Category Archives: Foreign Affairs

Trump acquitted in second impeachment trial – but not by the court of public opinion

Did anybody think Donald Trump would be found guilty by the Republican-dominated US Senate?

Impeached for the second time in his presidency – for inciting the Capitol riot in January that led to the deaths of five people – the evidence was considered by the 100-strong Senate, whose membership is evenly balanced between Republicans (Trump’s party) and Democrats.

For Trump to be convicted, a simple majority was not enough; the rules state that two-thirds of the Senate would have to find against him.

And here’s the result:

Final vote tally 57-43 but Senate fails to achieve two-thirds majority needed to convict former president of incitement.

Seven Republicans voted against their now-former president but it wasn’t enough. The others supported Trump.

It is suggested that they would have done so, no matter what evidence was put before them. That is a matter for their consciences.

The court of public opinion is another matter, though.

And the reaction of the people seems clear:

 

 

“The only thing easier to buy in the USA than a gun is a Republican Senator.”

Fair comment?

Source: Donald Trump acquitted in second impeachment trial | Donald Trump | The Guardian

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Tories had five years to free Nazanin; now they can only hope she’ll be released on schedule

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: did Boris Johnson ever give a damn about this UK citizen, wrongly imprisoned in Iran?

What a pathetic defeat for the Conservatives – and for Boris Johnson in particular.

You’ll remember that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was imprisoned by the Iranian authorities on trumped-up charges in 2016 – for five years.

The case was brought to the UK’s Foreign Secretary – at the time, Boris Johnson – in November 2017. And the first thing he did was make the situation worse.

He said Nazanin had been arrested because she had been “teaching journalism”. In fact, that was the reason for her arrest – a reason that she denies (the Iranian authorities related it to activism against the state).

He later tried to claim that his words had not been clear and he had meant even if she had been teaching journalism, that would not have justified her arrest. But this was not true – one of many lies he has spoken on his way to the top.

The Iranian authorities said they would use Johnson’s words against Nazanin, but he refused to apologise for worsening the situation.

Next it was rumoured that Johnson was going to pay Iran £450 million owed to that country but unpaid due to international sanctions, in return for Nazanin’s freedom…

Then it was said that he had put the brakes on that scheme for fear of upsetting US President Trump.

Nazanin went on hunger strike. While she starved, Johnson (now prime minister) was working on his suntan, on the billionaires’ playground island of Mustique.

Now, her prison sentence is due to end on March 7. And what is the UK government saying?

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that he would leave “no stone unturned” in his quest to have Zaghari-Ratcliffe released on time.

How pathetic. How humiliating. And what a let-down for Nazanin’s family, including husband Richard Ratcliffe who placed his hopes in the Tories and had them dashed on the rocks of international diplomacy.

There’s no guarantee that she will be released. The authorities in Iran have threatened to lengthen her sentence, or sentence her on new charges, on several occasions.

That will be an even greater humiliation for the Tories. Or it would be, if they cared.

Nazanin’s family do care. But the politicians probably think their agony of waiting is nobody’s business but their own.

Source: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe hopes to be freed ‘within weeks’ as the end of her prison sentence nears

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Dutch Rutte government resigns over child welfare fraud scandal – Vox Political Scrapbook

I brought this to your attention yesterday, remarking on the similarity between this and the wrong done to UK child benefit claimants by the Conservatives, with their so-called ‘rape clause’.

Now this has happened:

Mark Rutte’s government has stepped down after thousands of families were wrongly accused of child welfare fraud and told to pay money back.

Families suffered an “unparalleled wrong”, Dutch MPs decided, with tax officials, politicians, judges and civil servants leaving them powerless.

An “unparalleled wrong”.

The Dutch can recognise when their government mistreats their benefit claimants abominably.

Why can’t we show the same perception, here in the UK?

Source: Dutch Rutte government resigns over child welfare fraud scandal – BBC News

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Dutch government faces collapse over child benefits scandal. Why didn’t that happen to the Tories?

I bring this to your attention because the UK Conservative Party restricted child benefits to cover two children a few years ago.

Any parent wishing to claim benefit for a third child (or more) had to prove that the child was born in extraordinary circumstances conforming to a clause in new Tory legislation that swiftly became known as the rape clause.

It demanded that people who had been criminally violated not only had to relive the experience but also had to discuss it with strangers who should have had no right to know.

Parents with more than two children who could not provide such information lost benefit for more than two children instantly.

Those who could provide it were not guaranteed the extra cash because a DWP adjudicator could easily decide against them.

There was an outcry against this change in the law – which unreasonably discriminates against victims of violent crime.

But the Tories were never in any danger of being removed.

So here’s the question:

Are the Dutch overreacting? Or should the Tories have stepped down over their law that exposes and humiliates rape victims?

The Dutch government will decide on Friday whether to step down over an escalating scandal in which tax officials wrongly accused thousands of parents of fraud, plunging many families into debt by ordering them to repay childcare allowances.

The opposition Labour party leader, Lodewijk Asscher, who was social affairs minister in the previous government, resigned over the affair on Thursday, denying he knew the tax authority was “wrongly hunting down thousands of families” but conceding a failing system had “made the government an enemy of its people”.

Source: Dutch government faces collapse over child benefits scandal | Netherlands | The Guardian

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Could Trump impeachment help Mike’s libel fight against Rachel Riley?

The arguments are exactly the same.

After Donald Trump tweeted that his supporters should protest at the United States Capitol building to “stop the steal” of his presidency (he had been defeated in a perfectly legitimate election last November), a riot ensued in which five people died.

The US Parliament – Congress – is to consider whether to impeach Trump (remove him from office) on the grounds that his tweet was “incitement of insurrection”.

Isn’t that similar to what I said about Rachel Riley – that her tweets to a vulnerable teenager encouraged her followers to send abuse to that girl, harass her, and ultimately made her believe her life was in danger?

Both Riley and Trump have protested against this characterisation of them – Riley by accusing me of libel, Trump by opposing the impeachment.

Riley has tried to have my defence against her accusation struck out by claiming that she had not intended any harm to the girl and that she could not be said to have had any influence over her followers who read her tweets and behaved inappropriately.

Trump’s argument will be the same – he didn’t intend any harm to take place and he cannot be said to have influenced anybody.

The difference is that he is opposed by members of his nation’s Parliament – many of whom will have years of legal experience, whereas I’m an internet-based journalist with a crowdfunded legal team.

If he loses his case, it will have a knock-on effect upon mine. The judge in Riley’s strike-out application still hasn’t handed down her judgment and I wonder whether this is because she is aware of the transatlantic situation and knows that an appeal could be lodged in my case, depending on the result in Washington DC.

In the meantime, it is important to ensure that I can still pay to defend myself against Riley. So while we’re waiting, please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

There is now an international aspect to the Riley case.

Depending on events in Washington DC this week, anything could happen here.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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With days left in his presidency, Donald Trump is to be impeached out of it

And a good thing, too.

After Donald Trump used Twitter to incite his followers to protest against the legitimate result of last November’s US presidential election – at which a riot then ensued – it seemed the worst sanction he was likely to receive was a lifetime ban from Twitter.

Many people were incensed…

… including members of his own party – like Arnold Schwarzenegger. This speech may very well be the best performance of his life. Perhaps it’s because it came from the heart:

It seems these voices have been heard.

On Monday (January 11), formal impeachment proceedings were launched against Trump by Congress – the United States Parliament.

This is an ongoing story.

Let’s hope it has a happy ending for us all.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Here’s a January pick-me-up from the people who make funny videos about politics

Take off: Donald Trump is on his way out of the White House – and some of us can’t wait to see him go.

If you’re sick of the “relentless stream of misery on social media”, as one commenter on the Vox Political Facebook page put it, you need to cheer up!

Fortunately, there is an army of creative people who are working hard to lift our spirits with amusing images, cartoons and video clips.

For example: here’s one anticipating the departure of Donald Trump from the US Presidency – with a clever adaptation of a song from perennial movie favourite The Sound of Music.

I’ll try to find more. Meanwhile, feel free to follow Shirley Serban on Facebook and YouTube.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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After the Capitol riot, is it time for gun control in the United States? (VIDEO)

Joe Biden: this Democrat president-elect will have a majority in the House of Representatives and a de facto majority in the Senate. Will he use it to enact the gun controls that the United States desperately need?

It seems to me that the fever over the Capitol riot in the United States is ignoring a very important fact.

I’ve made a short video and I would appreciate it if you would watch it:

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Boris Johnson’s Lie of the Day: he never cut the number of lorries queuing in Kent


Why does he do it?

In his latest car-crash (please don’t groan) TV press conference, Boris Johnson told us that he had taken action to reduce the number of lorries queuing in Kent to be transported to continental Europe, as both the UK and the EU prepare for new trading conditions from January.

Oh, really?

What are all these, then?

Those of you who saw the broadcast might be saying, “Ah, but! Johnson was referring to lorries on the M20 – and that’s some airport runway, from the look of it!”

Yes indeed. These appear to be the overspill from the M20 – lorries that have been diverted to park elsewhere.

But it doesn’t mean that Johnson wasn’t misleading us. Oh, and let’s make it clear – it’s Boris Johnson who made the misleading statement (this for the benefit of the BBC):

For clarity:

The tailback was precipitated by Johnson’s (him again!) announcement on Saturday (December 19) that he was cancelling a planned relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions for Christmas because of the unexpected virulence of a new mutation of the virus – a situation of which, it transpires, he has only been aware for four months (since late September).

The international response from around 40 countries now has been to close their borders to any and all traffic to and from the UK – hence the queue in Kent.

Why did Johnson lie?

Well, that’s a very good question:

One aspect of this situation that isn’t being discussed by Johnson is the fact that he is creating a huge health risk by failing to provide emergency food and sanitation facilities for more than a thousand stranded lorry drivers:

Isn’t Johnson begging for a new outbreak of Covid-19 – right there among the drivers – by failing to provide basic facilities for cleanliness?

He is responsible for this; it was his decision that created the situation.

I wonder how he will talk his way out of it.

With a lie, I expect…

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Why does Sunak have billions for dormant companies, but not a penny to safeguard our jobs?

Rishi Sunak: he doesn’t want to save UK jobs. Meanwhile his government is funnelling billions into companies run by friends of the Tories – who can’t deliver what they promise.

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak has again been urged to extend the furlough scheme that safeguards huge numbers of UK jobs during the Covid crisis – a scheme he is adamant will end on October 31.

The Commons Treasury select committee has urged him to renew support for sectors of the economy that are still suffering because of the pandemic, saying the alternative is mass unemployment and an end to viable firms.

But you can probably see the problem Sunak has in the committee’s own words:

“Effectively targeted assistance to those who need it is important,” the committee says in an 84-page report, ‘Economic impact of coronavirus : the challenges of recovery’.

“The Chancellor should carefully consider whether a targeted extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and/or other targeted support measures might be required and explain his conclusions.”

The problem is that the UK’s current Tory government hasn’t yet had a target that it could hit.

Meanwhile…

Yes, we deserve far better. But we’re not going to get it.

Source: Coronavirus furlough ‘must be extended’ to avoid mass unemployment from October 31 – Mirror Online

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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