There are two general things happening through this election.
One of them is that the Conservatives keep getting caught doing very public, very stupidly bad, disinformation actions.
During the BBC Question Time leaders special, the CCQH Twitter account – which is a blue-tick verified account and therefore is not allowed to change its display name without informing Twitter – changed its display name/header image to appear at first glance to be a fact-checking account and proceded to tweet support of Boris Johnson.
Since Monday I’ve been working on a three-part response to Louise Mensch’s blog of Saturday night.
- Part 1 deals with Mensch’s distorted and dishonest assertions about Corbyn’s views on ISIS, and questions her claims of his involvement with CEC Australia.
- Part 2 deals with Mensch’s declaration that Corbyn must account for attending commemoration events for Deir Yassin, any and all encounters with his constituent Paul Eisen, and whether an audience member is responsible for researching the political beliefs of a jazz saxophone player who is said by Mensch to be “one of the world’s leading anti-Semites”.
- Part 3 deals with the theological and geopolitical complications of Stephen Sizer’s opposition to the anti-Semitic beliefs of John Hagee, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell, about Israel: Jeremy Corbyn’s defense of Sizer for posting a Facebook link: and briefly with Dyab Abou Jahjah.
- Forty years ago on September 11, 1973, the Chilean military led by General Augusto Pinochet, crushed the democratically elected Unidad Popular government of Salvador Allende.
Thousands of people were tortured and killed, others ‘disappeared’ at the hands of the authorities, the secret police and more were illegally detained. Men, women and children were rounded up by the military and taken from their homes. Most were never seen alive by their families again. 1 million people were forced into exile. – Chile 40 Years On network
In the UK, widespread public support against the coup was not welcomed by the Conservative government in 1973:
The shipbuilders’ union urged the government not to sell warships to Pinochet, even though losing these contracts could threaten their own jobs. The government’s response? To send spies to shipyards across Britain to check workers were not sabotaging vessels destined for Chile.
When Labour came to power in 1974, it cut off arms sales, aid and credit to Pinochet and, in 1977, withdrew the British ambassador. But existing arms contracts were to be honoured, so trade unionists took matters into their own hands. Employees at East Kilbride engineering yard in Scotland refused to fix bomber-plane engines destined for Chile, forcing Rolls Royce to break its contract with the Chilean air force. This forgotten history of solidarity will be celebrated across Britain today, the 40th anniversary of the coup.
Unsurprisingly, when Pinochet’s most prominent defender, Margaret Thatcher came to office in 1979, diplomatic relations were soon restored and arms sales resumed. Declassified papers reveal that, by June 1982, her government had sold the dictatorship: two warships, 60 blowpipe missiles, 10 Hunter Hawker bomber planes, naval pyrotechnics, communications equipment, gun sights, machine guns and ammunition. A unique attempt at a British “ethical foreign policy” had ended.
- On 11th January, 2002, the first 20 illegally-detained prisoners were delivered to cages at Guantanamo Bay: over 11 years later, the US is still holding 164 prisoners in extrajudicial detainment illegal under international law.
- Since 12th July 2005, it has been publicly known that the US government authorised US soldiers to torture Guantanamo Bay prisoners: US soldiers also tortured prisoners in Iraq and in Afghanistan and the US military is also linked to the use of torture in Iraqi-run prisons.
For at least two thousand years, if not longer, people have been calling that particular area of the Middle East “Palestine”.
You only have to look at an animated map of Europe for the past two thousand years to understand that names of countries and national boundaries are constantly changing.
In 1709, there was no country called Israel in the Southern Levant, but you’d have found Palestine on the maps. The modern Zionist movement began less than two centuries ago: even by the 1880s, numerically Muslims were the majority faith, Christians second, and Jews third. The modern Zionist movement from the 1880s onward was a movement of European and American colonisation of Palestine.
The idea that Jews around the world have some mystical religious “right” to live in the Southern Levant because there have been Jews living there for several thousand years or because God gave that land to them is absurd. I am an atheist, and historical claims from past millennia are not made valid by religious faith.
Khirbet al-Tawil sits on the sides of a hill that descends into the Jordan Valley, between the Palestinian town of Aqraba and the Jewish settlement of Gitit. The village is accessed by a muddy road, which took us a long time to find. On the rocky terrain in between the fields, there were several buildings – either houses or shacks – next to animal pens and coops. When we entered the mosque, accompanied by two researchers from the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem and a researcher from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the residents were absorbed in lively conversation. It was noon, and they turned first to pray, kneeling on the wet rugs, their faces toward Mecca.
The stone ruins of the ancient, magnificent houses in Khirbet al-Tawil attest that Palestinians lived here for centuries.
I’m not a rap fan. Having just listened to about 8 minutes of Hip Hop M1X with Charlie Sloth, I can say this with some certainty. The rapper I listened to is “Margate’s finest, Mic Righteous” – and I can’t imagine I’d be writing a blog post about him except that something weird happened during his rap: one word was obliterated with the sound of breaking glass (and the shot used did not show Mic’s mouth, so the BBC are wise to lip-reading).
The word obliterated was “Palestine”: Mic Righteous, explaining to his fans that despite his recent success he’s no sellout, says “I can scream Free Palestine for my pride/still pray for peace” or as the BBC preferred “I can scream Free *SMASH GLASS* for my pride/still pray for peace.”