Ukraine – prevention

I feel that if there were more money and effort spent on building international relations and conflict prevention, this (the invasion not just of disputed territories but the whole of the Ukraine by Russia) need not have happened.

The criticism of NATO’s continued existence as an offensive military organisation (as opposed to a mutual defence treaty) once the Warsaw Pact had collapsed is not a new one. I can understand Russia’s concern about it. And I have seen many suggestions being made for diplomatic solutions which could have addressed or at least challenged Russia’s demands for not having NATO on their borders. For example, a buffer alliance of East European states not in NATO or Ukraine joining an alliance of neutral states.

Our own national posturing and feeble threats did nothing to prevent what has happened. Nor have our sanctions spread to a whole list of things that any geezer down the boozer could come up with: impounding their ships and aircraft; expelling the 900 Russians who bought an express UK citizenship; banning all trade with Russia; confiscating any containers or goods bound for Russia; instructing every investment house to freeze the assets of every Russian investor or risk being struck off. I’m sure there are many more people with more knowledge can think of, especially for dealing with the Russian supply chain.

Photos of UK politicians wandering around Kiev wearing a furry hat (on a day when it was warmer than Manchester) might get votes but has absolutely zero impact on reality.

It’s another case of a country with some demands (going back 30 years) being ignored and challenged as if to say “We dare you”. But Russia has a cultural tradition of strong and brave leadership: they would respond with a strong and brave response. Which they have. Big surprise. Not.

There’s also the cultural issues in the region which go back a thousand years. The history is really complex and we learned during the Paris Peace Conference a century ago that self determination is really important. If people in a region feel they do not want to be governed by a different peoples, then that needs to be listened to or it will eventually escalate. Since then, and especially in the past 30 or so years, we have learned an awful lot about conflict de-escalation and how to create societies with imbalanced powers that actually work. Instead of waiting for this to go horribly pear-shaped, like we did when Yugoslavia fell to bits, we (European states, mostly, but also the UN) could have done more to help resolve the Ukraine / Crimea / Russia situation by thinking of the people, power structures, how to reorganise society and the history instead of nation state politics.

I don’t think international politics or relations is easy. Well, it is if you ignore it and wait for it to go belly up and wait for it to be a military problem, I suppose, rather than dealing with it. I don’t suppose it is any easier for a national politician in the UK to go and say “Can we help?” than it is to get involved when the neighbours are shouting at one another in the street. It’s easier to draw the curtains and hope it goes away.

But I thought the point of the United Nations was to stop this sort of thing, to create a safe environment to settle issues. Maybe that is where to look for the failure here. In what way does the UN need to change?

And where the heck were the UN peacekeepers? Instead of NATO posturing and behaving like a belligerent nation itself with its leader making threats and demands on the world stage (did you vote for him? I didn’t.), NATO could have offered to provide the peacekeeping force to the UN. To protect the border, from invasion, not as a NATO attack force but a UN peacekeeping force. They have the resources and money for a war, surely they have the resources and money for not a war?

Yes, it’s sad. Unimaginative and weak leadership, more concerned in posturing and local votes than making the world a better place. But then, isn’t that politicians the world over? Me, me, me, me, me.

It does not take a strong person to start a fight. It takes a strong one to stop one. And that strength could come from investment into further research into conflict management, raising awareness of the methods, publicising success when it works and promoting its application when the neighbours are having a falling out. Hmm. I wonder where the money could come from to pay for that?

How about starting with the management of NATO. Scrap NATO as an organisation – but leave the sensible mutual defence pact Treaty in place – and use the money saved for managing international relations in a peaceful way?

Useful resources –

Looking for a non-commercial alternative to Zoom?  Want a particularly secure search tool?  Need office automation tools suitable for private collaborative working?  Consider looking at the services of the Dutch organisation  They provide a variety of useful online services, including videoconferencing, that seems to be aimed at activist type organisations and they use a pay-what-you-want model.  They host everything themselves and, where they can, make it secure and private.

One needs to register to use some of their services, but not the Jitsi Meet video conferencing.  That seems to have all the functionality one might desire: chat, hand-raising, recording, screen sharing and so on.  It runs from the browser so works on most anything.

The other functions on also look very useful: document and spreadsheet collaboration, fora, shared cloud storage, polls, project Kanban boards and chat.

Registration takes a couple of days to be processed.  I’ve just started the process for myself so I can have a play with what they provide.  But some facilities are available for anyone to use.

Mail.  You get a email address.  So it is associated with them, but it is free.

Cloud.  Online storage.  This is horribly expensive through most providers but starts at free with Disroot for 2Gb of data.  54Gb of shared storage is merely about £82 per year!  They use NextCloud, which is the same solution as I settled on for the Conscience cloud-based file-sharing solution (although that does not use the cloud; I host it).

Forum.  Can be used as an online public or private forum or as a discussion mailing list.  We have a Conscience forum of our own now anyway, since the last EC meeting.

XMPP.  This is an instant messaging protocol.  Remember instant messaging?  Where you have an app open on your desktop and you can immediately chat to colleagues / friends and see when they are online?  Mostly replaced by social media sites now but still useful for chatting confidentially with others online.  This is what I was looking for: an IM server as I use Pidgin to communicate between my PCs.

Pads.  Online collaboration for shared text documents.  This looks like a really useful tool for working on something together when online.  Here’s an example.  One could write something in draft in advance, then share the link, then agree a time to finalise its content together.  This does not require an account.  The document stays for about six months before being deleted.

Calc.  Same thing as Pads, but for a spreadsheet.  Does not sound so useful, but is a good way of capturing lists.

Upload.  For sending a document to someone securely.  You drag the file to the web page and it is encrypted before sending and stored on the server in encrypted form.  It provides you with a long code to retrieve the file which you send to the recipient to download the file.  You can add a password to de-encrypt it, and set it to auto-delete once it has been downloaded.  Can be handy just for sending something to yourself that you don’t want anyone else to see, or files that are too big to send by email.

Polls.  Make your own polls, completely customisable.  For sending out to people asking their opinions, selecting choices, etc.  This does not require an account.

Project Board.  Similar to Trello; looks like it requires an account.  Trello might be better, but Disroot is secure.

Calls.  This is Jitsi Meet video conferencing and it works.  It seems to have all the functionality one might desire: chat, hand-raising, recording, screen sharing and so on.  It runs from the browser so works on most anything.  This does not require an account.

CryptpadApparently, an “encrypted collaborative office suite… allows you to create, share and work together on text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, whiteboards or organize your project on a kanban board”.  That seems to be the overarching name for the solution they use for their office tools.  If someone was setting up a small campaigning organisation, this looks like a potentially good solution for collaborative working.

They’ve other functionality too, such as managing software source code and audio conferencing.  One can also pay a nominal sum to make use of your own domain name with their email.  You could register and use Disroot’s email services with that domain name.

So there are a few useful things there.  Some of that functionality might give ideas for other ways of working, especially remotely.  And as a package, it might be very useful for any small campaigning organisation.  And the price is very competitive!

What do you think?

11/11/2018 – end of

In 2012 to 2013 I developed the idea of preventing wars by forming a one policy campaign organisation whose membership would commit themselves to the idea that if the government started a war, every member would be pledged to turn up and vote for any other party at the next local, national and European election.  That is, if they start a war (as opposed to a defensive action), they lose their jobs.

The goal was to have this in place within five years, by the hundredth anniversary of the Great War on 11th November 2018.

I set up a web site and started recording ideas and statistics.  In my haste and keenness, I did not set up a backup regime for the site.  So when a Drupal exploitation occurred, some stupid child hacker trashed the site and replaced it with some pro-Islamist pro-war bollocks.  I lost all the content – all the thinking and planning I had done.

The domain has finally expired and the web site disappeared.

It takes a lot of time, energy and planning to set up a campaign.  I could not find sufficient to make mine happen.  Life gets in the way.  Meanwhile aid is being cut and military spending significantly increased.  It all feels so futile.

The No New Wars organisation web site – no more

By the end of may 2013 I had formed an idea to create a No New Wars organisation.  A membership organisation that would bring together the entire UK peace sector’s organisations and sympathisers with one common goal: to prevent any new wars.

Herding cats would be much easier.  They have predictable common goals.

The domain and web site have finally expired.

Oh well.  I tried.

Chinese domain registration emails

I got an email from Adrian Liu of China Registry Head Office saying:

(It’s very urgent, therefore we kindly ask you to forward this email to your CEO. If you believe this has been sent to you in error, please ignore it. Thanks)
Dear CEO,
We are the domain registration and solution center in China. On October 5, 2021, we received an application from Hongxiang Ltd requested “nonewwars” as their internet keyword and China (CN) domain names (,,, But after checking it, we find this name conflict with your company name or trademark. In order to deal with this matter better, it’s necessary to send email to you and confirm whether this company is your distributor in China?

Best Regards

Adrian Liu | Service & Operations Manager

China Registry (Head Office)

Tel: +86-2161918696

Fax: +86-2161918697

Mob: +86-13816428671

6012, Xingdi Building, No. 1698 Yishan Road, Shanghai 201103, China


This email contains privileged and confidential information intended for the addressee only. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy this email and inform the sender immediately. We appreciate you respecting the confidentiality of this information by not disclosing or using the information in this email.

Gotta love the “Best Regards”.  It’s like a mugger saying “Have a nice day”.  I like to be helpful.  So I replied:

No, Hongxiang Ltd is nothing to do with us at all.

It probably does not matter what you say in the reply, because this comes next.  From one Zhihai Ning saying:

To whom it concerns,

We will register the China domain names “” “” “” “” and internet keyword “nonewwars” and have submitted our application. We are waiting for Mr. Adrian Liu’s approval. These CN domains and internet keyword are very important for us to promote our business in China. Although Mr. Adrian Liu advised us to change another name, we will persist in this name.

Kind regards
Zhihai Ning

I thought I ought to respond.  Out of politeness.  Especially since they said “Kind regards” which as we know is always a genuine sentiment.

I don’t see how I can stop you.

But I am interested. Why do you want to use the NoNewWars name?

Back to a reply from Adrian Liu at the China Registry.

Based on your company having no relationship with them, we have already suggested that they should choose another name to avoid this conflict, but they persist in this name as China domain names (,,, and internet keyword. In our opinion, maybe they do the similar business as your company then register it to promote their company.

As is known to all, the domain name registration based on the international principle is opened to company and individual. Any company or individual have the right to register any domain name and internet keyword which are unregistered. Your company haven’t registered this name as China domain names and internet keyword, so any company is able to obtain them by registration. But in order to avoid this conflict, the trademark or original name owner have priority right to register China domain name and internet keyword during our dispute period. If your company is the original owner of this name and want to register these China domain names (,,, and internet keyword to prevent anybody from using them, please inform us. We can send you an application form with price list to help your company register these China domain names and internet keyword during our dispute period.

Best Regards

Adrian Liu | Service & Operations Manager

China Registry (Head Office)

Tel: +86-2161918696

Fax: +86-2161918697

Mob: +86-13816428671

6012, Xingdi Building, No. 1698 Yishan Road, Shanghai 201103, China


This email contains privileged and confidential information intended for the addressee only. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy this email and inform the sender immediately. We appreciate you respecting the confidentiality of this information by not disclosing or using the information in this email.

Now I understand.  It is a scam that is simply frightening people into buying domain names they otherwise would not want or need.  Let’s see if I’m right with a quick search

Hmm.  I wonder if it is a scam…!  🙂  Apparently they’ve been doing this since at least 2009 – twelve years.  So it must work.  Well, he wasted some of my time, I’ll waste some of his.

But China is a communist country. I thought there was no such thing as copyright under communism.

I am awaiting the next email…

Can being nice prevent violence?

ACT (Action Counters Terrorism) e-learning is a free short course for the general public on what to be aware of and how to look out for terrorist activity in public places.  A recurring theme in it is to be polite, to challenge people who are looking lost or suspicious, to ask if such people need assistance and offer to help such as taking them where they need to go.  Essentially saying excellent customer service has a side effect of countering criminality.

It is interesting that by being nice and polite to people it makes it hard for them to be violent and anti-social.

What impact would it have on those who want to harm our society if everyone they came across in our society was friendly, open, polite, helpful in a self-assured way?  Perhaps if we had such a society, there would be fewer people who wanted to harm our society in the first place.

Deo-digital existentialism

As I locked up last night I noticed some bright planet or ‘plane and was then struck by the incredibly bright white moon; I stood outside the back door for a bit gazing at the perfectly cloudless sky (first time all day!)

As I brought the milk in just now, I was again struck by the sight of the bright moon (albeit through a clouded sky), this time outside the front door. For a tiniest instant there was the thought “What’s that doing there?  It should be out the back” and I was yet again struck by the awesome majestic mathematical mechanical wonder that is the Universe.  It keeps going about its business with no regard to us or our plans, silently turning and spinning.

I unlocked the back door and there is a glorious orange red glow at the horizon, the pre-dawn heralding both the otherwise unseen Sun and a ‘shepherd’s warning’.  I was quite inspired by the contrast of the scientifically provable inevitability of the sun rising against the folk lore weather prediction which is likely just as reliable.  I felt I had to share and post this.

There’s been an automated Windows update overnight that has rebooted the laptop.  I wonder what that has cocked up this time.  And now it says I need to reboot to complete the update, so it is not in a usable state.  The little world in my computer is a bit broken and its needs its little god, me, to restart its universe from scratch to have another go at creating a functional reality.  So I – its supposed overlord – am to be forced to bring its life to an end, power it off, then cry “Let there be light!” and restart it to allow another cycle of creativity (and cockups).

Nah, sod it. I’m going to wash up and have breakfast.

I don’t think there’s a god or God out there.  At one time I used to imagine perhaps there is, but if so, it has given up on this cock-up long ago and moved on to another attempt.

At another time it dawned on me this Universe as already been destroyed once.  It did not work out, was smashed and all that remains are the tiniest of fragments, flying apart. hence the vast emptiness of space: why create something with so little in it?  Because we are not witnessing creation but the post-destruction explosion of frustration, the result of a tantrum at another failed attempt, and we are merely the germs that have grown on one of the specks of dust.

How dare we imagine that we are the important beings in this immense vastness.  We are but nothing, the tiniest speck of life light that will flare for the tiniest instant, then go out again, most likely unnoticed by anything.  To pretend the universe revolves around us, is for us, is ours, is a ridiculous arrogance as great as the Universe itself.

All we have, all we are, is what we do.  And the only part of that which matters is that experienced by other sentient life.  The rocks don’t care and there is no god lovingly watching us and caring for us, any more than we care for a fungal spore on a rotting apple core in the bin.  Less so.

All that matters is how we treat one another.  And that is how we should be – and generally are – judged.  Can’t we please just try to be nice to one another, and to try to think of the future?  Why can’t we have a society where those are the values?  Other than “By killing everyone who disagrees with me”, of course.  That hasn’t worked for over 8,000 years and has been the cause of most of the harm, so don’t try peddling those second-hand lies to me.  Because if we don’t work that out, then we are indeed filth that belongs in the dustbin of eternity.  And the only thing that stops me believing that totally, is hope.

Better go and reboot the laptop.  And hope it saves my tabs and settings and works properly this time.

Airstrikes kill civilians

We are told that drone strikes have surgical precision.

We are told that intelligence is always checked before targeting people.

Afghanistan: US admits Kabul drone strike killed civilians

We are told lies.

These are extra-judiciary (i.e. sentence delivered without trial) executions (i.e. killings).  We usually call that murder.

Why is nobody held accountable?

Oh, I forgot.  We are.  By the families, friends and sympathisers of the victims, who hold us responsible for the actions of our military and governments.

Are you happy, being party to mass murder of innocent civilians, including children?

Bastard evil WordPress hostile design fault

I logged in to WordPress, started a new post and something flashed up on the screen.  Then something else, then I had lost what I started doing.  In my list of posts is a page just begun with only part of the title.  Odd, because something similar happened yesterday when I tried to write a post.

So I start again, this time having forgotten what I was going to write about and instead write about the distractions that WordPress itself now provides when you try to write a new post.  WordPress used to be somewhere you quickly went to and wrote a thought and posted it.  WordPress is now a product that wants to tell you all about WordPress.  I This was the result:

Showing WordPress losing my postI started to write “Distractions caused by WordPress” and got the popup about leaving the page.  So I let it continue.

WordPress telling me about itselfWordPress had interrupted my attempt to create a post to take me to a page to tell me about WordPress.  Why would I want to be told at this point, when I’m already using it to write a post? This is stupid, inconsiderate design.  Why not go here when I logged in, not when I am trying to put my thoughts on the page?

Now I have lost my train of thought and so won’t be writing the blog post I wanted to write.  WordPress has successfully sabotaged its own purpose – and mine – by trying to promote itself.  And now I am angry with the developers.


Edit: Aaarrgghh!!  I realised I had not put a title on this post, went back in to edit it, started writing the title and WordFuckingPress jumped to that elf-promotion page again.  WHY?  Why send me there EVERY FUCKING TIME?  Why do it WHEN I AM TRYING TO EDIT A POST?