UK charities have criticized British Prime Minister David Cameron for signaling that the foreign aid budget could be diverted to the country’s Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Leading British charity against global poverty Oxfam reacted angrily after Cameron hinted Britain’s foreign aid budget could be spent on the country’s military adventures.
“The Prime Minister needs to be categorical that not one penny of aid can be raided by the MoD”, said Oxfam spokesperson Emma Seery, emphasizing that Britain must stick to his commitment.
Ben Jackson of Bond, representing 350 British aid groups and trustees, also condemned the decision to divert foreign aid budget to military and said, “There are strict definitions of aid that clearly preclude it from being spent on military equipment.”
Earlier in February, Cameron indicated that he is ready to divert aid budget to military.
The British PM said the Department for International Development works closely with both the Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Defense, adding that foreign interventions to prove a “basic level of stability and security” would be part of Britain’s “foreign aid”.
The decision to divert foreign aid to military seems primarily aimed at pacifying members of Cameron’s own Conservative Party, who oppose the prospect of cuts to the country’s military budget.
Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Jaafari says Britain and France are trying to undermine Damascus’s official request from the United Nation to investigate chemical weapons use in Aleppo.
Al-Jaafari said in an interview with the Lebanese NBN TV channel that the western governments seek to repeat the Iraqi scenario in Syria through questioning its sovereignty by opening its borders to undisciplined inspections by the UN under the pretext of chemical weapons use.
Al-Jaffari said the western sides do not want an investigation to take place suggesting they know full well that the anti-government militants used chemical agents in the town of Khan al-Asal, near Aleppo, and elsewhere.
The Syrian official said the comparison with Iraq is pretty clear as the UN also sent an inspection team to the country to examine weapons of mass destruction claims, but Iraq was occupied despite the fact that the inspection team did not find any WMDs.
He also rejected claims by Britain and France that chemical weapons were used in Homs four months before the Khan al-Asal incident saying they would have reported it earlier if any such attack ever existed.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry has written to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon calling on the body to explain the details of a likely inspection in Khan al-Asal.
However, Britain and France have demanded the team to be also sent to other areas of the country to investigate the use of chemical weapons.
The request has been rejected by the Syrian government that says inspectors cannot have unlimited access to all regions of the country without coordination with Damascus.
The Syrian government has also called for an independent inspection of Khan al-Asal saying Damascus and the UN could discuss the details on other alleged chemical weapons uses separately, though the UN has so far refused to do so.
- Russia accuses UN of politicizing approach to chemical weapons in Syria (voicerussia.com)
- Bashar Al-Jaafari: “West Raising Chemical Weapons Issue Part of Pressure Campaign” (syrianfreepress.wordpress.com)
British police forces are making as many as 250,000 requests to snoop on people’s email and phone call details every year, a new report reveals.
According to a survey, which was carried out by civil liberties and privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, 25 police forces across Britain made 506,720 requests for people’s “communications data” over the past three years, The Telegraph reported.
The survey released under the freedom of information laws found that the number of requests for Britons’ phone or email records has risen from 158,677 in 2009-10 to 178,985 in 2011-12. However, the figure could be increased to up to 250,000 including estimates for the forces that failed to reply to the research.
This comes as the UK government is seeking more snooping powers through the controversial Communications Data Bill, which is due to be published in the summer.
The draft bill is dubbed as the Snooper’s Charter, because it is considered as a significant threat to British citizens’ privacy.
The measures mark a serious increase in the powers the British government has to order any communications provider to collect, store and provide access to information about emails, online conversations and texts.
Former British shadow home secretary David Davis said, “It is frankly not good enough that the government is considering introducing a snoopers’ charter without even being able to tell us what they have used communications data for in the past.”
A damning report has slammed Britain for violating human rights through colluding with the U.S. in the torture and rendition of terror suspects.
The document blamed the UK for being involved in or turning a blind eye to abuses and for co-operating in the murky U.S. practice of ‘extraordinary rendition’ – illegally transferring terror suspects to secret CIA jails in countries that allowed torture.
The so-called Constitution Project dossier also claims MI5 agents under the last Labour government knew prisoners were ill-treated at the hands of their captors.
An independent American task force did the research and concluded ‘indisputably’ that the U.S. ‘engaged in the practice of torture’ after the September 11 attacks.
The task force included an 11-strong panel of experts who spent two years investigating the country’s treatment of military detainees.
The experts found that the US used interrogation methods violating international laws – including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and extraordinary rendition. Their document also criticised the detention of 166 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
For years, Labour ministers denied involvement in rendition. But the report pointed out that the UK had paid out around £10million to more than a dozen detainees after they were illegally rendered and tortured.
“Torture – a crime – was committed and authorised at the top levels of the US government. Britain is just starting to face up to its role in this sad saga”, said Cori Crider, from human rights group Reprieve.
Tory MP Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition, said: “This concludes that the United States engaged in kidnap and torture, in violation of its own laws and of international treaties. The report takes us a step closer to the truth.
“It is in the national interest of not just the U.S. but also of Britain to uncover the truth about the scope of the extraordinary rendition programme. Only then can we draw a line under it and move on”.
Eyebrows have been raised around the world to see Brits in their thousands dancing through the night in spontaneous street parties following the death of 1980s Prime Minister ‘Iron Lady’ Margaret Thatcher.
As the nickname suggests, she had a fearsome reputation round the world for hitting hard for Britain, but at home it was a different story. In the industrial North most knew several families who lost their livelihood on her watch. Londoners saw ominous shifting sands, homeless youngsters begging on the streets whom her regime had turned it’s back on.
The taboo not a single commentator has broached though is the shadowy ‘advisory’ role played throughout her premiership by European banking fraternity’s Labour peer Lord Victor Rothschild. He was revealed in the book the Thatcher government tried to suppress, Peter Wright’s Spycatcher, to be behind London’s top secret service appointments. In 1986 Rothschild penned ‘Paying for Local Government’ the policy paper that led to the notorious Poll Tax that fell hardest on the poorest, and which brought Britons onto the streets of London in their hundreds of thousands in 1990, riots echoing London’s Poll Tax revolt of 1381.
And according to the then BBC Chairman Marmaduke Hussey, Lord Victor also initiated the sacking in 1987 of the last independent-minded Director General of the BBC, a castration from which the corporation never quite recovered.
One word captures the essence of the Thatcher legacy; ‘privatisation’. As an exasperated former Tory Prime Minster Harold Macmillan put it “she’s selling off the family silver!”. And so tens of mind-boggling billions of pounds of silver were auctioned off to the highest bidders, mostly to Rothschild’s kith and kin. From shipyards and public housing to telephones, steel, oil, gas and water, anyone in the world was free to own the infrastructure and manufacturing heart of Britain that was once collectively ‘ours’.
Was this to pay the USA Lend-Lease second world war debts? To repay Britain’s humiliating 1976 IMF loan? Or simply to fill the hole left in the national accounts after Thatcher dropped income tax on Britain’s richest by more than half from 83% to 40%? Or was it just daylight robbery? When she refused to join the EMU, the forerunner to the vice-like Euro, she was promptly knifed in the back by those who sing her praises today.
Since Thatcher, City institutions have bought up much of our politics and mass media, leaving a post-industrial wasteland ‘museum’ of a nation where the Joseph Rowntree Foundation recently estimated six-and-a-half million British adults are being cruelly blamed, punished and made destitute for ‘not wanting’ full-time jobs, that don’t exist.
Today the cracks that Margaret and Victor’s turbo-charged crowbar opened up have become a chasm which is reawakening this nation’s anger at injustice. The £10 million of taxpayers money being spent on Lady Thatcher’s state funeral, by the millionaires for the millionaires, is rubbing salt in the wounds. Hundreds of thousands of Britons who know right from wrong will turn away and raise a solemn glass to the damnation of Margaret Thatcher and her ‘rehabilitation of greed’ this week, demanding better. The sleeping giant of the British public is rousing from its slumber.
As millionaire Prime Minister David Cameron reads the Christian eulogy at Lady Thatcher’s lavish funeral, those of Britain’s ruling class who still have something resembling a conscience will do well to heed them.
Britain’s first woman Prime Minister – the Margaret Thatcher timeline
1925 October 13 – Margaret Thatcher is born in the market town of Grantham, Lincolnshire
1947 – Thatcher graduates from Oxford with a Chemistry degree
1954 June 1 – Qualifies as a lawyer
1970 – Enters the Cabinet as Education Secretary
1975 February 11 - Elected Conservative Party leader, beating Edward Heath.
1975-9 – Leader of the Opposition
1979 May 4 – The Conservative Party wins the general election, Thatcher succeeds James Callaghan as PM
1979 December 13 – Abolition of Exchange Controls
1980 – Buses deregulated and bus routes privatised
1980 – British Aerospace partly privatised
1980 – April – Local Government stopped from building council homes and tenants given the right to buy
1981 – March Prisoners at Northern Ireland’s Maze Prison go on hunger strike to regain status as political prisoners
1981 – April-July Urban rioting in Brixton in London, Toxteth in Liverpool and St. Pauls in Bristol.
1982 – January Unemployment tops 3 million
1982 – April-June Falklands War
1983 – Associated British Ports (ABP) privatised
1983 – British Shipbuilding privatised
1983 June 9 – Second term as PM begins; the Conservatives secure a landslide election victory
1984-5 – Miners strike, amid the closure and privatisation of coal mines
1984 – British Leyland car manufacturers privatised
1984 October 12 – Narrowly escapes death after the IRA bombs the Conservative party conference in Brighton, killing 5
1984 November – British Telecom (BT) the old Post Office Telecommunications is privatised
1985 – Attempted suppression of former MI5 officer Peter Wright’s autobiography ‘Spycatcher’ which is then published in Australia & Scotland.
1985 June 1 – Battle Of The Beanfield, Britain’s traveller peace convoy destroyed near Stonehenge, Wiltshire by violent police action as recorded in the ‘Operation Solstice’ documentary
1986 – January Wapping dispute as Rupert Murdoch embraces electronic publishing and breaks the power of print unions, depicted in the documentary ‘Despite The Sun’
1986 – British Airports Authority (BAA) privatised
1986 – March Abolition of Ken Livingstone’s opposition Labour controlled Greater London Council or GLC
1986 October 27 – Big Bang deregulation of the City of London financial sector which many believe contributed to the 2008 financial crisis
1986 December – British Gas privatised
1987 January – After several TV and radio programmes critical of the Thatcher government Victor Rothschild & Marmaduke Hussey sack BBC Director General Alasdair Milne
1987 February – British Airways privatised
1987 – Majority share in British Petroleum (BP) privatised
1987 – Rolls Royce aero engines privatised
1987 June 11 – Wins third term as Prime Minister
1988 – British Steel privatised
1989 – British Aerospace fully privatised
1989 – Water Boards privatised
1990 – The Electricity Act began the complex privatisation of electricity (except nuclear)
1990 March 31 – Poll tax riots culminate in a 200,000 strong march on central London, as portrayed in The Battle Of Trafalgar documentary
1990 October 30 – Thatcher No!, No!, No! speech in Commons makes it clear she is set against European Monetary and Political Union
1990 November 13 – Geoffrey Howe resigns in protest at Thatcher’s refusal to agree a timetable for European Monetary Union
1990 November 14 – Former cabinet minister Michael Heseltine challenges Margaret Thatcher for the party leadership
1990 November 28 – Thatcher resigns, despite having won the first ballot. She is succeeded by John Major
1992 – Thatcher leaves the House of Commons, joins the Lords as Baroness Thatcher
1994 – Praises Tony Blair and New Labour as her proudest achievement
2013 April 8 – Lady Thatcher dies in The Ritz hotel owned by Daily Telegraph proprietors the Barclay twins.
Beginning his working life in the aviation industry and trained by the BBC, Tony Gosling is a British land rights activist, historian & investigative radio journalist.
- Opinion poll – more bad news for fans of Thatcher (tompride.wordpress.com)
- Tory MP: Thatcher funeral could ‘work out as a profit’ (itv.com)
Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi has dismissed as unfounded London’s claim that a soil sample smuggled out of the country proves the use of chemical weapons there saying only sampling by international authorities by Damascus’s authorization is valid.
Media reports said on Saturday that British military scientists have examined soil smuggled back to Britain by the British spy agency MI6 that contains evidence of chemical weapons use.
“The testing of Syrian soil, if not performed by an official and international organization and done without the consent of the Syrian government, has no political or legal value,” Syrian Minister for Information Omran al-Zoubi said.
The Times said on Saturday that soil samples from an area near Damascus holds evidence of chemical weapons use by Syrian militia or government forces.
Zoubi, however, said Turkey, Britain and France are behind the use of chemical weapons in Syria by arming the militia groups.
“Where did those who brought the rockets into Khan al-Assal get them from? Where did they get the chemical weapons from? They should ask Turkey, Britain, France and the other states about the source of these chemical weapons,” Zoubi said.
This comes as the United Nations said on Thursday that Western governments have “hard evidence” of chemical weapons use at least once in Syria but did not point to the details.
Hours after the death of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, the history books are being re-written and the beatification of the Iron Lady is well underway.
Current British premier David Cameron praised Lady Thatcher for having “saved Britain” and for making the has-been colonial power “great again”.
Tributes poured forth from French and German leaders, Francoise Hollande and Angela Merkel, while US President Barack Obama said America had lost a “special friend”.
Former American secretary of state Henry Kissinger and former Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev also lamented the loss of “an historic world figure”. Polish ex-president Lech Walesa hailed Margaret Thatcher for having brought down the Soviet Union and Communism.
Such fulsome praise may be expected coming from so many war criminals. But it is instructive of how history is written by the victors and criminals in high office. Obama, Cameron, Hollande and Merkel should all be arraigned and prosecuted for war crimes in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia and Mali, among other places. Kissinger has long evaded justice for over four decades for his role in the US genocide in Southeast Asia during the so-called Vietnam War in which over three million people were obliterated in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
The British state is to give Thatcher, who died this week aged 87, a full military-honours funeral. The praise, eulogies, wreaths and ceremonies are all self-indictments of association with one of the most ruthless and criminal political figures in modern times.
So, here is a people’s history of Thatcher’s legacy.
She will be remembered for colluding with the most reactionary elements of Rupert Murdoch’s squalid media empire to launch a war over the Malvinas Islands in 1982, a war that caused hundreds of lives and involved the gratuitous sinking of an Argentine warship, the Belgrano, by a British submarine.
By declaring war, rather than conducting political negotiations with Argentina over Britain’s ongoing colonial possession of the Malvinas, Thatcher salvaged her waning public support in Britain, and the bloodletting helped catapult her into a second term of office in Downing Street. Her political “greatness” that so many Western leaders now eulogize was therefore paid in part by the lives of Argentine and British soldiers, and by bequeathing an ongoing source of conflict in the South Atlantic.
It wasn’t just foreigners that Thatcher declared war on. Armed with her snake-oil economic policies of privatisation, deregulation, unleashing finance capitalism, pump-priming the rich with tax awards subsidised by the ordinary working population, Thatcher declared war on the British people themselves. She famously proclaimed that “there was no such thing as society” and went on to oversee an explosion in the gap between rich and poor and the demolition of social conditions in Britain. That legacy has been amplified by both successive Conservative and Labour governments and is central to today’s social meltdown in Britain – more than two decades after Thatcher resigned. Laughably, David Cameron, a protégé of Thatcher, claims that she “saved” Britain. The truth is Thatcher accelerated the sinking of British capitalism and society at large. What she ordered for the Belgrano has in a very real way come to be realised for British society at large.
During her second term of office in the mid-1980s, the Iron Lady declared war on the “enemy within”. She was referring to Britain’s strongly unionised coal-mining industry. Imagine declaring war on your own population. That is a measure of her pathological intolerance towards others who did not happen to share her obnoxious ideological views – ideological views that have since become exposed as intellectually and morally bankrupt.
For over a year around 1984, her Orwellian mindset and policies starved mining communities in the North of England into submission. Her use of paramilitary police violence also broke the resolve and legitimate rights of these communities. Miners’ leader Arthur Scargill would later be vindicated in the eyes of ordinary people, if not in the eyes of the mainstream media. Britain’s coalmines were systematically shut down, thousands of workers would be made unemployed, and entire communities were thrown on the social scrap heap. All this violence and misery was the price for Thatcher’s ideological war against working people and their political rights.
The class war that Thatcher unleashed in Britain is still raging. The rich have become richer, the poor decidedly more numerous and poorer. The decimation of workers’ rights and the unfettered power given to finance capital were hallmarks of Thatcher’s legacy and are to this day hallmarks of Britain’s current social decay. But that destructive legacy goes well beyond Britain. The rightwing nihilistic capitalism that Thatcher gave vent to was and became a zeitgeist for North America, Europe and globally. The economic malaise that is currently plaguing the world can be traced directly to such ideologues as Margaret Thatcher and former US President Ronald Reagan.
A final word on Thatcher’s real legacy, as opposed to the fakery from fellow war criminals, is her role in Ireland’s conflict. Her epitaph of “Iron Lady” is often said with admiration or even sneaking regard for her supposed virtues of determination and strength. In truth, her “iron” character was simply malevolent, as can be seen from her policies towards the Irish struggle for independence from Britain. In 1981, 10 Irish republican prisoners, led by a young Belfast man by the name of Bobby Sands, died from hunger strikes. The men died after more than 50 days of refusing prison food because they were demanding to be treated as political prisoners, not as criminals. Thatcher refused to yield to their demands, denouncing them as criminals and callously claiming that they “took their own lives”. No matter that Bobby Sands had been elected by tens of thousands of Irish voters to the British House of Parliament during his hunger strike. He was merely a criminal who deserved to die, according to the cold, unfeeling Thatcher.
As a result of Thatcher’s intransigence to negotiate Irish rights, the violence in the North of Ireland would escalate over the next decade, claiming thousands of lives. As with Las Malvinas dispute with Argentina, Thatcher deliberately took the military option and, with that, countless lives, rather than engage in reasoned, mutual dialogue. Her arrogance and obduracy blinded her to any other possibility.
As the violence gyrated in Ireland, Thatcher would also embrace the criminal policy of colluding with pro-British death squads. Armed, funded and directed by British intelligence, these death squads would in subsequent years kill hundreds of innocent people – with the knowledge and tacit approval of Lady Thatcher. It was a policy of British state terrorism in action, sanctioned by Thatcher. One of those victims was Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane, who was murdered in February 1989. He was shot 12 times in the head in front of his wife and children by a British death squad, after the killers smashed their way into the Finucane home on a Sunday afternoon.
Thus whether in her dealings with the Las Malvinas row with Argentina, the British working people or Irish republicans, Margaret Thatcher was an intolerant militarist who always resorted to demagoguery, violence and starvation to get her political way. She was a criminal fascist who is now proclaimed to be a national hero.
Reports this week say that Thatcher died with Alzheimer’s, the brain-degenerating disease in which the patient loses their faculty for memory. Western leaders, it seems, would also like to erase public memory of Thatcher’s criminal legacy.
Rebel: The Story of Gerry Adams
Scottish anti-nukes campaigners are gearing up for a three-day showdown with the British government leading to the blockade of Faslane Naval Base, which is the Royal Navy’s Scottish headquarters and home of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons.
The Scrap Trident campaigners have planned the blockade for April 15 that will follow two days of demonstration and anti-nukes workshops in the Scottish capital of Glasgow.
Scrap Trident is now calling for elimination of nuclear weapons in Scotland, Britain and around the world saying the social priorities in Britain should be “redefined” so that the huge cost of Trident goes into protecting the disabled in a “nuclear-free society”.
“Scotland and the UK have had nuclear weapons for 50 years. With spending on health, education, pensions and disability benefits being slashed, the government is replacing Trident at a cost of £100 Billion,” the campaign group said.
“We want Scotland and the world free of immoral nuclear weapons and call for Trident to be scrapped and human needs funded,” it added.
The Scrap Trident demonstration has been supported by 22 members of the Scottish Parliament.
The British government has announced annual welfare cuts of £18 billion until 2015 with a £10 billion-cutback also planned from 2017.
A research published in The Guardian on Wednesday revealed that British disabled people will lose an estimated £28 billion due to the welfare cuts by 2017-2018, with some people losing up to £23,000 each over five years.
- Nuclear Weapons Uncertain as Scots Weigh U.K. Exit (bloomberg.com)
British anti-war activists have sealed off a weapons manufacturing company in Brighton to mark 10 years after the UK government joined the U.S.-led invasion on Iraq on March 2003.
The protesters, who had gathered in front of the EDO MBM weapons manufacturing plant from dawn, fastened themselves to the front gates with superglue and bicycle locks.
Two arrests were made by police forces during the six-hour standoff, but the whole gathering continued without violence, according to British media reports.
The anti-war activists from Smash EDO lashed out at engineers of the factory for churning out millions of pounds worth of bomb racks, arming units and parts for aircraft weapon systems every year.
EDO MBM is one of several companies supplying Paveway missiles used in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a component for U.S. planes carrying cluster bombs banned under an international treaty signed by Britain in 2008.
Smash EDO’s Chloe Marsh described the day’s protest as a memorial to Iraq’s dead as well as a direct action.
“The case for war was put to people in the UK on the basis of an immediate threat from Iraqi ‘weapons of mass destruction.’
“This turned out, as expected, to be a lie. As a result, according to the Lancet, over a million Iraqi citizens have died.”
Fellow protester Andrew Beckett said: “We are here to commemorate those who died in the aerial bombardment of Iraq and to resist EDO MBM’s continued supply of components to the US/UK military.”
- Iraq: Decade of war ‘based on lies’ (morningstaronline.co.uk)
The so-called Justice and Security Bill will enable the UK government, its security services and spying apparatus to cover up their crimes, such as rendition and torture of detainees.
The Bill, which was pushed through the House of Commons by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government last week, will also raise the specter of an untrammeled dictatorship, so to speak.
Under the bill, government ministers will be able to establish secret trials for civil law cases in which the public and media are excluded from proceedings where the government is a defendant and national security is said to be at stake.
The planned legislation will enable the UK government to suppress information about the handover of Afghan detainees by Britain to Afghan jails where they risk being tortured, or about UK involvement in U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan or elsewhere around the world.
The bill also allows the “government to appoint special advocates to represent the claimants, instead of lawyers of their own choosing, making it impossible for the claimants to know why their cases failed or succeeded”.
It is a profoundly undemocratic bill that marks a major departure in long-held principles of English law-that cases are held and decided in public and that the evidence presented by the other party is disclosed.
As Andrew Tyrie MP and Anthony Peto QC point out in their report, Neither Just nor Secure, secrecy could be imposed to prevent inquiries by investigative journalists, halt or limit protests, prevent people from recovering property seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act and stop injured servicemen from suing the Ministry of Defence for faulty equipment.
Taken together, the bill will make it impossible for claimants to know anything about their case, making it easier for ministers and the security services to cover up their crimes, such as rendition and torture.
As various cases show, the entire British state machinery is guilty of criminality: torture, abduction, extraordinary rendition and the denial of due process.
British activists being detained in UK airports under anti-terrorism legislation on return home from Palestine
Two British peace activists have been detained in recent weeks after arriving home from the West Bank, occupied Palestine. They have been detained and taken in for questioning, over suspected links with the International Solidarity Movement.
“We are concerned about the British police using anti-terrorist legislation to target non-violent pro-Palestinian activists. We are a transparent group, trying to uphold the principles of international law; even inside Israel the International Solidarity Movement is not considered illegal. We would encourage the British Police to ask any questions they wish to do so, directly, and not by detaining affiliated activists at the airport”
The Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which the two activists have been held on, allows the police, under certain specified circumstances, to arrest individuals without a warrant who are reasonably suspected of being terrorists. These laws are draconian measures which give the British police powers to detain suspects for up to 28 days without charge.
Schedule 7 is clearly being used as a tool to find out more about activists involved in a wide variety of types of political dissent and to provide profiles of activists for the police to use in trying to undermine political movements. None of the questions about movements in the UK were designed to root out terrorism or uncover the preparation for terrorism. In fact, the movements concerned have never even been accused of terrorism (with the exception of completely false accusations made against the ISM, see here).
Britain abstained at the last vote at the United Nations deciding whether Palestine should be accepted as a non-member observer state. But in the last two weeks the double standards of the British government in relation to Palestine and Israel have again been laid bare; Saeed Amireh, has been refused a visa to visit the UK. Amireh is a peaceful campaigner against Israel’s occupation and the theft of Nilin’s land. He was told he hadn’t provided “enough supporting documents”, even though he had supplied everything that was asked for, including a letter of invitation and guarantee from the UK Palestine Solidarity Campaign of his costs being paid.
The use of these powers as a way to clamp down on non violent activists from Palestine and Britain is not acceptable, what is the British government afraid of? Maybe the fact the activists, returning home from Palestine, work with Corporate Watch and have helped reveal the continued supply of weaponry from Britain to the Israeli army has made them a target. This is despite the current British arms export policy stating it won’t deliver weapons to any countries breaking UN treaties. British companies are still complicit in Israeli war crimes in Gaza, as was proved in the EDO Decommisioners case of 2011.
Read more about the misuse of these powers and much more at corporateoccupation.org
- Farming Injustice (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Stop EU funding of Israeli military companies and illegal settlements (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- I find it sinister that the british firm securicor (“G4S”) is “providing services to israeli prisons and west bank checkpoints” (niqnaq.wordpress.com)
- Spies “monitoring” Palestine solidarity groups around world, says Israeli military correspondent (theuglytruth.wordpress.com)
British Prime Minister David Cameron stood on the Indian soil recently, expressing condolences on the Amritsar massacre, the bloodbath of unarmed civilians in 1919. But Britain had committed far more shameful crimes against this former colony which no condolence could ever cleanse.
Britain’s testing poisonous gas on Indian soldiers before WWII is among the most notorious atrocities in Britain’s colonial history, leaving hundreds of Indians dead and the surviving victims severely injured.
According to the discovered National Archive documents, British military scientists from the Porton Down chemical warfare establishment in Wiltshir sent Indian soldiers into gas chambers to test mustard gas during more than a decade of experiments that began in the early 1930s before the Second World War.
The experiments, which took place in Rawalpindi military site, now in Pakistan, aimed at determining the amount of poison gas needed to produce a casualty on the battlefield.
According to the revealed document, these tests were part of a much larger program intended to test the effects of chemical weapons on human beings.
Being exposed to mustard gas, many Indian soldiers suffered severe burns on their skin, including their genitals, leaving them in pain for days and even weeks. Some had to be treated in hospital but British military did not even check up on the victims to see if any illnesses were developed.
“Severely burned patients are often very miserable and depressed and in considerable discomfort, which must be experienced to be properly realized,” the scientists wrote.
It is now recognized that mustard gas can cause cancer and severe damage to health.
But this is not the end of the story. More than 20,000 British soldiers were also subjected to nerve gas and mustard gas trials at Porton between 1916 and 1989, many of whom say they were deceived to take part in the experiments.
This question comes to one’s mind, how can Britain be an advocate of human rights in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and many other countries around the world, while the country has the poorest record of human rights violations all through its disgraceful history?!