Tag Archives: weapons

Here’s why this #Israeli arms firm was forced to close UK #weapons factory

[Image: Palestine Action.]

Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Ferranti has been forced to shut down and sell a weapons factory in Oldham, here in the UK, after nearly 18 months of occupation, blockade and other action by campaigners.

According to activists at Palestine Action, drones built at the factory were sold to the Israeli Ministry of Defence and used to attack people in Palestine.

For example, the group says the Hermes 450 drone is “one of the most used drones in the world. The company markets the drone as ‘combat proven’, having battle-tested it on Palestinian people.

“It was used to bomb targets, including people, in the 2014 assault on Gaza – Operation Protective Edge – which killed 2,202 Palestinians.

“During the attack on Gaza, four young children, all aged between 10 and 11, were murdered when they were targeted by Israeli drones. They were playing on the beach when a Hermes 450 captured footage of them. An Israeli air force commander then ordered the operators of a second drone to fire, killing one of the boys. After firing the first missile, the operators of the second drone pursued the rest of the boys. They did not receive orders to shoot again, but fired anyway, killing the other three.”

That is what this arms dealer was making in the UK, in order to kill people in the Middle East.

The members of Palestine Action object to these remote-control killers being built in Britain, and launched a sustained campaign against the Oldham factory in August 2020. On Monday (January 10), they celebrated victory.

According to the group’s press release, “After 18 months of sustained direct action taken at the Elbit Ferranti site in Oldham, Greater Manchester, with 36 people arrested, Elbit have now sold Ferranti technologies, with its continued operation in Oldham appearing unfeasible.

“Activists have occupied, blockaded, smashed, disrupted, and protested regularly at the site, ultimately succeeding in ending the factory’s production of specialist military technologies for Israel’s fleet of combat drones.”

Let’s be perfectly clear: This Site does not condone the employment of illegal methods to achieve a goal. But while 36 activists have been arrested at various times during the campaign, none have been successfully prosecuted for crimes of occupation, disruption and/or protest.

On the other hand, Elbit’s drones have been used to kill thousands of Palestinians. Who would you say occupies the moral high ground?

Former Labour MP, now leading light in the Resist movement, Chris Williamson is clear on the subject:

So is Asa Winstanley of The Electronic Intifada:

And so is This Writer.

Let’s hope Elbit’s other UK factories suffer similar misfortunes in the near future and these death-mongers are forced out of the UK for good.

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Why is James Cleverly refusing to talk about UK weapons being used against Palestinians?

James Cleverly: He was once described as “the Tories’ go-to eejit when they need someone to tweet absolute nonsense or defend the indefensible”. Now it seems he’s not even bothering to say anything at all.

Here’s another story that should be all over the BBC’s prime-time news but, for some reason, seems to have been missed by the mostly-Tory news team there.

The information comes from Declassified UK, an independent investigative site run by Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis. This Writer follows Kennard on Twitter and I am impressed by the information he provides and the opinions he puts forward. Therefore I think his site is trustworthy.

Here’s what it says:

Middle East Minister James Cleverly may be breaking the Ministerial Code by failing to answer questions put to him in the House of Commons. The Code demands that ministers have a duty to “be as open as possible with parliament” and to “give accurate and truthful information”.

The questions were about whether military equipment from the UK was used in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in May – which killed 66 Palestinian children.

The best response anybody appears to have received – to 14 questions that Declassified has identified – is that the UK “takes its export control responsibilities very seriously”. That is not an adequate answer.

There is an obvious conclusion to be drawn from this – and I’m sure you don’t need me to spell it out for you.

But Cleverly certainly won’t spell out the facts for all of us unless he is forced to do so.

And, given the huge prominence the Israel-Palestine conflict received in the news during May, the absence of such pressure from mainstream media outlets like the BBC is deeply disturbing.

Britain’s Middle East minister James Cleverly is regularly refusing to provide answers to written questions posed to him by members of parliament, especially on UK arms exports to Israel, contravening House of Commons rules.

Source: Foreign minister James Cleverly accused of breaking UK…

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There’s a good reason we shouldn’t all take vaccines that have Tony Blair’s support!

Tony Blair: He might look tight-lipped in this image but when he opens his mouth, he’s dangerous.

New Labour has-been and alleged war criminal Tony Blair has been trying to be relevant again.

His fan club has been singing his praises after he announced an outline plan of what Boris Johnson’s government should be doing during it’s four-week November lockdown in England.

And fair play to him – at least he has a plan. Johnson’s will be to give even more of your money to private-enterprise ‘test, track and trace’ snake-oil charlatans who won’t deliver anything and wait for herd immunity to kick in, no matter how many people die before it does.

Here’s Blair’s plan:

What a shame it falls down in the details!

You see, the vaccines he wants to deploy have not been proven safe – or even particularly effective – yet, and look at the kind of people supporting him on it:

(Tom Harwood writes for the odious Guido Fawkes Tory-support blog. If he’s supporting Tony Blair, what does that make Blair?)

This is Blair’s perennial problem. He comes out with these grand overarching schemes, but the minutiae let him down.

For instance, do you remember when he said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs)?

In fact, Iraq destroyed its chemical weapons stockpile and halted its biological and nuclear weapon programs in 1991, more than a decade before Blair made the speech quoted above.

But the UK still went to war in Iraq – and that’s why many of us want to see Blair tried in The Hague for war crimes.

Looking at it objectively, would you put your health in the hands of this reckless cowboy?

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Hypocritical Tories verbally attack human rights abusers – but go on selling them weapons

Dominic Raab: his pretty words about human rights mean nothing, now that his colleague Liz Truss is selling bombs to Saudi Arabia again.

How utterly disgusting.

The Conservative government has made a great show of imposing sanctions on human rights abusers – while still selling weapons to the same people so they can continue abusing others.

The UK’s poor excuse for a Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, announced sanctions against individuals in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Myanmar and North Korea including asset freezes and travel bans, imposed immediately.

“Those with blood on their hands won’t be free … to waltz into this country, to buy up property on the Kings Road, do their Christmas shopping in Knightsbridge, or siphon dirty money through British banks,” Raab told parliament.

Oh, really?

What about the leaders of Saudi Arabia which – as a nation – has been harming human rights left, right and centre?

The Tories have just finished a review of that nation’s behaviour – forced on it by a court ruling that suspended arms sales there.

They are resuming sales of arms to Saudi Arabia despite having found “credible incidents of concern”.

The Tories said even though they represented “possible” breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL), the UK government viewed these as “isolated incidents”.

What utter drivel. The Tories just want to give Saudis more weapons to continue bombing Yemen into the Stone Age (for example).

Indeed, pathetic self-serving cheese-loving International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said as much:

“The undertaking that my predecessor gave to the Court – that we would not grant any new licences for the export of arms or military equipment to Saudi Arabia for possible use in Yemen – falls away.”

Since the bombing of Yemen started in March 2015 the UK government has issued export licences worth £5.3 billion, including £2.5 billion of licences relating to bombs, missiles and other types of ordinance.

In one stroke, she made a nonsense of her colleague Raab’s statement that “global Britain will be an even stronger force for good in the world, in the years ahead”.

“Stronger”? You have to be a force for good in the first place – and that clearly isn’t true.

Remember also that the UK itself is guilty of “grave and systematic violations of human rights” in its treatment of sick and disabled people, according to the United Nations. The Tories haven’t lifted a finger to stop those violations in four years since the finding was announced.

This Writer supposes that the government had to find something to do with all the weapons it won’t need for the UK’s own armed forces, now that they are being trimmed down almost to nothing.

Defence chiefs have drawn up plans to slash the army by a quarter and reduce the Royal Marines to a bit part as part of Boris Johnson’s defence and security review.

In the worst-case scenario:

• Army manpower would fall from 74,000 to 55,000

• The Royal Marines commando brigade would be disbanded, losing its artillery, engineers and landing craft. Royal Navy minesweepers would also face the axe

• The RAF would shut several airbases and shed its fleet of Hercules transporters.

There are other cuts but those are behind The Times‘s paywall. The government’s own website doesn’t seem to have this information.

The defence cuts would make the UK ripe for attack, of course, should any aggressive country feel like it; these cuts are an offence against the government’s first responsibility, which is to defend the UK’s people.

But Boris Johnson isn’t interested in that. He’s too busy raiding the national piggy-bank for all it’s worth.

Source: UK on collision course with Saudis over new human rights sanctions | Law | The Guardian

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Is there a covert motive behind the Skripal poisonings and the Syria air strike? Here’s the evidence

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman meets Boris Johnson: What did they discuss?

Craig Murray makes a couple of very interesting points here.

Why was a Saudi prince visiting London, Washington and Paris just as the row over the Skripal poisoning was kicking off, and before the air strikes on Syria were called?

How did Russia know that a chemical attack would take place in Syria – fake or real – and that it would be used as the reason for an air strike?

And why would the Syrian government attack Douma with chemical weapons, the day before it was due to be handed over to the Syrian government?

What do you think?

March 4 2018 Sergei and Yulia Skripal are attacked with a nerve agent in Salisbury

March 6 2018 Boris Johnson blames Russia and calls Russia “a malign force”

March 7 2018 Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia arrives in London for an official visit

March 13 2018 Valeri Gerasimov, Russian Chief of General Staff, states that Russia has intelligence a fake chemical attack is planned against civilians in Syria as a pretext for US bombing of Damascus, and that Russia will respond militarily.

March 19 2018 Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia arrives in Washington for an official visit

April 8 2018 Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia arrives in Paris for an official visit

April 8 2018 Saudi funded jihadist groups Jaysh al Islam and Tahrir al-Sham and UK funded jihadist “rescue group” The White Helmets claim a chemical weapons attack occurred in their enclave of Douma the previous day – just before its agreed handover to the Syrian army – and blame the Syrian government.

April 11 2018 Saudi Arabia pledges support for attack on Syria

April 14 2018 US/UK/French attack on Syria begins.

This attack on Syria is, beyond doubt, a huge success for the machinations of Mohammed Bin Salman. Please do read my post of 8 March which sets out the background to his agenda, and I believe is essential to why we find our nations in military action again today. Despite the fact the vast majority of the people do not want this.

Source: Just Who’s Pulling the Strings? – Craig Murray


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POLL: Theresa May has taken us to war. What should she do now?

Warmonger: Theresa May.

The opprobrium is all over the Internet – not least from Russia.

Here’s what President Putin has to say about the premature air strikes ordered by Donald Trump and enacted by the US military and his lackeys Theresa May in the UK and Emmanuel Macron in France:

“On April 14, the United States, supported by its allies, launched an airstrike against military and civilian targets in the Syrian Arab Republic.”

Already you’re probably thinking, “Civilian targets?” Well…

https://twitter.com/arturaskerelis/status/984968539604955137

“Just as one year ago, when the Shayrat Airbase in Syria came under attack, the US used as a pretext a staged chemical attack against civilians, this time in Douma, a Damascus suburb. Having visited the site of the would-be chemical attack, Russian military experts did not find any traces of chlorine or any other toxic agent. Not a single local resident was able to confirm that a chemical attack had actually taken place.

“The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons dispatched its experts to Syria in order to investigate all the circumstances. However, in a sign of cynical disdain, a group of Western countries decided to take military action without waiting for the results of the investigation.”

This is accurate, it grieves me to report:

Ah,  but there was! It was vitally important for Mrs May to bypass democracy:

Why the desperation for airstrikes, in any case? A former head of the UK armed forces was interviewed by Sky News – but isn’t it convenient that he was cut off when he started straying from the officially-approved story?

“Through its actions, the US makes the already catastrophic humanitarian situation in Syria even worse and brings suffering to civilians. In fact, the US panders to the terrorists who have been tormenting the Syrian people for seven years, leading to a wave of refugees fleeing this country and the region.”

Yes – half a million dead and 10 million displaced. Many have become refugees, but Theresa May didn’t want them in the UK!

“Russia will convene an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the aggressive actions by the US and its allies.”

That is an astonishingly restrained response.

It is possible that Mr Putin expects public opinion to bear against the Western leaders who ordered the air strikes and – apparently – killed more innocent people. There’s certainly no shortage of disapproval! Here’s a representative sample:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/985014372895481856

UK Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has rightly savaged Mrs May’s “legally questionable” decision in which she “trailed after Donald Trump”.

He said: “Bombs won’t save lives or bring about peace,” adding that the strikes risked further escalation of the conflict in Syria and – crucially – “makes real accountability for war crimes and use of chemical weapons less, not more likely.

“Britain should be playing a leadership role to bring about a ceasefire in the conflict, not taking instructions from Washington and putting British military personnel in harm’s way.

“The Government should do whatever possible to push Russia and the United States to agree to an independent UN-led investigation of last weekend’s horrific chemical weapons attack so that those responsible can be held to account.”

He said: “Theresa May should have sought parliamentary approval, not trailed after Donald Trump.”

We are left with one burning question:


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It’s war: Trump drags the UK into air strikes on Syrian ‘chemical weapons’ targets

Syria: At the time of writing (2.43am, April 14), explosions have apparently taken place outside Damascus, where chemical weapons facilities are believed to be located.

Here it is, then:

You heard him – Donald Trump has dragged France and the United Kingdom into pointless air strikes against targets in Syria that are believed to manufacture chemical weapons.

There was no vote in the US Congress, just as there has been no vote in the UK’s Parliament. These strikes have no democratic legitimacy at all.

And the British public don’t want them:

Public opinion on the social media is – well, see for yourself:

Jeremy Corbyn has been the voice of reason in this – as with so many other issues lately. He demanded that Parliament should have a chance to debate any proposed military action – especially as it risks a huge escalation of conflict in the Middle East:

But Theresa May was determined – absolutely adamant – that this was a chance to show her utter weakness.

I know she thinks it will be a display of strength, but Mr Corbyn had it right when he said she was sitting by the phone, “waiting for instructions” to do whatever Donald Trump told her.

Here’s her statement. She is trying to look like a statesperson – speaking slowly and seriously:

But she just looks like she’s patronising us – talking down, treating us all like children.

Mrs May’s Cabinet backed her plan to support action in Syria on Friday (April 13). And look at this:

So the plan has been to link Russia into the Syrian chemical attack, using the dubious connection of a chemical attack here in the UK, to which Russia has not been successfully linked?

That is miserably weak.

It comes after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad invited UN chemical weapons inspectors – the now-ubiquitous Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – to investigate the attack that triggered the current hostilities, in Douma. They were due to arrive today (April 14).

Russia has warned that western military strikes would risk triggering a much larger war.

Is this what Trump, May and possibly even Macron want?

Interestingly, the French president spoke with Russian president Vladimir Putin only yesterday. Both agreed to aid the OPCW inspectors in Syria wherever possible, and to ensure their foreign and defence ministers stayed in close contact, to prevent the situation from escalating.

France’s contribution to the air strikes must seem a betrayal. How will that affect the wider international situation?

UPDATE 3.10am: According to the US military, all planned airstrikes have been carried out and no further action is currently being contemplated.

The bad news is that the United States did not notify Russia of its attacks.


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UN chemical weapons inspectors have confirmed UK claims on Skripal nerve agent – but not on its origin

Contaminated: Investigators examine the park bench in Salisbury where Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found after they were poisoned.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has not accepted the UK’s claim that Russia was behind the alleged nerve agent attack against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury last month.

The UN inspectors’ report stated, “The results of the analysis by the OPCW designated laboratories of environmental and biomedical samples collected by the OPCW team confirms the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury and severely injured three people.”

It doesn’t actually name the chemical, although the UK has firmly stated that it was a Novichok nerve agent. The classified (non-public) version of the OPCW report gives its chemical composition – a “complex” formula, according to The Guardian.

This is odd, as Cornell University professor David Collum has stated, “The compounds are simple as hell to make. Doing so without killing yourself would be more challenging but within the capabilities of many laboratories.”

So we now know that the chemical used against the Skripals was both simple and complicated. That’s helpful!

And what of the claim that it could only have been created by the Russian government? Boris Johnson has leapt in to claim (again) that the OPCW report confirms this: “There can be no doubt what was used and there remains no alternative explanation about who was responsible – only has the means, motive and record.”

There’s only one problem: The OPCW report actually corroborates what chemical experts at Porton Down said – neither report even attempts to identify the origin of the nerve agent.

So we now know that the chemical used against the Skripals could have been manufactured by the Russian government or in many other laboratories. That’s helpful too!

Or rather, it isn’t.

And what makes it worse is the jabbering of a warmongering racist like Boris Johnson, pumping up international tensions with Russia on the basis of nothing but his own hot air.

There is no evidence to prove that the Russian government created the nerve agent that attacked Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

And now we know, based on the evidence of Porton Down and the OPCW, there never will be.

There certainly is not enough information to take us into conflict with that country.

This Writer would still like to know how the Skripals were treated and whether this treatment corresponds with known remedies for nerve agent attack. Let’s say I want to know for my own peace of mind.

The only other possible way of finding out the origin of the nerve agent is if investigators track down the people responsible for the alleged attack.

My concern about that is the fact that the UK’s Tory government leapt to the conclusion that Russia was responsible so quickly that all other options were ignored – and this may have prejudiced investigations beyond repair.

What is the current situation with regard to this part of the story?

Does anybody know?


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‘You cannot decide in 24 hours what type of poison was used’ – first OPCW head condemns UK reaction to Skripal poisoning

Jose Bustani.

This is self-explanatory.

No doubt the UK government will try to condemn this as fake news because it is from Russia Today – but Jose Bustani’s words are reported verbatim. Watch:

What do Boris Johnson and Theresa May have to say about that?


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There’s an obvious reason Theresa May won’t sign a treaty to ban nuclear weapons

The UK and other nuclear powers support a non-proliferaton treaty, which prevents the spread of nuclear weapons – but it has been criticised as ineffective [Image: Getty].

You’ve probably already guessed why Theresa May is unlikely to sign any treaty limiting arms sales of any kind.

It’s for this reason:

Her defence secretary, Michael ‘Bomber’ Fallon, is already looking forward to selling them for a huge profit to anybody with the cash, regardless of their credentials.

And, as Billy Connolly once famously said, the brilliant part is that they could fill any so-called nuclear missiles they sell with doughnuts – anybody insane enough to try using them would get their just desserts (literally).

Even in the shadow of the crisis provoked by North Korea, greed will win over human lives every time.

People who voted for this lunatic’s idea of “strong and stable” leadership should have known that.

Pressure is mounting on Theresa May to sign up to a UN treaty calling for the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.

More than 120 nations endorsed the global treaty at a summit in July, which warns that a complete ban is the only way to prevent the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences” of the use of nuclear weapons.

Britain and other nuclear nations opposed the move, but critics have called on the Prime Minister to change course this week when the treaty will be opened for signatures at the UN’s annual general assembly.

Read more: Theresa May under growing pressure to sign UN anti-nuclear treaty


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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