Thursday, 14 August 2014

Mark Simmonds - another rotten MP.

There were some sheltered souls who, when they first heard of the resignation of another Minister from the Foreign Office, felt that 'principle' had been involved. It soon became clear that was a long way from the actuality.

‘Resigning minister Mark Simmonds ‘earnt' 417 pounds an hour for his “consultancy” work for Circle Healthcare, a group looking to profit from the massive privatisation of NHS services and functions. He had to give it up during his time as Minister, but presumably can now go back to it. Simmonds gets 50,000 a year from Circle, broken down into 12,500 payments once a quarter, for ten hours a month. That is 417 pounds an hour.
This is blatant corruption. Simmonds has no great expertise worth that money, it is simply that the private healthcare industry is buying the MPs who will vote to privatise areas of the NHS to them. New Labour are just as bad as the Tories. Alistair Darling received 12,000 pounds for one after dinner speech to Cinven Ltd, a firm which does nothing but benefit from privatisation of NHS services. Was it because Alistair Darling is just the entertainment people want after a good dinner? No, they were buying his vote. New Labour and Tory MPs are both up to their eyeballs in NHS privatisation money….
…..Simmonds has come into the spotlight by resigning on the pretext that his total salary and expenses as an MP in 2012-13 of 271,000 pounds – including a 25,000 for his “secretary” wife and 32,500 in rental allowance – were not enough for him to be able to live a family life in London. This man voted for the benefit cap that limits the total income of families on benefits to 26,000 pounds – that is under ten per cent of the amount which is inadequate for his family to live on. These bastards really do live in another world.’ Craig Murray blog.
Compare and contrast with the following:
‘This weekend, a group of Mums from Darlington will begin a March from Jarrow to Parliament, to send a message of outrage at the attacks this Government are making to our National Health Service.
Over three weeks, joined by other campaigners on the way, they’ll march more than 300 miles – because they, like so many of us, believe that our NHS is precious, and that we have to fight for it……
…..One of those supporting the People's March is Labour MP Clive Efford. This Autumn, he's putting forward a Bill in Parliament to stop the sell off, and give us our health service back.  
David Cameron is selling off our NHS, piece by piece and we're all paying the price. It’s getting harder to see a GP, staff have been cut and waiting lists are going up.

Add your name to back the Bill to put public health - not private profit - back at the heart of our NHS.’ NHS Condition Critical Campaign

Monday, 11 August 2014

Craig Murray exposes the Guardian as stooges

“On 2 August the Guardian published a piece by Jamie Doward and Ian Cobain which, on the face of it, exposed the British Foreign Office for lobbying against the publication of the US Senate report on extraordinary rendition, lest details of British complicity become public.
On the face of it, a worthy piece of journalism exposing deeply shady government behaviour.
Except that I had published precisely the same story a full 15 weeks earlier, on April 14 2014, having been urgently contacted by a whistleblower.
What is more, immediately I heard from the whistleblower I made several urgent phone calls to Ian Cobain. He neither took nor returned my calls. I therefore left detailed messages, referring to the story which I had now published on my website.
In fact, the Guardian only published this story after William Hague had written to Reprieve to confirm that this lobbying had happened. In other words the Guardian published only after disclosure had been authorised by Government.
Furthermore, in publishing the government authorised story, the Guardian omitted the absolutely key point – that the purpose of the UK lobbying was to affect court cases under way and in prospect in the UK. Both in civil cases of compensation for victims, and in potential criminal cases for complicity in torture against Blair, Straw et al, British judges have (disgracefully) accepted the argument that evidence of the torture cannot be used because the American do not want it revealed, and may curtail future intelligence sharing. Obviously, if the Americans publish the material themselves, this defence falls.
As this defence is the major factor keeping Blair, Straw and numerous still senior civil servants out of the dock, this sparked the crucial British lobbying to suppress the Feinstein report – which has indeed succeeded in causing a huge amount of redaction by the White House.
My mole was absolutely adamant this was what was happening, and it is what I published. Yet Cobain in publishing the government authorised version does not refer to the impact on trials at all – despite the fact that this was 100% the subject of the letter from Reprieve to which Hague was replying, and that the letter from Reprieve mentioned me and my blog by name.
Instead of giving the true story, the government authorised version published by Cobain misdirects the entire subject towards Diego Garcia. The truth is that Diego Garcia is pretty incidental in the whole rendition story. On UK soil there was actually a great deal more done at Wick airport (yes, I do mean Wick, not Prestwick). That is something the government is still keeping tight closed, so don’t expect a mention from Cobain.”
Here is Craig Murray's earlier blog comment from April 15th:
“From a British diplomatic source I learn that Britain has lobbied the United States against the publication of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture and extraordinary rendition.  The lobbying has been carried out “at all levels” – White House, State Department and CIA.  The British have argued that at the very least the report must be emasculated before publication.
The British argument is that in a number of court cases including the Belhadj case, the British government has successfully blocked legal action by victims on the grounds that this would weaken the US/UK intelligence relationship and thus vitally damage national security, by revealing facts the American intelligence service wish hidden.  [We will leave aside for the moment the utter shame of our servile groveling judges accepting such an argument].  The British Government are now pointing out to the Americans that this argument could be fatally weakened if major detail of the full horror and scope of torture and extraordinary rendition is revealed by the Senate Intelligence Committee.  The argument runs that this could in turn lead to further revelations in the courts and block the major defence against prosecutions of Blair, Straw and Dearlove, among others, potentially unleashing a transatlantic wave of judicial activism.
The unabashed collusion of two torturing security states in concealing the truth of their despicable acts – including complicity in the torture of women and minors – and blocking criminal prosecution of the guilty is a sign of how low public ethics have sunk.  Fortunately there are still a few people in the British Foreign Office disgusted enough to leak it.”

There are no depths to which our despicable government (of all colours) will not sink. 

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Israel and Anti-Semitism

Hadley Freeman wrote an article in the Guardian explaining how she felt under pressure to denounce the actions of Israel in Gaza. She roused a fair few hackles, including this from Craig Murray.
Israel is a state openly founded on racist and theocratic grounds, in which Jews have an absolute right to live in Israel, wherever in the world they were born and their families have been for centuries, and nobody else does. The unfortunate pre-1946 occupants of the land have been mostly driven out into refugee camps, including in Gaza, while religiously motivated settlers continue apace to grab the best Palestinian land and water. The state does this for them precisely and explicitly because they are Jewish. Those non-Jews who remained in Israel proper are subject to a whole raft of apartheid style legislation, even governing whom they may marry, and the quantity of this legislation is increasing. 140 Israeli laws specify treatment by race.
Israel is as a state entirely based and run on a racist premise. Its very foundation is racist. But while the Israeli state may steal land specifically for Jews, make provision for Jews, and make life difficult for non-Jews, anybody else who mentions Jews in the context of Israeli behaviour is a vicious racist and anti-Semite. This warped and ludicrous logic is enforced by political orthodoxy and the mainstream media.
It is as though, in opposing apartheid, it was taboo to mention it had been invented for the benefit of white people.”
Murray concluded:
“You are right, Hadley. Just because you are Jewish does not mean you should be under special pressure to condemn Israel’s actions. But if you take it upon yourself to write a long article on the subject, we are entitled to expect you – as a human being – to condemn the massacre. And as in the article you write about nothing but your own angst and the evils of anti-Semitism, and manage not a single word of sympathy or regret for the victims of the terrible massacre in Gaza, we are entitled to form our own opinion.
And my opinion is that you are a wholly self-centred and self-regarding little person with an abject lack of moral perspective, who seems to think the murder of 1500 people is about the impact on your feelings.”

It is deeply sad that the very people who experienced the worst persecution at the hands of the Nazis seem incapable of recognising Israel's behaviour in wiping out women and children in Gaza as a war crime. 

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Cash for Corruption

Judge them by what they do (continued)....

We are told that we have the ‘Mother of all Parliaments’ and that a revising second chamber is an essential part of the democratic process. So how come peerages are given by party leaders to people who have given their party lots of money? In what way is any of this ‘democratic?’ 

Folks who think this is trivial should cast their minds back to when the egregious Health Service Act passed through both houses with the open support of over 200 members of the Commons and the Lords who were on the private medicine payroll. They did not have to declare an interest and withdraw. Oh no. They got to reward their paymasters by voting through measures which will adversely affect the bulk of the populace. 

There is more, much more. A little taste……

Osborne rewarded hedge fund Tory donors with  £145million of tax cuts. Not bad for a £4million donation. 

Cameron hosts secret parties of oligarchs and tax avoiders to stump up cash for his corrupt party. 
At these dinners the tax avoiders sit alongside the men responsible for tax and deregulation - Gauke and Fallon. 

Cable chooses a bunch of sharks to help him flog off the Royal Mail and is ‘surprised’ when they break their word and rip-off the country. 

Our system is deeply corrupt and rotten at the top. Give the masses celeb game shows and let them snooze on while national assets are plundered. 

“Is this what Cameron meant by 'transparency'? They don't even bother to hide it anymore, when so many people with vested interests in private healthcare are allowed to march through the lobbies to vote to enrich themselves, when people who donate billions are openly rewarded with peerages, then they've given up the pretence, our system is openly corrupt.Sickbag commenting online Guardian.


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Lady Warsi resigns

Well done Warsi! Not words I have ever imagined writing. At last one of our spineless Cabinet has stood up to the ‘Friends of Israel’ who dominate UK foreign policy over Palestine. It is not common knowledge that the UK enjoys arms sales of over £8bn with the Israelis. At the same time money from the UK is sent as aid to Gaza. Not £8 bn. Nowhere near. So we give the Israelis the means to blow children up……. then we give chickenfeed to Gaza as a conscience sop.  

Up    Couldn’t  You   Make   It. (Re - arrange this well-known phrase or saying). 

Cameron was into the Middle-East like a rat up a pipe when the Arab Spring began. He turned up with a good selection of our biggest arms dealers. We see dead children - he sees more bucks for each bang. 

Feed the Greedy - Sod the Needy - Vote Tory

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Ian Bell article on the Middle East

It is worth putting the entire article on the blog. All the emphases are mine. 
"It is time for the West to take Middle East seriously
After four decades of dictatorship, Muammar Gaddafi's lasting legacy to his people has been guns, lots of them.
After the insurrection and the Nato bombing campaign that toppled the Colonel in 2011, Libya's Arab Spring has become as bleak and bloody as it could be.
As the Reuters news agency reported yesterday, the country has descended into an "armed free-for-all, where cities, regions, charismatic individuals, urban neighbourhoods and rural tribes all field their own armed forces". Thanks to the dictator's arsenals "towns fight towns; Islamists oppose nationalists; federalists rise up against central government; ex-Gaddafi units clash with former revolutionaries".
This is not what the West had in mind for an oil-rich state in 2011 when David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy of France had their first taste of liberal interventionism. A rational decision to prevent Gaddafi from massacring his people was soon transformed into another of those grand narratives that begin with talk of peace, democracy and petro-chemical contracts, but end - as far as we are concerned - when we walk away.
Western interest in Egypt's brief springtime has also become muted. The process by which one military-backed junta has been replaced by another no longer attracts comment. Such - despite mass killings, imprisonment, torture chambers and the overthrow of an elected leader - is held to be the price of stability.
Mohamed Mursi might have been his country's first democratic president, but the people's choice was of the Muslim Brotherhood. In some unspecified manner, this made Mr Mursi illegitimate after only a year in power. All those lectures on the will of the people were soon forgotten when Abdel Fattah el Sisi and the army resumed control. Military aid from the United States also resumed.Palestinian people. Set aside morality (if you can): how does this amount to a coherent policy? The EU, including Britain, has been by far the biggest donor to Gaza and the West Bank. We pay for things to be built; Israel blows them up. And civilians with them.
This is as inept as the "bringing of democracy" to Libya; as dishonest as the "liberation" of Iraq; as hypocritical as our attitudes towards Egypt's Arab Spring. The US is to send $47 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza at a time when its military aid to Israel is worth $8.5m each day. Britain's export licences to the arms trade, and hence to the Israeli Defence Force, perform the same function. We help to create the crisis, then rush to help the victims.
These absurd paradoxes are symptomatic. Thanks to the welter of lies generated by Iraq, the US and Britain can no longer pretend to be honest brokers. The Syrian bloodbath continues chiefly because the West contemplated the situation and decided that nothing could be done. Iraqis are now held to blame for Iraq's problems. Libyans and their chaotic slaughter are just too complicated, it is judged, to contemplate. Instead, there is a quiet vote of thanks for Egypt's loyal and ruthless junta and the Saudi ruling house.
Meanwhile, you could almost think there was a kind of competition going on. Which part of the region will next claim the title of worst bloody shambles? Libya, all but unnoticed while the world is transfixed by the Gaza massacre, is increasingly a contender. But never underestimate Iraq, even as the Isis insurgency slips the world's mind. Never forget the lengths to which Syria's Bashar al Assad has been prepared to go in murdering his people.
Those inclined to intervention when it suits sometimes pose reasonable questions. If it is imperative that Israel's assault on Gaza be halted and some sort of peace achieved despite the odds, why stand aside from these other "trouble spots"? Israel might have been a little excessive, an American conservative might concede, but where's the international fury over Isis or Assad? And why is it always assumed that all blame can be laid at the West's door?
Oil, arms sales and endless interference would form one answer. The upheavals born of the mad, dishonest adventure in Iraq would count as an other. The refusal to hold Israel seriously to account for decades has helped to destabilise the entire region. Indulging the Saudis at every turn has made a nonsense of all the paeans to democracy and the rule of law. Coddling dictators, whether the Shah of Iran or Saddam, has not exactly enhanced Western credibility.
None of this turned Hamas into ruthless, Holocaust-denying oppressors of their fellow Palestinians, of course. Human Rights Watch and others have documented too many abuses, several deserving to be called crimes against humanity, to allow anyone to apportion all blame to "the West" or Israel. That doesn't make the punishment of ordinary Palestinians "proportionate", any more than the suffering of ordinary Libyans was a price worth paying - though not by us - when Gaddafi ceased to be useful.
A gigantic swathe of the planet faces an existential crisis while Israel wages another of its assaults on a tiny strip of land and 1.8 million people so tightly packed they have no choice about becoming "human shields". In the end, Egyptians, like Libyans, like Syrians, were allowed barely one season they could call a spring before the world turned away. The Iraqis who were supposed to dance in the streets at the moment of invasion are still locked in the nightmare of sectarian conflict.
But the West did not invent the distinctions between Sunni and Shia. For the most part it no longer tolerates the anti-Semitism whose roots are now deeper than ever in the Middle East. The West did not cause Arab brotherhood to dissolve into internecine hatreds, or the rivalries that are tearing Libya apart. Nevertheless, the condition of the Middle East deserves a response vastly more serious than another self-serving Tony Blair lecture on Islamists and terrorism.
This week the "Middle East peace envoy" was not in the Middle East. He was throwing a 60th birthday party for his wife at their country mansion as the Gaza death toll went to 1400 and beyond.
The former prime minister is no doubt entitled to spend an estimated £50,000 on such affairs. One way or another, he earns that kind of money. If you were in need of symbolism, however, there it was.
Mr Blair has had little to say recently about Israel and the Palestinians. Then again, he has only been to Gaza twice in his seven years in the envoy's job. Perhaps a deeper interest would have been “disproportionate". " 

Ian Bell: The Herald 2/8/14