The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 18th January 2008
Brian Haw beaten up by police -
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IN THE SKY
by Daphne Liddle
AMERICA’S Federal Bureau of Investigation has initiated a plan,
called “Server in the Sky”, for police in Britain, Australia, Canada
and New Zealand to share databases containing personal details of
millions of citizens in the name of countering terrorism and serious
Senior police officers from the forces involved have formed a
working group – the International Information Consortium – to negotiate
their plans to pool data.
A similar call for the pooling of personal data banks has also
come from the European Union – in a week when the United States
government has declared that it believes Europe to be a hot-bed of
terrorist training facilities.
The information that will be made available from police databases
will include biometric measures like iris scans, fingerprints and DNA
In Britain the police database known as IDENT1 holds details on
more than seven million people – many of whom have no criminal record
at all. In recent years the police have routinely kept fingerprint and
other biometric data from almost anyone who comes across their
threshold – as a suspect, a witness or someone to be eliminated from
Previously such data from people who were not convicted of any crime
would have been destroyed. Now the police seem to be aiming by stealth
to build a database covering everyone in Britain and prioritising
Britain’s National Policing Improvement Agency has been liaising
with the FBI to set up the “Server in the Sky” scheme.
Private sector technology companies are heavily involved. The US
defence company Northrop Grumman built IDENT1. It is designed to hold
all kinds of biometric data, including palm prints, facial images and
Northrop Grumman is also involved in “Server in the Sky”. A
representative of the company said it could run independently but if
existing systems are connected up to it then the intelligence agencies
would have to approve.
There are major concerns about the security of data held on these
machines, especially after recent data losses by Government departments
in Britain. All these losses occurred where private sector companies
were involved in transporting or storing highly sensitive data about
millions of people.
So far the FBI has involved the police forces in countries that
the US regards as its closest allies in the “war against terror”. But
the aim seems to be eventually to have a file on everyone on the planet.
An FBI representative said: “Server in the Sky is an FBI
initiative designed to foster the advanced search and exchange of
biometric information on a global scale. While it is currently in the
concept and design stages, once complete it will provide a technical
forum for member nations to submit biometric search requests to other
nations. It will maintain a core holding of the world’s ‘worst of the
“Any identifications of these people will be sent as a priority
message to the requesting nation.”
The history of the FBI has shown the organisation has invariably
given priority to targeting political opponents of United States
imperialism, left wing political activists and trade unionists above
combating serious organised crime.
The United States’ grip on the world’s economic and political arenas is
weakening and this is leading to the most right-wing and paranoid in
the US establishment seeking to assert control over the whole globe.
The early results of the American presidential election primaries
indicate that the people of America are seeking a definite change from
Meanwhile in Britain a survey published last week found that more
than half of all employees in Britain are feeling increasing strain
because their employers are using surveillance equipment to monitor
The feeling of being watched at every turn leaves workers feeling
exhausted and anxious, say Dr Michael White and Dr Patrick McGovern of
the London School of Economics, who carried out the research for the
Economic and Social Research Council.
Details of sales, deliveries, contact with customers, phone calls
and the time taken to complete tasks are now routinely logged on
computer systems and bosses use the information to evaluate workers.
The survey revealed that many workers now feel they are becoming
an appendage of the machine.
BUSINESS and Industry
Secretary John Hutton last week announced plans to build up to 10
nuclear power stations by the year 2020 to be built by private
enterprise. Hutton claimed there would be no subsidies to these
companies but the Government has promised to skew the market to make
gas and coal generated power more expensive. While there are
environmental arguments for reducing the emissions that gas and coal
power generate, the way that the Government has chosen to do it ensures
maximum profit for EDF and friends.
More seriously, it is the taxpayers who will pick up the bill for
eventually decommissioning these power stations and for the disposal of
contaminated waste. Only when these gigantic costs are taken out of the
equation can nuclear power generation become profitable. And for people
living in Britain the costs will not be confined to money.
At best there will be health risks from pollution as there has been
from existing and former nuclear plants like Sellafield and Dounreay.
At worst there could be an accidental nuclear explosion that would
cause thousands of casualties and radiation contamination that would
make a large part of the country uninhabitable for perhaps thousands of
But we must ask ourselves why the Government is bending its ear to the
lobbying of EDF at the expense of other business lobbies from the coal
and gas owners – who could clean up their power generation and cut
carbon emissions at a cost that would still be cheaper than nuclear
power, if the costs of waste disposal and decommissioning were taken
The reason is that the Nato military-industrial complex – and in
particular the US and British governments – believe they are running
short of plutonium and need a new supply for a new generation of
Rational people may wonder why imperialist powers that have enough
stocks of nuclear weapons to blow up the world many times over could
possibly want any more. But those powers are working according to
belief in a “game theory”, devised by “economic scientist” John Nash.
He claimed that all humans are inherently suspicious and selfish and
will always seek to profit at the expense of others. This, of course,
describes capitalists perfectly.
When Nash tried behavioural tests on his secretaries he found they
opted to cooperate and help each other rather than try to cheat each
other. That did not daunt him – he ruled them “unfit subjects” for the
test. Later he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic but Nato still
uses his textbooks and strategies, which saw the Soviet Union as greedy
and deceitful as the western powers.
The Soviet Union is gone but the imperialists still see themselves as
under threat; hence their efforts to try to gain control of the whole
world – which have antagonised the rest of the world and resulted in
America’s political and economic position now being a lot weaker than
it was before the illegal invasion of Iraq.
This makes the imperialists all the more paranoid. Western imperialism
is seriously damaged but it is still very dangerous.
But opposing nuclear power is vital to stop a new supply of plutonium
leading to yet higher and more dangerous piles of nuclear arms.
There are many other arguments against nuclear power. It is not the
answer to climate change – in fact, even if we doubled the amount of
nuclear power in Britain there would only be an eight per cent
reduction in greenhouse gases. It is neither carbon emission free nor
would new power stations come on stream for at least ten years.
No safe solution has yet been devised to store its carcinogenic toxic
radioactive waste, some of which is dangerous for thousands of years.
There are far better, safer renewable sources of energy. The nuclear
lobby is scornful of wind and solar power. Yet in California there is a
new method of mass producing solar panels printed on to thin aluminium
foil that would be cheap to cover roofs of homes and factories. There
are giant solar concentration generators located in the world’s deserts
that can produce huge amounts of electricity.
Scientists have calculated that by covering less than one per cent of
the world’s desert regions with the concentrated solar power stations,
we could produce enough power to meet the entire world’s electricity
needs. And this would bring wealth and prosperity to some of the
world’s poorest regions.
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