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Secret State 25: why has there been no MoD information about RAF airstrikes this year?

Running amok?

Obviously horrifying is the news of the death and destruction caused by airstrikes carried out by countries including America, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Britain and Israel.

Recent news in the American press included a June report by VOA, part of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, a government funded agency that oversees all non-military, U.S. international broadcasting, that at least 160 civilians have been killed and hundreds more wounded in fighting over recent weeks between Syrian forces and armed Saudi-backed ISIL rebels.

The United Nations is demanding an immediate end to indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure in northwest Syria, warning the warring parties their actions might amount to war crimes.

Aleppo hospital bombed

Friendly fire kills in two incidents in Afghanistan

In March, a US-Afghan convoy came under fire from friendly forces positioned near an Afghan National Army check point in the Uruzgan province, US and coalition officials read more here. American forces launched two “self-defense” airstrikes near the checkpoint, mistakenly killing five Afghan soldiers and wounding 10 more, according to the Afghan government and coalition.

CNN also reported that Afghan security forces personnel were also killed by US airstrikes in the middle of May – read more here.

The American and Israeli press publish such news- rarely seen in British papers, unless Russia is involved. Searching for news about Britain’s activities, the writer looked at the government website which has given information about the RAF’s airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since 2015

28,670 people have now signed the following petition:

The Ministry of Defence has not updated its monthly list with information on RAF airstrikes this year – see snapshot from its site. We are therefore no longer aware of the damage done to human beings, their hospitals homes and schools by the RAF in Iraq and Syria.

Is this the Secret State in action – or incompetence – or indifference?

 

 

 

 

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What is ‘at the heart of the malaise in British politics’?

Earlier this month George Parker of the Financial Times  asserted: “it is the state of the economy that remains at the heart of the malaise in British politics”, but his other reflections were nearer the mark.

george parkerHe said that: “Panic over the rise of the populists is spreading across the Westminster establishment, which is turning on itself in a round of recrimination bordering on self-loathing. With a general election less than six months away, British politics is about to enter a volatile and unpredictable phase”.

Another comment: “Polls suggest voters regard the Westminster class as out of touch and incompetent . . . Global events have exposed the inability of the British elite to identify risks, let alone deal with them. From the financial crash, through the rise of Russian aggression in Ukraine to the surge in Islamic radicalism in the Middle East, Westminster politicians were initially blindsided, then appeared impotent in their response”.

A serious indictment – and he should have added to it a reference to the fatally corrosive effect of the corporate–political alliances which skew decision-making in favour of the already rich.

occupy wall st cartoon corp money

This is seen as corruption by many, here and in America (see cartoon). It is noted that – in this particular – the Westminster class are far from ignorant and incompetent when adding to their incomes and those of family and friends – aka ‘feathering their nests’.

Mr Parker expresses the sense, among some British voters, that they are victims rather than beneficiaries of globalisation, which – Political Concern adds – has offered so many opportunities for leaders of corporations and governments to enrich themselves at the expense of the ‘rank and file’, vastly increasing economic inequality and environmental pollution.

He continues: “If the mood continues, the next election could see a remarkable rejection of traditional politics . . . neither of Britain’s main parties can expect to win an overall Commons majority in the election, which will be held on May 7. A period of instability and multi-party coalitions – possibly including minority parties as diverse as UKIP, the Scottish National party, Ulster unionists and the Greens – is a real possibility”. And adds:

Both Tories and Labour acknowledge that supporting UKIP has become a cry of pain from people who no longer feel they have a stake in the future and have lost faith in Westminster politicians to help them.

Many will watch with interest campaigns by ‘minority parties’: SNP, the Greens, NHAP, Plaid Cymru, in Cornwall Mebyon Kernow and UKIP, which still gives cause for concern.

Time for change!

The good heart of the American people speaks – may their government listen and learn

judy wicks2Is supporting local business more than a strategy for building resilient local economies?

Today the inbox brought the thought-provoking words of Judy Wicks, a board member of the NEI. Looking around evidence of her adventurous and constructive life was easily found online.

Her unusual slant on localisation was extracted from the 24th Schumacher Lecture which she gave in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

She argues that supporting local business is more than a strategy for building resilient local economies:

“Perhaps the greatest benefit of the local-living-economy movement is that by creating self-reliance we are creating the foundations for world peace. If all communities had food security, water security, and energy security, if they appreciated diversity of culture rather than a monoculture, that would be the foundation for world peace. Schumacher said, ‘People who live in highly self-sufficient local communities are less likely to get involved in large-scale violence than people whose existence depends on world-wide systems of trade.’

As innocents die in Boston, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan and Pakistan, may sanity prevail!

 

Scarlet letter ‘L’

Scarlet letter ‘L’ for American lobbyist

Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington reports that Barack Obama’s campaign proposal to curb lobbying is meeting industry resistance. Democratic lobbyist Heather Podesta wore a scarlet letter ‘L’ in protest

“Two years ago, Barack Obama, eager to win the Pennsylvania primary and the Democratic nomination for US president, launched an advertisement with a simple message: if elected, he would end Washington’s corrupt ways . . .

His target in the advertisement was a man named Billy Tauzin, a former Republican lawmaker turned lobbyist from Louisiana. Mr Obama is shown telling a roomful of concerned voters the story of how Mr Tauzin became chief lobbyist for the drug industry’s trade association on a reported $2m salary just months after he helped get a bill through Congress that barred the government from negotiating drug prices on behalf of elderly Medicare recipients. The legislation was a huge boon for the pharmaceutical industry. “I don’t want to learn how to play the game better,” Mr Obama says in the advertisement. “I want to put an end to the game-playing.”

EDITOR’S CHOICE

In Mr Obama’s eyes, Mr Tauzin’s actions seemed to be a symbol for everything that was wrong with Washington; a glaring example of how legions of “hired guns” in the capital used their special access, money and influence over lawmakers to game the system in corporate America’s favour . . .

It has played a significant role in slowing the passage of two major initiatives in Mr Obama’s domestic agenda: reform of healthcare and of Wall Street. It is likely lobbyists will step up their campaign as lawmakers engage in a final push to pass the financial services reform bill unveiled on Monday.

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http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/dbb420c0-3069-11df-bc4a-00144feabdc0.html

President Obama: Don’t hand more influence to lobbyists

President Obama is planning an aggressive response to a landmark Supreme Court ruling last week that cleared the way for US companies to spend unlimited amounts on political campaign advertising . . .

“I can’t think of anything more devastating to the public interest . . . The last thing we need to do is hand more influence to the lobbyists in Washington or more power to the special interests to tip the outcome of elections.”