The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 18th January 2008

Brian Haw beaten up by police

Welcome To Our Weekly Digest Edition

Please feel free to use this material provided the New Worker is informed and credited.



by Daphne Liddle

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 crime.

 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 analyses.

 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 enquiries.

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 ethnic minorities.

 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 video sequences.

 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 worst’ individuals.

 “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 these policies.

 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 their work.

 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.


Imperialism’s nuclear agenda

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 years.

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 into account.

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 nuclear weapons.

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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