Tag Archives: weapons

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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Tory hypocrisy: They criticised Corbyn for supporting Venezuela while selling weapons to its government

Police on motorcycles patrol in Caracas, Venezuela [Image: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters].

So much for Conservative morals.

They will sell anything to anybody – including weapons to countries that attack human rights, like Venezuela’s current leadership – or that of Saudi Arabia.

And yet they criticise Jeremy Corbyn for providing only verbal support to Venezuela.

And let’s get something clear: Mr Corbyn’s enthusiasm related to the leadership of the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, who tripled his nation’s wealth during his first 12 years in government.

Can you imagine that in the UK?

On his death in 2013, This Writer stated: “He has cut extreme poverty by two-thirds, and general poverty by almost half.

“He has cut infant mortality and improved equality; and he has cut unemployment by almost half, to 8.2 per cent (strikingly close to the UK level).

“He has improved his nations infrastructure and public services.

“And he has proved that left-wing policies can improve prosperity and increase economic growth.

“That’s why the right-wing press hate him. He shows there is a better alternative to the nightmare we are living through.”

Sadly, Mr Chavez was replaced by people who did not share his vision, hence the situation in that country today. Mr Corbyn has condemned it, but that isn’t good enough for the Tory hypocrites who have exacerbated the situation by sending weapons there.

It is always worth checking the facts.

Despite what the right-wing, mainstream media are saying, it is Theresa May and her Tories who are to be condemned over Venezuela. Now you know.

Britain has sold military equipment worth millions of pounds to Venezuela in the last decade, it has emerged, prompting calls for Theresa May to suspend controlled export licences while the country in is the grip of violent clashes between police and protesters.

Government figures show military equipment was approved for sale from UK-based companies to Venezuela’s armed forces as recently as September last year, despite the Foreign Office listing the country as “of concern” regarding human rights.

Overall, £2.5m of military goods have been sold to the country since 2008, including components for military radar, weapon sights and military aircraft engines. In the last year of figures, to March 2016, licences for goods worth more than £80,000 were approved, including equipment for crowd control to be used by law enforcement agencies.

The revelations will prompt questions about why the government continues to allow arms sales to countries the Foreign Office lists as having a poor human rights record, from Venezuela to Saudi Arabia.

No 10 has repeatedly criticised Nicolás Maduro’s government for imprisoning opposition leaders. It described the death of at least 120 protesters as a tragedy, and called on the country to respect human rights and uphold the rule of law.

Some senior Conservatives have attacked the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, for condemning violence on all sides but stopping short of specifically criticising the Maduro government.

Read more: UK criticised over sales of military equipment to Venezuela


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Syria: Could ‘slow and steady’ win the war?

Bombs explode in Syria. Effect on the terrorists: None.

Bombs explode in Syria. Effect on the terrorists: None.

Sorry, but This Writer is not wedded to the idea that carpet-bombing – or even precision-bombing – bits of Syrian desert in the hope that it might contain terrorists will make the United Kingdom any safer from attack.

For one thing, our armed forces have been following this strategy in Iraq for a year and have achieved no tangible result and, for another, bombing the desert will do nothing to prevent terrorist attacks on UK soil that are carried out in the name of Daesh (IS if you prefer).

David Cameron says “our pilots can strike the most difficult targets at rapid pace and with extraordinary precision”, and that’s great for them – but in that case, why are they still flying raids over Iraq after a year? In that context, one wonders why he mentions it.

His naming of technology like “the Brimstone precision missile system”, “RAPTOR” which he claims “has no rival”, and “Reaper drones” is reminiscent of a comedy routine by the late, great Bill Hicks – also in reference to the Middle East.

He said: “Those guys were in hog heaven out there, man. They had a big weapons catalogue opened up.

“‘What’s G12 do, Tommy?’

“‘Says here it destroys everything but the fillings in their teeth. Helps us pay for the war effort.’

“‘Well… pull that one up.’

“‘Pull up G12, please.’

“[BOOM!]

“‘Great! What’s G13 do?'”

You take the point? Even the names of these things are sinister. “Brimstone” is another word for sulphur, associated with Hell and all things demonic. A “raptor” is a bird of prey. The “Grim Reaper” is, of course, death personified.

Those names remind This Writer of the “death’s head” emblems on German army uniforms in World War II, and the Mitchell and Webb sketch in which two German officers discuss them: “Do you think perhaps we are the bad guys?”

It’s a sobering thought, but if we take military action in Syria at this time, we may be creating a situation in which there are no good guys.

There are alternatives to military action – which of course may be run concurrently with attacks on the terrorists’ heartland. Jeremy Corbyn asked, “What co-ordinated action with other United Nations member states has there been under the terms of the resolution to cut off funding, oil revenues and armed supplies from ISIL into the territory it currently holds?”

David Cameron’s response, that “there was a resolution back in February, and we should continue to support all those measures”, is far from reassuring. This Writer was hoping for much more detail.

It seems that – in this respect – the hard work is being left to the hackers.

Note also that Cameron does not acknowledge the value of these alternatives. He wants us all to believe that the choice is between bombing Syria and “doing nothing” – and that’s misleading.

He was also vague about the positive effect that military action would have. The BBC’s Frank Gardner makes it plainer: “This will not lead to the immediate or even imminent demise of so-called Islamic State. It will simply add to the incremental damage being done over time to this proscribed terrorist group by other air forces already bombing in Syria.”

So we are looking at the possibility of military action that drags on and on, draining our country’s economy, with no conclusion in sight. That would be a poor use of our resources.

Remember Al-Qaeda? Remember how Osama Bin Laden was defeated?

It wasn’t on the battlefield; it was at his home, in a compound in Pakistan. A small US force launched the raid, acting on information picked up by intelligence agents. Some say this information was built up over a period of around 10 years; others say it came to them in a one-off tip. It didn’t come as the result of a bombing raid.

That’s why This Writer still says ‘slow and steady’ will win this war – not retaliatory bombing raids, no matter how accurate the missiles may be. The people firing them need to know what they are aiming at – and that requires information.

If British intelligence services really have foiled seven Daesh-inspired terrorist acts in the UK within the last year alone, then there is nothing wrong with our information-gathering powers.

By all means, let us do everything we can to help our allies in their military efforts, but let us also work to maintain the integrity of our own homeland, and to obtain information on the leaders of the terrorists and their whereabouts. Until we have that, let’s keep our powder dry.

There will be a time for Reapers, RAPTOR and Brimstone, but it isn’t today.

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