British army recruiting child soldiers

This 2013 video says about itself:

Child soldiers in the British Army: one recruit’s story | Guardian Docs

Britain is one of just 19 countries that still recruit 16-year-olds to the armed forces. A new report claims that younger recruits are more likely to suffer from PTSD, alcohol problems and suicide than those who join as adults. This video tells the story of David Buck who joined the army at 17 but now feels he was conned by misleading recruitment marketing.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Army recruits increasingly made up of 16-year-olds

Saturday 26th November 2016

ARMY recruits are largely made up of 16-year-olds who are forced to serve 50 per cent longer than their adult counterparts, charity Child Soldiers International revealed yesterday.

The British Army enlisted 1,000 teenagers in the year lasting to the end of September compared to 870 during the previous 12 months.

Children account for the biggest group entering the army for the first time in four years while the intake of adults decreased.

Army policies state that it recruits kids to “mitigate” adult entry shortfalls particularly for the infantry, which has the highest fatality and injury rate of all branches.

Child Soldiers International spokesperson Rachel Taylor said “nobody could justify” this situation.

John Berger and art, new book

This video says about itself:

John Berger / Ways of Seeing, Episode 1 (1972)

A BAFTA award-winning BBC series with John Berger, which rapidly became regarded as one of the most influential art programmes ever made. In the first programme, Berger examines the impact of photography on our appreciation of art from the past.

Ways of Seeing is a 1972 BBC four-part television series of 30-minute films created chiefly by writer John Berger and producer Mike Dibb. Berger‘s scripts were adapted into a book of the same name. The series and book criticize traditional Western cultural aesthetics by raising questions about hidden ideologies in visual images. The series is partially a response to Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation series, which represents a more traditionalist view of the Western artistic and cultural canon.

By Rose Thompson in Britain:

New ways of seeing John Berger

Monday 24th october 2016

A Jar of Wild Flowers: Essays in Celebration of John Berger
Edited by Yasmin Gunaratnam with Amarjit Chandan
(Zed Books, £10.99)

THIS book is not limited to essays purely “in celebration of” John Berger — nothing would be less fitting to his personality than a straight tributary offering.

In their evaluations of Berger’s career and the global scale of his impact on artists and intellectuals, the personal insight many of the authors provide in their thanks for his friendship are all in some sense written “with” him.

Their debt of gratitude illustrates the new purpose his thoughtful work has inspired in others and the energy Berger brings to each collaboration and relationship.

Yet rather than command the centre of attention in this network of writers, film makers, activists and artists, Berger is a background presence. The result is a collection which is a joy to read, regardless of one’s prior knowledge of his work and life.

The contributions cover topics as diverse as Berger’s support for the people of Palestine, his output as a novelist and poet and his interest in prehistoric cave paintings.

But the book is at its best when the authors wander away from Berger as a direct subject and allow his influence to permeate their own work.

In such moments, we are instructed in the history of Chilean leftist groups, the difficulties of indirect translation from Punjabi to Brazilian Portuguese via English or how personal photos become public memorials to the “disappeared,” from Sri Lanka to Mexico.

The anecdotal essay The Danger of Ways of Seeing in Pakistan by Salima Hashmi is a phenomenal piece of social history, as well as an ironic demonstration of the way Western canons are set as global benchmarks for “correct” forms of pedagogy — charges of indecency brought against a university teacher for showing Berger’s 1972 TV series were dropped when she explained that the tapes were endorsed by the British Council.

Berger’s comments on the uses and development of photography, engaging in dialogue with the writings of Roland Barthes and Susan Sontag, are touched on by several contributors.

But it’s the account of his collaborations with photographer Jean Mohr which really sparkles. The two share a friendship bound by storytelling, Berger often providing the words that speak to Mohr’s intimate photographs.

Even if a book of recollections feels a little morbid while Berger is thankfully still with us — as many contributors point out, Berger is now 90 — death is never an ending in his work.

It is in keeping with his thought that the living and dead should commune and, in his witty and moving chronicle of discovering Berger via a small Coventry public library, Nirmal Purwar points out that “Berger’s work often brings the dead into imaginative, playful meetings.”

That’s a phrase that well describes the joie de vivre Berger seems to inspire in the volume’s many authors.

It is a testament to the remarkable feelings of comradeship and love Berger can inspire in others that, even at its most laudatory, the volume never feels hagiographic.

Perhaps the most fitting tribute to Berger is that a book commissioned to fete him has become a collection of essays about so many vital, politically charged and empathetic topics.

British government violates privacy, tribunal decides

This video from Britain says about itself:

Amnesty International being spied on by GCHQ/NSA

22 January 2014

Alice Wyss, a researcher at Amnesty International, says GCHQ are spying on the organisation.

From the BBC:

UK spy agencies broke privacy rules says tribunal

By Chris Baraniuk, Technology reporter

6 hours ago

UK spy agencies broke privacy rules by collecting large amounts of UK citizens’ data without adequate oversight, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has ruled.

Complaints about data collection by GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 were put forward by campaign group Privacy International.

The ruling said some data collection did not comply with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

It was a “highly significant judgement”, Privacy International said.

As part of its review of the spy agencies’ activities, the IPT examined the organisations’ collection of communications data – involving the “who, where, when, how and with whom” was involved in conversations, but not their contents – and personal information about people.

Such data is “vital for identifying and developing intelligence targets”, according to GCHQ.

Article 8 of the ECHR states, however, that all citizens have the right to a private life and that any interference with personal data must be lawful and necessary.

“It is very significant,” said Graham Smith of London law firm Bird & Bird.

He added that much of the data collection had been carried out under an older piece of law – section 94 of the Telecommunications Act 1984.

“It gave absolutely no clue at all that it could be used for this particular purpose,” said Mr Smith.

“Everyone accepts that what the agencies do operationally has to be secret, but the laws that say what they can and can’t do shouldn’t be secret.”