Rep. Barbara Lee calls for U.S. Congress probe into Iraq War planning

Friday, July 22, 2005

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), co-chairwoman of the Out of Iraq Caucus and a member of the International Affairs Committee, along with 26 co-sponsors, proposed yesterday a Resolution of Inquiry in the House of Representatives which, if passed, will require the White House and the State Department to“transmit all information relating to communication with officials of the United Kingdom between January 1, 2002, and October 16, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq.” The resolution, was submitted in the House of Representatives and referred to the U.S. House Committee on International Relations.

The resolution comes in response to questions that have been raised about the handling of pre-war intelligence by the Bush administration, and the planning and execution of the Iraq war. “We would like to see a member of Congress look into whether or not the president committed impeachable offenses,” said John Bonifaz, a constitutional lawyer. “We’ve been having that discussion with a number of offices.”

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary Minority leader, recently met with John Bonifaz and representatives. But Conyers is reluctant to take such a bold step just yet. “My inclination at this time is not to do something like that,” Conyers said, although he noted that he wanted to press for an investigation in other ways, including sending committee investigators to London.

Earlier this month, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said at a forum held by Conyers “If you read the record of the writing of the Constitution, ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ had a very particular meaning at the time of the drafting of the Constitution. It certainly didn’t mean lying about sex, but it might well mean lying to the Congress about a large public purpose such as Iraq.”, referring to Republican’s filing of such a resolution in 1998 in an effort to remove Bill Clinton from office.

Rep. Barbara Lee’s resolution of inquiry is a less-drastic parliamentary maneuver that would ask the administration to provide more information related to the claims in classified British memos that suggest that pre-war intelligence in Iraq was “fixed” in order to justify the invasion. The Resolution of Inquiry is a privileged resolution, which means that if it is not acted on in 14 legislative days after it is introduced, the member of Congress who introduced it is entitled to request that it be brought to the House floor for a vote. The committee may take the matter up right away, and could vote it down before the August recess. If they do not, they will be required to take it up by September 16th.

RESOLUTION

Requesting the President and directing the Secretary of State to transmit to the House of Representatives not later than 14 days after the date of the adoption of this resolution all information in the possession of the President and the Secretary of State relating to communication with officials of the United Kingdom between January 1, 2002, and October 16, 2002, relating to thepolicy of the United States with respect to Iraq.

Resolved, That not later than 14 days after the date of the adoption of this resolution—

(1) the President is requested to transmit to the House of Representatives all documents, including telephone and electronic mail records, logs, calendars, minutes, and memos, in the possession of the President relating to communications with officials of the United Kingdom from January 1, 2002, to October 16, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq, including any discussions or communications between the President or other Administration officials and officials of the United Kingdom that occurred before the meeting on July 23, 2002, at 10 Downing Street in London, England, between Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom, United Kingdom intelligence officer Richard Dearlove, and other national security officials of the Blair Administration; and

(2) the Secretary of State is directed to transmit to the House of Representatives all documents, including telephone and electronic mail records, logs, calendars, minutes, memos, and records of internal discussions, in the possession of the Secretary relating to communications with officials of the United Kingdom from January 1, 2002, to October 16, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq, including any discussions or communications between the Secretary of State or other officials of the Department of State and officials of the United Kingdom that occurred before the meeting on July 23, 2002, at 10 Downing Street in London, England, between Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom, United Kingdom intelligence officer Richard Dearlove, and other national security officials of the Blair Administration.

  • Rep. John Conyers
  • Rep. Tammy Baldwin
  • Rep. William Lacy Clay
  • Rep. Danny Davis
  • Rep. William Delahunt
  • Rep. Lane Evans
  • Rep. Sam Farr
  • Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva
  • Rep. Luis Gutierrez
  • Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey
  • Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
  • Rep. Dennis Kucinich
  • Rep. Carolyn C. Kilpatrick
  • Rep. Jim McDermott
  • Rep. Jim Oberstar
  • Rep. Major R. Owens
  • Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.
  • Rep. Don Payne
  • Rep. Charles Rangel
  • Rep. Jan Schakowsky
  • Rep. José E. Serrano
  • Rep. Pete Stark
  • Rep. Bennie Thompson
  • Rep. Diane Watson
  • Rep. Robert Wexler
  • Rep. Lynn Woolsey

A Wicker And Wood Outdoor Sofa Set Displays Comfort

By Craig Desmier

Feeling the whiff of cool air in your patio is like wishing your self a good morning in the very best way. The goodness of nature can be experienced if you can get the best accessories for your patio. A neat wicker outdoor sofa set will help your seating arrangements work out well. You can even get a new cushion for your arm chair. A contrasting range of sofa cushions works well as it gives a lot of color to your patio. A good patio is again about a non-clutter concept. Whatever you wish to buy can always be listed so that you do not waste time and money duplicating things for your patio.

Creativity is the best when you can understand the real use of your patio. For a home that hosts a lot of party, the designs in patio must never be a cluttered look. It needs to have a new look and it is good to have a wall mounted heater or the best heating system so that the guests are comfortable always. The outdoor sofa set can be ordered online and it will be delivered to you as per the specified timings. Do you feel that whites look best in patios? Then you have an answer in white chaise lounge chairs and also the vintage all metal look with a centre table and chairs with high back rest. This is not only comfortable but also makes you patio look charming.

A good wicker outdoor sofa set talks about quality. This would mean that you have to invest in items that will be able to take the weather conditions. Some items come with warranty like a hammock or an umbrella but a good wicker sofa can easily last you for years if you are prepared to do some maintenance. It is possible that you may need to go on a long vacation and during these times you can easily cover your patio items with the large zipper covers that come in all sizes and shapes. No more getting hassled about your patio belongings when you are on a holiday.

Select a neat outdoor sofa set:

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1. A patio does well if furnished with a cushy sofa.

2. Compact sofa sets are available in a patio shop.

3. Know the prices for a good sofa set.

4. Take care to check for seamless covers.

5. You can ask for special cushions from the same patio shop.

Specific ideas for a wicker outdoor sofa set can be seen when you actually are keen or making good space management within the given size of your patio. A patio can have lot of ideas in shades primarily being the umbrellas or even a good patio roof. Roof for patios have to be durable and it can be the best piece of carpentry if it is done in the vintage style. Does everything in your patio resemble the vintage era? That is the trendiest form available and you will surely not need to look out of other styles. But a combination works several times which you can see in metal works for an aluminum chair or a table stand or lamps which are not really conventional.

Speaking about quality for your patio standards surely is an essential part of designing. The same will go for an outdoor sofa set because it is definitely going to be used a lot. If you are careful with your budget, you can surely get more wicker items for your patio. Make sure to avail of bargain points in your next purchase so that you can redeem it while you wicker pots and baskets in future. Accessories for a patio in eco friendly way is the best concept so that you can also do your part towards the maintaining the ecology.

Check some more items in the shop for a future buy. But a good wicker outdoor sofa set must top your list after the basic utility items like a heater or an umbrella. A good choice in colors and styles is also possible with umbrellas. As they are noticeable even from far, umbrellas do the main job to show how creative your patio is. Taking cue from the designer items, you can surely select BBQ items and an outdoor under the counter refrigerator which will help you the most during the party times in your patio.

About the Author: Article by Craig Desmier of OutdoorSofa.com, a website with the largest selections of

patio sectional

and

outdoor wicker sectional

for your household needs.

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=766640&ca=Home+Management

Wikinews interviews Jeff Jacobsen, creator of LisaMcPherson.org

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On Sunday, Wikinews interviewed creator of memorial site LisaMcPherson.org, former Lisa McPherson Trust employee and long time Scientology critic Jeff Jacobsen.

LisaMcPherson.org is a memorial site created in 1997 containing information on her death and the resulting legal case against the Church of Scientology.

Lisa McPherson died in 1995 while in the care of the Church of Scientology. After a car accident, she became mentally unstable. Scientologists removed her from the hospital and placed her in the Introspection Rundown, she died 17 days later while still in care of the Church. She was used as an icon during Project Chanology, the protest of the Church of Scientology by Anonymous. Protesters were pictured with signs that said “Remember Lisa McPherson” and “Ask Scientology Why Lisa McPherson Died”, other protesters had posters with her picture on it.

Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A team of eight transplant surgeons in Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, led by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, age 58, have successfully performed the first almost total face transplant in the US, and the fourth globally, on a woman so horribly disfigured due to trauma, that cost her an eye. Two weeks ago Dr. Siemionow, in a 23-hour marathon surgery, replaced 80 percent of her face, by transplanting or grafting bone, nerve, blood vessels, muscles and skin harvested from a female donor’s cadaver.

The Clinic surgeons, in Wednesday’s news conference, described the details of the transplant but upon request, the team did not publish her name, age and cause of injury nor the donor’s identity. The patient’s family desired the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. The Los Angeles Times reported that the patient “had no upper jaw, nose, cheeks or lower eyelids and was unable to eat, talk, smile, smell or breathe on her own.” The clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery chair, Francis Papay, described the nine hours phase of the procedure: “We transferred the skin, all the facial muscles in the upper face and mid-face, the upper lip, all of the nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw including the teeth, the facial nerve.” Thereafter, another team spent three hours sewing the woman’s blood vessels to that of the donor’s face to restore blood circulation, making the graft a success.

The New York Times reported that “three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China, all using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.” “Only the forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip, lower teeth and jaw are hers, the rest of her face comes from a cadaver; she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. About 77 square inches of tissue were transplanted from the donor,” it further described the details of the medical marvel. The patient, however, must take lifetime immunosuppressive drugs, also called antirejection drugs, which do not guarantee success. The transplant team said that in case of failure, it would replace the part with a skin graft taken from her own body.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon praised the recent medical development. “There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Leading bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania withheld judgment on the Cleveland transplant amid grave concerns on the post-operation results. “The biggest ethical problem is dealing with failure — if your face rejects. It would be a living hell. If your face is falling off and you can’t eat and you can’t breathe and you’re suffering in a terrible manner that can’t be reversed, you need to put on the table assistance in dying. There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Dr Alex Clarke, of the Royal Free Hospital had praised the Clinic for its contribution to medicine. “It is a real step forward for people who have severe disfigurement and this operation has been done by a team who have really prepared and worked towards this for a number of years. These transplants have proven that the technical difficulties can be overcome and psychologically the patients are doing well. They have all have reacted positively and have begun to do things they were not able to before. All the things people thought were barriers to this kind of operations have been overcome,” she said.

The first partial face transplant surgery on a living human was performed on Isabelle Dinoire on November 27 2005, when she was 38, by Professor Bernard Devauchelle, assisted by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. Her Labrador dog mauled her in May 2005. A triangle of face tissue including the nose and mouth was taken from a brain-dead female donor and grafted onto the patient. Scientists elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants. However, the claim is the first for a mouth and nose transplant. Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant.

In 2004, the same Cleveland Clinic, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London‘s Royal Free Hospital in the UK was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a full face transplant. His team will select four adult patients (children cannot be selected due to concerns over consent), with operations being carried out at six month intervals. In March 2008, the treatment of 30-year-old neurofibromatosis victim Pascal Coler of France ended after having received what his doctors call the worlds first successful full face transplant.

Ethical concerns, psychological impact, problems relating to immunosuppression and consequences of technical failure have prevented teams from performing face transplant operations in the past, even though it has been technically possible to carry out such procedures for years.

Mr Iain Hutchison, of Barts and the London Hospital, warned of several problems with face transplants, such as blood vessels in the donated tissue clotting and immunosuppressants failing or increasing the patient’s risk of cancer. He also pointed out ethical issues with the fact that the procedure requires a “beating heart donor”. The transplant is carried out while the donor is brain dead, but still alive by use of a ventilator.

According to Stephen Wigmore, chair of British Transplantation Society’s ethics committee, it is unknown to what extent facial expressions will function in the long term. He said that it is not certain whether a patient could be left worse off in the case of a face transplant failing.

Mr Michael Earley, a member of the Royal College of Surgeon‘s facial transplantation working party, commented that if successful, the transplant would be “a major breakthrough in facial reconstruction” and “a major step forward for the facially disfigured.”

In Wednesday’s conference, Siemionow said “we know that there are so many patients there in their homes where they are hiding from society because they are afraid to walk to the grocery stores, they are afraid to go the the street.” “Our patient was called names and was humiliated. We very much hope that for this very special group of patients there is a hope that someday they will be able to go comfortably from their houses and enjoy the things we take for granted,” she added.

In response to the medical breakthrough, a British medical group led by Royal Free Hospital’s lead surgeon Dr Peter Butler, said they will finish the world’s first full face transplant within a year. “We hope to make an announcement about a full-face operation in the next 12 months. This latest operation shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people. These are people who would otherwise live a terrible twilight life, shut away from public gaze,” he said.

Tropical Storm Irene passes over New York

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tropical Storm Irene, recently downgraded from a hurricane, passed over New York City at about 0900 local time (1300 UTC) today, bringing heavy rain and winds up to 65 miles per hour (96.6 km/h).

Flooding has been reported in New York City, where the Hudson River spilled over its banks into Manhattan and the East River briefly flooded. Floods were also reported in Brooklyn. Water was reported to be inside Battery Park and near the New York Mercantile Exchange. The water level of New York Harbor is as much as four feet higher than normal, with a predicted storm surge of up to eight feet.

Elsewhere in the northeast, suburbs of Philadelphia also flooded; mayor Michael Nutter described the scene in one area as “couches, furniture, all kinds of stuff floating down the street.”

Up to eleven people have been reported killed by the storm, five in North Carolina, three in Virginia and one each in Florida, Maryland and Connecticut. Some three million people evacuated from areas expected to be impacted by the storm, and another three million are reported to be without power.

Irene made landfall in North Carolina on Saturday, bringing up to fourteen inches (~36 cm) of rain and a storm surge measuring four feet in the Cheasapeake Bay with it. At about 0530 local time today, the storm made its second landfall as it passed over Little Egg Inlet, New Jersey.

According to New Jersey governor Chris Christie, the storm is expected to cause damage “in the billions of dollars, if not in the tens of billions of dollars.”

Lose Inches &Amp; Get The Body You Want With One Simple Hollywood Secret

By Dominique Scott

If you want to look skinnier, lose weight fast and don’t have much time to lose it, check out this article. Maybe you have an event, a date with someone special, a class reunion and you need to lose weight – not a few weeks from now, but today. There is one trick you need to know that the celebrities use to slim down, and lose inches in a hurry and need to look amazing. The Hollywood secret is slimming undergarments also known as firm control shapewear. Perhaps you’ve heard of Spanx, or maybe you have used some old-fashioned girdle type body shaper to get the slimming effect you desire. An incredible look skinny instantly on-a-budget secret that you may not have tried is Flexees.

Flexees are slimming body shapers and slimming shapewear solutions that go after the problem areas you want to minimize and enhance your assets. Flexees offers options: from lightweight control, medium control to ultra firm control, it’s all covered. You can look like you actually dropped pounds, overnight. If you have inches to lose pronto – Flexees firm control body shapers are the budget conscious solution your minor crisis.

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If you want to streamline your bumps, minimize your tummy or get rid of a muffin muffin top – one of the mild control, soft comfortable Flexees collections will do the trick fantastically. Flexees Fat Free Dressing Collections offers stellar comfort, luxury fabrics and solid support. The Fat Free camisoles, tank tops and t-shirts are made to be seen items that offer full coverage as they minimize your problem areas.

If you want significant body-altering smoothing and firm control garments – Fat Free Dressing is not enough. You want to pull in the big guns of shapewear. If you want more than a hint of smoothing and want to appear to have lost a few pounds and inches, those collections are not the ones you want. For extra slimming body shapers, check out one of Flexees other collections such as the Take Inches Off or Easy Up Collection.

With a focus on 360 degrees of your body, the Flexees Take Inches Off Collection name says it all – these shaping slips, body briefers, and waistnippers make you look noticeably skinnier. The Take Inches Off shapewear collection even improves your posture, creates a tiny waist, and makes you look smooth and slender. Flexees Easy Up, as the name suggests, are firm body shapers that are easy to get on and off. Easy Up waist cinchers, slips and briefers define your shape into the hourglass silhouette you want.

When nothing but the maximum in slimming, streamlining and shaping will do, Flexees Ultimate Slimming Collection is an excellent choice. Put your undergarments to work for you like all the celebs in Hollywood do. Instant Slimmer body briefers, thigh slimmers, slips and briefs are designed to hide and flatten your problem areas and to play up your strong points.

Flexees Ultimate Slimming pieces are perfect for special occasions, a job interview, a momentous event yet they are also comfortable enough to be worn regularly when you want to slim your physique. Making it even better- Flexees are super affordable. They are much cheaper than Spanx, Yummie Tummie or other competitive products that make you look like you lost pounds and inches!

About the Author: Dominique Scott loves to research and write about losing weight, Hollywood diets that work, celebrity secrets for looking great and more. For more info on the different Flexees collections, to purchase super discounted Flexees and to find the shapes you want to target your problem areas, visit

Shapewear Deals and Info

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SEPTA buys rail cars from NJ Transit to deal with crowding

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

As gas prices have risen in the United States, the regional transport authority for southeastern Pennsylvania, SEPTA, has seen a sharp increase in ridership, which has caused overcrowding on the trains.

“As fuel prices have continued to rise, SEPTA ridership has steadily increased and is the highest in 18 years,” said SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey. Monthly ridership was 22 percent higher last month than a year ago.

“They have crushed loads on their rail lines, already where people are standing, and there’s not enough seats,” said Rich Bickel, the director of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

“At peak times some railcars are standing room only and commuter parking lots are nearly full. All Regional Rail lines are running near full capacity and the train station parking lots are at about 90 percent capacity or more,” SEPTA spokesperson Felipe Suarez said.

While SEPTA awaits new Silverliner V trains from Hyundai Rotem, which begin arriving in 2009, it had hoped to lease eight rail cars from New Jersey Transit, at an agreed-upon rate of US$10,000 per month. However, due to problems with insurance and liability indemnification, the deal fell through, according to Casey.

SEPTA has entered a new agreement to purchase the eight rail cars from NJ Transit. The transit authority will pay US$670,000 for the cars and assorted supplies plus one additional inoperative car which will be used for spare parts. The rail cars will be operated using a SEPTA provided locomotive as they are not self-propelled.

The cars are being disposed of by NJ Transit because it has switched from single-floor cars to double-decker cars.

SEPTA is expecting to raise US$3.1 million by selling rail that has been out of service since 1981 at auction.

Pupils fed through gates, school criticised

Friday, September 15, 2006

Schoolchildren at Rawmarsh Comprehensive School in South Yorkshire, England, are being fed fish and chips by their parents through the school gates at lunchtimes because parents do not believe their children are being given enough choice of food at lunchtime.

The parents are standing outside the school gates in a cemetery to take the orders of food from the children, and then go and pick up the food for them. Parents say that this is because the children do not like the quality of food being served in the school cafeteria, and so the parents are only giving the children what they want – which is a hot and tasty lunchtime meal.

Head Teacher John Lambert has lashed back at the parents, calling the delivery of food through the gates immoral and stating that it is not “helping the children or their school” by bringing the junk food in. He also stated that “[The School] aims to provide good quality food which is within government healthy eating guidelines and helps the children’s learning in the afternoon”. Parents have defended the delivery of food by saying that not only are they receiving orders for burgers and chips, but also for salad rolls, jacket potatoes, and other healthy foods.

The Evolution Of The Tv Weather Man

The Evolution of the TV Weather Man

by

Chet W

The weatherman has become an icon throughout the world. People religiously tune in their televisions to hear a prediction of the upcoming weather. Most of us however, refuse to admit that the weatherman and the weather report is not an exact science. We live by the weather predictions, plan our days, plan our vacations, plan our outdoor work, and dress accordingly. The weather forecast is important to everyone in one way or another and it’s not limited to civilians. The military as well as the aviation industry rely heavily on current and future weather conditions. Weather reporting has advanced in step with modern technology, obviously computers play an important role in the forecast nowadays. As advanced as computers are today, they still can only predict the future some of the time. They can make predicting easier and more accurate than weather prediction of years gone by. As a matter of fact, weather is part of every day’s news show and a televised news show would be incomplete without the weather segment.

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Weather forecasting appeared on the television airwaves in October of 1941. It was the first time a visual representation of current and future weather conditions were presented to the public. There were radio broadcasts of weather forecasts since January of 1921 but nothing could compare to a weather forecast the public could view for themselves. The first weatherman ironically was a cartoon character who sang a tune while the weather was displayed on the screen. It may sound primitive now but in its time it was state of the art. The 1950’s brought about a new era. The live TV weather man armed with a chalkboard, some chalk, a sense of humor, and an arsenal of meteorological knowledge was about ot become part of our daily lives. The weather forecasts were vague and primitive but basically better than nothing at all. As confidence in the weather forecasts grew, so did the public’s interest in the weatherman. A well-done, inaccurate forecast was better than no forecast at all. As time passed and the weather segment on the daily news program continued to gain popularity, women stepped in and became television weather forecasters as well. As with everything else, the weather forecast itself evolved. The presentation became much more involved and complex. The weatherman now had to present current conditions along with some detailed statistics for those viewers who were interested in weather-related stats and history. Even those TV viewers who may have never had an interest in the specific details of weather, now had something to talk about at the dinner table or at work the following morning. The weather segment of the news broadcast was becoming mandatory for all news shows based on its growing popularity. The chalkboards of old were soon replaced with cardboard models and then of course by computer animations and even the infamous “green screen”. The green screen, in reality a blank green screen, allowed the weatherman to stand in front of a large scale weather map and actually point to various aspects of the map. Television viewers of course see the maps and graphics clear and colorful which totally enhanced the forecast. The visual effects became almost as important as the weather forecasters themselves. Weather men and women began to earn reputations either good or bad based on their forecasting skills. What the public didn’t realize was that the reputation was also earned from pure personality. The presentation and a little luck made some TV weather people stars and others into goats. An incorrect forecast is expected, to some extent, because even the weathermen themselves will admit that weather is not an exact science. Overall it comes down to personal preference, some viewers would rather watch a man deliver the forecast and others prefer a woman, some viewers may tune to a particular TV station based primarily on the computer graphics used during the weather segment and others may choose to watch a weather person purely for their physical appearance. How do you rate your local weatherman and why is he or she your favorite anyway?

Chet is an longtime associate of the

Weather Man Report

, an online forum dedicated to rating today’s television weather forecasters. The Weather Man Report is a subsidiary of

Val Marketing

of Carbondale, Pennsylvania.

Article Source:

The Evolution of the TV Weather Man

Film project aims to raise £1 million to make a Creative Commons-licensed film

Friday, June 23, 2006

Matt Hanson aims to raise £1 million to fund the production of a feature-length film which would be distributed freely via the Internet under a Creative Commons licence, all funded through 50,000 people each donating £25 to the project, which he’s called ‘A Swarm of Angels‘.

No stranger to filmmaking, Matt has produced numerous digital short films, a series of books on digital filmmaking and set up the digital film festival onedotzero, now in its tenth year. He wants to finally make a feature length film, and decided that it was better to turn to the Internet for help and funding rather than plod through the usual ‘development hell‘.

“I wanted to put into practice what I’ve been preaching as a film futurist for ten years, and the technology and Internet infrastructure has just really caught up with that vision now for me to put it into practice.”

The process is inspired by the ‘web 2.0‘ movement, using social and collaborative communities on the Internet. Matt doesn’t see the funding as coming from donations, but as people paying a subscription to become part of a ‘Swarm’. “Rather than the ‘many producer’ model, this is more of an [sic] ‘smart consumer’ model … members can help implement and bring their expertise into play, and so become more actively involved in the production.”

The project hopes to use professional actors and crew, but use qualified members from the swarm as much as possible. The cast and the crew, including any volunteers that get chosen, would be paid for their work on the film, with Matt suggesting that this is “a great way for people to get into the industry”.

Those members not directly involved in making the film can still participate in the process by discussing ideas on a messageboard, and having a vote on certain crucial decisions such as which script gets chosen for production. Asked how he would balance his own creative direction with input from members, Matt said “my vision will lead the project forward and define the parameters, but the Swarm can influence that, and indeed offer improvements or insights I might not think of alone”.

“Remember filmmaking is always a team effort – whether you are Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick or Jean Luc Godard, you promote people within the project that will complement and bring something extra to the vision of the film. Give it more life. With the Swarm we are making that process more democratic, and giving a wider range of people an opportunity to shine and have creative input.”

Members are promised a collector’s edition DVD of the end product and exclusive merchandise, but the main distribution of the film will be via the Internet, using ‘BitTorrent‘ and peer-to-peer networks. “Unlike many other filmmakers, I’m not wedded to cinema projection as the ‘be all and end all’ – I’m much more excited about people viewing remixed versions on their video iPods,” explains Matt.

The ‘remixing’ of the film will be possible thanks to it being distributed under a Creative Commons licence. Matt suggests that the ‘younger generation’ is more used to being involved with and interacting with entertainment, and points to remixes of the Star Wars films (eg ‘The Phantom Edit‘) as an example of these ‘mashups’. “At the end of the project I would love to have an event that showcased five wildly different versions of the film, different visions from people other than my definitive initial edit,” he suggests. The licence will be for non-commercial use only, however, and so commercial TV stations would still have to pay in order to screen the film.

The project is partly inspired by the success of ‘The Million Dollar Homepage‘, in which British student Alex Tew aimed to raise a million dollars to fund his university education, simply by selling advertising space on a single web page. The publicity surrounding the idea, coupled with the ‘viral’ effect of Internet users passing the page on, meant that he eventually managed to make himself the million dollars.

The success of these projects partly seems to depend on them being interesting and original enough to attract enough attention, and it’s often difficult to see how they could be repeated. Copy-cat versions of the million dollar homepage have so far failed to hugely take off. When asked about this idea, Matt responded “I already expect people to copy the model we are inventing with A Swarm of Angels – it’s a perfect way to create cult media, where the director gets more creative control and organically funds a project, and the fans of the project get more involvement within it. If the market gets too crowded with these projects though, then they’ll have to be packaged differently to stand out. But that’s what traditional film and media projects need to do anyway.”

Over 600 members have signed up to the ‘swarm’ so far, which Matt comments is already an early success, but 50,000 members in total will be needed in order to fully fund the £1 million budget. Matt suggests that getting to the next stage, of reaching 1,000 members, followed by the phase of getting 5,000 members, will be the hardest part, as after that the film will be more ‘tangible’. He expects to raise the full budget, but comments that if the fundraising stalls, “options will be presented by advisors and The Swarm, and based on some kind of consensus we’ll come up with the best option for moving forward.”

Traditionally, independent films are funded either through persuading wealthy individuals to invest, who sometimes are sometimes given ‘Executive Producer‘ credits, or through organisations like the UK Film Council, who award funds from the National Lottery. A tax credit for producers making small films in the UK was announced by the government in 2005, in a bid to give a boost to the UK independent film industry.

Matt says that the film will be “a thriller with soft science fiction elements”, which he says will suit his target audience. “But it will have an indie edginess to it, and be far more visually inventive than you would get with a ‘normal’ British independent feature.” Contributors to the project include artists The Kleptones, who will help with the soundtrack, comic book writer Warren Ellis and documentary filmmaker Grant Gee.

The Swarm of Angels project is online at aswarmofangels.com and costs £25 as an individual to become a member.