January 2008


Well, it’s taken a couple of years …… but I have finally taken the leap, and shelled out for a ‘second digital camera’.

Not only have I not had the money, but also, the specification of most of the pocket sized camera just didn’t appeal. This has now changed with a number of manufacturers now producing 12 MPix pieces.

The Canon G9 is build like a tank. It feels really substancial, and some will say too heavy. But I like it to feel solid and with a little weight means less camera shake. The specification is completely fantastic. See Below … and just check out the links I’ve made to the reviews.

Canon UK – PowerShot G9 [company site]

Canon Japan [company site] inc sample images

Canon PowerShot G9 Review [dpreview 1]

Canon PowerShot G9 Review [dpreview 2]

Canon Powershot G9 02 [640x72]

Canon Powershot G9 03 [640x72]

Canon Powershot G9 04 [640x72]

Canon Powershot G9 06 [640x72]

Canon Powershot G9 09 [640x72]

Canon Powershot G9 10 [640x72]

Summary Specs PowerShot G9 

Sensor • 1/1.7″ Type CCD
• 12.1 million effective pixels
 
Image sizes • 4000 x 3000
• 3264 x 2448
• 2592 x 1944
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480
• 4000 x 2248
Movie clips • 1024 x 768 @ 15fps
• 640 x 480 @ 30fps
• 320 x 240 @ 30fps
• 160 x 120 @ 15fps
• Time Lapse (640 x 480 @ 0.5/1fps, playback @15fps)
Maximum clip length  • 1024 x 768, 640 x 480, 320 x 240: 4GB or 1 hour
• 160 x 120: 3 mins
• Time lapse: 120 mins
File formats • JPEG (Exif v2.2)
• DPOF 1.1
• RAW
• AVI (Motion JPEG + WAVE)
Lens • 35-210mm (35mm equiv)
• 6x optical zoom
• F2.8-4.8
Image stabilization Yes (Lens-Shift)
Conversion lenses Yes
Digital zoom  up to 4x
Focus TTL
AF area modes  • Face Detection AiAF
• 9-point AiAF
• 1-point AF (center, FlexiZone or Face Select and Track)
• Manual focus
• Focus bracketing 
AF lock  Yes (on/off selectable) 
AF assist lamp  Yes
Focus distance Closest focus distance 1cm
Metering • Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame)
• Center-weighted average
• Spot (center, linked to Flexizone or Face Detection AF points)
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• High ISO Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600 
AE lock  Yes (on/off selectable) 
Exposure compensation +/- 2EV in 1/3 stop increments
Exposure Bracketing  +/- 1/3 – 2EV in 1/3 stop increments
Shuttter speed 15-1/2500 sec
Modes • Auto
• Program AE
• Shutter Priority AE
• Aperture Priority AE
• Manual
• Custom (2 modes)
• Stitch Assist
• Movie
• Special Scene


Scene modes  • Portrait
• Landscape
• Night Scene
• Sports
• Night Snapshot
• Kids & Pets
• Indoor
• Foliage
• Snow
• Beach
• Fireworks
• Aquarium
• Underwater
• ISO 3200
• Color Accent
• Color Swap
 
White balance • Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
• Flash
• Underwater
• Custom 1
• Custom 2 
Orientation sensor  Yes
Self timer 2 or 10sec, custom
Continuous shooting • Approx 0.7fps until card is full (AF)
• Approx 0.8fps until card is full (LiveView)
• Approx 1.5fps until card is full (LCD monitor off)
Image parameters My Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color)
Flash • Auto, Flash On, Flash Off, Slow Sync, Red-eye reduction
• +/- 2EV in 1/3 stop increments
• Face Detection FE compensation
• Safety FE
• Flash exposure lock
• Manual Power Adjustment (3 levels with internal flash, 19 with external EX Speedlite)
• Range (Internal, Auto ISO): 30cm – 4.0m (wide) / 2.5m (tele)
Viewfinder • Real-image zoom optical viewfinder
• Dioptre Correction 
LCD monitor • 3.0-inch P-Si TFT
• 230,000 pixels
• 100% coverage
• 15 levels of brightness adjustment
Connectivity • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
• AV out (PAL / NTSC switchable) 

Phones tapped at the rate of 1,000 a day

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent. Daily telegraph

Britain is in danger of becoming a “surveillance state” as authorities including councils launch bugging operations against 1,000 people a day.

Councils, police and intelligence services are tapping and intercepting the phone calls, emails and letters of hundreds of thousands of people every year, an official report said.
 
Those being bugged include people suspected of illegal fly-tipping as councils use little known powers to carry out increasingly sophisticated surveillance to catch offenders.

The report, by Sir Paul Kennedy, the Interception of Communications Commissioner, has fuelled fears that Britain is becoming a state where private communications are routinely monitored.

It also found that more than 1,000 of the bugging operations were flawed. In some cases, the phones of innocent people were tapped simply because of administrative errors.

David Winnick, a Labour member of the Commons home affairs committee, said greater legal protection was needed to prevent abuse of surveillance powers. Britain already has more CCTV cameras per person than any other country in the world.

advertisementHe said: “Most of these operations are needed and done for good reasons, but the numbers do raise concerns about the safeguards we have put in place to protect people from constant intrusion.”

Referring to George Orwell’s vision of a surveillance state, Mr Winnick added: “To walk blindfolded into 1984 is not anything that anybody in their right mind would want.”

Michael Parker of NO2ID, which campaigns against ID cards, said the figures showed the state’s desire to gather more information about people. “We are living in a surveillance state.”

The report shows that in the last nine months of 2006, there were 253,557 applications to intercept private communications under surveillance laws. It is understood that most were approved.

In that period 122 local authorities sought to obtain people’s private communications in more than 1,600 cases.

Councils are among more than 600 public bodies with the power to monitor people’s private communications.

Senior council officers are given the power to authorise surveillance in order to catch fly-tippers, benefit fraudsters and rogue traders. However, intelligence agencies must seek the permission of ministers while police need approval from chief constables.

Eric Pickles, the Conservative local government spokesman, said the use of surveillance powers against suspected fly-tippers was “completely over the top.”

Sir Paul, a senior judge with access to secret intelligence material, also reported 1,088 incidents where public bodies broke the rules on surveillance operations.

His report covers interception activities over a total of 264 days, during which time new applications for interception were made at a rate of 960 each day.

This did not include warrants personally issued by the Foreign Secretary and the Northern Ireland Secretary – thought to be several thousand – which are kept secret.

Each application under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act can cover several means of communication used by one named person, or all communications to and from a named building.

The Local Government Association defended the use of the powers against people “ruining the countryside or trying to take the taxpayer for a ride”.

Eric Metcalfe, a barrister who advises Justice, a civil rights group, called the findings “disturbing”. He added: “Putting the Home Secretary in charge of authorising interceptions is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.”

Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, said: “It beggars belief that in a nine-month period, based on these figures, the entire City of Westminster could have had their phones tapped – yet Britain remains one of the few Western countries that won’t allow this evidence to be used in court … to prosecute criminals and terrorists.”

But Sir Paul confirmed that MI5 and other intelligence agencies remain opposed to any change in the law.

Everybody seems to be listening in

A total of 653 state bodies — including 474 councils — have the power to intercept private communications.

Bugging is usually carried out by MI5, MI6, GCHQ and the police and most people are targeted on suspicion of terrorism or serious crime.

But under laws that came into force eight years ago hundreds of public bodies can carry out surveillance.

These include the Financial Services Authority, the Ambulance Service and local fire authorities and prison governors.
 
Daily Telegraph: Full Article

No chanting, no music, no banners, just a shuffle down Park Lane and onto Victoria to hand in a petition at the Home office.  Then on to the pub, i guess.

10 or 20,000 policemen demonstrated through London [depending on who you believe], to protest at their pay and conditions. Government say that they are ‘not moved’, since their offers are very generous.

The BBC reported ‘An extremely orderly protest’

Because of the police past attitudes to the policing of protest, a number of folks turned up to watch their progress with a view to making citizens arrests if their was any signs of disorder 🙂

Reports on the Indymedia UK newswire ‘Police demo … behind enemy lines’ 

Earlier on this blog, Police are upset, at a demonstration ban on pay & condition They were cross abount not being able to march to Parliament.  That blasted SOCPA law 🙂

Police anger at Commons march ‘ban’ [Observer]

and …… the icing on the cake  ………….

“BNP Chief at head of police march” [Evening Standard]

BNP chief on police march

A senior member of the BNP marched at the head of a huge police demonstration over pay in London today. Richard Barnbrook, the far-Right party’s leader in London, walked alongside top members of the Police Federation

Mr Barnbrook, a BNP councillor in Barking & Dagenham and a candidate in the election to pick London’s next Mayor, told the Standard he took part to support the police and denied his presence was an embarrassment. An estimated 22,500 off-duty police officers, many wearing white baseball caps with the logo “Fair play for police”, walked from Park Lane to Millbank, passing close to the Houses of Parliament.

Police Federation officials claimed they were powerless to prevent Mr Barnbrook from marching. Spokesman Metin Enver said he was not invited specifically but police officers recognised him when he turned up. He said: “Some of my colleagues saw we had the BNP Mayoral candidate with us. The one thing we want to make clear is we didn’t invite him. It wasn’t a closed march. He chose to attend by his own accord which is his right in a democracy. It is disappointing if anyone chose to join the march for their own agenda.

“We didn’t ask him to leave because whether we like it or not we live in a democracy.”

Mr Barnbrook said: “I was there to support the police. I spoke to one of the organisers of the march and I explained who I was and he was quite happy about it. We did some interviews for BNP TV. I spoke to a few Pcs and they were happy to talk.”  ……………

More from the Evening Standard >>>>

 

Riseup Radio is a community based podcast from Nottingham, UK. Reports, music and chat on stuff that matters. Join us for the monthly podcast…

http://riseupradio.wordpress.com

It will be a selection of audio reports, put together in an entertaining way, from Nottingham Indymedia.  http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/nottinghamshire

I still liked ‘ nott-a-pod ‘ for a title …….. but they won’t listen!

The river has been rising all week.  Floods nowhere near as grim as in the summer and the levels are falling.  However there is another shed-load on the way. 

Earlier in the week, I had been along the Trent to the Watersports Centre at Holme Pierrepont and the whole course is underwater.  So, this loan Canoeist was playing, and ‘giving it some welly’, between the suspension and Trent Bridges, in Nottingham.

He had to mind out for the odd tree-truck passing by at speed though.

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080120_068

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080120_062

Went for a walk down by the river this afternoon.  I’d gone out to take some more pictures of the river, as it’s in flood.  But luckily, levels are falling again now. 

But I got distracted by these pieces of ‘wall arts’ so I thought I’d take a few pictures……

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080120_009

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Yesterday 17 January 2008, I [with a few hundred others I hope] wrote to Meg Munn MP, Minister for Asia and the Pacific, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  I wanted to know what was being done about it all. [see yesterdays blog entry…….]

Anyway, they have been released.  But there is no mention of investigation or charges being laid against those commiting, what to appears to me, to be a criminal act.  What’s new you might say.

This is the reply below.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Room G/108
Consular Directorate
Old Admiralty Building
Whitehall
SW1A 2PA
Tel: 0207 008 0145
Fax: 0207 008 0161
E-mail: liz.hawkins@fco.gov.uk

18 January 2008

Thank you for your e-mail about the detention of a British national on a Japanese whaling vessel to which I have been asked to reply as the assistant consular desk officer for Japan.

You will be pleased to learn that the British national has now been returned to Sea Shepherd’s vessel, the Steve Irwin.  During the incident, we remained in close touch with both the Japanese and Australian Governments.  We are grateful to the Australian Government for making one of their vessels available to effect the safe transfer of the two men from the Japanese whaling ship to their own ship.

Yours sincerely,

Liz Hawkins
Consular Directorate

HOWEVER …….

On viewing the Sea Shepherd News release pages at:

http://www.seashepherd.org/news/media_080118_2.html

they appear to have a different take on it all …….
Sea Shepherd News Release

Lack of Cooperation May Kill the Whales

From onboard the Steve Irwin in the Southern Oceans

The Australian Customs and Fisheries Patrol vessel Oceanic Viking has thrown the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin off the trail of the Japanese fleet.

After picking up the two Sea Shepherd crewmembers from the Yushin Maru No. 2 the Oceanic Viking notified the Steve Irwin to head for a rendezvous point a few hours away.

This was unusual considering that the Yushin Maru No. 2 was only about ten miles away at the time. The Steve Irwin was forced to stop tailing the Yushin Maru No. 2 to meet up with the Oceanic Viking. This allowed the whaler to head off in an unknown direction to rejoin the factory ship Nisshin Maru.

After dropping off Benjamin Potts and Giles Lane, the Oceanic Viking headed off in a direction away from the Japanese fleet. The fleet then apparently changed course and has now been lost from Sea Shepherd. Greenpeace tagging along with the Nishin Maru has reported that the catcher boats have met back up with the main fleet.

Although Sea Shepherd has been relaying the position of the catcher boats to the Greenpeace ship Esperanza for the last three days, Greenpeace refuses reciprocate and refuses to reveal the present location of the fleet.

“With “allies” like the Australian government and Greenpeace, it is becoming increasing difficult to keep the Japanese fleet from killing whales,” said Captain Paul Watson. “Australian Customs deliberately led us away from the fleet and Greenpeace is guarding the coordinates like the crown jewels to prevent us re-locating the fleet.”    

Complicating the search is the fact that the Japanese have sent a new ship the Fukoyoshi No. 68 to shadow the Steve Irwin at all times. The vessel is not part of the whaling fleet. It’s a large Japanese drag trawler. It does not have any fishing gear onboard and seems to have more electronic gear than normal for a fishing vessel. This ship is apparently reporting the Steve Irwin’s position to the Japanese fleet.

Sea Shepherd has shut down whaling for a week. Unless the Steve Irwin can find the fleet soon, the killing will begin again. The Oceanic Viking will take pictures of dying whales and Greenpeace will hang banners, take pictures and continue on with their ineffective stunts. They will not stop the killing.

“If whales begin to die within the next few days, I will hold Greenpeace and the Australian government responsible,” said Captain Paul Watson. “They know we can stop the killing because whales don’t die when Sea Shepherd arrives. By leading us off the tail of the whalers and refusing to cooperate on coordinates they are deliberately helping the whalers to escape from Sea Shepherd and to resume the slaughter of the whales.  I understand that Greenpeace needs kill footage and images of “heroic eco-warriors” buzzing about in inflatables but that does not stop the harpoons. Our very presence will deter the Japanese from killing whales. Sea Shepherd is the best weapon that Greenpeace can use to stop the resumption of whaling. By withholding cooperation they are contributing to the death of the whales. If any whales are killed within the next week I will hold Greenpeace responsible for their deaths because they have the power to cooperate with Sea Shepherd to prevent the killing from continuing.”

The Steve Irwin is conducting helicopter surveillance patrols to re-locate the whaling fleet. The fleet should be within two hundred miles of Sea Shepherd.

>>

Now, if this is true, Greenpeace have just lost several brownie points in my view. I am likely to write to the national office, and ask what the fuck is going on. We don’t appear to be all on the same page.

also:

Sea Shepherd News :: Japanese Poachers Release Sea Shepherd Hostages
http://www.seashepherd.org/news/media_080118_1.html

Japanese Whaling Fleet On the Run With Two Sea Shepherd Hostages. The Japanese harpoon vessel Yushin Maru No. 2 has taken two Sea Shepherd volunteer crew members hostage. Benjamin Potts 28, an Australian citizen and Giles Lane, 35, a citizen of Great Britain are being held hostage onboard the whaling vessel. Both men were assaulted and then tied to the railings of the whaler. They were then moved and tied to the radar mast by the whalers.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s ship Steve Irwin is in full pursuit of five vessels of the Japanese whaling fleet including the Japanese supply vessel Oriental Bluebird.

Both men boarded the Yushin Maru to deliver a message to the Japanese captain that the whalers were in violation of international conservation law by targeting endangered species in an established whale sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling. They also notified the captain that Australia had just passed a court ruling barring Japanese whalers from the Australian Antarctic Economic Exclusion Zone.

All of this activity has taken place in the area of 60 Degrees South and 78 Degrees East. All activity has been documented from the Sea Shepherd helicopter and the fast moving Delta vessel. The Steve Irwin has dispatched a small fast Delta boat and a helicopter to attempt to persuade the Yushin Maru No. 2 to stop and release the hostages.

Captain Paul Watson has notified the Australian Federal Police that he would like to see kidnapping charges brought against the Japanese whalers. The Australian government and the British Embassy have been informed that their citizens are being held hostage on an illegally operated Japanese whaling ship in International waters.

The Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru has fled over 700 miles to the Northwest and is heading towards South Africa accompanied by the Greenpeace ship Esperanza. The entire whaling fleet is on the run and outside of the whaling area with the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin in hot pursuit of five vessels of the Japanese fleet.

No whales have been slaughtered for the last four days and it does not look as if the whaling operations are going to begin again for another week at least, and not at all if the vessels are prevented from regrouping. The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin has a good supply of fuel and can remain in the area for some time and will continue to police the illegal whaling operations by the Japanese fleet.

Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson will turn over authority to the Australian government to enforce the court ruling against illegal whaling in the Australian Antarctic Economic Exclusion Zone upon request from the Australian government and an agreement that Australia will enforce the court’s ruling to bar all Japanese whaling activities in the Australian Antarctic Territory.
The text of the letter taken aboard:

To: The Captain of any Japanese ship involved with poaching operations in The Australian Antarctic Territorial Economic Exclusion Zone.

Sir,

My name is Giles David Lane

I am a British citizen and an unpaid volunteer on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel Steve Irwin

I have come onboard your ship because you have refused to acknowledge communication from our ship pertaining to your illegal activities in the waters of the Australian Antarctic Territorial Economic Exclusion Zone.

I am not boarding your ship with the intent to commit a crime, to rob you or to inflict injury upon your crew and yourself or damage to your ship. My reason for boarding is to deliver the message that you are in violation of international conservation law and in violation of the laws of Australia. It is my intent to deliver this message and then to request that you allow me to disembark from your vessel without harm or seizure.

I am empowered to act to uphold these laws in accordance with the United Nations World Charter for Nature and the laws of Australia.

I am boarding you with the request that you please refrain from any further criminal activity in these waters and cease and desist with the continued killing of endangered whales in this designated Whale Sanctuary in violation of the IWC global moratorium on commercial whaling and that you cease and desist in continued violations of Australian law by killing whales within the territorial waters of Australia without permit or permission from the government of Australia.

I am boarding you on the orders of Captain Paul Watson who requests that you treat me with respect and in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

sea shepherd supporter

http://www.seashepherd.org

So, thinking that this is an appauling set of circumstances, I have written to the Japanese Embassy and Meg Munn MP of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to protest

Meg Munn
Minister for Asia and the Pacific
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Dear Meg Munn

Please accept this communication, copied to the Japanese Ambassador, expressing my concern at the assault of 2 men on a Japanese Whaling Ship.  One of whom is a UK national.  I hope you will be able to take measures to help bring about their release and look to you for any assistance that the UK government can offer.

I am grateful for your most urgent assistance.

regards

Alan Lodge
>>>>>>>>>>>>

Japanese Ambassador
Japanese Embassy
info@jpembassy.org.uk

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you to protest in the strongest possible terms the on taking of two hostages on board a Japanese Whaling Ship.

Press reports have suggested that the two men, (one of whom is a UK National Giles Lane), who peacefully boarded the Yushin Maru No. 2 to deliver a letter, they were assaulted and then tied up. Photographs show the two men being tied up to the ships superstructure outside and I am of course greatly concerned for their safety.

I request and demand that you intervene at once to ensure that these men are released and returned safely to their vessel as soon as possible. I also hope that your government will ensure that the captain and crew of the Yushin Maru No. 2 be called to account and prosecuted for their actions.

Yours sincerely,

Alan Lodge

Now starting day 3 of the trial of the 11 defendants, accused of aggravated trespass at the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station. Prosecution and defence case having been heard, today was about final statements and the summaries of evidence given over the last couple of days.  A number of defendants were defending themselves and hence conducted the closing statements themselves.

First defendant to speak SB.  She is convinced that many death and serious injury are directly resulting from climate change.  Believes that there can be little doubt about it. Thus an obvious case has been made out to use the defence of necessity.  Therefore, it is reasonable in such circumstances to take responsibility and to do all we can to minimise CO2 emissions.

Next EF reiterated her belief that these events where not simply a protest but a direct action, to stop CO2 emissions for a long as they could.  All defendants have said this under oath.

According to calculations made equating quantities of CO2 emissions, to the resultant deaths, she believes that the action of shutting down the burning of coal for the duration of the occupation had directly saved 10 lives.  We would have remained as long as we possible could,  and that this was obvious to E-On staff.  Matters were bought to a close by police action, and the cutting of locks, not by voluntarily giving up the occupation.

She concluded by reiterating that it was the defendants intention that was important here. The fact that we could not remain as long as we liked is not relevant.  It is the authorities action that drew matters to a close, not ours. 

The crown had been seeking to suggest that by the action finishing as it did, earlier than intended and without people being more vociferous in their resistance, made their defence of necessity harder to sustain.

Another defendant AW pointed out that no one action can stop climate change. However the cumulative efforts of many people might do so. This opinion was supported by Dr Lewis in his evidence yesterday. He then reminded the court that Mr Smith, the Ratcliffe station manager, had been unable to produce figures that the defence had asked for on the operations of the station during that time. Remember he had simply said: “he hadn’t had the time to produce them”.  We should thus look on the claim that the Ironbridge plant that had been fired up to compensate for the lack of generation from Ratcliffe during the period, and had produced greater emissions than Ratcliffe, with some suspicion. It is perhaps true that Ironbridge had not in fact produced more CO2 emissions than Ratcliffe during this time.

Dr Lewis had said that it was reasonable to take actions that reduce CO2 emissions.  Further, unless immediate action was taken, then it is obvious that death and serious injury would result.  He had said that the time for action was now. In fact more action should have been taken already.  There is now only a 50 – 50 chance of meeting the 2 degC target that had previously been referred to without very significant efforts.

He reminded the court of the earlier analogy that had been cited, to describe the belief of necessity the defendants are relying on:  If Anne Frank had stolen a car to escape from the Nazi’s, then would she really have committed an crime and be guilty of an offence? Or should she have waited for a knock on the door?

Many other have tried to shut down coal-fired power station all over the world. There have been at least 14 other attempts. In 2006, over 600 people had also tried to occupy and shut down the Drax power station, situated near Selby in North Yorkshire.  This was in fact, the UK’s leading CO2 emitter.  Those people were not of a violent nature, and neither are we. He again reminded the court of the sentiment express by Al Gore:  That he could not understand why many more people are not trying to shut down all coal-fired power stations.

Next to give his closing statement was TA.  He said that he did reasonably believe that CO2 emissions did pose a threat to life.  The sole purpose of his actions that day were to do all within our power to stop emission for as long as possible. That we were not simply protesting about the issue, and our actions were reasonable and proportionate in all the circumstances.  We engaged in the biggest action that we could have taken there. I do feel the immediacy of peril.  It is also a long term threat and feel that our immediate families and friends are at a significant risk.

The action wasn’t pre-planed as an advanced, highly organised military operation. We simply bought a few chains and locks and went and did it.

Mr Cunningham for the crown put it to him, that you’re just a specialist interest group, aren’t you?  We should rely on our democratic structures to deal with these matters and concerns.

TA replied that we are simply a group of individuals with concerns.

The rest of the defendants reiterated most of the points that had already been covered here, with Mr Cunningham continuing to seek to put to each that by any measures, they are all simply protesters and not taking the rescue actions they claim that would be required to make out for the defence of necessity that they were seeking so to do. All had denied this.

One of the eleven defendants had not given any evidence in the trial.  Further he had not made a closing speech.  In fact he had said nothing throughout the hearing. It transpired that on his arrest he had not made a statement or answered any questions.  Further, that in the preparations of the case, the police had not correlated their statements that described what he had done, were he had been, and who arrested him!

District Judge Morris Copper said the charge had not specified what he did within the trespass.   No evidence of location, further that there is no evidence of being in a building.  He said that the crown might say that an inference can be drawn from the surrounding circumstances that he was involved in and being part of a common enterprise.  However, I can’t see his specific links to this action.  It is however proper for me to draw adverse inferences from his actions.  He did enter land as a trespasser and that there was evidence to suggest he was involved in the joint enterprise.

However, in my opinion, the prosecution has not proved matters to my satisfaction.  The case having not been proved against him, I thus dismiss the  charges against him.
Wooooowah!

There was much congratulation from all the other defendants and supporters, and he then danced a small jig around the court. Mr Cunningham smiled 🙂

DJ Cooper returned to court saying that he needed a few days to write his considered judgement on the rest.  He would only need a few days to do this, but because of the court calender he could not do it until Monday 25 February at 10.00am when he would deliver his written judgement. All were bailed to return.

Before rising, he said that he wished to compliment all the defendents on on the way they had handled themselves and on the presentation of their case.

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This author also wishes to associate myself with the Judges comments. 

Bloody well done each!
I wish all well and that the right verdict does get finally get returned.

The prosecution case having closed yesterday. The defence opened today with their expert witness: Dr Simon Lewis, a climate scientist at the University of Leeds and Royal Society Research Fellow.

Scientific evidence suggests CO2 add to global warming temperatures and if reduced, would minimise climate fluctuations. There is no doubt that there is a causal relationship between CO2 and climate change. It is however difficult to unambiguously associate rise in CO2 with specific changes in weather events, and thus mortality of any individual. So, scientists talks about statistical probabilities.

He cited various examples of catastrophes across the globe from every continent. World Health Organisation figures say that currently 150,000 people per year die of effects directly attributable to climate change. Closer to home, the 2003 heat-wave across Europe is probably responsible for 35,000 additional deaths over the ‘background’ death-rate, that might have been expected.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) says that there is a direct link between the increases in CO2 emissions and an increase in mortality. They are concerned and acknowledge the idea of ‘tipping points’. Thresholds of irreversibility. Put simply ‘points of no return’. An example of which would include the loss of the polar icecaps. As they continue to melt, there is thus a smaller area to reflect sunlight, there is thus a consequential rise in temperature that further results in yet a greater increase in the rate of ice melting. There are different tipping point thresholds for different earth systems, the Amazon Basin, the Arctic, coral reefs etc.

There is no doubt, that to reduce these tipping point thresholds, there is a need to reduce carbon emission. What is a safe limit? It is difficult to say but suggests a tipping point might be crossed at global average temperature of 2 degC above pre-industrial levels. Currently we’re at 0.74 to now with 1.34 left to this point.

Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research reports point out that not only is it necessary to prevent further emissions, it is further necessary to remove some that is already there. Some CO2 will remain in the atmosphere for centuries. But there would be some relief in taking immediate action to ameliorate emissions. We are always playing ‘catch-up’.

On being asked to comment on the prosecution opening statement, that the protesters action could not have had the result of ‘avoiding death or serious injury’. Dr. Lewis said that yes, that it defiantly could have had such a result.

Asked for his views on future trends, Dr Lewis said the scale of future threats could see a global average temperature of 4 degC above pre-industrial levels. This would result in exceeding the capacity of resilience of many global systems. Species numbers collapse, widespread agricultural failure and events like the 2003 heat-wave being a statistically normal event by the 2080’s.

Climate change increases the mortality risks for all peoples. However, dis-proportionally affects such vulnerable groups including the young, old, and the poor. Britain has been one of the largest CO2 emitters since the industrial revolution. We have been emitting longer than many other countries in the developing world. It simply is a fact that the majority of emissions are caused by a richer minority of people.

Is current international action and agreement sufficient to avoid dangerous climate change? The Kyoto Protocol is resultant from United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It was signed in 1997. But, since this date, there has been a substantial increase in emissions in spite of UNFCCC limits, and are still increasing.

We need substantial reductions within the next 10 years. Some experts say that if we want to mitigate major climactic events, we are 25 years to late. But with some immediate actions we may be able to make small changes.

Asked if he thought all experts agree on these matters, he referred to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, pointing out figures and predictions were quite conservative in estimates, to keep the most consensus of 2 – 3000 academics in public universities. There are of course some that are outside of this consensus, but these work for private business.

After his initial evidence, Mr Kevin Tomlinson, acting for 4 of the defendants, then asked Dr Lewis about the targets set worldwide and the generally accepted views of what’s dangerous. Are the current UK targets achievable? To keep below the 2 degC increase on pre-industrial levels, there has to be a 60% cut in emissions. However to give some scope for other countries to have some increase in their emission, to alleviate their poverty, UK targets should be much greater than this 60% already targeted.
 
Mr Cunningham for the Crown Prosecution Service then suggested to Dr Lewis, that we are not dealing with an exact science, there is very much room for error? Of course, we have to deal with probabilities, however there is a consensus from 2 – 3000 climate scientists in the field say the existing climate systems are showing the changes I’ve described. Mr Cunningham points out that the for the defendants to succeed in the defence of necessity, they have to show essentially they were engaged in rescue. He makes efforts to draw parallels between Indonesian illegal logging and forest clearances for biofuels and demonstrating similar risks here. Dr Lewis then reminded the court of the 150,000 people per year that die of effects directly attributable to climate change.

First of the defendants representing himself, AW then gave evidence. He had an obvious concern for his family and friends on the future effects of climate change. The facts and further reading obviously add to this concern. Personally he takes all measures he can to minimise his ‘carbon footprint’. Over the previous week, he had attended the week of activities ‘Spring into Action’. Became scared by the concept of ‘tipping point’ that appeared to indicate matter were even more urgent than previously thought. Further he believed that Ratcliffe Power Station was an obvious local cause of concern and was the 3rd largest CO2 emitter in the UK. Thus with others, walked into the power station and locked onto the nearest bit of machinery. The intention being to stop CO2 emissions for as long as possible. He knew of 15 other such stations had been the subject of actions all over the world. Quoted a statement by Al Gore who had said he couldn’t understand why there is not more action to close down power stations worldwide.

Mr Cunningham for the Crown wanted to know what level of criminality is acceptable in pursuit of aims? He also returns to his continued argument that if you really has serious believe in this defence of necessity, with the ‘imminent dangers’ you describe, then you really would have offered more resistance than you actually had!

Mr Cunningham had returned to this theme with most of the defendants as they gave their evidence in chief. The distinction he was trying to draw was between people who really believe in such imminent dangers would take extraordinary measures to effect a ‘rescue action’. As yesterday, he cited the earlier case of Abdul Hassain, an Iraqi national who fearing persecution had hijacked an aircraft to escape oppression in that country. He appeared to be suggesting that by taking less severe measures, the defendants were simply looking for a ‘legal cloak’ for their criminality of the offences for which they were charged, aggravated trespass. They were in fact simply protesting. This was rebutted by all the defendants saying that if they were simply protesting, they wouldn’t have done so there, It would have been more appropriate to do so in public, visible by many and in front of a media presence to attempt to get maximum exposure and thus to draw attention to their concerns. All said that their motive was in fact to shut the power station down for as long as they could to minimise CO2 emissions.

Next to give evidence was SB.  She said she simply walked into the station and took action because of her concerns.  She has a degree in Ecology, and with that awareness takes all step that she can personally to minimise her own contribution to CO2 emissions. Also attended the Spring into Action week of events and further already knowing about the concept of tipping points and the ecological threats and the associated millions of deaths by the end of the century, represented by the 2degC previously referred to.  Said she thought that it was her duty to take action to attempt to reduce CO2 emission personally. Saying that fear for herself, family and the future and that she also knew about the issues displacing so many people to effectively make them climate refugees. With such worries, wonders if it is right for her to consider bringing a child into ‘this world’.

Mr Cunningham pointed out that the defendants accepted they had committed the offence.  In spite of their efforts, they didn’t succeed in their aim to reduce CO2 emissions, but in fact, had triggered the firing up of another power station. However, SB didn’t know anything of government and company emergency planning that would have resulted by such interruption. Cunningham again put the notion, that they were just simply protesting.  The idea that they really did believed that they were preventing death or serious injury could not be sustained, since the effects were just too remote.  This was denied.

Third defendant TA said the intention was to simply walk into the power station and shut it down. He had been campaigning on environment, climate change and social issues for 15 – 20 years. It is obvious to him that climate change is resulting in many deaths.  Influenced by the earlier event ‘Spring in Action’ held in various locations around Nottingham which drew attention to the issues of concern. He had read information produced by James Hanson, a climate scientist from NASA who is of the opinion that the burning of coal is one of the principle causes of CO2 emissions. The practice needs to be eliminated since it is at least 80% of the problem.  It is so frustrating knowing that Ratcliffe, located locally, is such a major part of this problem.

The plant manager, Mr Smith, in his evidence yesterday said that the firing up of Ironbridge station had created more CO2 than if Ratcliffe operations had not been shutting down over the 5 hours of operation.  Simply didn’t believe this.  No figures were produced to support this as the defence had requested. In fact Smith had simply said that he had not had time to produce them!

The crown put it that surely, you would realise that the authorities would not allow, the successful closing of a power station. There was bound to be a contingency plan. Mr Cunningham makes yet another attempt to show that really, by any measures, they are simply protesters and not taking the rescue action they claim. Yet again, this was denied.

A few more defendants gave their evidence in turn, broadly reiterating most of the arguments as already covered.

The case continues ………………

Dr. Simon L. Lewis is Royal Society Research Fellow, Earth & Biosphere Institute, School of Geography, University of Leeds. http://royalsociety.org/page.asp?tip=1&id=4689

Simon L. Lewis – Research Interests http://www.see.leeds.ac.uk/ebi/people/simon-lewis-research.htm

Royal Society – A guide to facts and fictions about climate change http://royalsociety.org/downloaddoc.asp?id=1630

Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research http://www.tyndall.ac.uk

IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change http://www.ipcc.ch

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change http://unfccc.int

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Before the trial started, there was a protest / gathering of 20 – 30 people outside the court, to offer their support.  Holding banners with the slogan “The Earth is getting too hot. Together we can make it stop”, people were ushered away from the immediate court area by the security and a couple of policemen who were there on station, to make sure no one got into any trouble.

There had been a number of court dates so far, to go through the required administration to distil what was to be decided by the trial.

11 defendants all inspired by the ‘Spring into Action’ week of events held in a variety of places last April in Nottingham, took direct action at the Ratcliff-on-Soar power station. To physically attempt to stop its operations and draw attention to the burning of fossil fuels contribution to CO2 emissions and thus its impact on climate change.

All are charged with ‘aggravated trespass’ an offence under section 69 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. In that they trespassed and then disrupted people engaged in a lawful activity.  Previous argument required a re-specification of the charge and had to enter the words ” and entered into buildings ……”.  All 11 had previously pleaded not guilty.

They are employing the defence of necessity. Their actions were ‘proportionate fearing peril of death and / or serious injury’ by the plants contribution to climate change.

Mr Cunningham for the Crown Prosecution Service opened the case describing the events of Tuesday 10th April 2007.  Accepting that it all was non-violent and was generally good-natured, his case appeared to be that if the defendants really thought themselves at peril, then their actions would have been far more forceful and vociferous!  He pointed out that in a democracy, we could expect the institutions of the state to look out for the citizen interests. Direct actions were thus not required.

So it seems then we just need to write to our MP’s !

The first witness called was Mr Raymond Henry Smith: Power Station Manager.
He was first aware of protesters presence on the site at about 9:15am. He went to the control room and there was informed people were chained to coal conveyor in the coal plant area. Others were chained to the ‘trash screen filtration system’ [device to filter out large coal lumps]. For health and safety reasons, all coal moving plant was stopped and disabled.

Because the station had previously been off-line after the Easter bank holiday and thus reduced demand, they had a full stock of coal.

However, people were locked onto the conveyor that took coal from stocks to the storage bunker. Thus the station was able to continue in operation using what remained in the bunker. Depending on the burn rate, there were perhaps 5 hours of supply available.  Marketing Department of E-On management thus instructed the starting up of another power station, ‘Ironbridge’ which for technical reasons takes a number of hours, burning a substantial amount of oil to ‘warm it up’.

Ratcliffe Station has 4 generators producing 2000Megawatts.  Only some of this capacity was on load at the time and was being progressively reduced. But should the protestors have remained there for very much longer, it would have resulted in the complete shutting down of the operations. Mr Smith agreed that the loss of generation capacity would have also implied a reduction in the amount of CO2 emitted. He pointed out though that the firing up of the Ironbridge plant required some £16,000 of oil thus creating an associated amount of emission, but the plant didn’t not get round to generating any replacement energy before protesters where removed and Ratcliffe came back on-stream.

It was put to Mr Smith that the Ratcliffe station was the 3rd largest emitter of CO2 into the atmosphere from the UK. He disputed this, but didn’t have the figures available to him.  The defence had earlier asked for the production of statistics, records and general management figures on the operation of the plant, but he had not bought them with him.  When pressed said: “he hadn’t had the time to produce them”. He did say however that emissions are within those set out in government legislation. These target operate company & nationwide rather than those from individual stations. They make monthly returns to the Environment Agency and Ratcliffe has benefited from hundreds of millions of pound investments in attempt to reduce emissions.

Further, he didn’t recognise other figures put to him from CARMA – Carbon Monitoring for Action [ http://carma.org ]  that suggested 12.8 million tons of CO2 emitted by coal fired burning, but said it depended of power outputs. He agreed renewables were still quite a small proportion of total generations by E-On. He declined to say anything about the companies nuclear ambitions for the future.

Power stations possibly have a shelf life of 25 years. Ratcliffe is now 40 years old, but frequently upgraded. He didn’t agree with James Hanson of NASA who had said that coal-fired burning should be abandoned altogether.

Next witness was Mr Christopher Marsh: Assistant Shift Team Leader.
He attended a briefing re the protest and had been designated as the “incident controller”. On visiting the location, he saw 4 policemen in attendance and 3 protestors at the base of the junction tower [the confluence of the coal conveyors]. Others were chained to the trash screens [large object capture filter] and the hand rail. More were D-locked onto ‘fire protection pipe-work and the top of the tower. Mr Marsh said some of these places were very unsafe and negotiation took place asking people to re-locate.  Later he said, police took control and were supported by E-On staff.

Mr Marsh agreed that if protestors had stayed where they were for longer, this would have resulted in the plant operation coming to a close.  Further, that the action did directly result in a reduction of CO2 emission from Ratcliffe.  No other staff at the power station were disrupted in their activity and hence they were quite targeted in effect. A lighter moment was when he was asked to ‘put himself in the protestors shoes’, could they have done anything more to remain there longer. “No” he said, “They were doing their best!”

Last witness of the day was Mr Nicholas John Holick: A Service Engineer.
His duties included being ‘Head of Security’.  He was responsible for co-ordination of the security effort, but had not actually attended the locations within the plant. He had said that the plant was ‘quiet’ in that the operations of the conveyor had stopped, that this, when operating,  could easily be heard from outside of the buildings.

He was asked if had heard how protestors had got onto the site. They just walked onto the site via road 22 and road 6.  No fences or gates were climbed.  A weighbridge attendant did see people coming and expected them to arrive at his office where he would have told them they were coming in the wrong entrance. But then they just walked past him!  He could not confirm the reports that some security were reading the paper and drinking tea.

The case was adjourned until tomorrow, when we will hear the principle defence expert witness; a climate scientist, and Royal Society Research Fellow.
The case continues ………………

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More background and links about it all, on the Indymedia Feature:

‘Clean’ Coal On Trial

 

“Web 2.0” in just under 5 minutes. Dr. Wesch was inspired to make this video while writing a paper about web 2.0. Struggling to find a way to put it into words, he decided to make this video to show it rather than tell it. For more information on his goals and ideas behind this video, check out the interview with John Battelle

For a high quality Windows Media File (55 MB) download at:
http://www.mediafire.com/?2wnmpy2ibz1

mediatedcultures.net @ kansas state university
The home of the digital ethnography working group, a team of cultural anthropology undergraduates led by Dr. Michael Wesch exploring the impacts of digital technology on human interaction and human interaction on digital technology

http://mediatedcultures.net

MediatedCultures Blog http://www.mediatedcultures.net/ksudigg

Having just read a little background on this work, I discover the author is a right interesting bloke.

Michael Wesch
Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology
SASW, 206 Waters Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506
Phone: 785-532-6866
Email: mwesch@ksu.edu
http://www.ksu.edu/sasw/anthro/wesch.htm

The consultation paper Managing Protest around Parliament stems from a Governance of Britain green paper in which the government committed to consulting on the sections of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act covering demonstrations near Parliament.

This consultation takes another look at sections 132-138 of that act, and explores whether there is another way to address the situation that would both uphold the right to protest while also giving police the powers they need to keep the peace.

This consultation will close on 17 January 2008.

Home Office Consultation: Managing Protest Around Parliament

Managing Protest Around Parliament [PDF]

Repeal-socpa : Website for information about initiatives to repeal the severe restrictions on freedom to protest contained in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005

and their take on the consultation at:

http://www.repeal-socpa.info/consultation.htm

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is a space, for art reasons ………!

The Archers [sorry, but I’m a huge fan], is in the process of covering bio-fuels matters in the plot.  The issues being explored through the views of the diversity of characters.  From the Industro-agricultural outfits, to Pat & Tony’s organic farm operations.

Although I know many are up to pace with the arguements, in putting this on the Archers, I believe that they are putting it infront of one of the largest UK audiences that there are.

“It’s Pat’s birthday but she’s got to spend it at Home Farm discussing her argument against installing an anaerobic digester. Carl the consultant gives his presentation and does well with all Pat’s objections. But when Pat suggests he recalculate his figures without including her and Tony, Adam insists she hears Carl out. Carl acknowledges that if Tony and Pat aren’t involved there might be some other interested party, or they could always grow more crops. Pat jumps on this suggestions, implying it’s irresponsible advice but Carl keeps his cool.

Discussing the idea at the Bull, everyone else seems clearly convinced”.

Archers Plot Synopsis 

Listen again to thursday’s episode

[available until next thursday]

BBC Archers Cast

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