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Abigail Eatock

Abigail Eatock has 28 articles published.

Mabna Institute: Iranian University “targeted Western educational institutions” in hacking scandal

in Tech/World News by

The US Department of Justice has levelled a series of federal charges against nine members of an Iranian firm, which officials say worked on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and other Iranian clients to steal email credentials and more than 31 terabytes of files from universities, companies, government agencies and non-governmental organisations.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre issued a statement saying that it: “assesses with high confidence that the Mabna Institute are almost certainly responsible for a multi-year Computer Network Exploitation campaign targeting universities in the UK, the US, as well as other Western nations, primarily for the purposes of intellectual property (IP) theft.”

In a government statement the UK Foreign Office Minister for Cyber, Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, welcomed the US indictments saying: “It demonstrates our willingness and ability to respond collectively to cyber-attacks using all levers at our disposal. Today’s action is a further step demonstrating that malicious cyber-activity will not go unpunished. Mabna Institute employees can no longer travel freely, curtailing their career prospects outside of Iran.”

DOJ officials claim the Mabna Institute successfully hacked nearly 8,000 professor email accounts at 144 U.S. universities (and 176 more around the world), exfiltrating assets that American universities spent close to US$ 3.4 billion (£2.4 billion) on procuring and maintaining during the course of the malicious campaign.

The firm would then allegedly sell or distribute the stolen data to Iranian universities and other clients, supplying them with scientific research and intelligence that they could not obtain through honest means.

According to the indictment, the accused hackers performed reconnaissance on tens of thousands of university professors to ascertain their research interests, before launching spear phishing campaigns against their chosen targets.

The phishing emails were designed to look like correspondence from fellow professors expressing an interest in a victim’s published articles, and contained links to what supposedly were additional articles.

However, when victims clicked on the link, they were actually redirected to a malicious phishing domain that appeared to be a log-in page for their own university network – a ruse intended to make them think they were logged out of the system so they would enter their credentials, thus exposing them.

In total, over 100,000 professor accounts were targeted during the course of the operation, the indictment states.

The indictment comes in uncertain times, as the Trump administration ponders the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), informally known as the nuclear accord reached between the US and Iran in October 2015.

Some analysts believe this agreement prompted Tehran to scale back on major disruptive cyber-attacks against the US, in anticipation of lighter sanctions against the Middle Eastern regime. However, if proven true, this latest reported incident suggests that Iran continues to aggressively hack targets behind the scenes.

US Judge Gives President the Green Light for Mexico Wall

in World News by

A US judge, who was once criticized for his Mexican heritage by President Donald Trump, has ruled that the Trump administration has the authority to waive environmental restrictions to build a wall on the US-Mexican border, according to a court document.

In January, DHS announced it had waived environmental, natural resource and land management laws to speed up the construction of a border barrier in the US State of New Mexico. This came after The Centre for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups challenged the Homeland Security Department’s use of a 2005 congressional authorisation to continue ignoring the Endangered Species Act and other laws during border-security construction.

They argued that the 2005 waiver authorisation — part of the REAL ID Act — was intended only to expedite specific lengths of fence built by the George W. Bush administration in areas of frequent illegal border crossings.DHS plans to replace an old barrier along a 20-mile segment of the border with a see-through wall.

As a presidential candidate, Trump drew fierce criticism in June 2016 when he said that Curiel, who was born in the US state of Indiana to parents who emigrated from Mexico, was biased against him due to his Mexican heritage.

Curiel’s border wall ruling on Tuesday focused on “whether the Congress has the power under the US Constitution to enact the challenged law and whether the Secretary of Department of Homeland Security properly exercised the powers delegated by Congress,” the document said.

Center for Biological Diversity attorney Brian Segee said his organisation would appeal the ruling.

“The Trump administration has completely overreached its authority in its rush to build this destructive, senseless wall,” Segee said. “They’re giving unprecedented, sweeping power to an unelected agency chief to ignore dozens of laws and crash through hundreds of miles of spectacular borderlands. This is unconstitutional and shouldn’t be allowed to stand.”

ISIS Fighters a “Threat to Britain” Says Richard Walton

in Islamism by

Richard Walton, a former head of Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command, said, “everyone is assuming” the danger came from British IS supporters arriving back in this country. Mr Walton’s comments come ahead of his participation in a World Counter Terror Congress which begins in London tomorrow.

World Counter Terror Congress:
“DETECTING, DETERRING AND DISRUPTING TERROR THREAT

As nations seek to advance their resilience and ability to respond to the global terrorist threat, there is need for collaboration on shared challenges faced. Aligned with the UK’s CONTEST strategy and run in close correspondence with the UK’s Home Office, Cabinet Office and Emergency Services, the conference will deliberate best practice to defeat the terrorist threats to our nations.

Featuring an unrivalled speaker line up, the World Counter Terror Congress will hear national updates on counter terror strategy, operations and policy, examining the key areas of Prevention, Pursuit and Protection from international terror threats”

One aim of the event is to improve international cooperation and to allow countries to share knowledge about the terrorist threat.

Around 300 of the 850 or so British residents who went to Syria are still estimated to be overseas. Of these, around two thirds have been deprived of their citizenship because they were either foreign-born or are of overseas heritage with access to another nationality.

But Mr Walton said the danger was much greater because of the ability of foreign fighters from other parts of the EU to travel here.

He said: “About 30,000 to 40,000 people from 100 nation states went to Syria and a proportion of those are coming back. But they are not necessarily returning to the countries of origin, they are returning to regions of origin. “A French national may not return to Paris, he may return to London. No-one’s considered that yet.”

“Everyone is assuming it’s your own nationals coming back but, of course, with the common travel area in the EU, it could be any European that’s gone in the last five or six years. If you tot that up for Europe, there are several thousand.”

“The concern is foreign fighters .. using common travel areas and their passports to travel around. You hop into one EU country and you’ve got the liberty to get around all the others. Unfortunately, freedom of movement provides freedom of movement for terrorists as well.
“People don’t realise. They think it’s only our British jihadis who have gone and are coming back but it’s not.”

Mr Walton said that if jihadis did seek to return, they should be prosecuted and that Britain had “a sophisticated counter-terrorism machine” capable of using evidence gathered overseas to secure convictions.

He also praised Britain’s counter-terrorism police and intelligence agencies, saying that they remained outstanding despite the wave of attacks last year.

He warned, however, that vigilance was needed about potentially new methods of attack, including using drones, because “there are very few methodologies used by terrorist organisations in their war zones that don’t at some stage come over here.”

To explore the work the Congress does, or if you would like to tune in to some of the major speeches, click the link below:
https://www.counterterrorexpo.com/world-counter-terror-congress

The Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service

in Tech by

A nationwide scheme to treat military veterans with mental health issues is set to be launched. NHS England has announced a new service to provide support for those suffering from the most complex problems, from substance misuse to trauma.

The Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service was designed after former military personnel and their families across England were asked by the NHS how services could be improved. At present veterans with problems access care through the Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service, which helps patients access the right care.

The new service, backed by £3.2 million of funding, is set to help those who have the most complex needs. Psychological therapies and psychiatry, detox services and family support are some of the options that will be available to veterans.

The initiative will also aim to help veterans access services closer to home, rather than requiring them to travel. They will also be able to receive help with employment, accommodation, finances and relationships.

Dr Jonathan Leach, chairman of NHS England’s armed forces and their families clinical reference group, said, “The NHS is committed to providing every veteran who needs mental health support with the best care, which is why we have already set up a dedicated new service based directly on feedback from veterans themselves. To build on this, we are investing £3.2m in a national complex treatment service, launching next month, which will treat more patients, over a longer period and closer to home as veterans have told us they prefer.”

Edward Parker, CEO of Walking with the Wounded, said: “This is a very welcome commitment by the NHS to provide a comprehensive network of care for veterans and their families.”

President Trump Threatens the EU

in Brexit/World News by

President Donald Trump on Saturday threatened the European Union with increased taxes on automobile imports while slamming the “very stupid trade deals and policies” struck by his predecessors, as his administration continues to defend his decision this week to impose unilateral tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

“The United States has an $800 Billion Dollar Yearly Trade Deficit because of our “very stupid” trade deals and policies,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Our jobs and wealth are being given to other countries that have taken advantage of us for years. They laugh at what fools our leaders have been. No more!”

He added: “If the E.U. wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the U.S,” Trump added. “They make it impossible for our cars (and more) to sell there. Big trade imbalance!”

On Thursday, Trump announced plans to levy a 25 percent tax on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports to protect U.S. national security interests. His decision caused a drop in stock markets and was criticised by many Republican lawmakers.

Many countries, including U.S. allies like Canada, said they opposed the proposal. In its response, the European Union said it would consider imposing retaliatory tariffs on politically sensitive products from Republican-run states, including motorcycles, clothing and alcohol.

Despite his threat, Trump would not be able to impose tariffs on the E.U cars without going through a formal process, like the administration did for steel and aluminium tariffs — otherwise Congress would need to act.

GitHub Suffers Largest Cyber Attack in History

in Student Politics/Tech by

In a growing sign of the increased sophistication of both cyber attacks and defences, GitHub has revealed that this week it weathered the largest-known DDoS attack in history.

The code-sharing site was subjected to a colossal 1.35Tbits/sec surge in traffic, as unknown hackers attempted to take the platform offline.

The attack was foiled by Akamai Prolexic’s anti-DDoS protections, which Github automatically activated shortly after detecting the spike in traffic.

The attack appears to be the largest on record, surpassing the previous record-holder, a 1.2Tbits/sec onslaught launched against Dyn in 2016.

While the attack on Github was larger in volume, the Dyn DDoS was both more sustained and more effective, knocking out internet connections and major websites across large portions of the US for many hours.

The Github attack, by contrast, was called off by the perpetrators after just eight minutes, which may indicate that the incident was merely a test of the hackers’ capabilities.

GitHub boasts almost 20 million users and is most commonly used by computer coders for open-source projects. The online firm is considered the largest host of source code in the world.

DDoS attacks have been on the rise in recent times. Last month, the website of the national tax office in the Netherlands was taken offline after a DDoS attack targeted the country’s largest banks. ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank said they were hit by hackers, temporarily disrupting online and mobile-banking services.

Homeland Security marks 15 Year Anniversary

in World News by

Celebrating 15 Years of Keeping America Safe:
Fifteen years ago, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) became a Cabinet-level department to coordinate and oversee a national strategy to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States.

Created after September 11, 2001, the move integrated 22 different federal departments and agencies, and unified efforts to secure the nation. DHS has helped transform the way America has secured their nation over the last ten years, making their efforts more agile, proactive, and coordinated.

And a decade after the creation of a Cabinet-level agency bearing that name, homeland security has come to mean much more. It means the coordinated work of hundreds of thousands of dedicated and skilled professionals, and more than ever, of the American public: our businesses and families, communities and faith-based groups. We are safer and more secure than ever before, and DHS stands ready to confront our future challenges.

To watch Vice-President Pence’s full speech, click the link below:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-vice-president-pence-department-homeland-security-15th-anniversary-event/

Theresa May: Brexit Speech

in Brexit by

Today, Theresa Maybe told EU technocrats that our patience is running out. More empty platitudes. Enough talk. She must make the EU respect the referendum decision to take control of our borders, laws and money.

A couple of days earlier, no doubt in an attempt to undermine the Prime Minister, groups that intend to reverse the referendum result had redoubled their efforts. A new organisation called Global Future used the ploy of claiming that the real divide in British politics is no longer between the left and the right but between ‘open versus closed’. It turns out that the three main tests of ‘openness’ are support for uncontrolled immigration, enthusiasm for multiculturalism, and a preference for internationalism over nationalism.

Global Future follows the master propagandist Tony Blair in their use of the contrast between closed and open. Two of the people behind Global Future are former directors of strategy at Downing Street: Lord Andrew Cooper worked for David Cameron and Lord Spencer Livermore for Gordon Brown.

They seek to undermine the solidarity of members of the free political associations we call the nation state by exaggerating divisions. This is the value of multiculturalism. Unfettered immigration has the same effect by weakening the sense of reciprocity on which liberal democracy relies

Theresa May has delivered her long-awaited speech on Brexit, giving more details of what she wants from the UK’s future trade arrangements with the European Union.

Fearful of a UKIP revival, May said: “I want to be straight with people – because the reality is that we all need to face up to some hard facts.” The question is, will this be as empty as her phrase “Brexit mean Brexit”?

“We are leaving the single market. Life is going to be different. In certain ways, our access to each other’s markets will be less than it is now. How could the EU’s structure of rights and obligations be sustained, if the UK – or any country – were allowed to enjoy all the benefits without all of the obligations?”

Mrs May’s Mansion House speech was an emphatic rebuttal of the accusation that Brexit is a defensive strategy. Any agreement, she said, must be consistent with the kind of country we want to be: ‘a modern, open, outward-looking, tolerant, European democracy. A nation of pioneers, innovators, explorers and creators’.

Theresa May’s key points, many of which will spark anger amongst Brexiteers were:

  • Theresa May set out the ‘hard facts’ about Brexit and reminded voters ‘life is going to be different’ after the UK leaves the EU.
  • The prime minister acknowledged the UK can not have ‘all the benefits’ of the single market without ‘all of the obligations’.
  • May said Britain had to accept that the European Court of Justice would ‘continue to affect’ the UK even if it was no longer under its jurisdiction.
  • She said the UK was prepared to make ‘binding commitments’ for regulations to remain in line with the EU.
  • The PM said the UK would commit to keep regulatory standards ‘as least as high’ as the EU in order to facilitate a ‘customs partnership’.
  • May said the UK would be willing to pay to continue to participate on EU agencies including the European Medicines Agency, the European Chemicals Agency and the European Aviation Safety Agency.
  • She rejected Brexiteers’ arguments that it was up to the EU to solve the Irish border problem. ‘We chose to leave and we have a responsibility to help find a solution,’ she said.
  • May rejected the EU’s claim the UK was unfairly ‘cherry picking’ what it wanted in a deal. ‘If this is cherry picking then every trade arrangements is cherry picking,’ she said.

Nationalism and internationalism are said to be alternative reactions to economic globalisation. But, the nation state is valuable because it has proved to be the best way of holding power to account. In Britain, it has also been the champion of liberalism, a system of government that relies on continuous refining of the rules of law and the practice of justice to give everyone the best chance of adding their bit to the advance of civilisation.

These values are what many Leave supporters and senior figures in pro-Brexit camps have advocated for years, and it is these values that need to drive the Brexit negotiations over the coming months.

Microsoft vs US Department of Justice: EU Privacy Law

in Tech by

FIVE YEARS AGO, US law enforcement served Microsoft a search warrant for emails as part of a US drug trafficking investigation. In response, Microsoft handed over data stored on American servers, like the person’s address book. But it didn’t give the government the actual content of the individual’s emails, because they were stored at a Microsoft data center in Dublin, Ireland, where the subject said he lived when he signed up for his Outlook account. In a case that begins Tuesday, the Supreme Court will decide whether those borders matter when it comes to data.

U.S. v. Microsoft, which hinges on a law passed decades before the modern internet came into existence, could have broad consequences for how digital communications are accessed by law enforcement, and for the nearly $250 billion cloud-computing industry.

“The case is hugely important, it has implications for the future of the internet,” says Jennifer Daskal, a former Justice Department official who now teaches at American University Washington College of Law. The case is primarily about “whether we update our laws regarding access to information for the internet age,” she says.

The Justice Department argues that the warrant issued in the US should suffice, without needing to deal with Ireland to obtain the emails. It says the warrant is valid not because it has international reach, but because the actions required for Microsoft to obtain the data could take place within the United States. In other words, the government is saying that copying or moving the subject’s emails stored in Ireland isn’t search and seizure—only directly handing the emails to the US government is.

Microsoft argues the case has to do with digital privacy. “We believe that people’s privacy rights should be protected by the laws of their own countries and we believe that information stored in the cloud should have the same protections as paper stored in your desk,” Brad Smith, Microsoft’s chief legal officer wrote.

The Trump administration, which inherited the case from Obama, contends that if Microsoft wins, US law enforcement will lose the ability to easily obtain evidence related to serious crimes, like child pornography and terrorism. They worry that companies could easily shift their data beyond the reach of US authorities by simply moving it out of the country.

Last week, Microsoft advocated a “national security agency” to avoid a “national security quagmire.” The company has compiled guidelines to follow when establishing a federal cybersecurity agency. It said it would create a “focal point” for cyber defence.

The company said a single national agency would help to “prioritize and harmonise” cybersecurity policies. For this to be effective, the agency needs to be granted appropriate statutory powers that enable it to operate without internal friction.

The recommendations come amid an uptick in demand for national security initiatives. The U.S investigation into allegations of Russian election hacking has prompted concern amongst governments, lawmakers and activists that not enough is being done to ensure cybersecurity.

The U.S currently has several distinct cybersecurity task forces at the departmental level but no overarching body. This has led to a lack of cohesion where departments overlap each other and insights don’t get shared. Microsoft said cooperation is the “underpinning” of successful cybersecurity strategies, claiming a national agency would enable the most effective long-term responses.

USA Scanning Internet to Block ISIS Content

in Tech/World News by

US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Tuesday that terrorists will turn to blogs, chat rooms and encrypted chat apps to keep spreading their message online.

In an organised global effort led by social media and internet giants Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter, the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism has been a major asset in government intervention in terrorist recruitment online.

Nielsen highlighted the fact that as companies such as the ones mentioned above, and other technology companies begin to rid their platforms of terror related activity, extremists are attempting to utilise other methods to get their messages across. Nielsen’s comments emphasised the challenges the global community faces in tackling terrorism, and how the rise of technological capabilities and the internet make is easier for terrorists and other criminals to elude authorities.

UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd joined the conference, where she announced a tool designed to detect and block terror related content online. ASI Data Science have developed technology that will analyse Daesh propaganda content, and block that content. The Home Office states that the tool is capable of detecting 94% of propaganda, with an accuracy of 95.995% accuracy.

In a statement she said: “The purpose of these videos is to incite violence in our communities, recruit people to their cause, and attempt to spread fear in our society. We know that automatic technology like this, can heavily disrupt the terrorists’ actions, as well as prevent people from ever being exposed to these horrific images.”

It is a thoroughly promising move for internet giants and governments to form such a partnership to tackle terrorism, and never has it been more necessary, as cyber security and terror come to the fore in the debate surrounding global security.

The French & Rogue States: The Iran Missile Programme

in World News by

French President Emmanuel Macron has stated that Tehran’s ballistic missile program must be placed under international surveillance.

France seems to be going along with the Trump administration’s bid to get tougher on Tehran, while preserving the nuclear deal that the US President Donald Trump has threatened to scrap.

With the 2015 deal, aimed at stopping Iran developing nuclear weapons, put in jeopardy by the US president, Britain, France and Germany are working on a plan to pacify him by a 12 May deadline to address Iran’s ballistic missile tests and its regional influence.

Macron said France, one of the signatories to the nuclear deal, wanted to preserve it as nothing better had been offered.

However, he said the use of Iranian-linked missiles in Yemen and Syria needed to be addressed because they were a security problem for French allies.

In January, during President Trump’s first State of The Union Address of 2018, he called on Congress to fix “fundamental flaws” in the landmark nuclear deal between world powers and Iran.

“When the people of Iran rose up against the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I did not stay silent,” he said. “America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom.”

He called on Congress to help pass legislation to fix the 2015 nuclear deal that lifted crippling Western economic sanctions against Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Iran’s history as a rogue state:
‘Rogue state’ is a controversial term applied by some international theorists to states they consider threatening to the world’s peace. This means being seen to meet certain criteria, such as being ruled by authoritarian governments that severely restrict human rights, sponsoring terrorism and seeking to proliferate weapons of mass destruction.

Iran has been referred to as such since 9/11, when former President Bush concocted the “Axis of Evil’, compromising of Iran, Iraq and North Korea. And these attitudes have continued into the Trump administration, with President Trump stating that, “New threats were emerging from rogue regimes like North Korea, Iran and Syria and the governments that finance and support them”.

Senior Iranian officials have blamed U.S-allied Saudi Arabia, Iran’s Sunni Muslim regional rival, for instability and attacks in the Middle East, and have criticised President Trump’s comments.

University and College Union Strikes

in Anglophobia / Marxism/Student Politics by

Strike action could disrupt summer examinations if there is no resolution to the dispute over UK higher education’s biggest pension scheme, union bosses have warned.

The warning comes as staff at 65 universities prepare to start a 14-day walkout on 22 February in protest against plans to scrap the element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme that guarantees a certain level of pension income in retirement. It follows a ballot in which 88 per cent of participating University and College Union members voted for strike action.

Industrial action begins with a two-day walkout on 22 and 23 February, escalating to strikes of three, four and five days in subsequent weeks (26-28 February, 5-8 March and 12-16 March).
The union’s higher education committee is due to meet on 2 March, two weeks into the action, to decide whether further action is required.

More than 1 million students are set to be affected with around 575,000 teaching hours lost as a result of the strikes, according to union estimates.

Increasing numbers of undergraduates are angry that the strike means they will not get value for money for their £9,000 annual tuition fees they have already paid.

A series of online petitions have been launched calling for universities to refund students for lectures that are cancelled due to the industrial action. Meanwhile, some students union leaders have been openly critical of action affecting students.

Conrad White, a student at University of York, launched an online petition calling for cash-strapped students to be reimbursed.

The 18-year-old first year politics student stressed that his petition was not against the strike, but merely demanding value for money.

“The university wants it both ways: they want to take the tuition fees money and behave like a business in that way, but then not offer students consumer rights.”

Last night nearly 2,000 students had signed the petition asking for a “fair” £300 refund if the strike goes ahead. Comments posted on the site explain how students feel they are entitled to compensation if the university fails to deliver services they have been paid for.

Alex Jee, 3rd year Politics and English student at the University of York stated today, “Whether or not you agree with the strike is irrelevant. I feel like the lecturers are using my education, and my fellow students’, like a bargaining chip. It’s impossible to be motivated when you feel like your tutors don’t care.”

Munich Security Conference Report 2018

in Tech/World News by

The Munich Security Conference is usually a forum for world leaders to meet on the sidelines and strive for consensus and compromise. But this year’s gathering is more likely to be remembered for saber-rattling and ultimatums, and the lack of discernible progress on resolving lingering conflicts or brewing crises around the world.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who addressed Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, told the conference that Iran is trying to expand its control in the Middle East through political and armed proxies in Syria, Yemen, Gaza and Lebanon.

He made a new claim that Iran is looking to provide Hezbollah in Lebanon with “game-changing” precision-guided weapons.

Netanyahu also criticised the July 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and six major powers: the U.S, China, Russia, Britain, Germany and France, likening it to the Munich Agreement of 1938 in which Nazi Germany was allowed to annex parts of Czechoslovakia.

Under JCPOA provisions, Iran agreed to restrict its nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions that had crippled its economy.

Another crisis that dominated the conference was one emerging in Asia: North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic program development.

“All allies are now within range of North Korean missiles,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told conference goers. “Pyongyang is closer to Munich than it is to Washington, D.C., and therefore we must put maximum pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.”

He emphasised the use of diplomacy and sanctions, but others at the conference said they feared misinterpretation or inflammatory rhetoric by the U.S and North Korean leaders could lead to war.

Theresa May, who took to the stage on day 2 of the conference, called on her country’s EU partners not to let “rigid institutional restrictions” get in the way of a wide-ranging post-Brexit security partnership. There would be “damaging real-world consequences” if none were agreed.

May’s speech remained ambiguous, however, on one of the real crunch points in the debate over future security arrangements between the EU and the UK. Britain would “respect the role of the European court of justice” when it participated in EU agencies while also having its “sovereign legal order,” she said.

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier takes the latter position. He said last November that leaving Europol and the European Defence Agency was “the logical consequence of the sovereign choice made by the British”.

That stance also has sympathisers in Berlin, though some officials fear a worst-case scenario in which German intelligence service have to delete data their British counterparts have shared with them when Brexit comes into full effect.

Access to Theresa May’s full speech can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-speech-at-munich-security-conference-17-february-2018

Young Britons: Ignorant of Cyber-Security Threats

in Student Politics/Tech by

More than 52% of Britons aged 18-25 are using the same password for lots of online services, suggests a survey.

By doing so they make it easy for hackers to hijack accounts, warned the UK government’s Cyber Aware campaign.

About 79% of the 2,261 respondents of all ages said they had sent bank details or copies of passports and driving licences via messaging systems.

“Your email account is really a treasure trove of information that hackers won’t hesitate to exploit,” said Det Insp Mick Dodge, national cyber-protect co-ordinator with the City of London police in a statement.

The danger of identity theft was significant, he said, because many people who sent personal information via email rarely deleted it.

Bank statements, electronic copies of signatures and other important documents could all be sitting in lists of sent emails, said Det Insp Dodge.

“You wouldn’t leave your door open for a burglar, so why give criminals an open invitation to your personal information?”

Reusing a password helps cyber-thieves because they try to use login names and password combinations released in data breaches on many different online accounts to see if they get a hit.

In response to the findings, the UK’s Cyber Aware campaign recommended that people use a strong and separate password for their email accounts.

It also suggested that people should not use the names of children, pets or a favourite sports team for their password.

Such details can be easy to gain from social media accounts, it said.

Wherever possible, said the awareness campaign, people should use two-factor authentication which added another layer of security to online accounts.

Dr Hazel Wallace, a GP and an ambassador for the Cyber Aware campaign, said the start of a new year was often a time that people tried to “reset” their lives by dieting or getting fit.

“When you’re making a lifestyle reset it’s also important to make a reset to your online health as well,” she said. “Hackers can use your email to access all of your personal information by asking for a reset to your passwords for other accounts.”

For more information:
https://www.cyberaware.gov.uk

Global Security Threats 2018

in Islamism/World News by

Speeches and panel discussions at the Munich Security Conference in Germany over the weekend portrayed a world on the cusp of three potential conflagrations: In the Middle East, on the Korean peninsula and, in years to come, cyberspace.

Add to that a growing concern that arms control agreements that kept the nuclear peace between the U.S and Russia since the 1980s are at risk of unraveling, and the mood among the annual assembly of political leaders and generals was unusually sober.

In an otherwise reassuring speech, U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster defended plans to develop low-yield tactical nuclear missiles as a means to deter Russia, which is developing similar weapons. Both former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel expressed alarm at the implications of such supposedly limited nuclear weapons for Europe.

“I think there is a question of whether we are at the end of an era of formal arms control,’’ said Graham Allison, a Harvard professor who advised the Pentagon under Ronald Reagan. “The way to think about this is to ask why did people invent arms control?”

Emerging as the new area of conflict is a potential great-power arms race in areas such as cyber security and artificial intelligence. At Munich, a breakfast on technology overflowed with delegates. A NATO discussion down the hall was largely empty.

Last year, Trump had just been elected. The new administration’s commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the defense of Ukraine against Russia were in doubt. The far-right politician Marine Le Pen seemed as likely to become the next French president as Emmanuel Macron.

Even Russia was less of a focus this year, Andrei Kortunov, director general of the Russian International Affairs Council, said in an interview. And that despite the emergence, mid-conference, of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russian nationals as well as organisations.

Cybercrime remains the most pressing concern for Western liberal democracies, according to intelligence officials.

They cited Russia, China, Iran and North Korea — as well as militant groups in the Middle East — as threats to global security.

National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats warned the US is “under attack” by “entities using cyber to penetrate virtually every major action that takes place in the US”.

Donald Trump issued a national security strategy document in December deeming cybersecurity a top priority.

Cyber-based influence campaigns have been a hot topic since the US election, with experts warning such activity poses a major threat to global democracies.
Mr Coats said Russian interference has and will continue to threaten security in the Western world.

He warned it would continue harnessing fake personalities on social media and throwing propaganda at Americans ahead of the 2018 US midterm elections.

“There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 US midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations,” he said.

“Throughout the entire community, we have not seen any evidence of any significant change from last year.”

The next main security threat is nuclear weapons: Mr Coats warned time is running out for the United States to act on North Korea’s nuclear threats.

He said North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction present “a potentially existential” threat to the US and its allies and is likely to conduct more weapons tests this year.

“North Korea continues to pose an ever more increasing threat to the United States and its interests,” Mr Coats said.

Lastly, terrorism continues to be a major global threat, including homegrown terrorism.

“Homegrown violent extremist terrorism, including inspired and self-radical individuals, represent the primary and most difficult to detect Sunni terrorism threat in the United States,” stated Mr Coats.

Islamic State militants have lost significant ground in Iraq and Syria, but Mr Coats said they “remain a threat” and will most likely attempt to regroup.

The threat to the UK from terrorism is currently ranked as “severe”.

With these main security threats facing the international community, it is comforting to see that global institutions and agencies are working closely to reduce the risk of attacks.

GSG9: Germany’s elite anti-terror police squad to expand

in World News by

Germany’s elite police squad GSG 9, which deals with terrorist attacks, is to become significantly larger and will set up a second base in Berlin.

GSG 9 commander Jérome Fuchs stated, “If you look at comparable terrorist situations across Europe, then it was often capital cities that were affected,” Fuchs told the station. “It is essential that we are better prepared in the capital. Our aim is clear: GSG 9 needs to be capable of quicker reactions in the capital.”

GSG9 was established in reaction to the kidnapping and murder of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. The police’s handling of the situation was fiercely criticised.

Since then, the force has carried out around 1,900 missions, most famously the successful 1977 operation in Mogadishu, Somalia in which officers stormed a Lufthansa flight that had been hijacked by Palestinian terrorists and safely released all 86 hostages.

Rolf Tophoven, the veteran counter-terrorism expert who wrote the first book on GSG 9 in 1977, said the move to Berlin was “overdue.” “It’s very important to have the strong presence of an anti-terror unit in the capital,” he told DW.

“According to the German security forces, the terrorist situation has not become less dangerous, despite the military defeat of ‘Islamic State’ — on the contrary it could have become more dangerous,” he added. “The other point is that a few things are coming to a head in organised crime, and for that it is important to have a powerful unit.”

Tophoven estimates that the GSG 9 will be looking to deploy over 100 new officers in Berlin, though other anti-terror measures have also been taken. Over the last year the federal police has set up new on-call reserve units across the country to provide a first-response to terrorist attacks — whereas the GSG 9 performs planned operations.

The Power of the British Countryside: Dominic Wightman

in Brexit by

Any 21st Century British political party operating without a Countryside Spokesperson should take a long, hard look at themselves. Official figures show that the UK rural population will increase by 6 per cent over the next decade as people choose to leave cities and settle in the countryside. 17.4% of Britons live in rural areas – 11,337,632 people. Cities may seem to dominate our culture, our politics and our media, but a backlash against liberal values and multiculturalism has been led by rural and smaller town voters – in the English countryside, 55% voted for Brexit. Ignore the power of the countryside and your party’s political support is seriously contracted.

When I co-founded Country Squire Magazine with a friend from the Countryside Alliance we saw a gap in the market, which we have successfully exploited ever since. Unlike our more established rivals, popping corks at the metropolitan offices of The Field, Countryfile Magazine or Countrylife, we never intended to create a vision of the rural idyll for wealthy townsfolk to coo over. The problem for actual countryside dwellers is that these publications tended to be looking romantically at the countryside from suburbia or the city – they failed to see the world from the actual countryside perspective. Our success as a platform for the countryside has stemmed from recognising that countryside dwellers have a unique set of problems, which metropolitan politicians and commentators tend to ignore in search of cheap, urban votes.

Take housing. Property in rural areas across Britain is on average a fifth more expensive than in urban areas. Those living in towns and cities presume that, since there’s plenty of land in the countryside, there are plenty of houses for country dwellers to reside in. This is not the case. Many are now owned by exurbanites who decided that an Escape to the Country was just what the doctor ordered, pushing house prices up to levels beyond the latest descendants of families who have lived in the same rural areas and managed the land there for centuries. Add to this the problem of holiday cottages – which tend to be owned by urbanites – and young families have no choice but to leave home for pastures new, while rural homelessness has sky-rocketed. This has had a profound effect on countryside morale – as much if not more than the hunting ban, which separated communities previously bound from Lord to worker by the classless glue of hunting – and poses serious questions about the sustainability of farms in certain areas.

We are risking rural communities becoming enclaves only for the affluent. A village needs a school, a shop, a post office and a pub but so many are now closed and converted into private properties to meet the exurbanite and second homer demand. In just 6 months between December 2015 and June 2016, 231 pubs closed in rural areas, ripping the heart out of 231 villages. Five rural post offices a week closed under the last Labour Government and the trend has continued. Do we want the countryside just to be a national park full of holiday cottages and import our food from elsewhere or do we want it to be full of thriving communities that can be a beneficial and productive part of the economy?

Those I speak to in the countryside are worried about Brexit discussions focusing solely on agriculture and the environment. The effects of austerity and corporate cost-cutting have already decimated vital rural services, notably transport infrastructure to remote areas. Brexit will not simply affect the countryside in terms of a withdrawal from the Common Agricultural Policy and related subsidy and regulation, but it is also likely to bring to a head issues concerning the very fabric of rural life that have long been unravelling.

What road do we want the rural economy to be on in the next decades? Will armchair countryside experts residing in London, or Fabian placers in countryside charities and the so-called experts of DEFRA in Whitehall get away with ideological townie nonsense like rewilding? Will the right energy choices get made or will Britain’s countryside continue to be blighted by hideous wind turbines which rarely turn?

Idealistic, do-gooding Labour is laughed at by most country folk – they have witnessed first-hand the serious damage done by Labour to the British countryside and will never trust it again; chuckling at the insurgent fox populations now blighting Islington and Hackney. In most countryside constituencies you can pin a blue rosette on a dog and it will get elected, simply because of TINA – there is no alternative. While the British Countryside continues to vote Tory, Labour will continue to disrespect and abuse it while Tories will take its votes for granted.

Britain’s rural inhabitants rightly complain about broadband services, but well-connected townies just don’t understand what a serious problem patchy broadband is in today’s interconnected world. It’s not a question of poor reception for streaming football matches, it’s hindering the growth of businesses and cutting off support for small enterprises that townies take for granted. How can pubs and rural restaurants promote themselves when their seat reservation service and web analytics are inaccessible, how do entrepreneurial farmers market their produce to foreign buyers, how do schools and rural public services find recruits when it takes two minutes to download every CV in their inboxes? The countryside feels left behind and many countryside folks I talk to are angry with broadband suppliers and politicians for failing to deliver.

Countryside living happens to be damn expensive. Households in Britain’s rural communities spend nearly £3,000 a year more on everyday essentials – like petrol and groceries – than those living in towns and cities. Year-on-year rural inflation has averaged 5.4 per cent during 2017 so far, which is much higher than the official UK inflation rate. Rural residents spend an extra £540 a year on petrol and diesel and an extra £200 on vehicle maintenance than those living in urban areas, it is estimated. At the same time, around 1.6 million households in the UK rely on heating oil, rather than gas, to warm their homes. Electricity is more used in countryside homes than those in towns – the average annual electricity bill is around £814 for a rural household, compared to an average of £612 for all UK households. Someone paying 24p a litre in January 2016 was likely to pay in the region of 44p a litre for heating oil in January this year.

Come floods, hurricanes or droughts, Britain’s hardy rural communities have always worked out ways of surviving and adapting, despite government intervention or, indeed, without it. Now just for a minute imagine if a political party came along and took these rural-enhancing opportunities seriously and actually supported the goals of the rural population. What a prospect! The power of the countryside could drive them into Downing Street.

We will not hold our breath.

Dominic Wightman is the Editor of Country Squire Magazine.
https://countrysquire.co.uk

Russian Supreme Court: Ending Parental Radicalisation

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The Russian Supreme Court has ruled in support of legislative recommendation allowing the deprivation of parental rights to citizens who allow their kids to join destructive sects, terrorist groups or other extremist organisations.

“The term ‘abuse of parental rights’ should be understood as the use of these rights in a way that can hurt the children’s interests, for example through hindering their education, involving them in gambling, a homeless lifestyle, begging, theft, prostitution and substance abuse,” reads the ruling of the Supreme Court Plenum.

Other examples listed in the ruling include encouraging kids’ participation in any public or religious group that has been officially recognised as extremist and banned by a Russian court. The ruling allows Russian courts to deprive citizens of their parental rights if they are found guilty of such abuse.

The most recent update to Russian anti-terrorist laws, introduced in mid-2016, lowered the age threshold for terrorist crimes such as attacks and hostage taking from 16 to 14 years. The law also provides for up to 10 years in prison for anyone engaging in international terrorism, and up to 15 years behind bars for anyone found guilty of financing terrorist groups. Attracting new recruits to a terrorist organisation was also criminalised, and is punishable by prison terms of between five and 10 years.

The proposed amendment stipulates punishment of up to life in prison for those convicted of recruiting new members in terrorist groups and also amends the current formula “public calls for terrorist activities or public justification of terrorism” with a formula “promotion of terrorism.” It also makes the latter punishable with between two and seven years in prison and using mass media or internet for terrorist propaganda.

Whilst the bill is yet to be approved, it is certainly a step in the right direction to tackle extremism.

British lawmakers should take a leaf out of Russia’s book and implement similar policies, to prevent the radicalisation of children beginning at home. Prevent, one of four strands of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, released concerning figures that highlights the issue of radicalisation of young people under the age of 18.

If Britain implemented a similar strategy to the Russian example, it could prevent the radicalisation of children in their own homes, and ensure our young people are protected from dangerous ideologies that harm Britain.

North Korea: The Happiest Nation In The World

in World News by

Well… according to North Koreans.

North Koreans say they’re the happiest people in the world. They’re told that Kim Jong-Un has made their country the most powerful and economically developed on the planet. A quick look at the Internet or any international media might lead to a different conclusion but in North Korea, they’re banned.

North Koreans are being systematically brainwashed by their own government, and this is clear from the startling UN reports and individual experiences.

Their people are like robots, sporting pictures of their leader and regularly attending mass rallies where thousands move in unison against Western leaders such as Donald Trump. Their official media — has hyperbolic pronouncements, constant threats and worshipful praise of the leader — magnifies a delusional and worrying image.

The threat of nuclear war between the USA and North Korea, to some, is a war of egos and ideology. We can only imagine what this conflict will lead to.

Here is a list of wacky rules:

There are only three channels on TV and you have to watch only those. The Government control content and any information that is released to the public.
In North Korea, if you commit a crime, not only you but your entire family would be punished for the same. Your three generations, i.e grandparents, parents and children bear the brunt of punishment.

North Korean government has 28 official hairstyles approved and all men and women in the country have to follow the same hairstyles as other hairstyles are banned.
The Bible is considered to be a symbol of western culture and therefore not allowed.
Apple, Sony, and Microsoft are not allowed to distribute their products to North Korea.
You cannot smuggle in western literature about North Korea.

It is illegal not to vote, as the government mandates that all of its citizens must vote. Unfortunately, the government also mandates that all 100% of North Korean citizens vote for the same person.

That being said, I would feel a lot happier too, if I had no awareness of what was going on in the outside world.

Theresa May to Give EU £20 Billion As Part of Divorce Deal

in Brexit by

Theresa May is going to line up an additional £20 billion ($26 billion) to the European Union as part of a Brexit divorce bill.

The EU has insisted that talks cannot move onto future relations, including a transition deal, until it is satisfied that “Sufficient progress” has been reached on these issues. For how much longer can Britain put up with the EU bullies?

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, warned Britain last week that it had just two weeks to make its position clear on the so-called divorce bill to have any chance of talks moving onto future relations this year.

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has urged London to say how far it is ready to go to “honour its obligations” to end the impasse.

Except Mr Barnier, the UK has always paid more into the EU budget than it gets back. In 2016, the UK government paid £13.1 billion to the EU budget, and EU spending on the UK was forecast to be £4.5 billion. So the UK’s ‘net contribution’ was estimated at about £8.6 billion.

What we ‘owe’ the EU in this divorce bill is still unclear, and the media continue to offer a rather skewed and misleading report on the goings on in Brussels. The EU’s shocking demands for billions of pounds must not be ignored by those who fought incredibly hard to get Britain out.

We must take a stand against a Government clearly set to keep us inside the EU, and ensure democracy wins in our battle against the establishment.

Valuing All God’s Children: A Politically Correct Travesty

in Anglophobia / Marxism by

The Church of England has issued new guidance for its 4,700 schools, in a document titled “Valuing All God’s Children”.

The Church said youngsters should be free to “explore the possibilities of who they might be” – including gender identity – and says that Christian teaching should not be used to make children feel ashamed of who they are.

Nursery and primary school is a time of intense “creative exploration” the fresh guidelines say, and children should be able to choose the tutu, tiara and heels, as well as or instead of the helmet, tool belt and superhero cloak “without expectation or comment”.

The guidance acknowledges a wide range of views among Christians and people of all beliefs about same-sex marriage, sexual orientation and gender identity.

The new guidelines are likely to reignite the debate around the idea of children being allowed to “self identify”, with critics asking whether there is a sudden “trend” towards gender fluidity and gender neutral.

A Christian Maths teacher from Oxfordshire is due to appear before a disciplinary hearing  to answer allegations that he referred to a pupil born female as a “girl”.

Joshua Sutcliffe claims not to have been given any instructions on how to refer to the pupil, and said he did not mean to cause any offence.

Responding to the proceeding against him, Mr Sutcliffe said, “The aggressive way in which transgender ideology is being imposed is undermining my freedom of belief and conscience, as well as the conscience of many people throughout our nation who believe that gender is assigned at birth.”

Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre which is supporting Mr Sutcliffe, said: “This case is one of a flood of cases we are encountering where teachers are finding themselves silenced or punished if they refuse to fall in line with the current transgender fad.

“We all know how much we change during our teenage years. It is vital that during those years we help our children to live in the biological sex they were born rather than encouraging them to change ‘gender’. If we encourage them to change gender it is not kind and compassionate; it is cruel.”

It is now clear that even religion is not safe from the politically correct fads raging through Britain, and it is only a matter of time before the educational establishment begin questioning the ‘sexual identity’ of Jesus Christ.

Royal Navy Whistleblower: UK Military Bases Are Not Secure

in Anglophobia / Marxism/Islamism by

Security concerns raised by Royal Navy whistleblower William McNeilly have been brought up yet again, this time by a top military official. Defence Police Federation chairman Eamon Keating has told Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson that budget cuts have left military bases open to attack.

In 2015, McNeilly leaked a report to WikiLeaks detailing safety and security failures aboard the UK’s Trident nuclear armed submarines and at their base at Faslane in Scotland. The same concerns were raised on Wednesday in an open letter to Williamson, only this time by the officers in charge of base security.

In his letter, Keating pleaded with the Tory minister to veto further cuts to the defence budget and issued him with stark warning: cuts to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) police force budget will lead to fewer officers on the ground and weakened security at Faslane and other MoD sites. The shocking betrayal of UK defence at the hands of our Government is another example of how unfit they are to keep us safe.

“I must highlight the deeply concerning, and in many cases deplorable decision making that is leaving many of the UK’s critical military assets and sites at unacceptable risk of attack on our own shores,” Keating’s letter reads.
“It is perhaps only a matter of time before an MoD establishment in the UK faces attack, and the reality is that continued and pernicious reductions in the capacity of the MoD Police leave it ill-equipped and understaffed to deal with such a situation.”

Keating’s plea for more finances echo the same concerns raised by McNeilly two years ago. At the time, McNeilly’s claims were dismissed by the military.

The header image of this article shows the WikiLeaks submission detailing Trident Security Concerns.

Security weakness will only increase the chances of a large and sustained attack on our land, and we must rally the Government into taking action. With the threat of UK terrorism at its highest level, we cannot be blasé about security, and these concerns from experts must be heeded, or we will become “nothing but targets in this war against terrorism.”

Tommy Robinson Verification Ban: Leftist Echo Chamber Strikes Again

in Anglophobia / Marxism/Islamism by

It appears as though left-wing social media has removed the ‘verification marker’ of another controversial figure; their target on this occasion was Tommy Robinson, who caught their attention for speaking the truth on key issues facing this country, and the world.

Unfortunately, Twitter did not see it that way, and removed his ‘verification’ status in a rather humorous attempt to silence him, and his many followers.

Twitter need to get a sense of humour and resist the urge to censor the internet because they don’t agree with individual accounts, and they have a duty to protect freedom of expression and speech regardless of whether the corporation agree with those views or not.

In the words of a Facebook user: Tommy = legend: verified and permanent.
To all readers, I do hope you get to read this article before Facebook and Twitter remove it and me from their platforms. Do keep sharing the message, we cannot let them win.

Topshop Engulfed In Transgender Turmoil

in Anglophobia / Marxism by

Topshop has abolished gender-specific changing rooms after receiving complaints from transgender customers.
In a ridiculous move, and one that has been blasted on social media, the retailer has abolished female only changing rooms in favour of gender-neutral ones.
Topshop gave a statement to Buzzfeed News, confirming the existence of the policy, though they did not clarify when it was changed.

“All Topshop and Topman customers are free to use any of the fitting rooms located within our stores,” Topshop said in a statement.

News of the policy change comes after writer and performer Travis Alabanza told the high street brand via Twitter that they had “just experienced transphobia” in a Manchester branch after being denied entry to one of their changing rooms.

Thousands of people took to Twitter to vent their anger and confusion over the policy, and many voiced concerns about the safety of women and girls.

Journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer has condemned gender-neutral changing rooms after Topshop restated their inclusive policy, stating, “what about a man who is a paedophile, or a man who is a sex attacker of young women who can pretend [to be trans] to gain access to young women.

“People will be so PC. They’ll go, ‘well this is a transgender woman, they’re not a risk to the girls in this changing room’ but, actually, it’s a paedophile.”

Sir Philip Green and his retail empire:
Sir Philip Green’s retail empire (Arcadia) suffered a worse than expected 79% fall in profits last year as it reeled from the closure of BHS and a tough fashion market, during which Topshop’s UK sales fell for the first time in more than a decade.

The accounts also show Arcadia’s pension deficit, the difference between its assets and liabilities, more than doubled to £426.8m in 2016 from £189.6m a year before. Total liabilities are more than £1bn.

POTUS Who Made America Great Again

in World News by

He has faced up to bullies.
He has faced down snowflakes.
He has upset the flaky political establishment at home and abroad.
He is the man Who Made America Great Again.

For sure, many people are queasy. And so many officials and business leaders baulked when he called a megalomaniacal dictator with illegal nuclear weapons a “rocket man”.

But, we at The English Channel, who want to make England Great Again, would rather have a friend in the White House with nerves of steel and a loyalty to democracy, than a fair-weather friend who tells us to get to the back of the queue when all we ask for is democracy.

Donald H Trump is a successful businessman who has employed thousands of staff and brought billions of dollars into the American economy.

Oh, how we would love to be able to say the same thing about our political leaders. Most of them have clambered up the greasy, taxpayer-funded pole of party bureaucracies, quangos, and extremist PC educational establishments.

In short, our present political establishment, is the polar opposite of this brave, honest POTUS administration.

In England, we are a country that can look back on more than a thousand years of legal development and democratic progress. Until recently.

This is because so few of our elected politicians have but one fraction of Donald Trump’s tenacity, courage and foresight. He leads his new nation back onto the path of democratic sovereignty and personal responsibility.

So, we commend the new POTUS’s first year in office. We only wish that he had a twin brother (or sister) that he could lend to our spineless and self serving ministers and MP’s for at least the next three years.

Sir, we salute you.
Yours Sincerely,
The English Channel

Snowflake of The Week: Angela Gibbins

in Anglophobia / Marxism by

A former British Council manager who was sacked for calling Prince George, the Queen’s great grandson, the emblem of “white privilege” has lost her claim for compensation. Angela Gibbins was fired after making the comments on Facebook in July last year.

Gibbins, who earned £80,000 ($105,000) per year as head of global estates at the charity, which promotes Britain’s image worldwide, was sacked for gross misconduct following her “distasteful and personal attack” on the future heir to the throne.

The case relates to a picture of Prince George originally posted by the band Dub Pistols with the caption: “I know he’s only two years old, but Prince George looks like a f***ing d***head.”

The meme sparked a debate in the comments section, in which Gibbins chipped in saying: “White privilege. That cheeky grin is the (already locked-in) innate knowledge that he’s Royal, rich, advantaged and will never know any difficulties or hardships in life.
“Let’s find photos of 3yo Syrian refugee children and see if they look alike, eh?”

We at the English Channel have concluded that Ms Gibbons deserves the Snowflake of The Week Award for shamefully attacking a child. And for the unbelievable way in which Gibbons attacked the British Royal family, despite working for an organisation that supposedly “promotes Britain’s image worldwide”.

Is Freedom of Speech A Pressing Issue? Not According to The NUS

in Student Politics by

“The media is always flipping gassed up on ‘freedom of speech, freedom of speech,’” says Shakira Martin, President of the National Union of Students. She is responding to a furore over the hosting of controversial speakers and groups on campus. “This conversation is annoying. It’s a distraction.”

The debate over what should and shouldn’t be acceptable to say at Britain’s universities – and who should and shouldn’t be allowed to speak – has been bubbling away for some time, but recent events have pushed it back up to the surface.

So, according to the President of the NUS, an organisation designed to represent students, their right to express their opinion is not a pressing issue.
On the equally contentious issue of so-called “safe spaces” she says they can be seen as simple acts of courtesy.
“If the media and these politicians think that we’re snowflakes, they don’t want us to turn into an avalanche… and just start rolling shit out,” she starts, before trailing off, seemingly deciding the analogy is not worth talking about.

This is a stark reminder to many students that a body set up to represent them, does the opposite, and supports the systematic suppression of their freedom of expression and right to hold any viewpoint.

Although, this is unsurprisingly for a woman who has stated that, on Brexit, we should “reverse the whole thing” so it is safe to assume that the NUS will continue to undermine democracy, and those students that go against the mainstream, liberal teachings in UK universities, and will continue to promote a rhetoric of censorship and oppression.

Airhead Fairhead’s Bid For London to Lead Islamic Banking

in Islamism by

Former BBC Chair, now International Development Minister, Baroness Fairhead, is leading a Government bid to turn London into the world’s Islamic banking centre.

Outside of the Middle East, London presently leads the world in developing Islamic finance schemes. It has double the amount of Islamic financial institutions than America, and dwarfs France and Germany in this specialism.
Britain is “perfectly placed” to be an Islamic finance hub, claimed the minister at a recent industry conference in London.

The Islamic Insurance Association of London say: “With the Islamic nations of Asia and MENA now amongst the world’s biggest economic success stories there is a real need for the provision of transparent and trusted Shariah compliant commercial insurance and risk products.”

Do you believe that London should be the number one base for Islamic finance? Yes or No?

 

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