Cameron spying more on British citizens, on Saudi autocracy’s advice


This video from Britain is called NEWSNIGHT: Glenn Greenwald full interview on Snowden, NSA, GCHQ and spying.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

David Cameron gives spy agencies power to vet airline flight lists

All airline passengers’ civil liberties would be affected by this, not just the tiny minority of (wannabe) ISIS fighters

New access granted as Saudi king says Europe faces attack unless it acts fast

Nicholas Watt

Sunday 31 August 2014 21.07 BST

David Cameron will make it easier for intelligence agencies to access information about airline passengers and announce measures to intensify cooperation with Turkey and Germany as the government moves to stem the flow of British-born jihadis travelling to and from Syria and Iraq.

As the king of Saudi Arabia warned that terror groups would attack Europe in the next month unless they were confronted with “power and speed”, the prime minister will hold a final round of talks with Nick Clegg on Monday before outlining the package of measures to parliament.

The prime minister and his deputy have reached broad agreement on plans to make it easier to strip suspected jihadis of their passports in Britain and to improve the flow of data about airline passengers to the intelligence agencies.

But Clegg and Cameron will try to resolve differences on possible plans to impose a temporary ban on British-born jihadis returning to Britain and plans to tighten up terrorism prevention and investigation measures (Tpims), the successor to control orders.

Signs of coalition tensions were highlighted when Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon and Sir Menzies Campbell, two former leaders of the Liberal Democrats, criticised Cameron’s response on Friday to the decision by Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (Jtac) to raise the terrorism threat level from substantial to severe. Cameron warned of “gaps in our armoury” as he spoke of a “generational struggle” that could see an Islamic State-led (Isis) caliphate stretch to the shores of the Mediterranean.

Ashdown accused Cameron in an Observer article of a “kneejerk” response while Campbell warned that plans to impose a temporary ban on UK-born jihadis returning to Britain could infringe international law.

Campbell told The World This Weekend on BBC Radio 4: “That might well constitute illegality. To render citizens stateless is regarded as illegal in international law. To render them stateless temporarily, which seems to me to be the purpose of what has been proposed, can also be described as illegal. At the very least it is the kind of question that would be tested here in our own courts and perhaps also in the European court of human rights.”

It is understood that Clegg and Cameron do not see their discussions as a coalition row because they both respect each other’s record in speaking up on civil rights.

They also agree Britain must make improvements as it seeks to deal with the estimated 500 British citizens who have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight with Isis.

A further 250 are believed to have returned to Britain. Many have travelled through Germany and Turkey, which explains plans to improve cooperation with the two countries.

The Turkish government, NATO partners of Cameron, has helped ISIS in Syria, because of common hatred of the Damascus government and of Syrian Kurds.

While the German and British governments spy on each other.

But there are differences over plans to impose a temporary ban on returning jihadis. It is understood that the names of suspects could be added to a list, which would then be sent to friendly countries such as Germany and Syria

Is ‘Syria’ here a mistake for ‘Turkey’, indeed NATO ‘friends’ of Cameron?

Or has Cameron already made a ‘Orwellian 1984 like U-turn‘? After Cameron almost started war on the Assad regime recently, only stopped because of overwhelming popular opposition (a war in which ISIS would have been Cameron’s ally), has Damascus suddenly become an ally?

, who would be asked to prevent them entering the UK.

The discussions between Clegg and Cameron are focusing on the legal and practical aspects of the proposal.

Legal advice has suggested that it is possible to strip a UK citizen of their passport in Britain as a way of confining them to the UK. But the legal advice also suggests that if a UK citizen’s passport is cancelled after they have left the UK they are still entitled to return home.

The discussions between Clegg and Cameron are focusing instead on proposals that would allow the authorities in the likes of Germany and Syria to prevent British-born jihadis boarding aircraft. They would then be taken in for further questioning, but would be re-admitted to Britain.

There is agreement between Cameron and Clegg on the need to improve the flow of airline passenger data to the intelligence agencies.

One problem is that some airlines do not release their passenger manifest until 30 minutes before flights leave. There will also be moves to share more passenger data. But this will involve stepping up negotiations with the European parliament, where plans to share passanger data have been challenged by MEPs concerned about civil liberties.

The two leaders have also yet to reach agreement on reforming terrorism prevention and investigation measures (Tpims) after David Anderson, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, called for a strengthening of “locational constraints” in his annual report in March. This could ban those subject to Tpims from some areas or to restore the power to relocate them to specific areas.

It is understood that their discussions are focusing on how any changes to Tpims would have to make clear that these would apply only in the most exceptional circumstances.

In his warning, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia did not name any group but told foreign ambassadors on Friday that he was “certain that after a month they will reach Europe and, after another month, America”, according to the Associated Press.

To really combat terror, end support for Saudi Arabia. Ramped up rhetoric on security makes no sense so long as the west cosies up to dictatorships that support fundamentalism: here.

By Will Stone in Britain:

Vociferous Labour MP Dennis Skinner was far more damning.

Shining a light on the PM’s hypocrisy, Mr Skinner said his words “would be much more credible if he knew his own history,” referring to the fact that only a year ago Mr Cameron humiliatingly lost a Commons vote calling for British military intervention in Syria.

“Twelve months ago this PM stood at the dispatch box to try to get help to arm the guerillas against Assad,” boomed the veteran MP for Bolsover.

“Had it not been for the Labour Party he could have gone down that road.”

Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, said the PM’s announcement meant that Tpims are now identical to control orders.

She added: “Sabre-rattling and thinly-veiled threats to the courts, but little detail from the Prime Minister.

“Why demand that the police seize passports on a discriminatory, dangerous basis rather than arrest those intent on committing murder and terror overseas?

“Control orders and Tpims become identical via internal exile at home, while the threat of external exile remains with the dangerous and innocent alike dumped like toxic waste on the international community.”

Bahrain bridled terns


This is a bridled tern video.

In Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, not just cruel regime torture of human rights activists. Also, beautiful birds, like bridled terns.

From Focusing On Wildlife, with photos there:

August 28 2014

Bridled Terns – Al Jarrim Island South (Bahrain)

The Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus is a common summer breeding visitor to offshore islands in the Gulf and Red Sea. Brian Meadows (Bull B.O.C 2003) mentioned 175 pairs breeding on islets north of Yanbu al-Bahr 18 June 1993. Summer visitor to all coasts nesting on islands occasionally.

In 1988 Jennings visited the Farasan Islands and found the species to be a very common breeding tern and a survey of summer breeding seabirds by SF Newton in 1994 in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea found they were the most abundant and widespread breeding seabird. The aerial count total of just under 20,000 is likely to be a gross underestimate.

Most nests were under bushes but a few small colonies on Farasan use rock overhangs on cliffs in the absence of vegetation. Both the al Wajh and Farasan Archipelagoes hold large populations and the species is abundant on the well vegetated outer islands of the Farasan Bank where it co-occurs with Brown Noddy. Clutches were always of a single egg and hatching commenced in mid June.

In the Gulf large numbers breed on the Bahrain and Saudi Arabian offshore islands with eggs hatching in early to Mid-June. Karan(27°44’N, 49°50’E) is the largest of the six coral islands measuring 128 hectares in size (2025m x 625m).

This island has the largest breeding population of Lesser Crested terns in Saudi Arabia as well as good numbers of Bridled Terns and White-cheeked terns and a small number of Swift Terns. Jana (27°22’N, 49°54’E) is the second largest island being 33 hectares in size (1105m x 300m).

Large numbers of Bridled tern and small numbers of Lesser Crested Terns and Swift Terns nest here. Juraid (27°11’N, 49°52’E) is the third largest coral island measuring 20 hectares in size (732 x 282m) and holds the largest breeding population of Bridled Terns in Saudi Arabia, with good numbers of breeding Lesser Crested Terns and White-cheeked Terns.

Kurain (27°39’N, 49°50’E) is the second smallest island with a size of 8 hectares (312m x 251m). Large numbers of Lesser Crested Terns along with good numbers of Bridled Terns and White-cheeked Terns nest on this island.

Saudi regime beheading more people


This video is called Shocking Saudi Police Treatment Of A Bangladeshi Human Being.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Saudi Arabia executes 19 in one half of August in ‘disturbing surge of beheadings’

Natasha Culzac

Friday 22 August 2014

Saudi Arabia has beheaded at least 19 people since the beginning of August in a surge of executions, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said.

The deaths relate to the period from 4 to 20 August and are included in the 34 deaths ordered since the beginning of January.

According to HRW, international standards require that capital punishment should only be reserved for the “most serious crimes” in countries that still use it.

Offences that resulted in the Saudi Arabian death penalties in August ranged from drug smuggling [to] sorcery.

Four smugglers were executed on 18 August for smuggling a “large quantity of hashish” into the country amid an effort by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the government to tackle the social ill of narcotics and warned that anyone else doing the same would also be punished “according to Sharia”, the Saudi Press Agency said.

The men were all part of the same family and their deaths were condemned by Amnesty as being part of the “disturbing” surge in executions. Reuters reported that their confessions may have been obtained through torture.

Mohammed bin Bakr al-Alawi was beheaded on 5 August for allegedly practicing black magic sorcery, the Saudi Gazette reports, while according to Amnesty, a mentally ill man, Hajras al-Qurey, has been sentenced to death for drug trafficking “after an unfair trial” and will be killed on 25 August.

Al-Qurey’s son had reportedly confessed to drug smuggling and said that his father was unaware that the contraband was in the car.

The elder claims to have been beaten into confessing, despite repeatedly exclaiming that he was innocent and that he suffered a mental disability. He was held criminally liable despite an examination finding symptoms of mental illness including auditory hallucinations.

His son was sentenced to 20 years in prison and 1,000 lashes.

“Any execution is appalling, but executions for crimes such as drug smuggling or sorcery that result in no loss of life are particularly egregious,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa Director at HRW.

“There is simply no excuse for Saudi Arabia’s continued use of the death penalty, especially for these types of crimes.

“The current surge in executions in Saudi Arabia is yet another dark stain on the kingdom’s human rights record.” …

“The recent increase in executions in Saudi Arabia is a deeply disturbing deterioration. The authorities must act immediately to halt this cruel practice,” Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, said earlier this week.

“The death penalty is always wrong, and it is against international law to use it in cases involving non-lethal crimes and where evidence used to convict the person is based on ‘confessions’ extracted as a result of torture.”

Saudi regime killing even more people


This video is called Warning: Gross human rights violations against Ethiopian immigrants in Saudi Arabia, November 2013.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Saudi executions surge ‘disturbing’

Tuesday 19th August 2014

SAUDI ARABIA is witnessing a “disturbing” surge in the use of the death penalty, rights group Amnesty International has warned.

Four members of the same extended family were killed on Monday morning for “receiving large quantities of hashish,” bringing the number of executions to 17 in the past two weeks.

The families of the two sets of brothers said that their confessions had been obtained under torture.

“The recent increase in executions in Saudi Arabia is a deeply disturbing deterioration,” said Amnesty Middle East and North Africa deputy director Said Boumendouha.

“The authorities must act immediately to halt this cruel practice.

“The death penalty is always wrong and it is against international law to use it in cases involving non-lethal crimes and where evidence used to convict the person is based on ‘confessions’ extracted as a result of torture,” he said.