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Uncomfortable facts that should be addressed – not just on Holocaust Memorial Day but every day

A woman and a man at the memorial plaque at Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, Germany [Image: Jens Schlueter/Getty Images].

Here‘s a worthwhile article on the Beastrabban blog, making an important point about the way the scope of Holocaust Memorial Day seems to have been limited.

Today is, I believe, Holocaust Remembrance Day, when the world, or at least the Western world, reflects on the Shoah and the calculated extermination of six million Jews.

As we commemorate the sufferings of the Jews during the Nazi regime, we also need to take on board that it isn’t just about anti-Semitism, but about similar horrors that have disfigured human history down the centuries, and murderous, criminal regimes that are perpetrating them today.

Just so. The Nazi Holocaust, the killing of millions of Jews, and the way in which they were murdered, should never be forgotten. But part of this remembrance must involve recognition that similar hate-motivated atrocities can happen – and are happening – even now.

Unfortunately, there are some highly vocal people who seem to want to mask this fact, as we have seen on This Site over the last few days.

Holocaust Remembrance Day isn’t just about commemorating the Holocaust and its victims, but other genocides and their victims that have occurred throughout history. Hitler partly made his decision to go ahead with the extermination of the Jews because of the complete lack of western reaction to the Young Turks’ massacre of the Armenians. He commented, ‘Who remembers the Armenians?’ And before then, the German colonial authorities in what is now Tanganyika had attempted to exterminate the Herrero after they revolted, using similar eugenicist logic.

It is … important to remember the other victims of the Nazi camps as well.

This included the congenitally disabled, who were murdered by Nazi doctors under the Aktion T4 programme with the assistance and supervision of the SS… This prefigured and prepared for the murder of the Jews, particularly in the use of poison gas.

I made the point that disabled people are being persecuted to their deaths by the Conservative government in the United Kingdom – right now – in a response to comments in Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday (January 24).

And what initial response did I receive?

Denial. And denial is one of the ten stages of genocide, as we all know from the Holocaust Memorial Day website. Right?

The Nazis also attempted to exterminate the Romanies – the Gypsies – as they too were considered, like the Jews, to be subhuman and a threat to German society and racial industry.

Other victims of the camps included the mentally ill, neurotics, prostitutes, recidivist criminals, Prisoners of War, and political prisoners, such as trade unionists, Socialists, Communists, Anarchists, gay men, and slave workers from the Slav nations. The last were worked to death in horrific conditions, including building the Nazi fortifications and tunnels in the Channel Islands.

The Holocaust Memorial Day website devotes a couple of paragraphs on a page to these victims of the Nazi Holocaust. The highest estimate of the death figures shows they outnumber Jewish victims by a ratio of nearly two to one.

The website also devotes several pages each to the genocides in Cambodia, Darfur, Bosnia and Rwanda, and mentions the atrocities against Armenians which encouraged Hitler to commit his own.

It omits many other genocides, both recent and historical.

Nothing is said about the indigenous people of America, for example. Those of you who are aware of the HMD website may not even know there is a site for Aztec Natives, which makes the following pertinent point:

“The Mexican people are the descendants and the end product of five centuries of genocide – the greatest Holocaust in human history. Over 100 million of our ancestors, i.e. at least 90% of natives were killed.”

100 million dead, and no commemoration on Holocaust Memorial Day. It seems some groups have stronger public relations people than others.

Genocides have continued to be perpetrated, such as the various crimes against humanity committed by Fascist regimes across Latin America, Asia and Africa, supported by American foreign policy. The persecution of the Rohingya is just the latest of these.

Isn’t it interesting how we can identify the wrongdoings of people in other countries, yet we say nothing about what’s happening in our own? “It couldn’t happen here”, as the saying goes.

It has; it does; it is.

Those who deny it are complicit.

Fortunately, the Beastrabban piece provides a ray of hope. We see that not everybody supports the overwhelming concentration of attention on the Nazi Holocaust, and it is important to note that Jewish scholars are among those leading the way in this regard.

And Jews have been involved in protesting and commemorating them and their victims as well. In Canada, the leader of the mainstream Jewish organisation, Bernie Farber, organised a ‘Shabbat for Darfur’ after that city was attacked by the Islamist Janjaweed Militia in the early part of this century. Farber’s generous action has been bitterly criticised by members of the transatlantic conservative Right, who feel that Jews should concentrate solely on their own sufferings in the Holocaust, and not expand their experience of suffering, persecution and attempted genocide to form solidarity with the other persecuted ethnic and religious groups.

Why not form solidarity with other persecuted groups? We all know there is strength in numbers. Is it because making such connections might reveal uncomfortable truths about events closer to home?

Israeli scholars have also noted that the Holocaust, while horrific, was not a unique event. See Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review, edited by Israel W. Charny, the executive director of the Institute on the Holocaust, Jerusalem, and Director of Postgraduate Interdisplinary and Graduate Social Work Programs in Family, Therapy, Bob Shapell School of Social Work, Tel Aviv University. Dr. Charny’s book also includes a chapter on the ethnic cleansing of Israel’s indigenous Arab population, which is definitely unwelcome to the Likudniks.

But it bears out Ilan Pappe’s assertion that Israelis are still decent people, who need to have the situation and issues properly explained to them. But odiously, Netanyahu, Likud and other ethno-nationalists in his ruling coalition are doing all they can to prevent that occurring. As are his little helpers over here in the shape of the Jewish Labour Movement and the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism.

Food for thought, I hope. But I wonder if critics of This Site and This Writer will be able to forgive me for including more groups in my own commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day than they do.

Source: Wishing Everyone a Solemn and Reflective Holocaust Remembrance Day | Beastrabban\’s Weblog


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Are accusations against Lord Sewell simply politically-motivated ‘revenge’ attacks?

Lord Sewel, smoking, as seen from below. The Sun on Sunday is clearly anxious to confirm its ownership of this inoffensive photograph - along with more incendiary evidence against the formerly-Labour peer. But was its release timed to damp down public reaction to allegations about late Conservatives?

Lord Sewel, smoking, as seen from below. The Sun on Sunday is clearly anxious to confirm its ownership of this inoffensive photograph – along with more incendiary evidence against the formerly-Labour peer. But was its release timed to damp down public reaction to allegations about late Conservatives?

Isn’t it convenient for the Conservative Party that the ‘drugs and prostitutes’ allegations against a former Labour peer have been made so soon after four of their own were implicated in child sexual abuse?

A matter of days after ‘lost’ Cabinet Office files relating to the activities of late Conservative politicians Leon Brittan, Sir Peter Hayman, Sir William van Straubenzee and Sir Peter Morrison became public, the Conservative Party-supporting Sun newspaper released photographs and footage, allegedly showing Lord Sewel taking drugs with prostitutes.

An update today (July 27) appears to show him making disparaging remarks about other politicians – although his alleged descriptions of David Cameron as “the most facile, superficial prime minister there’s ever been”, and Boris Johnson as “a joke” seem more likely to win him support than disapproval.

Coincidence?

Of course, it’s possible – and we should not ignore that.

But it is also possible that The Sun may have been holding the evidence, or may have been given it, to try to control damage to the Conservative Party that will be caused by the child sexual abuse allegations.

We know, for example, that the Conservative whip’s office has held information on criminal activities by that party’s MPs, and used it to ensure their loyalty to party policy.

Who knows how many other organisations run a so-called ‘dirt book’?

Considering the opportunities available, it seems obvious that a newspaper like The Sun would have one.

What a shame that such behaviour has nothing to do with bringing criminals to justice and everything to do with blackmail or political advantage.

David Cameron ordered that the Conservative whips’ ‘dirt book’ should be made available to the investigation against historic child sex abuse in January. Nobody seems to have paid any attention to the fact that the mere existence of this book criminalises Cameron’s party as accessory to an undisclosed number of crimes.

The legal reference is in R v J.F.Alford Transport Ltd (1997) 2 Cr. App. R. 326. It was held a reasonable inference that a company, knowing that its employees are acting illegally and deliberately doing nothing to prevent it from being repeated, actually intends to encourage the repetition. This will be a natural inference in any situation where the alleged accessory has the right to control what the principal is doing. We may, therefore, infer this in the case of the Conservative Party.

Isn’t it time all political organisations and national media were ordered to deal up their own ‘dirt books’ – or had them taken away forcibly by the police?

It isn’t good enough that allegations such as those against Lord Sewel are allowed to dribble out when it creates an advantage for their political opponents.

If evidence is held that shows criminal behaviour by the so-called “great and the good”, then let’s get it out into the open now – and clear the filth from both the Green and Red Benches.

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Tories and Lib Dems engineer fastest fall in wages since Victorian times

Damning: The graph by the House of Commons Library, showing how earnings have plummeted since Cameron's Coa-lamity government came into office.

Damning: The graph by the House of Commons Library, showing how earnings have plummeted since Cameron’s Coa-lamity government came into office.

David Cameron must be so proud. He wanted a return to the Victorian era and that is exactly what he has achieved.

Wages have nosedived, meaning the gap between the richest and poorest is larger than it has ever been; we already know that diseases once thought long-gone are stalking our streets once again while the National Health Service has been bled to the point of death; and the welfare state is in critical condition, with people who have paid into the system all their lives bullied out of claiming benefits when they are needed and sent back to die in their homes.

This is David Cameron’s brave new Britain.

The figures on wages are the latest blow against the public-relations Prime Minister’s credibility – they come from the respected House of Commons Library.

The graph (above) uses figures from the Office for National Statistics, the Bank of England and forecasts from Coalition poodles the Office for Budget Responsibility.

It shows that real earnings are expected to have fallen by 2.3 per cent between 2010 and 2015 – the first fall since 1922-3 when wages fell by 1.8 per cent – and the largest since 1874-80, under Conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, when they fell by 2.6 per cent.

Firm figures for 2010-13, from the ONS, paint an even worse picture – they show a 4.6 per cent drop during the three-year period.

So, Dear Reader, if you have been doubting Labour’s claim that wages have dropped by £1,600 per year, in real terms, since the Tories and the Liberal Democrats sidled into office, doubt no more!

This factual evidence has thrown into chaos Conservative claims that the UK has returned to prosperity because our Gross Domestic Product has finally exceeded its pre-financial-crisis peak.

Vox Political was right to say GDP might be up 3.1 per cent on last year but it has nothing to do with most of the population.

What is our part-time Chancellor going to do about it? He’s done quite a lot of nose-diving himself and, considering what he has managed from his office…

osborne-spandauballet-dominatrixflat

Let’s hope the song isn’t ‘Gold’, because the irony would be too much to bear.

George Osborne might as well go back to prancing around a prostitute’s boudoir to a soundtrack by Spandau Ballet.

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Revealed: ConDem ‘vendetta’ against citizens it believes are livestock

"Fascist Britain, 2013. Everybody knows you can't beat the system. Everybody but...?"

“Fascist Britain, 2013. Everybody knows you can’t beat the system. Everybody but…?”

It has been rumoured that V for Vendetta ‘Guy Fawkes’ masks are to be banned from large-scale public demonstrations in the UK.

They have already been banned in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

The masks were adopted by the loosely-affiliated protesters Anonymous as a clear indication of members’ feelings towards a Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition government whose actions, they believe, have been increasingly fascist.

These people have a point.

Has anyone read V for Vendetta lately? An early chapter, ‘Victims’, provides the historical background to the fascist Britain of the story – and provides very disturbing parallels with the current government and its policies.

In the story, there is a recession and a nuclear war. Fortunately, in real life we have managed to avoid the war (so far) but the recession of 2007 onwards has caused severe hardship for many, with average wages cut by nine per cent (in real terms) due to government policies.

In the story, the line “Everybody was waiting for the government to do something” is notable. Isn’t that just about as British as you can get? As a nation, we seem unwilling to take the initiative; we just wait for someone else to do something. We queue up. And then we complain when we don’t find exactly what we wanted at the end of the queue. But then it’s too late.

Does the government “do something”? Well, no – not in the story, because there isn’t any government worth mentioning at this point. But then… “It was all the fascist groups. The right-wingers. They’d all got together with some of the big corporations…”

Here’s another parallel. How many corporations are enjoying the fruits of the Conservative-led (right-wing) government’s privatisation drive?

Look at my IDS (I Believe) video on YouTube – which features only a tiny minority of those firms.

The NHS carve-up signified huge opportunities for firms like Circle Health and Virgin, and Bain Capital (who bought our blood plasma supplies). Care UK, the firm that famously sponsored Andrew Lansley while he was working on the regressive changes to the health service that eventually became the Health and Social Care Act 2012, no doubt also has fingers in the pie.

The Treasury is receiving help – if you can call it that – from the ‘big four’ accountancy firms – PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and KPMG. They have written the law on tax avoidance. By no coincidence at all, these are the firms that run the major tax avoidance schemes that have been taken up by businesses and rich individuals who are resident in the UK. For more information on the government’s attitude to taxing the rich, see Michael Meacher’s recent blog entry.

The Department for Work and Pensions has employed many private firms; this is the reason that department is haemorrhaging money. There are the work programme provider firms who, as has been revealed in previous blog entries, provide absolutely no useful training and are less likely to find anyone a job than if they carried on by themselves; there are the IT firms currently working on Universal Credit, about which Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith lied to Parliament when he said he was having to write off £34 million of expenditure – the true figure was later revealed to be closer to £161 million, almost five times as much; there are Atos and Capita, and probably other firms that have been hired to carry out so-called ‘work capability assessments’ of people claiming sickness, incapacity and disability benefits, according to a plan that intentionally ignores factual medical evidence and places emphasis on a bogus, tick-box test designed to find ways to cut off their support; and there is Unum Insurance, the criminal American corporation that designed that test, in order to push British workers into buying its bogus insurance policies that work on exactly the same principle – this is theft on a grand scale.

So we have a government in cahoots with big business, and treating the citizens – the voters – like cattle. We’ll see more of this as we go on.

“Then they started taking people away… All the black people and the Pakistanis…” All right, these social groups have not been, specifically, targeted (yet) – but we have seen evidence that our government would like to do so. Remember those advertising vans the Home Office funded, that drove around London with a message that we were told was for illegal immgrants: “Go home”?

“That is a term long-associated with knuckle-dragging racists,” said Owen Jones on the BBC’s Any Questions.

“We’re seeing spot-checks and racial profiling of people at tube stations. We have a woman on the news… she was born in Britain; she was told she was stopped because she ‘didn’t sound British’. And we have the official Home Office [Twitter] account being used to send gleeful tweets which show people being thrown into vans with a hashtag, ‘#immigrationoffenders’.

“Is this the sort of country you want to live in, where the Conservatives use taxpayers’ money to inflame people’s fears and prejudices in order to win political advantage? Because I don’t think most people do want that to happen.”

This blog’s article on the subject added that not only this, but other governments (like that in Greece) had created an opportunity to start rounding up anybody deemed “undesirable” by the state. “Greece is already rounding up people of unorthodox sexuality, drug addicts, prostitutes, immigrants and the poor and transferring them to internment and labour camps,” it stated.

Note also the government’s response to criticism from UN special rapporteur on adequate housing Raquel Rolnik. Grant Shapps and Iain Duncan Smith and their little friends tried to say that she had not done her job properly but, when this was exposed as a lie, they reverted to type and attacked her for her racial origin, national background, and beliefs – political and personal. You can read the lot in this despicable Daily Mail smear piece.

Back to V for Vendetta, where the narrative continues: “White people too. All the radicals and the men who, you know, liked other men. The homosexuals. I don’t know what they did with them all.” Well, we know what Greece is doing with them all, and in the story, such people also ended up in internment and labour camps. We’ll come back to that.

“They made me go and work in a factory with a lot of other kids. We were putting matches into boxes. I lived in a hostel. It was cold and dirty…”

Last month this blog commented on government plans for ‘residential Workfare for the disabled’, rounding up people with disabilities and putting them into modern-day workhouses where someone else would profit from their work while they receive benefits alone – and where the potential for abuse was huge. If that happens, how long will it be before every other jobseeker ends up in a similar institution?

A while ago, a friend in the cafe I visit said that a Tory government will always see every class of people other than its own as “livestock”. That’s the word he used – “livestock”. From the above, with descriptions of people being treated like cattle, or being herded into the workhouse for someone else to profit from their work, it seems he has a very strong case.

So let’s go back to these internment and labour camps – in V for Vendetta they’re called “resettlement” camps. A later chapter – The Vortex – reveals that inmates at such camps are subjected to unethical medical experimentation. The doctor carrying out the trials notes in her diary that the camp commandant “promised to show me my research stock… they’re a poor bunch.”

Her research stock are human beings who have been subjected to conditions similar to those of the Nazi concentration camps. Notice the language – this doctor considers the other human beings taking part to be her property. And they are “research stock” – in other words, she does not see them as other human beings but as livestock – exactly as the friend in the cafe stated.

And jobseekers in today’s UK are being coerced into experimental drug trials, disguised as job opportunities, according to the latest reports.

V for Vendetta‘s tagline – the blurb that set the scene – was: “Fascist Britain, 1997”. It seems the only part that its author, Alan Moore, actually got wrong was the date.

Cameron – corrupt corporate whore, according to Meacher

A corporate whore servicing one of his clients: Apparently they're normally called 'Johns', but in the high-paid corporate whoring world they're known as 'Ruperts'. Both of them. Silly Ruperts.

A corporate whore servicing one of his clients: Apparently they’re normally called ‘Johns’, but in the high-paid corporate whoring world they’re known as ‘Ruperts’. Both of them. Silly Ruperts.

It seems opponents of the Coalition have realised its degraded claim to be a government is worthless and have decided to pour contempt on it at every opportunity.

I mention this after seeing Michael Meacher’s excellent column on David Cameron. The fake Prime Minister’s instincts, according to Mr Meacher are “that there is no such thing as the rule of law, and that the only things that ultimately matter are power, fear and money”.

These words should come as hammer-blows to Cameron’s credibility. It is to his credit that Michael Meacher has written them – but also to the shame of the Labour front bench that none of them had the guts to come out with it first.

Mr Meacher supports his claims by laying out a wealth of evidence that, while the comedy PM crows on and on about Labour’s (non-existent) pandering to the unions, “there is almost nothing… that Cameron won’t do, no commercial interest he will disdain, no policy he will refuse to alter if it will ingratiate himself with the sources of money and power… He has prostrated himself before a wide range of commercial interests by changing government policy to suit them in order to recruit their money and power for himself and his party in the lead-up to 2015”.

He supports his assertions as follows:

1. Cameron was determined to hand BSkyB to Rupert Murdoch, in exchange for support for the next general election (he failed in this attempt).

2. He ditched plans to remove branding from cigarette packaging. It has emerged that his advisor Lynton Crosby’s company lobbies on behalf of tobacco giant Philip Morris International.

3. Soon after Crosby was hired by Cameron, the government dropped plans for a minimum alcohol price. Crosby’s Australian company has represented an alcohol industry group campaigning heavily against similar plans in that country.

4. Crosby’s company also represents an oil and gas lobby group that campaigns aggressively for fracking, so now the UK government is encouraging fracking with tax breaks for the companies involved.

5. Crosby’s UK company represented rebel forces in Syria for six months, which may explain Cameron’s decision to send weapons to the rebels (but again failed in the attempt, thanks to a rare outbreak of sanity in the House of Commons).

The government will no doubt try to counter these arguments but there is no credible way of doing so. We are able to judge our politicians by what they do – not what they say – and the evidence is available for all to see.

So, ladies and gentlemen, let’s change the pitch of news reporting this summer. Instead of the usual ‘silly season’, let’s make it open season on Cameron and his cronies. Let’s get all the evidence against them together and make it clear to the general public, via all possible avenues, what a craven cadre of corrupt corporate prostitutes they all are.

It shouldn’t be too hard.