Sand martins returning to British quarry sites


This is a video about a sand martin colony in Sweden.

From BirdLife:

Sand Martins return to CEMEX quarry homes

By Rebecca Langer, Wed, 09/04/2014 – 07:52

 

As spring arrives Sand Martins are making their way from sub Saharan Africa to the UK in their annual migratory journey. Thanks to efforts beginning last year in the 2013 Sand Martin Awareness campaign, this year they will be returning to CEMEX quarry sites that have been specially prepared for their arrival.

In 2013 approximately 200 birds made the journey to the Berkswell quarry where they found ideal nesting conditions. After their long migration, Sand Martins love finding steep-faced sandy banks where they can dig nest holes, sometimes up to 1m deep, which help protect them from predators. The quarries are also home to many insects which provide the necessary nourishment the Sand Martins look forward to after their tiring trip.

This year, CEMEX is striving to build on last year’s campaign and provide an even more hospitable habitat for their returning guests. For 2014, the plan is for all quarries to have a specially prepared sand bank sensitively located such that day to day operations won’t disturb them.

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Graffiti artist Banksy against spying on citizens


This video from England says about itself:

14 April 2014

Banksy linked to new street artwork in Cheltenham

Mysterious street artist Banksy appears to have unveiled his latest creation – targeting the issue of government surveillance. The artwork shows three 1950s-style agents, wearing brown trench coats and trilby hats, using devices to tap into conversations at a telephone box. It appeared overnight on a street in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, just a few miles from GCHQ, where the UK’s surveillance network is based.

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Torture in United Arab Emirates


This video is called CIA is destroying evidence of their torture tape recordings.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Brother of Dubai police torture victim calls for his release

Tuesday 15th April 2014

Hasnain Ali beaten and threatened with rape after arrest for ‘trumped-up’ drugs charges

The brother of a British man tortured at gunpoint and threatened with rape by Dubai police spoke out for the first time yesterday about the case.

Hasnain Ali, a former bodyguard to members of the Abu Dhabi royal family, will be sentenced today on allegedly trumped-up charges of possessing and selling drugs.

He was on holiday in Dubai in May 2013 when he was arrested, beaten and threatened with Tasers, firearms and rape by police.

Following the ordeal he was made to sign a “confession” in Arabic, which he did not understand, relating to the charges.

This “confession” is being used against him at trial.

“There has been no proper investigation into his torture and we have felt that the authorities have shown more interest in saving face than ensuring that any kind of justice is done,” his brother Jed said.

Legal charity Reprieve is fighting for Hasnain to be acquitted and returned home to Britain to his family.

Breaking news from Reprieve:

A British man arrested and tortured by Dubai police has today been acquitted.

Hasnain Ali (32), from London, was on holiday in Dubai in May 2013 when he was arrested and held for three days without access to a lawyer or his family. While detained he was beaten and threatened with tasers, firearms, and the prospect of sexual assault. Following his torture he was forced to sign a ‘confession’ in Arabic, a language he doesn’t understand, and charged with drugs offences for which he could have been given a death sentence.

See also here.

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CIA Libyan torture scandal on Diego Garcia island


This video says about itself:

New website reveals extent of secret CIA flight network

29 May 2013

A team of academics have launched the world’s largest interactive database detailing suspected CIA rendition flights, many of which may have transported detainees to Guantanamo Bay.

Scotland is the only country so far which has raised any questions on the alleged rendition activity on home soil.

The Rendition Project is a product of a collaborative research between Dr. Ruth Blakely from the University of Kent and Dr. Sam Raphael from Kingston University, London.

Now anyone with an internet connection can understand, view, and track over 11,000 CIA flights detainees who may have been aboard between 2001 and 2006 under the US rendition program, a murky operation of secret detention and torture.

“Our purpose is to shed as much light as possible on this system,” Blakely told RT.

Blakely’s team has compiled a unique database sourced from freedom of information requests, testimonies from detainees, Red Cross reports, courtroom evidence, flight records, and invoices.

The data is categorized into four subcategories- flights which definitely had a detainee on board, those which are suspected of having suspected terrorists on board, and ‘dummy’ or test flights, and other circuit flights, all on 122 different US-registered civilian aircraft.

“Our main aim was to try and map the global rendition system to try and provide a comprehensive a picture as possible how rendition took place, which countries were involved,” Blakely told RT.

Most information was already in the public domain, but Blakely hopes by making it web-accessible, the project will assist human rights investigators and lawyers to defend the rights of detainees who have been victims to unfair torture or questionable tactics.

The site will help reveal “how the CIA managed to hide individuals in this system as it transported them around the world to hold them in prisons where they could be tortured and interrogated,” said Blakely.

By Rory MacKinnon in Britain:

CIA ‘held Gadaffi torture victim on British soil’

Monday 14th April 2014

Kidnapped Libyan politician Abdelhakim Belhadj held briefly in overseas territory Diego Garcia

Fresh evidence emerged yesterday that the CIA held a Libyan opposition leader on British soil before delivering him to Gadaffi torturers.

Kidnapped Libyan politician Abdelhakim Belhadj alleged that he was told by Gadaffi’s own spy chief that the plane which delivered him to Libya had stopped at the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia.

Mr Belhadj, who was kidnapped along with his pregnant wife as they boarded a flight in Malaysia in 2004, made the claim through his lawyers, provided by human rights charity Reprieve.

He said: “The first time I heard that I had gone through a place called Diego Garcia was when I was told by the head of the Libyan intelligence, Moussa Kousa, during my first interrogation session in a prison outside Tripoli.

“He was running the interrogation, and was angry that it had taken a long time for me to arrive in Libya.

“I told him that the plane had stopped somewhere on the way from Bangkok.
“He told me that he knew, and that the plane had landed on an island in the Indian Ocean called Diego Garcia.”

The claim is supported by a CIA flight plan discovered in 2011 at the offices of Gadaffi’s head of intelligence Moussa Kousa showing the joint CIA-MI6 operation had been scheduled to stop at Diego Garcia.

Reprieve deputy director Polly Rossdale said the revelations pile pressure on Tory Foreign Secretary William Hague to answer the allegations.

“The government must come clean about the UK’s role in this dirty affair,” she said.

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CIA torture island Diego Garcia and the British government


This video says about itself:

Stealing A Nation‘ (2004) is an extraordinary film about the plight of the Chagos Islands, whose indigenous population was secretly and brutally expelled by British Governments in the late 1960s and early 1970s to make way for an American military base. The tragedy, which falls within the remit of the International Criminal Court as “a crime against humanity”, is told by Islanders who were dumped in the slums of Mauritius and by British officials who left behind a damning trail of Foreign Office documents.

Before the Americans came, more than 2,000 people lived on the islands in the Indian Ocean, many with roots back to the late 18th century. There were thriving villages, a school, a hospital, a church, a railway and an undisturbed way of life. The islands were, and still are, a British crown colony. In the 1960s, the government of Harold Wilson struck a secret deal with the United States to hand over the main island of Diego Garcia. The Americans demanded that the surrounding islands be “swept” and “sanitized”. Unknown to Parliament and to the US Congress and in breach of the United Nations Charter, the British Government plotted with Washington to expel the entire population.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Come clean on US torture complicity, lawyers tell William Hague

Saturday 12th April 2014

Reprieve writes to foreign secretary following allegations that Britain let the CIA set up an interrogation ‘black site

Lawyers told Britain to come clean yesterday on whether it let the US run a secret torture site on an overseas territory.

Legal action charity Reprieve has written to Foreign Secretary William Hague following reports that the CIA set up a “black site” on Diego Garcia.

Al-Jazeera said this week that a secret US Senate intelligence committee report found “that the CIA detained some high-value suspects on Diego Garcia, an Indian Ocean island controlled by the United Kingdom and leased to the United States.”

And classified CIA documents showed it was run with Britain’s “full co-operation.”

After repeated denials the government finally admitted in 2008 that two rendition flights carrying detainees refuelled on Diego Garcia in 2002.

But it continues to deny that any prisoners were held that or that that a secret CIA prison existed.

Reprieve said that in 2004 anti-Gaddafi militant Abdulhakim Belhadj and his wife were rendered back to Libya in a joint CIA-MI6 operation and, according to a CIA flight plan found following the toppling of Gaddafi, were scheduled to be flown via Diego Garcia.

But in December 2011 Foreign Minister David Lidington told Parliament: “No flights with a detainee on board landed on Diego Garcia in March 2004.”

He added that, apart from the two cases in 2002, the US government had confirmed no other US intelligence flights had landed “in the UK, our overseas territories or the crown dependencies with a detainee on board since September 11 2001.”

Reprieve director Cori Crider said: “We need to know immediately whether ministers misled Parliament over CIA torture on British soil.

“If the CIA operated a black site on Diego Garcia then a string of official statements — from both this and the last government — were totally false.

“Were ministers asleep at the wheel or, as the report suggests, have we been lied to for years?”

When asked for comment, a Foreign Office spokeswoman referred the Star to the department’s previous statements.

See also here.

UK urged to admit that CIA used island as secret ‘black site’ prison: here.

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Air pollution kills 29,000 Britons a year


This video is called In the Slow Lane: Is Britain doing enough to tackle air pollution from transport? | 17.07.2013.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Polluted air killing up to 29,000 people every year

Friday 11th April 2014

Public Health England report finds toxic particles are killings tens of thousands.

Up to 29,000 people are choking to death on polluted air every year across Britain, according to alarming new public health figures released yesterday.

Environmental campaigners responded by demanding strict policing of air pollution levels.

Researchers for Public Health England announced in the report that airborne particles of smog, dust and industrial contaminants were linked to 306,835 years of lost life nationwide — with Westminster faring worst of all.

The tiny toxic particles are known to penetrate the lungs’ spongy tissue and cross into the bloodstream, where they can cause heart and lung diseases, cancers, aggravate asthma and in some cases prove fatal.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Emilia Hanna said it was now clear that air pollution was a leading environmental health risk.

She said: “We need to see cleaner streets with less traffic congestion, more people walking and cycling to work and improved public transport.

“If we lived in cleaner cities where the air was safe to breathe these would be more pleasant places for us to spend time in, and we would live longer, healthier lives.”

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