Tag Archives: control

Israel’s CULL in Palestine: a campaign of lies?

The Israel-Palestine conflict is not about Jewish survival: many Jews actively protest against the persecution of Palestinians by the extremist government of a nation state that claims to represent all Jews, whether they support it or not.

This observation from the social media about the Israel-Palestine conflict rings true:

As I write, Israel is most likely raining dozens – or hundreds – of bombs onto carefully-targeted (we’ll come back to this) sites in Palestinian territory, while Palestinians can only respond (you can hardly call it retaliation) by firing a few fireworks back.

Don’t get me wrong – fireworks can be deadly. But the resulting casualties have been equivalent to one of the more damaging Bonfire Nights of the 1960s or 70s, when people were less observant of the Fireworks Code. Palestinian deaths and injuries number in their thousands.

The scale of the imbalance makes the US media claim ridiculous: It is not a war; it is a cull.

The following tweet provides a few figures supporting this assertion. The number of deaths is not enough to support claims of genocide. But those numbers do speak for themselves:

The exact numbers in the current situation are debatable – as always in an ongoing situation:

A war on children?

Let’s consider who the Israeli Defence Force has been targeting:

The evidence seems clear: Israeli forces have clearly and positively targeted Palestinian families – civilians – for murder. Consider the response if the shoe was on the other foot and an overwhelmingly strong Palestine was treating Israeli Jews in the same way:

But there’s more: Israeli forces aren’t just targeting civilians and children.

You’ll have read in the tweets above that a clinic run by Medicins Sans Frontieres, an independent, humanitarian medical organisation, has also been struck. It’s not the only medical facility to have been hit; its staff are not the only medical staff to be harmed:

Does that seem an extreme judgement? “They want to kill most of them and let Covid do the rest”?

But then, why target a Covid-19 testing lab at all, if not for that purpose?

The Israeli government has been swift to counter the evidence with its usual claim – that Palestinian terrorists are hiding behind children.

This has been debunked as a racist lie:

One of the sites where the Israeli government claimed Hamas had been hiding was an office building housing news broadcasters Al-Jazeera and AP News – the Associated Press. The latter is one of the most well-established and -respected news agencies in the world, and its comment on the bombing is damning:

The last line refers, in This Writer’s opinion, to the intention of this particular airstrike: “The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what tranpired today.”

Isn’t that exactly what the Israeli government would want, as it targets civilians including children for murder?

Al-Jazeera has also commented – that Israel had still provided no evidence of any Hamas presence in the building, two days after the strike:

As a journalist of more than a quarter of a century’s experience, I find it interesting that Benjamin Netanyahu’s people feel the need to attack news reporters; to hide what they’re doing.

News media around the world have already given Israel the easiest ride possible during what can only be seen as an infamous, scandalous slaughter:

See what I mean?

There is now evidence showing that attempts to promote balanced reporting of the situation are being suppressed by supporters of the Israeli government.

For example, Canadian journalists are currently being pursued for signing an open letter calling for balanced reporting of the situation.

The letter criticises the “lack of nuanced” coverage.  “Some groups believe the attacks amount to an ‘ethnic cleansing.’ It should be covered as such,” it says.

“It’s time for Canadian newsrooms to carry out the necessary due diligence and report on this region with nuance and context.”

Pro-Israel organisations have been quick to attack the letter – and any journalist signing it, leading to the ridiculous situation of reporters being forced to defend something that it is our duty to provide: fair, balanced reporting:

See, being told your lack of objectivity means you can’t cover a story, when the grounds for saying you lack objectivity include your demand for objectivity, is perverse.

Below, we see the US pro-Jewish newspaper Algemeiner demanding that Canadian journalists who signed the letter should not be allowed to report on the “Arab-Israeli” conflict (the wording in quotation marks indicates this organisation’s own bias) because they have anti-Israeli bias. Isn’t it more accurate to say that Algemeiner fears balanced reporting that might present Israel in a less-than-glowing light of positivity?

This is the same organisation that gave UK daytime TV parlour game-player and repeat libel litigant Rachel Riley a “Warrior for Truth” award, the value of which I think we may all now question.

The Israeli government itself appears to run an organisations dedicated to disinformation – and to discrediting those who try to publish fair and accurate reports on the Israel-Palestine question:

I remember discovering adverts by this organisation on Google Adsense. If I recall corrrectly, readers of This Site had discovered that Act.Il had bought space here so that this organisation could make false claims about it.

I blocked it from advertising here. There’s no point in doing anything else like taking court action – it’s an organisation based in a foreign country, with a lot of that country’s money behind it (as I understand it), and I don’t have the means to deliver upon it the justice it deserves.

I can certainly sympathise with the sentiment in this tweet, though:

And it seems reporters aren’t the only ones being attacked:

And still, in the UK, many of our MPs are refusing to condemn Israel. Read the letter Labour’s Lisa Nandy sent to Dominic Raab and you’ll see it is disproportionate – it blames Palestinians equally with Israelis for a situation that has been forced on them.

Robert Jenrick has been roundly criticised for a mealy-mouthed propaganda routine in which he said anti-Zionism was anti-Semitism. Zionism is a racist ideology which the Israeli government uses to force Palestinians off the geographical area it defines as Israel (as opposed to the land given for the purposes of providing Jewish people with a nation of their own in the 1940s).

There are many anti-Zionist Jews. None of them are self-hating; none are anti-Semites. So Jenrick deserved the following critiques:

There are a few honourable MPs, though…

And of course they can’t do anything about grassroots protest:

It is hugely encouraging that so many people are arguing against the Israeli government’s web of lies.

But still the killings continue. Still civilians are targeted in their homes – including children – by an Israeli government and military that does not care what we think and will counter our facts with falsehoods that it can rely on the international media to parrot.

So who do you believe?

Do you believe a group of well-spoken suit-wearing dissemblers?

Or do you believe the person who wrote the following?

The answer should be so obvious it isn’t even a choice.

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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:

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‘Lost control’ of Covid-19? When did Tory ministers have any control over the virus?

Rampant: the Covid-19 virus is once again on the loose across the UK because the Tories haven’t just lost control; they’ve deliberately thrown it away.

Let’s be honest: Covid-19 infections in the UK are skyrocketing again and there’s nothing the Tory government can do about it.

Monday (September 7) was the second day running that nearly 3,000 new infections were recorded – and remember, that’s only among people who have been tested and the number of tests available are limited. Allow me to demonstrate:

Professor Gabriel Scally, a member of the Independent Sage group and a former NHS regional director of public health for the south-west, reckons that government ministers have “lost control of the virus”.

“It’s no longer small outbreaks they can stamp on,” he told The Guardian. “It’s become endemic in our poorest communities and this is the result. It’s extraordinarily worrying when schools are opening and universities are going to be going back.”

But it should be obvious that the Tories haven’t got any control at all.

They might have had some when the lockdown was in force but those days are long gone. It seems increasingly likely that lockdown was only imposed to keep on the right side of public opinion and the real plan was “herd immunity”.

This is the idea that if enough of us develop antibodies to the disease, its effect will be negligible. But “herd immunity” requires a majority of the population to be vaccinated against a disease and there is no vaccine.

Allowing a majority to become infected merely increases the likelihood of unnecessary deaths.

The number of infections started rising as soon as the first lockdown relaxations happened and it seems to This Writer that the exponential rise now may be partially due to schools returning…

Sickness Secretary Matt Hancock is trying to push responsibility for curbing the virus onto young people –

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1303062692471672832

– but it’s nothing to do with them and everything to do with him.

That’s because the situation is worse than I suggested in the headline.

Not only did the Tories not have control over Covid-19 infections – they have deliberately avoided it.

Source: Coronavirus: Ministers have ‘lost control of the virus’, says health expert following spike in cases | Independent

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Coronavirus: Johnson takes ‘direct control’ – because the mess isn’t big enough yet?

Boris Johnson: if he really is taking more control – away from chief medical officers – it’s only so he can make this gesture to everybody who has fought off Covid-19 so far.

Take a look at the tweet directly below – and the response by Another Angry Voice:

Good question. According to the Telegraph article…

A shake-up in Downing Street will see the Government’s entire approach to the pandemic run by two centrally-run committees, covering strategy and operational delivery.

Tory MPs said the changes could weaken the influence of chief adviser Dominic Cummings – who was heavily criticised for a 260-mile trip during lockdown – and allow Mr Johnson to tighten his grip on the fight against the pandemic.

… it appears to have been Dominic Cummings.

But isn’t that just scapegoating – blaming the aide who is out of favour with the public? Not only that – we don’t know that the claim has any accuracy at all but, now it has been made, for all we know Cummings can carry on as normal while we assume he’s been consigned to less commanding roles.

It would be hard to blame anybody, even Johnson, for wanting a bit of distance from recent disasters, though.

Consider Test and Trace – the scheme that was criticised as a risk to people’s privacy before it was rolled out:

Channel 4 wasn’t the only recipient of the leaked information; the Daily Mirror had it too:

So much for data security under the Conservatives!

Then there’s this:

So more than 25,000 Covid-19 patients were released from hospitals to care homes that did not have the facilities to isolate them.

It’s a miracle only 20,000 of them died!

Or is that yet another statistical… mistake… of the kind for which the Johnson government has become justly infamous?

Meanwhile, the total number of excess Covid-19 deaths was revealed to have given the UK the worst death rate in the world, proportionate to the size of its population, from May 22. It was suspected but now it was proved:

Against this backdrop, it was revealed that Johnson wanted to lower the Covid-19 alert level – but all four UK chief medical officers vetoed his demand:

Perhaps he is taking more “direct control”, as the Telegraph claims, in order to override this influence. If so, then what follows is ill-advised.

If Starmer was saying Johnson taking a firmer grip should reduce the risk of a second wave of Covid infections, the evidence suggests he is bitterly mistaken.

Johnson taking over is far more likely to speed up that second wave’s arrival – and boost it to overwhelming size.

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Mercer’s threat may be toothless, but it demonstrates May’s loss of control

Show of defiance: Johnny Mercer reckons he can exploit Theresa May’s weakness to demand action on a single issue. What if large numbers of Conservatives follow suit?

There’s not really much point in withdrawing support from the government over everything but Brexit when Brexit is all that’s left on the agenda.

Still, Johnny Mercer’s decision to make a stand – no matter how weak – on the prosecution of British servicemen over historical allegations demonstrates very clearly Theresa May’s loss of authority.

She has no Parliamentary majority now; her alliance with the DUP has been used up and it will cost another vast amount of public money to renew it, if she even thinks that would be worthwhile.

Some Conservative MPs have quit to join Change UK and one is facing the loss of his seat after being convicted of expenses fraud.

Now Mr Mercer has made a show of resistance.

Will others – who may be in a position to do more damage – do the same?

Conservative MP Johnny Mercer says he has withdrawn his support for the government over the historical prosecution of British servicemen.

A former Army officer, Mr Mercer called on Theresa May in a letter to end the “macabre spectacle of elderly veterans being dragged back to Northern Ireland” to face possible prosecution.

In his letter to the prime minister, the Plymouth Moor View MP said he found investigations into historic allegations surrounding ex-services personnel “personally offensive”

He said he was not to prepared to vote for Government legislation – except on Brexit – until the Government took “clear and concrete steps” to end the “abhorrent process”.

Source: Johnny Mercer: Tory MP withdraws support for government over historical prosecution of servicemen | The Independent

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This is what Tories do with a racist: They readmit her into the party, to claim control of a council

Conservatives do not care about racism; they care about winning.

That is why racist Rosemary Carroll has been reinstated into the Conservative Party: It gives that party a majority on Pendle Council, after the local elections on Thursday (May 3).

Ms Carroll’s membership of the Conservatives had been suspended after she was revealed to have tweeted a racist attempt at humour. She is pictured above, alongside the so-called joke.

And Theresa May has the brass neck to tell Tories in Barnet that they won because Labour has allowed a form of racism – anti-Semitism – to go unchallenged.

Is that in contrast to Mrs May’s own enthusiastic encouragement of it, then?

Anti-racist group Hope Not Hate has launched a petition demanding the reinstatement of Ms Carroll’s suspension, and a proper investigation into her behaviour.

The organisation’s Nick Lowles, in an email, stated: “The timing of Councillor Carroll’s reinstatement clearly shows it was motivated by political arithmetic. This is an appallingly cynical move for short-term political gain and will lead many people to question the commitment of Pendle Conservatives to challenging racism.

“We’re calling on Tory Chair Brandon Lewis to step in now. Her behaviour was outrageous before the Tories needed her vote to win power, and her behaviour is still unacceptable now.

“If the Tories are serious about demonstrating they will stand up to racism in their own ranks, they will suspend and properly investigate Councillor Carroll, now.

If you agree, add your name to the petition and then ask friends to do the same: https://action.hopenothate.org.uk/racist-councillor 


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Prize for father of infamous Tory ‘nudge’ unit means Nobel committee should be ashamed

Richard Thaler: His theory has allowed the UK’s Conservative-led governments to victimise thousands of vulnerable jobseekers.

It is a travesty that the Nobel Prize for economics has been awarded to a man whose theories were used by the Conservative-led Coalition government of 2010-15 to manipulate unemployed people into inappropriate work.

Richard Thaler’s ‘nudge’ theory acknowledged that people frequently make bad decisions in their lives, thus contradicting one of the central tenets of economics – that people will always act rationally for their own good.

The theory suggests that the way choices are phrased or presented – the ‘choice architecture’ can be framed so that it nudges people towards the most beneficial outcome without restricting their personal freedom.

That is not what has happened. Look at the Coalition’s Behavioural Insights Unit, an organisation originally attached to the Cabinet Office, that used the theory to ‘nudge’ people towards decisions that benefited the Conservative Party and not the individuals concerned.

The best example of this is the fake questionnaire put out by the Department for Work and Pensions to manipulate jobseekers into doing what the Department wanted, rather than what was in their own best interests.

In theory, Thaler may have had a point. In practice, the UK government turned it into attempted mind control.

As the Skwawkbox article in the link above states, the questionnaire was rigged to suggest people had strengths that their answers did not bear out: “Untold numbers of people running around trying to use ‘strengths’ that actually have nothing to do with their actual personality – all under the threat of losing their income if they fail to comply.”

So ‘nudge’ theory was used to lie to vulnerable people, and to threaten them with destitution if they did not do as the Tories demanded.

And for this, the Nobel committee has given Richard Thaler a prize?

A demand for an apology would be better – along with financial restitution for all those whose lives have been blighted – or ended – by the implementation of his theory by genocidal politicians.

Richard Thaler has won the Nobel economics prize for his contributions to behavioural economics.

He championed the concept of “nudging” people, through subtle changes in government policy, to do things that are in their long-term self-interest, such as saving for a pension.

“Richard Thaler’s contributions have built a bridge between the economic and psychological analyses of individual decision-making, said the Nobel committee.

“His empirical findings and theoretical insights have been instrumental in creating the new and rapidly expanding field of behavioural economics, which has had a profound impact on many areas of economic research and policy.”

Source: The economist behind the Nudge theory just won a Nobel prize


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If right-wing hate propagandists are manipulating the Internet, how do we stop them?

Google has ‘a terrible problem’ with its search algorithm being manipulated by the far right, said data scientist Cathy O’Neil [Image: Yui Mok/PA].

Google has ‘a terrible problem’ with its search algorithm being manipulated by the far right, said data scientist Cathy O’Neil [Image: Yui Mok/PA].

Bizarrely, this manipulation by right-wing hate-propagandists could have a beneficial effect – Google may end up employing human editors to ensure the company evades any… legal entanglements.

But the issue of fake news is huge. Tom Watson may have made a fool of himself, attacking The Canary for no very good reason, but there is a serious point here.

If right-wing manipulators are spreading disinformation, they are to be countered – or people will make political decisions based on this nonsense and who knows where we’ll end up?

The article states that Jonathan Albright, assistant professor of communications at Elon University, North Carolina, said right wing websites had launched a new “information war”, and were winning.

His research has shown that fake news and information is a far bigger structural problem than had been previously realised. He has mapped a “vast satellite system that is encroaching on the mainstream news system”.

Websites propagating extreme right wing propaganda have thrown out thousands of hyperlinks that connect to each other and to mainstream news sources, such as YouTube and Facebook, and he says they “are growing in strength and influence every day”.

How do we fight this?

Google must urgently review its search ranking system because of “compelling” evidence that it is being “manipulated and controlled” by rightwing propagandists, leading academics have said, after the Observer reported that hate sites are now dominating searches on Muslims, Jews, Hitler and women.
Cathy O’Neil, a data scientist and the author of Weapons on Math Destruction, said that unless Google acknowledged responsibility for the problem, it would be a “co-conspirator” with the propagandists. “This is the end for Google pretending to be a neutral platform,” she said. “It clearly has a terrible problem here and it has to own and acknowledge that.

“It simply can’t go on pretending that it has no editorial responsibilities when it is delivering these kinds of results. It is simply not defensible for it go on claiming ‘plausible deniability’. It has clearly become a conduit for rightwing hate sites and it must urgently take action.”

Google had removed the lines suggesting that Jews and black people are evil and that blacks “commit more crimes”, but it is still suggesting Muslims were “bad” and that Islam “should be destroyed”. While Facebook has faced criticism in the wake of revelations about how the site had become a conduit for fake news, the problem facing Google is potentially even more intractable.

Source: Google ‘must review its search rankings because of rightwing manipulation’ | Technology | The Guardian

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The DWP has been silencing news stories that criticise its policies – here’s the proof

The DWP closely monitors media output, and compiles a “sentiment of articles” chart every month to make sure that they receive positive coverage.

The DWP closely monitors media output, and compiles a “sentiment of articles” chart every month to make sure that they receive positive coverage.

Ministers have been doing their best to pretend that they never do anything wrong – and have then done their best to hide the fact that this is what they’re doing.

Doesn’t that tell you everything you need to know about the DWP?

Officers for the Department claimed that the information was “commercially sensitive”, of all things.

That just leads one to ask why. What commercial contracts would this information prejudice?

Clearly the Information Commissioner was not convinced by whatever argument the DWP produced, because we have our information now.

This Blog is one of the social media sources that offers almost exclusively negative coverage of the Department for Work and Pensions, and it is interesting to note how the DWP treated one of my biggest stories.

In August 2015 the DWP “proactively briefed” the media about the long-awaited statistics which showed the amount of ESA claimants who had died after being found fit for work.

I had no way of knowing this at the time, but this action was successful in ‘spiking’ coverage in the FT (whose editors should have known better), the Express (this is more understandable) and on ITV.

The DWP’s commentary stated that the most critical initial coverage of the statistics misrepresented their details. This was because the DWP had done its best to present them in a manner that would be misunderstood. Still, it was able to secure corrections in the Grauniad and the Mirror which weakened the story.

We are left with a clear message: The DWP is more concerned with distorting the facts – or preventing them from being known at all – than with the facts themselves.

It does not matter to Conservative ministers that their policies have killed thousands of people.

They just want to make sure nobody finds out about it.

Following a 13 month battle, the DWP have finally been forced to release secret documents illustrating the tactics they use to control and manipulate the media.

The documents reveal that the DWP monitors and analyses both mainstream and social media to reduce and manage negative coverage.

And even more worryingly, the documents show the DWP have managed to kill hundreds of stories by making sure that they are not reported.

Almost every month since March 2014 the DWP communications team has produced “Media Evaluation Reports” detailing the ways and methods that the DWP controls negative stories about them in the media.

The reports give valuable insight into a department that is unhealthily focused on the press coverage [it receives].

The fact that they have managed to kill so many stories that they don’t approve of raises serious questions as to how the department is exercising its influence over the free press.

The role of journalism is to bring people the truth behind the DWP’s rhetoric, not to act as the chief mouthpiece for it.

Source: Secret DWP Documents Prove They Silenced The Media From Running Stories They Didn’t Approve Of | EvolvePolitics.com

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Tories might lose the country’s support over fox hunting, Macca? When did they have it?

150712mccartneyhunting

It’s funny, the way even high-profile figures can get the wrong end of the stick.

Paul McCartney, for example, has warned the Conservative Party that it could lose the support of the UK electorate if a free vote next week results in the re-legalisation of fox hunting.

Perhaps someone should remind him that the Conservatives have a wafer-thin majority of just 12 MPs; six by-elections and they’re impotent.

In fact, even with this vote they are playing dirty. Knowing that a free vote to repeal the Hunting Act will not win enough support, David Cameron and his friends have worked out that they could restore hunting by bringing the law in England and Wales in line with that in Scotland. The SNP’s 56 MPs would not be able to vote against this in good faith, and will probably abstain, leaving the Tories with a majority of around 50 (believe it or not, there are Conservatives who oppose hunting).

Cameron absolutely cannot rely on the support of the electorate: His party won only 24.3 per cent of the available vote at the general election in May, making his government one of the least democratic in our history. And polls have consistently shown that a clear majority of the British people want the barbaric practice of hunting foxes with hounds to remain illegal – more than 50 per cent of us.

Macca, 73, has spent decades campaigning for animal rights. He said: “The vast majority of us will be against them [the Conservatives] if hunting is reintroduced. It is cruel and unnecessary and will lose them support from ordinary people and animal lovers like myself.”

“Inexcusable”

Fellow musician Brian May has been far more outspoken; he accused supporters of next week’s vote of being “a bunch of lying bastards” on the BBC’s Newsnight programme last Thursday.

Some mouthpiece for the hunt-supporting Countryside Alliance had been on, spouting the usual tripe: “This is about addressing exemptions in the Act, which were agreed by both sides when the Act was going through, for pest control reasons, for catching a diseased or wounded animal or something like that.”

Dr May responded: “It’s a very underhand act I’m afraid, because Cameron for years has promised a free vote – a fair fight on the repeal of the Hunting Act.

“He has now realised that this probably won’t end up with what he wants so this whole thing has been put together by circumventing the normal democratic process.

“So you introduce a little modification to an Act but this modification actually disables the whole Hunting Act and effectively this is repeal under a new name. I think this is a very Machiavellian and rather inexcusable way of behaving.

“I believe it’s a pretence. I think you’re a bunch of lying bastards.”

Here he is saying it, at around 5 minutes, 40 seconds in:

Other notable celebrity opponents include Ricky Gervais, who tweeted:

150712gervaisfoxhunting

In fact, it seems the mouthpiece from the Countryside Alliance has shown us the way forward.

This Writer cannot imagine why a wounded animal would need to be “removed” by a hunting pack; in the wild, the law of natural selection would probably see that it is “removed” without human interference.

And if this is about pest control – removing a diseased animal so it cannot spread an infection – then it should be necessary for the hunters to prove any fox was diseased before they set the dogs after it.

This leads to a further question about epidemic: If hounds are sent after a diseased fox, won’t they catch and spread the illness themselves?

Perhaps the Tories – and their Countryside Alliance co-conspirators – should be made to answer these questions before any change in the law is considered.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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