ASSANGE – DEMISE OF BRITISH JUSTICE

BAIL APPLICATION FOR JULIAN ASSANGE REFUSED

Several hearings ago, Magistrate Baraitser had already stated, before any had been made, that she would not grant bail.  Doctors for Assange are gravely concerned for the publisher’s health, with increasing risk from the current pandemic. The government  is actively considering releasing some prisoners to reduce prison populations because of COVID-19. As a non-violent remand prisoner, today’s application argued that Assange’s health is seriously deteriorating putting him at extreme danger from COVID-19 and that prison conditions make it impossible to avoid infection. Assange’s legal team were informed  that some 100 Belmarsh Prison staff members were home “sick” from the novel coronavirus, however British Magistrate Court Judge Vanessa Baraitser contended that COVID-19 was not an issue in the facility.

Both the British Government and Vanessa Baraitser personally came in for extreme criticism from the highly authoritative International Bar Association over both the conditions in which he is being held and over the conduct of his extradition hearing to date:  The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) condemned the reported mistreatment of Julian Assange during his United States extradition trial in February 2020, and urges the government of the United Kingdom to take action to protect him. According to his lawyers, Mr Assange was handcuffed 11 times; stripped naked twice and searched; his case files confiscated after the first day of the hearing; and had his request to sit with his lawyers during the trial, rather than in a dock surrounded by bulletproof glass, denied.

Mr Assange, will be extradited to the US, where he is wanted on 18 charges of attempted hacking and breaches of the 1917 Espionage Act. He faces allegations of collaborating with former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak classified documents exposing alleged war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. A previous hearing heard that on August 25th 2011, Assange had phoned the Whitehouse asking to speak to Hilary Clinton ‘as a matter of urgency’, when it was feared that documents were about to be dumped online by third parties who had gained access. He warned of a risk to lives after discovering that a book published some months before by The Guardian newspaper contained  a password which could be used to access unredacted documents. 

The International Bar Associates Institute of Human Rights protested that “The mistreatment of Julian Assange constitutes breaches of his right to a fair trial and protections enshrined in the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which the UK is party. It is deeply shocking that as a mature democracy in which the rule of law and the rights of individuals are preserved, the UK Government has been silent and has taken no action to terminate such gross and disproportionate conduct by Crown officials. As well, we are surprised that the presiding judge has reportedly said and done nothing to rebuke the officials and their superiors for such conduct in the case of an accused whose offence is not one of personal violence. Many countries in the world look to Britain as an example in such matters. On this occasion, the example is shocking and excessive. It is reminiscent of the Abu Grahib Prison Scandal which can happen when prison officials are not trained in the basic human rights of detainees and the Nelson Mandela Rules.’

In accordance with the Human Rights Act 1998, which came into force in the UK in October 2000, every person tried in the UK is entitled to a fair trial (Article 6) and freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment (Article 3). Similarly, Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights upholds an individual’s right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal. …The IBAHRI concurs with the widespread concern over the ill-treatment of Mr Assange. He must be afforded equality in access to effective legal representation. With this extradition trial we are witnessing the serious undermining of due process and the rule of law. It is troubling that Mr Assange has complained that he is unable to hear properly what is being said at his trial, and that because he is locked in a glass cage is prevented from communicating freely with his lawyers during the proceedings commensurate with the prosecution.’

THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL  ARGUE THAT THE CUMULATIVE EFFECTS OF HIS MISTREATMENT OVER THE PAST DECADE, AMOUNT TO PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE WHICH WOULD MAKE THE EXTRADITION OF ASSANGE  TO THE US ILLEGAL.

Calls for Julian Assange’s “torture” and “medical neglect” to be brought to an end are now supported by 186 physicians from around the world. According to three experts in torture he exhibits the symptoms of being psychologically tortured. In a letter published in the medical journal The Lancet, 117 medical doctors, including several world prominent experts in the field, warned that Assange’s treatment amounts to torture and that he could die in jail.Dr Lissa Johnson, one of the key physicians  explained, “Holding Julian Assange gratuitously in a maximum security prison, with no UK charge or sentence in place, so that the United States can redefine journalism as espionage, has served as a vehicle by which to psychologically torture him, using isolation and denial of a host of human rights” 

The WikiLeaks founder faces up to 175 years in prison in the US if he is extradited and placed on trial there. All of the charges relate to his role in publishing classified US documents and the diplomatic cables which revealed war crimes and other criminality perpetrated by US-led forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and US-occupied Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

COVID AND OUR BETTER ANGELS

AS WORLD LEADERS COMPARE THE CHALLENGES OF A GLOBAL PANDEMIC TO THOSE FACED BY OUR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS IN WW2  WE ARE LEFT TO WONDER HOW WE WILL MATCH UP TO THEIR COURAGE AND SELFLESSNESS.

The most that is being demanded of us is to remain in our houses except for essential shopping, medical needs or the care of family and friends.  Yet for many it seems, this is too big an ask. Perhaps this is a timely moment especially for the younger generation, to remind ourselves of the sacrifices others made to ensure that we would have the freedom which many believe is a right rather than a privilege and a responsibility.

With the outbreak of WW2 in 1939,  rationing began, first petrol then food was severely rationed. Everyone was issued with a ration book  to register at chosen shops. Shopkeepers were given only enough food for registered customers and housewives had to find inventive ways to make meals appetising. Rationing led to black markets. with additional non-rationed supplies ‘under the counter’, for those who could afford it. This was a lucrative industry with a maximum five-year jail sentence. Certain foods were unobtainable, many children had never seen a banana and their sweets were rationed until the end of rationing  in 1953.

Clothing was also rationed with one set of clothes allowed per year which could only be bought with allocated coupons. A dress might be 11 coupons, a pair of stockings  2. Men’s shoes took 7 coupons, while women’s shoes were only 5. In 1945 an overcoat needed 18 coupons; a man’s suit, 26–29. People were encouraged to repair rather than replace their clothing, and a  generation  retained  sewing skills.

Operation Pied Piper: In the first four days of September 1939 in the UK nearly 3,000,000 people were transported from towns and cities in danger from enemy bombers, to places of safety. The government then took the decision to evacuate children from the cities to live with foster parents in the countryside. From 13 to 18 June 1940, around 100,000 children were evacuated within a week. Parents were issued with a list detailing what their children should take with them. These items included a gas mask in its case, a change of underclothes, night clothes, plimsolls (or slippers), spare stockings or socks, toothbrush, comb, towel, soap, face cloth, handkerchiefs and a warm coat.

Children were separated from their parents and with identification labels pinned to their clothing, were herded into railway stations accompanied by an army of volunteers.  Hundreds of children arrived in the wrong area with insufficient rations. They were unaware of where they were going, why or when they would be coming back home. They experienced the trauma of separation and isolation at a young age leading to psychological damage for many.  As city dwellers, they often found it difficult to adapt to a life in the countryside with strangers. Some retained happy memories as adults having made lifelong friendships with their foster families, while others suffered brutalising situations with lasting trauma. When parents and children were reunited, often several years later, there were inevitable estrangements to be worked through, sometimes never reconciled.

Age is not a predictor of courage. Many of the thousands of young people drafted  into the armed forces at the age of 18 were volunteers. The average age of air crew pilots in the Battle of Britain was 18.   

TIMES HAVE CHANGED. IN TODAYS HEDONISTIC SOCIETY MANY, OBLIVIOUS TO ANYTHING BUT THEIR OWN PLEASURE, CONTINUE TO IGNORE THE RISK TO OTHERS.

 Today with the number of confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus around the world exceeding  400,000,  the World Health Organisation has warned the pandemic is accelerating but many  have ignored the precautionary measures. In Australia social distancing guidelines were ignored with crowds thronging Bondi Beach, resulting in a government closure of beaches. Some continue  to defy the mandate, stepping over barriers to sunbathe and surf. All cafes and restaurants as well as pubs, clubs, casinos, gyms and places of worship are closed. Weddings are restricted to five people including the couple with funerals restricted to 10 mourners.   From March 25th,  all libraries, museums, galleries, beauty salons, tattoo parlours, shopping centre food courts, auctions, open houses, amusement parks, arcades, indoor and outdoor play centres, swimming pools, and indoor exercise activities will be shut down.

TAMPA FLORIDA  SPRING BREAK

Despite medical advice and government recommendations, thousands of students flocked to beaches in Florida to celebrate the traditional Spring break. 

“If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying.”

https://www.indy100.com/article/florida-students-spring-break-coronavirus-test-positive-9421501  Some Tampa students who weren’t practising social distancing  during Spring Break, have tested positive for coronavirus on their return home.

IN THE REAL WORLD THERE ARE STILL INSPIRATIONAL HERO’S

The total number of deaths in Italy, the world’s worst afflicted nation, had risen to 6,820, with the number of cases  at 69,176 as of 23rd March. Italian doctor Marcello Natali a father of two, died Wednesday from COVID-19, at the age of 57 after working tirelessly treating patients.  Doctor Natali,  who worked at the Codogno hospital, the epicenter of the  pandemic in Italy, had frequently sounded the alarm about problems regarding Italy’s slow response to the  crisis. Two days before his death he stated he and colleagues were working without gloves due to the shortage.

  • Around 8.3% of Italy’s 41,000 coronavirus cases are healthcare workers, by late February 40% of doctors in the Lombardy towns of Codogno and nearby Casale, the first area to be placed on lockdown — were hospitalized or quarantined.
  • Today 110 of some 600 doctors in the Lombardy province of Bergamo are sick, (Image: Italian doctors and nurses at the end of exhaustive shifts)

An Italian priest who gave a respirator to a younger coronavirus patient he did not know, has died of the disease. Father Giuseppe Berardelli, 72, died in hospital in Lovere, Bergamo – one of the worst-hit cities in Italy.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said, anyone who defies the lockdown order without good reason will now face fines of between 400 euros to 3,000 euros ($430 to $3,227) .

Spain has almost 40,000 cases with some  2,700 deaths.  As the crisis in Madrid worsened,the Defence Ministry stated Spanish soldiers helping to fight the coronavirus pandemic have found elderly patients in retirement homes abandoned and in some cases, dead in their beds. The city’s municipal funeral home said it would stop the collection of Covid-19 victims from Tuesday because of a lack of protective equipment. The city is to use a major ice rink, the Palacio de Hielo (Ice Palace), as a temporary mortuary where bodies will be stored until funeral homes can collect them, officials told Spanish media.

WE CAN ONLY HOPE THAT THE VIRUS HAS SUCCEEDED IN  AWAKENING MANY OF US TO THE TRUTH THAT IT IS IN ADVERSITY THAT WE FIND OUR BETTER ANGELS.

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Corona Virus – Cause and Consequence

 

 

 

 

 

CORONA VIRUS – POWER UP – Activate your Immune Defence System

DEFEATING THE VIRUS BY UNDERSTANDING HOW IT WORKS

Viruses are infectious agents, there are many different kinds, not all are harmful. Viruses are not alive – they are simply a genetic code which carry their own DNA. Viruses are not predators but take advantage of opportunities to invade cells, they  are dormant unless activated. Strengthening our immune system and maintaining a positive outlook is therefore our best defence.

The  definition of a virus is ‘a microscopic particle that can infect the cells of a biological organism using energy for growth and development.’ Viruses cannot reproduce on their own, they  require a host in order to multiply, replicating themselves in the living cells of birds, mammals, plants. They  consist of genetic material contained within a protective protein coat and have a termed life span. CORONA VIRUSES are single-stranded RNA viruses, Corona is Latin for halo, the virus is named for the characteristic ‘fringe’ of rounded or petal shaped projections studding their envelope. This virus family can cause a variety of illnesses including respiratory infections which include SARS-gov-2  (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome ) and MERS-CoV  (Middle East respiratory syndrome). Viruses are responsible for one third of common colds, seasonal flu is a result of several possible strains.

                                               COVID-19  IS NOT FLU 

Co (Corona) VID (viral disease) 19  is the year the virus was identified. It is one specific viral strain not yet identified, the reason we have no immunityHighly infectious, it is much more severe than the flu virus.

  • Morbidity factor for flu is 0.1%
  • Morbidity factor for Covid -19  is 3.4%
  • The virus affects all age groups
  • Risk factors increase with age, a death rate of 8% over 70 and 14.8% over 80

                                   VIRAL TRANSMISSION PROCESS

The virus hijacks the natural physiological cell process. Spikes on the external periphery of viruses  are the means of contact with human cells. Covid -19 has multiple spikes and therefore an enhanced potential for cell invasion.

  • The spike attaches to receptor cells on the cell surface.
  • The spike vaccinates the cell transmitting the viral DNA.
  • Viral DNA then merges with cell DNA.
  • Viral DNA is then replicated using the normal biological cell process.
  • Viral DNA copies overwhelm the cell DNA.
  • Cell wall breaks down and the cell bursts.
  • Viral DNA is then transmitted to other cells.

MAINTAIN SCRUPULOUS HYGIENE –  DISTANCE –  HAND WASHING

Highly contagious the Covid-19 virus is passed through direct or close contact e.g.  by hands or via the breath by standing close to someone infected. It can  also be found in faeces.  Airborne transmission, passed through coughs and sneezes allowing the virus to  linger in the air for 3 hours.  Maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others is vital in limiting transmission. Droplets can linger on hard surfaces, stainless steel, plastic for 2 to 3 days and on cardboard for a longer period,potentially 2 days. As a safe guard, remove outer packaging and dispose before storing or using. Use bleach or disinfectant to cleanse surfaces. Lemon juice and lavender have natural antiseptic properties and are effective in cleansing surfaces.

                                   THE BODY’S DEFENCE SYSTEM

Receptors on the cell surface act as messengers initiating a response by alerting the body to invading pathogens.  LEUKOCYTES (white blood cells)  then attach to the invading virus. Raised temperature is the symptom indicating the battle between invader viruses and leukocytes. Immunity develops when leukocytes overwhelm the viral DNA creating antibodies which are programmed to remember the viral signature, resisting any future attack by the same virus. A new virus is not  initially recognised and can therefore overwhelm the immune system until sufficient protective antibodies exist. Unlike bacteria, viruses are not a living organism, therefore antibiotics are ineffective.  Vaccines are used to stimulate the bodies defence mechanism, there is currently no vaccine, our best defence is to strengthen the body’s natural immunity process.

                                              PREVENTATIVE CARE             

IF IMPAIRED, THE SPIKES OF THE VIRUS CAN NOT PENETRATE THE CELL WALL.  RESEARCH SHOWS ANTI VIRAL FOODS AND MEDICINES WEAKEN VIRAL SPIKES.

Humanity has survived for thousands of years using Herbal medicines and purified natural products which provide a rich resource to inhibit viral infection. Antiviral mechanisms interact with the viral life cycle, reducing or preventing entry, replication, assembly, and release.

‘VITAMIN C is essential to boost the immune system, carrots, bell peppers, brussels sprouts and broccoli, are packed with vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. Fruits include Lemons, oranges, raw apples, kiwi and papaya and strawberries.

ZINC is necessary for a healthy immune system. Include nuts, whole grains and legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans), red meats are particularly high in zinc, as are shellfish and eggs.

GINGER  stimulates defensive responses in the upper respiratory and digestive mucosa helping the body fend off infections.The antioxidant is full of iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium.

ECHINACEA is supportive of the immune system and has  been shown to have a direct anti-viral action.

GARLIC  has been prized for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. Garlic is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and it is especially effective against viruses if chewed raw.

ELDERBERRY EXTRACT (nickname the ‘virus terminator’) binds and destroys the tiny spikes on the virus which are used to pierce and invade healthy cells making the virus ineffective. Research has shown that protective compounds in elderberries can wipe out viral spikes in a couple of days, preventing further spread.

GREEN TEA contains a group of flavonoids called catechins, which  inhibit viral infections by blocking the enzymes that allow it to reproduce.

LIQORICE  contains a substance called glycyrrhizin that reduces the replication of viruses and halts their ability to penetrate healthy cells. .

OLIVE LEAF  contains a substance identified as a powerful inhibitor of a wide range of viruses by blocking the production of enzymes that allow viruses to replicate.

ST JOHN’S WORT  is well-known for its ability to treat depression and neuralgia but it also has potent antiviral chemicals called hypercin and pseudohypericin that proactively fight off viruses.

PAU D’ARCO also known as lapacho or ipe roxo, is an Amazon tree with healing inner bark. It contains quinoids that inhibit virus replication by damaging the DNA and RNA inside the viral protein.

 

MENTAL HEALTH is a key component in maintaining physical health. There are many effective herbal remedies to allay anxiety and depression. Lavender is one  that has long been recognised as a self help remedy to aid sleep and promote mental calmness.

Seek advice from health care providers as to use and  recommended dosage. For the most effective results, it is recommended that two or three of these remedies are used in conjunction.

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CORONA VIRUS – CAUSE AND CONSEQUENCE

CORONAVIRUSES ARE ZOOTIC DISEASES, MEANING THEY JUMP FROM ANIMALS TO HUMANS. SCIENTISTS CURRENTLY BELIEVE THAT THE LATEST STRAIN OF CORONA VIRUS COVID -19 MUTATED TO INFECT PEOPLE THROUGH ANIMAL – HUMAN CONTACT.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology in China has a laboratory at the highest security level—Biosafety level 4.  Its researchers study coronaviruses from bats, including the one that is closest to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.  (The SARS coronavirus – SARS-CoV  identified in 2003 is believed to be an animal virus originating in bats, which spread to other animals (civet cats). It is believed that human spread occurred when contaminated civet cats were eaten in the Guangdong province of southern China in 2002.)

THE SARS VIRUS WHICH INFECTED 8,096 PEOPLE AND KILLED 774 BETWEEN 2002 AND 2004 HAD ESCAPED MULTIPLE TIMES FROM A RESEARCH LAB IN BEJING.

After the  laboratory leak incident of SARS in 2004, the former Ministry of Health of China initiated the construction of Bio safety  laboratories for high-level pathogens such as SARS coronavirus, and  pandemic influenza virus. The Wuhan Institute of Virology lab opened in 2015. Researchers working in the lab must wear specialised Hazmat suits confined to ‘cabinet’ work spaces which confine viruses and  bacteria. Picture: Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Prior to the opening of the lab  scientists had published their concerns  in the scientific journal ‘Nature’  that one of the killer viruses could ‘escape’ and go on to infect members of the public.

  • Xu jang run is known to be missing after publicly condemning President Ji Jinping for failing to contain the spread of the virus at an early stage. He  had stated that this could be the last message of his life.
  • Chinese doctor Wen liang, also a whistleblower,  warned of the danger of a global pandemic if numbers were being withheld. He was arrested by the government for spreading rumours. He and his family became contaminated and Dr Wen liang later died.
  • Tim Trevan, a Maryland bio-safety consultant, has questioned security effectiveness in the light of China’s cautious  attitude towards mandatory sharing of information.

A group of 27 prominent public health scientists from nine countries warn in a statement published online by The Lancet yesterday of the danger of speculation . Only time will tell which version is true, meanwhile the best safeguard  to avoid panic is perhaps that the public remain diligent and informed.

AS ZOOTIC DISEASES, CORONAVIRUSES MUTATE MAKING IT DIFFICULT TO IDENTIFY THE HOST SPECIES AND TO TRACE PATHOGENS. RESEARCH IS CONDUCTED ON HOST ANIMALS.

The Wuhan lab is located ‘only a few minutes walk away’ from the Wuhan seafood market  where a large cluster of the first cases were detected. At many wet markets, meat, poultry, and seafood are sold alongside live animals for consumption. Undercover video’s have  shown disease ridden, living and dead animals, including wild species, caged alongside each other in appalling conditions. The Wuhan market advertised live bats, foxes, crocodiles, wolf puppies, rats, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and koalas. (On February 24, China’s top legislature banned the buying, selling, and eating of wildlife pending control of the Corona virus outbreak.)

JUST ONE BLOCK AWAY FROM THE WUHAN MARKET, AT LEAST 19 PEOPLE, MOSTLY SENIORS, DIED FROM THE CORONA 19 VIRUS  IN A SOCIAL WELFARE FACILITY. LOCAL GOVERNMENT INITIALLY ACKNOWLEDGED ONLY ONE DEATH.

 

In 2013, ten years after the SARS outbreak of 2002/2003, Dr. Zhengli Shi, Director of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Wuhan Institute of Virology Chinese

 

 

 

Academy of Sciences,  stated  his team had been able to isolate the live SARS-like virus from bats.  Dr. Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, who has been working in China for 15 years studying diseases that jump from animals to people, said  “Our discovery that bats may directly infect humans has enormous implications for public health control measures,”

It is now understood that SARS and MERS epidemics were caused by bat coronaviruses, as was a viral epidemic in pigs. One bat can host many different viruses without getting sick, making them an ideal research animal. Bats are believed to have a unique immune capacity which provides a natural reservoir for viruses. In addition to the Corona viruses, they are carriers of ebola and rabies viruses which have caused human disease and outbreaks in Africa, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Australia.

HUMAN INTERVENTION,  NOT ALWAYS  WELL INTENTIONED  IS THE COMMON DENOMINATOR IN VIRUS  CONTAMINATION AND SPREAD. HOW LONG WILL IT BE BEFORE WE REFLECT UPON THE CONSEQUENCE OF OUR CONDUCT AND TREATMENT OF  ANIMALS?

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HOW THE ROYALS GET RICHER

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE ROYAL?  THE DICTIONARY DEFINITION IS ‘RELATED TO A KING OR QUEEN’ DENOTING NOBILITY AND IMPLYING SERVICE. 

The most recent episodes of scandal and controversy resulting in the demotion of not one but two royal princes of the British monarchy provides an opportunity for reflection to consider the privilege and inequality inherent within an outmoded class system.

Under increasing public scrutiny moral and ethical standards are repeatedly revealed as flawed. Domestic scandals have long dogged the royal family but now US  lawyers representing victims of international sex trafficking by Jeffrey Epstein have  turned their attention to those who may have enabled his crimes. Prince Andrew has been notified of possible subpoena action due to his  ‘zero response’ to their requests for his cooperation in assisting with their enquiries.

TAX AVOIDANCE or TAX EVASION?

  • The Paradise Papers leaked in 2017 revealed the millions of dollars invested by the Queen and Prince Charles in off shore tax havens including Bermuda and The Cayman Islands

INHERITANCE TAX:  The Queen is not liable for Capital Gains Tax (28% on profit of sale)  or Inheritance Tax (40% of an estate over the £325,000 threshold)  but from 1993 has paid a voluntary payment in lieu. However an obscure “sovereign to sovereign” clause under a 1993 deal with the Conservative government, exempts taxation where a monarch inherits from another monarch. Capital Gains Tax rate for lesser mortals is 18%.

  •  Following the death of her mother the queen successfully applied to the High Court so that details of her mother’s will would be kept secret, the outline was later released in response to public criticism. The Queen avoided paying some £28m in inheritance tax on property in her mothers Will which included works of art, antiques and race horses, estimated at between £50 and £70 million.
  • The Queen Mother gifted jewellery ‘on paper’ to her grandchildren during her lifetime, however the jewellery was found to be still in her possession following her death, representing a loss of millions in taxation due to the government. Under the ‘sovereign to sovereign’ clause no Capital Gains or Inheritance Tax was paid on Clarence House, the former home of the Queen Mother. The property was ‘reallocated’ to Prince Charles  following  her death. Renovations for Charles and his partner Camilla cost the tax payer some £4.5 million  pounds.
  • The 26 year old Duke of Westminster did not pay Inheritance Tax on his £9 billion fortune because it was set up as a Trust.  Britain’s generous trust law ensures that the country’s largest fortunes are kept intact, for generations the wealthiest families have used trusts to pass assets on outside the sphere of inheritance tax .The dukes privately owned property business has £11.8bn in assets currently under management. The 300-year-old Grosvenor estate in London, includes Mayfair, Belgravia  and Eaton Square, built close to Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament. Its holdings include hi-tech office space in Silicon Valley, a science park in Edinburgh and the freehold on the current US embassy in Grosvenor Square.

KENSINGTON PALACE is traditionally the home of senior royals, many royal  residents formerly lived rent free or paid a nominal rental for the prestigious,  prime location, and gated security.  The property continues to provide  expansive accommodation even for minor members of the royal family as they relocate within its walls. Unfortunately each relocation costs the tax payer to ‘make the units habitable’. Prince Harry lived in Nottingham Cottage prior to his marriage to Meghan Markell and their move to Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor  Estate. Princess Eugenie relocated from St James Palace to Ivy Cottage following her marriage. William and Kate live in Flat 1,  formerly the home of princess Margaret and currently under an extensive £4 million pound conversion to extend the property which will  incorporate the  former residence of The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester who are downsizing.

PRINCE MICHAEL AND HIS WIFE PRINCESS MICHAEL OF KENT: In 2002 following scrutiny by the House of Commons Public Accounts committee, the Queen was asked to put the apartments on a more commercial footing or evict certain tenants.The  rent revue revealed that Prince Michael of Kent  ( a cousin of the Queen) and his wife had lived rent free in the grace and favour apartment in Kensington Palace following their marriage in 1978, paying only an ‘amenities charge’ of £69 per week When the offer of alternative accommodation from the queen was refused, Buckingham Palace announced that “The Queen is paying the rent for Prince and Princess Michael of Kent’s apartment at a commercial rate of £120,000 annually, from her own private funds”. In 2006 the couple sold their Gloucestershire mansion,for £5.75 million but did not begin paying the full market rent of £120,000 for their Kensington Palace apartment until 2010, eight years later. The prince  supports a range of charities and manages his own consultancy business; the princess’s own website describes her as a “writer, historian, lecturer, interior designer and art consultant” with an estimated fortune of $£8 million.

ANOMALY OF RELIGOUS RIGHTS AND RIGHTS OF SUCCESSION

PRINCE EDWARD DUKE OF KENT: A  cousin of Queen Elizabeth was 7th in line of succession to the throne at the time of his birth, raising an interesting predicament later when his wife Catherine Worsley who rejected a royal lifestyle for many years, converted to Catholicism. The Act of Settlement of 1701 bars Catholics from the throne and when her son also later converted he lost his right of accession. The Succession to the Crown Act (2013)  amendment ended primogenitor, the system by which males inherited the throne but still bars Catholic royals from the throne.  The couple separated for many years but now continue to reside at  Wren House in the grounds of Kensington Palace with an office base at  at St. James’s Palace.

Prince Charles stated desire for a ‘trimmed down monarchy’ will be welcomed  though for some it does not go far enough. Buckingham Palace, will cost an estimated  £369 million as part of a ten-year project renovation programme, Prince Charles has stated that he will not reside there when he becomes king and suggests it might become a museum… perhaps a potent of the future role of the monarchy.

 

 

 

UNDER THE CROWN – The Poverty Gap

1% OF THE POPULATION OWN HALF  OF THE LAND  IN THE UK

MINISTERS RECENTLY ADMITTED ENGLAND’S HOUSING MARKET WAS ‘BROKEN’ Home ownership in England has fallen to its lowest level for 30 years with almost half of all people in England aged 25 to 34 living in rented accommodation. Home ownership is out of reach for young people with many forced to remain with parents, the average age for first time buyers is now 32.  ‘The unemployment rate (the proportion of the economically active population who are unemployed) for 16-24 year olds was 11.2% in August-October 2019’  (House of Commons Library).  ”For 16-24 year olds, the basic rate of Unemployment Benefit is £57.90  ($75.62) a week, for those 25 and over, it’s £73.10  ($95.47) with reductions for any hours worked or for any pension. In 2013, the Department for Work and Pensions introduced the ‘Bedroom Tax’ setting a target to ‘encourage’ 30%  of tenants with an ‘extra’ bedroom, living in social housing, to move home by 2017.  Where a property has a 2nd bed room this is taxed, tenants have their Unemployment Benefit reduced by some £14 per week and by up to £25 for a third bedroom. No exemption is given for separated or divorced fathers  attempting to provide accommodation for their children.  

LAND OWNERSHIP  HAS ALWAYS CONFERRED WEALTH AND POWER, DICTATING PROPERTY OWNERSHIP.  Today, most of UK land remains in the hands of the descendants of the French nobles and soldiers who became the aristocracy after being gifted land  from 1066 by William the Conqueror, in return for service. Successive monarchs continued the practice of granting land in exchange for duties and today 70% of Britain’s land remains in the hands of 1% of the population, highlighting  an ever widening poverty gap.

WITH HER 6.6 BILLION ACRES QUEEN ELIZABETH IS BY FAR THE WORLDS LARGEST LANDOWNER INCLUDING LAND IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA.

Complex accountancy systems have evolved over 700 years which seek to identify and separate the private and public role of the  monarch and the heir to the throne, assuring public and private income  for both in addition to income from the Crown Estate. As Head of State the queen officially holds ownership of palaces and estates for life, which are automatically bequeathed to her successor. As an example, the Crown Jewels, with an estimated value of between three and five billion pounds are not owned by the State but by the prevailing monarch.

Buckingham Palace, the  official London residence of the monarch  is owned by the Queen as part of the Crown Estate.  It has 775 rooms, 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms.

 

THE QUEEN HAS 2 PRIVATELY OWNED RESIDENCES

BALMORAL CASTLE is the Queen’s Scottish retreat. With over 50,000 acres and 775 rooms  it is valued at  £115 million. The estate was purchased in 1852, no revenues are received by Parliament as the castle was bought in the name of  Prince Albert, the husband of  Queen Victoria rather than in the monarchs name.  As the ballroom is open to the public  her Majesty starts her summer break in the seven-bedroom Craigowan Lodge on the estate  before moving into the main house in August.

SANDRINGHAM a 20,000 acre Estate is the Queen’s personal residence and country retreat, valued at £50 million.

THE CROWN ESTATE

The Queen owns a huge property portfolio called the Crown Estate, which holds £14 billion worth of property in the UK, it includes numerous palaces used as residences by the Queen’s extended royal family. The Crown Estate is managed by the monarch and generates income and revenues of some  £306.32 million ($400 million) per year. Net profit passes to Parliament which is responsible for maintenance and refurbishment of the properties.

THE SOVEREIGN GRANT:  In return for income generated by royal properties, the Queen receives 25% of net profits from the Crown Estate as payment under The Sovereign Grant, to provide an independent source of income for use by the royal household. The major  costs of maintaining the monarchy are met by Parliament.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE. The official residence of the  monarch. Estimated value £2.2 billion. The palace has 775 rooms which include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms.

 

 

WINDSOR CASTLE: Queen Elizabeth II principal weekend retreat. Built c 1070 it is worth over £181 million.

 

 

Holyrood Palace, the Scottish        residence of the queen where she typically stays in the first week of the summer.            

 

 

Hillsborough Castle, the Northern Ireland residence of the queen during her visits.

 

THE QUEEN AND THE PRINCE OF WALES  RECEIVE PRIVATE INCOME THROUGH THE DUCHY OF LANCASTER AND THE DUCHY OF CORNWALL.,FEUDAL ECONOMIES WHICH HAVE SURVIVED  FOR OVER 700 YEARS.

The Duchy of Lancaster is the private estate owned by the British sovereign, currently valued at £534 million. This  ancient inheritance began 750 years ago, in 1265, when Henry III gifted to his son, lands which had been forfeited by the Earl of Leicester. Henry decreed that the lands would provide a private income for subsequent monarchs through inheritance.

The Duchy of Cornwall owned by Prince Charles has £1 billion in assets. He is  the largest private landowner in England, annual income from the duchy is £21.6m. Created in 1337 by Edward III, as a personal endowment for his son, its lands and revenues have belonged to the male heir to the throne from that time. The Duchy is not designated a Company and so does not pay Corporation Tax. In his capacity as Duke of Cornwall, Charles owns an estate spread across 23 counties, which includes the Scilly Isles and coastal waters.

 

Clarence House: The official London residence of  the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, adjacent to St James Palace, has an estimated value £58.5 million. It was formerly the home of the queen mother and inherited by her grandson on her death.

 

PRIVATE RESIDENCES OWNED BY PRINCE CHARLES

 

High Grove House and Gardens. The main private residence of Prince Charles and Camilla.  A country estate with extensive gardens purchased by the prince under the Duchy of Lancaster.

 

 

 

Birkhall, a 53,000 acre Scottish retreat on the Balmoral Estate, inherited  by Prince Charles from the queen mother.

 

 

 

Llwynywermod a 192 acre estate in Carmarthenshire, is the private residence of Prince Charles and Camilla when staying in Wales.

 

 

 

Tamarisk House, private residence of Prince Charles and Camilla located on the main island, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall.

 

 

HOMES OF THE QUEENS CHILDREN

GATCOMBE PARK. Home of the Princess Royal. Bought privately by the Queen for her and her then-husband, Captain Mark Phillips. Extensively refurbished and renovated prior to the family moving in, back in the late 1970s, funded by the Crown purse.

 

ROYAL LODGE WINDSOR: Home of Prince Andrew, Duke of York and his ex wife Sarah Ferguson. A 30 room residence within Windsor Park. Gifted by the queen mother in 2003. He will continue to reside there after stepping down from royal duties in 2019.

BAGSHOT PARK MANSION:  Home of Prince Edward, Duke of Wessex and Sophie. Mansion House with 51 acres set in Windsor Great Park. Owned by  the Crown Estate, with a 50 year rental lease  to Edward and Sophie at £90,000 pa. Renovations £2.98 million, half  paid by Crown.

ANMER HALL. Home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the Sandringham  state. A wedding gift from the queen, is now the country home of William and Kate and their children. They also reside in a Kensington Palace apartment to cover their royal duties.

FROGMORE COTTAGE on the  Windsor Estate. Home of Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Given by the Queen as a wedding gift. Renovations cost to taxpayer £2.4m. Following their decision to ‘step down’ from royal duties the renovation costs are to be repaid..

 

IT IS SAID ‘AN ENGLISH MAN’S HOME IS HIS CASTLE’  – A RIGHT PRESERVED FOR THE FEW…  A BEDROOM TAX FOR THE WEALTHY MIGHT GO SOME WAY TO RESOLVING THE CURRENT HOUSING CRISIS.

‘SUSSEX ROYAL’ – THE BURDEN OF WEALTH, POWER AND PRIVILEGE

Prince Harry, once the most admired member of the royal family has caused shock and dismay through his decision to ‘step back’ from the royal family and relocate to North America. Whatever the motives, questions arise as to the  way in which Harry and Meghan have conducted themselves, widely viewed as a lack of respect for the Queen and the monarchy itself. There is true affection for Harry and  sincere acknowledgement of the trauma caused by his mothers death at such an early age… who can forget him walking with his brother behind her coffin. Whatever the true cause, the total breakdown of the relationship between Harry and William is viewed as collateral damage arising from the marriage of Harry and Meghan. Continue reading

IRAN – A POCKET HISTORY FOR TRUMP

IS HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF?

1953 CIA SUPPORTED COUP IN IRAN:  The removal of Mossadegh  (the leftist Iranian Prime Minister in 1951) was, in my estimation, a tragic mistake on the part of the United States. We caused, in effect, the Khomeini revolution by doing that. But essentially, the seeds of that revolution were planted then, because we insulted the Iranians nationally, as a nation. So we interrupted the normal course of Iranian history… Iran would have gone its own way, and we would not have become the scapegoat, the great Satan, or whatever.      David Nalle, Director, Bi-National Center, Tehran, 1960-1963

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Evidence for December 25th as the birth date for Jesus

A title bestowed upon Jesus is ‘The Light of the World’,  the   supreme demonstration of the light in action as the ‘Son of God.’ We might perhaps expect the predestined birth of a World Saviour, or Messiah, to coincide with celestial cycles, the birth of Jesus at the winter Solstice and his death at the Spring Equinox occurred in accordance with the Law of Cycles. This is mirrored in  the pagan festivals aligned to solar and lunar cycles which honour the natural rhythms of earth, sea and sky.

The debate continues as to the actual year of birth for Jesus with scholars and historians placing this anywhere between 6 BC and 2 BC.  The traditional birth date of 25th December is dismissed by many on the basis that this was ‘borrowed’ from the existing Roman pagan celebration of the winter Solstice.  The festival of ‘Sol Invictus’ was introduced  by the emperor Aurelian in 274AD to honour his name which refers to the rising sun.   In 313AD Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity which spread across the empire. His successor Julian reverted to pagan beliefs and  formalized December 25th as ‘the birthday of the sun’  by which time this date was already acknowledged for the birth of Jesus.  It is not disputed that the Christian Church subsequently adopted and adapted pagan festivals as an effective means of converting the masses.  This does not invalidate the date but highlights the link between cosmic cycles and auspicious  events.  With a greater understanding  we can see how such synchronicity might come about naturally, rather than through manipulation as Continue reading

STAR OF BETHLEHEM – An Astrological Configuration

COSMIC ASTROLOGY – INTERRELATIONSHIP – THE HUMAN AND THE DIVINE.

The story of the three ‘wise men’ has captivated people for centuries but many have questioned how could the kings  who travelled  hundreds of miles ‘from the East’ have arrived within days of  the birth of Jesus. The Magi, or Mage, were Masters of the esoteric arts with a deep understanding of the celestial heavens and the significance of planetary configurations.  Astrology, as a cornerstone of the divine sciences had amassed a vast wealth of data throughout antiquity.  The birth of a Messiah or Saviour had long been foretold by the prophets and was awaited impatiently by the Jewish people,  An event of such magnitude as the birth of an Avatar, or World Teacher, would certainly have been expected to be heralded in the heavens. It would be reasonable to expect the unfolding of not one but a series of unusual planetary configurations. The Magi who had been scanning the heavens awaiting the sign that the birth of a king was imminent were alerted by a series of rare planetary conjunctions which combined to create the Star of Bethlehem. At this point they began their long journey to Palestine which would indeed take many months. Through their ability to read the astrological signs they were led by the Star of Bethlehem ensuring  that their arrival in the region coincided with the birth of Jesus. Continue reading