torture

Torture – a shared value?

                    “Kat Craig, legal director of the charity Reprieve, told the Guardian: ‘Yunus Rahmatullah faced 10 years of unlawful detention without charge, trial or explanation. Now that he has finally been reunited with his family, he wants answers. He wants to know why he was subjected…

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Extremists – what us?

“Forget the sobering fact that the western-backed Saudi regime has beheaded dozens in public in recent months, including for ‘sorcery’, or that British troops infamously had themselves photographed with the severed heads of guerrillas during the Malayan war in the 1950s”. Seamas Milne in the Guardian, 18 September 2014. “Every year the American historian William Blum…

immigration

Immigration – Britain cannot do without!

            “Foreign students should be excluded from the government’s target for cutting non-EU immigration, the former Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine has urged.[...] His remarks were supported by Labour’s shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna. “Government immigration policy and rhetoric has already done immense damage to higher education – one of the…

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Lessons for socio-political activists

                Egyptian security forces intentionally killed at least 817 protesters during last August’s Rabaa massacre, in a premeditated attack equal to or worse than China’s Tiananmen Square killings in 1989, Human RightsWatch (HRW) has argued in a report. The 195-page investigation based on interviews with 122 survivors and witnesses has found Egypt’s…

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An English spiritualist’s Yezidi encounters

John G Bennett (died 1974) travelled widely in the regions now lying between the Turkish-Iraqi-Syrian borders in the early 1950s, visiting tekkes, zawiyas and other sacred sites, later settling in England to establish the Coombe Springs sanctuary for spiritualist studies. Saturday 31st October 1953 After Nimrud, we had an experience of quite a different order when we went…

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Dodgy Padres!

Wobbly church fathers,monks and rabbis! The Churches during the National-Socialist era Charles Marsh’s recent biography on the heroic Pastor Bonhoeffer provides some insights on the less laudable responses of the Churches to the Nazis in 1930s Germany. Christian teachings “could be commandeered in the service of Germany, especially when the German theological establishment prsumed the…

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Terrorism Laws – crows come home to roost?

The misuse of Britain’s hastily conceived anti-terrorism/counter-terrorism laws and security regimes is now affecting society as a whole…  The current British definition of terrorism is so broadly drawn that it could even catch political journalists and bloggers who publish material that the authorities consider dangerous to public safety, said the official counter-terrorism watchdog [David Anderson…

gaza

Gaza: merely a retaliation?

Ilam Pappe was brilliantly incisive in his recent contribution to Electronic Intifada: The present genocidal wave has, like all the previous ones, also a more  immediate background. It has been borne out of an attempt to foil the Palestinian decision to form a unity government that even the United States could not object to [...]…

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Metrics of Domestic Security

  Official data to be released on Tuesday will show that the details of 1,281 people were referred to the government’s “Prevent” scheme, up from 748 the year before, with officers citing the civil war in Syria as the main reason for the increase…Since 2007, 1,450 children aged 18 and under have been referred to…

That Special Relationship

    What is the nature of the special relationship between Britain and the US? “Britain’s special relationship with the US is so special only one side knows it exists” – Helmut Schmidt July 2014   In a remarkably frank articulation of London’s subservience to Washington, William Hague said in response to the Isis advances: ‘We…