Category Archives: Uncategorized

Snowden, Contact Tracing and Architecture of Oppression

In the public interest. As we silently watch the dark clouds ascend rather than upload. It appears we never learn from his-story.

The emergency never ends. It is an endless war that knows not peace. This is not a situation that will improve, we will find more and more problems arising as our civil liberties are removed. This is about authoritarianism, definitely.

This won’t change until there is a change in consciousness. Perhaps the big questions arising may well awaken humanity to the greed of control that is not surveilling for health and wellbeing but potential threats as they have not sufficiently questioned their thinking and their rationale for this fear coupled with control to ensure power.

I note that Home Affairs, which is internal surveillance, is on the Coronavirus Commission. Tracking is a key issue. Tracking for what reason is my question?

Snowden: Governments Using Pandemic to Build “Architecture of Oppression” Surveillance

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has expressed concerns about the coming surveillance program, calling it the “architecture of oppression.”

In addition to quarantines and lockdowns, some governments like those in China, Taiwan, and South Korea have been using a surveillance strategy called “contact tracing” to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

While each country’s contact tracing program has slight variations, all of them are essentially cell phone apps that keep a running record of the user’s heath and the health records of all the people they come into contact with.

If a cell phone comes in close contact with someone who might have the virus, the user receives a text message informing them and then instructing them to self-quarantine for 14 days.

However, the quarantine is not necessarily voluntary, depending on where you live. In some countries, phones have been used as a sort of house arrest ankle-bracelet that will notify authorities if the person being monitored leaves the house for any reason.

These apps are being touted as the way to end the shut down in both Italy and the UK and it appears that officials are going to be taking things in that direction.

At face value, it may appear that this could be a useful strategy in preventing the spread of disease, but privacy advocates and tech experts are concerned that this information could be misused and that the unprecedented surveillance capabilities could be kept and held by corrupt governments long after the pandemic is over.

In a recent interview with Vice, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden expressed his concerns about the coming surveillance program, calling it the “architecture of oppression.”

“Do you truly believe that when the first wave, this second wave, the 16th wave of the coronavirus is a long-forgotten memory, that these capabilities will not be kept? That these datasets will not be kept? No matter how it is being used, what’ is being built is the architecture of oppression,” Snowden said.

Snowden recognized that the virus was a serious threat and said that the intelligence community was well aware that it was only a matter of time before a massive pandemic crippled the country, even back when he was working in the NSA.

“There is nothing more foreseeable as a public health crisis in a world where we are just living on top of each other in crowded and polluted cities, than a pandemic. And every academic, every researcher who’s looked at this knew this was coming. And in fact, even intelligence agencies, I can tell you firsthand, because they used to read the reports had been planning for pandemics,” he said.

Snowden questioned the positive numbers that have come out of China in recent weeks and pointed out that the Chinese government has been credited with reducing the spread of the illness because they took such draconian measures during the lockdown.

Perhaps their extreme strategy is not working as well as they say it is, but since the government maintained tight control of any information coming out of the country, it is impossible to say for sure.

“If you’re looking at countries like China, where cases seem to have leveled off, how much can we trust that those numbers are actually true? I don’t think we can. Particularly, we see the Chinese government recently working to expel Western journalists at precisely this moment where we need credible independent warnings in this region,” Snowden said.

In a statement published on Friday, Apple and Google announced that they were teaming up in a rare partnership to develop compatible contact tracing apps, which they claim will work on an “opt-in” basis.

However, according to Bloomberg, the companies are planning to eventually build the contact tracing into the device’s updates.

Apple and Google insist that you will still be able to opt-out of the program if you don’t want to participate, but it is possible that rankings on these apps could be used to gain entry into grocery stores or larger businesses and events once the economy opens up again.

Pirbright Institute Patented the Coronavirus

In the public interest.

This organization was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. See previous blog for further information.



The Pirbright Institute appoints a new Chair and six new Trustees to its Trustee Board

Posted: 1 April, 2019

The Pirbright Institute, a world-leading centre of excellence in research and surveillance of virus diseases of farm animals and viruses that spread from animals to humans announces the appointment of Professor John Stephenson as Chair of the Trustee Board and six new Trustees. Professor Stephenson succeeds Professor Quintin McKellar CBE, who is stepping down. Professor Stephenson is joined by Trustees Mr Ian Bateman, Mr Ian Black, Mr Jon Coles, Professor Vince Emery, Dr Sandy Primrose and Jane Tirard. Mike Samuel and Dr Theo Kanellos have retired as Trustees after serving for nine and five years respectively.

Dr Bryan Charleston, Director of The Pirbright Institute, said: “We thank Professor Quintin McKellar for 15 years of dedicated service, including five years as Chair of the Trustee Board, and Mike Samuel and Dr Theo Kanellos for their service on the Board of Trustees. Under the leadership of Professor McKellar the Trustee Board has overseen capital improvements to the site of circa £300 million over the last ten years that have equipped the Institute for 21st Century science, enabling Pirbright to continue to be a world leader in innovation and research on the control and surveillance of livestock diseases.

“Professor John Stephenson brings his wealth of experience to the Chair of the Trustee Board, from a distinguished research career in virology and immunology as well as five years as a Pirbright Trustee. He is the ideal candidate to continue to push forward the Institute’s excellent reputation in livestock disease research, diagnostics and surveillance and navigate the potential challenges ahead.”

Professor Stephenson has had a distinguished research career, with a long-standing interest in the interaction between virus infection and the immune system. In 1999 he joined the Department of Health as Chief Research Officer responsible for managing programmes on Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD), vaccines, pandemic influenza and counter terrorism. In 2007 he was appointed Director of Research and Development for the Health Protection Agency. Professor Stephenson also holds an honorary professorship at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where he is also a member of Council.

Professor John Stephenson said: “I am honoured to have been appointed Chair of the Trustee Board for The Pirbright Institute. The unique state-of-the-art facilities and globally-recognised expertise at Pirbright provides the United Kingdom with a National Capability to control highly infectious viral diseases of livestock, helping to protect the livelihoods of farmers and national economies in the UK and around the world. I look forward to helping provide strategic counsel as we deal with the ever-changing landscape in global livestock disease control and surveillance.”

Six new members are joining the Trustee Board to broaden the range of expertise amongst Board members and to facilitate succession planning. Together they have a huge amount of experience in research, industry, academia and business.

Mr Ian Bateman is currently Director of Quality at NHS Blood and Transplant. He is an Executive Director and Board member with significant strategic leadership experience across a range of industries, in well established, newly developing and aggressively growing organisations. He has a strong background in corporate leadership of quality, regulatory affairs, corporate governance, assurance, risk, health and safety, environment management and continuous improvement. This experience has been gained in areas such as blood, tissues and cells, organs, pharmaceuticals, in vitro diagnostic devices and communications; within both the commercial and public sector.  

Mr Ian Black has worked as a senior executive in a number of global organisations including NCR, AT&T, RIL and BAT with a business sector focus on engineering, technology and fast moving consumer goods. He is also the founder and a Director of Arch Management Consultants focusing on organisation strategy, HR leadership, change management, remuneration, talent management, governance and performance improvement. In this capacity he has provided consulting services to organisations in various sectors including, insurance, consumer goods, aviation, pharmaceuticals and technology. He also served on the Board of Quadram Institute BioScience (QIB) in Norwich and chaired its Remuneration and Nomination Committee.

Mr Jon Coles joins The Pirbright Institute from Brunswick Group LLP, the leading international communications consultancy. He has been a Partner at Brunswick for over 28 years advising the Boards of Directors of global groups on strategic communications and corporate reputation, with a particular focus on clients in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and agriculture industries. Jon graduated in Physiology and Biochemistry from the University of Southampton. 

Professor Vince Emery is Senior Vice-President (Global) and Professor of Translational Virology at the University of Surrey. Professor Emery leads the University of Surrey’s global strategy seeking to catalyse and expand international research networks, student and staff recruitment and mobility, to foster teaching collaborations, and to realise transnational educational opportunities. His current research aims to provide an interdisciplinary approach to understanding viral infections in immunocompromised hosts such as HIV-infected patients and transplant recipients. He is also Deputy Director of I-sense which is developing early warning sensing systems for infectious diseases and is supported through a multi-million pound grant support from EPSRC ( Professor Emery is a fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and was selected as a Fellow of the American Society of Transplantation in 2017 for his contribution to infectious disease research and its impact on patients following transplantation. There is a close working relationship between The Pirbright Institute and School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey, to the benefit of students and researchers at both institutions.

Doctor Sandy Primrose has a detailed business knowledge gained at a senior level in a diversity of industries, including pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical devices, instrumentation, food microbiology, radio-chemicals, fine chemicals and environmental testing. His expertise includes mentoring early-stage companies, managing complex products from concept to commercialisation and technology transfer, setting strategic direction, preparation of detailed operational plans and overseeing plan implementation. He has also worked at senior level with government organisations such as the Food Standards Agency, Defra and Health Protection Agency.

Jane Tirard has over 30 years of regional and global experience in business and financial management, spanning both the private and public sectors. Her experience includes high level strategic financial planning and working knowledge of government departments, funding councils, academia and the pharmaceutical sector. Prior to joining Pirbright’s Trustee Board she was the Director of Finance and Corporate Services at Diamond Light Source, the UK’s synchrotron science facility. Previously she was the Finance Director at Queen Mary University of London, and Executive Director of Finance at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

The new Trustees join existing Board members so that the full membership of the Trustee Board now comprises: Mr Ian Bateman, Mr Ian Black, Mr Jon Coles, Professor Vince Emery, Mr Roger Louth, Dr Vanessa Mayatt OBE, Dr Sandy Primrose, Sir Bertie Ross, Professor David Rowlands, Professor John Stephenson (Chair), Jane Tirard.


For more information please contact

Tel: +44 (0) 1483 231120.

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About The Pirbright Institute

The Pirbright Institute is a world leading centre of excellence in research and surveillance of virus diseases of farm animals and viruses that spread from animals to humans. Based in the UK and receiving strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Institute works to enhance capability to contain, control and eliminate these economically and medically important diseases through highly innovative fundamental and applied bioscience.

The Institute is an independent company, limited by guarantee and a registered charity, governed by a Board of non-executive Trustee Directors.

With an annual income of nearly £32.1 million from grants and commercial activity, and a total of £14.3 million strategic investment from BBSRC during 2017-2018, the Institute contributes to global food security and health, improving quality of life for animals and people.

For more information about The Pirbright Institute see:


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by government, BBSRC invested £498 million in world-class bioscience in 2017-18. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

More information about BBSRC, its science and its impact:

More information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes

Vandana Shiva at the UN reflects Oneness versus the 1%

In the public interest.

Now I know why I am being inspired to look at the 1%.  I trust there is purpose in making visible what has been concealed.

Oneness vs. The 1%: #VandanaShiva at the United Nations Office at Geneva

To biggest assets managers Vanguard and Black Rock – both with profits in the trillions.  I smile as having enough money to buy food I like brings me such joy. The inequality is the real issue.

Australian National COVID-19 Coordination Commission

In the public interest.


Media release
25 Mar 2020
Prime Minister

Today I announce the creation of a new National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) that will coordinate advice to the Australian Government on actions to anticipate and mitigate the economic and social effects of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The Commission will ensure the Government receives the most comprehensive advice to meet the challenges ahead to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus and help build a bridge to recovery.

This is about working cooperatively across private-to-private and public-to-private networks to unlock resources, break bottlenecks and fix problems so Australian families, businesses and communities are supported through the challenging months ahead.

Mr Neville Power has been appointed Chairman and brings both high level business expertise and a strong commitment to social issues.

An Executive Board of Commissioners, will advise the Prime Minister on all non-health aspects of the pandemic response. The Board will work in tandem with the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Brendan Murphy, who continues to lead the Commonwealth’s health response.

The National COVID-19 Commission Executive Board includes leaders across the private and not-for-profit sectors: Mr Greg Combet AM, Ms Jane Halton AO, Mr Paul Little AO, Ms Catherine Tanna and Mr David Thodey AO (Deputy Chair).

They will be joined by the Secretaries of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Mr Philip Gaetjens and Home Affairs, Mr Mike Pezzullo

The National Cabinet, comprising State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers, continues to lead the national response at a government level. The Australian Government’s National Security Committee of Cabinet’s COVID-19 Taskforce and the Expenditure Review Committee of Cabinet continue to take decisions that determine the Commonwealth’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission is about mobilising a whole-of-society and whole-of-economy effort so we come through this unprecedented health crisis.  The Commission will assist the Government to ensure all resources are marshalled to this vital task in a coordinated and effective manner.

At all times, our actions are guided by the best possible medical advice, while putting the economic and social wellbeing of all Australians front and centre of our response.

The NCCC will be based in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.  The existing National Coordination Mechanism based in the Department of Home Affairs, which coordinates the cross jurisdictional response to non-health aspects of the pandemic, will report to the Commission, as will the Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit based in the Treasury Department. 

Information about Neville Power. He is former Fortescue Metals Group.  I note he is not a doctor.   Refer link below.