30 November 2009


Apologies for the self indulgence, I'm just playing with TwirlyMol.
Click and drag to rotate (left mouse button), zoom/twist (right button) or translate (middle button).

Smiles string - C1(CC2)[C@H](OC(=O)C(O)(c3ccccc3)(c4ccccc4))CN2CC1

(no particular reason for the written stereochem).

Wikipedia link - 3-Quinuclidinyl Benzilate

Preparation - Patent number: 3899497

29 November 2009

Cor, TwirlyMol and Chemical Identifier Resolver

I heard about it from Carbon Based Curiousities, who provided a link to, Noel O'Blog who explains all.

"Markus Sitzmann of the NCI/CADD team has been busy. He has combined the Chemical Identifier Resolver with TwirlyMol to enable you to convert any chemical identifier to a 3D model that can you interact with in your webpage. I'm very excited about this as I think that people will find this very useful."

Noel O'Blog goes on to give detailed instructions as to how to use the script. I say, 'detailed'; the instructions are really simple, a case of cutting 'n' pasting with some modifications of identifiers. I produced the structure of the Cannabis Mimic below,

Again, letting Noel O'Nlog explain,

"Just put this in your webpage:

<div id="DIVNAME" height="200" width="200"></div>

<script src="http://cactus.nci.nih.gov/chemical/structure/

Replace DIVNAME with a unique name, and replace CHEMICAL_IDENTIFIER with any of the chemical identifiers accepted by the Chemical Structure Resolver; for example, a common name for a chemical, an InChI, or a SMILES string.

Well done all involved.

Baffled by Chirality

Yesterday I wrote about a deracemization procedure that had been reported in the literature and suggested a means at which it could be modified such that it could be effected under continuous flow, rather than batch, conditions.

see, "Contactor Separator - Grinding Induced Attrition - Prior Art"

Well, here's another suggestion that could constitute prior art.

The authors of the cited paper make a point about discussing Oswald ripening. I've used Oswald ripening in the past in order to grow crystals such that I could meet a customer specification of a particular crystal size. This was done on a tonne scale in batches. The technique consists of forming a slurry of crystals in a suitable solvent and passing the mixture through a number of heating and cooling cycles. The difference between the maximum and minimum temperatures is usually small (eg, 10 °C); as the mixture heats up, some of the crystals dissolve, the smallest ones, as the mixture cools back, the size of the already present crystals increase as another layer of crystals form on their surfaces.

My idea in the previous post didn't allow for any Oswald ripening; concentrating, instead on the attrition effect that was mentioned.

In order to do the necessary Oswald ripening I would use an oscillatory flow reactor, where each of the portions of the reactor between each baffle had a temperature difference (eg, of 10°C).

The technique would run as follows: a slurry consisting of solvent (with racemic product), solid racemic conglomerate mixture, racemization agent and enantiomeric seed would be charged into the oscillatory flow reactor. It would be anticipated than any necessary attrition would come from the undidssolved crystals. If the first chamber was a cooling chamber, a greater amount of enantiomer would exist in the resulting slurry due to entrainment (see earlier post), entering the second (warmer) chamber would necessarily dissolve the racemic mixture due to its greater solubility properties (recall that this process is for conglomerates). Meanwhile, throughout these processes the racemization agent would ensure that the solution was a racemic mixture. The process would be repeated as it went through the next set of chambers in the reactor, and so on, until homochiral product was formed which could be collected by filtration.

Sand could even be added to the mixture in order to effect attrition, if necessary. The resulting enantiomeric product could be separated in a separate, dissolution filtration, crystallisation step.

28 November 2009

Contactor Separator - Grinding Induced Attrition - Prior Art

I'm impressed by the deracemization procedure described in "Grinding Induced Attrition" (sarcastic comments aside) where a racemic mixture was converted from a slurry containing a racemization agent to a slurry where the solid consisted of one of the enantiomers in the original slurry. See the post and links for details.

Rather than using glass beads to to do the grinding, I would use a contactor-separator of the sort I discussed in the post, "Contactor-Separator".
As you can see the image is lifted from the reference in "Contactor-Separator" along with labels appropriate to that usage.

So that it could be used to effect the chiral crystallization described, I would slowly charge it with a racemic slurry containing the racemization agent, and the appropriate homochiral seed. It is anticipated that the inlet would need an Archimedean screw to force the slurry into the contactor whilst the annular mixing gap would also be small enough to cause the necessary attrition. Whether this would be successful would depend upon the friability, or otherwise, of the solid component of the slurry. As the mixture is forced through the apparatus, it is anticipated that the enriched-entrained solid would be formed by crystallisation in the internal centrifuge. Conditions (spin, flow-rate and temperature) would need to be sought where the slurry would still exist as a slurry such that separation could occur. The two streams would then be recombined and passed through the apparatus again: note that it would not be necessary to seed the mixture.

The recombination and recycling would be repeated until the solid consisted entirely of the appropriate enantiomer. At this point the outlet would be directed to a simple settling tank in order to remove the homochiral product; which would, of course, be replaced at the inlet by racemic mixture.

If the removal of enantiomeric product and the addition of racemic starting material were done at the same rate; a rate that was less than the rate of deracemization, the process would operate under continuous flow conditions.

If I had the capital to reduce this concept of invention to practice, I would do so. Unfortunately, I don't. Here it is if anyone wants to use it.
Update 29th November 2009. I realise that the above process doesn't have any Oswald ripening in it; perhaps a better process would use an oscillatory flow reactor as described in Baffled by Chirality.
Update 23rd June 2010. Rather than using a contact separator, this paper, Scaling Up Attrition-Enhanced Deracemization by Use of an Industrial Bead Mill in a Route to Clopidogrel (Plavix), used a bead mill; the paper is behind a pay wall so it isn't clear whether or not the process is batch or continuous flow.

Grinding Induced Attrition

Angewandte has just published a mini-review, "From Ostwald Ripening to Single Chirality" which explains that,

"Ostwald ripening, is thought to be involved in a recently discovered method in which grinding-induced attrition is used to transform racemic conglomerates virtually quantitatively into a single enantiomer."

The process is illustrated by mixing the conglomerate racemate solid with sufficient solvent to partly dissolve it, with glass beads, a racemisation agent and a chiral seed. Presumably the conditions are such that the chiral seeds grow larger by inducing further crystallisation from that particular enantiomer. The solution is maintained as a racemic mixture by the racemisation agent while the racemic solid will dissolve in preference to the chiral solid since it has a greater solubility due to conglomerate nature of the species. The attrition aspect will be necessary in order to ensure that there are a constant supply of chiral seeds within the system (Attrition-Enhanced Deracemization in the Synthesis of Clopidogrel - A Practical Application of a New Discovery).

The method is illustrated in the diagram, below ...

Diagram from Chiral Separation.

Also, see Complete Deracemization by Attrition-Enhanced Ostwald Ripening Elucidated.

The technique looks to be a more sophisticated form of resolution by entrainment as described in "Enantiomers, Racemates, and Resolutions" by Jaques, Collet and Wilen p 223, which explains that the process was first described in 1886 by Genez, a student of Pasteur. He wrote in a letter to Pasteur,

"I have observed that a supersaturated solution of levorotatory double salt sodium ammonium tartrate does not crystallize in the presence of a fragment of this salt which is hemihedric in the dextrorotatory sense; and vice versa, the supersaturated solution of the dextrorotatory salt yields no crystals when seeded with the levorotatory salt.

This fact led me to study the inactive solution of the double salt sodium ammonium racemate. I prepared a solution of this salt from the racemic acid. ... When seeded by a particle of dextrorotatory salt, it yielded only dextrorotatory crystals. A portion of the the same liquid in contact of levorotatory crystal produced a deposit of levorotatory salt. Here then is a simple means for separating at will one or the other of the two salts which constitute the double salt sodium ammonium racemate.

Over one hundred and forty years later ... we have an improved process.

27 November 2009

The RSC Speaks

Earlier in the month I criticised the Royal Society of Chemistry for being silent on a number of topical issues, one of which was the dismissal of Professor Nutt from the UK's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

I am now happy to report that this situation has now changed with the publication of the latest edition of Chemistry World, 6, 10; "Chemists quit UK drugs Council".

The piece is informative, well written (thanks to Anna Lewcock), it provides a deeper analysis than what I've seen in the UK media and gives us a greater details as to why the UK gov's continuing implementation is a shambles.

- They don't have the expertise available to draft sensible legislation to cope with Spice, for instance.

So, well done RSC.

One aspect that comes across from this whole affair is that the UK government are trying to create a class of scientists; specifically Government Scientists who know as much about science as policital scientists.

26 November 2009

Freedom of the Just

A couple of days ago I provided a quick link to a lecture by the Master of the Rolls about rights, responsibilities and the rule of the law.

To give a flavour of the lecture I took two quotations from it. One was the ratio from Entick v Carrington, the other was ...

"To paraphrase Lord Denning, the freedom of the just is worth little to them if they can be preyed upon indiscriminately."

Here is an example of someone being indiscrimately preyed upon,

"Forced into Prison / Mental Hospital for not revealing cryptographic keys to the Kafkaesque Police and (in)Justice system here in the United Kingdom."


"UK jails schizophrenic for refusal to decrypt files. Terror squad arrest over model rocket, By Chris Williams."

25 November 2009

Middle Class Benefits

Of the many middle class benefits I would like to draw your attention to housing benefit. Housing benefit is supposedly aimed at poor people who cannot afford high rental rates; instead, I believe that it is aimed at lining the pockets of property owning rentiers.

Consider this ...

"Paul Galbraith - Paul is a full-time property investor and developer who over the last 7 years has built an extensive portfolio of residential property in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

Paul bought his first property at age 19, with no savings, without telling his parents, funding everything 100% off his own back by holding down 4 jobs & a full time degree at University (BA Hons in Jazz Studies) – buying a house made sense as he had to self-fund his education without the ‘bank of mum & dad’. By age 22 he’d single handily bought & refurbished 5 houses ‘on foot’ – his time was spent walking around the area where he lives with a rucksack full of tools doing the maintenance on his houses & carrying beds on his back several miles from one property to another.
Funding was via. 0% credit cards, using his student loans to buy tools/ parts for refurbishment & re-mortgaging his properties to release capital increase. Paul then decided to quit University, ‘learn to drive’ & focused his attention on the property business full-time.

Paul is an accredited landlord in Leeds and as such, he’s been working with the Local Housing Allowance (the system that replaced Housing Benefit last year) for the last 5 years. Spotting an opportunity with DSS tenants, Paul has built a large property portfolio and uses social housing to devastating effect. He has no voids & limitless tenants for his rental portfolio which leaves him ample time to play in the rhythm section of his local jazz band. Paul will give a talk called:

How To Recession Proof your Property Portfolio. This is what you will learn:

  • The Secrets To Getting Paid Directly from the Local Housing Allowance
  • How to Squeeze Every Last Drop Out Of Your Tenant’s Entitlement
  • How to Get Your Local Council Actively Batting For You
  • How To Split Up Properties & Skyrocket Your Rental Profits
  • How to Identify The Best Benefit Tenants And Keep Them In Your Houses"

You can find more details as to how the tax-payer is lining Paul's pocket by visiting the ...

North East Property Forum - December Event

24 November 2009

Bench Top Fabbing

Fascinating article for those who have access.

M o R Lecture

Find a comfortable seat in a quiet spot. Make sure you have access to a cups of tea and read the following,




Look out for the quote,

"To paraphrase Lord Denning, the freedom of the just is worth little to them if they can be preyed upon indiscriminately."

And of course, Entick v Carrington

"“The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their property. That right is preserved sacred and incommunicable in all instances, where it has not been taken away or abridged by some public law for the good of the whole. The cases where this right of property is set aside by private law, are various. Distresses, executions, forfeitures, taxes etc are all of this description; wherein every man by common consent gives up that right, for the sake of justice and the general good. By the laws of England, every invasion of private property, be it ever so minute, is a trespass. No man can set his foot upon my ground without my license, but he is liable to an action, though the damage be nothing; which is proved by every declaration in trespass, where the defendant is called upon to answer for bruising the grass and even treading upon the soil. If he admits the fact, he is bound to show by way of justification, that some positive law has empowered or excused him. The justification is submitted to the judges, who are to look into the books; and if such a justification can be maintained by the text of the statute law, or by the principles of common law. If no excuse can be found or produced, the silence of the books is an authority against the defendant, and the plaintiff must have judgment.”

21 November 2009

Phil Jones Hacked

Let's begin with the story from the New Scientist,

" Hacker breaks into climate change research institution
An anonymous hacker has broken into the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) and posted over 1000 confidential emails from key climate change scientists online.

The emails could prove to be extremely damaging to the reputation of the scientists and the robustness of their research if they are revealed to be authentic.

For examples of these emails we have, "Hackers Prove Global Warming Is A Scam", which shows data being massaged (ie, procrusteanism) so that it supports their hypotheses.

The culprit appears to be a chap called Prof Phil Jones

If this turns out to be true ... it will be a massive scandal.
The story continues ... Climategate: how the MSM reported the greatest scandal in modern science and Climate scientists accused of 'manipulating global warming data'.

20 November 2009

Legal Trouble in the North East

1. Walking past Alderman Fenwick's house earlier today I noticed that someone had stuck thick black tape over part of the brass plate that would ordinarily display the name of the legal firm, Hunt Kidd; the Legal 500 recommended law firm.

I made a point of going past it because earlier in the week local BBC radio reported that the offices had been shut; its licence suspended and two of its solicitors had to answer to the solicitors regulation authority.

The story is taken up in the local newspaper, "Law firm shut as investigation starts."

"The SRA stated that it acted on the belief that Kenneth Hunt and Barbara Gayton had breached practicing regulations and a full regulatory hearing is now expected to follow in the New Year. If the pair are found to have broken professional regulations, it is understood they could ultimately be struck off.

An SRA spokesperson said: “The Solicitors Regulatory Authority have intervened into the practice of Hunt Kidd Law LLP on November 9 on the grounds of suspected financial irregularities on the part of Kenneth Hunt and Barbara Gayton.

“The practising certificates of both Mr Hunt and Mrs Gayton have been suspended with immediate effect.”

2. Malcolm Graham and Wendy Gurr have been arrested as part of the Northeast property buyers (Company No. 05609732) scandal. Northeast Property buyers bought houses from people who couldn't keep up with their mortgage loan repayments with a view to renting the property back to them. This meant that the former homeowners would be able to live in the property as tenants. Unfortunately, Northeast property buyers met financial difficulties with the result that whoever lent the money to Northeast property buyers wanted to liquidate assets. In other words, they wanted to sell the properties occupied by the tenants. It isn't clear why proprietary estoppel isn't being played by the tenants but a number of people have already been evicted.

This business practice is currently being investigated by the police with the result that, "Second solicitor arrested in fraud probe".

(Note Graham ran SFM Legal Services (Company No. 05718006) along with Gurr. This company provided legal services to Northeast Property buyers and were based in the same business unit).

Again, more details as they emerge ... but this is the tip of the iceberg in the UK. Expect more scandals of this nature and political fallout - remember that the taxpayer is underwriting all of this sh*t.

I wonder when they'll be enough details to start creating Lombardi diagrams?

Update 26th Nov 2009, Solicitor Barbara Gayton arrested after firm closed,

"The Journal can now reveal that partner Barbara Gayton has been arrested on suspicion of [s4 Fraud Act 2006] fraud by abuse of position."

Update 12th December 2009 "Solicitor from Alnwick arrested in £1m fraud probe"

"A SOLICITOR from one of Tyneside’s most prominent law firms has been arrested in connection with a £1m fraud probe.

A 63-year-old man was arrested at his home in the Alnwick area of Northumberland yesterday morning and brought to Newcastle to be questioned by officers from Northumbria Police’s Economic Crime Unit.

The Journal understands him to be Kenneth Hunt, a partner at Newcastle solicitors Hunt Kidd.

Update 17th December 2009, "Arrested solicitors struck off after SRA hearing"

"TWO solicitors arrested in connection with the North East Property Buyers scandal have been struck off by law industry watchdogs.

Malcolm Graham and Wendy Ostell, also known as Gurr, were both stripped of their right to practise at a Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) disciplinary hearing.

And the two former directors of Gateshead-based SFM Legal Services, have both also been given heavy fines.

Mr Graham, 34, of Darras Hall, Northumberland, has been ordered to pay £116,800 in costs, and Ms Gurr, 32, of Whickham, Gateshead, will have to cough up £20,000.

Update 21st Jan 2010, SRA Interventions(scroll down).

"Hunt Kidd Law Firm
On 5 November 2009, the committee resolved to intervene in the above recognised body of Alderman Fenwick’s House, 98-100 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 6SQ, on the basis that they were satisfied that grounds for intervention existed under paragraphs 1(1)(a)(i) and (c) of part I of schedule 1 to the Solicitors Act 1974 (as amended), namely that there was reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Kenneth Hunt and Barbara Gayton; and that they had failed to comply with the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998. In addition, the committee was satisfied that grounds for intervention existed under paragraphs 32(1)(a) and (d) of schedule 2 to the Administration of Justice Act 1985, namely that Hunt Kidd Law Firm had failed to comply with the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998, and that there was reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of its officers, Mr Hunt and Mrs Gayton.

Nigel Coates of Russell Cooke, 2 Putney Hill, London SW15 6AB, 020 8789 9111, has been appointed to act as the intervention agent.

The first date of attendance at the practice address was 9 November 2009 and all client files/accounting records were uplifted.

The practising certificates of both Mr Hunt and Mrs Gayton have been suspended with immediate effect.

Solicitors Regulatory Authority Decisions: Kenneth Hunt - 096179 Decision - Closure. Barbara Gayton - 126291 Decision - Closure

Update 29th January 2010 - "North East Property Buyers director bankrupt

Update 10th January 2011. Solicitors at Hunt Kidd in Newcastle charged with theft,

"Two solicitors have been charged with stealing more than £1m from clients."

19 November 2009

Not So Nice Bargaining

As far as chemical processes go, on the basis of the scheme above, the preparation of sorafenib (a component of Nexavar) looks quite straightforward. The product should be available for a relatively low cost.

As for the price ... that appears to be another matter.

"Nice's decision not to approve the liver cancer drug Nexavar is painful but necessary" according to The Telegraph, which goes on to say,

"Data submitted to Nice shows that supplying the drug to the 600 to 700 people with advanced liver cancer would cost a total of £7.7m.

That would give those people the chance of an extra precious few months and admittedly some have lived for six months or longer on Nexavar. But the data shows that the median survival benefit is 2.8 months, and that means that for those who may gain six months, some will gain a lot less or nothing at all.

The dosage is 4 x 0.2 g = 0.8 g per day, for 3 months (90 x 0.8 g = 72 g) for 600 people (72 g x 600 = 43.2 kg).

The price of the drug, on the basis of those figures is GB pound 7.7 million divided by 43,200 g = GB pound 178.24 per gram.

As for the cost, in the absence of doing the calculation (perhaps I should), I'd guess that it would be substantially cheaper than the figure given above.

18 November 2009

Journalism Award Goes To ...

The raid that rocked the Met: Why gun and drugs op on 6,717 safety deposit boxes could cost taxpayer a fortune

More than 500 officers smashed their way into thousands of safety-deposit boxes to retrieve guns, drugs and millions of pounds of criminal assets. At least, that's what was supposed to happen. Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark investigate

I just thought that this was an impressive story and an impressive effort by the two journos, for reasons such as ...

"... the twin Judicial Reviews finally succeeded in prising from the Yard a startling 32-page 'skeleton discussion'. This document - which we were able to obtain after being given a case number by a senior source in Customs and then trawling through court records at the Royal Court building - provides an extraordinary insight into how the police managed to obtain a warrant for Rize."

And, for reasons such as,

Tracking down and interviewing the victims; making the point that the vast majority of them were entirely innocent; making the point that the police tried to wear the victims down; making the point that the police were suspected of thefts from the boxes; making the point that POCA was being abused; drawing attention to the judge shopping, explaining how the initial application was knocked back and the second application was disingenuous ...

... all very important issues.

I hope my silly drawing isn't taken as trivialising what is an impressive piece of work ... well done Levy and Scott-Clark.

The Silence of the RSC

The Royal Society of Chemistry claims to be

"... the largest organisation in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences."

We have seen the sacking and humiliation of a scientist for the analysis and reporting of science in the form of Professor Nutt, yet there has been no statements of support or otherwise from the RSC.

Every couple of years Blighty bemoans the lack of pupils opting for science; one year it was said,

Why be a scientist when you can be his boss?

The Nutt affair has certainly reinforced this view.

Now we discover that a female scientist ended up whoring herself when she ran out of money during her PhD studies.

As yet, the RSC hasn't said anything. As to what this will do for the reputation of scientists in British society and for those who opt for science remains to be seen.

As a slogan, this is pathetic.

Train to become a Phd scientist; the money is so bad that you may end up becoming a prostitute to make ends meet.

(Keep it secret though, it may cast doubts upon your integrity as a scientist).

Currency of Ransoms: Gold vs Fiat

The Times has an interesting story in "Army tells its soldiers to 'bribe' the Taleban", where it describes some aspects of a newly published counter insurgency manual.

According to the article from the Times,

"British forces should buy off potential Taleban recruits with “bags of gold”,"
This story reminded me of one of the aspects of the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq by coalition forces. Following the collapse of the Iraqi regime there was and is continuing a series of kidnappings - see, for example, "Foreign hostages in Iraq."

As this turn of events began to unfold, I began to notice that some kidnappers would demand a ransom to be paid in gold; others would demand the ransom to be paid in US dollars. Also, the journalist or news organisation reporting these stories would tend to convert the ransom demand into national currency: a pernicious example of Gonzo journalism. When the story was just breaking it would give an accurate report; as the story was re-written throughout the day, it would give the conversion and then simply give the national currency equivalent as though that was the demand.

This may explain why the internet doesn't yield the results of ransom demands denominated in gold. However, my memory tells me this is what happened.

When I noticed this anomaly, I wondered why and who. Why would a particular group of kidnappers demand US dollars; why would a particular group demand gold.

As to who: I imagined that the US dollar kidnappers were CIA proxies whilst the gold kidnappers were bona fide kidnappers (if that isn't a contradiction). I have no other evidence for this statement; I just remember it being very strange that in what was a failed state, anyone would dealin such large sums in US dollars rather than gold.

14 November 2009

Guilty Plea Acceptable?

Charlie Chaplin
(Charlie Chaplin once lost a Charlie Chaplin look alike contest)

If someone pleads guilty because of duress such as torture should the court accept the plea?

Analysis from the Telegraph, "Analysis: New York trial for 9/11 mastermind risky but bold."

13 November 2009

But Didn't They Kill Him?

Back in October 2002, it was widely accepted that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was killed in a joint American-Pakistani raid.

Here's something from the Asia Times,

A chilling inheritance of terror
By Syed Saleem Shahzad

"KARACHI - Ever since the frenzied shootout last month on September 11 in Karachi there have been doubts over whether Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed head of al-Qaeda's military committee, died in the police raid on his apartment.

Certainly, another senior al-Qaeda figure, Ramzi Binalshibh, widely attributed as being the coordinator of the September 11 attacks on the United States a year earlier, was taken alive and handed over to the US. The latest information is that he is on a US warship somewhere in the Gulf.

Now it has emerged that Kuwaiti national Khalid Shaikh Mohammed did indeed perish in the raid, but his wife and child were taken from the apartment and handed over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in whose hands they remain.

Anyone got any links to the truth of the matter?

The BBC reports, 'NY trial' for key 9/11 suspects, "[a]lleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be sent from Guantanamo Bay to New York for trial in a civilian court, reports say."

12 November 2009

Interesting Case From Bulgaria

In Atanasova v HMP Holloway & Anor [2009] EWHC 2740 (Admin) a woman claims that her former boss, a public prosecutor in Bulgaria called Filchev put her in fear of her life.

"At about midnight Filchev appeared at the door of the room I was being held in. I was so scared when I saw him, I had a panic attack. It was the end of me mentally. Filchev asked the guard in the room not to let anyone else come in. Filchev took out his pistol and placed it on the desk on the room. He played with it on the table. He asked if I realised who I was dealing with, why I did not understand and said that I needed to be taught a lesson. He shouted that I was nobody and nobody would take my words against his. I was so frightened; I was crying and pleading with him to forgive me, promising I would never say anything about him again. Filchev held his gun against my forehead; I felt the cold metal on my skin. I was terrified and I wet myself. Filchev threatened that I was, "on the way to being at the end of a bullet and that no one would know where I was". He said there would be no record of his visit to the police station. He wanted to know whom I had spoken to about him. I said I had told nobody, I begged him for mercy. He told me this was my last chance and that if I put a foot wrong again I would be "out of the game". I was so frightened, I was sobbing. He left the room, smiling. He seemed to enjoy terrorising me."

She doesn't want to return to Bulgaria: this case was her fight against extradition.

The extradition application was found to have been made on the basis of bad faith (oseef s11(3) of the Extradition Act 1989): she was not extradited.

It wasn't clear whether or not she would have been extradited under more recent legislation, the 2003 Act.

A further point; as I was reading the case I thought of the smug bigots who claim that stories such as this should be dismissed as conspiracy theory.

Lastly, a related case of interest.
Kolevi v. Bulgaria (application no. 1108/02)
Violations of Article 2 (right to life) and Article 5 §§ 1, 3 and 4 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights

This time from Strasbourg. As for Filchev, last I heard, he was the Ambassador for Kazakstan.

CRB Checks

The Daily Telegraph has a shocking story, "15,000 people criminalised by Criminal Records Bureau over past six years".

"Up to 15,000 people have been wrongly branded criminals or accused of more serious offences by the Government agency which vets the backgrounds of people who want to work with children, The Daily Telegraph can disclose."

They also report that, "[a] spokesman for the CRB said that the agency’s work had prevented 100,000 people from working with vulnerable people over the past five years."

Unfortunately, they don't give the total numbers of people checked over the period so that we can't get values for false positives etc. (See An Intuitive Explanation of Bayes' Theorem).

There isn't a lot else to say about the story. Frightening, shocking and most probably useless.

Here are two reported cases of what happens when the system fails ...

Desmond v The Chief Constable of Nottinghamshhire Police [2009] EWHC 2362 (QB).

S, R (on the application of) v West Mercia Constabulary & Anor [2008] EWHC 2811 (Admin).

11 November 2009

Is Recycling Domestic Waste By The Individual A Normal Civic Obligation?

I ask this question because the Lords have amended the Justice and Coroners Bill where, "Measures to tackle the scourge of "modern-day slavery" have been added to the Coroners and Justice Bill by the government."

"The law would target those who hold another person "in slavery or servitude" or require them to "perform forced or compulsory labour" and is based on article four of the European Convention on Human Rights."

Looking at the House of Lords debate, we have Amendment 15,

"(1) A person (D) commits an offence if—


(b) D requires another person to perform forced or compulsory labour and the circumstances are such that D knows or ought to know that the person is being required to perform such labour.

This is all very well but is this compatible with how local councils have interpreted the Household Waste Recycling Act 2003 (c 29)?

I know this sounds odd but ... bear with me. Councils in England and Wales are liable under section 45 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for the collection of household waste. Whilst the Household Waste Recycling Act 2003 provides that,

"... the authority shall ensure that the arrangements it makes in relation to those premises include the arrangements mentioned in subsection (3) below,

(3) The arrangements are arrangements for the collection of at least two types of recyclable waste together or individually separated from the rest of the household waste.

Although this does not have to be done until 31st December 2010 (see s(4) of the Act) almost every council is implementing this method of collection.

The problem is that some of the councils are implementing the measure in such a manner that the householder has to sort out the waste. They pick up the waste every fortnight rather than every week and refuse to take waste that hasn't been separated.

Is this "forced labour"?

The law Lords tells us that we should interpret Amendment 15 (above) according to Article 4 of the European Convention of Human Rights. This can be found in Schedule 1 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (c 42)

Article 4
Prohibition of slavery and forced labour

1. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.

2. No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.

3. For the purpose of this Article the term “forced or compulsory labour” shall not include:


(d) any work or service which forms part of normal civic obligations.

Arguably, sorting out waste into recyclable and non-recyclable parts is forced labour. Would it be acceptable to kidnap third world children and issue them to every household for the sole purpose of sorting waste? Of course not, but the issue is one of proportionality. Although the previous suggestion was outrageous; if you could arrange a situation without kidnapping, without child labour but ensure that the labour is forced then it breaches the Article. The householder does not have any choice under the current system as to whether or not he can sort his waste. If he doesn't, it will not be picked up and he will most probably be fined.

But Article 4 gives a derogation, "if the work is part of normal civic obligations" it doesn't breach Article 4.

This brings us back to the title of this post and is as far as I'm prepared to go: to get an idea of the answer to this question requires analysis of ECHR case law.

One further point: it isn't necessary to wait until Amendment 15 becomes law before waste collection practices can be challenged through this analysis. The Human Rights Act 1998 ensures that all government agencies have to comply with the listed articles of the ECHR.

Update Article 2 of The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (Commencement No. 4, Transitional and Saving Provisions) Order 2010 provides,
"2. The provisions of the 2009 Act specified in the Schedule shall come into force on 6th April 2010."
where article 4 of the Schedule provides,
"4 Section 71 (slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour)."

Lastly, we have Section 71 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 provides,
71Slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour

(1)A person (D) commits an offence if—

(a)D holds another person in slavery or servitude and the circumstances are such that D knows or ought to know that the person is so held, or

(b)D requires another person to perform forced or compulsory labour and the circumstances are such that D knows or ought to know that the person is being required to perform such labour.

(2)In subsection (1) the references to holding a person in slavery or servitude or requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory labour are to be construed in accordance with Article 4 of the Human Rights Convention (which prohibits a person from being held in slavery or servitude or being required to perform forced or compulsory labour).

(3)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding the relevant period or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or both;

(b)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years or a fine, or both.

(4)In this section—

“Human Rights Convention” means the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms agreed by the Council of Europe at Rome on 4 November 1950;

“the relevant period” means—
(a) in relation to England and Wales, 12 months;
(b) in relation to Northern Ireland, 6 months.

Update 23rd February 2011, Britain's system of rubbish collection is a marvel of waste and mess, is an article that, in part, says
"We once had a refuse disposal system admired across the world, which made landfilling a public benefit, not something to be looked on as almost as evil as smoking. So why do our bureaucrats appear to misuse an EU directive, to create an unholy shambles which so signally fails to realise the benefits claimed for it?"
If waste recycling is pointless, not achieving its stated aim, then this lends support to the argument that recycling is forced labour since, an exercise in deceipt and futility is not part of a normal civic obligation.

10 November 2009

How Women Are Disempowered By Maternity Rights

Klimmt - Hope

The editor of Vogue, Alexdra Shulman, writes in the the Mail Online, "Year-long maternity leave, flexi hours, four day weeks... why would ANY boss hire a woman?", an article about women's rights with regard to pregnancy in the workplace.

"In this provocative and very personal article, Vogue editor ALEXANDRA SHULMAN argues that mothers' rights are making women unemployable..."

I'd go further. The rights are disempowering women. These rights are only available to women who manage to secure a position either in the public sector or in a large corporation. Although they may be available in smaller organisations and, of course, are availabe in smaller organisations (both in law and practice); they cannot be available to the same extent as the former classes of organisation.

As for a woman as employer rather than employee getting these rights - yeah, right.

In a nutshell that's my point. If you're female, if you're go getting and want to make it outwith the state sector or large corporation; you have very little chance of doing so. The playing field is not only on a massive slope, these regulations have put a huge ha-ha in the middle of it; not only to mock but to keep the cattle from rising beyond their station. The only way to fulfil your ambition is to bend and ameliorate it such that you have to be a corporate fink.

The chances of you becoming an employer within this legal environment are negligible and diminishing.

We are looking at the case of Marshall again. A case where someone who worked for the state had more rights than someone who didn't: except this time employees working for corporations are included.

09 November 2009

Johnson Confusion

I've been trying to follow the case of PC Johnson who left his dogs to die in his car. The press reports have been opaque at the best of times, leaving me under the impression that PC Johnson was going to claim that he was unfit to plead.

It appears that this was a complete misunderstanding; he didn't attend one of his hearings because of illness. The reporting of this aspect of the case gave me the impression that he was claiming to be unfit to plead.

Well, the BBC reports that, "Pc denies dogs car death charges", in this report they explained that Johnson appeared at court today. He denied the charges and a court date has been set for 22nd February 2010.

Philosophical Belief and Science

I've been thinking about the jurisprudence behind Grainger plc v Nicholson, since the judgment was published, this is my third post about the case.

Continuing from my previous note where I argued that the judgment was wrong, on the basis of the criteria set out by Burton J. In this post, I would like to write about science as a philosophical belief within the parameters of equality law jurisprudence.

Is science a philosophical belief? Yes. Certainly.

Science is a part of philosophy that says that objective reality can be explained by applying the scientific method, where the scientific method is an evolving philosophy of thought and action. The last refinement of the philosophy of science happened in 1931, Popper's idea of falsifiability. As such I anticipate that it will continue to evolve as philosophy evolves, and I anticipate that the breadth of objective reality which it can describe will increase as technology improves such that ideas about this objective reality can be tested by falsification.

As a philosophical belief this is compatible with Burton J's criteria set out in para 24 of his judgment,

  1. "The belief must be genuinely held.

  2. It must be a belief and not, as in McClintock, an opinion or viewpoint based on the present state of information available.

  3. It must be a belief as to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour.

  4. It must attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance.

  5. It must be worthy of respect in a democratic society, be not incompatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others (paragraph 36 of Campbell and paragraph 23 of Williamson)."

But what about, as in Grainger (man-made global warming) a philosophical belief that is based upon science? Surely this is a contradiction, a non sequitor. Science is a philosophical belief; can you have a philosophical belief based upon another philosophical belief where the latter belief undermines the very nature of the former, the foundation, belief? It doesn't make sense, it is irrational.

This is the error in Grainger. Science as a philosophical belief is worthy of respect in a democratic society. Basing a philosophical belief on science undermines science: the philosophical belief either is scientific or it is not: if not, it is not worthy of respect in a democratic society.

It doesn't matter that the two philosophical beliefs happen to coincide. It is not invetable that they will continue to do so; it is wrong to support a philosophical belief that may be incompatible with a more fundamental philosophical belief.

I would, however, take extreme care in not undermining any other philosophical beliefs: beliefs that are not supposedly predicated on science. Eg, humanism, or any other examples found within Grainger and beyond. I distinguish these philosophical beliefs from the ones that are supposedly based upon science.

As I said earlier, fascinating jurisprudence.

08 November 2009

Is Bigotry Another Name for Philosophical Belief?

There's something troubling about the recent ruling in Grainger plc and Nicholson -

"A belief in man-made climate change, and the alleged resulting moral imperatives, is capable, if genuinely held, of being a philosophical belief for the purpose of the 2003 Religion and Belief Regulations. The belief must be of a similar cogency or status to a religious belief, the ECHR jurisprudence is directly material and the limitations on the concept and extent of a philosophical belief can be derived from that, without the need to place any additional limitation on the nature or source of the belief."

Whilst my edition of the shorter OED has, "Bigotry - ...; obstinate and blind attachment to a creed"

The court case is a rich vein in equality jurisprudence; it is worth reading again and again. Firstly, it doesn't give a definition of 'philosophical belief'; instead it draws our attention to what Baroness Scotland (sic) said in Hansard,

"...the term 'philosophical belief' will take its meaning [from] the context in which it appears; that is, as part of the legislation relating to discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief."

Secondly, Scotland goes on to limit the scope of the philosophical belief which Burton J also sets out (para 24)

  1. The belief must be genuinely held.

  2. It must be a belief and not, as in McClintock, an opinion or viewpoint based on the present state of information available.

  3. It must be a belief as to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour.

  4. It must attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance.

  5. It must be worthy of respect in a democratic society, be not incompatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others (paragraph 36 of Campbell and paragraph 23 of Williamson)."

Is this an acknowledgement that a philosophical belief is just another form of bigotry? Or is there a distinction between philosophical belief and bigotry? Is the passage above saying that it isn't bigotry if it is genuinely held, if it is more than a view point or opinion?

Interestingly, the ruling says that it must be worthy of respect in a democratic society; what, like eugenics? This was worthy of respect in the early part of the twentieth century in Europe; I appreciate that this is not the case now but what else are we going to protect now due to our ignorance or lack of perspective?

Thirdly, para 30 has,

"In my judgment, if a person can establish that he holds a philosophical belief which is based on science, as opposed, for example, to religion, then there is no reason to disqualify it from protection by the Regulations. The Employment Judge drew attention to the existence of empiricist philosophers, no doubt such as Hume and Locke. The best example, as it seems to me, which was canvassed during the course of the hearing, is by reference to the clash of two such philosophies, exemplified in the play Inherit the Wind, i.e. one not simply between those who supported Creationism and those who did not, but between those who positively supported, and wished to teach, only Creationism and those who positively supported, and wished to teach, only Darwinism. Darwinism must plainly be capable of being a philosophical belief, albeit that it may be based entirely on scientific conclusions (not all of which may be uncontroversial)."

... which is contradictory. "[I]f a person can establish that he holds a philosophical belief which is based on science, as opposed, for example, to religion, then there is no reason to disqualify it from protection by the Regulations." Is it a philosphical belief if it is based on science? Surely not? But Burton J gives an excellent example, "Darwinism must plainly be capable of being a philosophical belief". It is if the person holding that idea holds it as a belief; rather than holding the belief, and understanding that it is only valid because, thus far, it hasn't been falsified. (Falsification is, Popper's criterion for distinguishing between science and non-science).

But surely this is bigotry: the blind and obstinate attachment to a creed. Just because, at the time the view is expressed, it may be concurrent with scientific understanding, it doesn't mean that this will always be the case.

This jurisprudence is straying into territory where it shouldn't belong: not the philosophical belief per se; but, the idea that non-science dressed as science can be protected in law is wrong. It breaks one of the criteria set out in para 24 by Burton J; it is not "worthy of respect in a democratic society".

Again, not necessarily the particular idea; since, as Burton J points out, or at least implies, the philosophical idea may be concurrent with current scientific thought, eg Darwinism. However, Darwinism as a philosophical idea is not worthy of respect.

Does it matter? It matters when it matters. That is, when new data, new hypotheses emerge and the philosophical idea is no longer concurrent with science.

In conclusion - a philosophical idea based on science is a contradiction in terms, it is not worthy of respect in a democratic society, and should not be protected by law.

Mr Justice Burton was wrong.

Note that as yet, I don't have any opinions about other philosophical beliefs that one would want to protect in law. Just those supposedly based on science - which I regard as a contradiction. If Burton J wanted to protect Nicholson's belief if Nicholson didn't regard 'man-made climate change' as based on science then that's another matter (I doubt that it would be compatible with a democratic society).

As for the law protecting marriage as a philosophical belief ... I'll leave that for another post.

Update 12th Nov 2009, "Police worker fired for backing psychic investigations claims religious discrimination" from the Daily Telegraph,

"At a tribunal in London, Mr Power will claim that Greater Manchester Police broke the law by sacking him for believing that mediums should be consulted in criminal investigations.

In an initial judgement seen by The Independent, Judge Peter Russell said that the case had merit because his Spiritualist views "have sufficient cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance" to be covered by the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003.

The judge wrote: "I am satisfied that the claimant's beliefs that there is life after death and that the dead can be contacted through mediums are worthy of respect in a democratic society."

Mr Power's former employers are expected to argue that Judge Russell's ruling was not justified, and highlight that the trainer did not initially claim that his belief in the usefulness of psychics to police investigations amounted to a religious conviction.

A couple of points: why does the Telegraph file this under religion? Turning to the ruling: is it really worthy of respect in a democratic society?

This creeping ignorance is beginning to be disturbing; when will these people start appearing as expert witnesses?

06 November 2009

Somjee's Abduction

I've quoted from Murphy on Evidence before,

"Judicial reasoning is a combination of three different kinds of logical process, ie, inductive reasoning ...; deductive ...; and abductive (reasoning by way of comparative analysis of rival hypotheses towards a qualitative preference for one of them over the others)."

In Somjee v Barnsley District General Hospital, a personal injury case, the facts are as follows: Somjee tripped on a pathing slab, she made a claim against the hospital (where the trip happened), her claim was defeated.

What is of interest is that the law reports says, "... she was represented by solicitors (with whom she is now in dispute and whom she accuses of conspiring to defeat her claim)."

Also, earlier in the report,

"He rejected as unproved an assertion of collusion between the Hospital's solicitors and Miss Somjee's former solicitors; and also the allegation that the Hospital's solicitors had tried to 'bully' Miss Somjee in the lead up to the trial. The judge said all these allegations were 'extremely serious … [were] all unsupported by any evidence and appear to me to have no basis in fact'. He said the very fact that she made them seriously undermined her credibility, and he had taken them into account in assessing the reliability of her evidence."

I don't want to comment on this particular case: I have only read the report linked above, I wasn't at the hearing. Instead I want to take the general point about whether or not a solicitor would collude with the opposition in a case such as this.

In the UK, a huge amount of work for solicitors comes not from the private sector but the public sector. Why wouldn't you collude with your prospective employer/cash cow to help defeat a claim?

If you cover your tracks it can only lead to the claimant undermining their case if they cry foul.

05 November 2009

Wiesner's Misfortune

"The story of quantum cryptography dates back to a curious idea developed in the late 1960s by Stephen Wiesner, then a graduate student at Columbia University. Sadly, it was Wiesner's misfortune to invent an idea so ahead of its time that nobody took it seriously.
..., Wiesner submitted a paper to a scientific journal. It was rejected. He submitted it to three other journals, and it was rejected three more times. Wiesner claims that they simply did not understand the physics.
From p 332 of Simon Singh's, "The Code Book".

This sort of thing must be happening time and time again.

Which brings us to the wisdom of Daubert; the judgment that sets out criteria for deciding whether or not scientific expert opinion evidence is scientific or not. When it comes to whether or not the science has been published or not, we have the opinion of Mr Justice Blackmun for the court,

"Another pertinent consideration is whether the theory or technique has been subjected to peer review and publication. Publication (which is but one element of peer review) is not a sine qua non of admissibility; it does not necessarily correlate with reliability, see S. Jasanoff, The Fifth Branch: Science Advisors as Policymakers 61-76 (1990), and in some instances well grounded but innovative theories will not have been published, see Horrobin, The Philosophical Basis of Peer Review and the Suppression of Innovation, 263 J. Am. Med. Assn. 1438 (1990). Some propositions, moreover, are too particular, too new, or of too limited interest to be published. But submission to the scrutiny of the scientific community is a component of "good science," in part because it increases the likelihood that substantive flaws in methodology will be detected. See J. Ziman, Reliable Knowledge: An Exploration of the Grounds for Belief in Science 130-133 (1978); Relman and Angell, How Good Is Peer Review?, 321 New Eng. J. Med. 827 (1989). The fact of publication (or lack thereof) in a peer reviewed journal thus will be a relevant, though not dispositive, consideration in assessing the scientific validity of a particular technique or methodology on which an opinion is premised."

Blackmun J also goes on to say, "[a]dditionally, in the case of a particular scientific technique, the court ordinarily should consider the known or potential rate of error,"

What it s the known or potential rate of error of finger print analysis?

04 November 2009

Tip of the Iceberg

The Times reports that Al Gore could become the world's first carbon billionaire.

The problem is that this isn't wealth creation but wealth transfer.

Transfer from poor to rich (have you got the wherewithall to have a windfarm in your back garden?).

This is the tip of the iceberg and is being repeated on a massive scale where the recipients are global corporations (scroll down for sponsors).

Philosophical Beliefs: Darwinism and Anthropogenic Global Warmimg

Grainger v Nicholson is discussed in an employment law blog where they provide a link (word doc) to the court case.

As has been well reported, man-made global warming, in law, can be regarded as a philosophical belief (subject to factual tests) for the purposes of Article 9 of the ECHR.

Curiously, according Burton J, "Darwinism must plainly be capable of being a philosophical belief, albeit that it may be based entirely on scientific conclusions (not all of which may be uncontroversial)."

I make no particular points in this post ... the judgment is simply of interest.

Is that it? An explanation.

Bologna Train Station Stopped Clock.

In the previous post, Gladio. Is that it?, I quoted from the European Union's Official Journal; a resolution and a response.

The resolution was incredibly damning. In short, it said that post war democracy within Europe has been a sham. It never existed. The will of the people was allowed to be expressed through government policy only if it satisfied the agenda of others.

I responded by saying, 'is that it?'. This was in reply to the response to the indictment which was akin to a shrug of the shoulders. Subsequently, nothing has happened. This post war history, the consequences of which are that democracy in Europe was a sham, most probably is still a sham, and will continue to be a sham, was and is being ignored. Ignored by political institutions such as national and european parliaments; ignored by mainstream media.

Without any public scrutiny of Gladio we cannot know whether or not it is responsible for any terrorist attack in Blighty, Europe, or anywhere else in the world.

Gladio is one of the known unknowns.

There is no reason that this should be the case. Scrutiny of the organisation, their crimes and methods, and prosecutions of the terrorists who murdered people would reduce it to a known known.

Part E of the resolution says, "these organizations operated and continue to operate completely outside the law". On the basis of this, for all we know, this organisation was responsible for the Madrid and London bombings: Gladio bombed the Bologna train station. Why not these other two cities?

The pathetic inaction towards this resolution express the power of this clandestine organisation; the pathetic inaction shows who rules.

Just imagine if Gladio was an Islamic terrorist organisation: no stone would be unturned in order to seek them out. Gladio would be a proscribed organisation; instead, nothing.

I wonder what the Home Secretary would say if I asked him why Gladio was not a proscribed organisation?

Perhaps the same as Archie Hamilton back in 1992?

Operation Gladio

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his policy on the public disclosure of information on the activities of and United Kingdom support for Operation Gladio since its inception.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : It has been the policy of successive Governments not to comment on matters of this nature. This remains the policy.

03 November 2009

Gladio. Is that it?

A simple search of Eur-Lex (access to European Law) using the search term Gladio gives two results.

"RESOLUTION on the Gladio affair

Official Journal C 324 , 24/12/1990 P. 0201


"WRITTEN QUESTION No. 727/91 by Mr Luigi COLAJANNI to European Political Cooperation. Clandestine ' Gladio' network

Official Journal C 202 , 10/08/1992 P. 0003

The website doesn't provide anything further, so I reproduce below the notes from the Official Journal.


2. Gladio

— Joint resolution replacing B3-2021, 2058, 2068, 2078 and 2087/90


on the Gladio Affair

The European Parliament

  1. having regard to the revelation by several European governments of the existence for 40 years of a clandestine intelligence and armed operations organization in several Member States of the Community,

  2. whereas for over 40 years this organziation has eluded all democratic controls and has been run by the secret services of the states concerned in collaboration with NATO,

  3. fearing the danger that such clandestine networks may have interfered illegally in the internal political affairs of Member States or may still do so,

  4. whereas in certain Member States military secret services (or uncontrolled branches thereof) were involved in serious cases of terrorism and crime as evidenced by various judicial inquiries,

  5. whereas these organizations operated and continue to operate comletely outside the law since they are not subject to any parliamentary control and frequently those holding the highest government and constitutional posts have claimed to be in the dark as to these matters,

  6. whereas the various 'GLADIO' organizations have at their disposal independent arsenals and military resources which give them an unknown strike potential, thereby jeopardizing the democratic structures of the countries in which they are operating or have been operating,

  7. greatly concerned at the existence of decision-making and operational bodies which are not subject to any form of democratic control and are of a completely clandestine nature at a time when greater Community cooperation in the field of security is a constant subject of discussion.

1.    Condemns the clandestine creation of manipulative and operational networks and calls for a full investigation into the nature, structure, aims and all other aspects of these clandestine organizations, any misuse thereof, their use for illegal interference in the internal political affairs of the countries concerned, the problems of terrorism in Europe and the possible collusion of the secret services of Member States or third countries;

2.    Protests vigorously at the assumption by certain US military personnel at SHAPE and in NATO of the right to encourage the establisment in Europe of a clandestine intelligence and operation network;

3.    Calls on the governments of the Member States to dismantle all clandestine military and paramilitary networks;

4.    Calls on the judiciaries of the countries in which the presence of such military organizations has been ascetained to elucidate fully their actual extent and modus operandi and to clarify any action they may have taken to destabilize the democratic structures of the Member States;

5.    Requests all the Member States to take the necessary measures, if necessary by establishing parliamentary committees of inquiry, to draw up a complete list of organizations active in this field, and at the same time to investigate their links with the respective state intelligence services and their links, if any, with terrorist action groups and/or other illegal practices;

6.    Calls on the Council of Ministers to provide full information on the activities of these secret intelligence and operational services;

7.    Instructs its Political Affairs Committee to consider holding a hearing in order to clarify the role and impact of the 'GLADIO' organization and any similar bodies;

8.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the Secretary-General of NATO, the governments of the Member States and the United States Government.


by Mr Luigi Colajanni (GUE)
to European Political Cooperation

(23 April 1991)
(92/C 202/05)

Subject: Clandestine 'Gladio' network

There have been many reports, including those based on official sources, on the existence of a clandestine parallel intelligence and armed operations organization.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on 22 November 1990 (1) calling for a full investigation into the activities of this organization.

Having regard to paragraphs 5 and 6 in particular of the above resolution:
  1. Can EPC provide the European Parliament with information on the activities of these secret intelligence and operational services?

  2. Can it report on any action which these services have taken to destabilize the democratic structures of the Member States and on their involvement in subversive and terrorist plots which have led to various unexplained violent events in recent years?

(1 Minutes of proceedings of the sitting of 22 November 1990.

(13 July 1992)

The question raised by the Honourable Member has not been discussed within the EPC framework.

Is that it?

02 November 2009

Drug War Propaganda Meets Objective Reality

The Daily Mail gives us this headline,

"Remember, David Nutt does not have to face the voters

"Professor Nutt - while free to speak his mind - does not have to face voters with his deeply contentious views that ecstasy and LSD are safer than alcohol, and that cannabis laws should not have been toughened.

We've had almost a hundred years of drug war propaganda: the ignorance being peddled over this issue is astounding.

Science is not about democracy ... an apple falls from a tree under the force of gravity irrespective of any elections. To suggest otherwise is to be ignorant.

Is this really how the labour gov want to be remembered?

01 November 2009

Nitroglycerine Manufacture - Continuous Flow

In order to carry out a chemical reaction requires two things: mass transfer and heat transfer. Mass transfer is usually carried out by stirring, eg by using a magnetic stirrer on a small scale, or, an overhead motor attached to a stirrer on a larger scale. Whilst heat transfer is usually carried out by jacketting the vessel where the reaction takes place.

Using a conventional stirrer in a reaction vessel isn't the only method of mixing reagents so that they will react. A fascinating example of mixing is found in the following patents, "Method for manufacturing organic nitro compounds" and "Improvements in the manufacture of nitric acid esters of aliphatic alcohols".

Here, an aspirator is used to mix the reagents.

The reagents in this case being glycerine and a nitrating mixture of acids. The second patent takes the idea in the first patent and finesses it by separating the reaction mixture - now containing the product - in a centrifugal separator.

Of course, the reagents need not necessarily be the starting materials for explosives, they may be reagents for the preparation of, for example, biodiesel.

Section 58 Disclaimer

I would advise against making anything explosive.

Making explosives without any practical experience of using chemicals is like trying to learn to drive from a book, with the added difficulty that if you ever stall the car, it will explode and quite likely kill you."