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Most Britons ‘proud’ of colonial legacy they know little about

Brits executing Indians in Singapore who refused to fight the Ottomans, 1914
By Danielle Ryan | RT | February 18, 2016

A recent poll conducted in the UK found that 44 percent of British people are “proud” of the British Empire, while only 21 percent of respondents “regretted” that it existed.

The YouGov poll found 43 percent of respondents felt the empire had been a “good” thing while 19 percent said it was “bad”.

At its peak in 1922, the British Empire governed one-fifth of the world’s population and one-quarter of the world’s land area. Slave-trading, famine, concentration camps, massacres; those all sound like a history that would evoke a sense of shame, not pride.

But this isn’t about bashing Britons for being proud of their history and telling them to feel ashamed instead. It’s about the fact that they — too many of them — don’t actually know their history. The history of the empire is not widely taught in UK schools — and what is taught is a watered-down or varnished version of the truth.

As British-Nigerian historian and writer David Olusoga put it: “The empire has become reduced to the abolition of slavery, the building of the Indian railways and some vague talk about the rule of law, British values and the spread of the English language.”

Calls for an overhaul

Last year, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for an overhaul of the country’s national history curriculum to include more teaching about the crimes of the empire. He also called for more teaching on the rise of the trade unions and “socialist tradition” in Britain. On the subject of the British Empire, he said: “You need to get the story from the people where the empire expanded into, rather than those that came there to take control of it.”

But Corbyn is not the only one to take issue with Britain’s history curriculum. Leading historians have called for an unvarnished approach to teaching about the country’s past. Ashley Jackson, Professor of Imperial and Military History at King’s College London, told the Independent that, understandably, “a lot of British people would like to think that the imperial past was generally okay, but unfortunately if you look at the record of empire it’s very difficult to say that overall it was a good thing.”

Andrea Major, an associate professor in British colonial history at the University of Leeds said there was a “collective amnesia about the levels of violence, exploitation and racism involved in many aspects of imperialism” and that “better education” and “more open public debate” was needed.

The results of the YouGov poll were released last month on the same day as a UN report into the violence committed by the Islamic State terror group in Iraq, which led to some uncomfortable comparisons on Twitter.

Look over there!

Countries deal with traumatic histories and legacies in much the same way. Let’s call it the “Look over there!” approach. The bad is downplayed to near irrelevance, while the good is magnified. This is a kind of natural default displayed by great powers. At the same time, the crimes committed by others take on a disproportionate level of importance. A barely audible mumble of ‘yes we made some mistakes’ is quickly followed up with ‘but look at how awful [insert other country] is!’

A present day example can be found in Syria. When bombs dropped by the US or UK kill civilians, it is denied or passed off as a terrible mistake. No one bats much of an eyelid at the BBC or CNN. But when Russian bombs kill civilians, they suddenly change their tunes and it becomes must-read news. Look over there! Look what they did! To save myself from shouts of “hypocrisy” let’s be clear: This happens in Russian media, too.

Cameron and the Empire vs. Putin and Stalin

While former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair apologized in 2006 for Britain’s role in the early slave trade, current PM David Cameron has been somewhat less critical of the country’s colonial past, notably refusing to apologize for the Amritsar massacre of 1919, which saw British troops open fire on crowds of Indian nationalists, killing nearly 400 and wounding many more. Visiting Amritsar in 2013, Cameron argued that it would not be right to “reach back into history” and reasoned that it was enough that the event had already been “rightly criticized” at the time, adding that there was still an “enormous amount” to be proud of in what the empire was responsible for.

In some ways, we could compare the results of the YouGov poll to Russian public opinion on Stalin. There is much criticism in the West for Vladimir Putin’s alleged “rehabilitation” of the dictator. Westerners are astounded to learn that Russians could have any positive feelings at all regarding the Stalin era — and they’re not shy about blaming Putin and labeling him a modern-day reincarnation of the dictator himself. However, Cameron’s comments about pride in the empire don’t get quite the same treatment. That is for many reasons — but the overriding one is simply that we in the West are allowed to be unapologetically proud of our histories. It’s always ‘others’ who should hang their heads in shame, groveling for acceptance.

Looking in the mirror

But is there really any use in comparing and contrasting? Britons are proud of an empire they know little about. Americans still haven’t managed to build a national slavery museum. Russians are still grappling with the legacy of Stalin and even Lenin. Wouldn’t we all just be better off worrying more about our own histories than everyone else’s?

History is delicate. It can rarely be discussed in ‘all good’ or ‘all bad’ terms. Its subtleties and nuances are as important to our understanding of the past as they are to informing our understanding of the present. I recently visited Moscow’s state-run Gulag Museum. On one of the walls in the museum it was written: “We have yet to fully study, understand and accept this history”.

The same can be said for modern-day Britain and its understanding of the Empire.

Danielle Ryan is an Irish freelance journalist and media analyst. She has lived in the US and Germany and is currently based in Moscow. She previously worked as a digital desk reporter for the Sunday Business Post in Dublin. She studied political reporting at the Washington Center for Politics & Journalism in Washington, DC and also has a degree in business and German. She focuses on US foreign policy, US-Russia relations and media bias.

February 18, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Visible thermite explosion – WTC2 – 9/11

February 18, 2016 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video | | 5 Comments

10 Reasons Why Ending the Draft Helps End War

By David Swanson | World Beyond War

The military draft has not been used in the United States since 1973, but the machinery has remained in place (costing the federal government about $25 million a year). Males over 18 have been required to register for the draft since 1940 (except between 1975 and 1980) and still are today, with no option to register as conscientious objectors or to choose peaceful productive public service. Some in Congress have been making “enlightened” feminist noises about forcing young women to register as well. In most states young men who get driver’s licenses are automatically registered for the draft without their permission (and virtually all of those states’ governments claim that automatically registering people to vote would just not be realistic). When you apply for financial aid for college, if you’re male, you probably won’t get it until after a mandatory check to see if you’re registered for the draft.

A new bill in Congress would abolish the draft, and a petition in support of it has gained a good deal of traction. But a significant contingent among those who sincerely want peace vehemently opposes ending the draft, and in fact favors drafting young people into war starting tomorrow. Since coming out as a supporter of the new legislation, I’ve encountered far more support than opposition. But the opposition has been intense and sizable. I’ve been called naive, ignorant, ahistorical, and desirous of slaughtering poor boys to protect the elite children I supposedly care exclusively about.

Mr. Moderator, may I have a thirty-second rebuttal, as the distinguished demagogue addressed me directly?

We’re all familiar with the argument behind peace activists’ demand for the draft, the argument that Congressman Charles Rangel made when proposing to start up a draft some years back. U.S. wars, while killing almost exclusively innocent foreigners, also kill and injure and traumatize thousands of U.S. troops drawn disproportionately from among those lacking viable educational and career alternatives. A fair draft, rather than a poverty draft, would send — if not modern-day Donald Trumps, Dick Cheneys, George W. Bushes, or Bill Clintons — at least some offspring of relatively powerful people to war. And that would create opposition, and that opposition would end the war. That’s the argument in a nutshell. Let me offer 10 reasons why I think this is sincere but misguided.

  1. History doesn’t bear it out. The drafts in the U.S. civil war (both sides), the two world wars, and the war on Korea did not end those wars, despite being much larger and in some cases fairer than the draft during the American war on Vietnam. Those drafts were despised and protested, but they took lives; they did not save lives. The very idea of a draft was widely considered an outrageous assault on basic rights and liberties even before any of these drafts. In fact, a draft proposal was successfully argued down in Congress by denouncing it as unconstitutional, despite the fact that the guy who had actually written most of the Constitution was also the president who was proposing to create the draft. Said Congressman Daniel Webster on the House floor at the time (1814): “The administration asserts the right to fill the ranks of the regular army by compulsion…Is this, sir, consistent with the character of a free government? Is this civil liberty? Is this the real character of our Constitution? No, sir, indeed it is not…Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained, that you may take children from their parents, and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war, in which the folly or the wickedness of government may engage it? Under what concealment has this power lain hidden, which now for the first time comes forth, with a tremendous and baleful aspect, to trample down and destroy the dearest rights of personal liberty?” When the draft came to be accepted as an emergency wartime measure during the civil and first world wars, it never would have been tolerated during peacetime. (And it’s still not anywhere to be found in the Constitution.) Only since 1940 (and under a new law in ’48), when FDR was still working on manipulating the United States into World War II, and during the subsequent 75 years of permanent wartime has “selective service” registration gone on uninterrupted for decades. The draft machine is part of a culture of war that makes kindergarteners pledge allegiance to a flag and 18-year-old males sign up to express their willingness to go off and kill people as part of some unspecified future government project. The government already knows your Social Security number, sex, and age. The purpose of draft registration is in great part war normalization.
  1. People bled for this. When voting rights are threatened, when elections are corrupted, and even when we are admonished to hold our noses and vote for one or another of the god-awful candidates regularly placed before us, what are we reminded of? People bled for this. People risked their lives and lost their lives. People faced fire hoses and dogs. People went to jail. That’s right. And that’s why we should continue the struggle for fair and open and verifiable elections. But what do you think people did for the right not to be drafted into war? They risked their lives and lost their lives. They were hung up by their wrists. They were starved and beaten and poisoned. Eugene Debs, hero of Senator Bernie Sanders, went to prison for speaking against the draft. What would Debs make of the idea of peace activists supporting a draft in order to stir up more peace activism? I doubt he’d be able to speak through his tears.
  1. Millions dead is a cure worse than the disease. I am very well convinced that the peace movement shortened and ended the war on Vietnam, not to mention removing a president from office, helping to pass other progressive legislation, educating the public, communicating to the world that there was decency hiding in the United States, and — oh, by the way — ending the draft. And I have zero doubt that the draft had helped to build the peace movement. But the draft did not contribute to ending the war before that war had done far more damage than has any war since. We can cheer for the draft ending the war, but four million Vietnamese lay dead, along with Laotians, Cambodians, and over 50,000 U.S. troops. And as the war ended, the dying continued. Many more U.S. troops came home and killed themselves than had died in the war. Children are still born deformed by Agent Orange and other poisons used. Children are still ripped apart by explosives left behind. If you add up numerous wars in numerous nations, the United States has inflicted death and suffering on the Middle East to equal or surpass that in Vietnam, but none of the wars has used anything like as many U.S. troops as were used in Vietnam. If the U.S. government had wanted a draft and believed it could get away with starting one, it would have. If anything, the lack of a draft has restrained the killing. The U.S. military would add a draft to its existing billion-dollar recruitment efforts, not replace one with the other. And the far greater concentration of wealth and power now than in 1973 pretty well assures that the children of the super-elite would not be conscripted.
  1. Don’t underestimate support for a draft. The United States has a much greater population than do most countries of people who say they are ready to support wars and even of people who say they would be willing to fight a war. Forty-four percent of U.S. Americans now tell Gallup polling that they “would” fight in a war. Why aren’t they now fighting in one? That’s an excellent question, but one answer could be: Because there’s no draft. What if millions of young men in this country, having grown up in a culture absolutely saturated in militarism, are told it’s their duty to join a war? You saw how many joined without a draft between September 12, 2001, and 2003. Is combining those misguided motivations with a direct order from the “commander in chief” (whom many civilians already refer to in those terms) really what we want to experiment with? To protect the world from war?!
  1. The supposedly non-existent peace movement is quite real. Yes, of course, all movements were bigger in the 1960s and they did a great deal of good, and I’d willingly die to bring back that level of positive engagement. But the notion that there has been no peace movement without the draft is false. The strongest peace movement the United States has seen was probably that of the 1920s and 1930s. The peace movements since 1973 have restrained the nukes, resisted the wars, and moved many in the United States further along the path toward supporting war abolition. Public pressure blocked the United Nations from supporting recent wars, including the 2003 attack on Iraq, and made supporting that war such a badge of shame that it has kept Hillary Clinton out of the White House at least once so far. It also resulted in concern in 2013 among members of Congress that if they backed the bombing of Syria they’d been seen as having backed “another Iraq.” Public pressure was critical in upholding a nuclear agreement with Iran last year. There are many ways to build the movement. You can elect a Republican president and easily multiply the ranks of the peace movement 100-fold the next day. But should you? You can play on people’s bigotry and depict opposition to a particular war or weapons system as nationalistic and macho, part of preparation for other better wars. But should you? You can draft millions of young men off to war and probably see some new resisters materialize. But should you? Have we really given making the honest case for ending war on moral, economic, humanitarian, environmental, and civil liberties grounds a fair try?
  1. Doesn’t Joe Biden’s son count? I too would love to see a bill passed requiring that congress members and presidents deploy to the front lines of any war they support. But in a society gone mad enough for war, even steps in that direction wouldn’t end the war making. It appears the U.S. military killed the Vice President’s son through reckless disregard for its own cannon fodder. Will the Vice President even mention it, much less make a move to end the endless warmaking? Don’t hold your breath. U.S. Presidents and Senators used to be proud to send their offspring off to die. If Wall Street can out-do the gilded age, so can the servants of the military industrial complex.
  1. We build a movement to end war by building a movement to end war. The surest way we have of reducing and then ending militarism, and the racism and materialism with which it is interwoven, is to work for the end of war. By seeking to make wars bloody enough for the aggressor that he stops aggressing, we would essentially be moving in the same direction as we already have by turning public opinion against wars in which U.S. troops die. I understand that there might be more concern over wealthier troops and greater numbers of troops. But if you can open people’s eyes to the lives of gays and lesbians and transgendered people, if you can open people’s hearts to the injustices facing African Americans murdered by police, if you can bring people to care about the other species dying off from human pollution, surely you can also bring them even further along than they’ve already come in caring about the lives of U.S. troops not in their families — and perhaps even about the lives of the non-Americans who make up the vast majority of those killed by U.S. warmaking. One result of the progress already made toward caring about U.S. deaths has been greater use of robotic drones. We need to be building opposition to war because it is the mass murder of beautiful human beings who are not in the United States and could never be drafted by the United States. A war in which no Americans die is just as much a horror as one in which they do. That understanding will end war.
  1. The right movement advances us in the right direction. Pushing to end the draft will expose those who favor it and increase opposition to their war mongering. It will involve young people, including young men who do not want to register for the draft and young women who do not want to be required to start doing so. A movement is headed in the right direction if even a compromise is progress. A compromise with a movement demanding a draft would be a small draft. That would almost certainly not work any of the magic intended, but would increase the killing. A compromise with a movement to end the draft might be the ability to register for non-military service or as a conscientious objector. That would be a step forward. We might develop out of that new models of heroism and sacrifice, new nonviolent sources of solidarity and meaning, new members of a movement in favor of substituting civilized alternatives for the whole institution of war.
  1. The war mongers want the draft too. It’s not only a certain section of peace activists who want the draft. So do the true war mongers. The selective service tested its systems at the height of the occupation of Iraq, preparing for a draft if needed. Various powerful figures in D.C. have proposed that a draft would be more fair, not because they think the fairness would end the warmaking but because they think the draft would be tolerated. Now, what happens if they decide they really want it? Should it be left available to them? Shouldn’t they at least have to recreate the selective service first, and to do so up against the concerted opposition of a public facing an imminent draft? Imagine if the United States joins the civilized world in making college free. Recruitment will be devastated. The poverty draft will suffer a major blow. The actual draft will look very desirable to the Pentagon. They may try more robots, more hiring of mercenaries, and more promises of citizenship to immigrants. We need to be focused on cutting off those angles, as well as on in fact making college free.
  1. Take away the poverty draft too. The unfairness of the poverty draft is not grounds for a larger unfairness. It needs to be ended too. It needs to be ended by opening up opportunities to everyone, including free quality education, job prospects, life prospects. Isn’t the proper solution to troops being stop-lossed not adding more troops but waging less war? When we end the poverty draft and the actual draft, when we actually deny the military the troops it needs to wage war, and when we create a culture that views murder as wrong even when engaged in on a large scale and even when all the deaths are foreign, then we’ll actually get rid of war, not just acquire the ability to stop each war 4 million deaths into it.

February 18, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

The Business of War: Saudi Defense Sales Help BAE Systems to Big Profit

Sputnik – 18.02.2016

While thousands have been killed and millions more injured and displaced as a result of fighting in the Middle East, British defense company BAE systems has seemingly cashed in on the conflict, posting a sharp rise in revenue due to the sale of products to Saudi Arabia.

BAE’s sales rose by 7.6 percent in the past year to US$25.7 billon (£17.9bn), while the company’s share price eclipsed earlier forecasts.The company, which specializes in selling aerial and naval military products, as well as munitions and warfare systems, recently announced job cuts and a scaling down of production due to a lack of demand.

However, the increase in fighting in Syria and Yemen has seemingly boosted demand and subsequently the company’s sales.

BAE confirmed it had increased aircraft deliveries to Saudi Arabia and struck a deal to supply the Gulf kingdom with 22 more “Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer” aircraft, along with additional ground equipment training aids.

Concerns Over Saudi Sales

The announcement of increased profits comes at a time of high debate about arms sales to Saudi Arabia, with many campaigners concerned about reports of alleged Saudi war crimes and breaches and international law associated with Riyadh’s bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

A number of international organizations have called for the British government to immediately suspend the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia and cancel revoke any licenses until a proper investigation into such claims is carried out.

The UK-based Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has initiated legal action against the government over the matter, arguing that the country’s continued sale of arms to Riyadh is in breach of international guidelines.A recent UN report found that 21 million people are in need of some sort aid in Yemen, with the country experiencing a “humanitarian catastrophe” as a result of the conflict, which has killed approximately 6,000 people, including 3,000 civilians, since March 2015.

CAAT spokesperson Andrew Smith told Sputnik the UK needed to review its policy in regards to exporting arms to Saudi Arabia if the humanitarian condition was to improve.

“The bombs have to stop and the best thing the UK can do would be to end all arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Since David Cameron took to office [in 2010] the UK has licensed £6.7 billion (US$9.6bn) worth of arms to Saudi Arabia and has given it huge support on the world stage.”

UK Profiting From Conflict

The UK has been accused of cashing in on the conflict, with government statistics revealing British military sales to Saudi Arabia increased dramatically following Riyadh’s March 2015 announcement that it would be undertaking an aerial campaign against Houthi rebels.

After Riyadh announced it would be leading an international military coalition in the country, the value of Britain’s military sales to the Gulf kingdom surged from US$151 million (£107m) in the first quarter of 2015 (January-March) to US$2.4 billion (£1.7bn) in the second quarter (April-June).

This 16-fold increase was followed up by another US$1.6 billion (£1.1bn) worth of military sales to Saudi Arabia from July to the end of September as the coalition continued to attack targets in Yemen.

February 18, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

The UN and the Invisible Palestinian Knives of Allege-gate

By Vacy Vlazna | Dissident Voice | February 17, 2016

In Palestine, you would be forgiven for thinking that there was no United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

The SR, Christof Heyns, in the past 6 years, has never made a country on-site visit to Palestine to get first hand information on the hundreds of cases of Zionist perpetration of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions of the people of Palestine.

Not even the dozens of extrajudicial street executions of Palestinian children and youth carrying the invisible knives of Allege-gate since October 1, 2015 has impelled Heyns to rush to Palestine to ensure the zionist war criminals uphold Palestinian right to life.

In Palestine ‘alleged’ is a synonym for ‘extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary execution’.

Yes, there is a Palestinian youth intifada, and, yes, there have been acts of resistance to the illegal occupation involving knives, rocks, and cars that have taken some occupier-settler lives.

But the Zionist Occupation Forces (ZOF); i.e., military and police death squads are running amok in Occupied Palestine shooting, seemingly for grisly amusement, innocent Palestinian school children, workers, housewives and youth.

In a wimpy statement on 16 November 2015, SR Heyns welcomed the assurance of the Zionist “Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to the effect that Israeli security forces are prohibited from firing at a suspected assailant unless an immediate danger to human life cannot otherwise be prevented and that the use of fire must be proportional to the threat.”

You can be certain that the devastated parents of Wisam Qasrawi, 21 who buried their beloved child – transformed from family breadwinner into a martyr by lawless zionist bullets – know Wisam was killed in an indisputable and illegal extrajudicial execution.

indexWisam was born in a village, Misilya. It was described for the Palestine Exploration Fund (patron was Queen Victoria) by Royal Engineers’ surveyor Lieutenant Condor in 1881 as a village with ancient wells beneath it and a rounded hilltop above with extensive views north east across the great plain to Nazareth, west to Carmel, and to Jenin behind a neighbouring hill, ‘north west across a broad corn vale’.

Today, Misilya continues its ancient agricultural lineage of growing olives and cereal. Its 3000 residents are close-knit and mainly poor because of the crippling zionist occupation.

Wisam was outgoing, energetic, well liked and had lots of friends with whom he enjoyed playing playstation and billiards at the local cafe. Wisam also had an admirable sense of responsibility; he left school in year 11 to become the family breadwinner because his father had a severe back injury and his mother had small twins plus his other younger siblings to care for. Even while at school he worked as a part-time farm or building labourer to help out.

The early morning of Sunday, January 17th, gave no hint of impending tragedy. Wisam got dressed for his work at a brick/stone factory in Nablus, gave his mother the remaining money in his wallet and armed only with his mobile joined his mate who was giving him a lift as far as the Huwwara checkpoint. He was dropped off about 500 yards from the checkpoint.

Eyewitnesses reported that the heavily armed soldiers were calling out to Wisam, “Come on, come to us”. Wisam walked, relaxed and hands in the air, and at 50 metres military shots burst hitting his chest and head. Typically, he was left to bleed out and die.

Within 10 minutes, even before Wisam’s mate returned to Misilya, the Zionist news reported an alleged attempted stabbing at the Huwwara checkpoint with no soldiers injured (understandable).

By the afternoon the ZOF had made incursions into Wisam’s village, set up checkpoints and closed off the village which was in collective shock, helplessness, anger and mourning.

Wisam’s body was returned at night and respectfully given a martyr’s burial; the body is not washed as usual with scented water and wrapped in a shroud, but the martyr is buried in the clothes in which he/she died and the blood is left unwashed. According to a Hadith – on Resurrection Day, the Shahid’s blood -“Its color saffron, and its odor musk”.

With 68 years of the violent unrestricted bloodletting of martyrs, the scent of this holy musk is tragically Palestine’s oxygen.

Wisam is no more, just as Ehab, Khalil, Ahmad, Ruqayya, Dania, Nihad, Fuad, Naim, and all the other young innocent invisible-knife wielders, are no more.

The UN was set up to maintain international peace, security and human rights for all. In 68 years, the now 192 member states of the UN have not furthered one moment of peace and justice for the people of Palestine.

The Zionist state has over and over, day to day, blatantly violated every UN declaration and convention it has ratified and it has never been suspended or expelled from the UN:

A Member of the United Nations which has persistently violated the Principles contained in the present Charter may be expelled from the Organization by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.

The UN is as fake as the fake knives of Allege-gate. Both are smokescreens for impunity for Zionist brutality and crimes against humanity.

Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Aceh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 and then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.

February 18, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

UK Israeli boycott ban contradicts official govt business guidelines


RT | February 18, 2016

Britain’s ban on the public boycott of goods from Israel’s occupied territories contradicts its own official business guidelines, documents have revealed.

The controversial new law, which would ban local councils, student unions and other public bodies from boycotting goods for political reasons, was announced by the government on Monday and has been implemented without parliamentary debate or vote.

However, documents first seen by the Independent show the Foreign Office’s Overseas Business Risk assessment for Israel states that the government does “not encourage or offer support” to business with the occupied territories, apparently contradicting the new regulation.

“Settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impossible,” the document reads.

“There are therefore clear risks related to economic and financial activities in the settlements, and we do not encourage or offer support to such activity.”

The new rules do not apply exclusively to Israel, but would ban institutions that receive the majority of their funding from the government from participating in procurement political campaigns, choosing not to buy products from companies on political grounds. The only exception would be nationwide boycotts mandated by the government.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) has attacked the new law, saying it undermines the democratic rights and freedoms of public bodies.

PLO Executive Committee Members Dr Hanan Ashrawi and Dr Saeb Erekat released a joint statement after meeting with Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood on Wednesday.

“This represents a serious regression in British policy and it would empower the Israeli occupation by sending a message of impunity,” said Ashrawi and Erekat.

“In order to accommodate the Israeli occupation, the British government is undermining British democracy and their own people’s rights.”

The Labour Party has panned the new measures as an “attack on democracy.”

“This government’s ban would have outlawed council action against apartheid South Africa. Ministers talk about devolution, but in practice they’re imposing Conservative Party policies on elected local councils across the board,” Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said.

The government, however, has defended the anti-boycott measures, saying they are necessary for “community cohesion” and national security.

“There are wider national and international consequences from imposing such local level boycotts. They can damage integration and community cohesion within the United Kingdom, hinder Britain’s export trade, and harm foreign relations to the detriment of Britain’s economic and international security,” ministers said in a procurement policy note sent out to public authorities.

Coinciding with the law’s announcement, Cabinet Minister Matthew Hancock, who has recently come under fire for accepting a £4,000 donation from a right wing think tank, weeks before announcing a crackdown on lobbying by charities, is currently in Israel promoting business and trade links with the UK.

Read more:

Like Thatcher with apartheid: UK to ban public bodies from boycotting Israeli West Bank goods

February 18, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey blames Syrian Kurds for Ankara blast, they deny responsibility, point to ISIS

RT | February 18, 2016

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has accused forces linked with the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia of the terrorist attack in Ankara on Wednesday. Ankara promised to continue to shell the YPG, with the Syrian Kurds denying all allegations and saying Islamic State is behind the attack.

In a live television speech, Prime Minister Davutoglu said Turkey has identified the perpetrator of the Ankara bombing attack as Salih Necer, born in northern Syria’s Amuda province in 1992. He added the suspect has links to the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia. Davutoglu added the alleged attacker received assistance from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is outlawed by Ankara.

Davutoglu said the attack showed the Syrian Kurdish YPG is a terrorist organization and that Turkey expects cooperation from its allies against the group.

“In light of information we have obtained, it has been clearly identified that this attack was carried out by the members of a terrorist organization inside Turkey, together with a YPG member individual who had crossed from Syria,” Davutoglu said, according to Reuters.

“Of the 28 people who lost their lives, 27 are members of the Turkish Armed Forces and one is a civilian,” the PM said, referring to Wednesday attack.

He added that nine people have been detained following the attack in Ankara.

Kurdish self-defense forces did not organize the attack in Ankara, Kurdish Democratic Union (PYD) chief Salih Muslim Muhammad told RIA Novosti.

“This is absolutely not true. Kurds have nothing to do with what happened in Ankara. What happened there is related to Turkey’s fight with Islamic State [IS formerly ISIS/ISIL], whose members live in Turkey.”

He also denied claims that the armed YPG wing was firing into Turkey.

“I can assure you that not even one bullet is fired by the YPG into Turkey,” Salih Muslim told Reuters. “They don’t consider Turkey as an enemy.”

Turkey has pledged to continue to shell positions of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated on Thursday.

Davutoglu claimed Ankara had evidence revealing where the militants came from and how they organized themselves, and that this information would be soon shared with other countries.

He also warned other nations against throwing their weight behind “an enemy of Turkey,” saying that this would risk those countries’ status as allies.

“Just like Al-Qaeda or Daesh [Arabic pejorative for IS] do not have seats at the table, the YPG, which is a terrorist organization, cannot have one,” he reportedly noted.

He also mentioned that senior members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) had been killed overnight in Turkish airstrikes on their camps in northern Iraq. … Full article

February 18, 2016 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , | 1 Comment