contributions at an accelerating rate, raising ethical questions as Hillary Clinton ramps up her expected bid for the presidency. Recent donors include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Australia, Germany and a Canadian government agency promoting the Keystone XL pipeline.” [WSJ]

PRINCE Charles’s letters barracking ministers of government policy should be released to the public, Britain’s highest court ruled yesterday. Supreme Court judges upheld a Court of Appeal ruling that the government’s top legal adviser had acted unlawfully in preventing the public seeing the “black spider” memos, so called for the royal pest’s distinctive scrawl: here.

British Prince Charles visits Saudi Arabian dictatorship

This video is called Saudi Arabia: Protests Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia after the arrest of Sheikh Nimr.

From News Line daily in Britain:

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Prince Charles visiting Saudi Arabia where 17 people have been executed this year!

CONCERNS about human rights in Saudi Arabia were raised in a briefing by Amnesty International and released ahead of Monday’s visit to the feudal state by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Saudi Arabia has one of the highest rates of execution in the world.

It applies the death penalty for a wide range of crimes, including drug offences, apostasy, sorcery and witchcraft.

At least 17 people, including eight foreign nationals, have already been executed in 2013 – eight for drug-related offences. Around 80 people were executed in the country in 2012, following at least 82 people in 2011. These two years saw a large jump on the death toll in 2010, when 27 were known to have been executed (though the true figure may have been higher).

Seven men convicted of the armed robbery of jewellery shops are at immediate risk of execution.

One of the men has been sentenced to be crucified after execution, meaning his dead body is likely to be tied to a pole in a public square to act as a supposed deterrent to others. Two of the group may have been juveniles at the time of the alleged crime (the execution of juvenile offenders is forbidden under international law).

The seven were detained for over three years, before a trial which used “confessions” allegedly extracted under torture. The men were not allowed legal representation and were denied the right to appeal. Their executions were originally set for 5 March but were postponed after King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud reportedly intervened to review their case.

Amnesty is appealing to King Abdullah and other Saudi authorities to cancel plans for the men’s executions entirely and to allow a fresh trial without recourse to the death penalty.

Rizana Nafeek, a Sri Lankan domestic worker who was only 17 at the time of her alleged crime, was beheaded on 9 January in Dawadmi, a town west of the capital Riyadh. Amnesty and the Sri Lankan government had urged King Abdullah – who ratified her death sentence – to show clemency in her case, given Nafeek’s young age at the time of the alleged crime as well as concerns she received an unfair trial. Amnesty said the execution showed the country to be ‘woefully out of step’ with international standards on the death penalty.

Freedom and speech and protests

Protests are banned in Saudi Arabia and criticism of the state is not tolerated. Those who publicly criticise the government are often held incommunicado without charge, sometimes in solitary confinement, and denied access to lawyers or the courts to challenge the legality of their detention.

When the authorities do press charges, it is sometimes with vaguely-worded offences that cover conduct that should not be criminalised, such as ‘disobeying the ruler’.

In January six jailed reformists and ten others convicted with them were offered a royal ‘pardon’ on the condition they sign pledges renouncing their public activism.

Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry reportedly told the 16 that for the pardon to be carried out, they must first sign pledges to avoid repeating their offences or engaging in public activism, and to thank the King.

Most of the group were held in pre-trial detention for up to three and half years before even being officially charged.


Torture is rife in Saudi Arabia, with interrogators aware they can commit their crimes without fear of punishment. Abuse is also encouraged by the ready acceptance by courts of ‘confessions’ forced out of detainees using beatings, electric shocks and other forms of torture and other ill-treatment.

Torture is also frequently used to punish detainees for refusing to ‘repent’ or to force them to make undertakings not to criticise the government.

Methods of torture include: beatings with sticks, punching, suspension from the ceiling or cell doors by the ankles or wrists, the application of electric shocks to the body, and prolonged sleep deprivation.

Unfair trials

In Saudi Arabia the justice system and information about detainees, including prisoners of conscience, is generally shrouded in secrecy. Unfair trials are commonplace. Defendants are generally denied legal counsel, and in many cases, they and their families are not informed of the progress of legal proceedings against them. Court hearings are often held behind closed doors.

Meanwhile [in Egypt], toppled president Hosni Mubarak, awaiting trial over his role in the deaths of protesters, believes Egyptians should rally around his Islamist successor and end violent protests, his lawyer said on Monday.

President Mohamed Mursi, twice jailed by Mubarak before he himself was overthrown on February 11, 2011, is the ‘elected president, people should rally around him,’ the former dictator told his lawyer Farid a-Deeb. Mubarak is sad and frustrated’ by recurring violent protests around the country targeting the Islamist president, Deeb said.

The 84-year-old had been sentenced to life in prison for his role in the deaths of protesters during the 18-day uprising in 2011 that ended his three decade reign. But a court overthrew that verdict and ordered a new trial which is set to start on April 13.

Mubarak also spoke out against violent protests, although he believed Egyptians have the right to peaceful demonstrations, Deeb said. ‘He still considers those who attacked police stations in 2011 were thugs and criminals,’ Deeb added, referring to protesters who torched police stations across the country during the 2011 revolt. Roughly 850 people were killed in the uprising.

Mubarak has suffered a number of health scares in prison that prompted his transfer to a military hospital. Deeb said his health has ‘improved.’

Mursi, who won elections last June on the Muslim Brotherhood’s ticket, had pledged new trials for former regime officials including Mubarak implicated in the protesters’ deaths.

Mursi’s presidency has been plagued by unrest and deadly clashes between protesters and police. Port Said, a city on the Suez Canal, has been in open revolt against the Islamist. It is believed that Mubarak is seeking to encourage the state apparatus to get completely behind the Muslim Brotherhood government.

Discontent in Egypt’s police ranks has boiled over into an unprecedented strike, with officers saying they will refuse orders until they are no longer used as political pawns, adding to the problems of the President.

Accused of excessive use of force by the opponents of Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood, police officers say they feel despised by the people when they are simply following orders – and they will not take any more.

‘We are suspending our work indefinitely because we refuse to take responsibility for the mistakes of a government that wants to get involved in political conflicts,’ police Colonel Hassan Mostafa said in Port Said. All of society is against us, it considers the demonstrators (killed in clashes) to be martyrs, and we don’t even have the right to defend ourselves,’ he added.

The police, particularly the Central Security Forces (CSF), have been engaged in violent and deadly street clashes with protesters, turning the public even more against an already reviled institution long accused of abuses. Mubarak from his deathbed is telling them to stand fast behind the regime.