Tag Archives: defence

Killing of Shireen Abu Aqleh referred to international criminal court

Shireen Abu Aqleh: it’s hard to see the justification for killing someone with the word “PRESS” emblazoned across their jacket.

The death of Shireen Abu Aqleh has been referred to the International Criminal Court as part of an investigation into whether Israeli security forces have been targeting Palestinian journalists in violation of humanitarian law:

The case originally submitted in April by Bindmans had focused on four Palestinian journalists wearing press helmets and vests, two of whom were maimed and two shot dead. It also covers alleged attacks on Gaza media infrastructure in May 2021.

Lawyers from Bindmans and Doughty Street Chambers announced the addition of the death on 11 May of Abu Aqleh to the existing claim at a press conference in London.

They said the case was vital owing to the repeated failure of the Israeli security forces to investigate such incidents and the inability of Palestinian reporters to secure reparations in Israeli domestic courts.

There will also be issues of jurisdiction… Israel itself is not a party to the ICC, raising issues of enforcement of any eventual ruling.

Why isn’t it? Why does Israel get away with this kind of unaccountability?

This comment from one of the solicitors involved is extremely telling:

Tayab Ali, the Bindmans solicitor in the case, said “evidence was not lacking, but the political will”, adding “Israel in the past has been gifted immunity”.

He said: “Israel has enjoyed a devastating impunity against accountability for the actions of its armed forces, and has repeatedly demonstrated that it is a bad faith investigator. It has not managed to hold anyone to account for the tens of Palestinian journalists that have been killed or maimed so far”.

The Palestinian Authority announced the results of an investigation into Abu Aqleh’s death, saying that it revealed Israeli forces deliberately shot and killed the reporter.

Israel’s defence minister, Benny Gantz, said, “Any claim that the IDF intentionally harmed journalists or noncombatants is a blatant lie.”

Source: Shireen Abu Aqleh: killing of reporter referred to international criminal court

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Benefit system for injured war veterans is worse than the DWP

It’s no surprise: the UK has a prime minister who showed his contempt for the armed forces by laying a wreath face down one year. The Ministry of Defence spitting on injured veterans is par for the course.

After a weekend in which Conservative politicians across the UK stood in all their hypocrisy and mouthed empty words of thanks to soldiers they despise… this:

Former members of the forces say they have been left ‘suicidal, homeless and let down’ by a system of payouts that is tough to navigate and appeal, leaving many feeling betrayed by the government they once served.

Thousands of veterans are struggling to get government payouts for injuries caused in service, with some facing poverty and suicide over the issue.

These veterans overwhelmingly report the same things – not getting the level of payment they need and then facing lengthy and complex battles to get an increase.

Does that seem familiar to you?

Payments to injured veterans come in war pensions and the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) – both administered by the Ministry of Defence which, it seems, couldn’t care less.

Anyone physically or mentally harmed during service before April 6, 2005, should receive war pension payments. Those injured after that date must apply to the AFCS.

But in practice, getting what they are owed seems impossible.

According to The Mirror,

Many former soldiers … report that vital medical evidence proving their claims is removed by the time their appeals are heard.

If veterans are unhappy with their war pension or AFCS payment, they can appeal. But for many the appeal process is complicated and long.

Veterans will often give up on the system or – tragically – die before they get any payment increase.

The Mirror‘s article features accounts by, and about, a large number of veterans who have been struggling to receive benefits they deserve after suffering injuries in the name of their country.

It seems to be unspoken Conservative government policy – consider the policy of the Department for Work and Pensions to deprive sick and disabled civilians of the payments they need if they’re to live lives that are close to normal.

This Writer has to ask what the legions of flag-waving patriots who observe Remembrance Day in good faith think of this betrayal.

Source: Thousands of injured war veterans denied full disability benefits in ‘cruel’ move – Mirror Online

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Should the UK Home Secretary be linked to ‘charity’ that supports persecution of Palestinians?

Bloodthirsty: Priti Patel.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, who was sacked as International Development Secretary for trying to carry out her own foreign policy in Israel, is linked to a so-called charity that supports the persecution of Palestinians.

Patel used a family holiday in Israel to carry out secret political meetings with members of that country’s government – she pretended she had told the Foreign Office about them but had not.

When she got back to the UK, she tried to divert part of the Foreign Aid budget to fund the Israeli military occupation of the Golan Heights – land that belongs to Syria.

Eventually – after some dithering by then-prime minister Theresa May, Patel was forced to resign, only to be restored to an even more important Cabinet position by Boris Johnson.

Now we see a reason for Patel’s behaviour nearly four years ago: she is linked to the Henry Jackson Society, a (so-called) charity whose leaders support Israeli Defence Force (IDF) soldiers occupying – and carrying out atrocities – in the Occupied Territories of Palestine.

I’m sure we all remember the IDF’s war crimes against Palestine in April, when it bombed civilian infrastructure in Gaza including apartments, offices, government facilities, business and roads.

The IDF justified this by saying it was attacking assets of the Palestinian group Hamas, and the uninvolved individuals it killed – including many children – just happened to be in the way.

It is right to say that Hamas has itself committed war crimes, but that does not mean the IDF should do the same in return, and it is currently being investigated by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity including apartheid and persecution.

Henry Jackson Society executive director Dr Alan Mendoza justified Israel’s violence in Gaza on LBC News in May as legitimate self-defence, making no mention of Israel’s occupation and systematic discrimination against Palestinians.

Byline Times tells us about Patel’s involvement with this questionable organisation:

Until 2016, Priti Patel was a member of HJS’ Political Council, and in 2014 HJS sponsored her to fly to Washington DC to attend a conference organised by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

During the involvement of … Patel, two of HJS’ US directors have been involved in charities with close ties to the Israeli military.

In November 2020, Byline Times revealed that between 2015 and 2018, HJS’ US-based non-profit vehicle operated under the directorship of Joshua Swidler and Liad Meidar, both of whom are Republican Party donors. Swidler is also a Conservative Party donor and his late wife Alisa Swidler was a member of the Conservative Party Leaders Group who had given a total of £336,686 to the party.

Both former HJS director Swidler and current HJS director Meidar are simultaneously directors of a number of charities which support Israeli soldiers.

The Byline Times article goes on to mention more links between directors of the HJS and IDF-supporting charities. It continues:

Patel [was] involved with HJS during its US directors’ active involvement in these IDF supporting charities.

Here’s the point:

Involvement with this alleged charity (the involvement of its personnel in both US and UK politics may infringe Charity Commission rules on political independence) means Patel has, at the very least, been in contact with people who support Israeli military atrocities against innocent civilians.

And it was after she had been a member of that organisation’s political council that she visited Israel, met politicians including then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and tried to use UK government money to fund IDF activities in an occupied territory.

The charity says it hasn’t done anything wrong, but is that true if its directors have been using the connections it allows them to make in order to increase aid to the political causes they support?

So the question has to be asked:

Is it true that Patel supports the IDF in its atrocities because she has been radicalised by her association with the Henry Jackson Society and its directors – or that she became involved because their beliefs coincide with her own?

And, given that this may be the case:

Isn’t it also true that Priti Patel is a bloodthirsty racist who should not be a member of Parliament, let alone a hugely-powerful minister in the Tory Cabinet?

To help you remember why this is important, here’s a mild reminder of the way Israeli settlers, supported by the thugs of the IDF, treat Palestinians who are trying to work on their own land:

Priti Patel supports this violence.

It seems clear that, as long as she remains in government, the UK will continue to support Israeli war crimes in Palestine.

As long as people like her – puppets whose strings are being pulled by shadowy pro-Israel organisations – are in power, there will never be peace in the so-called Holy Land.

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Look out! Defence funding boost means Johnson wants to start a war

Boris Johnson: all he wants to do is cause trouble.

Boris Johnson is up to no good.

“What’s new?” I hear you cry in one voice.

Fair point. But whereas recently he has focused his diabolical efforts on harming the population of the UK with an income of less than £80,000 a year, it seems he is now widening that focus.

He has announced plans to increase spending on defence by 10 per cent, even though his government simply doesn’t have the money.

It seems his answer to all the poverty and misery he has caused is “Let them eat bombs”.

His efforts to contain Covid-19 by giving billions of pounds to Tory crony companies that have provided very little in return have swelled the national deficit to the extent that his government has borrowed more even than Labour during the year of the great recession.

At that time, the Conservative Party that Johnson currently leads said that Gordon Brown’s New Labour had bankrupted the UK (a false claim; as a nation with its own currency it is impossible for the UK to be bankrupted), and won an election – in coalition with Nick Clegg’s turncoat Liberal Democrats – that has led to more than a decade of “austerity” cuts to government funding that helps people on low incomes.

(These have been bonanza years for the super-rich, though.)

All of Johnson’s words about the new funding boost are threatening.

A defence spending boost will ensure “the safety of the British people must come first”, Boris Johnson said.

Translation: “I intend to manufacture a crisis. Margaret Thatcher did it – and won an election that ensured the progression of her neoliberal project to increase poverty and uncertainty for working people and help the rich do whatever they want again, while also forcing Labour to become more right-wing and expel socialists.”

It will “end the era of retreat, transform our armed forces and bolster our global influence”, he said.

Translation: “I want to kill Johnny Foreigner.”

Johnson is probably hoping to ingratiate himself with new US President Joe Biden, if that leader decides to launch military expeditions over the four years of the term he has just won.

Such military adventures always lead to attempts at revenge attacks against the UK, and these have caused considerable injury and loss of life over the last 10 years. Johnson may consider this an acceptable risk when balanced against the economic activity created by attempts to prevent it.

Johnson may also be unconcerned at the harm he will do to the UK’s international reputation if he starts throwing his currently-negligible weight around internationally.

He has already ruined the UK’s reputation as a trading nation by announcing his contempt for international law with a Bill that would overthrow the terms of the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

This is what happens when you give the most important job in the United Kingdom to an idler.

Johnson wants to make an impression on history and doesn’t care what it is. He probably hatched this lunacy while self-isolating in the Downing Street flat, thinking it a more profitable use of his time than… I don’t know… releasing the report on whether Priti Patel is a bully or not.

There is a saying that the Devil makes work for idle hands. It seems the Devil is now Boris Johnson’s drinking partner.

Source: Defence funding boost ‘extends British influence’ – BBC News

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Defence secretary phoned Saudi Arabia to apologise for human rights sanctions – claim

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace: he even looks shifty, doesn’t he?

Typical two-faced Tories – they say one thing to us and a completely different thing to their warmongering buddies abroad.

In this case, it seems UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace phoned up a Saudi defence minister to renew the UK’s support for the regime there and its work – which we must take as including its genocidal war against Yemen.

This happened just one day after the UK announced sanctions on individuals from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

Here’s The Independent:

The UK government privately showered Saudi Arabia’s government with praise a day after publicly criticising its human rights abuses and targeting it for sanctions.

The government was accused of “calling to apologise” to the regime after some Saudi individuals were included on the foreign secretary’s new “Magnitsky Act” sanctions list on Monday.

Defence minister Ben Wallace is understood to have discreetly telephoned his Saudi counterpart on Wednesday to reiterate the UK’s support for the regime and its work.

The call was not publicised by the British government in the UK, but Saudi Arabia’s state-run news agency used the opportunity to boast about it in a press statement issued on Wednesday.

“His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Minister of Defense, received yesterday a phone call from His Excellency British Defence Secretary [sic], Mr Ben Wallace, during which the partnership between the two countries was discussed, especially in the defence field, and the efforts made by the two countries to enhance regional and international security,” according to a statement on the Saudi Press Agency.

Source: UK government accused of phoning Saudi Arabia to apologise after imposing human rights sanctions | The Independent

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Years of Tory cuts led to the collapse of this Derbyshire dam

Skwawkbox has it right: The Toddbrook Reservoir dam only collapsed because Conservative governments of the past nine years have starved flood defence spending.

Click over to that blog for the details.

A Derbyshire town is undergoing emergency evacuation after parts of the wall of a nearby reservoir collapsed in floods.

Toddbrook Reservoir dam was damaged after heavy rains and police have told 6,500 Whaley Bridge residents to gather at a local school ready for evacuation after a severe flood warning was issued, meaning there is a threat to life:

The collapse comes after years of a Tory austerity programme that saw significant cuts to spending on flood defences in almost all parts of the country:

Source: Breaking; Derbyshire town evacuated as dam wall collapses in floods following years of Tory flood-defence cuts | The SKWAWKBOX

New developments mean Mike’s libel defence needs your support

With just three days left in my crowdfunding appeal, my case is still developing and funds are still desperately needed.

I’m not at liberty to say what the latest developments are, but they are highly encouraging.

And this means that the need for funds to ensure this case can be heard is as great as ever.

If you haven’t done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. Again, the address is <a href=”https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/”>https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/</a>

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

The people who accused me of libel are continuing to do exactly what prompted me to write about them in the first place.

They need to be sent a message – that what they are doing is wrong and that they must stop.

They won’t do it of their own accord.

Please help me to make them see reason.

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Six days left! Pledge your support for Mike’s libel defence fund now!


Thanks to everyone who donated in the last 24 hours – we are now more than £400 closer to our goal!

I still have not heard anything from solicitors representing the complainants. I consider this to be a good thing,

But as I stated yesterday, it is entirely possible that they are waiting to see if I manage to raise a significant amount – so let’s raise the largest amount possible!

Many of you will know what follows. It is the only way I know to make this appeal succeed.

If you haven’t done so already, please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

Please donate.

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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Warsi’s demand on IDF volunteers won’t gain traction with Israel-supporting Tories

Baroness Warsi: A voice in the wilderness?

Baroness Warsi is right to highlight the privileged status Israel seems to enjoy for no very good reason.

Why should people who leave the UK to join the Israeli Defence Force – and who may therefore take part in the appalling massacres of Palestinians that we have witnessed over the last few years – be immune from the prosecution that faces those who join other foreign military groups?

But he attitude suggests a schism with other Tories – Priti Patel, for example.

Ms Patel, formerly Secretary of State for International Development, was forced to resign after she was found to have been carrying out her own foreign policy.

This included around a dozen meetings with Israeli officials, discussing official UK government business, alongside the honorary president of the Conservative Friends of Israel, a group listed by conspirator Shai Masot as being in the pocket of the Israeli government during the Israeli embassy scandal.

She also called for the UK to give financial support to Israeli hospitals in the Golan Heights – an area of Syria that Israel has occupied.

Perhaps they treat, or have treated, UK citizens who have joined the Israeli Defence Force?

If I recall correctly, the Conservative Party has a policy that all new Tory MPs automatically join the Conservative Friends of Israel.

So it seems Baroness Warsi is unlikely to find a foothold for her reasonable suggestion. Or will the Tories prove me wrong?

British citizens who volunteer for the Israeli army should be prosecuted like others who fight for foreign forces, according to Baroness Warsi.

The former Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs said people should only be legally allowed to fight for the state they are a citizen of.

It is currently possible for anyone to join the Israel Defence Force (IDF) through the “Mahal” program if they meet specific background and age requirements.

But while people fighting for various foreign forces have faced prosecution upon there return to the UK – including some who claim to have been opposing the Assad regime in Syria – those who temporarily join up with the IDF have not.

Source: UK citizens who fight in Israeli army should be prosecuted, Baroness Warsi says | The Independent

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Next time someone defends Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, show them this [WARNING: GRAPHIC VIOLENCE]

Disgrace: Soldiers of the Israel Defence Force were responsible (although not, as far as we know, the soldiers in this image).

Israel’s army has been disgraced after video footage emerged of a sniper shooting an unarmed Palestinian in the head.

No reason is given for the execution, but the sniper’s commander can be heard giving orders on how it should be carried out.

Israel has offered up no response at the time of writing, apart from a claim that the footage is several months old. As if that makes a difference.

Here’s the original footage:

Perhaps it would be easier to understand with English subtitles. Try this:

Sickening.

Not only is the act abhorrent in itself; so are the words of the soldiers taking part:

There can be no claim that the person who was shot constituted any kind of threat:

https://twitter.com/bungarsargon/status/983385576916299777

Here’s an account of Israel’s response – and of the commander’s complicity in the killing:

The current situation is that the IDF has said it will “investigate”:

Here’s a response to that:

https://twitter.com/a_leesha1/status/983410418646507527

How do you feel about it?


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