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Takedown Senders Must Consider Fair Use, Ninth Circuit Rules

By Parker Higgins and Daniel Nazer | EFF | September 15, 2015

A federal appeals court sided with EFF yesterday on several of the major questions at issue in the long-running Lenz v. Universal copyright case. Lenz – sometimes referred to as the “Dancing Baby” case because it centers on a 29-second home video of a toddler dancing with a song by the musician Prince in the background – has long been recognized as a test of the rights enjoyed by users, and the obligations facing people who want to take down online speech.

The big takeaway of yesterday’s opinion is, yes, that copyright holders must consider fair use before sending a takedown notice. But just as important is the basis of that conclusion: again today we have a federal court making it clear that fair use is not just a carve-out of the copyright system but a right on the same level of those described in the rest of the statute.

For example, the court states explicitly that “Fair use is not just excused by the law, it is wholly authorized by the law.” However well attested that principle is in the statute and in case law, it is still sometimes considered controversial. Hopefully this decision puts that debate to rest: whether the copyright holder grants permission or not, a fair use is an authorized use.

The court goes on to specify an important consequence of that fact: since fair use is authorized by the law, people enjoying their right to fair use are not infringing copyright. That’s important because Universal had argued that fair use has to be considered an “affirmative defense” of otherwise unlawful conduct. The panel of judges dismantled that idea:

Universal’s interpretation is incorrect as it conflates two different concepts: an affirmative defense that is labeled as such due to the procedural posture of the case, and an affirmative defense that excuses impermissible conduct. Supreme Court precedent squarely supports the conclusion that fair use does not fall into the latter camp: “[A]nyone who . . . makes a fair use of the work is not an infringer of the copyright with respect to such use.” Sony Corp. of Am. v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417, 433 (1984).

Given that 17 U.S.C. § 107 expressly authorizes fair use, labeling it as an affirmative defense that excuses conduct is a misnomer[.]

One reason this affirmation of fair use is so crucial is that it comes at a time when fair users should be enjoying new opportunities from unprecedented media tools and distribution options, but instead face similarly groundbreaking challenges and pushback from copyright holders. An interview with the video remix artist Elisa Kriesinger published just yesterday brings some of those points into focus: “Every few weeks, you are constantly having to defend your work … You thought you were clear two weeks ago, and now you’ve got to defend it again because someone else is saying that they own a portion of your work.”

In that interview, Kriesinger refers also to problems caused of algorithmic copyright enforcement, like YouTube’s Content ID system. The court addressed these systems in its opinion (as dicta, which means it’s expressly non-binding). Specifically, it cites a brief from the Organization for Transformative Works and Public Knowledge, which in turn refer to a joint statement of Fair Use Principles for User Generated Video Content that EFF first endorsed in 2007.

Some quick background on those principles: they were written as a response to a set of guidelines that did not consider fair use, put forward by a consortium of studios. It’s a testament to how far the national conversation around fair use has evolved, that a court should cite to a set of principles for protecting that essential right—and that, in a statement released after yesterday’s decision, MPAA should commend it.

For fair users, yesterday’s decision has another heartening element—the court has appropriately defined the damages available to targets of takedown abuse as broader than “actual monetary loss.” In practical terms, many people who are using their fair use rights online can’t easily demonstrate precise monetary costs of an improper takedown, but it can take a toll in terms of time and energy getting it restored and holding the senders accountable. It’s good to see a court recognize that idea. Accepting that a broad range of harm can and should make it easier for service providers and the public to hold accountable those that would abuse the DMCA.

Yesterday’s decision is not all good news, unfortunately. Applying an older Ninth Circuit decision called Rossi v MPAA, the court suggested that, although copyright owners must consider fair use, they only need to form a subjective good faith belief that the work is not authorized by law, even if this belief is objectively unreasonable on either the law or facts at issue. Those that would use the law to silence online speech should, at the very least, be required to act reasonably. Otherwise the law perversely rewards those who fail to properly educate themselves about fair use before sending a takedown.

It took eight years of litigation to get to this point. That’s right: it took eight years to establish that record labels like Universal must consider whether your speech is legal before they try to get it taken off the Internet. We are glad to finally have this result and we hope that this ruling will lead to less takedown abuse in the future.

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Video | , | Leave a comment

Propaganda against Iran – Same as Iraq

By Brandon Martinez | Non-Aligned Media | September 14, 2015

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | 2 Comments

Al Aqsa Under Attack: The NY Times Blames Its Youthful Defenders

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | September 14, 2015

Tensions are running high at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque, and The New York Times can tell us where to place the blame: It’s not the fault of extremists who plan to destroy the landmark, according to the Times, nor is it recent Israeli moves to restrict Muslim access to the site; it is the fault of hot-headed Palestinian youth.

In a story today and in a similar article last July Isabel Kershner points directly to these young people as the source of trouble in clashes with police. This is how the police have framed the issue, and Kershner gives prominence to their claims.

The Times story contrasts with reports from international media and Palestinian sources. From these accounts we learn that the youths were volunteer guards helping defend the holy site against Israeli incursions and that police stormed the mosque while Muslims were inside, beating and injuring worshippers and damaging prayer rugs and other articles. We also learn that these actions prompted even Arab nations on good terms with Israel to speak out in protest.

Kershner quotes Palestinian Liberation Organization secretary Saeb Erekat and a Hamas spokesman who condemn the Israel invasion of the mosque, but she fails to tell readers that both Jordan and Egypt, two nations friendly to Israel, also protested, along with the Arab League and the United Nations representative for peace talks.

The Al Aqsa Mosque has stood at its site in Jerusalem for a thousand years and is revered by Muslims everywhere, but Jews also consider the area as holy ground, where the Second Temple once stood. Extremists openly call for the destruction of both Al Aqsa and the even more ancient Dome of the Rock, which dominates the Jerusalem skyline. They plan to raze the edifices and replace them with a Third Temple.

The Times story fails to acknowledge these real threats that cause anguish among the followers of Islam. It has also neglected to report on Israel’s numerous efforts to restrict Muslim prayer at the mosque and the increasing presence of Jewish worshippers, who are protected by troops when they visit the compound.

Muslims know that another holy site, the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, has been divided between a Muslim and a Jewish section, and that Israeli officials often choose to ban Muslims from entering altogether. This month, worshippers have been excluded from the Hebron mosque for six entire days.

Kershner reports that Muslims charge Israel with plans to divide the Al Aqsa compound, but she says that this is “an assertion vehemently denied by Israel.” Missing from her article is the history of Hebron and the restrictions Israeli authorities frequently impose on Muslim worshippers in both sites.

In recent weeks, for instance, Israel has prevented women from entering the Al Aqsa area, retained the identify cards of worshippers, allowed Jewish extremists to enter the mosque compound for “tours,” restricted the entry of students attending schools in the Al Aqsa compound and confiscated land in an Islamic cemetery next to the mosque.

After the latest incursion, the director of the mosque compound, Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, said that Israel occupation authorities “have imposed their sovereignty over [the mosque compound] by power of force.” Israel controls who enters and exists, he said, and officials use force against anyone who challenges them.

This is a cry of alarm from a site revered by millions of Muslims throughout the world, but it found no mention in the Times. Instead, we receive the Israeli spin on this tragic saga as the newspaper glosses over the expansionist aims of a Zionist state.

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

‘Israel’s goal – expulsion of Palestinians and non-Jews’


RT | September 14, 2015

Israel is moving gradually to try to displace and expel Palestinians and every trace of Palestinians from wherever it can, says Paul Larudee from the Free Palestine movement.

Israeli forces have conducted a raid on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Police say they were acting to restore order – after rioters attacked them with rocks and fireworks. The raid sparked widespread anger among Palestinians with rallies held in East Jerusalem and in Gaza.

RT: The Israeli authorities claim they were responding to an attack. Does it look like they used disproportionate force?

Paul Larudee: All forces [are] disproportionate; there should be no force at all in the area occupied by the Al-Aqsa Mosque. These forces don’t belong there. If they are not there they will not have stones thrown at them and they won’t have to react. The best way not to react and to not have this problem is not to be there.

RT: The Al-Aqsa Mosque and Temple Mount on which it stands – is a sacred site for both Muslims and Jews. Do you think it is legitimate to ban some Muslim groups from entering the compound as happened last week?

PL: No, clearly Israel is practicing encroachment, it’s trying to keep Muslims away and it’s trying to keep Palestinians away. It’s very difficult for anyone living in the West Bank and almost impossible for anyone in Gaza to go to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Israel is doing this in preparation for the disappearance of the Al-Aqsa Mosque as it has supported the settlers who are anxious to build a new temple there and other things. There are a lot of non-religious Israelis who would like to see it gone even though they don’t want another temple there. But this is the way that Israel operates. It’s like a tree with its roots spreading out. The roots are perfectly capable of destroying very big objects in their way like sidewalks and streets and even the foundations of homes, but they move very gradually. That’s what Israel is doing – it’s moving very gradually to try to displace and expel Palestinians and every trace of Palestinians from wherever it can.

RT: Do you think this raid is somehow connected with the Jewish New Year which started on Sunday evening?

PL: That’s anybody’s guess if they feel that it will help their case and cause some of the more right-wing and fanatic settlers to push them even farther. They all have the same goal – which is the expulsion of the Palestinians and non-Jews in the area.

RT: There have been rallies in Jerusalem and Gaza against this raid. Do you think Sunday’s incident can provoke any further violence?

PL: Israel loves violence. They would like Palestinians to attempt as much violence as possible, because that gives them the opportunity to expel some more, to be punitive and so forth. This is how they make their greatest inroads into Palestinian territory and the confiscation of Palestinian land and the immiseration of the Palestinian population.

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 3 Comments

Israel’s Agent of Influence

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • September 15, 2015

“An agent of influence is an agent of some stature who uses his or her position to influence public opinion or decision making to produce results beneficial to the country whose intelligence service operates the agent.” So goes the book definition but any experienced intelligence officer will note that there are degrees of cooperation and direction in such a relationship. The agent might be fully controlled and on a salary or he or she might be very loosely guided, ideologically motivated but cautious and reluctant to receive any favors in return. The key is that the agent has to be acting on behalf of the interests of the foreign government, which will at least some of the time mean working directly against the interests of his own.

I thought of how an agent of influence operates on the morning of September 9th when I opened the Washington Post and read two letters to the editor, both written by constituents, regarding Maryland Senator Benjamin Cardin’s refusal to support President Barack Obama’s Iran deal.

The first, from Carole Anderson of Bethesda said that “my U.S. senator, Benjamin L. Cardin, has forgotten that he represents Maryland — not the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, not a portion of the Jewish community, not Israel. His constituents expect him to vote based on the best interests of the United States, which in this case also is in Israel’s long-term interest, not based on what his rabbi says. He has demonstrated that he is incapable of doing his job.”

The second, from Stephen O. Dean of Gaithersburg observed that “Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin’s plan to oppose the Iran nuclear deal is an embarrassment to the people of Maryland. Though a Democrat, he allied himself with the Republicans in Congress, the Republican presidential contenders, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the powerful pro-Israel lobby. He turned his back on President Obama and rejected the long, difficult work of Secretary of State John F. Kerry and his counterparts from five other major countries. The alternative he offered is a bill he will introduce to send more U.S. taxpayer money to Israel. One wishes he took the path to peace with Iran, instead of to potential war.”

Cardin’s position was not unexpected even though he is reliably liberal on any issue but Palestine and a solid Democratic Party water boy. As an elected official, Cardin has frequently framed himself as being personally responsible for delivering benefits to his Jewish constituents. He sponsors the Senator Ben Cardin Jewish Scholars Program and also has been active in steering Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants to what he calls “high risk” Jewish organizations in Baltimore. Due to the assiduous efforts of Congressmen like Cardin fully 97% of all DHS grants go to Jewish groups.

But as complete deference to Israel is all too common inside the beltway, I was, to put it mildly, shocked that two letters expressing such dissident views regarding Cardin actually appeared in the Post, a haven of neoconservatism on its editorial page. One might enthuse that it is perhaps a welcome sign that popular views on the extremely damaging Israel relationship really have begun to shift.

I have previously written that the so-called Corker-Cardin bill that reportedly gave Congress a chance to safely vent over the Iran deal was actually a Trojan horse in that it was intended to lead to eventual defeat of the agreement. I noted at the time that Cardin was the snake in the woodpile as he was pretending to give a lifeline to his party and president while all the time intending to vote no and do everything in his power to overturn any rapprochement with Iran.

Now what I predicted has come about. And Cardin has even admitted that he discussed with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) how he should vote. AIPAC, for all its posturing about American interests, is not a source of objective information on the Middle East as it often pretends to be. It actively and aggressively lobbies on behalf of the Israeli government and would be listed under the Foreign Agent Registration Act of 1938 but for the fact that it is politically powerful and no White House has been willing to take it on. Cardin was also heavily lobbied by his rabbi, who called him repeatedly.

Cardin justified his opposition to the agreement based on alarmist talking points that could have been, and maybe were, written by AIPAC to include, “…there cannot be respect for a country that actively foments regional instability, advocates for Israel’s destruction, kills the innocent and shouts ‘Death to America.’” And Cardin has also gone on record pledging to back up his “no” vote by introducing legislation that he is already working on that will allow congress to overturn the agreement while also sending 30,000 pound penetrator bombs to Israel that will enable Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attack Iran, which would clearly not be in America’s interest.

The Cardin supported initiative to undermine the Iran agreement through further congressional meddling and delaying tactics is being referred to in some circles as “Plan B.” There are a number of aspects to it, but it involves creating new legislation and imposing other conditions that will permit additional congressional review of both the deal itself and, more particularly, Iran’s compliance. It has become axiomatic to refer to Iranians as “liars and cheaters,” setting the stage for any number of contrived revelations about their behavior.

As has often been the case in the past where friends of Israel have sought either military action or other punitive measures, the planned new congressional initiatives will likely seek to create red lines or tripwires that will mandate congressional or presidential action. In the past, these red lines have been described in a way that permits them to be interpreted subjectively, meaning that there will be a push to find fault with Tehran and that evidence might easily be manufactured to suit or even provided by Israel. Cardin appears to be the driving force behind this effort if one is to go by his own words and the praise that has been heaped upon him by organizations like Christians United for Israel.

So who does Cardin actually represent? I would suggest that he fits the mold of the classic agent of influence in that his allegiance to the United States is constrained by his greater loyalty to a foreign nation. I do not believe that he does it for money or other material favors and I would not imagine that Mossad actually gives him his marching orders, but I would bet that his contact with the Israeli Embassy and AIPAC to both obtain and synchronize with their views is frequent and ongoing. One has to hope that Cardin will both fail in his new legislative efforts on behalf of Israel and also that he will be turned out of office in the next cycle by his constituents for his failure to support actual American and Marylander interests.

The question of what to do about the Cardins of this world is, of course, clouded by the broader issue of “dual loyalty,” a label that has rightly been of particular concern for many diaspora Jews because it often is employed as a classic anti-Semitic canard. Those who promote it think that some or even most Jews can never be truly loyal to the country that they reside in, that they will always have a higher allegiance to their tribe. Since the founding of Israel that alleged supranational allegiance has also embraced the Jewish state, with questions raised regarding whether it is possible to actively promote all-too-often uncritical support for a foreign nation while living and working in another country that will inevitably have quite different national and international interests.

In reality, of course, it is not so simple. Some Jews will relate to their “tribe” more than to their non-Jewish fellow citizens but most will not and many will even regard that kind of sentiment as completely unacceptable. But all of that given, the issue of where one’s loyalty as a citizen of a nation should lie and to what degree is something that just will not go away. Nearly all of the neoconservatives who cajoled Americans into the disastrous war against Iraq were Jews and they were at least in part motivated by perceived Israeli interests. Bush Administration senior official Philip Zelikow subsequently even claimed that the Iraq war was primarily fought to eliminate a threat to Israel. And if that is not convincing enough, there is the “Clean Break” policy document that was presented to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996 recommending inter alia the systematic break-up of Israel’s Arab neighbors into tribal groups to “secure the realm” of Israel. Many of the signatories were the very same American Jews who later promoted the war with Iraq and are now orchestrating the agitation vis-a-vis Iran, which itself is being overwhelmingly funded by Jewish groups.

Because of the potential problem posed by divided loyalty, many Americans now believe that no citizen should hold any foreign passport in addition to that of the United States. An increasing number are beginning to understand that competing parochial loyalties of various kinds have been detrimental to the viability of the United States as a nation and destructive of Teddy Roosevelt’s once proud assertion that it doesn’t matter where we came from but “we are all Americans.”

The dual loyalty question becomes more serious when one is considering the roles of government officials, both elected and as members of the federal bureaucracy, as they are in a position where they can actually do damage. The United States is currently wrestling with problems posed by Christian officials who believe that what they are told by God preempts what they are obligated to do as bureaucrats. This type of deference to tribe and culture is also where Cardin is both tone deaf and dissimulating. He is the stereotype of what has frequently been disparagingly described as an “Israel firster.” There is absolutely no reasonable argument to be made against the Iran agreement from a U.S. perspective and the mere fact that it is opposed by Israel should have no weight, but Cardin clearly does not see things that way.

One might reasonably object that Cardin is far from unique and to be sure there are many in Washington that are feckless in their relationships with Israel’s government. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, who has declared himself to be the “shomer” or guardian of Israel in the U.S. Senate, is a case in point and undoubtedly many of the criticisms leveled against Cardin would fit just as well with Schumer. One might also note the unanimous Republican opposition to the Iran deal but that is a bit of a red herring. In many cases the attachment is more likely than not based more on politics than on any genuine affinity towards Israel. A frequently cynical kowtowing to perceived Zionist and evangelical demands is coupled with the expectation that Israel’s most powerful and wealthy backer in the U.S. Sheldon Adelson will shower his billions on the GOP and its preferred presidential candidate as long as the whole campaign is in key areas subordinate to Israeli interests. The Republican hard line is also a reflexive rejection of Obama foreign policy to create a wedge issue for 2016 and is not linked to any rational assessment of the merits of the Iran agreement.

On balance, Senator Ben Cardin in his apparent collusion with both the Israeli government and its powerful domestic Lobby appears to cross lines that should not be crossed by any American elected official. My contention that he may be a de facto agent of influence for Israel is, of course, somewhat conjectural. I would imagine that Cardin rationalizes his behavior by choosing to believe that Israeli and American interests are identical, which is, of course, not true. If he claims that he is not in fact preemptively guided by Israeli interests it would be interesting to have him reveal full details of the frequency and nature of his encounters with Israeli officials and also with the components of the Israel Lobby, most particularly AIPAC, which are established conduits for relaying Israeli perspectives to accomplices in the U.S. government. I would also be interested in hearing Cardin’s views on how a war with Iran would possibly benefit the people of Maryland.

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Attorney General refuses to say whether UK has ‘blanket’ drone policy

Reprieve – September 15, 2015

The British Attorney General has today refused to say whether the Government has a ‘blanket’ or ‘case-by-case’ policy on carrying out targeted killings in countries with whom the UK is not at war.

Jeremy Wright was answering questions from MPs on the Justice Select Committee, who questioned him over the UK’s adoption of a US-style drone programme, as recently announced by the Prime Minister.

However, Mr Wright refused to give further details on the nature of the legal advice he had provided to his Government. Asked by Richard Arkless MP, “is the advice that you’ve delivered to the Government in relation to these drone strikes, will that be conducted on a case by case basis or are you giving them blanket authority to do this again if the circumstances arise?” he responded, “that’s another nice try… but I can’t I’m afraid go into the detail of the advice that I gave.”

The Attorney General also said there was a need to rethink what “imminence” means in relation to self-defence.

Commenting, Kat Craig, legal director at human rights charity Reprieve said: “It is alarming that the Attorney General does not feel the need to tell MPs or the public even the most broad details about the UK’s kill policy. All we currently know, is that the Prime Minister thinks he can authorise the killing of anyone, anywhere, without any parliamentary or judicial oversight. The UK appears to be going down the US route of a counter-productive, secret drone war which does more harm than good. When even US generals are warning that the drone programme causes more problems than it solves, it beggars belief that the British Government is adopting the model in full. We need a real debate, and for that we need the Government to come clean about this policy.”

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Meet Jeremy Corbyn, Britain’s new Leader of the Opposition

By Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey – Pravda – September 13, 2015

Jeremy Corbyn has the Establishment on both sides of the Atlantic shaking in their boots. Representing a breath of fresh air, promising change and hope, the new leader of Britain’s Labour Party also represents a stand against austerity and a sensible economic policy which aims to stimulate the economy instead of stifling it.

The first act by Jeremy Corbyn after being elected on Saturday September 12 as Leader of Britain’s Labour Party (winning in the first round with almost 60 per cent of first-preference votes) was to send an e-mail to all Labour Party members and supporters promising to include them and their wishes in his policy-making process, asking them to forward questions to place to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, at Prime Minister’s Questions next Wednesday.

For Jeremy Corbyn, being Labour leader is about the opportunity to serve and to create viable public services. Indeed, his record presses all the right buttons for the socially leaning members of the public. And those who understand the first thing about economics.

Policy issues and some predictions

Let us take a look at the policies Jeremy Corbyn has supported and this will explain why he will cause concern and will be demonized by the media who will classify him as a dangerous radical who is unelectable and unstatesmanlike. The reason why, as we shall see, is that his policies go against the grain of government by proxy for the lobbies to which politicians today are connected and which place them in office or else close ranks around them when they are elected.

For a start, Jeremy Corbyn questions the pan-national weapons lobby called NATO, whose collective member states’ budget is a staggering one point two thousand billion USD each and every year – four times the amount it would cost to eradicate poverty, worldwide, forever. How Constitutional is it for any of the countries to have their foreign policy dictated by such a lobby? Predictably, the national security button will be pressed as enemies and dark forces are invented to justify NATO’s existence and new members are sought to bolster its budget and cater for the lobbies for which NATO is the cutting edge. Dictatorship of the Lobbies through the manipulation of fear.

Jeremy Corbyn opposed the war in Afghanistan (a foreign policy catastrophe in which the Taliban are paid not to attack), opposed the war in Iraq (another disaster which totally destabilized a sovereign state, murdered a million people and saw the creation of Islamic State), he opposed the war in Libya (another huge mistake) and opposes war in Syria. He is also Vice-Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and a member of Amnesty International.

He was a campaigner against apartheid, worked to free the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six, people wrongly convicted as IRA bombers. Needless to say, the media will have a heyday over this but then again, what is wrong with working to free people who have been wrongly convicted?

Jeremy Corbyn understands that austerity shrinks the economy, destroying jobs, taking away workers’ rights gained over the last century and favors an approach which combats tax evasion, bringing more money into the treasury. In fact, his policies would bring in an extra 100 billion pounds in the short term. He plans a public investment scheme to create housing and plans to take rail franchises back into the public sector and supports renationalizing the energy sector. Strongly opposed to tuition fees, Jeremy Corbyn wants to create a National Education Service. A service, not a business.

On foreign policy, he rightly saw that the Ukraine crisis was caused by NATO’s attempt to expand eastwards. As regards Israel, he realizes that no progress is going to be made until talks are held between Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah and he opposed sanctions against Iran.

Who is Jeremy Corbyn?

Born in 1949, he began his working career in the National Union of Public Employees, becoming an organizer for the Union. From here he went on to the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers, was a member of a District Health Authority and was elected to Harringay Council, which he represented from 1974 to 1983 and was Secretary of the Islington Borough Labour Group.

He was elected as a Member of Parliament for Islington North in 1983 and has since been re-elected seven times. The Member of Parliament who claims the least expenses, he has served on the London Regional Select Committee, the Social Security Select Committee and the Justice Select Committee; he is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Chagos Islands, on Mexico and Vice-Chair of the Group on Latin America and on Human Rights; he is member of the Groups on Bolivia, Britain-Palestine, Great Lakes and the International Parliamentary Union, among others. He is a vegetarian, an animal rights campaigner and supports the LGBT community.

For those who wish to see a health service run by a fascination with the bottom line, in which the haves get treated and the have-nots get second class treatment, for those who wish to see the education sector turned into a business in which you get a degree if you can pay and if you cannot, then you don’t get a chance, for those who wish to see train services cancelled, energy bills skyrocketing, for those who wish to be afraid to step outside the home after six o’clock, Jeremy Corbyn is a direct threat.

The question is, is Britain ready for Jeremy Corbyn?

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey can be contacted at

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Anti-war Jeremy Corbyn attacked for defending white peace poppy

RT | September 15, 2015

Opponents of newly-elected Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn have attacked the Stop the War coalition chairman’s defense of the white peace poppy and lukewarm commitment to attend the annual Remembrance Day commemoration in November.

Corbyn made the remarks on Monday at the first Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) meeting since his triumph with an overwhelming 60 percent of the vote for the leadership on Saturday.

He refused to rule out wearing a white poppy during the ceremony held each year at the Cenotaph on Whitehall. His office has since insisted he will wear a traditional red poppy.

According to Politics Home, sources said Labour MPs present at the meeting were “shocked” by his comments.

“He was asked about the white poppy and offered a defense of it,” one MP said.

“He then said he attended memorial events in his own constituency and he wasn’t sure what would happen this year,” they added.
‘Hope Corbyn knows where to draw line’

Another MP claimed the public would be “appalled” if Corbyn stood at the Cenotaph wearing a white poppy.

“They will not understand it – they will think he is on a different planet. It is deeply offensive to our armed forces, who have given their lives for the democracy and freedoms he enjoys,” Labour MP Simon Danczuk said.

“I hope Jeremy will know where to draw the line on pushing a particular political agenda. The Cenotaph is no place to fight political battles.”

‘White poppies worn to oppose war’

Asked whether he would wear a red poppy, Corbyn said: “I don’t know what is going to happen this year.

“People wear white poppies because of their deep opposition to war.”

The Labour Party leader said he respects Remembrance Day regardless of what poppy he wears.

A spokeswoman later confirmed Corbyn, who attended the Battle of Britain commemorations on Tuesday, would wear a red poppy on Remembrance Sunday.

Just like the traditional red poppy, the white one is worn to remember those who died while emphasizing a lasting commitment to peace.

According to Stop the War, wearing a white poppy is a “respectful way to put peace at the heart of remembering those who died in war.”

However, opponents of the white poppy argue the red poppy already encompasses the sentiments claimed for the white poppy, such as “remembering all the victims of war.”

When the white poppy was first established in the 1930s, a number of women lost their jobs for wearing them, as it was believed the statement undermined those who had died in service.

In 2006, Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow sparked controversy after refusing to wear a red poppy on air, saying demands for him to wear the traditional flower was “poppy fascism.”

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Bernie Sanders Again Insists That Saudi Arabia Should Kill More People

By David Swanson | War Is A Crime | September 14, 2015

Senator Bernie Sanders taped a PBS show at the University of Virginia on Monday. I had corresponded with the host Doug Blackmon beforehand, and offered him ideas for questions on military spending and war, questions like these:

1. People want to tax the rich and cut military spending, which is 54% of federal discretionary spending according to National Priorities Project, but you only ever mention taxing the rich. Why not do both? What — give or take $100 billion — is an appropriate level of military spending?

2. Do you agree with Eisenhower that military spending creates wars?

3. Can you possibly be serious about wanting to keep the wars going but have Saudi Arabia play a bigger role? Do you approve of Saudi Arabia dropping U.S. cluster bombs on Yemen?

4. Would you approve of John Kerry promising Israel $45 billion of free weapons over the next decade?

5. Jeremy Corbyn was just elected leader of the Labour Party. He wants to pull out of NATO. Do you? He wants to unilaterally disarm of nuclear weapons? Do you? He wants to end drone murders and wars. Do you? Are you both socialists?

Blackmon at the very end asked Sanders to say something about foreign policy. Sanders replied with the 2002 Iraq vote. Then Blackmon mentioned Saudi Arabia, including its slaughter in Yemen, but rambled on until it became an unrelated softball. Sanders nonetheless brought it back to Saudi Arabia and insisted that Saudi Arabia should “get their hands dirty” and take a much bigger role in a war against ISIS and generally lead the wars with U.S. support.

Who has dirtier hands than Saudi Arabia? Is this some kind of a sick joke?

After the taping of the show, a member of the audience asked “But how will you pay for it?” What the “it” was went unstated, but presumably it wasn’t the military which is considered cost-free in such discussions. Sanders answered with progressive taxation. No mention of the military.

Later in the audience Q&A, Sanders brought up Eisenhower without mentioning the military.

Here are tips for future interviewers of Bernie Sanders:

As you know, Bernie Sanders focuses on money issues, taxing the rich, spending on the poor, but has thus far been permitted to engage in the general practice of speaking only about the 46% of federal discretionary spending that it not military.

Nobody has asked him about the 54% that by the calculation of National Priorities Project is military. Nobody has asked him if Eisenhower was right that military spending produces wars. Here are 25,000 people who want to know whether and how much Sanders would want to cut military spending.

He’s silent on the public support for two, not one, great sources of revenue: taxing the rich (which he’s all over) and cutting the military (which he avoids).

When he is asked about wars and says Saudi Arabia should pay for and lead them, nobody has followed up by asking whether the wars are themselves good or not or how the theocratic murderous regime in Saudi Arabia which openly seeks to overthrow other governments and is dropping US cluster bombs on Yemen will transform the wars into forces for good. Since when is THAT “socialism”?

If you go to Bernie’s website and click on ISSUES and search for foreign policy it’s just not there. He recently added the Iran agreement, after the fact, in which statement he says that war should “always be on the table” even though the U.N. Charter ban on threatening war makes no exception for candidate websites.

If Senator Sanders were to add anything about war in general to his website, judging by his standard response when asked, it would be this:

The military wastes money and its contractors routinely engage in fraud. The Department of Defense should be audited. Some weapons that I won’t name should be eliminated. Some cuts that I won’t even vaguely estimate should be made. All the wars in the Middle East should continue, but Saudi Arabia should lead the way with the U.S. assisting, because Saudi Arabia has plenty of weapons — and if Saudi Arabia has murdered lots of its own citizens and countless little babies in Yemen and has the goal of overthrowing a number of governments and slaughtering people of the wrong sect and dominating the area for the ideology of its fanatical dictatorial regime, who cares, better that than the U.S. funding all the wars, and the idea of actually ending any wars should be effectively brushed aside by changing the subject to how unfair it is for Saudi Arabia not to carry more of the militarized man’s burden. Oh, and veterans, U.S. veterans, are owed the deepest gratitude imaginable for the generous and beneficial service they have performed by killing so many people in the wars I’ve voted against and the ones I’ve voted for alike.

He’s silent on how much he’d cut the military, even within a range of $100 billion. He’s silent on alternatives to war. He’s usually silent on U.S. subservience to Israel. (Does he favor $45 billion in more free weapons for Israel paid for by the U.S. public whom he usually wants to spare lesser expenses than that?)

Jeremy Corbyn just won leadership of the Labour Party in England by promoting socialism at home and actively opposing wars and seeking peace. What is Bernie afraid of?

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

Fears that Saudi Arabia is set to ‘crucify’ juvenile prisoner

Reprieve – September 15, 2015

Saudi Arabia has dismissed the final appeal of a prisoner sentenced to death as a child, leading to fears his execution could take place in a matter of days.

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested when he was 17 and initially held at a juvenile offenders facility. There is evidence that he was tortured and forced to sign a document amounting to a confession, which then formed the basis of the case against him.

Last week, his family found out that his final appeal had been heard in secret, without Ali’s knowledge, and dismissed. This means that there are now no remaining legal hurdles before he faces his sentence of ‘death by crucifixion,’ originally handed down on 27 May 2014.

Ali was arrested on 14 February 2012 in the wake of anti-Government protests, and has been accused by the authorities of participation in an illegal demonstration and firearms offences – no evidence has been produced for the latter charge, which he and his family strongly deny. The opaque nature of the Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) through which Ali was convicted makes it hard to determine the detail of the charges against him.

The Government appears to have rested its case against him in large part on his relation to Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent religious leader in the Kingdom and human rights activist.

The Saudi Government has been widely criticised for its heavy-handed response against protesters and human rights activists since Arab Spring demonstrations began – including a death sentence for Sheikh Nimr. Ali is one of a number of people – thought to possibly include other juveniles – who has been sentenced to death following involvement in those protests. In January 2015, prominent Saudi blogger Raif Al-Badawi received the first of 1,000 lashes as part of his sentence for his statements critical of the Saudi regime in 2012.

The Saudi Government has carried out executions at a high rate since the coming to power of King Salman in January 2015, surpassing 100 for the year so far.

Commenting, Maya Foa, Director of the death penalty team at legal charity Reprieve said: “No one should have to go through the ordeal Ali has suffered – torture, forced ‘confession,’ and an unfair, secret trial process, resulting in a sentence of death by ‘crucifixion.’ But worse still, Ali was a vulnerable child when he was arrested and this ordeal began. His execution – based apparently on the authorities’ dislike for his uncle, and his involvement in anti-government protests – would violate international law and the most basic standards of decency. It must be stopped.”

September 15, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment