British government supports Saudi genocidal war on Yemen


This September 2016 video says about itself:

Yemen’s Children are Starving

Yemen is on the brink of famine. BBC Arabic reveals exclusive footage of the growing humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where 2 million people are malnourished and over 325,000 children are at risk of starvation.

“If you don’t die from an airstrike you die from being ill or starvation. And the hardest way to die is from starvation”, laments Dr Ashwaq Muharram. The war in Yemen has pushed a country which traditionally suffers from a shortage of food to the brink.

The city of Hodeida was once prosperous, but airstrikes and conflict on the ground have isolated people in the surrounding villages and forced the closure of hundreds of hospitals. Furthermore, the Saudi-led coalition has blockaded Yemen’s ports … resulting in a shortage of supplies, medicine and fuel.

Without access to food or healthcare, millions are at risk. Children are those most affected. “I never imagined I would ever see a child like this in Yemen. It scares me that this may be the beginning of famine”, says Dr. Muharram. As she watches over her emaciated son, one mother cries, “Although he’s alive it’s as though he’s no longer here.” The extent of this looming disaster is yet to be seen, but what is clear is that if the situation continues, Yemen could lose an entire generation.

By Barry Mason in Britain:

Report exposes UK role in Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen

21 May 2018

Thousands of UK personnel are intimately involved in maintaining the military war machine of Saudi Arabia, enabling it to carry out its one-sided slaughter in Yemen.

A recent report, “UK Personnel Supporting the Saudi Armed Forces–Risk, Knowledge and Accountability”, by researchers Mike Lewis and Katherine Templar, is part of a Brits Abroad study funded by the Joseph Rowntree Trust.

The Saudi Arabian-led war against the Middle East’s poorest country is now in its fourth year. The Saudi regime launched the war in March 2015 to reinstall President Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi who had been driven from power by Houthi rebels. Hadi is currently in exile in Riyadh, apparently under house arrest.

The US, UK and other western countries have supported the Saudi intervention. Like Saudi Arabia, they regard the war against the Houthis as a proxy conflict with Iran.

According to the UN, more than 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since the Saudis launched their invasion in March 2015, and more than 85,000 people have been displaced since January this year.

Among the crimes carried out was the killing by Saudi planes of over 30 people at a wedding in April this year, with twice as many suffering horrific wounds. In October 2016, around 150 were killed and more than 500 injured when Saudi planes bombed a funeral in Sana’a, the Yemeni capital.

The UK has a decades long program for supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia. According to the report, 50 percent of all UK weapons and military equipment exports between 2013 to 2017 went to Saudi Arabia. In the period between 2007 and 2011 it was just over a quarter. Most materiel went to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF), with the UK supplying nearly half its 324 Combat aircraft, along with spare parts and ammunition.

According to a Sky News report in March, 50 open licences to supply weapons to Saudi Arabia were issued for the period July 2016 to September 2017—up by a third on the previous 15 months and coinciding with Theresa May’s premiership. Open licences allow an uncapped number of weapons to be sent over a period of five years. Only then can the value of the licence be revealed, but the government is under no obligation to publish the figures.

The grand total of UK arms licences since the invasion in Yemen in March 2015 is more than $6.2 billion for aircraft, helicopters, drones, bombs and missiles, according to government figures.

Lewis and Templar’s report explains: “Under a sequence of formal agreements between the UK and Saudi governments since 1973, the UK Ministry of Defence and its contractors supply not only military ‘hardware’, but also human ‘software.’ Around 7,000 individuals—private employees, British civil servants and seconded Royal Air Force personnel—are present in Saudi Arabia to advise, train, service and manage British-supplied combat aircraft and other military equipment.”

The UK government claims these personnel are not involved directly in targeting, loading weaponry or in the planning of operational sorties. But confidential agreements signed between the UK government and the RSAF, which are not to be released to the public till 2027, outline the number of personnel and functions they undertake.

The UK-Saudi Al Yamamah agreement, a record arms deal signed in 1986 which included the supply and support of Tornado fighter-bombers, is still ongoing. The agreement is secret, but the report’s authors were able to see a batch of Downing Street papers that were filed in the National Archive at Kew revealing some details.

Under the agreement the “United Kingdom civilian and military personnel will remain available in Saudi Arabia for preparation, including arming and support, of the [Tornado fighter-bomber] aircraft during an armed conflict…”

Lewis and Templar interviewed technicians, managers and officials of all ranks over two years and their report notes the critical role of UK personnel in the Saudi war machine:

“A mix of company employees and seconded RAF personnel have continued to be responsible for maintaining the weapons systems of all Saudi Tornado IDS fighter-bombers, a backbone of the Yemen air war… work as aircraft armourers and weapons supervisors for the UK-supplied Typhoon fighters deployed at the main operating bases for Saudi Yemen operations, and provided deeper-level maintenance for Yemen-deployed combat aircraft.”

UK personnel in Saudi Arabia have been placed at physical or legal risk, including from scud missiles and unexploded ordnance. Some of those who have tried to whistle-blow over possible war crimes have been harassed and have not been afforded protection under UK law.

The report unearthed evidence that some of the UK personnel are involved in the handling of cluster bombs.

Lewis and Templar also found that the UK government has used private companies to “work on behalf of the British state but with Saudi masters; without the legal protections accorded to UK civil servants or military personnel; and without any guidance or protocols for reporting risks of IHL (International Humanitarian Law) violations to the UK government, or to their employers… Whitehall’s limited oversight of their activities is a deliberately constructed choice.”

The British government singled out arms exports as a key priority post-Brexit, with former defence secretary Michael Fallon promising that the UK would “spread its wings across the world.”

Britain’s arms trade with Saudi Arabia is enormously unpopular at home, with only 6 percent of the British public supporting it according to a recent poll. A legal bid to challenge the UK’s arms exports was financed by a crowd fund appeal.

Earlier this month, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) won its Court of Appeal bid to overturn last year’s High Court judgement that the export of arms from the UK to Saudi Arabia was lawful, despite widespread concern the trade was in breach of international humanitarian law. CAAT also won the right to challenge the closed verdict, where judges had heard evidence from the government in secret.

The court case revealed that the government went ahead with the sales despite its export policy chief telling then business secretary, Sajid Javid, “My gut tells me we should suspend [weapons exports to the country].”

The UK has long-standing interests in Yemen. British troops first occupied the port of Aden in present day Yemen in 1839 and it soon became important as a coaling station for British warships. From 1937 the port of Aden and the surrounding protectorate became a British colony. In 1934 Britain aided Saudi Arabia when it annexed Asir, then part of Yemen. Britain enforced a treaty to give Saudi Arabia a 20-year lease on the territory which remains a part of Saudi Arabia to this day.

In 1962, following the death of King Ahmad of Yemen, Arab nationalist army officers took power and proclaimed a republic. Royalists backed by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Britain began an insurgency to restore the monarchy.

A dirty war ensued, with Britain initially supplying Jordan with fighter jets to carry out airstrikes in Yemen and embedding military advisers with its key allies. From March 1963, Britain supplied weaponry directly to the Royalist forces. At the same time, MI6 along with SAS founder David Stirling set up a British force to work with the insurgents. To mask British involvement, SAS and paratrooper forces were given temporary leave and were paid over £10,000 a year (equivalent to £197,000 today) by a Saudi prince.

In 1964 under the Labour government of Harold Wilson, covert bombing of Yemeni targets by the RAF began. Airworks Services was set up as a British company to train Saudi pilots.

Britain was eventually driven out of Aden in November 1967.

Today, driven by intractable crisis and the further erosion of its global standing, Britain is seeking to re-establish its influence in Yemen and across the Middle East as part of a new carve-up by the imperialist powers.

The author also recommends:

US special forces operations in Yemen presage wider regional war
[5 March 2018]

High Court approves UK government’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia
[20 July 2018]

Advertisements

British Conservative weekly praises Hitler’s Wehrmacht


This 2011 video says about itself:

War crimes of the WehrmachtHannes Heer

Winner of the prestigious peace award at the Film festival of the independent film in Osnabrück Germany, this documentary investigates the historically very sensitive Nazi raid in the Dutch village of Putten in 1944 that left 700 villagers dead and murdered. After WWII only two of the 1000 involved German soldiers of the infamous second pantzer division had been trialed or convicted. Even today German bureaucracy denies that severe war crimes had taken place in Putten. On the threshold of oblivion investigates the whereabouts of some of the absolved perpetrators and director Ton Verheul tries to interview them.

During Hitler’s 1940-1945 occupation of the Netherlands, German military vehicles rode in the Netherlands. They had signs WH (Wehrmacht Heer=army), WL (Wehrmacht Luftwaffe=air force) or WM (Wehrmacht Marine=navy). Dutch people who did not like the occupation interpreted the abbreviations as WH=Wij Halen (we steal); WL=Wij Liegen (we lie) and WM=Wij Moorden=we murder.

From the Jewish Telegraph Agency:

British Columnist Calls Nazi Troops The Heroes Of D-Day

17 May 2018

A far-right race baiter who works as a columnist for a respected weekly British current affairs magazine

The JTA aricle does not name the magazine. It is The Spectator, closely connected to the governing British Conservative Party.

wrote a piece sympathizing with the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.

In the column by Taki Theodoracopulos, a Greek writer who lives in London and New York, the author asks readers to feel sorry for the 76,000 Germans, reserve troops who had “not trained in combat,” as they fought against 150,000 British, American and Canadian troops on Normandy Beach on D-Day.

“It might sound strange me writing … from a German perspective, but fair’s fair. I asked my companions which side they’d choose, and all of them agreed that the attacking forces had a better chance of survival than the defenders”, he wrote.

Taki runs his own website publication, Taki’s Magazine, described as a libertarian

‘Libertarian’ used to mean exclusively ‘anarchist’; until the term was stolen by right-wingers who want ‘liberty’ only for the 1% richest people.

webzine of “politics and culture” but which often dabbles in sympathy for the far right. In 1998 he accused Jews of “trafficking in the Holcoaust”, saying their “constant harping on about the Germans seems to be motivated by profit.”

The headline over his D-Day article changed during the day. The first headline read: “In praise of Wehrmacht: The real story of D-Day is the heroism of the German soldiers who were vastly outnumbered but fought nobly and to the death.”

British Conservative Windrush scandal continues


1948 Empire Windrush ship passengers

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Friday, May 18, 2018

Still no justice for the Windrush generation

The continuing plight of whole generations has triggered personal memories of the shameful episodes after their arrival

When the steamship Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury 70 years ago, the West Indians on board had answered adverts placed in West Indian newspapers for jobs in British hospitals, for London Transport and other local public transport companies and several more similar institutions.

They came to help Britain out of its immediate post-war difficulties with a real shortage of workers and had expected a warm welcome.

In fact the welcome Britain actually offered was as cold and unwelcoming as they found the British climate.

As we know the treatment we gave what become known as the Windrush generation was atrocious then and we know that Theresa May, the departed Amber Rudd and the rest of the racist Tory gang have made it just as bad today.

Today Notting Hill Gate is one of the poshest places to live in London where properties sell for multi-million pound prices to Hollywood stars, Russian oligarchs and anyone else with a spare five million-plus looking for a nice address in London.

Sixty years ago, in 1958, it was much less desirable. Poor working-class housing and many slum streets made it a place where some of London’s new black citizens who arrived on the Empire Windrush and other ships since were forced into sub-standard housing.

I lived just a few miles away in Harlesden. I had grown up among many houses with landlords’ signs like — No Blacks! No Dogs! all over north-west London. I had learnt what racism was like.

This video from Britain says about itself:

‘No Blacks, no Irish, no dogs’

20 January 2017

Photographer Charlie Phillips remembers arriving in England in 1956. In Notting Hill he faced Oswald Mosley, race riots and curfews – but there was also a white woman who protected him.

The image shows children on Lancaster Road in Notting Hill in 1962. © Charlie Phillips

From ‘Private Passions’ on BBC Radio 3.

The Peter Frost article continues:

Oswald Mosley had briefly returned to Britain and was doing what he could to stir up racial hatred. He would fight the 1959 general election in Kensington North which covered Notting Hill.

His son Max — yes that Max Mosley — served as an election agent for his father’s Union Movement campaign.

I was just 12 in the summer of 1958 and late one night I was awakened from my sleep by an incredible noise.

A gang of people were attacking a house just two doors away from mine. They had flaming torches and they were intent on burning down the only house in our street occupied by a West Indian family.

Their racist taunts and abuse made their motives very clear.

This horrendous gang was made up of local Teddy boys, members of Mosley’s Union Movement and White Defence League people who were active in the area and who held street meetings in Harlesden.

Their clear inspiration were the Klu Klux Klan actions they had seen reported from US. We’d all seen the burning crosses on the cinema newsreels.

Our only black neighbours were driven out and their house gutted and I never saw my first black mate Winston again although I still remember his demon bowling in our cricket matches against the chalked-up wicket on the bombsite wall.

Just up the road, in Notting Hill itself, violence and riots were making the headlines. The main riot started on Friday August 29 when a gang of white youths attacked a Swedish woman, Majbritt Morrison, who had a Jamaican husband, Raymond.

Majbritt and her husband were attacked by a gang of white Teddy Boys at Latimer Road tube station.

They had shouted racial insults at the couple and but rather than be intimidated Majbritt had given as good as she got. The next night, the same youths came across her again. This time they pelted her with bottles and stones. One hit her with an iron bar. At last the police arrived and she was escorted home.

That same night a mob of 300 to 400 white people, including Mosley’s bully boys, some still in black shirts, Teddy Boys and other racists, attacked the houses of West Indian residents in a local street, Bramley Road.

The disturbances, rioting and attacks continued every night for some days, spreading across the area. The police arrested over 140 people during the two weeks of the disturbances. Some were white youths but a third were black people defending their homes and communities.

Of the 108 people charged with violent crimes, 72 were white and 36 were black. Predictably both the police and the government declared the violence had no racial content. In reality it was one of the most shameful times in Britain’s history of race relations.

One good thing came out of the riots — the Notting Hill Carnival. Claudia Jones, a Trinidad-born US communist, had been expelled from the US and come to London to live.

Jones bought together members of the black British community, as well as various international leaders including Cheddi Jagan of British Guyana, Norman Manley of Jamaica and Eric Williams of Trinidad and Tobago.

As a result, Jones identified the need to “wash the taste of Notting Hill… out of our mouths.” She suggested that the British black community should have its own Caribbean carnival.

The first was held in St Pancras town hall in January 1959. Jazz guitarist Fitzroy Coleman and singer Cleo Laine performed and the event was televised nationally by the BBC.

Funds raised from the event were used to pay the court fees and fines of young black men convicted in the riots.

Today Notting Hill is far more famous for its huge street carnival than for those obscene racist riots in that hot summer of 1958.

But the insulting way we treated the Windrush generation West Indians still continues.

Former home secretary Rudd fell on her sword to save the reputation of Prime Minister May who was herself the longest serving home secretary since the second world war.

Both of them supported a tough stance on setting immigration targets from the West Indies and other Commonwealth nations, particularly those with black populations. Both May and Rudd lied about it.

May has survived so far but only because it seems no other Tory wants the poisoned chalice that is her job.

She and other top Tories are generous with their cheap apologies for past racist actions but not much is happening to make up for the repatriations, imprisonments, loss of jobs and other humiliations that we have heaped on the Windrush generation.

Racism it seems is still one of the Tory’s top tactics.

London Grenfell disaster, Conservative government whitewash


This video from Britain says bout itself:

Grenfell Tower: Minute By Minute Documentary

28 March 2018

Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire share their personal accounts of the blaze that killed 72 people, revealing the decisions that saved their lives, some of which were in defiance of official advice, and remembering the friends, neighbours and loved ones who did not make it out of the building.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Friday, May 18, 2018

Grenfell report ‘a betrayal’ of victims, say Labour MPs

THE GOVERNMENT was forced into an embarrassing U-turn today after Grenfell justice campaigners branded a review into the circumstances surrounding the devastating fire a “betrayal.”

Labour MPs led a furious backlash into Dame Judith Hackitt’s report on reforming building regulations in the wake of the June 14 disaster that left at least 71 people dead as it failed to recommend banning combustible cladding and “desktop studies” — approving the use of materials without real-life safety tests.

Housing and Communities Secretary James Brokenshire announced hours after the review was published that they would consult on banning combustible materials.

But MPs, campaigners from Grenfell United, the Local Government Association, Shelter housing charity and the Equality and Human Rights Commission said there was no need to consult over it, with Kensington Labour MP Emma Dent Coad saying the ban on combustible cladding was an “absolute 100 per cent no-brainer.”

Labour MP and Grenfell campaigner David Lammy branded Ms Hackitt’s report “a betrayal and a whitewash.”

He added: “It is unthinkable and unacceptable that so many people can die in a disaster like Grenfell and one year on flammable cladding has not been banned.

“I will continue to stand with the Grenfell families and will continue to call for an outright ban on any combustible materials.”

And Ms Dent Coad told BBC Radio 4’s World At One: “I don’t understand what they are consulting upon — are they going to say: ‘Would you like combustible cladding around your building or not?’

“… This is not an abstract issue. It is impacting on people’s mental health all over the country, people are not able to sleep because they have cladding and they are not sure whether it is safe, they have got fire marshals outside their doors.

“They need reassurance now and the government must act.”

Shelter chief executive officer Polly Neate said the charity was “deeply concerned” that less than 4 per cent of 189 social housing blocks with Grenfell-style cladding have had the material entirely removed.

Grenfell United chairman Shahin Sadafi said that the campaign group had specifically asked Ms Hackitt to ban combustible cladding at a meeting.

He added: “We are disappointed and saddened that she didn’t listen to us and she didn’t listen to other experts.

The cladding on the Grenfell Tower was deemed to be limited combustibility, but it cost 72 lives. It must be banned.

“We need to hear from government a clear promise that these dangerous materials will never be used on homes again.”

Mr Brokenshire said new laws would be introduced that delivered “meaningful and lasting” change to the building safety system.

Shadow housing secretary John Healey said it “beggars belief” that the report “continues to give a green light” to combustible materials on high-rise blocks.

He added: “I say to the Secretary of State: Don’t consult on it — do it.”

In her review, Ms Hackitt found that indifference and ignorance had led to a “race to the bottom” in building safety practices and set out a series of proposals to make high-rise flats safer to live in.

She said a ban would “not address the root causes” of the “broken system” of building regulations.

But, responding to criticism of her report, she said she was open to seeing combustible cladding banned in the future.

Ms Hackitt, who told reporters she was “not an expert on Grenfell”, called for tougher penalties for those who breach regulations, arguing that the cladding on the tower would not have got through her proposed system.

Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety has evoked widespread outrage for failing to recommend that the type of highly flammable cladding installed on Grenfell Tower—and many other public and private buildings around the UK—should be banned: here.

British Conservatives forced to concede on Grenfell Tower disaster


Burnt out Grenfell Tower in Kensington, London, England

By Peter Lazenby in London, England:

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Grenfell inquiry ‘panel’ confirmed by Theresa May in U-turn

THERESA MAY today caved in to public and political pressure by agreeing to appoint a panel to oversee the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire.

Two people will “support” chairman Judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick for phase two of his investigation, which starts hearing evidence this month.

The Prime Minister’s U-turn came after intense pressure from bereaved family members and a 156,000-strong petition.

Survivors’ groups said the inquiry risks being a whitewash without independent oversight.

Grenfell United spokesman Adel Chaoui, who lost four relatives in the inferno and co-led the petition, said survivors were “relieved,” but should not have had to campaign for it.

The petition has also guaranteed a parliamentary debate. It will take place on Monday, and Labour had warned that a vote would be forced on the issue if Ms May refuses to act.

Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said: “The decision to finally grant a panel in the Grenfell inquiry is testimony to the campaign waged by the bereaved families and the survivors — and to the overwhelming public support they attracted.

“But after everything they have been through, the bereaved families and the survivors should never have had to wage this campaign.

“The demand for a panel was always about ensuring the trust of the community in the inquiry and it should have been delivered from the start.

“For the Grenfell inquiry to deliver truth and justice, it must always have the full confidence of the bereaved families and survivors and it is essential that, going forward, all their other demands are properly met.”

According to official figures, the west London tower block fire in June last year killed at least 80 people.