Monthly Archives: December 2023

False anti-Semitism claims are being used to silence debate, says Peston at last

Robert Peston: at long last he has realised that some people making claims of anti-Semitism may not be entirely sincere.

Robert Peston has seen the light, it seems:

The TV politics reporter’s epiphany has prompted a few sharp comments from other commentators, who believe it took him too long to realise something that has been happening for years:

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In fairness, This Writer is not entirely convinced that Peston ever bought into the anti-Semitism scam entirely, for this reason:

But there it is. When the claims were about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, they had to be completely beyond the pale to trigger suspicion in Peston’s mind.

Now, with the claims being based on the Israel/Gaza conflict, he seems more willing to accept that they don’t carry any weight.

Will he consider it worth revisiting those Labour-based claims? Comment below if you think he should.


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Legendary journalist John Pilger has died

John Pilger: he has passed away but his effect on investigative journalism should last forever.

It’s the last day of a terrible year – and 2023 had one final blow to deal us:

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This Writer can only agree with and echo the sentiments expressed by Dorset Eye:

We … are in shock.

John was an esteemed journalist who embodied the essence of investigative reporting and activism through his profound commitment to uncovering the truth behind complex global issues. With a career spanning several decades, John carved a niche for himself as a fearless commentator, documentary filmmaker, and author, championing the cause of social justice and exposing the often-hidden realities of power, politics, and human suffering.

Read the full obituary here: John Pilger dies – Dorset Eye


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Right-wing rag attacks junior doctors as winter viruses surge

Striking doctors: they’re being blamed for the expected effects of increases in “winter viruses” – but won’t those increases be due to the stupidity of the people spreading them? And will they be spread as far, if Tory inflation means people haven’t been able to afford to go out as much this year?

How nice of the Tory-supporting rags to blame junior doctors for pressure on the NHS caused by the so-called “winter viruses” – flu, norovirus and Covid-19.

Junior doctors are set to walk out for six consecutive days next week, in the latest part of their long-running dispute with the government over pay.

So media outlets like The Times are blaming them for any increased suffering that may happen during that time – ignoring the fact that this, and the 974,000 missed appointments alleged to have happened so far, could have been avoided if the Tories had simply paid them the appropriate wage.

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The Times reported,

In the week to Christmas Eve, there were an average of 942 patients with flu in hospital each day, including 48 in critical care. It is almost six times higher than the 160 average four weeks ago. Meanwhile 452 hospital patients on average were there because of norovirus symptoms, which include diarrhoea and vomiting, and 3,620 patients had Covid-19 — up by over a half from the month before.

And it quoted Sir Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, who said the impact of care was likely to be

“much more severe next week with six days of industrial action planned by junior doctors, the longest in NHS history, at a time when hospitals usually experience the most pressure with high demand and higher levels of virus admissions”.

Covid cases were expected to rise to a peak around December 30, in the aftermath of Christmas gatherings. Here‘s the i:

Covid cases are expected to have risen sharply as JN.1, the new highly-contagious dominant subvariant, spreads rapidly – increasing its share of new UK infections to 48 per cent on December 23rd, making it the biggest strain in the country.

In the aftermath of Christmas, where people have spent prolonged periods together indoors, cases are expected to keep rising for at least the next few days, according to Professor Karl Friston, a virus modeller at University College London.

It is common for illnesses to increase around the Christmas period as people socialise more and cold conditions help viruses to thrive, at the same time as weakening our resistance to them.

There are also concerns about waning immunity to Covid … As a result, scientists fear that a higher proportion of those cases could become severe this year than last year.

The increased chance of serious illness also pushes up the risk of a person going on to develop long Covid because serious cases are more likely to lead to that condition.

This is all perfectly plausible – but it omits one important factor in the spread of any disease: human stupidity.

If sick people have been infecting others at Christmas gatherings, what possessed them to go there? If they were feeling flu-ey (or whatever), why didn’t they do the decent thing and stay at home?

In This Writer’s own family, Mrs Mike’s mother had to stay away from our family gathering this year because her boyfriend (I know it’s weird to talk about them like that when they’re in their late 70s, but what other word is there?) visited her, despite having Covid.

He ended up having to self-isolate – and is now in hospital because of complications that may have arisen because of the Covid – and she agreed that she should stay away, to avoid the possibility of infecting the rest of us.

So that was a couple of people’s Christmas ruined; worse than the one that it could have been if he’d stayed away, but better than spreading it among the rest of us.

Conversely, the dire economic effects of having a Tory government might have worked in our favour: I visited my local pub yesterday evening for the first time in a fortnight and it was very quiet indeed.

My friendly neighbourhood bartender told me it had been like that all the way through the Festive Season so far, and we agreed that, what with the higher cost of food this year because of Tory inflation, together with the strain of buying presents, people probably didn’t have any cash left with which to go out.

It harms the economy – if money can’t be spread around as much as it was before, then some businesses will suffer and may even go under.

But that’s Tory politics for you. Their aim is always to concentrate all the cash – and therefore all the power – among a few people at the top.

It may lead to lower-than-expected “winter virus” infections this year – I’d like to hope so and we’ll have to monitor the results carefully – but that’s an unintended consequence.

And the full extent of harm to the economy may not become clear for some time to come.

Source: Winter viruses surge before longest junior doctors’ strike


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Another rubbish Tory MP blames ‘crap parents’ for struggling kids

‘New Conservative’ James Daly: do not adjust your eyeballs. All is well.

He’s not entirely wrong.

Sometimes there are parents who don’t come up to scratch.

But here’s the thing: every parent worth the title also has a fear that they aren’t doing right by their kids.

This Writer is only a step-parent and I had those doubts.

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So I have a doubt about new Mekon lookalike James Daly, concerning his sincerity:

James Daly, the MP for Bury North, was elected in 2019. He is a member of the “New Conservatives” caucus in Westminster.

Speaking to the i, former lawyer Mr Daly said: “I think New Conservatives represent very much working-class conservatism.

“We’re not a strange right-wing sect. It’s just people who want to give people the best chance to succeed and thrive in life.

“When you think about the family, it’s about stability.

“Most of the kids who struggle in Bury are the products of crap parents and so what do we do to try to address that issue?

“On the left it would just be we’ll throw money at this and hope something sticks, somebody like me thinks about this more fundamentally.”

So, there’s no help available for parents who want to up their game.

There’s just a ton of blame.

That’s certainly a Tory position; another example of “divide and rule”, this time separating those who think they’re good parents from those who, as suggested above, have doubts.

But I don’t think these New Conservatives are “working class”.

Considering the insult to parents, perhaps a better name for them would be “Tory bitches.”

Source: ‘Crap parents’ behind struggling children, Tory MP James Daly claims | Politics News | Sky News


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‘Home Alone’ video stunt can’t stop Sunak’s popularity from plunging

His next job: it’s an old meme but worth recycling for this story.

The problem for Rishi Sunak is that, if he wanted to get the public on his side with a sympathetic video clip, he needed it to represent what he’s really like.

And he’s really not one of the good guys.

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If he was a politician with standards he stood by, rather than a corrupt puppet of Big Money (see any number of news items from the past few years), and the clip showed this, then he might have got somewhere.

Instead…

Rishi Sunak’s net rating among Conservative Party members has reached its lowest point ever.

The survey of Tory members, carried out on Conservative Home, which looks at the popularity of cabinet members, found Sunak to have a net satisfaction rating of -26.5, meaning he secured second to last place on the ranking of cabinet members.

He also broke his own record of minus 25.4, which he reached just last month.

Sunak’s unpopularity among the Tory members will embolden those on the right of the party who think that the only way to turn around the party’s fortunes is by replacing the Tory leader.

Tory MPs can be broadly split into two camps, the Sunak backers who still think there is a narrow path to victory under the Prime Minister’s leadership, and those on the Tory right who think that no matter how hard the Tory leader tries, nothing short of a change in leadership will stop the Tory electoral wipe-out widely being predicted.

And the same poll that dumped on Sunak so badly has put ultra-right-winger Kemi Badenoch at the top.

You see how easy it would be for the far right to take control after a Tory election loss?

Source: Rishi Sunak’s rating among Tory members reaches its lowest point ever – Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate


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Will International Court of Justice consider Israel’s latest atrocities in genocide trial?

The flag of Israel: to be truly representative, by the time the IDF onslaught against Gaza ends, it would not merely be splashed with blood – it would be drenched in it, stained red in its entirety.

The announcement that the International Court of Justice is considering whether Israel has been committing genocide in Gaza came as a huge relief for This Writer – because I have been having trouble keeping up with the evidence that has been mounting up.

What follows are just some of the accounts that have come out of the war zone (and other parts of Israel and occupied Palestine) since Christmas.

I would like to think that any prosecutor at the ICJ would have the initiative to collect as much evidence as possible before any trial, so that these stories – and all the others – can be weighed by a judge before a verdict is announced.

Brace yourself because this could be a rough read.

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Shall we start with the Christmas Eve massacre of refugees at Maghazi refugee camp?

70 people died – but Israel has offered up an excuse:

It doesn’t make sense. Why was Israel targeting refugees in the first place?

Here’s an announcement about a man who was murdered on Christmas Day. I know it doesn’t mean the same to Muslims as it does to us, but the significance should be clear:

On Boxing Day, we learned that Israeli forces have been rounding up Gazans, stripping them, and holding them in what amount to detention camps. Notice that children have been subjected to this; Israel is targeting them as much as adults:

The detentions show no regard for the identity of the people being stripped and paraded. Below, we see a claim that Israel has shown contempt for the United Nations, its officials and staff:

We also discovered that Jews from other countries have been flying into Israel, keen to take up arms and join in the slaughter of the people of Gaza. They clearly couldn’t wait to get onto Palestinian land and get Palestinian blood on their hands:

Meanwhile, Israeli propagandists have apparently been creating elaborate lies to make it seem that Hamas has been inflicting cruelty on hostages:

How can we believe any other Israeli claims about Hamas activities, if Israel is planning and carrying out filmed lies like this?

Reports also started to reach us that Israel had “cleansed” northern Gaza of its entire population – but this also seems to have been propaganda:

One element of Israel’s genocide is the deliberate targeting of children. Singer Labi Siffre made this clear on Christmas Day:

And he’s not the only one:

Were these kids, or the other family members mentioned in the post, really Hamas agents in disguise? Or were IDF troopers just targeting children (as we’ve seen them doing many times in the past)?

Why did this baby deserve to be targeted by Israel?

Israel regularly claims that Hamas is using innocent people and children as “human shields” but there is no evidence to support this. Even if it were true, the onus would be on the IDF to avoid harming the innocents – not to cluster-bomb everybody and then try to justify the deaths afterwards.

One aspect of Israel’s campaign has been a persistent claim that anybody criticising the IDF for its actions in Gaza must be an anti-Semite, because Israel “has a right to defend itself”. Here’s a full and complete answer to that:

There is a wider onslaught against all residents of Gaza, including women – all the time mis-labelling the victims as “barbarians” and “terrorists”:

Israeli politicians regularly describe citizens of Gaza – whoever they may be – as legitimate targets. Here, that country’s president, Isaac Herzog, writes a message on an Israeli missile that was almost certain to harm innocent people:

Messages like this have become commonplace on the social media:

Israel has targeted vital Gazan infrastructure – particularly its health system – in order to ensure as many people die, either of injuries inflicted by IDF bullets and bombs or of diseases that arise as a consequence of war.

The claim has been that Hamas has been hiding in tunnels beneath Gaza’s hospitals – but there is no confirmed evidence to suggest that there is any truth in such assertions:

Here’s the prediction of what will happen as a result of the collapse of the medical system being caused deliberately by Israel. Isn’t this intentional – genocide?

Why did this Christian woman have to die?

Targeted alongside the health system are members of the news media. Here’s an excerpt from a debate about the lack of news coverage of alleged events. The answer that is given is that no members of the western media are allowed into Gaza by Israel, and the IDF is killing all journalists who are already in Gaza, despite the fact that they are non-combatants.

Here’s information that corroborates the claim that was being made:

While northern Gaza may not be entirely cleared of inhabitants, it seems to have been more or less levelled, making it practically uninhabitable:

It is impossible to collect accurate casualty figures, so what follows is only an estimate, but the comment from “Supporting Humanity” is fair; to have killed one per cent of a population within two and a half months certainly suggests attempted genocide.

Peter Oborne puts the figure in context for Britons, pointing out that if a similar proportion of the UK’s population were killed, it would constitute 670,000 of us.

It seems Israel has been killing its own citizens – and blaming the deaths on Hamas:

The sheer number of deaths, in such a short time, has dwarfed any other Arab war losses against Israel. Apologists for Israel have quibbled with the figures but are being (if you’ll excuse the phraseology) shot down:

And the murders continue:

The levelling of northern Gaza has continued, and

Israel has been mocking western traditions. Here, an IDF trooper dressed as Father Christmas delivers what he might describe as “presents” of death to the citizens of Gaza. The person posting the clip accuses UK politicians Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer of supporting this slaughter, in direct contradiction of the will of most people in the UK:

UK politician George Galloway singles out UK Labour leader Keir Starmer, who demanded that his party’s MPs refused to support calls for a ceasefire, for particular outrage:

Here’s a clip of an Israeli airstrike on ambulances carrying injured non-combatants:

Israel says it had to invade Gaza in order to release hostages kidnapped by Hamas operatives. Claims about mistreatment of these hostages have been debunked by those who have been released so far.

Meanwhile, we learn that Israeli troops have themselves kidnapped, tortured and murdered Palestinians – exactly the behaviour of which they have accused Hamas:

And Israel’s attempts to release Israeli hostages have been half-hearted at best. Mostly the IDF troops have been bombing their own people:

And of course, people aren’t just being killed. The number of people injured dwarfs the number killed by a ratio of 5:2 (50,000 to 20,000).

Here’s part of what this means:

The slaughter continues:

And we are constantly learning about more of Israel’s lies:

Will any of these incidents appear in the evidence used by the International Court of Justice?

This Writer can only hope so.

Sadly, I know that far more such atrocities will take place before any kind of justice is carried out – if it ever is.


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South Africa demands that international court puts Israel on trial for genocide

The International Court of Justice in The Hague.

It had to happen sooner or later – and who more appropriate than South Africa, the last state to overthrow an apartheid regime, to demand that the International Court of Justice subject the state of Israel to a trial on a charge of genocide against Gaza?

As Dr Omar Suleiman writes in his ‘X’ post containing South Africa’s submission to the court, “No-one knows apartheid like those who fought it before.”

In its press release on the subject, the ICJ quotes South Africa’s reasons for initiating proceedings as follows:

“Acts and omissions by Israel… are genocidal in character, as they are committed with the requisite specific intent… to destroy the Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.”

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“The conduct of Israel – through its State organs, State agents, and other persons and entities acting on its instructions or under its direction, control or influence – in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, is in violation of its obligations under the Genocide Convention.”

“Israel, since 7 October 2023 in particular, has failed to prevent genocide and has failed to prosecute the direct and public incitement to genocide.”

“Israel has engaged in, is engaging in and risks further engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza.”

Of course, we know Israel’s representatives will resist any proceedings vigorously – examples of such resistance are below –  as Rabbi Alissa Wise of Rabbis for Ceasefire comments:

South Africa’s application runs to 84 pages and is, we’re told, shocking in its detail:

As stated above, Israel and its apologists have already started making denials:

Israeli Foreign Affairs spokesman Lior Haiat did what Israeli spokespeople often do when faced with accusations – he called it a blood libel:

 

Haiat’s full statement reads as follows:

Israel rejects with disgust the blood libel spread by South Africa in its application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

South Africa’s claim lacks both a factual and a legal basis, and constitutes a despicable and contemptuous exploitation of the Court.

South Africa is cooperating with a terrorist organization that is calling for the destruction of the State of Israel.

The Hamas terrorist organization – which is committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and sought to commit genocide on 7 October – is responsible for the suffering of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by using them as human shields and stealing humanitarian aid from them.

Israel is committed to international law and acts in accordance with it, and directs its military efforts solely against the Hamas terrorist organization and the other terrorist organizations cooperating with Hamas.

Israel has made it clear that the residents of the Gaza Strip are not the enemy, and is making every effort to limit harm to civilians and to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

We call on the International Court of Justice and the international community to completely reject South Africa’s baseless claims.

The full response by Tayab Ali, head of international law at Bindmans and a director of the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians, runs as follows:

The allegation that Israel’s actions constitute genocide is for the ICJ to determine without political interference.

Holding Israel to account in international law in the ICJ can never be seen as a blood libel. Israel has no right to impunity in international law.

South Africa’s claim is well constructed and has a detailed factual and a legal basis. The 84 page application is available to read on the ICJ’s website.

It is never despicable and contemptuous to ask a court to make a determination where there is prima facie evidence of a crime.

South Africa is not cooperating with a terrorist organization by triggering its obligations under the Genocide convention. It is doing what all State parties to the convention are obliged to do.

Hamas should be held to account in a court of law where there is evidence it has violated international law. Collective punishment of the Palestinian people is not an acceptable option.

Israel has never been committed to international law and rarely acts in accordance with it. In 2009 a British Court determined that there was sufficient evidence to issue an Israeli politician with an arrest warrant in relation to an allegation of war crimes perpetrated by Israel in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.

Israeli politicians have made numerous statements which the ICJ will have to consider whether they provide evidence of the intent needed for an offence of Genocide. This includes the statement made by the Israeli Prime Minister invoking biblical scripture of Amelek which has genocidal significance.

Any call to reject South Africa’s application should be done by legal submissions to the ICJ. It should be considered a contempt of court to try to pressure the ICJ to act in any way that is not independent.

This Writer trusts Tayab Ali’s response more than Lior Haiat’s assertions, which contain easily-identifiable lies as laid out above.

We await the ICJ’s official response.

In the meantime – just over the past few days, This Writer has collected a wealth of information about Israel’s misdeeds in Gaza (which is not to play down any war crimes and/or atrocities by Hamas operatives; as Tayab Ali points out, where there is evidence that Hamas has broken international law, it should be held to account in a court).

I’ll publish these in a future article.


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Intel to build $25bn factory in southern Israel after Gaza genocide

Intel in Israel: the computer chip company has a plant at Kiryat Gat, in what used to be Palestine.

That’s the end for This Writer and computers with Intel processors, then:

The ‘Censored Men’ post reads:

Israel’s government grants Intel $3.2bn for a new $25bn chip plant it plans to build in Southern Israel.

Intel has also promised to purchase $16.6bn worth of goods and services from Israeli suppliers over the next decade.

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Netanyahu has described the project as “the largest investment ever in the state of Israel.”

Israel’s Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich welcomed Intel’s new project in Israel and said:

“This investment, at a time when Israel wages war against utter wickedness, a war in which good must defeat evil, is an investment in the right and righteous values that spell progress for humanity.”

Some additional facts about Smotrich include:

In 2016 Smotrich made a statement in which he said Jewish mothers should not share maternity wards with Arab mothers.

– In February 2023 he was in favour of “wiping out” a Palestinian village and called for the Palestinian town of Huwara to be “erased”.

– In March 2023 he said “There is no such thing as Palestinians.”

– In March 2023, Smotrich visited France and spoke at a podium featuring a map of “Greater Israel”.

“Greater Israel” includes:

  • The entirety of Palestine
  • The entirety of Jordan
  • Parts of Iraq
  • Parts of Lebanon
  • Parts of Syria
  • Parts of Egypt
  • Parts of Turkey
  • Parts of Saudi Arabia

It’s nice to know that Intel is eager to work with disgusting individuals such as Bezalel Smotrich and Benjamin Netanyahu.

It’s also nice to know that Intel plans on making “the largest investment ever in the state of Israel” at a time when Israel is committing a genocide.

The plant is set to open in 2028.

The Intel plant is at Kiryat Gat, which used to be a Palestinian settlement before being depopulated after the establishment of Israel in the late 1940s.

The bad new is Nvidia and AMD are also heavily involved in the Israeli economy.

It might be worth lobbying computer manufacturers to boycott Intel from now on.


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Tories are starving the poor to fund Inheritance Tax cut for the rich

Is this the real reason for the planned Tory Inheritance Tax cut? Rishi Sunak would save himself a huge wad of cash if the cut goes through. Is he just thinking about himself (again)?

The New Year may be just around the corner but the Tories are the same as they ever were.

At the moment, they’re busy at their usual wheeze – robbing the poor to pay the rich.

Here’s the lowdown:

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And how is this tax break for millionaires being funded? Here:

Finally, it seems strange that this tax break is needed, if the plan is to help the rich. Hugh Grosvenor didn’t need it because he hid his money in trusts:

Logically, if the Tory government was interested in equality of opportunity, it would be ensuring that people like Mr Grosvenor couldn’t dodge Inheritance Tax and had to pay up.

So this is all about making the poor poorer and the rich richer.

That’s not acceptable in a society that is supposed to be enlightened.


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Has James Cleverly been lying about migrant boats coming to the UK?

Migrant boats: but this image was taken at a different time of year – nobody in their right mind would try the crossing in the middle of winter storms.

One would have thought ‘Rohypnol Jimmy’ had more to worry about than lying to the public about boats-ful of “illegal” migrants coming to the UK over Christmas.

But no.

Look below for an ‘X’ post from Ian Hodson, quoting Cleverly’s latest nonsense.

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Cleverly’s saying there weren’t any boats crossing the English Channel over the Christmas period, for the first time since 2018 – but the context note points out that this is probably because the weather has been particularly stormy and you’d have to be insane to try to make the crossing in such conditions.

So he’s peddling a lie – because he wants us to think that the lack of crossings is a result of his government’s policy on migration, and that isn’t right.

How much of the rest of what the Tory government says about cross-channel migration is also a lie?


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