Very Naughty in Nigeria – In the course of cutting arms deals for Nigeria, $15 Billion was embezzled by those in the administration of Goodluck Jonathan’s government. They got found out, but will there be justice and retrieval? Unlikely. In view of the frivolous, even fictitious, basis upon which some Western nations have launched wars of late, one might wonder whether some of our diplomats’ pockets are being lined? That anyone would countenance the deaths of hundreds of thousands for the sake of their wealth might seem unthinkable to many, but rest assured that it happens. I would not for a moment suggest that Tony Blair’s impressive wealth of £60 million could be connected in any way to his peace efforts in the Middle East.

South Africa – 738 criminal charges against? – Answer: President Jacob Zuma. Seems like he’s losing his grip on power in South Africa as the nation’s High Court has decided that it was “irrational” to drop corruption charged against him in 2009, a few weeks before he became president. His power was enough then to convince the same High Court to drop all 738 charges relating to a multibillion-dollar arms deal. Here we are again, sleazy dealing involving the arms industry. This comes on top of the scandal over his spending of $23 million on private residence improvements, with state funds. Got to admit that Western leaders have more experience at keeping their sleazies under control.

 Obama sends UK to the back of what queue? – We were fed the image of poor old Britain forlornly stuck at the back of the queue, but never clearly told what queue. That would be inclusion in the hugely controversial TTIP deal that gives powers to corporations over governments and could lead to overriding of local regulations against GM foods, farming hormones, and much else besides. 

Someone just leaked the full content of the TTIP agreement, which was being kept totally secret right up to the wire. We can now see why, with the content confirming the worst fears of critics. Many hope this revelation will kill it. Will it?

Luxembourg, the EU, and corporate connivance – In what has been dubbed LuxLeaks, 45,000 pages were leaked by young accountant Antoine Deltour detailing how the government of Luxembourg connived with multinationals to virtually eliminate their tax obligations in Europe. This was back in 2010 and he is now being prosecuted under laws covering industrial espionage. This is appalling, and the sort of stuff we know all to well.

What I find of special interest is that the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker last job was prime minister of Luxembourg, were he had a hand in shaping the tax policies that now enable the corporate avoidance of tax throughout Europe.  That’s politics in the EU, without even an electorate to worry about.

Saving Energy in Venezuela – Public sector workers in Venezuela get a “five day weekend,” working just Mondays and Tuesdays, at full pay, in an effort to reduce electricity consumption. Venezuela is in the grip of a serious energy crisis. Another measure moved the clocks forward 30 minutes to benefit from more useful daylight, saving lighting electricity. Climate, hydro-electrics, under-investment and poor management are contributing factors to the power shortage in this oil-rich nation.

 I’ll close with as quote from Shirley MacLaine.

“It is useless to hold a person to anything he says while he’s in love, drunk, or running for office”

If you want to make sense of these stories, and recognize that war, corruption and duplicity are not an inevitable fact of life then do check out this blogger’s book.

Tax avoiders – today’s phony bogeymen

Tax avoidance is not the problem, despite it understandably getting up the noses of those who have no option but to pay in full. Those who can avoid paying tax do so because it is taken by force, as it always has been. Nobody likes being mugged, even when their money feeds the hungry family of the mugger waving a knife. Many of us regularly indulge in tax avoidance when we bring the max of duty-free goods back from our travels. It is neither immoral nor illegal. Yet we have been conned into thinking that eager compliance with legalized mugging by the state is the socially responsible approach.

We are urged to regard individuals and corporations who avoid paying tax as responsible for the failings of our state to provide viable services with the vast sums they already take from us and borrow against our children’s future. The avoiders are made convenient scapegoats, but the real issue is value for money and not insufficient tax. UK Government spending leapt from £341 to £731 Billion between 2000 and 2015 as more was needed to resolve problems often caused by this growing drain of money from the real economy. Inflation in that period would have raised £341 to £517 billion.

It is as though we believed that if only those clowns in Westminster and Washington had enough money they could fund their wars and deliver full employment, no hunger, homes for all, healthy food, safe streets, a clean environment and no potholes in the road. Dream on. That is not what ruling the world is about, though some nations, some of the time, undoubtedly do a better job than others at sprinkling some of their tax harvest back to those it came from.

Taxation arose as the means to support a ruling class and pay for the standing army that secures their power. It’s simple really and the underlying principles of it have changed little in the ensuing years. If anything, release of the Panama Papers affirms this. There have been many variations of how ruling classes acquire their power, whether by the sword, heredity, murder, marriage, hand of God, or a popularity contest usually won by those with most to spend. There have been changes of those behind the scenes directing the hand of the ruling class, whether they be religious zealots, oligarchs, bankers, militaries, corporations or combinations thereof.

Along the way there have been countless varieties of tax and endless rationales for its imposition. The underlying principle, however, was best summed up by Jean-Baptiste Colbert, finance minister to King Louis XIV of France, when he wrote that “the art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least amount of hissing.” Our taxes subsidize tobacco and sugar producers in Europe, while their products are taxed to safeguard our health. We are screwed at both ends and nobody’s hissing.

This idea of taxation being a socially motivated and beneficial transfer of wealth is clever spin that is masking the transfer of wealth from a productive society to the state, those who pull its strings, and those in its employ. Only about an eighth of what is sucked out of the economy gets sprinkled back as ‘benefits,’ reluctantly. The other 87.5% is administered by the inefficient and often ineffective mechanism of the state.

It is the state’s sucking away of our wealth that is the prime underlying factor behind the poverty that leads to homelessness, unemployment, petty crime, hunger and many of the problems we empower the state to take charge of. Half or more of the wealth we generate each year goes to the state instead of circulating freely in our self-built economy. There is plenty of money to take care of the disadvantaged in our society and ways to do so in a caring and connected fashion were the state not in charge, spawning government departments that thrive, expand and depend upon the problems in their care.

It is the state’s oppressive regulation that stifles human enterprise and innovation, creating a playing field heavily tilted towards the major corporations who can comply. The $2.5 Billion it costs to bring a new drug to market creates a ruthless pharmaceutical industry, with a few major players hungry for massive profits on over-priced drugs. Agricultural subsidy and regulation of animal breeds and seed varieties favour those best suited to industrialized farming. Much of our food is anything but safe, though fully compliant with safety regulation. Safe, inexpensive and non-addictive drugs are banned worldwide, while toxic, expensive and addictive ones are widely available, bringing in massive tax revenues (imposed for our health, of course). “Green taxes” are levied to save the planet, which will as like as not be used one day to subsidize fracking and nuclear power.

The disclosures we should be concerned by in the Panama Papers are two, the main one being those rulers and robbers who collude with the bankers to conceal their ill-gotten gains in secret accounts. This goes beyond tax evasion, as one would not expect thieves to declare their stolen loot on tax returns. The other relevant exposure is the sheer hypocrisy of those politicians urging full tax compliance while themselves avoiding or evading it. The taxes they don’t pay, of course, are on money provided by taxes demanded of us.

Don’t be taken in by politicians spinning the Panama Papers into an excuse for their own lamentable failings. However much more money the state could raise through taxation, it would never be enough to reverse the damage done with that they already take.


I am author of The State Is Out Of Date, We Can Do It Better, a book which makes the case for a self-governed world that moves towards diminishing crime, poor health and poverty by more positive means than creating departments of the state that thrive upon their existence.

The issue is not who is in power, how they got there, what they want to do, or why. The issue is whether or not the underlying principles of the state can ever bring us lasting peace and harmony, and what could.

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Tobacco, spies, polonium-210, and cancer

This is the “director’s cut” of my letter published in the Guardian 5th Dec 2006, when the BIG story was a fugitive Russian spy who had been poisoned with polonium-210 in London. It’s not really news that spies get fiendishly terminated in real life as well as the movies. It was getting caught, and the novelty of the technique, that gave this story wings.
I was already familiar with a more sinister side to polonium-210 and thought this spy-killing affair would be a good hook to hang it on. My letter was published but never ignited into the story it deserves to be. Feed it to the blog, I say!

Dear Letters Editor,

In the ongoing Alexander Litvinenko poisoning story, polonium-210 continues to be described as a rare isotope. Unfortunately it is not rare at all, and is even available at a discount from most international airports. Whilst it appears as though the death of a Russian spy has alerted us to an exotic new poison, Polonium-210 already kills tens of thousands of Britons annually.

tobacco geiger
Four men testing a radioactive tobacco plant at Farm and Home Week in August 1952

In 1990, American Surgeon General C. Everett Coop declared that radioactivity, not tar, accounts for 90% of smoking-related lung cancers. Cigarettes are lightly radioactive. Most of that radiation comes from the rock-mineral fertilizer (apatite) used by subsidized American tobacco farmers. This captures and holds onto radon gas, which decays to deposit polonium-210 in the fine hairs of tobacco leaves. This deposits in smokers’ lungs, beaming out deadly alpha radiation for years and damaging DNA.

Increasing usage of radon-rich fertilizers accompanied an 18-fold increase in the per capita incidence of lung cancer between 1930-80 in the USA. In the same period smoking decreased 20% but tobacco’s polonium-210 content tripled. It was estimated in 1982 (New England Journal of Medicine) that a 30-cigarette a day smoker’s lungs will accumulate radiation equivalent to 300 chest x-rays per year.

Of 33,000 UK deaths per annum from lung cancer (2005), 90% would equate to 30,000 caused by radiation. Whilst the death of Alexander Litvinenko fixates us, it is sobering to realize that some 575 Britons die every week as a result of gradually ingesting the same substance that poisoned him.

We can appreciate that it is neither in the interests of the government nor the tobacco industry to publicize the radiation situation, which they jointly brought about. Nor do anti-smoking campaigners wish to give attention to confusing data which might show that smoking is not, of itself, the killer. They are all well aware of the situation, and their reluctance to do anything about it is nothing short of criminal.

Perhaps we could benefit from the polonium-210 publicity bonanza by recognizing it as the unnecessary toxin in a common drug. However socially undesirable is the smoking of tobacco, it need not lead to the suffering and tragic death by lung cancer of so many users. Though I don’t smoke, a lot of my friends do and I respect their right to do so.

Whilst we must all be saddened by the tragic loss of one Russian spy, his end may have been for the greater good if, through raising this issue, the lives of millions of future smokers may be saved.

Gregory Sams

References supporting the data are all included at this site:

Gregory’s website


An enquiry into Litvinenko’s killing began in July 2014, finishing a year later. The report should be published by the end of 2015.
This comes from the BBC link: “After leaving the service Mr Litvinenko wrote a book, Blowing up Russia: Terror from Within, in which he claimed FSB agents had been responsible for the bombing of apartment blocks in Moscow and two other cities in 1999.”
If you are a defected spy accusing your former boss of murderous deeds then their getting murderous with you is a distinct possibility. Edward Snowden is still in hiding; Julian Assange safe but trapped; Private Bradley Manning, captured and jailed for 35 years.

The enquiry was set up, eight years after his death, positioning this as a major crime at a time when the West is seeking to counter Russia politically. His death represented a major failure of the UK intelligence service who had promised him protection, under his new identity as Edwin Redwald Carter.

Do they really think that if they can pin this on some Russian spymaster, or Putin himself, it will make a difference? What a waste of our money. Many worse things are known to have been done by our own and other governments including Russian and American around the world. This includes waging wars that killed thousands on false pretences.

  • – – – –

Cancer just loves genetic damage and for that, radioactivity is the best stuff by far. That said, some six hundred additives are approved for use in tobacco products. Were cigarettes and rolling tobacco subject to ingredient labelling we would know how few or how many go into what is being smoked. I guess from 3-10 additives would be in any given product. Many of these may contribute to health complaints that detract from lifespan. Some of those in the list of 600 are considered carcinogenic and some are natural harmless additions, such as nutmeg oil. Perhaps Mr Coop got it wrong and only 75% of tobacco deaths, not 90% are from radioactivity and the rest from other ingredients. Ingredient listing is the way forward, and quitting is even better.

Corruption rife in European Union – according to EU study

The European Union is reporting at least €120 Billion per year lost to corruption. The real figure is potentially far higher, considering that the section on EU institutional corruption was redacted from the report. By way of comparison, the total EU budget fEU-Blomfield-y-150x150or 2013 was £151 billion. It’s a shocking and revealing report, coming from the EU itself. But it’s no great surprise, with corruption and fraud having long been endemic in the Common Agricultural Policy, the largest recipient of EU expenditure.  Full story click here. 

As covered in The State Is Out Of Date, this situation is not a great surprise.
from chapter 3, the title chapter:

The Common Agricultural Policy (consuming  40% of the EU budget) has been cited by regular studies as unworkable, corruption-prone, and grossly inefficient since the early 1980s. Literally billions of euros, taken from the pockets of the European populace, are scammed and lost every year as this out-of-control creation of Brussels gets on with its regular job—which itself has little merit.Yet somewhere in Brussels, nerve center of the faltering European Union, the wielders of deterministic power think that even more of our money and some clever manipulation of their ever more complex formulas will get it all working. The alternative of lost jobs (their own) and responsibilities is too awful to contemplate.

As I upgrade this book from 1998 to 2013 it looks like perhaps the end is nigh for the European Union, an unnecessary and costly extra layer of government that never served to reduce levels of local or national government beneath it, providing little more than more pigs feeding at the metaphorical trough.

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Seven current examples of the out-of-date state in action.

UK  – FRACKING away!

The UK government pushes forward with its plans to frack the hell out of our green and pleasant land, pumping toxic chemicals through miles of horizontal shafts beneath the ground. They are bribing local councils to give permission for criminal damage to planet Earth, while deploying their police to deal with pesky protesters trying to save the planet. Get detailed information here on the toxic components of Haliburton’s fracking fluids.

TURKEY – rampant corruption

The Turkish government has just sacked 350 police officers, including those chief officers in charge of monitoring financial crime, smuggling, and organized crime. This follows  a corruption investigation that had named and shamed several of Prime Minister Erdogan’s minsters and close associates.  Thousands have taken to the streets in protest. Fighting  and scuffles even broke out in the Turkish parliament.

UKRAINE – savage brutality

There have been huge anti-government protests in Ukraine over the past few weeks after the government rejected a closer alliance with the EU in favour of closer ties to Russia (dogshit versus catshit, I would say). But the organizer of those protests was savagely beaten by a gang of thugs last week as he left a police station. Another pro EU campaigner was stabbed outside his apartment and a journalist supporting the protest was beaten unconscious.

SPAIN – a right royal fraud

The daughter of the Spanish king has been named as a suspect in a fraud and money-laundering case involving millions of Euros, allegedly taken from a publically funded charitable fund run by her husband.

UK – wasting money on pharmaceuticals

The British state has purchased some £500 million worth of Tamilflu vaccinations without having any evidence of its effectiveness. Those lobbyists from the pharmaceutical industry are certainly earning their inflated salaries!  In the USA there are three of these lobbyists for every congressman and senator.

THAILAND – shut down the government

Protesters are out on the streets of Bangkok once again in an attempt to shut down the government being run by the sister of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatr who fled the country to evade corruption charges after being ousted by the military.

BRAZIL  – stamping out protest

After wide-ranging protests last year against corruption and government waste in Brazil, a new 10,000 strong force of specially trained elite police officers has been created to make sure that no protests interrupt the smooth running of next year’s World Cup matches being played in Brazil. Is this how democratic states respond to citizens expressing their dissatisfaction?

– – – – – – –

 Ever wonder why we get so frustrated with the political process? This book will help you see why, while embracing real-world alternatives.

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US cops kill more innocents than the war in Iraq and terrorists combined

The increase in police brutality in this country is a frightening reality. In the last decade alone the number of people killed by US police has reached 5,000. The number of soldiers killed since the inception of the Iraq war, 4489.

What went wrong? In the 19070’s SWAT teams were estimated to be used just a few hundred times per year, now we are looking at over 40,000 military style “knock and announce” police raids a year. The police presence in this country is being turned into a military with a clearly defined enemy, anyone who questions the establishment.

read full story here

Occasionally one of these incidents gets caught on camera and we see the shocking outcome of increasing militarization of the police. An extract from Our Problems, Our Solutions, Chapter 11

“In recent years, we have seen burglary and some crimes of violence reducing in parts of the world. This has been offset by a massive increase of identity theft and cybercrime, unknown concepts in the past, which are often undetected and, like banking fraud, rarely included in the crime figures. Rates of death-by-police and suicide and are not included in crime figures, even though suicide is against the law in most parts of the world.”

Extract from  Who Owns You? – chapter 16

“Yet history continually shows us the degree to which the state regards as its own property the lives of those living within the borderline defining its territory. It would seem apparent that one of the unspoken rules of our world community of nations is that any individual state can do whatever it likes to its own citizens without interference from any other state.”
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Victimless crimes get life in prison

From The Guardian:

“At about 12.40pm on 2 January 1996, Timothy Jackson took a jacket from the Maison Blanche department store in New Orleans, draped it over his arm, and walked out of the store without paying for it. When he was accosted by a security guard, Jackson said: “I just needed another jacket, man.” A few months later Jackson was convicted of shoplifting and sent to Angola prison in Louisiana. That was 16 years ago. Today he is still incarcerated in Angola, and will stay there for the rest of his natural life having been condemned to die in jail. All for the theft of a jacket, worth $159……The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with 2.3 million people now in custody, with the war on drugs acting as the overriding push-factor. Of the prisoners serving life without parole for non-violent offences nationwide, the ACLU estimates that almost 80% were for drug-related crimes.Again, the offences involved can be startlingly petty. Drug cases itemised in the report include a man sentenced to die in prison for having been found in possession of a crack pipe; an offender with a bottle cap that contained a trace of heroin that was too small to measure; a prisoner arrested with a trace amount of cocaine in their pocket too tiny to see with the naked eye; a man who acted as a go-between in a sale to an undercover police officer of marijuana – street value $10.  Read the full story…

From “Strange Fruit,” chapter 25, dealing with the consequences of blending the coercive state with private enterprise.

“One of the most frightening strange fruits to come from the mating of coercion with free enterprise is the increased reliance on privatization of the prison industry. Here we have the state creating a private industry that relies upon the state’s coercive power to supply it with a stream of new customers (inmates). This industry has become a strong lobby in support of maintaining and increasing those laws carrying prison sentences. As the Correctional Corporation of America warned in its 2010 annual report: “Any changes [in the laws] with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.”Private prisons have enjoyed many years as a “hot” investment stock in America since their introduction in the 1980s. In the three decades that followed we saw the American prison population increase five-fold, from one-half million to two and one-half million, during a time in which crimes, with or without victims, have remained relatively constant.”

From “Victimless Crimes,” chapter 17 –

…Of course these resources should be spent to stop real crime and its causes, but as long as the state is running things, it will be in the long-term interest of the prison industry to have more prisons and of the police service to have more crime.”

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The Consciousness Revolution

Graham Hancock for Russell Brand in the New Statesman.


Consciousness is one of the great mysteries of science – perhaps the greatest mystery. We all know we have it, when we think, when we dream, when we savour tastes and aromas, when we hear a great symphony, when we fall in love, and it is surely the most intimate, the most sapient, the most personal part of ourselves. Yet no one can really claim to have understood and explained it completely. There’s no doubt it’s associated with the brain in some way but the nature of that association is far from clear. In particular how do these three pounds of material stuff inside our skulls allow us to have experiences?

…later, he continues…

I refer here to the so-called “war on drugs” which is really better understood as a war on consciousness and which maintains, supposedly in the interests of society, that we as adults do not have the right or maturity to make sovereign decisions about our own consciousness and about the states of consciousness we wish to explore and embrace. This extraordinary imposition on adult cognitive liberty is justified by the idea that our brain activity, disturbed by drugs, will adversely impact our behaviour towards others. Yet anyone who pauses to think seriously for even a moment must realize that we already have adequate laws that govern adverse behaviour towards others and that the real purpose of the “war on drugs” must therefore be to bear down on consciousness itself.

Read the full article here, on Graham Hancock’s website.

Extract from The Drugs Problem, chapter 27 of the book   –

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“It seems a reasonable desire for people to find some means to get “out of their heads” from time to time—to take a totally different perspective on life. Perhaps some new perspectives are needed in the world today, and the attraction to drugs is evolution trying to happen. We should be pleased that many of today’s generation are avoiding the trap of alcohol addiction, together with the anti-social behavior, depression, trivia worship, and middle-age burnout that abusers risk. When not abused, alcohol can be an enjoyable and stimulating drug that is beneficial to our health and well-being. Alcohol has a well-earned place in our culture, but that place does not deserve to be defended by state legislation and turned into a drug monopoly.

Drugs are an integral part of our culture and, as we learned in school, they made up the core of the early international business that brought the world’s differing cultures into trade with each other. Those products of trade included tobacco, alcohol, opium, tea, coffee, chocolate, cocaine, and sugar. Tea was such a costly drug in the pre-revolutionary US that users would season and eat the dried leaves after drinking the strong tea. Prior to the discovery of sugar cane, the sweetening for Europe had been expensive honey; the intense sugar hit was once a luxury drug. Today, we are made addicts from childhood, with many seeing it as a child’s inalienable right to consume large quantities of sugary things. Yet it is clear that the effects of sugar consumption are more damaging than many illegal drugs, and that for many, sugar is a harder drug to kick. The other major items of trade were pepper and spices, products we might view as virtual drugs to the taste buds of the bland European palate of the mid-millennium. The glorious history of trade in the civilized world was firmly anchored in humanity’s desire for new and diverse drugs and sensory inputs.

People have always sought to include drugs in their life- style for many non-medical reasons: whether to stay awake longer or to fall asleep sooner; whether to drown their sorrows or to better understand them; whether to enjoy a banter in the bar with friends or have mystic communication with a tree; whether to explore their dark side or say hello to the god within. Some drugs are not an escape from “reality” but a gateway to exploring the very nature of reality. Even the humble drug tea was first discovered by Buddhist monks, who used its stimulatory qualities in their quest for higher consciousness when meditating through the night. One could imagine how dismayed they would be at the level of tea abuse taking place in modern Britain.”

Who controls the press?

I am bemused by the ongoing story about how “we” (the state) should be curtailing press freedoms in response to recent phone hacking scandals by scurrilous journalists. Let me get this right: the people who are known to be illegally scooping up countless millions of our phone calls, emails, and social media exchanges are now responsible for making sure the press doesn’t do it. NSA-300x192 It was the press, notably the Guardian and Washington Post, who blew loudly on Edward Snowden’s whistle, alerting us to widespread global hacking done by the US National Security Agency with the complicity of overseas security agencies like MI5.  It was the press who themselves shut down the offending News of the World, and who are facing charges for behaviour that is illegal under existing rules. Are any NSA officials being charged for their hacking, which was quite literally millions of times more invasive than that done by the press? I suspect not.
The press gets some positive and negative criticism in the chapter touching upon it.from So What’s News, chapter 19

“Despite its tendency to fill our heads with all the world’s anguish and grief, a free media can perform an invaluable service for society and does a better job of monitoring and exposing the abuses and iniquities of our world than does the “protective” state. How often have we witnessed the government being the last to acknowledge its own corruption and abuse, and then only after revelation in the media? The media is often the first to inform us of scandals involving large or small corporations and dangers facing us through exposure to environmental chemicals or diseases in the food chain.”
“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter’. Thomas Jefferson, American Founding Father, 1743–1826