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I’m a DWP call handler and have no time to care about your disability claim

A woman in a telephone headset at a call centre.

I don’t know what happens when I send a claim off, so I can’t answer questions about what happens next. Photograph: David Sillitoe for the Guardian

This morning I spoke to a cancer patient, a woman with kidney failure, and a young man who had just lost the mother of his children. Each of them thought I was trying to help them. I wasn’t really though, because helping them would take longer than 23 minutes.

Twenty three minutes is how long it should take me to help you make a benefit claim, according to my bosses. I work in a Department for Work and Pensions contact centre and take calls from people who are at their lowest point.

These are people who need my help to navigate the complex claims system so that they can get a meagre payout. They’re often vulnerable and desperate by the time they reach me. My job is to fill in a new claim form for employment and support allowance based on the information people give me and then send that form off to the benefit centre where the claim is processed.

The headset beeps and I launch into my scripted greeting. The caller wants to tell me about her recent cancer diagnosis, what type it is, what the treatment will be, the reasons her employer has given for not offering sick pay. But I don’t have time to listen to her story. “I’m afraid we need to stick to yes or no answers” I say, and I feel horrible because this poor woman wants to tell someone about this huge awful thing that’s happening to her, she wants a friendly listener to make her feel reassured that she will at least get financial help.

But for me, the only thing that’s really important is how long each call takes. We are measured on our average handling time (known as AHT) and if this slips beyond 23 minutes per call we face performance management, which is code for “you’ll get in trouble”. This involves anything from stern words and increased micro-management from your line manager right up to written warnings and dismissal.

full story at:The Guardian

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRISON SENTENCES FOR MAURITANIAN ANTI-SLAVERY ACTIVISTS A ‘DEVASTATING BLOW’ FOR THE MOVEMENT

Mauritania

In Mauritania, despite the government reporting otherwise, slavery still exists. Haratine people – a group known to be the descendants of slaves – even if no longer in slavery, face widespread discrimination.

Anti-Slavery International said today that imprisoning anti-slavery activists is a ‘devastating blow’ for the Mauritanian human rights movement, and exposes the Government’s pledges to address slavery as a farce.

Thirteen leading anti-slavery activists from the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA) were sentenced to up to 15 years in prison yesterday. They were charged after a protest in late June in an impoverished neighbourhood against the forced relocation of the community in preparation for the Arab League Summit. However, none of the thirteen activists, nor IRA, had organised the protest or taken part in it.

Sarah Mathewson, Africa Programme Manager at Anti-Slavery International, said:

“The sentences are a devastating blow to the Mauritanian anti-slavery movement. They are clearly being targeted by the Government for their work to expose and denounce slavery, still commonplace in the country.

“The charges are highly politically motivated and expose the Government’s pledges to address slavery as a farce.

“It is outrageous that anti-slavery activists are targeted and prosecuted for their work, while slave-owners perpetrate crimes with impunity.

“The international community must join together to call for the unconditional release of the activists and dropping all the charges.”

Background:

Mauritania is one of the last countries where people are still born into slavery and literally owned by their masters, facing a lifetime of abuse and forced labour. They can be bought and sold, given as gifts and are at complete mercy of their masters. Women are commonly raped and forced to bear their masters’ children, who in turn also become their slaves. Haratine people –a group known to be the descendants of slaves – even if no longer in slavery, face widespread discrimination.

Mauritania has long been under national and international pressure to enforce the law, but most anti-slavery initiatives so far have proved to be empty promises.

Although last year’s new anti-slavery law offered some hope, the Government continues to target anti-slavery activists and even refuses to acknowledge the existence of slavery in the country.

To date Anti-Slavery International and its national partners achieved the only two prosecutions for slavery in the country’s history, but the slave-owners received very lenient sentences. At least 30 other cases have remained pending for years in courts or prosecutors’ offices.

Note to Editors:
For more information and to arrange interviews please contact Anti-Slavery International Press and Digital Media Manager Jakub Sobik on 07789 936 383 or at j.sobik@antislavery.org.

source:Anti-Slavery

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hollywood Blacklist Penelope Cruz Over Her Support Of Palestine

Hollywood elite blacklist Penelope Cruz over her support for Palestine

Actress Penelope Cruz has been blacklisted by the Hollywood elite over a row surrounding her support of Palestine.

 Crus and husband Javier Bardem are being snubbed by Hollywood producers following a letter in which they pledged to expose the brutal Israeli regime and its genocide against the Palestinian people.

Ibtimes.co.uk reports:

The letter accused Israel of “advancing on Palestinian territories instead of withdrawing to the 1967 borders.

“Gaza is living through horror… while the international community does nothing.”

 The Spanish letter was signed by 100 leading figures in the film industry, including director Pedro Almodovar.

One top producer who has worked with Cruz says he privately has vowed not to hire her again, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

 Another top Hollywood executive also privately expressed his disapproval, saying he’s “furious at Javier and Penelope” and wasn’t sure about working with the Spanish couple again.

Relativity Media chief executive Ryan Kavanaugh was the only studio head willing to go public with his views: “As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I know that anyone calling what’s going on in Israel ‘genocide’ vs. self-defense is either ignorant and shouldn’t be commenting or is truly anti-Semitic.”

However, Kavanaugh doesn’t believe the letter will harm either of the actors’ careers as long as their films are box office hits.

As one film producer explained: “I think the thing any executive or producer will try to calculate before working with Penelope Cruz or Javier Bardem in the near future is what their value is in the all-important international marketplace. And what territories they might have alienated people in by what they said. It might not be that many. But it’s really all about business.”

Other Hollywood big names have waded into the controversy, including comedian Joan Rivers. When quizzed by a TMZ reporter on her thoughts about the 2,000 Palestinians who have so far been killed, she said: “Oh my God! Tell that to the people in Hiroshima.

“Good. Good. When you declare war, you declare war. They started it. We now don’t count who’s dead. You’re dead, you deserve to be dead. Don’t you dare make me feel bad about that.

“They were told to get out. They didn’t get out. You don’t get out, you are an idiot. At least the ones that were killed were the ones with low IQs.”

source :YourNewsWire.com

 

 

 

 

 

Used & Betrayed – 100 Years of US Troops as Lab Rats // Empire_File026

Published on 24 May 2016

On Memorial Day, politicians will speak at ceremonies all over the country and repeat their favorite mantra: “Support the troops.”

This pledge is hammered into the American psyche at every turn. But there is a hidden, dark history that shows that the politicians are in fact no friend to service members–but their greatest enemy.

An easy way to prove this truth is to look at how they so quickly betray and abandon their soldiers after purposely ruining their lives, and even after using them as literal lab rats.

In this disturbing chapter of The Empire Files, Abby Martin documents decades of experimentation on US troops—from nuclear tests to psychotropic drugs—as well as knowingly exposing them to deadly poisons, from sarin gas to Agent Orange.

Most damning is that the hundreds of thousands of veterans seeking help from the government for the side-effects are always met with lies and denial.

FOLLOW // @EmpireFiles // @AbbyMartin // @telesurenglish

LIKE // https://www.facebook.com/TheEmpireFiles

Episode music by Anahedron
Intro music by Fluorescent Grey

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bengal Famine: How the British engineered the worst genocide in human history for profit

“I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -Winston Churchill

The British had a ruthless economic agenda when it came to operating in India and that did not include empathy for native citizens. Under the British Raj, India suffered countless famines. But the worst hit was Bengal. The first of these was in 1770, followed by severe ones in 1783, 1866, 1873, 1892, 1897 and lastly 1943-44. Previously, when famines had hit the country, indigenous rulers were quick with useful responses to avert major disasters. After the advent of the British, most of the famines were a consequence of monsoonal delays along with the exploitation of the country’s natural resources by the British for their own financial gain. Yet they did little to acknowledge the havoc these actions wrought. If anything, they were irritated at the inconveniences in taxing the famines brought about.

Image source
Image source

The first of these famines was in 1770 and was ghastly brutal. The first signs indicating the coming of such a huge famine manifested in 1769 and the famine itself went on till 1773. It killed approximately 10 million people, millions more than the Jews incarcerated during the Second World War. It wiped out one third the population of Bengal. John Fiske, in his book “The Unseen World”, wrote that the famine of 1770 in Bengal was far deadlier than the Black Plague that terrorized Europe in the fourteenth century. Under the Mughal rule, peasants were required to pay a tribute of 10-15 per cent of their cash harvest. This ensured a comfortable treasury for the rulers and a wide net of safety for the peasants in case the weather did not hold for future harvests. In 1765 the Treaty of Allahabad was signed and East India Company took over the task of collecting the tributes from the then Mughal emperor Shah Alam II. Overnight the tributes, the British insisted on calling them tributes and not taxes for reasons of suppressing rebellion, increased to 50 percent. The peasants were not even aware that the money had changed hands. They paid, still believing that it went to the Emperor.

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Image source

Partial failure of crop was quite a regular occurrence in the Indian peasant’s life. That is why the surplus stock, which remained after paying the tributes, was so important to their livelihood. But with the increased taxation, this surplus deteriorated rapidly. When partial failure of crops came in 1768, this safety net was no longer in place. The rains of 1769 were dismal and herein the first signs of the terrible draught began to appear. The famine occurred mainly in the modern states of West Bengal and Bihar but also hit Orissa, Jharkhand and Bangladesh. Bengal was, of course, the worst hit. Among the worst affected areas were Birbum and Murshidabad in Bengal. Thousands depopulated the area in hopes of finding sustenance elsewhere, only to die of starvation later on. Those who stayed on perished nonetheless. Huge acres of farmland were abandoned. Wilderness started to thrive here, resulting in deep and inhabitable jungle areas. Tirhut, Champaran and Bettiah in Bihar were similarly affected in Bihar.

Prior to this, whenever the possibility of a famine had emerged, the Indian rulers would waive their taxes and see compensatory measures, such as irrigation, instituted to provide as much relief as possible to the stricken farmers. The colonial rulers continued to ignore any warnings that came their way regarding the famine, although starvation had set in from early 1770. Then the deaths started in 1771. That year, the company raised the land tax to 60 per cent in order to recompense themselves for the lost lives of so many peasants. Fewer peasants resulted in less crops that in turn meant less revenue. Hence the ones who did not yet succumb to the famine had to pay double the tax so as to ensure that the British treasury did not suffer any losses during this travesty.

After taking over from the Mughal rulers, the British had issued widespread orders for cash crops to be cultivated. These were intended to be exported. Thus farmers who were used to growing paddy and vegetables were now being forced to cultivate indigo, poppy and other such items that yielded a high market value for them but could be of no relief to a population starved of food. There was no backup of edible crops in case of a famine. The natural causes that had contributed to the draught were commonplace. It was the single minded motive for profit that wrought about the devastating consequences. No relief measure was provided for those affected. Rather, as mentioned above, taxation was increased to make up for any shortfall in revenue. What is more ironic is that the East India Company generated a profited higher in 1771 than they did in 1768.

 

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Image source

Although the starved populace of Bengal did not know it yet, this was just the first of the umpteen famines, caused solely by the motive for profit, that was to slash across the country side. Although all these massacres were deadly in their own right, the deadliest one to occur after 1771 was in 1943 when three million people died and others resorted to eating grass and human flesh in order to survive.

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Winston Churchill, the hallowed British War prime minister who saved Europe from a monster like Hitler was disturbingly callous about the roaring famine that was swallowing Bengal’s population. He casually diverted the supplies of medical aid and food that was being dispatched to the starving victims to the already well supplied soldiers of Europe. When entreated upon he said, “Famine or no famine, Indians will breed like rabbits.” The Delhi Government sent a telegram painting to him a picture of the horrible devastation and the number of people who had died. His only response was, “Then why hasn’t Gandhi died yet?”

Image Source
Winston Churchill: Image Source

 

 

 

 

 

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This Independence Day it is worthwhile to remember that the riches of the west were built on the graves of the East. While we honour the brave freedom fighters (as we should), it is victims like these, the ones sacrificed without a moment’s thought, who paid the ultimate price. Shed a tear in their memory and strive to make the most of this hard won independence that we take for granted today. Pledge to stand up those whose voice the world refuses to hear because they are too lowly to matter. To be free is a great privilege. But as a great superhero once said, “With great freedom comes great responsibility.”

 source:YourStory

Artivist Jil Love Tackles Chemtrails, Vaccines and Animal Rights

jil_love_revolution

By Brandon Turbeville

Jil Love did not invent the concept of artivism but she is re-inventing it in a number of ways. For those who may be unaware, artivism is a unique brand of art that combines activism and art (art + activism equals artivism).

Many artists have used graffiti, stencils, street art, spoken word and other more traditional forms of combining the two. However, Love is not only combining aesthetics and protest, she’s adding an element of performance that brings the art to the audience rather than requiring the audience to find the art.

Tackling such issues as the genocide of Palestinians, animal rights, bull fighting, vaccines and even chemtrails, Love’s work is thought-provoking and often controversial to say the least.

Over the last three years, Love has strived to create a social movement and out of that desire she launched her project Jil Love Revolution which has garnered attention worldwide.

Having caught the attention of the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Nation of Change and True Activist, Love has brought her perspective and her method of artistic passive resistance to thousands across the world.

Love has been outspoken against animal cruelty and for animal rights in general. A native of Spain, Love has also used her art to speak out against bullfighting; a shameful Spanish practice of enraging, torturing and subsequently killing a bull for the entertainment of spectators.

Stop Bullfighting

Jilloverevolution.com, Photo credit: Yolanda Ylalonso

13407386_1183858198314579_1561448457_n

Jilloverevolution.com, Photo credit: Evel Gonzalez.

In 2014 Love stated:

I’m here to speak against this cruel and savage Spanish old tradition of the torture, sacrifice and killing of innocent bulls and their babies as an amusement event in the Spanish culture. We are in 2014 and Spain can not be considered a modern European country with this kind of tradition which are more a part of an old and dark age.

Love has protested bullfighting on a number of occasions but perhaps one of the most effective and visual was when she took her art to the streets of Madrid. Lying on the street covered in fake blood, Love, completely nude, drew the attention of onlookers to her signs that read: “Murdered by bullfighters in Spain” and “Do you think this image is outrageous? Spain is different.”

Love recalls a famous Gandhi quote when she says, “the greatness of a nation will be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

read more :Artivist Jil Love Tackles Chemtrails, Vaccines and Animal Rights

 

 

 

 

 

ILFORD

A Church of England vicar shouted: ‘I’m from the Vatican, you’re f*cked’ as he brawled with police after a vodka-fuelled nightclub binge.

Parish priest Gareth Jones, 36, yelled: ‘I have diplomatic immunity’ as he punched, kicked, bit and spat at a police officer and a paramedic who found him passed out in his clerical frock on Charing Cross Road, in Covent Garden, central London.

When paramedic Ian Pollock gently shook the passed-out pastor at 2.30am to check he was alright, he awoke and growled: ‘I am going to f*ck you up.’

Jones threatened to attack Mr Pollock but was unable to stand up after downing three bottles of wine, several pints of beer, a number of gin and tonics and vodka during a binge of Biblical proportions.

The married father-of-one, who was ordained in 2006 and serves at St Mary and the Virgin in Great Ilford, northeast London, then lashed out and kicked the emergency worker twice in the leg.

Fearing for his safety, Mr Pollock mounted the violent vicar in the street in a desperate attempt to subdue him.

‘Two police officers on the other side of the road see what’s going on,’ said prosecutor Edward Aydin.

‘Mr Pollock, fearing an attack, positioned himself on top of Mr Jones to protect himself.

‘Mr Jones is still attacking the paramedic, he punches him in the chest then tried to bite his arms and is spitting on him.’

As the officers tried to hold Jones’ legs during the struggle, he kicked PC Andrew Fletcher in the left cheek before claiming he was from the Vatican embassy in a cunning attempt to avoid arrest.

‘He says: ‘I have diplomatic immunity’,’ said Mr Aydin.

‘The officer says ‘which embassy?’ and he says: ‘The Vatican, you’re f*cked.’

‘He is growling makes no attempt to respond to a caution and continues to shout that he has diplomatic immunity.’

He added: ‘I’m not sure if he has anything to do with the Vatican because he is with the Church of England.

‘There’s no relationship between those two religions.’

PC Fletcher had to put a leg strap around the vicar’s ankles before he was put in a police van and taken to Belgravia Police Station.

He told officers he had been drinking at El Vino and The George on Fleet Street before heading to a nightclub in Soho, adding: ‘I am utterly ashamed and sorry for any harm that I have caused.’

Today (Fri) he appeared at Highbury Magistrates’ Court wearing a black suit jacket over a white shirt and blue tie as he pleaded guilty to two counts of assault by beating.

The court heard that Jones has previous convictions for communicating a false bomb hoax, affray, possession of cannabis, fraud, criminal damage, and driving matters, all before he was 21 years old.

‘Mr Jones told me he had a misspent youth,’ said Dominic Hockley, defending.

‘He is deeply ashamed, he is entirely remorseful, it is a far cry from a man who in 2006 having been ordained as a pastor set up in Brighton and Hove the ‘Street Pastors’ who go acting with the police and with the paramedics looking after homeless drunks and those on drugs.’

Mr Hockley told the court that Jones had consumed around 53 units of alcohol before the incident and is seeking help to deal with alcoholism.

He said: ‘The drinking had moved on from social drinking with his wife to something far more devastating.

‘To say that this incident has been a wake-up call would be an understatement.’

Jones will have to face an ecclesiastical court which may impose a lifetime ban on him serving the church after his conviction.

‘It will mean that his position at his current church is in jeopardy and he will have to move out of the family home,’ said Mr Hockley.

‘This will have huge implications on his career, family life and his home.’

District Judge Robin McPhee ordered Jones to pay £700 in fines, £200 compensation to PC Fletcher, £200 compensation to Mr Pollock, as well as £85 prosecution costs and a £35 victim surcharge.

He said: ‘You have known for two years that you had a significant problem with alcohol which you told me.

‘Nonetheless you decided to go out and drink to the extent that you are found asleep in a doorway.’

He continued: ‘Both of these individuals are working in the public sector providing a service to the public, and in these circumstances not only were they providing a public service, but they were specifically coming to assist you.’

Judge McPhee accepted that Jones was remorseful and said he had ‘turned his life around’ after the  convictions from his youth.

Jones, of South Park Road, Ilford, northeast London, is said to be cooperating with Redbridge Alcohol Services and AA as he seeks help with his alcoholism.

source: Court News UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Law In London Would Fine Homeless £1,000 For Sleeping Outside Or “Loitering”

homeless London

By John Vibes

The homeless people in Hackney, London are facing expulsion from the street due to a new law will allow the police to give out fines and other legal penalties to homeless people who are found loitering, begging and sleeping in commercial places.

This “Public Space Protection Order” which was introduced by the council of Hackney will place a fine of £1000 on homeless activities. The order has been met with numerous criticisms, with many pointing out that the new laws effectively outlaw homelessness.

Matt Downie of homelessness charity Crisis, one of the major opponents of this legislation, said that the homeless population in London has been victimized enough.

“Rough sleepers deserve better than to be treated as a nuisance – they may have suffered a relationship breakdown, a bereavement or domestic abuse. Those who sleep on the streets are extremely vulnerable and often do not know where to turn for help. These individuals need additional support to leave homelessness behind, and any move to criminalize sleeping rough could simply create additional problems to be overcome,” Downie said.

A similar scenario was supposed to happen in Oxford, but during the consultation process, there was so much outcry from the local population that the government was forced to pull back on their proposal. In the case of Hackney, there was not a single consultation before the policy was introduced.

The policy has been largely rejected by people in Hackney, and there have been thousands of people to sign petitions that ask for the ban to be lifted. However, it is not clear if the city has any intention of paying attention to these people.

We have covered many other instances of homelessness being criminalized in recent months. As we reported just a few weeks ago, that homeless people and supporters in Sacramento were protesting a recent ordinance that makes it illegal for them to camp in the city. Many of them were camped out in front of city hall for the past month and are demanding a reversal of the camping ban. Soon after,police invaded the encampment in riot gear and made several arrests.

In another story, we recently covered a homeless man was arrested in Fairfax Virginia this week after police discovered a home that he made for himself in a local park.


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This article (http://www.trueactivist.com/new-law-in-london-would-fine-homeless-1000-for-sleeping-outside-or-loitering/New Law In London Would Fine Homeless £1,000 For Sleeping Outside Or “Loitering”) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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