David Olusoga writes in the Guardian, ‘. . . one morning last summer, I was ushered into a little office in the Botswana National Archives. I’d asked the archivists to dig out a document that I had wanted to see for 20 years. After a couple of phone calls, the file was brought in. Near the top of a stack of yellowing papers was a signed, original copy of the Vernichtungsbefehl – the extermination order. Drafted in 1904, it is an explicit command for the extermination of an entire people. It bore the signature of its author, the German general Lothar von Trotha, and was addressed to the Herero people of Namibia, Botswana’s neighbour to the west, and formerly the German colony of South West Africa. The final sentences translate as: “The Herero nation must now leave the country. If it refuses, I shall compel it to do so with the ‘long tube’ (cannon). Any Herero found inside the German frontier, with or without a gun or cattle, will be executed. I shall spare neither women nor children. I shall give the order to drive them away and fire on them.” Within three years, four-fifths of the Herero and half the Nama, another of Namibia’s ethnic groups, were dead.’ click here.
The excellent Pope Francis under fire from his own ‘takfiris’! Not one, but two forces have him in their sights. The first is the American Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is deeply unhappy with Francis’s stand allowing divorcees who remarry to receive Communion. Burke has put a series of questions to the Pope to answer, using the mechanism of dubia (‘doubts’), with the implication that the ‘Holy Father’ is teaching error or heresy’. A related challenge is from the Knights of Malta – who have ‘virtually declared war on the Pope’ for interfering in their affairs’ (see Christopher Lamb’s column in The Tablet, 7 January 2017). Salaam blogger wonders if the vile directed against Francis has to do with his criticism of capitalism – that it is ‘terrorism against all of humanity’?
John Brown in 972mag.com, 5 December 2016, ‘Israel’s Supreme Court last month rejected a petition to reveal details of Israeli defense exports to the former Yugoslavia during the genocide in Bosnia in the 1990s. The court ruled that exposing Israeli involvement in genocide would damage the country’s foreign relations to such an extent that it would outweigh the public interest in knowing that information, and the possible prosecution of those involved. The petitioners, Attorney Itay Mack and Professor Yair Oron, presented the court with concrete evidence of Israeli defense exports to Serbian forces at the time, including training as well as ammunition and rifles. Among other things, they presented the personal journal of General Ratko Mladić, currently on trial at the International Court of Justice for committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Mladić’s journal explicitly mentions Serbia’s ample arms ties with Israel at the time. The exports took place long after the UN Security Council placed an arms embargo on various parts of the former Yugoslavia, and after the publication of a series of testimonies exposing genocide and the creation of concentration camps.’ click here.
Henry McDonald in the Guardian, 7 December 2016, ‘Police are investigating a video in which republican dissident terror group the New IRA displays what appears to be a rocket launcher on the streets of Northern Ireland. The weapon was shown on a propaganda video the paramilitary organisation recorded in the Ardoyne district of north Belfast. The film appeared on social media on Monday evening. The New IRA has a presence in Ardoyne and has launched a number of home-made grenade launcher attacks in recent years against police patrols in the north and west of the city.’ click here.
Jon Sharman, Dina Rickman in the Independent, 3 December 2016, ‘A family court judge told a father he was “unwise” to have taken his ultra-Orthodox Jewish children to a museum where images and exhibits depicted the theory of evolution. Judge Judith Rowe made the remark in a judgment on a fraught custody dispute between a separated couple from the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Satmar sect, which regards belief in evolution as heretical.’ click here.
Ben Doherty and Sarah Malik in the Guardian, 25 November 2016, ‘. . . Abdellatif has watched hundreds of asylum seekers pass through and out of detention: granted bridging visas, protection visas, some deported. He has seen people set themselves on fire in detention, hang themselves and stab each other. Sniffer dogs invade rooms without notice seeking out drugs . . .Abdellatif doesn’t count the days – 1,643 – he has been in held immigration detention. He knows broadly it is four-and-a-half years and he knows he remains no closer to a resolution of his case than the day he arrived in Australia. . . Now, new documents obtained under freedom of information legislation reveal the government has known for nearly 18 months that the evidence used to convict Abdellatif in absentia in a mass show trial in Egypt in 1999 – the basis for his detention in Australia – was obtained “under severe torture” and is discredited.’ click here.
BBC reports (18 November 2016), ‘Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar told Israel Hayom newspaper homosexuality was a “cult of abomination”, which the Torah “punishes… with death”.’ click here.
AP reports, ‘Israeli rabbinical authorities have seized the passport of an American businessman and barred him from leaving the country for more than a year – claiming he is responsible for his son’s refusal to grant his wife a divorce. In a first ruling of its kind, Israel’s rabbinical court system has dramatically extended its reach by punishing a parent for his son’s actions in a bid to solve a bitter divorce dispute. Under millennia-old Jewish law, a woman needs the approval of her husband to dissolve a marriage. In Israel, where all marriages are subject to religious law, this norm has left thousands of women in legal limbo due to husbands who refuse to grant divorces. click here.
Nigel Farage today warned of ‘riots in the streets’ over the High Court’s Brexit ruling in a live TV clash with the woman behind the legal challenge. click here, 6 November 2016
Owen Bowcott in the Guardian, ‘The decision by the director of public prosecutions not to charge a former MI6 official for the 2004 abduction and rendition of a Libyan dissident, Abdel Hakim Belhaj, is to be challenged in court. Lawyers for the human rights organisation Reprieve, which represents Belhaj and his family, have lodged a judicial review claim with the high court in London alleging that Alison Saunders “erred in law” in declining to prosecute Sir Mark Allen, who was previously head of counter-terrorism at MI6. The 23-page claim and its appendix of secret documents – which record joint CIA-MI6 plans to extract Belhaj from Malaysia and forcibly remove him to the torture cells of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime – are the latest twist in a protracted legal saga.’ click here.
. . . it has been well documented that there were secret detention facilities in the UK area of operations [in Iraq] which appear to have bypassed prisoner of war facilities. If this is correct, it is in violation of the Geneva conventions and, if the prisoners were spirited out of the country, then that could amount to a grave breach’ . . . click here
Siobhan Fenton in the Independent, 20th September2016: Teachers at Christian fundamentalist schools in Britain allegedly performed exorcisms on pupils, beat children in religious rituals and “groomed” girls for marriage, according to former students who say they have decided to speak out now after years of suffering in silence. The former pupils told The Independent such treatment of children was a “terrifying” part of life at schools in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s in an environment where they felt too afraid to complain for fear of retribution from school staff, evangelical parents and their close-knit Baptist faith community. click here
Jason Ditz reports on Antiwar.com, 18 September 2016, ‘With considerable controversy currently surrounding the possibility that thhree British troops could soon be charged with war crimes over the killing of an Iraqi civilian during the US-led occupation, it is now revealed that former Prime Minister David Cameron attempted to shut down the investigations before they really got going in earnest. Parliamentary defense committee chair Johnny Mercer (C – Plymouth) reported that he’d demanded Cameron shut down the entire Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), which Cameron conceded he’d already tried to do, but had been told by Attorney General Jeremy Wright that it was “legally impossible” to do, and would risk International Criminal Court proceedings. A number of high profile Conservative leaders are condemning the IHAT as amounting to mistreatment of war veterans, and are insisting that the evidence that IHAT has gained from testimony of Iraqi civilians amounts to “lies” trying to embarrass the British government.. . . . The report from IHAT found that the three British troops in question had detained a 15-year-old on suspicion of looting back in 2003 in the city of Basra. They forced him into a canal and as he didn’t know how to swim, he drown. The British Defense Ministry apologized for the killing last week, following the report, though many MPs insist that because the British military has already found the troops blameless in the killing over a decade ago, they shouldn’t face any legal repercussions.’ click here.
BBC reports, 16 September 2016, ‘Four UK soldiers who “forced” an Iraqi boy into a canal and let him drown have been condemned by a judge investigating civilian deaths in the Iraq War . . . The report by the Iraq Fatality Investigations, led by former High Court judge Sir George Newman, described the soldiers’ actions as a “clumsy, ill-directed and bullying piece of conduct, engaged in without consideration of the risk of harm to which it could give rise”. click here.
Ian Cobain in the Guardian, 8th September 2016, writing about Britain’s intervention in Oman and Yemen’. . .The new oil fields on the desert between Dhofar and the capital, Muscat, were beginning to look vulnerable. Some in London were developing a fearful Middle Eastern domino theory, in which they envisaged the Strait of Hormuz falling under communist control.
The British response was merciless. “We burnt down rebel villages and shot their goats and cows,” one officer wrote. “Any enemy corpses we recovered were propped up in the Salalah souk as a salutary lesson to any would-be freedom fighters.” Another officer explained that unlike in Northern Ireland, where soldiers were anxious to avoid killing or wounding non-combatants, he believed that in Dhofar there were no innocents, only adoo: “The only people in this area – there are no civilians – are all enemy. Therefore you can get on with doing the job, mortaring the area and returning small arms fire without worrying about hurting innocent people.” click here.
Siobhan Fenton, Dina Rickman in the Independent, 22nd August 2016, ‘Ultra-Orthodox Jewish rabbis have banned women from going to university, The Independent has learned. The strict Satmar sect issued the decree, seen by The Independent, warning that university education for women is “dangerous”. Written in Yiddish, the decree warns: “It has lately become the new trend that girls and married women are pursuing degrees in special education. Some attend classes and others online. And so we’d like to let their parents know that it is against the Torah . . . “We have to keep our school safe and we can’t allow any secular influences in our holy environment. It is against the base upon which our Mosed was built”.’ click here.
Marc Parry in The Guardian, 18th August 2016, ‘The British had sought to quell the Mau Mau uprising by instituting a policy of mass detention. This system – “Britain’s gulag”, as Elkins called it – had affected far more people than previously understood. She calculated that the camps had held not 80,000 detainees, as official figures stated, but between 160,000 and 320,000. She also came to understand that colonial authorities had herded Kikuyu women and children into some 800 enclosed villages dispersed across the countryside. These heavily patrolled villages – cordoned off by barbed wire, spiked trenches and watchtowers – amounted to another form of detention. In camps, villages and other outposts, the Kikuyu suffered forced labour, disease, starvation, torture, rape and murder.’ click here.
Siobhan Fenton, Dina Rickman in the Independent, ‘Ultra-Orthodox Jews are raising £1m to prevent “pure and holy” children from leaving the strict faith community and living with “irreligious parents” in an “evil culture”,’ The Independent has learned. click here
Paul Farrell, Nick Evershed and Helen Davidson in the Guardian, ‘The devastating trauma and abuse inflicted on children held by Australia in offshore detention has been laid bare in the largest cache of leaked documents released from inside its immigration regime. More than 2,000 leaked incident reports from Australia’s detention camp for asylum seekers on the remote Pacific island of Nauru – totalling more than 8,000 pages – are published by the Guardian today. The Nauru files set out as never before the assaults, sexual abuse, self-harm attempts, child abuse and living conditions endured by asylum seekers held by the Australian government, painting a picture of routine dysfunction and cruelty.’ Click here.
Helen Davidson, Paul Karp and Elle Hunt reporting in the Guardian, ‘. . . Gillian Triggs, the president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, told reporters in Sydney comparisons of the abuses of Don Dale [juvenile correction centre in Darwin – indigenous youths make up 96% of the young prison population in the Northern Territory] with those in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib were “not too extreme”. She said the abuses at Don Dale were one manifestation of a “trend in Australia over the last 10 years” of detention under extraordinary conditions – often arbitrary, indefinite and without right to appeal’. click here.
The former Republican Speaker of the House, who has endorsed Trump and is being considered as his running mate in the election, told Fox News: “Western civilisation is in a war. We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background and if they believe in Sharia they should be deported”. click here, 15 July 2016
Kim Sengupta, reporting in the Independent, ‘. . . The team he [Major General McChrystal] ran was also under orders to track down Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. They quickly decided that this was a wild goose chase and focused on the real danger at hand: the insurgency . . . Some senior British officers were unhappy at what was going on and the involvement of the UK’s SAS and the SBS. “Why are we helping to run Latin American-style death squads?” One British commander, himself ex-SAS, demanded to know . . .’ click here.
Rabbi Shlomo Mlma, chairman of the Council of Rabbis in the West Bank settlements, has issued an advisory opinion in which he allowed Jewish settlers to poison water in Palestinian villages and cities in the West Bank. According to Israeli anti-occupation organisation “Breaking the Silence”, the call for poisoning Palestinian water aim to push the Palestinians to leave their villages and pave the way for settlers to take over their lands. MiddleEast Monitor, 19th June 2016 2016
CIA medical personnel acknowledged that placing detainees in small boxes barely large enough to fit their bodies inside was not “particularly effective”, but they still provided guidance permitting interrogators to continue using the so-called “confinement boxes” for hours on end. Sensitive agency documents, declassified on Tuesday, provide a new level of detail on the intimate involvement of its medical staff during its post-9/11 torture program. click here.
Israel has cut off the water supply to large areas of the West Bank, Palestinian authorities have claimed. Tens of thousands of Palestinians have reportedly been left without access to safe drinking water during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a period of fasting, at a time when temperatures can exceed 35C. The northern city of Jenin, which has a population of more than 40,000, said its water supplies had been cut in half by Mekorot, Israel’s national water company . . . ‘ click here.
An ultra-orthodox Jewish leader has reportedly banned girls aged five and older in some areas of Israel from riding bicycles – claiming it is “immodest”. The rabbi of the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Nahloat distributed the stringent decree to his followers in synagogues across the area. click here.
Christian Concern’s Chief Executive and member of the General Synod, Andrea Williams, has spoken against the practice [of Zen meditation classes within the York Cathedral precinct], stating that it is “deceptive” to mix the teachings of two very different belief systems. “The idea that we can pick and choose practises from other religions is found nowhere in the Bible. We cannot come into God’s presence without the one mediator, Jesus Christ. To suggest otherwise is dangerously false and violates God’s command to love and serve Him only.” click here.
No Yoga jobs for Muslims! click here.
Major General Yair Golan, the Israel Defence Forces’ (IDF) Deputy Chief of Staff, speaking at a Holocaust memorial service in Israel, “Because if there is one thing that is scary in remembering the Holocaust, it is noticing horrific processes which developed in Europe – particularly in Germany – 70, 80, and 90 years ago, and finding remnants of that here among us in the year 2016.” click here.
Documents detailing Israel’s alleged defence exports to Rwanda during the country’s civil war and genocide in the 1990s are to remain sealed, the country’s Supreme Court has ruled. Two years ago Professor Yair Auron and attorney Eitay Mack submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Israel’s defence ministry to discover the nature of any arms exports made to Rwanda between 1990 and 1995, the Times of Israel reports. click here.
After an introduction from East German spymaster Markus Wolf, who was so elusive to western spy agencies that he was known for many years as “the man without a face”, [Kim] Philby makes his way to the lectern to a hero’s welcome . . . He describes himself as born into “the ruling class of the British Empire” and explains how he first was drawn towards communism at Cambridge . . . When he was posted to Washington DC as MI6’s liaison with the CIA and FBI, he betrayed an operation to secretly send thousands of Albanians back into their country to overthrow the communist regime. Many were killed. click here. click here for Gordon Corera’s report, BBC.
Israel’s Sephardic Chief Rabbi has sparked controversy after saying non-Jews should not be allowed to live in Israel unless they follow a set of Jewish laws…The seven Noahide Laws are a basic moral code outlined in the Talmud. They prohibit actions such as blasphemy, murder, illicit sexual relations, theft and eating live animals, according to The Times of Israel. Rabbi Yosef added that non-Jews who do agree to abide by the laws will be allowed to remain in Israel in order to serve Jews. “Who, otherwise be the servants? Who will be our helpers? This is why we leave them in Israel, ” he said. click here
As roughly 20 militants continue to occupy a federal wildlife refuge in southeastern Oregon, observers are left scratching their heads. Why would an out-of-state rancher lead a self-styled militia in defending federal land far from home? Because God told him to, Ammon Bundy said in a YouTube video posted Friday. Bundy is a son of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher known for his stand-off with the federal government over cattle grazing . . . One militant interviewed by Oregon Public Broadcasting only identifies himself as Captain Moroni, a historic general who, according to church scripture, threatened to “stir up insurrections” and fight “until those who have desires to usurp power and authority shall become extinct” because he felt the government did not care about the country’s freedom. “I do not fear your power nor your authority, but it is my God whom I fear,” Moroni said in the Book of Alma, “and it is according to his commandments that I do take my sword to defend the cause of my country. . . Tension has existed between government and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since the faith’s inception.” click here, January 2016
Exley had an interest in militaria and chemicals and made items at her home and then did not know what to do with them. She appreciated the seriousness of her actions and the risk involved…after police checks no further action was taken, but in April 2014 officers again went to the home on suspicion she was producing class A drugs. Although that was not the case, she accepted she was supplying chemicals to others on a small scale through the internet. A search of the house over several days revealed the explosive devices and substances as well as over 2,000 rounds of home loaded cartridges. Among the items found was “a hand grenade type device found in the defendant’s bedroom.” Police also found ten partially constructed hand grenades in her bedroom without PETN explosives in them and also ten improvised detonators which had been modified from commercially purchased initiators with added explosives inserted.’ click here.
The threat from far-right terrorists is being neglected by governments and law enforcement, according to the most extensive survey yet of “lone actors” in Europe. While Islamist plotters are given full attention, the authors of the 98-page report warn that in comparison, individuals and small groups of rightwing extremists in the mould of Norway’s Anders Breivik are in fact more lethal, almost as numerous, and much harder to detect by security services.click here.
Inspectors also found books “where images of females had either been erased or radically changed. Leaders also refused to allow pupils (at the Talmud Torah Yetev Lev primary school in Hackney) to talk to the female inspectors. click here.
Inspectors also reportedly found a reading book (at the Beis Aharon School in Stamford Hill, north London) used in a Year Four lesson with the word “Christmas” crossed out. click here.
Ben Farmer reports in the Daily Telegraph, ‘… Gangadhar Kulkarni, an activist in the group, which is a radical wing of the Hindu nationalist movement, said: “If people celebrate the [Valentine’s] day despite our warning, then we will definitely attack them…Valentine’s Day is definitely not Indian culture. We will not allow celebration of that day in any form,” added Pramod Mutalik, the group’s founder.Several Hindu radical groups aggressively attack what they perceive as the corrosive influence of Western culture on India.’ click here.
Pupils at St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School in Flint receive a free bus pass if they live more than three miles from the school and are Catholic. However non-Catholics have to pay for the council-run bus, or for a more expensive pass on a school-run minibus. click here.
A former MI5 officer is set to offer proof to MPs [24 January 2016] that the agency knew about torture at Guantanamo Bay in the aftermath of 9/11. click here.
As reported in the Days of Palestine website; ‘ Chief Israeli Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu has called for executing Palestinians in order to afford safety for the Israeli occupation states. “Israeli army has to stop arresting Palestinians,” he posted on his Facebook wall, “but, it must execute them and leave no one alive.” . . . Eliyahu also rejected claims that the intifada was caused by the increasing number of Jewish settlers who desecrate Al-Aqsa Mosque. He insisted that terror is innate in the Palestinian soul.’ click here
Nick Cohen writing in the Guardian [23 January 2016]:
Baha Mousa was killed, not in the heat of battle, but at a British army base in Basra. The army’s own official inquiry found that he had been denied food and water. His swollen and bloodied face bore the evidence of the beatings he had received and the “stress positions”, as the military euphemistically calls them, his guards had locked him in.
Meanwhile, government itself, not some shyster lawyer or bleeding-heart judge, has set up an official inquiry into allegations of “historic abuse” in Iraq. Fears that the International Criminal Court would shame the country by ordering Britain to appear before it forced Whitehall to stop stalling and investigate the alleged mistreatment of 1,514 Iraqis, including 280 who died.
The MoD is no soft touch. Yet it has paid out £20m in 326 cases without admitting liability. After actions involving Leigh Day, the law firm Cameron devotes so much time to attacking, the government paid £100,000 to the family of Saeed Shabram, who drowned after being detained by British troops. The death of Ahmed Jabbar Kareem, who drowned in a river near Basra after an alleged beating by soldiers is till being investigated. And the army dismissed three soldiers in disgrace for the abuse of Iraqi captives up to and including driving a forklift truck with a prisoner tied to its prongs.
. . . What is both alarming and symptomatic is that the MoD is using the excuse of the firm’s alleged misconduct [legal firm Leigh Day’s error in one case] to try in as far as it can to place British troops beyond the rule of law. It wants to impose a collective punishment on all firms and restrict their ability and the ability of all future victims of British troops to go to law. click here.
Charlie Hebdo’s cover page incites hatred and racism: it depicts the drowned refugee baby Aylan Kurdi growing to become a sex pest in Germany. click here.
An orthodox Jewish school which operated illegally for 40 years and does not teach children English has been ordered to shut down. click here.
‘The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said on Saturday that extremist Israeli Jews have desecrated a Christian cemetery near the occupied city of Jerusalem, Anadolu has reported. “People attacked and desecrated the cemetery in Beit Jamal, west of Jerusalem, and destroyed crosses,” Latin Bishop of Jerusalem William Shomali told Vatican Radio. He noted that Israeli police are still investigating the incident. “All we know is that the attackers are extremist Jews living in the same area. This has happened several times in the past and the attackers were from amongst the Jews in the area”.’ click here.
Jonathan Owen in the Independent, ‘British soldiers who have served in Iraq may face prosecution for crimes including murder, the head of the unit established by the Ministry of Defence to investigate allegations of torture and unlawful killing in the war-torn country has said…Britain remains under the scrutiny of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is conducting a preliminary examination of allegations of war crimes by British forces in Iraq. The ICC is looking at more than 1,200 cases of alleged ill-treatment and unlawful killing – including almost 50 Iraqis who reportedly died in British custody.’ click here.
The United Nations’ failure to respond to allegations that French peacekeepers sexually abused children in Central African Republic amounted to “gross institutional failure” and allowed assaults to continue, according to an independent panel’s damning report released on Thursday … The alleged perpetrators were mainly French soldiers from a unit known as the Sangaris force which was operating under authorisation of the security council but not under UN command. click here.
Last week’s massacre in Paris was not, as almost every writer mistakenly claimed, the worst atrocity in the City Of Light since World War II. As the renowned Mideast expert Robert Fisk quickly pointed out, an even worse atrocity occurred in Paris 54 years ago, on 17 October, 1961. Paris chief Maurice Papon, a former Vichy official, who had sent over 1,000 Jews to their deaths during the war, unleashed his brutal riot squads on 30,000 Arab demonstrators calling for the independence of Algeria from French colonial rule. In an orgy of killing, some 200 Algerians were killed. Many were beaten senseless, then thrown from the Pont St. Michel bridge into the Seine River. 11,000 Algerians were arrested and cast into internment camps or a sports stadium. Eric Margolis in Unz.com
‘Perhaps the most alarming revelation to emerge from the new Bush biography [Destiny and Power: the American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham] is the elder man’s recollection that while Cheney had been his defence secretary, he had commissioned a study on how many tactical nuclear weapons would be needed to eliminate a division of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard. Apparently the answer was 17, though a more profound conclusion is that Cheney was a more dangerous figure than anyone knew. It adds weight to reporting by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker that Cheney also contemplated the use of low-yield nuclear bunker-busters against Iran’s underground uranium enrichment facilities. The more we hear about the George W Bush administration, the clearer it becomes that the global damage it wrought could have been even worse.’ Julian Borger in The Guardian.
‘The LRA [Lord’s Resistance Army led by Joseph Kony, which emerged in the Acholiland area of Uganda in the late 1980s] claims to be creating a new social order based on the Bible’s Ten Commandments. It is responsible for massacres, systematic campaigns of rape and mutilation. The group is infamous for its abduction of children who are enlisted as soldiers, and is reported also to have abused and raped thousands of women and girls. Although the LRA is much weaker today than at the height of its campaigns in the 1990s and early 2000s, it is estimated to have killed 100,000 people in Uganda alone and caused the displacement of 1.6 million. The organisation’s initial impetus came, however, from an insurrection in the Acholiland area in response to massacres carried out by the National Resistance Army of Yoweri Museveni who seized power in Uganda in 1986 from Tito Okello, a general of Acholi origin.’ click here.
The Guardian reports (9th October 2015), ‘A former CIA operative convicted of the kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric as part of the extraordinary renditions program has been detained in Portugal and is awaiting a decision on whether she will be turned over to Italy to serve her six-year sentence, a top Italian prosecutor said on Thursday.De Sousa was among 26 Americans, mostly CIA agents, convicted in absentia over the kidnapping of Milan cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, known as Abu Omar, in broad daylight from a Milan street on 17 February 2003. Even after the convictions, Italy never made a formal extradition request for the Americans in the politically charged case. click here.
A soldier who wrote of murdering immigrants and who praised Adolf Hitler has been jailed for two years after building a viable nailbomb packed with 181 pieces of shrapnel to maximise the carnage it would cause. Ryan McGee, 20, described by his defence team as “a bit of a loner”, wrote in a journal: “I vow to drag every last immigrant into the fires of hell with me.” Vikram Dodd in the Guardian
The BBC reports (30th September 2015), ‘A 50-year-old man in northern India has been killed in a mob lynching allegedly over rumours that his family had been storing and consuming beef at home. Mohammad Akhlaq was kicked and beaten with stones by a group of men in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh state on Monday night. Mr Akhlaq’s 22-year-old son was also seriously injured in the attack, and has been admitted to a hospital.Six people have been arrested in connection with the incident. Police are probing who spread the rumour.Slaughter of cows is a sensitive issue in India as the animal is considered sacred by Hindus, who comprise 80% of the country’s 1.2bn people. click here.
The Tablet (12th September 2015) reports, ‘In future it will not be possible to convert churches into mosques in Germany as a new law forbids churches to be used by non-Christians with the exception of Jews’.
…200 churches in south India were burned to the ground by Hindu extremists last year. click here
Mugabe said the missing skulls were those of leaders of “the first chimurenga”, an uprising against white settlers in the late 19th century, that included the spirit mediums Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi, who were hanged from a tree in 1898. “The first chimurenga leaders, whose heads were decapitated by the colonial occupying force, were then dispatched to England, to signify British victory over, and subjugation of, the local population,” Mugabe said this week, during a Heroes Day commemoration in Harare. “Surely, keeping decapitated heads as war trophies, in this day and age, in a national history museum, must rank among the highest forms of racist moral decadence, sadism and human insensitivity.” click here.
In his book The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President from 2009, historian and author Taylor Branch, a friend of United States president Bill Clinton, made public more than 70 recorded sessions with the president during his presidency from 1993 through 2001. According to a session taped on 14 October 1993, it is stated that:
Clinton said U.S. allies in Europe blocked proposals to adjust or remove the embargo. They justified their opposition on plausible humanitarian grounds, arguing that more arms would only fuel the bloodshed, but privately, said the president, key allies objected that an independent Bosnia would be “unnatural” as the only Muslim nation in Europe. He said they favored the embargo precisely because it locked in Bosnia‘s disadvantage. [..] When I expressed shock at such cynicism, reminiscent of the blind-eye diplomacy regarding the plight of Europe’s Jews during World War II, President Clinton only shrugged. He said President François Mitterrand of France had been especially blunt in saying that Bosnia did not belong, and that British officials also spoke of a painful but realistic restoration of Christian Europe. Against Britain and France, he said, German chancellor Helmut Kohl among others had supported moves to reconsider the United Nations arms embargo, failing in part because Germany did not hold a seat on the U.N. Security Council. click here.
Human guinea pigs
David Keys in The Independent, ‘During the Cold War, the British Government used the general public as unwitting biological and chemical warfare guinea pigs on a much greater scale than previously thought, according to new historical research…Up until now historians had thought that such operations had been much less extensive. The new research, carried out by Ulf Schmidt, Professor of Modern History at the University of Kent, has revealed that British military aircraft dropped thousands of kilos of a chemical of ‘largely unknown toxic potential’ on British civilian populations in and around Salisbury in Wiltshire, Cardington in Bedfordshire and Norwich in Norfolk…The new research has discovered that a hitherto unknown biological warfare field trial was carried out in the capital’s tube system in May 1964. The secret operation – carried out by scientists from the government’s chemical and biological warfare research centre at Porton Down, Wiltshire – involved the release of large quantities of bacteria called Bacillus globigii. The scientists were keen to discover whether ‘long distance travel of aerosols’ in the tube network ‘was due to transportation within trains’ or through the tube’s air ventilation systems…The new research reveals, for the first time, that in another British imperial possession, Nigeria, a location was found for chemical warfare field trials. In an area called Obanaghoro in southern Nigeria, four British Cold War scientific missions spent a total of around 15 months dispersing, and assessing the effects of, large quantities of experimental nerve gas weapons. The advantage of the location was that it permitted field trials to be carried out in a tropical environment – and, of course, that it was not in Britain or Australia. click here, 9th July 2015
Poison gas to Saddam
The Guardian reports, ‘The government delayed taking action to prevent Iraq obtaining chemical weapons partially because British exporters were involved in the trade, according to Foreign Office documents. Newly released papers from 1983 show that even before Iraq began widespread use of poison gas to repel Iranian attacks, diplomats were aware of Baghdad’s covert technology programme.[…] In April 1983, at the height of the Iran-Iraq war, the ambassador in Baghdad, Sir John Moberly, telegrammed the FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) and defence intelligence sections about the “manufacture and use of mustard gas by the Iraqi army”. […] But the FCO’s arms control department declined to impose export restrictions.’ click here, 3rd July 2015
Recourse to ex-Gestapo
Frances Stonor Saunders in the London Review of Books: “…What was the smell of Abteilung 1A/Gestapo files that found their way into the Central Registry at MI5’s Mayfair headquarters? The Reichstag fire? The book burnings? The crematoria? For what were these files, these endless lists and card indexes, if not the pennies for feeding the gas meters? […] In these early years of realignment after Hitler’s death – described by Arthur Miller as ‘this wrenching shift, this ripping off of Good and Evil labels from one nation and pasting them onto another’ – fresh traces on suspected communists were being received daily from British intelligence outposts in the defeated territories of the Third Reich. As staff in London struggled to cope with the backlog of new information, officers in the field pumped their ‘high value’ sources, which included an assortment of Nazi war criminals, among them Friedrich Buchardt, leader of an SS death squad that specialised in the slaughter of Jews and communists, and Gestapo officer Horst Kopkow, responsible for the execution of some three hundred captured British agents. The Americans cherry-picked Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, and Reinhard Gehlen, whose German army intelligence unit was preserved intact to build and direct a spy ring against the Soviet Union. These men, experts in hunting down communists, all bought their way out of criminal proceedings with the same bloodstained currency: files. click here, LRB, 9th April 2015.
Nick Davies in the Guardian, 22nd April 2015: …The US dropped more high explosives on Vietnam than the allies used on Germany and Japan together in the second world war. It also dropped napalm jelly, which stuck to its victims while it roasted their skin; white phosphorous, which burned down to the bone; fragmentation bombs, which hurled ball bearings and steel shards in all directions; and 73m litres of toxic chemicals, including 43m litres of Agent Orange, which killed vegetation and inflicted illness on those who were exposed to it….The US left Vietnam in a state of physical ruin. Roads, rail lines, bridges and canals were devastated by bombing. Unexploded shells and landmines littered the countryside, often underwater in the paddy fields where peasants waded. Five million hectares of forest had been stripped of life by high explosives and Agent Orange. The new government reckoned that two-thirds of the villages in the south had been destroyed. In Saigon, the American legacy included packs of orphans roaming the streets and a heroin epidemic. Nationally, the new government estimated it was dealing with 10 million refugees; 1 million war widows; 880,000 orphans; 362,000 war invalids; and 3 million unemployed people…As soon as it had lost the war, the US imposed a trade embargo, cutting off the war-wrecked country not only from US exports and imports, but also from those of other nations that bowed to American pressure. In the same way, the US leaned on multilateral bodies including the IMF, the World Bank and Unesco to deny Vietnam aid. The US acknowledged that Agent Orange was likely to cause serious illness and birth defects and paid $2bn compensation – but only to its own veterans. The Vietnamese victims – more than 2 million of them – got nothing. click here.
Jamie Merrill in the Independent, 10th March 2015: Campaigners asked the Information Rights Tribunal to intervene and force the Foreign Office (FCO) to release the full text of a 1977 document detailing the conversation between British officials and Ian Henderson, a British military officer who ran the police force in the Sunni-ruled state for 30 years. Henderson, who died two years ago, was dubbed the “Butcher of Bahrain” after allegations that he was complicit in the ransacking of villages, the sadistic sexual abuse of Shia prisoners and the use of power drills to maim them. The document should be available under the 30-year-rule controlling the release of government papers, but Marc Jones, an academic and a member of the Bahrain Watch human rights group, says the FCO has refused to release it despite repeated requests…Henderson was installed as head of security in Bahrain in 1966, when the country was still a British protectorate. As a colonial officer he had helped suppress the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya, and when Bahrain declared independence in 1971, [Prime Minister] Bin Salman kept him as head of the country’s intelligence service. click here.
Richard Cockett writing in The Tablet, 21 February 2015
Mob rule by monks
. . . The alleged rape of a Buddhist woman sparked off an orgy of murder and ethnic cleansing. I visited Sittwe after the event, and there was little left of the Muslim community. Many mosques and houses had been gutted, while the Rohingya themselves had been herded into makeshift tents on the fringes of the city, where most remain. This sparked off waves of anti-Muslim violence across the country. In the last few years more than 200 Muslims have been killed and more than 140,000 made homeless. Some of this violence was spontaneous. But more of it has been coordinated between Buddhist chauvinist monks and the more recidivist elements in the Government, for political gain.
‘Kenyan death squads allegedly trained by British military. Source Al-Jazeera. Britain is facing fresh allegations of complicity in the killings of terrorism suspects by Kenyan death squads. The claims come from members of Kenyan intelligence and special police units who say they carry out extrajudicial killings. They also say they have received training and intelligence from Britain’s military and other officials as part of their counter-terrorism efforts.’ Vikram Dodd in the Guardian, 7 December 2014.
The ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) staff told the US diplomats they had made 177 visits to detention centres in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere in India between 2002 and 2004, and had met 1,491 detainees. They had been able to interview 1,296 privately. In 852 cases, the detainees reported ill-treatment, the ICRC said. A total of 171 described being beaten and 681 said they had been subjected to one or more of six forms of torture. These included 498 on which electricity had been used, 381 who had been suspended from the ceiling, 294 who had muscles crushed in their legs by prison personnel sitting on a bar placed across their thighs, 181 whose legs had been stretched by being “split 180 degrees”, 234 tortured with water and 302 “sexual” cases, the ICRC were reported to have told the Americans. Jason Burke reporting in the Guardian, December 2010.
Greece, aftermath of World War II
‘ This was the day [3 December 1944, Athens]… when the British army, still at war with Germany, opened fire upon – and gave locals who had collaborated with the Nazis the guns to fire upon – a civilian crowd demonstrating in support of the partisans with whom Britain had been allied for three years. The crowd carried Greek, American, British and Soviet flags, and chanted: “Viva Churchill, Viva Roosevelt, Viva Stalin’” in endorsement of the wartime alliance. Twenty-eight civilians, mostly young boys and girls, were killed and hundreds injured. “We had all thought it would be a demonstration like any other,” Patríkios recalls. “Business as usual. Nobody expected a bloodbath.” Britain’s logic was brutal and perfidious: Prime minister Winston Churchill considered the influence of the Communist Party within the resistance movement he had backed throughout the war – the National Liberation Front, EAM – to have grown stronger than he had calculated, sufficient to jeopardise his plan to return the Greek king to power and keep Communism at bay. So he switched allegiances to back the supporters of Hitler against his own erstwhile allies.’ Ed Vulliamy and Helena Smith in the Observer, 30 November 2014
Readiness to deploy nuclear arms
‘A recent book edited by Tertrais and Henry Sokolski, a former Pentagon official, describes how a group of French generals plotting a coup against President De Gaulle in the spring of 1961 tried to obtain a nuclear device that France was about to test in the Algerian desert. “Refrain from detonating your little bomb,” one of the generals told the commander in charge of the test. “Keep it for us, it will always be useful.”. De Gaulle ordered the device to be set off earlier than planned, and the coup was unsuccessful.’ [Armageddon waiting to happen by Eriic Schlosser, The Guardian, 28 November 2014]
Bad apples in Iraq
Jonathan Owen writes in the Independent on a blot in the British Army’s record in Iraq: ‘Victims and families of those allegedly murdered, raped or tortured by British soldiers in Iraq could be forced to wait decades before the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat) completes its work, despite officials admitting that some cases could amount to “war crimes”… Britain is facing increasing scrutiny over alleged war crimes in Iraq – a delegation from the International Criminal Court (ICC) visited Ihat in June this year. This follows a dossier of allegations by Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), which prompted the ICC to begin a preliminary investigation into claims of war crimes.’ 9 November 2014, click here.
Subverting democracy in Australia
Pilger remembers who schemed against Australia’s Prime Minister Gough Whitlam: ‘Although not regarded as on the left of the Labor party, Whitlam was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride and propriety. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country’s resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies… Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, a giant vacuum cleaner which, as Edward Snowden revealed recently, allows the US to spy on everyone. “Try to screw us or bounce us,” the prime minister warned the US ambassador, “[and Pine Gap] will become a matter of contention”. Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told me, “This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House … a kind of Chile [coup] was set in motion… When Whitlam was re-elected for a second term, in 1974, the White House sent Marshall Green to Canberra as ambassador. Green was an imperious, sinister figure who worked in the shadows of America’s “deep state”. Known as “the coupmaster”, he had played a central role in the 1965 coup against President Sukarno in Indonesia – which cost up to a million lives… On 11 November – the day Whitlam was to inform parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia – he was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The “Whitlam problem” was solved, and Australian politics never recovered, nor the nation its true independence.’ click here.
A federal judge has given the Obama administration less than two additional months to make its case why photos of abuse and torture by U.S. military forces against detainees captured following the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan should not be released to the public… Judge Alvin Hellerstein on Tuesday told government lawyers they must present a written argument for keeping more than 2,100 photographs secret even as many of them are thought to show graphic examples of mistreatment worse even than that shown in the infamous photos that depicted torture of prisoners in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in late 2003. Jon Queally in CommonDreams, 22 October 2014.
Poison gas to Saddam
“The US and Saudi Arabia feared Iran’s Islamic revolution would sweep the Mideast and overthrow its oil monarchs. So Washington and its Arab allies convinced Iraq’s president, Saddam Hussein, to invade Iran (1980-1988) and overthrow its new government. Arms and money flowed to Iraq from the US, Britain, Kuwait and the Saudis…After three years of WWI-style warfare, Iraq found its outnumbered troops could not stop Iranian human-wave attacks. Iran was slowly winning its bloody war against Iraq. So the US and Britain supplied Saddam Hussein with chemical and biological weapons to break the waves of attacking Iranians. Chemical warfare manufacturing equipment – disguised as insecticide plants – came from Germany, France and Holland. The feed stock for the germ weapons came from a US laboratory in Maryland –approved by the US government…<p>
I found two British scientists who had been employed at Iraq’s top secret Salman Pak chemical and biowarfare laboratory near Baghdad. The Brits confided to me they were part of a large technical team secretly organized and “seconded” to Iraq in the mid-1980’s by the British government and the MI6 Secret Intelligence Service. Their goal was to develop and “weaponize” anthrax, plague, botulism and other pathogens for use as tactical germ weapons.” Eric Margolis writing in the Uniz Review.
“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 publishes his ‘updated summary of the record of US foreign policy’ which shows that, since 1945, the US has tried to overthrow more than 50 governments, many democratically elected; grossly interfered in elections in 30 countries; bombed the civilian populations of 30 countries; used chemical and biological weapons; and attempted to assassinate foreign leaders. In many cases Britain has been a collaborator. The degree of human suffering, let alone criminality, is little acknowledged in the West, despite the presence of the world’s most advanced communications and nominally freest journalism. That the most numerous victims of terrorism – ‘our’ terrorism – are Muslims, is unsayable. That extreme jihadism, which led to 9/11, was nurtured as a weapon of Anglo-American policy (Operation Cyclone in Afghanistan) is suppressed. In April, the US State Department noted that, following the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s campaign in 2011, ‘Libya has become a terrorist safe haven’. The name of ‘our’ enemy has changed over the years, from communism to Islamism, but generally it is any society independent of Western power and occupying strategically useful or resource-rich territory. The leaders of these obstructive nations are usually violently shoved aside, such as the democrats Muhammad Mossedeq in Iran and Salvador Allende in Chile, or they are murdered like Patrice Lumumba in the Congo. All are subjected to a Western media campaign of caricature and vilification – think Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, now Vladimir Putin.” John Pilger in AsiaTimes Online, 14 May 2014
French complicity in Rwanda genocide
The trial this week of a Rwandan genocide suspect in a Paris courtroom is a well-earned victory for the French human rights groups who lobbied so hard and so long for justice. The milestone trial signals the end of France as a safe haven for génocidaries. But more than this, the trial is likely to see intense public scrutiny of one of the great scandals of the past century – the role of France in the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi of Rwanda, which for 20 years journalists and activists have tried so hard to expose. Linda Melvern, The Guardian, 6 Feb 2014
Black Flag operations
In February 1947 SIS carried out an operation, appropriately codenamed Embarrass, for “direction action.” A small team, mostly comprised of former SOE personnel, was recruited to attach limpet mines to refugee ships and disable them before they could set sail. In the summer of 1947 the team mined five ships in Italian ports — having first checked that no one was on board. Nevertheless, if Operation Embarrass had been made public, the fact that SIS agents were mining boats containing Holocaust survivors would have been disastrous for the British government. Operation Embarrass did not stop there. When some of the mines were discovered, SIS blamed them first on a fictitious Arab opposition group, the “Defenders of Arab Palestine,” and then on the Soviet government. It obtained typewriters that were known to be used by dissident Arab groups and Soviet authorities, and used them to type letters implicating both groups, which it then carefully leaked around Whitehall. In a further twist, SIS made it appear that the British government was using the traffic of Jewish refugees to get its own agents out of Europe, hoping thereby to get the Soviets to block the flow of migrants to Palestine. SIS therefore attempted to deceive not only Jewish refugees, Arab opposition groups and the Soviet government, but the British government itself. This was truly the stuff of smoke and mirrors”. From Calder Walton’s EMPIRE OF SECRETS, The Overlook Press, 2013
Seamus Milne writing in the Guardian, 5 December 2013: “…. British officials like to present their own drone operations in Afghanistan as a moral cut above those of the CIA and Jsoc. In real life, the collaboration could hardly be closer. This week Noor Khan, whose father was one of more than 40 killed in a US drone attack in Pakistan, has been at the appeal court in London demanding the British government reveal the extent of GCHQ support for such war crimes….As Theresa May has been stripping British Muslims suspected of fighting for al-Shabaab in Somalia of their citizenship, just in time for them to be killed or kidnapped by US special forces, evidence has emerged that British special forces themselves killed a British recruit, Tufail Ahmed, there last year.”
Black Flag operation
Adam Withnall writing in the Daily Telegraph, 25 November 2013: “French spies planned to assassinate the extremist preacher Abu Hamza on a London street after they grew frustrated with Britain’s failure to deal with him, it has been claimed. According to a major investigation by the organisation HOPE Not Hate, French intelligence services dubbed the UK capital “Londonistan” because of a growing reputation for harbouring Europe’s Muslim fundamentalists. Seeking to take advantage of the fear surrounding the London nail bombings by the neo-Nazi militant Davud Copeland, security officials from Britain’s European neighbour hatched a plot to kill the cleric and blame it on the far-right extremist group Combat 18.…Spies got as far as identifying the weapons they would use to mimic those favoured by the organisation, and would have sent Hamza faked death threats pretending to be from the group. It is not clear why the plans were not carried out. In a completely separate earlier plot, the French spying network Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE) contemplated kidnapping Hamza from his West London home, putting him in a ferry and moving him to France.
For an archive of French dirty tricks click here, otherwise read on….
A study at the Cardiff School of Journalism found that “… the most common nouns used in relation to British Muslims were terrorist, extremist, Islamist, suicide bomber and militant, with very few positive nouns (such as ‘scholar’) used. The most common adjectives used were radical, fanatical, fundamentalist, extremist and militant….”
It is as if saying that all Muslims are not extremists but all extremists are Muslim! However, putting the boot in the other foot.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend), the umbrella body of armed groups in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta, said it would launch a new terror campaign “in defence of Christianity”. Niger Delta militants threaten retaliation over Islamist attacks
Black and North African railway workers were banned from working at Paris’s Gare du Nord when the President of Israel visited France over fears they might be Muslim, it has emerged.
Black workers ‘banned from Gare du Nord during Israeli president visit’
Buddhist monks and others armed with swords and machetes Friday stalked the streets of a city in central Myanmar, where sectarian violence that has left about 20 people dead has begun to spread to other areas, according to local officials. Armed Buddhists, including monks, clash with Muslims in Myanmar
The coroner presiding over an inquest into an Indian woman who died after being refused an emergency abortion in an Irish hospital has asked for a midwife to be identified. Dr Ciaran McLoughlin said the midwife should be named after a friend of Savita Halappanavar claimed the staff member at Galway University hospital had denied the 31-year-old a termination “because we don’t do that here; it’s a Catholic thing”.
Abortion refusal death: coroner asks for midwife to be identified
“Two more infants have been infected with a deadly herpes virus in the last three months after undergoing a controversial religious oral circumcision in New York City…The identify of the rabbi who performed the circumcision is being withheld by the boys’ parents, preventing the health department to step in, they said.”
Two more babies stricken with herpes after ritual ultra-orthodox Jewish oral blood sucking circumcision in New York City
“Hewlett Johnson became the Dean of Canterbury in 1931… Over those 33 years, Johnson devoted the bulk of his astonishing energy to proving that Soviet Communism, especially as practised by Stalin, was heaven on earth…”
The priest who thought Stalin was a saint
A priest suspected of being an IRA leader and masterminding a bombing atrocity was allowed to escape arrest thanks to a secret deal between police, ministers and the Roman Catholic Church, a report revealed yesterday. Father James Chesney was the ‘prime suspect’ after nine people, including an eight-year-old girl, were killed and 30 injured when three car bombs exploded in the quiet Northern Ireland village of Claudy in July 1972.
How the IRA’s ‘bomber priest’ escaped justice: Cover-up agreed by police, ministers and Catholic Church