European Union guilty in refugees’ drowning, United Nations say


This 20 April 2015 video says about itself:

More migrants drown in latest shipwreck

The calls for help from the middle of the Mediterranean continued on Monday after another boat filled with migrants ran aground off Greece.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

UN attacks ‘callous’ EU over sea tragedy

Tuesday 21st April 2015

UNITED NATIONS high commissioner for human rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein urged European Union governments yesterday to take a new and “less callous” approach to the surge of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

Mr Hussein said in Geneva that recent deaths in the Mediterranean were “the result of a continuing failure of governance accompanied by a monumental failure of compassion.”

He called for the creation of a robust and well-financed European search-and-rescue effort and urged the international community to set up an independent inquiry.

The UN high commissioner said that Europe was turning its back on some of the world’s most vulnerable migrants and ran the risk of turning the Mediterranean into “a vast cemetery.”

His passion and humanity contrasted with the tired repetition of past failures by EU border surveillance agency Frontex head Fabrice Leggeri, who insisted that recent tragedies involving migrants trying to enter Europe showed the continent must do more to stop economic migration.

EU leaders will hold an emergency summit on Thursday to address the crisis in the Mediterranean.

The bloc’s president Donald Tusk made the announcement yesterday after days of waffling and indecision on how to tackle the rapidly worsening tragedy of hundreds of migrants drowning during desperate attempts to reach Europe’s shores.

The situation worsened further yesterday, with rescue crews still searching for survivors and bodies while hundreds more migrants took to the sea.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who has been to the fore in demanding an end to seach-and-rescue operations as a supposed “pull factor” for refugees, welcomed the summit.

He said: “I think what we need is a comprehensive plan that does involve elements of search and rescue but, crucially, we have got to do more to deal with the problems in the countries from which these people are coming.”

That in itself sounds OK, Mr Cameron. However, you forgot to mention that these ‘problems in the countries from which these people are coming‘ are caused to a very large extent by the warmongering by your government and governments like yours, in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Mali etc.

DEATH TOLL FOR MEDITERRANEAN DISASTER COULD HIT 900: Only 28 survivors have been found thus far. The captain and a crew member have been arrested for “multiple homicide.” [NYT]

THE appalling death of up to 950 people fleeing the war-torn regions of the Middle East and North Africa has prompted the political representatives of European capitalism to rush to Luxembourg for an emergency meeting to discuss this ‘humanitarian’ crisis. Most of them support the ‘Australian solution’ – that the boats should be turned back at gunpoint as soon as they set sail, and to hell with the poor, the oppressed and the hungry: here.

European Union plans more aggressive measures against refugees: here.

Blood on their hands: Libya’s boat refugees and “humanitarian” imperialism: here.

‘British voters, stop Cameron’s warmongering on Syria’


This video from the British parliament says about itself:

30 August 2013

Cameron loses crucial vote on military intervention in Syria

David Cameron lost a government motion on possible intervention in Syria by 272 votes to 285. This vote came after an amendment, tabled by Labour, also failed to pass. The amendment called for ‘compelling evidence’ that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons. Cameron confirmed that the vote rules out British involvement in military action in Syria.

By Peter Ford in daily The Guardian in Britain:

Cameron’s unthinking policy on Syria has fuelled the rise of British jihadism

The current focus on domestic politics and the election shouldn’t blind voters to the fact that this prime minister has been a foreign policy disaster

Tuesday 7 April 2015 16.25 BST

Foreign policy is virtually absent from the election campaign. But if David Cameron had had his way, we could have been embroiled by now in yet another Middle East war – more than we are already. As it is, his Syria policy has still backfired, contributing to the rise of jihadism in our own back yard.

Cameron should not be let off the hook for supporting the armed opposition in Syria and being ready to start bombing Syrian government forces in 2013 after the Syrians had apparently used chemical weapons. The planes were ready to take off from Cyprus. It was only parliament, in a historic and too soon forgotten vote, which stopped this recklessness in its tracks. True, Syria subsequently disarmed itself of chemical weapons, but this was after the climbdown on bombing had shown western public opinion had no appetite for another war of choice. So it was no thanks to Cameron’s warmongering; rather, it was a result of Russian pressure.

True also, Britain has gone on to join bombing operations against Isis. But it is one thing to bomb a rabble collection of fighters, and another to bomb a regular army with an anti-aircraft capability. And what was Cameron thinking – that decimating the Syrian army would make life harder for the Islamists, who are palpably the bigger and more atrocious threat?

If Cameron had had his way, the jihadists could be in control of Damascus by now. Where is the accountability? William Hague took the fall for the embarrassing failure with parliament – after a decent interval he was removed from the Foreign Office. But Cameron is the Teflon man here. Having got away with bombing Libya (with barely a thought for the poor Libyans, whose country is now a tragic mess) he must have arrogantly thought that Syria would make a nice encore.

This is all the more deplorable because Cameron’s unthinking policy on Syria can only have fuelled the rise of support for jihadism among British Muslim youth. To call for the overthrow of the secular Syrian government, to demonise it out of all proportion (and remember, this is the same President Assad who was having tea with the Queen in 2006), to predict its imminent fall, as Cameron and Hague were doing in 2012 and 2013 – and then to wail as though it was nothing to do with them when British Muslims set off to help hasten said overthrow – is inconsistent and nonsensical.

If we have seen a rise in the terrorist threat in Britain in recent years, Cameron must be held to account for his share in creating the conditions in which it has happened. I would be surprised if the security services had not warned him of this only-too-predictable turn of events. Presumably he ignored them.

Since the debacle in parliament we have sung small on Syria. Even Cameron could belatedly see his gung–ho policy was a tar baby. Now we have a non-policy of saying nothing, shovelling aid at the humanitarian situation and tagging along on the Americans’ coat-tails. Yet to this day our official position remains that Assad must go and the opposition should be supported – as though there was a significant non-Islamist opposition today.

There may have been a significant non-Islamist opposition in the early days, before the withering of the Arab spring. But the Syrian “revolution” was quickly and predictably sidetracked and deformed by the much more powerful Islamists. And it’s no good claiming our support is “nonlethal”: this is still aiding and abetting. We also continue to support sanctions against Syria, even though sanctions, as usual, do little harm to the regime they are directed at. Indeed, they have done immense harm to the Syrian economy, with consequent humanitarian suffering. If we want to help Syrians, it would be a good start to stop making their situation worse.

At the moment we are on the one hand arsonists, causing the situation to deteriorate by indirectly giving succour and encouragement to the Islamists and hampering Syrian government efforts to rebuild in pacified areas and destroying Syrian jobs. On the other hand, we are the firemen hosing taxpayers’ aid money on to a humanitarian disaster that we are helping fuel.

Far from symbolising loss of spine, the parliamentary vote against military intervention in Syria was a perfect instance of how Britain can still provide a moral lead to the world without “punching its weight” militarily. It is no accident that the US Congress drew in its own bellicose horns after the historic vote in Westminster, where 30 brave Conservative rebels joined forces with Labour and others. Obama appeared relieved to be off the hook.

We will need to spend more on defence – more billions than we do already – if we have a government that is going to get us into reckless scrapes. And this is the point about David Cameron: it’s no good having a strong economy and a sound NHS if all this is going to be put at risk by a leader who bases his foreign, defence and internal security policies on little save arrogance, ignorance and wishful thinking.

Peter Ford, former [British] envoy to Damascus, says unthinking policy on Syria has encouraged rise in jihadism among young British Muslims: here.

David Cameron forcing militarist propaganda down British five-year-olds’ throats


This video from Britain says about itself:

The British Armed Forces: Propaganda in the classroom?

2 March 2015

A critical review of The British Armed Forces, a “learning resource” produced by the UK government and sent to schools. Read a full analysis here.

By Luke James in Britain:

PM ‘forcing’ pro-military propaganda into schools

Tuesday 3rd March 2015

PEACE campaigners accused the Prime Minister yesterday of forcing teachers to push poor-quality “military propaganda” in school for children as young as five.

Activists published a scathing assessment of the British Armed Forces Learning Resource, which features a smiling squaddie and a pilot giving a thumbs-up on the front page of the document.

Launched by the Tory PM’s office last September, it has been promoted to all English schools by the government.

The lesson plans are described as an “immersive resource” designed to “educate children about the work of the UK armed forces” in history, English or citizenship classes for children aged between five and 16.

But an analysis of the Downing Street scheme by Forces Watch and the Quakers blasted it as a “politically driven” attempt to promote military values in schools.

“We consider that the document amounts to political interference in children’s education and that the Department ofEducation is failing in its legal duty to safeguard education,” said Forces Watch spokesman Owen Everett.

The groups claimed that the resource was penned by former military personnel in a month and that not a single teacher was involved in its production.

According to their report, that is reflected in the “largely one-sided” representation of controversial topics.

“Many of the questions that it asks are introduced in a leading way and the material that would be required to explore them fully is not provided,” the report says.

The Quakers and Forces Watch also raised concerns over the “uncritical history of British involvement in war.”

The Star asked the Department for Education for a comment but did not receive one.

Former Citizenship Foundation director Don Rowe, who contributed to the critique, described the document as “demonstrably biased.”

Calling for its withdrawal yesterday, he said: “This is the kind of resource one gets in countries with less-than-democratic structures where civic education is used by governments to manipulate citizens into an uncritical attitude towards the state.”

David Cameron booed and heckled by pensioners over NHS reforms: here.

DAVID CAMERON was booed by pensioners yesterday after he tried to dodge their questions at an Age UK summit. The Tory PM was repeatedly heckled as he refused to give a straight answer to questions about the future of the health service: here.

CIA torture and Britain, update


This video from the United States Senate says about itself:

Feinstein: CIA torture techniques far more brutal than approved (FULL SPEECH)

9 December 2014

Senator Dianne Feinstein called the practices detailed in the declassified report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation program a “stain on our values and on our history.”

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Cameron urged to honour 2010 torture inquiry pledge

Tuesday 23rd December 2014

Human rights groups yesterday urged David Cameron to honour his 2010 pledge to hold an independent, judge-led inquiry into allegations of British complicity in the US torture and rendition programme.

In a letter sent to Downing Street, the organisations argue that the publication of a damning report by the Senate select committee on intelligence earlier this month has highlighted not only the horrors of the CIA’s torture programme, but also “the UK’s failure as a country to put our own house in order.”

In December 2013 the government reneged on its pledge of an independent, judge-led inquiry and announced that the task would instead be passed to the Parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC).

The NGOs have previously said that they were “deeply disappointed” by this decision, as the ISC “has neither the powers nor the independence necessary to get to the truth.”

Executive director of legal action charity Reprieve Clare Algar said: “The Senate’s report on CIA torture has exposed the horrors of the programme. Yet we have still not had a clear answer on the involvement of the UK government in this shameful episode. That is why we need a fully independent inquiry, with the powers it needs to get to the truth.

“Sadly, the proposed ISC inquiry — as the Prime Minister once said himself — is not up to the job. Four years ago, the government promised an independent, judge-led inquiry; one year ago, it U-turned on that promise. We are urging the Prime Minister to think again, and honour his original promise.”

The letter is signed by the AIRE Centre, Amnesty International UK, Cage, Freedom from Torture, Justice, Liberty, Redress, Reprieve and Rights Watch UK.

Illegal fox hunting in Britain


This video from Yellowstone Park in the USA says about itself:

Smart red fox – Hunting under snow in an incredible way

A red fox pinpoints field mice buried deep beneath the snow, using his sensitive hearing and the magnetic field of the North Pole to plot his trajectory.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Kills disguised as accidents mock the law

Friday 28th November 2014

Fox hunting is illegal in Britain but weak application of the law and loopholes in the legislation allow many hunts to literally get away with murder, writes PETER FROST

Ten years ago last week the Labour government passed a law to stop the cruelty of fox hunting and indeed all hunting with dogs.

Ten years on and after nearly 527 people have been prosecuted under the act, including employees of Prime Minister David Cameron’s old hunt, the cruel and bloody slaughter still goes on.

Members of the local Oxfordshire hunt with which Cameron used to ride were convicted of hunting foxes illegally. The hunt numbers among its supporters Rebekah Brooks and Jeremy Clarkson.

Hunters Richard Sumner, 68, and Julian Barnfield, 49, of the Heythrop Hunt each pleaded guilty at Oxford magistrates’ court to four charges of unlawfully hunting a wild fox with dogs.

The same hunt also pleaded guilty to the same four charges of intentionally hunting a fox with dogs on land in the Cotswolds.

The excuse of accidentally killing a fox is widespread. Thousands of hunters are escaping prosecution by claiming that kills are accidental.

They have even written in an accidental hunt kill into the BBC Radio Four soap The Archers, normally good propaganda for the Tory hunting ’n’ shooting lobby.

There are just as many fox hunts — over 300 — in Britain as there were when the ban was put in place and foxes, hares and deer are still torn apart in the name of country sports.

Despite promises by Cameron, himself a hunter, before the last election that there would be a free vote for MPs to test continuing support for the act, there has been no parliamentary motion since it received royal assent on November 18 2004.

Cameron is getting worried as Ukip is moving in on the hunting community. Nigel Farage never fails to get his picture taken with the local hunt when the occasion arises. Add to that that many of Cameron’s otherwise loyal MPs are actually opposed to the bloody slaughter of the hunt.

Meanwhile 10 years on animal welfare campaigners are demanding that these wildlife killers should face prison sentences.

The League Against Cruel Sports has called for a strengthening of the law to close what it believes are loopholes in the legislation. The maximum penalty should rise from a £5,000 fine to six months in prison, it urges.

The league’s report points out that polling last year showed that 80 per cent of people in Britain want fox hunting to remain illegal and is now calling for an extension of the act to include a prohibition on the use of dogs below ground where the worst cruelty occurs in hunting.

Not only are wild foxes and badgers pursued underground with limited opportunity to escape but the practice is also cruel to the hunting dogs.

The existing act permits a maximum of two dogs to flush a fox or other quarry towards someone who will shoot it.

The league also calls for a new clause to prevent the killing of wild mammals during a drag or trail hunt.

As I have said, the hunts normally claim these are just unfortunate accidents although the number of kills is large. Many packs of hounds use drag hunts and following trails as a cover for illegal hunting of live foxes.

Maximum penalties need to increase dramatically. Only prison sentences and higher fines will convince these hunters to obey the law.

Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, told us: “The Hunting Act has proven to be an effective and popular piece of legislation, with a higher number of convictions than similar wildlife laws. Public support for the prohibition of hunting has always been high, but this has also increased substantially over the past 10n years.

“Yet, since its introduction, the act has been the target of considerable attack from the pro-hunt lobby, which has waged an ongoing and concerted campaign of disinformation to publicly discredit the legislation and promote their campaign for repeal.

“The problem is not with the law. It’s with those that flout it. It is time to now build on the successes of first 10 years and strengthen the Hunting Act to ensure the spirit of the act is fulfilled.”

Defra, the department responsible for animal welfare legislation, does not rule out a vote before the next election. A spokesperson said: “We will bring forward a motion on a free vote enabling the House of Commons to express its view on the repeal of the Hunting Act, when parliamentary time allows.”

The hunt season is now getting into full swing. The biggest day for hunting is Boxing Day, less than a month away. There is no better time to stop the murder in our green and pleasant land and bring peace, harmony and a genuine ban on hunting.

Cameron ‘bagged a couple of pigeons’ with 12 bore shotgun, frustrated he couldn’t go deer stalking as PM: here.