Cambridge Analytica’s role in Yemen bloodshed

This video from the USA says about itself:

Max Blumenthal Reveals Surveillance Program in Yemen Run by Cambridge Analytica

1 June 2018

Journalist Max Blumenthal published documents showing how Cambridge Analytica‘s parent company SCL Group ran a secret counter-insurgency operation in Yemen on behalf of a US-based military contractor, called Project Titania. The UK government likely contracted it, exploiting NGOs and spying on populations in the Middle East.

FACEBOOK FINED OVER CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA Facebook was slapped with a 500,000-pound fine (about $660,000) from a British data watchdog for allowing Cambridge Analytica to improperly access user data. The agency said Tuesday that the social media giant “contravened the law by failing to safeguard people’s information.” [HuffPost]

Facebook should be fined billions for data breach, campaigners say: here.

Convicted violent nazi ‘Tommy Robinson’ no ‘free spech martyr’

This video from England says about itself:

UK: Nazi salutes as EDL march through Newcastle

17 May 2014

Around four hundred EDL supporters marched through the streets of Newcastle’s West End flanked by police and the ‘EDL steward team’ Saturday, despite local opposition to the pre-planned event. Some members of the march are seen pulling Nazi salutes.

By Laura Tiernan in Britain:

Far right promotes UK fascist Tommy Robinson as free-speech “martyr”

2 June 2018

English Defence League (EDL) founder Tommy Robinson

‘Tommy Robinson‘ is NOT the real name of that racist. This former member of the neonazi BNP, sentenced for violent crime and later for fraud, is called Stephen Yaxley-Lennon … err … that sounds too Irish, as neonazis hate not only Muslims, Jews, Africans, etc. etc. but Irish people as well. So, he prefers calling himself the more Germanic “Tommy Robinson“.

Recently, ‘Robinson’ launched a racist attack on the victims and survivors of the London Grenfell Tower fire disaster.

This video is called Tommy Robinson Attacks Grenfell Victims – Disgusting!!

The Laura Tiernan article continues:

has been hailed as a free speech martyr by the far-right, after he was jailed on May 25 for contempt of court. He was arrested outside Leeds Crown Court for live-streaming a fascistic rant against “Muslim paedophiles” and “Muslim rapists” during the concluding stage of a child-grooming trial.

Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) and Donald Trump Jr. are among those to have issued statements in Robinson’s defence. Wilders spoke outside the British Embassy at The Hague Tuesday, saying Robinson was “a freedom fighter” whose jailing showed “the authorities are trying to silence us, while Islamists are pampered, protected and defended.”

Alternative for Germany (AfD) MP Petr Bystron described him as a “political prisoner”, telling Breitbart London he would help Robinson apply for asylum in Germany.

Robinson’s stunt was a calculated provocation—his arrest and subsequent jailing a guaranteed outcome.

During more than an hour of live-streamed footage to an estimated 12,000 viewers, Robinson verbally attacked those of Asian appearance as they entered the court, demanding, “Got your prison bag with you?” and “Got any guilt?” “Thirty percent of them are called Mohammed”, he told viewers, “and they are English girls.” He filmed outside the court while on a suspended three-month sentence for a previous contempt of court conviction. On that occasion, he had also filmed during a live criminal trial, at Canterbury Crown Court, attacking defendants as “Muslim paedophiles.”

At his sentencing hearing in May 2017, Judge Norton had warned he would face a custodial sentence, with added time, in the event of any further breach. He explained that Robinson’s conviction was because his actions infringed the right to a fair trial:

“This contempt hearing is not about free speech. This is not about the freedom of the press. This is not about legitimate journalism; this is not about political correctness; this is not about whether one political viewpoint is right or another. It is about justice, and it is about ensuring that a trial can be carried out justly and fairly. It is about ensuring that a jury are not in any way inhibited from carrying out their important function. It is about being innocent until proven guilty.”

Far from Robinson being “victimised,” he received leniency at that hearing. The judge agreed to suspend a custodial sentence based on arguments by Robinson’s defence team that he would face “dangers” in prison.

Fully aware that his subsequent actions outside Leeds Crown Court were illegal, Robinson told viewers while filming, “There is a reporting restriction on this case.” Judge Marson QC imposed a 13-month prison sentence later that day after Robinson pleaded guilty to contempt of court.

Robinson’s livestream during an ongoing trial was an attack on the basic democratic rights of the defendants to the presumption of innocence. Despite his depraved claims to be representing the victims of child grooming, his filming threatened to expose the identities of alleged victims and witnesses, including minors. Leeds Live reporter Stephanie Finnegan saw Robinson filming in front of jurors.

But according to the fascists, it is Robinson whose rights have been violated.

Within minutes of his arrest, far-right supporters in the UK and internationally claimed Robinson was the victim of a political witch-hunt and called for action. The following day, hundreds of far-right supporters, including UK Independence Party (UKIP), Football Lads Alliance and Generation Identity members, protested outside Downing Street. Banners included “Free the truth teller” and “White Lives Matter”, amid Union Jack and St. George flags. A petition to free Robinson has gained more than 500,000 signatures, with a further demonstration planned for June 9.

Writing last Saturday, Zero Edge said Robinson was being targeted by “an Orwellian media blackout—which resulted in several publications deleting their articles from the web covering Robinson’s arrest”.

Temporary reporting restrictions—known as a “postponement order”—were imposed at Robinson’s sentencing hearing to stop the ongoing trial at Leeds Crown Court from being prejudiced. The order was lifted on May 29, after the judge upheld an appeal by Leeds Live and the Independent arguing the media ban had been rendered ineffective by extensive and inaccurate reporting by international news outlets and on social media, including alt-right networks.

The far-right’s “Asian grooming” narrative

The Leeds Crown Court case (R v Akhtar and others) is one of a series of high profile grooming trials seized on by the far-right to promote anti-Islamic and race hatred. On March 7, Britain First leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen were jailed for 18 and 36 weeks respectively over the same Canterbury Crown Court trial Robinson latched onto last May. The pair were convicted of religiously-aggravated harassment after filming repeated confrontations at the homes and workplaces of four men they described as “the Ramsgate migrant rapists.”

In one of three incidents for which she was convicted, Fransen leafleted streets surrounding the former home of Faiz Rahmani while he was remanded in custody awaiting trial for the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl. The leaflets displayed his address and listed the charges against him, in a clear attempt to incite a lynch-mob. Fransen then bashed at the front door and windows where Rahmani’s pregnant former-partner, Kelli Best, lived alone with her two young children. The Britain First leader yelled racist obscenities, demanding those inside show their face. Best was so traumatised that she later miscarried.

The campaign against “Asian grooming” and the racialisation of sex crime was not invented by the fascists. It is a staple of the mainstream media, ushered in by a 2011 front page article published by Rupert Murdoch’s Times that singled out, based on highly selective data, an Asian model of “on-street grooming.”

The Times piece, with its insinuation that Asian sex gangs were being protected by political correctness, was quickly amplified by the tabloids.

Claims of an Asian sex crime wave sweeping England’s north have been repeatedly contested by leading academics and charities. In a 2014 paper, “Grooming and the ‘Asian sex gang predator’: the construction of a racial crime threat”, criminologist Ella Cockbain called out the Times for its use of “spurious statistics.” The 50 Muslims cited by the Times in its initial report formed part of 17 “grooming” cases: “Despite the severity of the offences, 17 cases hardly constitute the alleged ‘tidal wave of offending’, a clear example of the disproportionality of the original threat, a key ingredient for any moral panic.”

As Cockbain explained, “grooming is not a distinct criminal offence. [It] is better understood as a subset of CSE (child sexual exploitation), itself a broad, umbrella-type phenomenon encompassing diverse offences—ranging from rape to sexual activity with a child, to false imprisonment.”

Once this contextualised approach is taken, the racial narrative of the Times falls apart. According to Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) figures cited by FullFact (covering the period of the Times investigation), “Almost 85% of offenders found guilty of sexual activity with a minor in England and Wales in 2011 were white. 3% were black and 4% were Asian and the rest were either listed as ‘other’ or unknown.”

Political censorship

Robinson’s media stunt is an attempt on his part to stake a leading role in an ongoing regroupment of Britain’s far-right that reflects broader international processes. With UKIP on the verge of collapse since the June 2016 Brexit referendum—its platform largely adopted by the Conservatives—Robinson and others are hoping to emulate the rise of the AfD, PVV and France’s National Front (FN).

The rise of such parties has been possible only due to the rottenness of the official left parties …which have enforced brutal social inequality, censorship and war.

FN leader Marine Le Pen claims to represent “the France of the people,” against “the moneyed right, and the moneyed left”, while denouncing “a globalization from below, via mass immigration” …

Robinson has been at a loose end since his resignation from the EDL in 2013. He briefly joined the anti-Islamic extremism Quilliam think-tank that has close state connections (a role for which he reportedly received £2,000 per month), before presiding over an abortive re-launch of the British wing of Pegida in 2016 with Ann Marie Waters. Waters later failed in her bid to become UKIP leader (in June 2017), founding a new party, For Britain, in December. Robinson was employed as a journalist by Canadian alt-right site Rebel News before launching his own news site.

The viral social media campaigns that have followed Robinson’s arrest and jailing must serve as a warning to the working class. These groups do not presently enjoy mass support, but their influence is growing. By November 2017, Britain First had two million Facebook likes, with a surge in support after US President Donald Trump retweeted anti-Muslim videos shared by Fransen. By the end of the year the group had the “second most liked Facebook page in the politics and society category in the UK—after the royal family”, according to anti-fascist think-tank Hope Not Hate.

… Under conditions of a global resurgence of the class struggle, the past year has seen a state-orchestrated suppression of left-wing, socialist and anti-war websites by social media giants Google, Facebook and Twitter. The World Socialist Web Site is leading an international campaign against these efforts as part of the struggle to unite the international working class against the resurgence of nationalism, militarism and war.

The only social force that can oppose the growth of the far-right is the working class. The fight to unite all sections of the working class—black, white and Asian—in opposition to social inequality and war, and for socialism, provides the only genuine answer to the growth of the far-right.

Britain First’s Paul Golding Charged Under The Terrorism Act. [HuffPost UK]

All wolf species, video

This video says about itself:

1 June 2018

Wolves are large, predatory canids once common throughout North America, Europe, Africa and Asia, now living mostly in remote wilderness.

They are the largest living members of the canid family, which also includes foxes and coyotes. Wolves are the ancestors of all domestic dogs.

Wolves live in all kinds of terrain, from desert to tundra. They prefer areas with cover (places to hide such as brush, shrubs, or trees), near water, and near large congregations of prey (herds of deer or caribou, for example).

Wolves primarily eat meat. Wolves will eat non-meat items (such as vegetables), but not often.

As of 2013, there are four species of wolves in the world: the gray wolf (Canis lupus), the red wolf (Canis rufus), Eastern wolf (Canis lycaon) and the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis).

British Trade Union Congress, 150 years

This video from England says about itself:

Salford May Day Parade 2018 ¦ 150 Years Salford Trade Unions Council

Unionists and activists marched the streets of Salford in support of worker’s rights.

By Paula Barker in Britain:

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The core ideals of trade unionism endure from one generation to the next

THE occasion of the TUC’s 150th anniversary gives us the opportunity to step back and reflect on our movement’s past and future.

My own union Unison is a mere 25 years old and it was formed of three unions that did not even exist in 1868. Unison is now a mass public service union with a majority of female members.

The emergence and growth of such a union would have been very hard to imagine for our forebears 150 years ago.

Jeannie Mole is one of the characters from the past who we have been hearing about in this anniversary year.

Mole came to Liverpool in 1879 and set about organising female workers in laundries, sack-mending and rope-making.

These workers were subject to long hours and very poor employment conditions.

What Mole could see, that the male-dominated unions of the time could not, was that these exploited workers were potential union members. She did not accept that there are no-go areas for trade unions and for worker organisation — and neither should we today.

Things have changed dramatically since Mole’s time. The majority of union members are now women. I’m proud that one of Unison’s founding principles is proportionality of representation between women and men.

It is important that we continue to work to ensure that women’s concerns at work are union concerns.

In 1868, public service provision was negligible. There was no NHS, no free universal education, and no welfare state. The development of collective provision to meet social need is a great achievement of our labour movement.

It also meant the development of a large workforce. The public sector that grew after 1945 provided the environment in which Unison’s predecessor unions were able to thrive.

Unison remains primarily a public service union today, but that now means that members work for a huge range of employers — not only local councils, NHS trusts, police services and universities; but multinational companies, small businesses, voluntary organisations and care providers owned by private equity funds.

We must never fall into the trap of thinking that some groups of workers are beyond the reach of trade unionism. Unions don’t make that mistake any more in relation to women — but we need to remain relevant to workers whose jobs have been privatised, and to workers on a variety of casual and agency contracts.

Our movement is not complacent and unions are engaged in organising new groups of workers. High-profile examples include the GMB challenging Uber, and the BFAWU organising strike activity among McDonald’s workers.

It’s right that Unison is investing resources in promoting better employment standards in the privatised social care sector — including through our Care Workers for Change Campaign in north-west England.

The length of our history can sometimes be mistaken for evidence that unions are out-of-date or old-fashioned. But it should be taken instead as evidence of our adaptability and ability to survive through changes in our society and economy. The core ideals of trade unionism — collectivism, solidarity, equality, supporting one another — endure from one generation to the next.

Rodney Bickerstaffe, the first general secretary of Unison and champion of the minimum wage, said of union work: “We do our bit and pass it on.”

Rodney was being too modest about his own achievements — but he was right to suggest we should think of ourselves as being part of a great and enduring movement.

Paula Barker is Unison regional convener in the North West.

This video from Britain says about itself:

#TUC150: Building our movement for the next 150 years

3 October 2017

In 2018, we’ll be marking the TUC’s 150th anniversary. It’s an opportunity to celebrate our proud history. But even more importantly, it’s a chance for us to reach out to a new generation and get ready for the challenges of the next 150 years. Join us!

Providing solidarity since 1868. LYNN COLLINS looks at the history of the building which housed the the first TUC Congress 150 years ago: here.

Manchester’s proud history of radicalism and standing against injustice. The birthplace of the TUC has defined itself as a city where the voice of the voiceless can be heard, writes ANDY BURNHAM.

The trade union movement needs to start shifting gears into action: here.

THIS year is not only the TUC’s 150th anniversary but it is also the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Fire Brigades Union. Our centenary will be marked at our centenary annual conference in Brighton in June with a more expansive celebration in October: here.

AS SOME of the trade union movement’s most effective organisers and activists argue in today’s Morning Star, marking the TUC 150th anniversary this year cannot just consist of celebrating our achievements over that century and a half: here.

Dead Puerto Ricans less important than Roseanne Barr?

This video from the USA says about itself:

Roseanne Got 20x More Coverage Than Bombshell Report On Hurricane Deaths

1 June 2018

On Tuesday, Harvard researchers published a study estimating that approximately 5,000 deaths can be linked to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The same day, ABC canceled Roseanne Barr’s eponymous show Roseanne after Barr sent a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, an adviser to former President Barack Obama. Cable news covered Barr’s tweet and her show’s cancellation 16 times as much as the deaths of U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico.

Read more here.

A social crime and cover-up exposed. Five thousand deaths in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria: here.

US media turns blind eye to the death of 5,000 Puerto Ricans: here.

Canadian-American comedian Samantha Bee has come under fire from Trump administration figures and right-wing pundits after making a vulgar reference Wednesday to Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, on her late-night TBS program, “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.” Donald Trump and various Fox News commentators immediately demanded that Bee be fired. The attack on Bee comes in the immediate wake of the cancellation of Roseanne Barr’s “Roseanne” television series after the actress-comedian posted a racist tweet. Trump and company claimed a “liberal double standard” was allowing Bee to keep her show: here.