Archive | February 2, 2016

E.U. Refuses to give Cameron the 4-year Ban on E.U. Migrant Benefits*

Benefits will instead be gradually increased for migrants

By Jon Stone

The European Union has not granted David Cameron a full four-year ban on E.U. migrants claiming in-work benefits, detailed documents of Brussels’ proposals show.

Mr Cameron had previously demanded that people coming to the U.K. “must live here and contribute for four years before they qualify for in-work benefits or social housing”.

However, the European Union has instead only offered the U.K. the ability to partially reduce benefits for four years – rather than introduce a four-year waiting period as specified by Mr Cameron.

Under the proposals, benefits for new migrants would gradually increase during the four year period.

The plans would “authorise the Member State to limit the access of Union workers newly entering its labour market to in-work benefits for a total period of up to four years from the commencement of employment”.

However, the document clarifies:

“The limitation should be graduated, from an initial complete exclusion but gradually increasing access to such benefits to take account of the growing connection of the worker with the labour market of the host Member State.”

This means that migrants would not have to wait for four years before claiming such benefits, as demanded by the PM.

Out-of-work benefits are unaffected by the changes and Mr Cameron had not sought any changes to these rules.

European Council president Donald Tusk unveiled the draft deal with Mr Cameron on Tuesday morning.

According to the proposals, the substance of the deal would be written into treaties when they were next revised for other purposes.

Mr Cameron will have to convince other EU nations at a summit later this month as well as his own MPs and the British people of the deal’s effectiveness.

After the deal is taken forward Mr Cameron will hold a referendum on European Union membership – expected before the end of 2017 but possibly as early as this summer.

Polls currently show a moderate lead for the “in” campaign.

Mr Cameron will face Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons later today to discuss the deal.

Richard Tice, co-founder of the Leave.E.U campaign, has dismissed Brussels’ draft plan for a new relationship between the EU and the UK as a “fudge and a farce”.

“This draft plan is a fudge and a farce.  We already have a “red card” at the governmental level but are in a voting minority more often than any other EU member.  Why should duplicating the process at the parliamentary level achieve anything besides making the E.U. even slower and clumsier in a crisis?

“We don’t need a brake with someone else’s hand on it, we need control of the steering wheel.  Besides, planned increases in the minimum wage will attract more new migrants than benefits cuts will.

“We certainly don’t need empty promises of an opt-out from “ever closer union” in some future treaty after the referendum, will evaporate even faster than our last promise on CAP reform did.”

Some eurosceptics have already branded the negotiations a “charade”. UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said Mr Cameron’s goals will change nothing even if they are granted in full.


Related Topics:

Britain’s Most Segregated Town Speaks Lithuanian*

Disaster Capitalism, Immigration, and the Outsourcing of Violence in the U.K.*

10,000 Kids Missing in E.U. as Criminals ‘exploit’ Migrant Flow*

British Soldiers Throw War Medals to the Floor*

Consumer Protest Even in the Festive Season

Welsh Town Tax Rebellion Uses Big Corporations ‘offshore’ to Avoid Tax on Local Business*

The United States of Europe!

What Really Happened When Iran Captured Two American Vessels*

What Really Happened When Iran Captured Two American Vessels*

By Justin King

The airwaves in the United States were filled with images of sailors on their knees while a U.S. Navy vessel was searched. Unjustified outrage swept the nation. The U.S. Secretary of Defense blamed the incident on a simple navigation error, however a chain of events leading back to 2009 demonstrates the facts are a little more complicated than first appear. The chain of events leads defence analysts to one unmistakable conclusion: Iran has the ability to disrupt US GPS systems. For western military analysts, the thought is terrifying. The West uses GPS for much more than replacing a compass and a map.

In 2009, Lockheed Martin’s RQ-170 Sentinel showed up on a runway in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The aircraft entered service two years earlier, but the public was unaware. The bat wing styled drone is reminiscent of the Stealth Bomber. The similarities extend beyond the cosmetic, and the RQ-170 is the premier spy drone in the U.S fleet. This was the drone used to map out Bin Laden’s compound. It was tasked with keeping an eye on Iran’s nuclear program. That’s when things got interesting.

On December 4, 2011 a RQ-170 Sentinel crashed into the Iranian countryside. Iran claimed its electronic warfare unit brought the plane down. The U.S Department of Defense stated the aircraft was flying over western Afghanistan and crashed near or in Iran. The aircraft was 140 miles inside Iran’s borders. The west laughed at the idea of Iran’s military obtaining the capability to down one the most sophisticated drones in the world. One military official remarked it was like:

“dropping a Ferrari into an ox-cart technology culture.”

They probably shouldn’t have been so quick to laugh. It appears the Iranians didn’t just down the aircraft, they took control of it mid-flight. explained:

“Using its knowledge of the frequency, the engineer claims, Iran initiated its ‘electronic ambush’ by jamming the bird’s communications frequencies, forcing it into auto-pilot.  States the source, ‘By putting noise [jamming] on the communications, you force the bird into autopilot. This is where the bird loses its brain.’

“The team then use a technique known as ‘spoofing’ — sending a false signal for the purposes of obfuscation or other gain.  In this case the signal in questions was the GPS feed, which the drone commonly acquires from several satellites.  By spoofing the GPS feed, Iranian officials were able to convince it that it was in Afghanistan, close to its home base.  At that point the drone’s autopilot functionality kicked in and triggered the landing.  But rather than landing at a U.S. military base, the drone victim instead found itself captured at an Iranian military landing zone.

“Spoofing the GPS is a clever method, as it allows hackers to ‘land on its own where we wanted it to, without having to crack the [encrypted] remote-control signals and communications.’

“While the technique did not require sophistication from a cryptography perspective, it was not entirely trivial, either, as it required precise calculations to be made to give the drone the proper forged distance and find and fine an appropriate altitude landing strip to make sure the drone landed as it did in Afghanistan.  The Iranian engineers knew the details of the landing site, because the drone had been confirmed in grainy photos to be landing at a base in Khandar, Afghanistan.

Despite the careful calculations, the drone still sustained a dent in its wing and under-body (though it did not have the usual signs of a high-speed collision).  During its press conferences, the Iranian military covered this damage with anti-American banners.

“The engineer explained this damage commenting, ‘If you look at the location where we made it land and the bird’s home base, they both have [almost] the same altitude.  There was a problem [of a few meters] with the exact altitude so the bird’s underbelly was damaged in landing; that’s why it was covered in the broadcast footage.’ The approach echoes an October security conference presentation [PDF] in Chicago, in which ETH Zurich researchers laid out how to use interference and GPS spoofing to more gently down a drone.”

The Aviationist agreed and suggested the U.S “reconsider their drones’ equipment, countermeasures and combat operation procedures as well as Iran’s electronic and cyber-warfare capabilities.” It should be noted the “ox-cart technology culture” has since reverse engineered the drone.

The gross underestimation of the Iranian military led to the recent incident in the Persian Gulf. The story being repeated in the western press is one of ten sailors getting lost and ending up in Iranian territorial waters (if the outlet mentions that part). According to Secretary of Defense Carter,

“All the contributing factors to that we don’t know yet, and we’re still talking to those folks, and we’ll find out more … but they were clearly out of the position that they intended to be in.”

Two boats lost their GPS abilities at the same time, and the Secretary of Defense isn’t sure what happened?

A few U.S outlets, such as the L.A. Times, reported on the other malfunctions during the incident. Both boats lost radio communication and all other communication during the incident. A single vehicle losing its GPS abilities can happen. It’s rare, but it can happen. Two vehicles losing the systems at the same time borders on implausible, but there is still a possibility of it occurring through Murphy’s Law. The loss of all communication equipment and GPS systems on two boats at the same time means one thing: electronic warfare.

The unwillingness to admit the U.S military has spent billions on a system that has apparently been defeated by Iran is the most likely culprit behind the western media’s attempt to focus on the “ill treatment” of U.S sailors. Even the L.A. Times, which was willing to report on the communications failures, placed the following quote in a bold offset in the same article:

“The way those sailors were treated was entirely inappropriate. … The U.S. Navy would never demand Iranian sailors hold their hands on their heads and coerce a confession.– James Stavridis, retired U.S. admiral”

The U.S. Navy’s installation at Guantanamo Bay has been the scene of the worst treatment of detainees by the U.S government in decades. The sailors captured by Iran were not waterboarded, deprived of sleep or food, sexually abused, or otherwise tortured. The United States does not have the moral authority to object to how another nation treats detainees.

The burning question now relates to whether or not Iran’s actions constitute an attack on the U.S. It’s not a simple question. Electronic warfare and cyber warfare have become common place. It is also worth noting the two U.S vessels were within just a few miles of Farsi Island. Farsi Island is the home of the Revolutionary Guards’ Navy (RGN). The RGN is Iran’s maritime unconventional warfare force. For comparison, imagine a scenario in which a nation that has attacked a US civilian airliner and whose political leaders have constantly threatened war sent two boats to  pass extraordinarily close to the home base of a U.S. Seal Team. The reader can decide if Iran’s actions were appropriate.

The most important takeaway from this incident is to remember the high-tech military of the United States has an exposed vulnerability. It’s a vulnerability that was exploited by Iran. Iran is not a nation many in military circles would see as technologically advanced. The drone warfare system has a fatal flaw. If Iran can exploit it, China and Russia certainly can. Even North Korea has been able to successfully disrupt the GPS system. Beyond simple navigation, the U.S. employs the GPS system to guide missiles. If the Iranians can jam and spoof their way into controlling a drone, it isn’t a huge leap to believe have the ability, or will soon have the ability, to do the same thing with guided missiles.

It should be noted that GPS jammers are available on the civilian market and have been detected in use inside the United Kingdom. This revelation may also be the reasoning behind the U.S. decision to require drone operators to register their aircraft.

Source *

Related Topics:

U.S. Treasury Imposes New Ballistic Missile Sanctions on Iran*

U.S. to Pay Iran $1.7bn in Debt, Interest*

Entrapment: Iran Lifting Sanctions and Coming Betrayal*

300 Plumbers Volunteer to Help Flint’s Most Vulnerable Residents for Free*

300 Plumbers Volunteer to Help Flint’s Most Vulnerable Residents for Free*

Government officials put the lives and safety of Flint, Michigan, residents in jeopardy to keep a dollar in the bank and save face, but the story of what hundreds of plumbers did to help those residents will restore your faith in humanity.

Some 300 members of the Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) hit the streets of Flint on January 30 to install donated faucets and other plumbing in homes of residents affected by the lead-contaminated water crisis.

The day began at 7 a.m. at the UA Local 370 Union Hall. Armed with the faucets and plumbing supplies, as well as Brita water filters capable of removing lead (which were provided by the state), the group set out on a mission to make life a little bit easier – and a lot safer – for many people in need of assistance.

“’PMI is proud to join with its members and the UA to put our vision of safe, responsible plumbing into action,’ said Barbara C. Higgens, PMI CEO and executive director in a statement.

‘We appreciate the generosity of our members, the UA plumbers, IAPMO and everyone else that is helping to assure safe drinking water for the residents of the Flint area.’”

In fact, people from all over the country have been chipping in to help those affected by obscenely-high levels of lead in the water system, and pipes that were corroded by the heavy metal.

“’People from all over the country, Canada, Cher, tons of organizations are sending trucks loads of waters and filters to us,’ said Lawanda Asa, 70.

‘I’ve even lost count on how many people are sending us water,’ she said.

‘It just goes to show how giving American people are. People that don’t even know us, have never heard of flint before are at our side. We’re so very blessed that the American people have such big hearts.’”

PMI and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry (UA) teamed up to coordinate the humanitarian effort. All of the faucets and plumbing supplies were donated by PMI.

A lot of our members live here in the community,” said Jeff Peake, organizer at Local 370.

“We have a responsibility to pay back to the community.”

Needless to say, Flint residents desperately needed to be reminded that there are still kind, caring people in the world, after being lied to and sickened by the very people elected to protect them. It’s hard to believe a United States city would allow its children, in particular, to be harmed in such a negligent way.


Related Topics:

Muslim Group Donating 30,000 Bottles of Water to Lead-Poisoned Flint*

EPA Head in Charge of Flint Resigns as Obama Pledges $80mn for Poisoned Water Crisis*

Matt Damon Calls on Governor Snyder to Resign Over Flint Water Crisis*

Flint State Employees Were Given Clean Water a Year Ago*

Legionnaires’ Disease Spikes in Flint amid Poisoned Water Crisis*

U.K. Cities Begin Opening Empty Buildings for Homeless*

U.K. Cities Begin Opening Empty Buildings for Homeless*

By Michaela Whitton

Lack of social housing, cuts to welfare, and extortionate private rents continue to push U.K. homelessness out of control to a scale that is impossible to quantify. While rough sleeping is the most visible form of homelessness, it remains the most difficult to measure with local authorities no longer required to carry out counts of rough sleepers.

That said, one only has to stroll around any major British city to see the extent of the problem, and in the coastal city of Brighton & Hove, three rough sleepers died over the festive period alone.

According to homeless charity Shelter, the number of rough sleepers has trebled in eight years. In contrast, a 2015 report by Empty Homes — a charity campaigning for vacant homes to be made available for those who need housing — revealed over 200,000 long-term vacant dwellings (homes unoccupied for over six months) in England and over 600,000 total empty homes.

However all’s not lost and behind the scenes, work is underway to make the most of the scandalous number of empty properties in the U.K. Attempting to meet the dire need for housing, 103 local campaigns have been initiated to plead with local councils to open up empty buildings for homeless people this winter.

Local Councils now receive a grant from central government to reduce the number of long-term empty properties in their area. The measure has undoubtedly encouraged local authorities to work with property owners to turn empty buildings into homes. Some have even used their payments to start dedicated empty homes teams.

Since 2013, property owners of vacant and unfurnished buildings are no longer exempt from Council Tax. Local authorities can also charge up to 150 percent of the Council Tax due if the property has stood empty and unfurnished for two or more years.

In addition, a number of councils have begun to open up empty buildings to be used by the homeless. Manchester City Council started the ball rolling in November by announcing it would open up a former library and children’s home to be used as overnight shelters. The announcement came a month after two former Manchester United players, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, allowed a group of 30 homeless people to stay in the former Stock Exchange building they are converting into a luxury hotel.

Not to be outdone, and thanks to a task force of tireless campaigners, the southwest city of Bristol has recently followed suit. With the number of families officially classed as homeless rising from 40 in 2014 to over 140 in 2015, the council recently announced that two empty buildings will be used to provide up to 10 extra beds.

Despite the small steps, millions across the U.K. continue to face housing problems every day and people sleeping rough while buildings stand empty is shameful. Until the root causes of the crisis are tackled — and everyone has a safe, secure and affordable place to call home — charities and community organizations will continue dressing the wound of systemic failure.

If you want to play a part and report an empty property in your area, details can be found here.


Related Topics:

U.K.’s Poverty, Food and Flood Victims*

Disaster Capitalism, Immigration, and the Outsourcing of Violence in the U.K.*

Food Poverty in the U.K. Causing Soar in ‘Victorian’ Illnesses*

U.K. GPs to Gather Info on Sick Patients for the State*

U.K. Will Deport You if You Earn Less Than £35,000 a Year*

More People in Europe are Dying Than are Being Born*

Britain’s Most Segregated Town Speaks Lithuanian*

Britain’s Most Segregated Town Speaks Lithuanian*

Most British Muslim women speak English even though the state cut language classes over 5 years ago. Yet here we are with a shining example of how little Cameron knows the country he is Prime Minister of…or when the reality falls far from the big Agenda

By Kieran Corcoran

An Eastern European supermarket in Boston (l) and the famous town church (r)

Families who moved from Eastern Europe to Boston, Lincolnshire, say they feel no need to integrate.

The small market town was revealed last week as the least integrated place in the country.

Analysis of census figures showed that the 11,000 immigrants of Boston – around a sixth of the population – live more separate lives than anywhere in the country.

Many say they can get by speaking no English, and there are Eastern European pubs, shops and jobs for them.

One family said:

“We love it here. It is just like living in Lithuania.”

Emil Koval, a 39-year-old father of two, lives on a street where more than 85% of his neighbours are also immigrants.

Mr Koval, a factory worker, moved to Boston from Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, with his family six years ago.

He said: “We do have respect for British culture but there is so much of our country here it is hard to get homesick.

“Both my sisters are here — I’m thinking of getting Mum to come.”

Entire streets in the town are filled with businesses which say they have almost no English customers.

Signs and notices around the community are often published in as many as six languages so locals can all read them.

Boston’s location in East Anglia makes it attractive to migrant workers because of an abundance of factory and agricultural jobs.

Nearby Spalding and Wisbech were also named in the top ten least integrated U.K. communities by the Policy Exchange think tank.

The influx to the small towns has created some resentment among Lincolnshire locals.

A market trader in Boston, who did not wish to be named, said:

“I have nothing to do with them.

“People are bothered by immigration because of the size of the town. It’s ridiculous how many shops and supermarkets they have.”


Related Topics:

No Confidence Vote in David Cameron Passes 170,000 Signatures*

Corbyn Turns PMQs into the People’s Question Time, and Cameron Flounders*

Why the West is Terrified of Muslims Reading History…*

U.K. Muslims with 7/7 survivor Gill Hicks Call for Counter Radicalization Together*

They get you to Hate Muslims so They Can Pocket There Wealth and Keep You Poor*

Interpol Reports 1 Percent of European Terrorism Was Carried Out by Muslims in 2014*

UK Schools Are Making Muslim Children Take ‘Counter Extremism’ Tests*