‘Bug-Splats’ December 17, 2012 - By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian

George Monbiot

George Monbiot 










December 17, 2012







Some dead children are mourned; others are dehumanised.


By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 17th December 2012

“Mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts … These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.”(1) Every parent can connect with what Barack Obama said about the murder of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut. There can scarcely be a person on earth with access to the media who is untouched by the grief of the people of that town.

It must follow that what applies to the children murdered there by a deranged young man also applies to the children murdered in Pakistan by a sombre American president. These children are just as important, just as real, just as deserving of the world’s concern. Yet there are no presidential speeches or presidential tears for them; no pictures on the front pages of the world’s newspapers; no interviews with grieving relatives; no minute analysis of what happened and why.

If the victims of Mr Obama’s drone strikes are mentioned by the state at all, they are discussed in terms which suggest that they are less than human. The people who operate the drones, Rolling Stone magazine reports, describe their casualties as “bug splats”, “since viewing the body through a grainy-green video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed.”(2) Or they are reduced to vegetation: justifying the drone war, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser Bruce Riedel explained that “you’ve got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back.”(3)

Like Bush’s government in Iraq, Barack Obama’s administration neither documents nor acknowledges the civilian casualties of the CIA’s drone strikes in north-west Pakistan. But a report by the law schools at Stanford and New York universities suggests that during the first three years of his time in office, the 259 strikes for which he is ultimately responsible killed between 297 and 569 civilians, of whom 64 were children(4). These are figures extracted from credible reports: there may be more which have not been fully documented.

The wider effects on the children of the region have been devastating. Many have been withdrawn from school because of fears that large gatherings of any kind are being targeted. There have been several strikes on schools since George W Bush launched the drone programme that Obama has expanded so enthusiastically: one of Bush’s blunders killed 69 children(5).

The study reports that children scream in terror when they hear the sound of a drone. A local psychologist says that their fear and the horrors they witness is causing permanent mental scarring. Children wounded in drone attacks told the researchers that they are too traumatised to go back to school and have abandoned hopes of the careers they might have had: their dreams as well as their bodies have been broken(6).

Obama does not kill children deliberately. But their deaths are an inevitable outcome of the way his drones are deployed. We don’t know what emotional effect these deaths might have on him, as neither he nor his officials will discuss the matter: almost everything to do with the CIA’s extrajudicial killings in Pakistan is kept secret. But you get the impression that no one in the administration is losing much sleep over it.

Two days before the murders in Newtown, Obama’s press secretary was asked about women and children being killed by drones in Yemen and Pakistan. He refused to answer, on the grounds that such matters are “classified”(7). Instead, he directed the journalist to a speech by John Brennan, Obama’s counterterrorism assistant. Brennan insists that “al-Qaida’s killing of innocents, mostly Muslim men, women and children, has badly tarnished its appeal and image in the eyes of Muslims”(8). He appears unable to see that the drone war has done the same for the United States. To Brennan the people of north-west Pakistan are neither insects nor grass: his targets are a “cancerous tumour”, the rest of society “the tissue around it”. Beware of anyone who describes a human being as something other than a human being.

Yes, he conceded, there is occasionally a little “collateral damage”, but the US takes “extraordinary care [to] ensure precision and avoid the loss of innocent life.” It will act only if there’s “an actual ongoing threat” to American lives(9). This is cock and bull with bells on.

The “signature strike” doctrine developed under Obama, which has no discernable basis in law, merely looks for patterns(10). A pattern could consist of a party of unknown men carrying guns (which scarcely distinguishes them from the rest of the male population of north-west Pakistan), or a group of unknown people who look as if they might be plotting something. This is how wedding and funeral parties get wiped out; this is why 40 elders discussing royalties from a chromite mine were blown up in March last year(11). It is one of the reasons why children continue to be killed.

Obama has scarcely mentioned the drone programme and has said nothing about its killing of children. The only statement I can find is a brief and vague response during a videoconference last January(12). The killings have been left to others to justify. In October the Democratic cheerleader Joe Klein claimed on MSNBC that “the bottom line in the end is whose 4 year-old get killed? What we’re doing is limiting the possibility that 4 year-olds here will get killed by indiscriminate acts of terror.”(13) As the estimable Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, killing 4 year-olds is what terrorists do(14). It doesn’t prevent retaliatory murders; it encourages them, as grief and revenge are often accomplices.

Most of the world’s media, which has rightly commemorated the children of Newtown, either ignores Obama’s murders or accepts the official version that all those killed are “militants”. The children of north-west Pakistan, it seems, are not like our children. They have no names, no pictures, no memorials of candles and flowers and teddy bears. They belong to the other: to the non-human world of bugs and grass and tissue.

“Are we,” Obama asked on Sunday, “prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?”(15) It’s a valid question. He should apply it to the violence he is visiting on the children of Pakistan.



1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/17/obama-speech-newtown-school-shooting

2. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-rise-of-the-killer-drones-how-a...

3. http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-10-23/world/35500278_1_drone-campaign...

4. International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic at Stanford Law School and Global Justice Clinic at NYU School Of Law, September 2012. Living Under
Drones: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians from US Drone Practices in Pakistan.


5. eg http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=4043&Cat=13&dt=11/5/2006

6. International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic at Stanford Law School and Global Justice Clinic at NYU School Of Law, September 2012, as above.

7. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/12/12/press-briefing-press-se...

8. John Brennan, 30th April 2012. The Ethics and Efficacy of the President’s Counterterrorism Strategy. http://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/the-efficacy-and-ethics-us-counterterrorism...

9. John Brennan, as above.

10. International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic at Stanford Law School and Global Justice Clinic at NYU School Of Law, September 2012, as above.

11. http://dawn.com/2011/03/18/rare-condemnation-by-pm-army-chief-40-killed-in-dr...

12. http://dawn.com/2011/03/18/rare-condemnation-by-pm-army-chief-40-killed-in-dr...

13. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/23/klein-drones-morning-joe

14. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/23/klein-drones-morning-joe

15. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/17/obama-speech-newtown-school-shooting

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Mass rape, amputations and killings – why families are fleeing terror in Mali

The Guardian home


Mass rape, amputations and killings – why families are fleeing terror in Mali

At refugee camps, reports are flooding in of horrific human rights abuses in a country once famous for its music and joyous lifestyle. Mark Townsend reports on the jihadist nightmare in the Sahel

Zicki Fli and family outside their tent
Zicki Fli and family outside their tent in Goudebo camp, Burkina Faso. Photograph: Mark Townsend for The Observer

They were told to assemble in Gao's market place at dusk. A man accused of using tobacco was escorted before the crowd by several members of the al-Qaida splinter group Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa.

"Then they chopped off his hand. They wanted to show us what they could do," said Ahmed, 39, a meat trader from the town in northern Mali.

That was not the end of it. The severed hand was tossed into a vat of boiling water. Then, according to Ahmed, the man was pinned down and over the next hour the bent, misshapen hand was sewn crudely back onto his stump. Ahmed, too terrified to disclose his full name, fled Gao the next day, 8 November: "I had to go. I could not live my life."

Fresh witness accounts such as this, from people arriving smothered in the red Sahel dust that clogs every pore at the refugee camps straddling the border with Burkina Faso, suggest that the situation in northern Mali is deteriorating fast. Given the dangerous situation in the region, it was impossible to verify the accounts, but they were numerous and disturbing.

Mali graphicCredit: Observer graphics

Islamist militants who seized control of an area larger than the UK six months ago have imposed their ultra-conservative brand of sharia law. The tales recounted suggest a population subjugated by a regime well versed in appalling brutality. Allegations of war crimes include summary executions, mass rape, racism and the targeting of elders by child soldiers recruited by the extremists. Some allege that child soldiers are being forced to rape women.

Analysts warn that the crisis in Mali threatens to destabilise the entire Sahel region, the belt of Africa immediately south of the Sahara where 19 million people live on the edge of malnutrition. The arrival of Islamic terrorists against this backdrop saw the United Nations last Monday describe Mali as "one of the potentially most explosive corners of the world". Within 24 hours, the country's prime minister was forced by the military to resign , further complicating any attempts to reclaim northern Mali.

MaliAhmed, from Gao, Mali, witnessed Islamic extremists trying to sew a shrivelled hand onto a man as punishment. Photograph: Mark Townsend for the Observer

Last week refugees told how the Islamists – an amalgam of militant extremists Ansar Dine, al-Qaida from north Africa, and the Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa – are hunting down Tuaregs, whose desert lands they have seized. Refugee Zicki Fli, 39, who arrived in Burkina Faso's Goudebo camp several days ago, said: "We were hunted. They came to track us down and if they found Tamasheq [the ancient language spoken by Tuaregs] they beat us badly."

Fli stayed in Mali until, 10 days ago in the town of Gossi, he witnessed something that changed his mind: "A man I knew would meet his fiancée every night, but somebody saw them and called the Islamists. They were beaten with batons 100 times. They kept on beating until both were dead."

Fli left Gossi the following morning, walking seven days to the refugee camp to which his heavily pregnant wife Fadii had fled weeks earlier to give birth. Fli says Fadii is depressed: they own nothing and don't know when, or if, they will return to Mali.

Toufenat Wallet Fikka, 37, spoke two weeks ago to a friend in Timbuktu who described a woman having a hand amputated and being whipped after being accused of stealing money equivalent to just over £1: "They had no evidence. Many people are very scared or running away. Two women, she said, were beaten to the floor because their heads were not totally covered."

One refugee returned to Mali wearing an Oxfam T-shirt and carrying condoms, the charity's main weapon in curbing population growth in a region with one of the world's highest infant mortality rates. When searched by the Islamic police, he was thrashed with a "wire whip" 80 times and told to return for further sentencing the next day.

He, too, fled to Burkina Faso. Those leaving say there is nothing left to enjoy. Mahmoud Ag Hatalio worked as a DJ. He says La Voie de N'Tillit, a popular local station, now broadcasts only prayers. Hatalio says he got lucky: a friend wrongly accused of stealing a bicycle lost a hand to the giant steel scissors specially made by a local blacksmith and later also a foot, to deliberately impair his mobility.

One aim appears to be the complete dismantling of Mali's once-famous secular, pluralist democracy, defined by world-renowned blues and folk music and fabled joie de vivre.

Ahmed Abdullai, from Haribomo, 30km from the Burkina Faso border, claimed that families, including Tuaregs, are being forced to hand over children to the militia. "There is a lot of these Islamic groups," said the 37-year-old former teacher. "Families are being forced to give up their children. They are told to kill, rape. Children do whatever they are told."

Kristalina Georgieva, the EU commissioner for humanitarian aid who recently visited the region to launch an increase in aid, said reports that respected elders were being killed by extremists were particularly troubling: "The effect is unravelling the very fabric of society. It's very hard to rebuild."

MaliMothers gather outside a health centre near Dori, north Burkina Faso. A quarter of children in the country suffer from malnutrition. Photograph: Mark Townsend for the Observer

The concern, for Georgieva, is that northern Mali's transformation into a massive jihadist enclave could replicate the recent history of Somalia. Others warn that Islamic militants are set on establishing a caliphate (a Muslim political-religious state) across the entire 3,000-mile wide Sahel. Intelligence suggests local militia are being assimilated into the extremist structure, and that Nigeria's notorious Islamist group Boko Haram has been seen in Mali.

Georgieva said: "The situation is now mushrooming, metastasising: there are around 100 little groups claiming to be involved. No one expected Boko Haram to explode in Nigeria, but once it did it was very hard to control. We could have a Somalia situation all over again if we do nothing."

The Malian army is fractured and under-resourced, and Europe, the US and local states are squabbling about intervention. The former Italian prime minister Romano Prodi, appointed UN envoy to the Sahel, still doesn't have an office in the region. "The speed with which we are moving towards mobilisation needs much more urgency," said Georgieva.

What exactly they are up against remains something of a mystery. The threat of abduction of foreigners is high, and the refugee camps in Burkina Faso have been moved away from the border to avoid raids. However, the rumours persist that al-Qaida is operating in Burkina Faso – and throughout the region. Charities are nervous. Seven French nationals are missing in northern Mali. In Bamako, the country's capital, the tension is palpable. Air France no longer allows its aircrew to stay overnight because of the risk of them being kidnapped.

MaliKids getting off truck at Burkina refugee camp. Photograph: Mark Townsend for the Observer

How well-equipped and numerous the Islamic extremists are is open to conjecture. Aboubacan Traoré, 27, who fled from Timbuktu last month, described the moment that heavily armed Islamic forces first stormed the city. "They were shooting everywhere. They had lots of guns, rocket-propelled grenades. There were many, many of them – hundreds."

No one doubts that the crisis is destabilising the entire region. Almost 350,000 Malians have fled from their homes, almost half to neighbouring countries, including 8,000 in Goudebo camp.

In simple terms, people are being forced from their homes on to land that can barely support its present incumbents. Oxfam is hurriedly sinking boreholes to serve communities that suddenly have to cope with tens of thousands of fresh arrivals.

But it is the inevitability of war that most agencies fear: any attempt to clear al-Qaida's latest assembly point will create a huge influx of refugees and animals on to a land that cannot sustain them.

In the meantime the situation is likely to worsen. Food prices in Mali and Burkina Faso remain stubbornly high despite a decent harvest, rendering the poorest unable to feed their families.

Experts say the region's rapid population growth is compounding the impact of the world's rapidly growing global middle class on prices. Climate change too cannot be ignored. The Sahel has endured three droughts in the past seven years.

Georgieva said the capacity for the poor to withstand such shocks has all but disappeared: the arrival of Islamic militants in the region is a factor too far. Despite a 13% increase in Burkina Faso's harvest, forecasters are already adamant that 2013 will bring no respite for the region's food crisis.

Mali refugees in BamakoMali refugees in Bamako Photograph: Mark Townsend for the Observer

Although a concerted and rapid response by aid agencies to conditions in the Sahel narrowly averted a humanitarian "catastrophe" this year – the European Commission estimates 400,000 children in the region have been saved from death by malnutrition – the same urgent response is required again.

Many fear complacency may set in, and that reports of yet another near humanitarian crisis in west Africa is unlikely to attract many headlines while foreign finances could be diverted to assist any military campaign. "It is why the Sahel has to be our top priority next year," said Georgieva.

Beyond the threat of a large-scale desert war, conflict on a micro scale is already evident in camps like Goudebo, which has a provisional capacity of 20,000 refugees. Camp visitors will wonder why only black Africans, 'Bella', can be seen queueing at the water collection points or building refugee tents.

The ancient Tuareg caste system, where the Bella were once slaves, still survives and means that the dark-skinned members of the tribe occupy the lowest positions in Tuareg society. By contrast, the Tuareg are often called "white" and claim that they are routinely victimised by the predominantly black, southern-ruled, post-independence Malian governments who themselves are uncomfortable with the Tuaregs' reputation for enslaving black Africans.

The UN says it is "deeply aware" of the tension in its camps but rejects claims the Bella are slaves. "They are more like servants – it is a master and servant relationship," said one.

But skin colour dominates many conversations with the Malian refugees. Mohamed Ag Almougamar alleges that members of the Malian army killed a large number of Tuaregs at Nampalari, a network of 22 desert villages in the north of the country holding 11,000 people.

The incident, again impossible to verify, was said to have occurred over the summer and, according to Almougamar, was racist in motive. "We have clear skin, we are killed like sheep," he said.

As the west deliberates its next move with France favouring immediate military intervention and the US opting for a diplomatic resolution, it seems certain that the hundreds of thousands of Malian refugees, including the traditionally nomadic Tuaregs, are destined to remain in camps for months yet.

Mossa Ag Wantaganatt, 46, who arrived in Burkina Faso at the start of the month, said: "Our lives are on hold. We are living in a cage."

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UA: 358/12 Index: ASA 38/006/2012 Taiwan Date: 14 December 2012 URGENT ACTION EXECUTION OF TAIWANESE MAN IS IMMINIENT



UA: 358/12 Index: ASA 38/006/2012 Taiwan Date: 14 December 2012



Cheng Hsing-tse is facing imminent execution in Taiwan after the Prosecutor General rejected a request on 11 December to seek an extraordinary appeal. The Minister of Justice could sign an execution order at any moment.

Cheng Hsing-tse was arrested on 5 January 2002 and accused of killing a police officer during a gunfight. He was sentenced to death for murder by the Taichung District Court on 18 November 2002. The case bounced back and forth between the High Court and the Supreme Court for appeals and retrials; however Cheng Hsing-tse’s death sentence was finalized on 25 May 2006. His lawyers have since applied for extraordinary appeals but the requests have been rejected each time by the Prosecutor General.

Cheng Hsing-tse first retracted his confession, allegedly extracted by the police through torture, on 6 January 2002 and again on 22 January 2002. He continued to retract his confessions in court proceedings. There have been no investigations into the torture allegations so far.

Cheng Hsing-tse’s lawyers have also argued that there were irregularities in the investigation. For example, four guns were obtained from the crime scene but Cheng’s fingerprints were not found on any of them. The police also failed to keep the crime scene intact by moving the guns and the court has never sought ballistic or forensic analysis.

Taiwan provides no procedures that would allow people on death row to seek a pardon or for the sentence to be commuted – a right recognized by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the Taiwanese parliament has voted to implement.

Cheng Hsing-tse has been in custody for more than ten years and he is currently being detained in the Taichung Detention Center.

Please write immediately in English or your own language:

 Urging the authorities not to sign an execution order for Cheng Hsing-tse or any other prisoner;

 Urging the authorities to introduce a legal procedure for requesting clemency;

 Urging the authorities to establish an immediate moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty, in line with UN General Assembly resolutions 62/149 of 18 December 2007, 63/168 of 18 December 2008 and 65/206 of 21 December 2010;

 Urging the authorities to commute all death sentences to terms of imprisonment.


Minister of Justice

Minister Tseng Yung-fu

No.130, Sec.1, Chongqing S. Road

Taipei City 10048


Fax: 011 886 2 23319102

Email: tyftp@mail.moj.gov.tw

Salutation: Dear Minister


Ma Ying-jeou

Office of the President

No. 122, Sec. 1, Chongqing S. Rd.

Zhongzheng Dist.

Taipei City 100


Fax: 011 886 2 23832941

Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:

Cheng Hsing-tse

Taichung Detention Center

No.11, Peide Road

Nantun District

Taichung City 408


Salutation: Dear Cheng Hsing-tse

Also send copies to:

Representative Jason C. Yuan

Taiwan Embassy, 4201 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington DC 20016

Tel: 1 202 895 1800 | Fax: 1 202 495-2138 | Email: tecroinfodc@tecro.us

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

UA Network Office AIUSA │600 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington DC 20003

T. 202.509.8193 │ F. 202.675.8566 │E. uan@aiusa.org │ amnestyusa.org/urgent




Taiwan has not carried out any executions this year and 61 people remain on death row. Five people were executed in 2011. Family

members are not informed about scheduled executions in advance and they learn about them afterwards, when they are invited to

collect the bodies from the mortuary.

Since 2000, the government of Taiwan has repeatedly pledged to abolish the death penalty. However, on 30 April 2010 they resumed

the implementation of the death penalty for the first time since 2005 by executing four people.

The current government agreed to implement the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 2009, and reaffirmed its

intention to eventually abolish the death penalty.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime;

guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. International law

and standards on the use of the death penalty require that in all capital cases rigorous compliance with international standards for fair

trial, at least equal to those contained in Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, are observed. These

include: the right to be tried before an independent, impartial and competent tribunal; the right to competent defense counsel at every

stage of the proceedings; the right to adequate time and facilities to prepare one’s defense; the right to be presumed innocent until guilt

has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt; the right to appeal to a higher court; the right not to be compelled to testify against

himself or herself or to confess guilt; the right to seek pardon and commutation of sentence.

Name: Cheng Hsing-tse (m)

Issue: Imminent execution, Death penalty, Legal issues

UA: 358/12

Issue Date: 14 December 2012

Country: Taiwan

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More Americans die

in gun homicides and suicides

in six months

than have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack

 And the

 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq



New York Times

Nicholas D. Kristof


Published: December 15, 2012


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The Daktory Court Support - Dakta Blaze Public event - Dakta Blaze faces a charge of "obstruction of a police officer" stemming from a visit made by the police while undertaking bail checks of Dakta Green at The Daktory.

  • Dakta Blaze faces a charge of "obstruction of a police officer" stemming from a visit made by the police while undertaking bail checks of Dakta Green at The Daktory. 

    Dakta Blaze stepped outside to talk to them and the door closed behind him. He was arrested for obstruction after refusing to open the door for police. Blaze does not have to comply by Dakta Greens bail conditions. This date has been set down for a status hearing.

    Show your support for cannabis law reform by protesting with us!

  • https://www.facebook.com/events/194326004035893/

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The Daktory Court Support - Dakta Blaze Public event - Dakta Blaze faces a charge of "obstruction of a police officer" stemming from a visit made by the police while undertaking bail checks of Dakta Green at The Daktory.

  • Dakta Blaze faces a charge of "obstruction of a police officer" stemming from a visit made by the police while undertaking bail checks of Dakta Green at The Daktory. 

    Dakta Blaze stepped outside to talk to them and the door closed behind him. He was arrested for obstruction after refusing to open the door for police. Blaze does not have to comply by Dakta Greens bail conditions. This date has been set down for a status hearing.

    Show your support for cannabis law reform by protesting with us!

  • https://www.facebook.com/events/194326004035893/

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Morgan Freeman - " do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine?"



He isn't wrong. ~ Belfast

Morgan Freeman's brilliant take on what happened yesterday :

"You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here's why.

It's because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed
people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he'll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN's article says that if the body count "holds up", this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer's face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer's identity? None that I've seen yet. Because they don't sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you've just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man's name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news."

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Report by members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers Visit to Dale Farm Travellers site: A year on from the eviction September 2012



Report by members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers

Visit to Dale Farm Travellers site: A year on from the eviction

September 2012


On 7th September Lord Avebury and Andy Slaughter MP, both members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Gypsies, Roma and Traveller’s (APPG), and Jane Connolly from the Irish Embassy1 visited the evicted residents of Dale Farm who continue to live on the entrance road to the unauthorised site. In advance of the visit, Lord Avebury contacted Cllr Tony Ball, Leader of Basildon Council and constituency MP John Baron who both agreed to meet APPG members to discuss the issues further. The visit was organised by the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain and attended by the British Red Cross and volunteers working closely with the Travellers. The visiting delegation would like to thank the Travellers for their kind hospitality on the day.

The objective of the visit was to establish how the situation at Dale Farm has developed since last year’s eviction and to explore peaceful and sustainable solutions to the issue. The visit was carried out in the context of Dale Farm being a national issue which brings to light the severe shortage of Gypsy and Traveller sites across the country and the discrimination these communities face in accessing appropriate accommodation.


Following last year’s £7M eviction2, many of the families made homeless from the land they owned or rented at Dale Farm returned to the area and have, for the last year, been

1 The Irish Embassy is not included as a party to this report’s conclusions and recommendations. It’s role in the delegation was to gain a better understanding of the issues facing the Irish Traveller Community in the UK and observe some of the Irish Embassy funded work ITMB are involved in.

2 http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/9510408.Dale_Farm_eviction_cost___7million/


living either on the side of the privately owned road leading into Dale Farm, or on the authorised site at Oak Lane, which is adjacent to Dale Farm. Numbers of caravans vary, but typically there are between 20-30 caravans on the road into Dale Farm.

During the visit the Dale Farm Travellers made two key points regarding their circumstances: Firstly, if they had anywhere else to go, they wouldn’t continue to live in such poor conditions, and secondly that the vast majority of Travellers living on Oak lane or temporarily on authorised pitches are the original residents of the evicted site (contrary to claims by Basildon that the Travellers temporarily living on Dale Farm have moved in from outside the Borough and were never resident on the site).

Meanwhile concern has been expressed by the British Red Cross regarding the health of Travellers as a result of their continued poor living conditions and the major excavation works on the nearby evicted site. The Environment Agency has also recently conducted tests on the site for asbestos and hydro-carbons, both pollutants which are dangerous to public health. It should be noted that the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain (ITMB) have submitted a planning application for 15 permanent residential pitches on vacant non-Green Belt land owned by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) at Gardiners Way in Basildon.

The visit and issues arising

Lord Avebury, Andy Slaughter MP and Jane Connolly spent over an hour talking to the Dale Farm Travellers on issues ranging from health, services, further enforcement, future accommodation, education and children. Serious concerns were expressed by Travellers in all these areas as outlined below. The group also took a tour of the unauthorised section of the site where Basildon has carried out extensive works to restore it to the green belt.

Lord Avebury talking to Dale Farm Travellers about conditions on the site



Residents expressed serious concern about the health and wellbeing of Travellers living on the entrance road and temporarily on the authorised pitches. Of particular concern was the fact that midwife visits to women living on the site were suspended for approximately 8 months, with women who had given birth by caesarean section (who are generally discharged from hospital 2 days following the operation) being refused visits and expected to make their way to the hospital for care. It was only following complaints from various individuals and organisations that these services were restored. However, during the visit some residents and volunteers indicated that health visitors were still reluctant or not willing to visit the site and that provision of such services may not be in line with standard provision to other communities. One resident made this comment:

“Midwives and health visitors don’t come here since the eviction; we have to go to Billericay for ante-natal care. Three women are pregnant on the roadside, two on the settled site”.

Volunteers on the site and the British Red Cross updated the group that as of May 2012 a Health Bus has been conducting weekly visits and offers baby-weighing, health advice etc. However, it was emphasised that this was no substitute to standard domiciliary services and mid-wife ante and post-natal home visits.

The delegation found that many of the residents are highly vulnerable and have serious conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Dementia, Osteoporosis, Chron’s Disease, Bowel Cancer, Down Syndrome etc. Below are some of the health conditions residents described to Lord Avebury (personal details have been removed):

Male 24, severely disabled after a car accident and 30 operations for broken bones.

Female 65, has dementia. Daughter is her full-time carer and has high blood pressure herself.

Male 81, oldest resident, COPD, gout, high blood pressure, was a smoker and uses a breathing machine at night. He has no carer.

Female 76, dementia, stroke, over-active thyroid, needs to go twice a week to health centre at Billericay.

Female 76, Parkinson’s, used to be visited by district nurse, but that stopped after the eviction. Daughter is her carer, has thyroid problem for which she is treated with 275mg thyroxine daily.

Female 36, children 14, 15, has Crohn’s disease for which she had surgery last year, and is taking medication. [Note: there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, but symptoms can sometimes be alleviated].

Female 72, COPD, uses breathing machine, also osteoporosis. Daughter is carer.

Male 7, has Down’s syndrome who attends Pioneer special needs school in Basildon where he is doing well. He has a problem with his hearing and also with breathing for which he needs to attend Wickford Health Centre and Basildon Hospital regularly. “I don’t drive, so I need the help of my community. When Basildon evicted us they didn’t assess


special needs. If we get evicted, where do we go? Everybody helps each other here, but if we’re separated we can’t do that”.

Female, looks after her brain-damaged son, 32. Partner (Male) has had 2 heart attacks, suffered stroke 2 days after the eviction. “We have nowhere to go with all our problems”.

Female 60, high blood pressure, stroke victim, being treated at Wickford Health Centre, which she says is good. “I can’t drive, so I depend on the neighbours for shopping and visits to the doctor”

Male 80, Angina, bowel cancer, scan awaited for prostate cancer. Lives with daughter and her three children. She suffers from depression and two of the children are deaf, one profoundly.

Female, fractured spine caused by police attack with batons during the eviction, caught on video. She described the police shouting at her ‘Get down you pig’ when she tried to stop them knocking down a wall on a legal site. Police have admitted responsibility, her solicitors have made a claim for damages.

It should be noted that the British Red Cross have expressed concern regarding the health of Travellers as a result of their long-term poor living conditions and the works carried out on the nearby evicted site (see Appendix A).


The delegation found conditions to be very poor on site, largely due to the lack of services. There are no toilets. Fresh water is only available from taps on the authorised site and residents complain about the number of rats. Residents also made the point that if they had anywhere else to go, they wouldn’t be living in such poor conditions. It was noted that the community returning to the site reflects the chronic shortage of accommodation for Gypsies and Travellers throughout Essex and nationally. It also reflects the increasing impossibility of living on the side of the road (because of the risk of repeated evictions, abuse, assault etc). During the visit residents repeatedly expressed their worries about spending yet another winter living in such precarious conditions. Below are some of the concerns residents described to Lord Avebury:

“Conditions are terrible. No toilets, no electric. Water has to be fetched in jugs. Nearest laundrette is 3 miles away”

“Biggest problem is the toddlers – 12 aged 1-2 out of some 60 children up to the age of 16 on the site. About 20-25 from the illegal site attend primary school, none go to secondary school”.

“There has been a recent outbreak of vomiting and diarrahoea. Fifteen children have been to the doctor in Wickford or Billericay”.

“You can have a shower at the ‘sporting village’ in Basildon, at £3.50 for an adult, £2.70 for a child”.

Resident on lawful site: Overflow from drains broken by Council in his garden.


Environment Agency and British Red Cross

Between 14th and 16th August the Environment Agency were on the evicted site at Dale Farm testing for pollutants, particularly asbestos and hydro-carbons. The fact that they have taken this action suggests they are convinced there is a significant risk that harmful pollutants could exist. If they are found the responsible parties (potentially Basildon Council and their bailiffs) could be liable for the costs of carrying out the testing and of possibly capping the site. The EA’s test results are not expected until mid-to-late September.3

Meanwhile an independent assessment carried out by the British Red Cross in February 2012 expressed concern regarding the health of Travellers on the site as a result of the major excavation works and the shortage of adequate sanitation (see Appendix A). During the 7th September visit members of the Red Cross again stated their continued concerns regarding the physical and mental health of the Travellers, lack of sanitation and the possible health threats posed by the evicted site.

Dale Farm volunteer showing Andy Slaughter MP excavation works carried out on the evicted site

in order to restore it to green belt

Enforcement notices

In July 2012 Basildon Council served enforcement notices on residents living on the entrance road to Dale Farm, but not on the allegedly overcrowded authorised plots. These notices were appealed by the Travellers, however, the Planning Inspectorate deemed the appeals invalid as the appellants could not prove they ‘had any interest whatsoever in the land the subject of the issued Enforcement Notice.’4 As a result the notice came into effect

3 http://www.thisistotalessex.co.uk/Environment-Agency-inquiry-Dale-Farm-asbest...

4 Letter from Basildon Council dated 7th September 2012, Neil Costen, Manager of Planning Enforcement (see Appendix B)


on the 29th August 2012 and according to Basildon its requirements must be complied with by the 29th September 2012 (see Appendix B).

Planning application Gardiners Way Basildon

In media interviews Cllr Tony Ball, Leader of Basildon, has acknowledged the need for further provision of Gypsy and Traveller sites in Borough.

On 21st August the ITMB submitted a planning application for 15 permanent residential pitches on vacant non-Green Belt land owned by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) at Gardiners Way in Basildon. This application was validated by Basildon on the 4th September and should be determined within 8-13 weeks, after which time the applicant may have the right to appeal against non-determination on the grounds of invalidity.

The objective of the application is to deliver a high quality authorised site for the most vulnerable on Dale Farm (the 15 proposed pitches will address approximately half the accommodation needs of the homeless Travellers on Dale Farm). The plans for the site also include a children’s play area and a community building / site manager’s office (see Appendix C).

ITMB together with Homes Space Sustainable Accommodation5 (who are a partly Gypsy owned, not-for-profit Community Interest Company with expertise in site management and development) will shortly be submitting a bid for funding to the Homes and Communities Agency for funds to develop the Gardiners Way site.

Meeting with Dale Farm Travellers, Matthew Brindley ITMB, Josie O’Driscoll ITMB (standing)

and Jane Connolly from the Irish Embassy (seated in front of Josie)

5 http://www.homespacesa.co.uk/Home.html



Basildon Council will note that under the Government’s Planning Policy for Traveller Sites and National Planning Policy Framework, they have a duty to develop a core strategy which includes a five-year rolling land supply for Gypsy and Traveller sites that will cover the needs of the community in the area, including those displaced from Dale Farm, by March 31, 2013. It should also be noted that the 2009 Essex Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessment (GTANA) carried out by Fordham Research found that Basildon had a requirement to provide 148 additional residential pitches between 2008-2013 and a total of 177 additional pitches by 2021.6

If Basildon’s core strategy is not in place by given date, the Council may not be able to resist planning applications on land they may consider unsuitable.

The delegation also noted that none of the children of secondary school age of the families living on the roadside is attending secondary school, and the Council is in default of its obligation to satisfy itself that these children are receiving suitable education, through the Education Welfare Service.


The PCT (to be replaced in 2013 by Clinical Commissioning Groups) and the local authority should immediately conduct assessments of the health and welfare needs of the residents, to ensure that they are carrying out their statutory duties to vulnerable groups including the chronically ill, the disabled, older residents, mothers, babies and children. The Health and Social Care Act places specific duties on each Clinical Commissioning Group to (a) reduce inequalities between patients with respect to their ability to access health services; and (b) reduce inequalities between patients with respect to the outcomes achieved for them by the provision of health services. (Section 14T)

Basildon should refrain from carrying out further evictions of the residents on Oak Lane when it is patently evident that they have nowhere else to go. As previously recommended by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Basildon should identify alternative culturally appropriate accommodation with full respect for the rights of the children and families involved.

The Gardiner’s Way planning application should be granted, providing there are no objections based on sound reasoning and robust evidence. The immediate welfare of the Travellers living at Dale Farm should be taken into serious consideration in all future planning decisions made by BBC.

The office of the Children’s Commissioner should visit Dale Farm, and make relevant representation to the Council Leader and CEO of BBC regarding the current serious risks to the health and welfare of babies and young children living in Oak Lane.

6 2009, Fordham Research, Essex Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessment, p. 117



Appendix A



Appendix B



Appendix C

Posted via email from projectbrainsaver

Computer hacker Gary McKinnon, who is wanted in the US, will not face charges in the UK, the Crown Prosecution Service has said.




Gary McKinnon will not face UK charges

Breaking news

Computer hacker Gary McKinnon, who is wanted in the US, will not face charges in the UK, the Crown Prosecution Service has said.

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC announced the decision, some three months after Home Secretary Theresa May stopped the extradition.

Mr McKinnon, 46, admits accessing US government computers but says he was looking for evidence of UFOs.

He would have faced up to 60 years in prison if convicted in the US.

Mr McKinnon, who had been fighting extradition since 2002, suffers fromAsperger's syndrome.

He was permitted to stay in the UK on human rights grounds after medical reports showed he was very likely to try to kill himself if extradited.

Both Prime Minister David Cameron - who held talks on the case with US President Barack Obama - and his deputy, Nick Clegg, had previously condemned plans to send the Briton to the US.

A US Department of Justice (DoJ) spokeswoman, in an October statement, said the US was "disappointed" by the home secretary's decision not to extradite Mr McKinnon.

It stressed the decision had been an "exceptional" one that would not set a precedent for future cases.

More on This Story

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Posted via email from projectbrainsaver

URGENT: 2nd eviction of Dale Farm families - write to Basildon Council Event for Dale Farm Solidarity


At 7.30pm on the 18th December, the Development Control & Traffic Management Committee of Basildon Council is meeting to consider a further eviction of the Dale Farm families they made homeless last October. The families have been living on the roadside of Oak Lane, adjacent to their former home, with inadequate sanitation, electricity and running water, for the last year.

This week this same Committee finally granted planning permission for a 15 pitch Traveller site in Basildon, after rejecting countless 

applications by the Dale Farm families. There is a strong case that no eviction should go forward until the council has assessed the housing needs of the families and found culturally appropriate alternative accommodation for them.

We are asking supporters of the Dale Farm community to email the councillors sitting on this committee to urge them to halt these costly and confrontational eviction plans in favour of finding sustainable sites for the displaced families.

NB: Please be careful mentioning the conditions at Oak Lane at the moment, as this could be used by the Council as another excuse for eviction.

You can use our template below, or you can write your own/adapt the letter. The more individual your letter is, the more likely they are to take notice of it.

The email addresses are:

And don’t forget to cc. Tony Ball, the Basildon Council leader.


Dear Councillors S. Allen, P. Arnold, A. Hedley, C. Morris, P. Rackley and G. Williams,

I am writing to urge you to halt the planned enforcement action against the homeless Dale Farm families living on Oak Lane, Crays Hill.

83 families were made homeless by the Council’s enforcement action at Dale Farm in October 2011. Some of these families now live by the roadside at Oak Lane, where they can continue their children’s education at the local primary school and remain close to their elderly relatives, many of whom require extensive care. Further enforcement action will not provide a resolution to this situation. The families have nowhere else to go and so will be forced to stay on land that they do not own in Basildon, leading to further costly evictions. Neither side wants another costly eviction battle, or any repeat of last year's events. It is the provision of sites, not forced evictions, which will provide a cost-effective and sustainable solution.

The permission granted to the Gardiner’s Lane site on Tuesday 11 December 2012 was a welcome and long-overdue step in the right direction, and will provide much needed accommodation for a small number of the many homeless Travellers in Basildon. I was also pleased to hear the recent announcement that the Council is commissioning a long overdue assessment of the Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople housing needs in the Borough.

It has been predicted that the needs assessment will be completed by summer 2013 (in fact the Council has a duty to have completed its needs assessment by March 2013 under the Government’s Planning Policy for Traveller Sites and the National Planning Policy Framework). I understand that the intention is to move quickly with the development of the Gardiner’s Lane site, and for this to be ready for families to move on to before next Christmas. It is clear that the Council should not proceed with enforcement action against families on Oak Lane when many of these are highly eligible for pitches on the new site: according to all normal housing allocation policy criteria, they will meet the highest level of needs and are therefore extremely likely to be allocated pitches. It is unlikely that any kind of eviction action could be lawfully pursued until these allocations have been made and until eligible families have been able to move onto the new site.

A recent report by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers on conditions at Oak Lane found a high level of serious health needs amongst the community: http://irishtraveller.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Dale-Farm-visit-report-September-2012-2.pdf. However, Basildon Borough Council’s procedures for assessing the welfare of the families living on Oak Lane have been deeply flawed and the Council has not upheld its duties under the Equality Act 2010. Under Section 29 of the Equality Act, the Council has a duty to provide information appropriately to a marginalised ethnic minority community with high levels of illiteracy, in particular where the impact of not doing is potentially severely detrimental and harmful to the community. The Council has not provided adequate time or support to the community in completing the forms, relying on written letters, a limited capacity SOS bus service, which has not been consistently able to attend the site over the last six weeks. Moreover, trust between the Council and the community is very low due to the use of previous assessments by the Council to facilitate legal action against them.

I am calling for the Development Control & Traffic Management Committee and Basildon Borough Council to:

1. Suspend enforcement action against the families living on Oak Lane, Crays Hill, pending completion of an adequate welfare assessment of the families and the completion of the Council’s long overdue needs assessment for Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople sites.

2. Provide an adequate temporary alternative site for the families living at Oak Lane until need has been assessed and provided for. This would include ensuring the rapid development of the recently approved site at Gardiner’s way in order to meet the urgent housing needs of the community.

3. Support applications for Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople sites in Basildon in order to meet the need for housing. As previously recommended by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Basildon should identify alternative culturally appropriate accommodation with full respect for the rights of the children and families involved.

I look forwards to a response from the Council detailing what action they will be taking to meet the housing needs of the families living on Oak Lane.

I would be grateful if you could also pass this letter on to Councillor Bennett.

With best wishes,

Posted via email from projectbrainsaver


Leveson: Third party complaints are a basic but vital step to improving press standards for minorities



Leveson: Third party complaints are a basic but vital step to improving press standards for minorities

The need to permit third party complaints on behalf of minority groups,
including disabled people, will be key to addressing what Leveson
describes as “a significant tendency within the press which leads to
the publication of prejudicial or pejorative references to race, religion,
gender, sexual orientation or physical or mental illness or disability”(Vol.
2 section 8.22)

Disabled people, alongside many other minority groups, have
experienced sustained levels of misleading, hostile and discriminatory
reporting in the press. Headlines such as ‘75% on sick are skiving’1
are inaccurate and dangerous. Recent SCOPE2 research found that
almost half of disabled people said that attitudes towards them had got
worse over the past year, with many reporting that they are increasingly
confronted by strangers questioning their right to support. Hostile and
inaccurate press was cited by disabled people as the chief cause of
increasing negative attitudes.

Disabled people, as a group, are not protected by the Editors code
or the right to make a complaint to the PCC when faced with such
inaccurate and harmful reporting. Leveson’s recommendations to allow
third party complaints, and extend the Editors Code to outlaw prejudicial
or pejorative references to minority groups as well as individuals, are
critical to ensuring a right of redress and a voice for minority groups.

This is not a slippery slope to the press being “hijacked” by “sinister”
pressure groups as Conor Burns Tory MP3 suggests. Implementing
these recommendations will give those who are so often the victims
of sensationalist and prejudicial headlines the basic right to make a



Daily Express 26 Jan 2011 http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/225311/75-on-sick-are-skiving


Attitudes to disabled people getting worse: http://www.scope.org.uk/news/attitudes-survey




Tracey Lazard: CEO Inclusion London
Tara Flood : CEO Alliance for Inclusive Education
Linda Burnip: Disabled People Against Cuts
John McArdle : Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign In Defence of
Disability Rights
Katharine Quarmby: Journalist
John Pring: Journalist Disability News Service
Mo Stewart: Disability researcher
Dr Stephen M Carty: Medical Advisor Black Triangle
Simone Aspis: Changing Perspectives
Eleanor Lisney: Sisters of Frida
Anne Novis MBE
Stephen Brookes MBE: Coordinator - Disability Hate Crime Network
Bill Scott CEO Inclusion Scotland
John McDonnell MP
John Sweeney Ucatt


The letter is working but due to so many being on there is a chance it won't save/update very quickly. Please sign and then give it a couple of seconds. If it doesn't show up refresh the letter page using the refresh button on your browser or by pushing F5 on your keyboard. It should then show up or give you the opportunity to sign.

This letter is open for signatories until 1400hrs tomorrow, Wednesday 12th December 2012.

1.Anne Selby, Military Gulf War Veteran, now suffering from acute myeloid leukaemia
2. Colin-Roy Hunter, ex-teacher, multi-morbidities - WoWPetition
3. Eilidh Sloan - former taxpayer for 29 years  former Secretary - now disabled cervical myelopathy/severe nerve damage/SLE Lupus/arthritis osteoporosis
4. Tim Webb carer
5. Roger O’Donnell - Concerned citizen.
6. Christine McCabe - Occasional volunteer with Care Network, inter alia, with severe arthritis preventing paid work, X-rays to prove condition, found ‘fit for work’ by Atos
7. Alec Middleton - Concerned citizen.
8. Rev. Paul Farnhill - Founder of the Cannabis Assembly, Human Rights campaigner.
9. Simon Roberts
10. James Kelso, Disabled and very concerned, worked and paid taxes for 30 years, never thought I would be classed as scrounger.
11. Jak Leith, Carer
12. Anja Blahova - Disabled and disgusted and definitely not a scrounger after working 20yrs of 80+ hrs a week before M.E. and joint paralysis took over.
13. Kerry Thomas, Tydfil Autism Support Group
14. Ruth McMillan Disabled - worked 21 years
15. Jamie Stanley: ZM Music
16. Jill Westendorp, Disabled for 12 + years, former Local Government Officer, disgusted by the way we are being treated & made to feel insecure by the ATOS interviews/government policies.
17. Keith Gordon Cooper, Disabled, Ex-College Tutor.
18. Barbara Hulme - A concerned citizen with disabilities
19. Lou Simmons - Disabled and disgusted with the way DWP & Atos treat us
20 Patricia Plunkett - Disgusted
21 Rory Heap - Disabled person from birsted at the way the poor sick and needy are being treated under this coalition.
22 Jenna Ford Knubley, parent of child with disabilities
23 Chrissi Clifton, Sister of lady with disabilities.
24 Elizabeth Worsley, parent to disabled children
25. MJ Carruthers Concerned Voter Wo

26. K. Burns, disabled, recently unemployed
27. David Chowcat: Brighton Disabled People Against Cuts
28. John Mortimer, sick and sick of the media propaganda
29 James Reeves Pulmonary lung disease, heart trouble, stroke, diabetes, emphysyma
30. Nicola Jones, severe neurological condition, worked until forced to quit
31. Jane Burkinshaw Diane Jaques- severe Fibromyalgia and  - Multiple health issues from Lyme’s Disease
32. other health issues. Worked for 30yrs and paid taxes an NI, not a scrounger!
33. Jacqueline sueiro- very concerned voter
34. Adrian Ministrator, disabled person, doesn’t like liars
35. Stephen Jaques, carer of Diane Jaques above. Worked for 43yrs.
36. Ellen Clifford, Bromley and Croydon Disabled People Against Cuts
37. Stephen Jewell
38. Kaliya Franklin, Disability Rights Campaigner
39. Simon  Staskiewicz
40. John R. Bennett Can you not see where this is leading? Arbeit Mach Frei
41. Jonathan Marsh p
42. Nancy Farrell, IOW Disabled People Against Cuts
43. Patricia Ratheram.
44 Joseph Ratheram.
45. Jessica Ratheram.
46. Liam Sean McKnight
47. Lea Sapsford, disiabled person with SLE (Lupus) and other multiple problems.  Definitely not a scrounger!
48. Matthew J Smith, blogger - http://www.blogistan.co.uk/blog/
49.Damian Baughan, concerned citizen and diagnosed mentalist.
50 Alan Fergus, democrat and concerned citizen
51 Diana Harrison
52 Laurel Duut
53 Cllr Peter Lockhart, Wheelchair using Labour Councillor for Cowdenbeath Ward
54 Graham Askew gray@chrissie55.plus.com against demonization of innocent people
55 Keith Knights, disabled due to arthritis and mental health issues.
56 Jeffrey Yashruti,disabled due to mental health issues.
57 John Sweeney Ucatt
58 Raymond Shemilt, Disabled due to Rheumatoid Arthritis, Anxiety, Depression.
59. Donnacha DeLong NUJ NEC Member
60. Jean Milne 24/7 carer
61 Pearl Pelfrey, a believer in the Welfare state and the fully public NHS
62. Steven Preece, Editor, Welfare News Service
63 Susan Wilkinson disabled due to rheumatoid and osteo arthritis,Anxiety Depression IBS Thyroid probs and any virus going round!
64. Dr. Susan I. Pashkoff
65. Mr M. Wilson, ex Royal Navy, falklands “confict” veteran, war pensioner.
66. Dawn Willis, Mental Health Campaigner.
67. John McGovern Disability Advocate and DPAC member
68. Lee Myers.
69. Rory Beaton, Disability Rep, St Andrews UCU
70.David Bradley : Carer
71. Tim Batchelor :IBesaUnite
72. Gail Ward disability campaigner
73   Ed McArthur
74. Steve Farrant, Trustee’s Chair, Core Arts.
75. John T. Horsfall, Very concerned, 59 y/o disabled citizen, awaiting ATOS result, do not want to join the other 73 “disappearing” people each week, but may have no option with ageism, disability-ism & many other things.
76. Joanne Baskett - Multiple Disabilities always worked upto 2010 when progressive disease stopped me been fighting the diseases for last 20, 10 & 5 yrs
77. Tina Duke , carer
78. Chris Andrews, carer
79.Angela Kennedy, Carer, social sciences lecturer and researcher, author of the book “Authors of our own Misfortune? The Problems with Psychogenic Explanations for Physical Illnesses”.
80. Stevie Kennedy, disabled person.
81. Sean Kennedy, carer,
82. Deborah Smith
83. Sam Barnett-Cormack, independent disabled activist
84. Ian Davies, chronically sick Inventor
85.Karen Jorgensen . Retired Teacher
86 Janet Hughes suffers from multiple health problems
87.Helen Humphries Chronic health problems
88. Zena Williams suffers from Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue
89.Martin Rowson
90. Tim Mantripp
91. Carol Murphy - Carer for my husband
92. Pat Onions - Pat’s Petition 62,225 signatures ‘Stop and review the cuts to benefits and services which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families’
93. Dean Wales
94. John McDonnell MP
95. Jayne Linney Leicester
96  PJ Davis    Cerebral plasy
97. Jade Walker Hull Women’s Centre
98.David Shaw
99. Joanna Terry.
100. Antimo Tranter
101 Angela Bennett care
102 Mick Thornhill
103 Saffron Gardenchild, Manchester
104  John Bowen, Wales ehlor danos syndrome. multiple dislocations and mental health issues
105 Helen Sims  Bristol  Has Cerebral Palsy and other conditions (Disability Rights Campaigner)
106 Susan Buss. Chronic fatigue, ulcers ( from long term medication) fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease.
107 Diane Bore.. Fibromyalgia, Osteo Arthritis,Spondylosis, CF and under investigation for Heart failure.
108 Peter Locke, Edinburgh
109 Anthony Broxson Wigan
110 Lynne Ackers Southport, heart and lung disorders, fibromyalgia, also a carer of my autistic son.
111. Lynn Evans.fibromyalgia..osteo arthrititis,spondylosis..depression,anxiety.osteo porosis
112. Rosena McKeown, Polio Survivor now suffering Post Polio Syndrome.
113. Paul Rutland Chair RMT TfL No.1 Branch
114 Matthew Pountney. Autism, depression and anxiety. Disabled rights campaigner.
115. lynn gallagher fibro myalgia,,anxiety,depression,artrititis osteo porosis
116. Dr Stephen Lathwell BSc(Hons) MSc(Optoelectronics) PhD, carer for Claire Rich; Degenerative Discs (Lower Back);
117. Claire Louise Rich BA (Hons), Manic-Depression; Pituatory Adenoma, High Blood Pressure; Panic Attacks;  
118. Lisa Egan: Where’s the Benefit?
119. Nim McCoan-Thornhill Disabled by M.E., FM, Hypermobility. Unable to claim, unable to work, scared for the future, sick of discriminatory comments from uneducated idiots.
120. Sian Healey disabled by Full Life-long Fibromyalgia
121. Ian Philo carer for Sian Healey
122. Bridget Robb, Acting Chief Executive, British Association of Social Workers
123. Leon Carter SAH Stroke Survivor, Carer to Mother and Disability Campaigner
124. Les Chalk, COPD sufferer,stroke survivor, Depressed person.
125 Stephen Gerard Scullion, Felling, Gateshead PTSD and Depressive
126 ‘Atos Miracles’ - facebook self-help page supporting those suicidal, about to lose their homes, incurably sick people being left with no money at all, those too sick to leave their homes so having their money sanctioned as unable to attend interviews, etc and all terrified for the future. Heartbreaking stories. Last week’s reach was 171,186 and 9,896 were talking about the page. That shows you the level of need.
127. David Johnson - 22 year veteran of CFS/ME
128. Lesley Brownlie carer to my disabled
129. Tony Dean, I have been fighting for groups to be able to complain the PCC for decades due to the 20 year long disability hate campaign by some of the press.
130 Morag Fraser Just another nobody that atos deemed fit to work, so by the press standard, I must be a scrounger.
131 Inez de Miranda. I am worried about the level of hatespeak in the current media.
132  Lyn Phillips disabled with MS. Fed up with reading in the press about benefits scroungers.
133 Anthony Boardman I’m sick of a Right wing biased press, backing an rich elite agenda.
134 Paul Sheppard 15 years of M.E.  Made even more sick and tired of being called a “shirker” and worse in the press in the last 2 years. The press is taking part in a hate campaign. Politicians and press are culpable for the physical and verbal violence against innocents. The demonisation of sick and disabled people legitimised by senior politicians via the press has to stop.
135 Ian Warner- Directing Editor of Kittiwake Classics: I have ASD and several mental health issues and this hate speech has resulted in state sanctioned Genocide: http://kittiwake.blog.co.uk  
136 Trev Fairminer LE12 9LW
137 Mike Llywelyn Cox - NSUN/NCODP - Service User, Norfolk.
138. Linda Mccafferty ,Glasgow Scotland .
139. C Richardson, Cumbria
140. Keith Lindsay-Cameron. Bath, UK. BA2 8EF.
141. Christine George
142. Leigh Arthur, Middlesbrough
143. Rob Marsh, Penarth.
144 Paul Grace Swansea
145. Lynn Evans fibromyalgia sufferer, osteoarthritis and severe depression.
146 Russell Williams
147 David Haymes, ME/CFS sufferer
148 Stuart Smith Swansea manic depression, amputee
149 Robert Herring, tax payer for 24 years straight, former engineer, now with M.E./CFS and depression. 2 years sick time was waiting for an Expert Patients Programme to learn how to cope!
150. Lesley Rose Wigram ,long-term disabled suspected Asperger Syndrome and PTSD the latter caused by abuse from parents.
151. Jenni Frost, business owner and tax advisor. Suffers depression and was out of work for 2 years with a nervous breakdown in my early 20’s
152.  Nicola Parker, Mitochondrial Myopathy sufferer, works full-time.
153. Helen North. Progressive physical illness.  Made to feel like a criminal ,having worked for 30 years.Tribunal finally awarded me ESA Support group status.So many ill & disabled people are being placed incorrectly into the ESA Wrag group - even those with long term progressive chronic illness’s - WHY? They are not going to get better,unless there are major medical breakthroughs - but still hounded & criminalised by the DWP & press.Wrong, wrong, wrong !
154. Debra HallidayJ
155. Mr. Andrew Healey  Multi level spinal degeneration arthritis in spine Emphysema arthritis through whole of  body dodgy heart problems worked over 30 years + 60 hour weeks work for self 90 hour week
156. John Hargrave  Chair - Leicester Disabled People’s Access Group.
157 Hazel Quinn, ME/fibro approx 50 years, PTSD from being beaten as a child when paralysed, more PTSD from abuse by carers, medical profession. 21 years of appeals, tribunals. Last year victim of hate crime attack very much fuelled by press reports. 18 months later still in pain everyday from that assault.
158 Kenneth John Boyd; full time carer and very concerned citzen.
159 Samantha Bentley 49 Wilsons Disease and chronic joint pain sufferer and victim of DWP Atos and WCA
160 Sandy Hay, Lupus, fibromyalgia, ME and prolapsed disc in spine sufferer.
161 Emma Schumann,Chronic pain and multiple health problem,Diabetes,Thyroid, Heart, and Depression, anxiety attacks
162 Christine George.
163 Lawrence Roper
164.Dave Pelbrough. Ex-Serviceman, Spinal injuries in lower back & neck. Cambridgeshire.
165. Seth Woolf, London
166. Angelica Falterfoot
167. Colin Whyte disgusted way DWP ATOS AND CORRUPT GOVERNMENT have treated its ill and sick they can’t defend themselves.
168. Gareth Morgan Leeds1
170. D. Page HIV/AIDS long term,depression,anxiety,chronic hepatits B infection & porphyria.Also diagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder.
171. Marie-Francoise O’donoghue  ME for 11 years, not a scrounger, has been working all my life prior to ME
172. Ronnie Gordon. Scotland..
Spinal injury due to an industrial accident after working 30+ years. I despise being made to feel like a scrounger after paying national insurance for so many years, specially when i see this so called government squandering so much  on themselves
173. Rosanne Goodwins
174 T Jackson Ra Fibromyalgia and Depression
175 Andy Murtha Bipolar and Fibromyalgia now unable to work after 36 years working 6 days a week. I do voluntary work when health allows.
176. Ross Allan, Schizo Affective Disorder, diabetes, high blood pressure, joint problems

177. David Jones. Concerned Voter, South wales
178. Antonia Shepherd
179. Lorna Gray , worried sick , ill and disabled widow and who has ill and disabled family
180. Dee Barry, Warwickshire
181. Tom Busby, Bedfordshire
182.Derek Turpin osteoarthritis, 5x TIAs osteoporosis anklossing spondylosis , at my wits end !
183. Jonathan Eyre - those with the condition of M.E are regularly described as malingerers and scroungers in the tabloid press, from Leeds, West Yorkshire.
184.  M Stanley, mental health issues.  Made to feel like a malingerer.  Disgusted with false propaganda in national newspapers and BBC bias.
185. Gen William Taggart ..AdDip.Prof.Con.Phys. NCA, Consumer Affairs/Human Rights Consultant. As the Result of Serious RTA. Two vertebrae pressing on spinal cord causing intermittent paralysis and constant pain. Multiple compound fracture of right wrist (Custom made appliance worn). Scoliosis Lordosis of the Spine, Repeated bouts of acute Renal Colic (Impact related injuries) carpal tunnel syndrome left wrist (Due to it taking on the all the function of the right wrist as well).
186. Maria Nelson, tendonitis back problems, asthma, anger management, due to previous bullying and family issues. Anxiety and feel like I don’t fit in this greedy selfish society and yes I have worked, in the past heavy work for poor pay. And I feel the benefits system does currently cause more stress as we are treated very badly. Almost wound up by inept call centre staff who say one thing and do another. I support poor paid workers and do not support free labour workfare for the rich companies.
187. Dianne Jones, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, COPD,  Psoriasis and Stress+Anxiety caused by DWP, ATOS and stigma of being branded a scrounger, liar and malingerer by the Media propaganda vented by BBC, The Sun etc......
188. Sarah Wiles, Peterborough Suffering Depression and anxiety
189. Julie Frid.
191. Sue Wilkinson  rheumatoid osteo arthritis IBs Thyroid probs  anxiety depression  FEAR
192. Selina Postgate autistic rights advocate, diabetic, arthritic, depressive, parent
193. Kate Patten, Bristol
194. Jayne Coombes. Invisible illness sufferer, feeling so much extra stress from the DWP, and Atos. Seriously thinking I would be better off leaving the earth as I am seeing the deaths and suffering of the poor, sick and disabled.  But hanging on in there, people before profit.
195. Colin Wilson L35 5HJ - Aspergers Syndrome, Chronic Pain Syndrome, severe anxiety / depression.
196 Helen Woodhouse
197 Paul Woodhouse
198 Richard Southwell
199 Penny Ledger Co-Chair Disability Network Hounslow
200. Terence Crago, Full-time Carer of severely disabled partner
201. Sally Wallis rare bone disease and other health problems. This government is trying to suppress free speech under the aegis of privacy concerns. The law is already in place to deal with the sort of criminal behaviour such as phone tapping but it is not being implemented.  Disabled and sick people are being demonised by this government at every level. The press are complicit if they push ahead with this.
202. Sarah Lawry
203, Samuel Jones, Social phobia, agoraphobia.
204. William Greiner MS
205 Lorraine Butter, carer
206. Elaine Stammers ME/CFS
207. Katharine Peake, disabled in recovery without a recovery college in the borough, terrorised into isolation and made suicidal by tyrannical, lawless press and complicit, lawless parliament, another one bites the dust
208 Jayni Anderton... Arthritic for 30yrs. Highly qualified disabled & unable to work.
209 Leon Edwards Concerned human being cured arthiritis with MMS (Chlorine Dioxide)
210 linda hill Polio suffer from age of 2 sick and tired of being stressed out and punished for something i had no control over it is not my fault I’m disabled.
211 Yasmin Raphael Long term ME then developed MS entirely due to an 11 year wait for a medical diagnosis (‘delay’ caused by uninformed opinions of GPs and media, and punishment for daring to look healthy). My health is now dependent on government funded care and weekly alternative treatments which I will not be able to afford if I am labelled ‘fit to work’. Fearing for the deterioration of my health as well as losing my home (and my sanity!).
212. Antony Fern
213. Mr FH Bent
214. Bryn Kinnaird
215. Chris Fairlam
216 Penelope Twining deeply concerned human being
217 Miss Nicole Giddings Long term CFS. I am also worried about the deterioration to my health. The government's actions are so short sighted by forcing disabled people to undertake actions they are not fit to do and punishing them when they are unable to do them, they will only cause an increased level of sickness for a longer period of time, costing the taxpayer even larger amounts. How does this make sense?
218 Andrew Phipps
219. Lesley Rose Wigram Long-term disabled, suspected Aspergers syndrome and PTSD from abuse by parents for having the condition.
220. Anger. Author of Tea at the Grand Tazi. Longlisted for Dylan Thomas Prize. Former Lawyelexandra Sir. Wheelchair User. Survivor. Disgusted at the government.
221. Susi Neale
222. Mrs Anna Smith, Carer.  
223. Janetta McGuigan.
224. Paul Watton. - Ashover, Nr. Chesterfield, Derbyshire. ME/cfs sufferer for over 10 years.
225. David J Smith - Counsellor and Support Worker
226. Ann Whitehurst disabled activist & artist
227. Liane Gomersall
228 Paul Barnard https://www.facebook.com/notes/paul-binmunchkinn-barnard/the-full-atos/247182688732927 there is NO support only workfare. i  lost £70 per week (chronic disc damage and now recurring depression)
229. Ron Graves, 4, Hobhouse Court, Grange Road West, Birkenhead - lifelong disabled, wheelie, ME for 27 years, COPD, heart failure, aortic valve calcification. Terminal.
230. Danielle Heybroek, Crohn’s Disease
231. Cristiano Di Carlo, Disabled ex forces. chronic heart disease, PTSD, Late onset autism, peripheral arterial disease. Nottingham.
232. linda hodson,bury, cambs, disabled for last 15 yrs and will gradually get worse. on fb
233. Jane Osmond, Women’s Views on News
234. Joanne Yelland, Green Party Durham Candidate, Epileptic, will never give up until equal outcomes are available for all of Baumans repressed in society.  jo.yelland_green@yahoo.co.uk, available on Facebook and on email.
235. Vicky Horvat
236. Imogen Forster, imogen@
237. Beverley Rawsthorn, Merseyside, Disabled and Carer. Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, PSVT etc., etc. It’s about time someone stepped up to the plate to protect the most vulnerable in our society as clearly this government is only interested in acting childish calling us names and bullying us. Life is hard without any kind of illness or disability so try to imagine how it is with an illness and disability. (Life on benefits) there’s no life on benefits only existence if you’re lucky.
238. Zekiye Driver
239. Halil Driver
240.Derek Strain
241. Paige Rawsthorn, Merseyside, Autism, ADHD, SLD
242. Anne Toms Glasgow -Worked for 40 years paying tax and National Insurance.
Treated like shit by ATOS when I broke my leg in three places and ended up with a metal rod from knee to ankle and had a plaster right up to my thigh. Was asked to stand on tiptoe by a “doctor” at Atos, against all medical advice. Was asked what books did I read and had I ever been in trouble with the police. Made to feel like a skiver and scrounger for having an accident and being unable to work.  Silly me! I thought all my 40 years work counted for something and I was paying into a system that would help me when I needed it. Now realise my tax and insurance were going towards duck houses and expenses for fat cat MPs.
243 Angela Cox - Carer
244. Katie Goddard suffers from severe fibromyalgia heart problems and borderline personality disorder.
Its a national disgrace the perge on poor which were caused by the incompatence of MPs and Bankers where is media on 1000s committing suicide while millionaires tell people on 11 pound a day how to live.It’s sick. I hope there is a Revolution. No social housing, no future, no jobs other than minimum wage slavery who could blame the youth.
245. Marcia Hibberd, wife and cousin of disabled men, horrified at what’s going on.
246. Mike Cookson-Taylor
247. Jennifer Turrall,Kent, (32) Disabled with mulitiple health conditions including, Large brain aneurysm which cannot be clipped or coiled, An oranged-sized chest cyst, fibromyalgia, severe migraines, reversed c spine, gallstones which they won’t operate due to other health problems, and MS-type symptoms, depression and anxiety made worse by Atos/DWP still undergoing investigations some still not known yet..fed up of battling not only my own body but Doctors, Atos/DWP and the government for it’s hate campaign on the sick and disabled. Also the now prejudice against us by media and now everyday people. Enough is enough. We are not scroungers we are trying to cope and live lots of complex things. Leave us alone.
248. Margaret Keavey I worked all of my life and have been fortunate enough to never have to claim and I am retired now, however I was and am more than happy to pay into the system to help to care for the sick and disabled our most vulnerable in society. I have seen the changes the government have made in assessing the sick and disabled and I find it appalling, you’d never know we lived in the 21st century. Changes needed to happen, but not what you have done you basically sent them to slaughter with you narrowing of descriptors and Atos just approving most everyone for work when it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know they are not fit for work. Utterly disgraceful.
249. Eddie Keavey I don’t know how you sleep at night. I’ve worked hard all of my life and I’m retired now, but I was more than happy to pay into the system to take care of the disabled and sick. Anyone who begrudges helping the disabled and sick clearly have no compassion, no empathy and should be ashamed of yourselves. I’m a gentleman, so I’ll leave it at that.
250 Carole McCulloch This is disgusting what this Government is doing.
251 Donna Wilson, we should all be concerned about what this government is doing to this country, we should all speak now while we still can!
252 Yvette Broadhurst. Disabled, Bedridden, chronic pain conditions FMS/CFS
had 17 operations including spine, bladder, bowel and feet. Severe anxiety and Depression made worse by the stress and worry of what this government/Dwp/Atos are doing to the sick and disabled of this country, it is an absolute disgrace !!!
253 Michelle Maher
254 Caroline Lord
255 Christina Allen
256 Colin White
257 Fallyn Spinks. The current Govt should be prosecuted for mass murder. It is nothing more than a form of Nazi eugenics.
258. Thomas Ratcliffe, had to stop work after suffering heart attack, osteoarthritis, hiatus hernia, Barretts oesophagus worn vertebrae in neck and unusual curvature of the spine, asthma, anxiety attacks and asked why do you suffer from depression, get rid of this incompetent government.
259. Peter Wright A Concerned Disabled Human being that’s suffering at the hands of our current Government through its inhuman attack on disabled people. These include abuse, neglect, injustice and diminishing Rights to a Quality of life that I'm entitled to under The Human Rights Act.
260. Gary Scott. Herefordshire One of the lazy, moral-less, scroungers that sufferers with mental health problems. No one stopped Hitler, but Cameron is going down
261. Bruce Bingham, Manchester
262. Martin. ATOS. TOTAL Humiliation & Degradation during  assessment  & REFUSED to accept written evidence from a Doctor & Consultant. Hang your heads in shame Cameron & Co.
263. Max Wootton, Leeds
264. Stephen Reilly, Kent, Very ill both physically and mentally constant hospital appointments and procedures and psychiatric meetings, appealing both ESA and DLA decisions, ESA for 10 months and denied DLA because of ATOS medical....... disgusted !
Mark Aldiss, Harlech. projectbrainsaver
265. Lynn Bleasdale. Essex.  Numerous health problems including CFS

Deborah Taylor sufferer of cfs fibromyalgia denied dla because of atos medical

267 Marcus de Mowbray, Able-bodied, but disgusted at Government’s criminal treatment of disabled people, and thus inspiring hatred in the press.

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