Thursday, 28 September 2017

Klity Creek toxins possible in Kent?

Recent reports of the scandal of Klity Creek lead poisoning in Thailand stretching back decades are horrifying:

And despite several Court rulings in compensation not a baht paid. And of course several dead and ill and the water course still not cleared up?

Could it happen in Kent?

Thor mercury in Margate is part of the same public sector collusion and coverup as Manston-Infratil corporate manslaughter crimes.

Kent Environment Agency somehow taking a perverse satisfaction in refusing to reveal the pollution records – even trying to refuse EIR requests, the EU more rigorous version of FOI the Right to Know. And that after the factory was supposedly banned and closed way back in 1988 – after poisoning several of its workers.

The factory equipment shifted to Cato Ridge in South Africa to continue under a supposedly weaker environment regulation. The pollution so bad that the case was eventually – after several more deaths and polluting of rivers and drinking water - tried in the UK High Court – and Cato Ridge still not cleared up.

While Thor mercury in Margate didn’t close either – it simply ignored the ban and continued until the 2007 fire revealed expansion plans.

Even the Southern Water failures of dumping of faeces on Blue Flag beaches or National Grid – is a CEO of a monopoly utility company viable in the last days of austerity? - dredging of UNESCO’s Pegwell Bay pale into insignificance.

Or the 1970’s horror of asbestos still in Kent schools killing off both pupils and teachers both parents and the teaching and health unions dumbstruck into silence.
Even council and NHS silence on Kent’s excess winter deaths this year – 400 last year. When will the latest grisly total be revealed?
Certainly Flint Michigan or Minamata in japan have been more active on the pollution crimes.

The Northfleet intestine children another Kent scandal – no explanation as to why several children in a Northfleet street in Kent were born with their intestines on the outside of their stomach.

All the more astonishing that UK has no central remit to ensure Cancers Studies at every one of the 130 UK universities (no doubt similar delay on Dementia research and cures), a Cabinet level review of new STEM and Pharma drugs and techniques or Pandemic or Pollution Studies.

Unfortunately Klity Creek can happen in Kent – in fact it has. But no sign of the cleanup and investigations that have taken place in Thailand.
Should Thailand’s courts review Thor mercury in Kent if UK courts have failed, yet can review Thor mercury in South Africa?

A Green Court specialising in environment pollution long delayed in UK, and Brexit question marks now over the remit of the European Court of Justice. While a civil version of the ICC would be relevant for major pollution incidents as Thor or Flint - that aren’t war crimes as say the Assad chemical weapons attacks.

Putin with the polonium attacks in London and latest twist in the Perpilichny murder, as with Deepcut Barracks unfortunately handled by Surrey Police, must regret ally in so closely to Assad and mass use of chemical weapons.

While Agent Orange pollution of both Vietnamese and American citizens and soldiers is long overdue a review – the excellent “Waiting for an Army to Die” book by Fred A.Wilcox, summarised in the title with bureaucratic delays and deceit so the veterans die off without full disability pensions or compensation.

A similar problem also for the over 50,000 Australians and Kiwi and South Korean veterans who served in Vietnam - and surely a Commonwealth failing in moving beyond tea and biscuit ceremonies to more crunchy activity.

From 1965-70 Operation Ranch Hand (the 1,200 pilots and airport ground crew highly dosed with the toxins through handling barrels or spray blowing into the cockpit) covered 5M acres of Vietnam and estimates of 8% of US Marines within one mile of Ranch Hand spray sites.

Yet ranchers, farmers and the Forest Service sprayed 4.1M acres of American countryside – annually.

The Washington Post citing the account of Neddie Freedlund a farmer’s wife in Wisconsin who after toxin spraying on farmland:

“..has suffered three miscarriages although she had previously borne six healthy children..(she)…claims that similar maladies affected her barnyard. ..a dramatic decline in the quantity and quality of the milk produced by two cows. Her pigs gave birth to piglets that were either abnormally large or small. Rabbits had premature and deformed offspring”.

And the cases of cancers, skin diseases and birth defects the sort of bloody harvest to be expected from Thor and Flint and Klity.

Certainly we need explanations from KCC and TDC councillors and civil servants and MP’s over Thor mercury.

For certainly Klity Creek and Thor mercury have set a blistering pace in pollution justice cases.

Time for Change

* postive Electoral Commission reduction in Thanet councilors form, 54 to 36 - still too high given inaction and doublehatters and EK council need

* bizarre attempt to commence Pleasurama tax haven scandal and Slipways - astonished these projects not cancelled - again

Thursday, 14 September 2017

NZ trade sanctions in East Kent. Bring the Kiwi Killers of Infratil back.

Many people suggest East Kent should be the boot on Britain's windpipe. Choking off the flow of trade across the Channel. A Project Chokehold if you will.

Not just in protest at Brexit, but for NZ trade sanctions on lamb and wine until the Kiwi Killers of Infratil are returned to UK to stand trial for the Manston-Infratil airport monitor crimes.

East Kent certainly is best-placed for sanctions to bite: Dover as Europe’s largest port handling 300,000 tonnes of UK trade, as well as the UK's second busiest port for cruise ship tourism.

The Channel Tunnel as the main rail/road freight tunnel between UK and Continent.

Eurostar and Eurotunnel passenger and freight trains the main rail routes between London and Paris and Brussels via Ashford and Lille.

Even nearby Gatwick airport, one of Europe's busiest airports, with its 97,000 tonnes of cargo and 38M passengers.

And Heathrow, one of the world's busiest airports, just a few miles further on as the main hub for Terminal 2's Air New Zealand cargo and tourists.

And the Dover-Calais ferries the main sea-borne HGV route between UK and Europe – indeed ebnsuring trade from Manchester to Moscow, and China's OBOR.

And of course the other Channel ports whether Southampton to Harwich and Felixstowe on Southern England's coast. Or Le Havre and Cherbourg to Boulogne and Ostend and Antwerp and Rotterdam and Zeebrugge and Hamburg on Europe's coastline.

All the above trade hubs staffed and managed with East Kent citizens and friends of East Kent citizens.

The very same people, and their families, deliberately and needlessly contaminated by Infratil and TDC/KCC.

No ardent trade unionist would need to exert themselves much with the train drivers and conductors – the Southern rail strike long overdue in being resolved with both drivers and guards as a public safety and assistance measure. And now Anglian Trains.

Or ferry staff and dockworkers and airline staff and pilots – indeed the TUC Congress this week citing not us the Kamikaze Brexit but steeling themselves for another Winter of Discontent of strikes and stoppages.

Few would shed a tear for Infratil or NZ's trade deficit.

With £2BN in NZ imports to UK and just £1BN UK exports to NZ it’s clear Britain is a more important to NZ.

But clearly distortion to UK trade and travel would be an unfair distraction for a few legs of lamb and bottles of plonk and Kiwi barstaff.

Certainly though NZ lamb could easily be replaced with Kentish lamb – and with with less food miles. While NZ wine could easily be replaced from France or Italy, or further afield in California and South Africa, and even a few Argentine and Hungarian reds.

The good folks at Ramsgate Tesco have already marked down some NZ wine - along with laudable efforts on absorbing the tampon tax and moving to 10p plastic bags for life: No Time for Waste a good slogan.

While the good folks at Ramsgate Waitrose have already reduced their NZ whites to just half a shelf, and the NZ reds to just one shelf. Rather, Spanish and Chilean wine is to the fore - raising the question of how Kent and Spain and Chile can be more active in trade?

The good folks at Tesco Ramsgate already marking down Most Wanted(!) NZ Sauvignon Blanc from £9.00 to £7.50 – help them out by buying it up so they can restock with something else.

There’s plenty of choices instead of NZ plonk:

• Sunday Times wines of the moth last week by wine critic Will Lyons with Nyetimber Cuvee from Sussex as “we are living through the great English wine boom” – Waitrose with drop of Chapel Down Kent wine too. Spanish Muga Rosada £12 – not enough Spanish wines in UK. Oddity Dry Furmint Tokaji from Hungary – a food friendly wine. Argentinian chardonnay from Mendoza £8.50 a whistle-clean wine grown at 12,000 feet. I can’t say as I can’t drink red wine – an almost instant migraine worse than the hangover

• Sunday Times citing 2 more Spanish and Argentine wines into its top 25 (only two NZ anyway): Carmelo Rodeo from Burgos and Riccitelli merlot from Patagonia – Will visiting Argentna last year and being impressed by its topend wines why not more UK-Argentina trade?.

• Asda not to ne outdone wine buying manager Ed Betts cites Cocciola and Abruzzo white with loads of citrus and green apple flavours – just £5 and a “corker of a wine from Oz Barossa Chardonnay with peachy flavours and biscuity notes – also £5. Asda citing a taster menu of Cornish Brie or goats Cheese too.

• The Sunday Times Graae Britain articie also citing the Foreign Office wine cellars now stocking 50% UK wine and making a profit with sales of vintage wines.

• And the good folks of Ramsgate Asda with a Chilean Sauvignon the Winetek Cosmic Shepherd with a rather swish spaceage label and ”perfect for Asian cuisine and seafood”. I tried it and it’s delicious.

Certainly any trade sanctions shouldn't impact on Kent’s supermarkets for consumer support would gradually buy up - perhaps slighter cheaper NZ stock - for it to then be replaced with Californian wine etc.

The excellent Lloyds Bank report on the UK food and wine trade's 4x increase last year suggests the loss would be NZ's. With more sheep than people, Kiwis are unlikely to cope with the excess inventory and eat the mountains of lamb or drink the lakes of wine themselves.

Even Tonga and Samoa are balking at greasy offcuts of NZ lamb on health grounds - is killing other people's citizens a NZ way of working?

And nearby Australia's wine and lamb markets are unlikely to welcome Kiwi stock dumping - nor Infratil investments in Oz pensioner care homes. California's and Chile's wine markets and retailers also have their own bigger fish to fry than NZ wine. And beef rather than lamb is the cultural stew of choice from USA to Argentina.

And certainly changing NZ Air landing slots at Heathrow would be a longer-term issue for any Project Chokehold, although a tightening-up on NZ visas and residency would be less problematic given the Brexit nonsense on EU citizens.

Perhaps EU citizens in UK would be replaced by NZ refugees from the wine and lamb industries.

NZ might even want to try being China's Farm rather than Britain's Farm, with a taste of Chinese democracy and tariffs. The NZ milk powder scandal though leaving an unpleasant taste in many Chinese mouths. And lamb and wine playing second cultural fiddle to pork and beer in Asia.

Certainly dynamic and respected Kiwi leaders such as former PM's John Key and Helen Clark can't really justify keeping the Infratil directors away from justice or jeopardising long-standing UK-NZ relations even if they don't want the Queen as head of state?

Nobody's denying Infratil didn't carry out the Manston-Infratil crimes, and gunrunning and drugs flights, that even the FBI and ATF must be concerned about. There’s not even an attempt at coverup now.

And it’s worth remembering the Manston pollution and weather monitors were major sites in the whole London and South East network. UK citizens across Kent and London have been endangered.

The collpase of Kent governance continues apace.

With KCC councillors featured in Private Eye's Rotten Boroughs for their only act before their lengthy Summer holidays of voting a 15% pay increase from a recommeneded 1.5% increase. This makes them the UK's highest paid councillors and with the most over £100k civil service salaries - none of this in any manifesto.

Now after a Summer of inaction matched only by Parliament, the councillors have cancelled the September KCC meeting as they have nothing to do.

The County Barn is now empty except for tumbleweed drifting down Kent's drug-ridden and potholed High Streets.

KCC Leader Carter and TDC leader Wells and RTC Mayor Shonk must go: mere drones to rubberstamp civil service salaries and pensions.

It's only mere silence now from NZ's Wellington airport and Kent's councils in Maidstone and Margate.

Nobody wants trade sanctions but perhaps that's for the best if the alternative is the Infratil directors remaining at large.

And certainly with Brexit and coastal deprivation adding to East Kent's woes - so near to Maidstone and so far from Flanders - perhaps a winter of discontent will help freshen up attitudes to East Kent in UK too?

A new UK Life Sciences strategy by Lord Bell, ignoring East Kent's Discovery Park formerly the largest USA inward investment in Europe with Pfizer, for a few hackneyed Oxbridge tweaks is thin gruel.

The Eastwest Oxbridge rail-link is perfectly valid but hardly a pharma strategy – the Sunday Times reporting on the overcrowded housing markets of Oxbridge. The sensible Whitehall Out of Whitehall strategy, to pump-prime deprived areas outside London with public sector funds and jobs, also stalling.

No wonder Maidstone is so congested – with constant calls for more public funds for tarmacking -given the same over-centralised approach. And vanity projects for half-empty business parks and retail parks hold sway over park parks in the Garden of England.

Council and business tax strikes might well be a useful adjunct to the NZ trade sanctions to freshen up ideas about East Kent from our stagnant councils and quangos.

But, removing the air pollution monitors with TDC and KCC to develop Manston airport is an outrage.

The latest Private Eye details Cheshire East council in the Rotten Boroughs article with that council manipulating its air pollution figures deliberately and systematically for at least 3 years.

TDC and Infratil did the same (and Gloag-Stagecoach too) for at least 10 years even removing monitors and pretending they were monitoring. And incurring almost nothing in fines.

Cheshire East has now suspended two senior environmental officers, Tracey Bettany and Phil Mason with a third, Nick Kelly, off work with stress, presumably at being found out rather than concern at polluting the public.

The water scandal in Flint Michigan has also resulted in vigorous prosecutions of council officials for corporate manslaughter.

While it’s reassuring to see the Klity Creek scandal in Thailand of lead poisoning somewhat resolved with multi-billion baht fines and compensation. And Japan leading on a global mercury poisoning ban:

TDC has done nothing except cover-up the crimes and remain silent. As have TDC and KCC councillors. Kent's Environment Agency officials, and Berry, Button and Sproates the TDC environment officers, continue on full salaries.

While Bogoievski, Baker and Fitzgerald and Clarke remain at large in Wellington airport NZ - with the closure of almost a dozen UK and EU and NZ airports. And even the Infratil CEO dying of cancer.

Clearly Kent Police and their pensions are scared to raise the extradition details and put councillors and officials under oath in a public inquiry. Leader Carter of KCC and leader Wells of TDC and Mayor Shonk were involved in the Manston project so now keeping silent on the cancer victim crimes.

NZ trade sanctions on wine and lamb may well spur on debate in NZ and UK on the Infratil directors. The NZ stock exchange may also query why Infratil as one of NZ's largest corporations was falsifying its report and accounts for years with the fake Manston fines.

Australians might also want to question their consumption of NZ lamb and wine as well as the Infratil pensioner care homes. Poisoning Kent's citizens and environment is hardly ideal and makes a mockery of the NZ Air 100% Pure slogan. Perhaps NZ have developed a cunning strategy in merely exporting their pollution onto Kent and European citizens.

Or, in not the first free passage Down Under, should the TDC officials be extradited to stand trial with the Infratil criminals in NZ?

The UK Bar set low with Lord Grabiner's set of fraudsters at One Essex Court weakening the UK High Court.

UK and NZ have always had good relationships and an increasing tourism economy so a Project Chokehold is less than ideal. Why should The Kiwi Killers of Infratil be allowed to jeopardise that with wider NZ trade sanctions?

Time for Change

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Caribbean and UK Resilience not very resilient at all?

Trouble arrives in battalions to misquote Shakespeare. And certainly the Caribbean at the moment is suffering a sea of Resilience troubles. I've written previously on Texas and UK and Storm Harvey:

And now with Storm Irma the most prolonged storm ever with winds over 185mph and Storm Jose only slightly less worse as a Category 4, storm the Caribbean is under siege from Climate Change.

While the Richter scale 8 earthquake on Mexico's Pacific side is the worst in over a century and will no doubt impact on Mexico's support for Texas in the recovery from Storm Harvey.

The UK response is unfortunately categorised as weak already. The Royal Navy caught napping with ships having to deploy from UK - and just 40 Royal Marines - as the French and Dutch navy, and troops, were already on the ground in their Caribbean colonies.

The shambles of beach landing kit not being able to land on the beach and some of it then airlifted in by helicopter speaks volumes for preparedness.

Clearly a review is required of UK resilience support in the Caribbean once the storms have subsided and the bodies are buried - the slow response along with confusion on which landing areas to use and even communication completely lost from the islands suggest much is to be done.

Not to have ships and aid forward-positioned during the storm season is astonishing.

And UNOCHA one of the humanitarian organisations with UK's former DFID heads now at the helm needs to consider its response too: deploying bureaucrats so late in the day is of little use unless they have their sleeves rolled up. They were needed months before in the planning phase. And the Caribbean islands don't have a government or telephones or internet to advise?

Why would aid take longer than 6 hours to arrive in any Caribbean disaster?

The Caribbean Commonwealth failing to organise a network of aid depots is a failure in itself. No point in the Caribbean or Central America is more than c.1,000 miles radius from any other point - about the length of Britain.

Imagine a Resilience disaster in UK that took days before ships were even dispatched – perhaps we should hope the Dutch navy turn up.

Barney Barges of aid might be a solution in themselves given the new debate on the UK National Shipbuilding Strategy, and most defence spend geared to maintaining jobs and increased military spend, rather than any real military threat.

The Plymouth shipmakers helping developing the HRonn robot-barge carrying shipping containers to be easily unloaded by helicopter might be more relevant for Resilience:

Certainly a flotilla of such Barney Barges would not be much of a loss if they sank in a storm - the UK's aircraft carriers unlikely to ever be deployed as too expensive to use or lose.

FMCG manufacturers could use up near-expiry date products reducing waste. And flying bottled water around the world in emergencies must be absurd compared to pre-prepared water bowsers and water purification plants.

And a review of helicopters available is needed: damaged ports and harbours as with the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 require airlift capability. The UK providing just 12 helicopters for a dozen Caribbean islands now is again feeble.

The issue of whether UK helicopters can fly in rain, as with the scandal of UK helicopters in Afghanistan not being provided and being incapable of a dust-off because it's dusty in the desert, is best left to when the storm clouds have subsided.

Providing aid on standby is also relevant for the Pacific coast of Central America and Latin America given the frequent storms and earthquakes: Santiago in Chile in 2015 with a tsunami too. It would be absurd given the UK and USA and Canadian navies along with Chile and Mexico and Argentina if aid had to be prioritised to either the Caribbean or Pacific.

While the Chilean navy focusing on blood and organ donations is a necessary precaution too. 35,000 deaths from natural disasters each year is a drop in the ocean compared to those injured. The Royal Navy turning up at the last minute with an Elastoplast and its rum ration is of little use.

The taxpayer funding a navy that cannot, or is not, to be used is a rather expensive farce.

Global emergency telephone numbers and websites would be a simple and far-reaching reform. You may know to telephone 999 or 911 but would tourists or children? And a hurricane is no time to be googling a list of disaster numbers or websites.

Barbuda and Anguilla, and no doubt Puerto Rico and Cuba, and Florida and Georgia as the storms progress, look as if a nuclear bomb has been detonated over them. Perhaps an eerie reminder of the dangers of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

While the Yucatan area formed from a huge meteor strike - similar to the Meteor Crater in Flagstaff Arizona, in USA - and aptly near both the NASA launch site in Florida and European launch site in French Guyana - require different Resilience in space preparation.

After over 50 years of space activity for there to be no global plan on space exploration or even Mars2030 is absurd - as is the lack of weather satellites, space junk clearance or satellites around every planet and moon in the solar system.

Without such measures space exploration will be hindered as well as preparation for storms such as Irma or earthquakes and volcanoes as per the eruption in 2010 of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull, disrupting more flights since WW2, and global Climate threat of Krakatoa before that with shorter Summers and harvests.

Resilience planning relevant in UK too - and here in East Kent one can imagine how feeble the preparations are given the severe storms of 1953 and 1978 across Kent and Benelux with hundreds dead, and increased use of the Thames Flood Barrier. Or indeed any part of the UK or coast given nowhere in Britain is more than 75 miles from the sea.

The carnage of the Xmas sales would be nothing to the emptying of supermarket shelves in a major disaster.

Questions are already rightly being raised of over 1,200 dead in floods in India, Nepal (with its prior major earthquake) and Bangladesh and preparedness in ASEAN, with more Thailand floods: 20 provinces declared emergency and of course Pacific islands through Indonesia (the Aceh Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 with over 100,000 dead) and Philippines and Solomons etc.

The Pacific Commonwealth with Malaysia and Singapore and Australia must surely be better prepared than the Caribbean?

In reviewing the UK aid response though questions must be raised over the Caribbean tax havens and cocaine routes detailed in the Panama papers. Clearly UK aid is not tied to response and support but equally clearly - storms or not - the UK's acceptance of and involvement in - Caribbean tax havens is long overdue for major reform.

The brass plaque money-launderers for arms dealers, or African dictators and drug barons won't be rushing aid to the Caribbean.

While the storms impact on the cocaine and marijuana harvests make a Doitung strategy of crop reform all the more viable. Many farmers would no doubt prefer to grow legitimate crops, or develop the tourism industry, as well as avoiding the pollution of drugs production chemicals.

The UK public already lending their support through Red Cross shouldn't be expected to sanction business as usual in the Caribbean tax havens.

I've long urged Ramsgate as a Red Cross Town focus - not one but two charity shops now -along with a DFID office, given the successful Whitehall Out of Whitehall strategy of freeing up expensive central London office space. And urging Discovery Park STEM labs focused on TB vaccines research and manufacture of malaria nets, and water purifying tablets for Resilience.

Haiti suffering as no doubt will the other Caribbean islands, with cholera outbreaks from broken sewers and sewage floods, as with 600,000 affected in Yemen, are a problem long after the initial storm damage.

In East Kent the council murk and reluctance to detail the secret directors over mega-projects such as Pleasurama (British Virgin Islands) and Dreamland (Cayman Islands) and Pavilion is symptomatic of East Kent failure and the spread of Caribbean tax havens.

And just this week,concerns raised at creditor meetings over Dreamland, one of the largest UK amusement parks in UK and certainly the largest in Kent even with the proposed Paramount theme park, and Arrowgrass a Margate yet Cayman Islands company.

Dreamland with millions of public funds and Lottery funds already deployed after rather haphazard development over c.15 years raises questions on council involvement and secret directors and shareholders as with the BHS - Lord Grabiner/Green scandal:

With moves to make the Pacific Plastic Patch officially a country, the UK Caribbean tax havens are merely a drain on UK tax.

And Storm Irma and Harvey and the Mexican earthquake (storms have alphabetical names but not earthquakes?) prove Resilience and Climate Change problems arrive in battalions - if only the military response did too.

Time for Change

* concerning the Nemo Link seems to be already dredging part of the Pegwell Bay RAMSAR UNESCO site - exactly the sort of thing UNESCO designation is meant to prevent
* silence from TDC Leader Wells on the Manston Infratil crimes and aquifer
* silence extended to over 3 months from KCC Leader Carter in cancelling the KCC public meetings - their only act so far by councillors is increasing their own salaries. The County Barn is Empty and with a Zombie Parliament and caretaker government on the Brexit monoissue
* Time for UK sanctions on NZ lamb and wine (certainly a boost for Kent lamb and wine and other New World wines) given the delays in extradition form Wellington airport of the Infratil directors involved in the Manston-Infratil corporate manslaughter with KCC and TDC removing the airport monitors and faking the pollution data and fines