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Ukraine Forces Target Emergency Vehicles, Hospitals, Schools And Have Committed Untold Numbers Of War Crimes.
In the more than eight years of bombing the civilians of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Ukraine has committed untold numbers of war crimes.
These include bombing residential areas, markets, hospitals, schools, parks — including with prohibited heavy weapons and banned cluster munitions — and, since late July 2022, raining banned “Petal” mines down on populated civilian areas, including the very centre of Donetsk, including as recently as September 7, 2022.
A lesser-known war crime is Ukraine’s routine targeting of ambulances, fire trucks, medics and rescuers, and their headquarters and stations.
Many of the times Ukraine bombs such heroic rescuers, it is when they are on the way, or already on site, to help civilians often themselves just bombed by Ukraine.
On August 21, 2022, Ukrainian shelling of the DPR’s Gorlovka wounded twelve, including five firefighters.
The day prior, Ukrainian shelling targeted an ambulance station in the LPR’s Lysychansk, wounding several and damaging some of the ambulances.
On June 23, 2022, the Kievskiy District of Donetsk came under repeated shelling over the course of the two hours I was visiting the Emergency Services headquarters there.
On the grounds, I saw the remnants of a “Hurricane” missile from a previous Ukrainian attack.
The previous day, Ukrainian forces targeted an Emergency Services fire truck on call, leaving the driver hospitalised in critical condition.
According to his colleagues, they saw a drone above them just prior to Ukraine’s strike.
The targeting was unquestionably deliberate.
On June 18, 2022, Ukraine targeted a central Donetsk district after Emergency Services had arrived, killing a firefighter and the driver, and injuring three more rescuers.
Ukraine’s attacks on emergency workers is not new; Ukraine has been doing so for years.
In June 2021, during a humanitarian cease-fire, Ukrainian forces targeted an ambulance which had arrived to evacuate three injured DPR soldiers.
In October 2019, Ukrainian forces fired an anti-tank guided missile at a DPR military ambulance en route to help a child, wounding the driver and a paramedic.
In August 2018, Ukrainian forces fired a missile at a DPR ambulance, killing the driver and two female paramedics.
This is something I was very familiar with in Gaza, occupied Palestine, where Israeli soldiers routinely fire at Palestinian farmers and other labourers on agricultural land, a policy of harassment to drive Palestinians off their land.
In most cases, ambulances likewise could not reach the injured due to Israel’s policy of targeting ambulances.
Consequently, seriously injured Palestinians bleed to death.
( Eva Bartlett, 23.09.2022 )  ..

It Feels Like A Conspiracy Against The British People.
This is not a post-BBC ex-employee rant.
I had two decades of opportunity that could not be bettered.
But it is an exhalation.
A deep breath out.
All the things that wisely could not be said then, can be said more easily now.
Things that for many decades were givens – the checks and balances on the executive, the role of the judiciary or the civil service, a media free from interference or vilification – now appear vulnerable.
Things that once would have shocked us now seem commonplace.
The ministerial code violated with impunity.
The unlawful attempt to prorogue parliament for five weeks.
The blink-and-you-miss-it moment the governing party’s Twitter account changed its name to “factcheckUK” – in the middle of an election campaign, to coat party propaganda in a format that sounded objective.
Or the admission by the then Northern Ireland secretary that he would be prepared to break international law.
We – journalists, management teams, organisations – are primed to back down, even apologise, to prove how journalistically fair we are being.
That can be exploited by those crying “bias”.
If it suits those in power to shut us up – or down – they can.
Critically, it’s lose-lose for the audience.
This summer, we’ve watched the havoc at Dover customs meet with a wall of silence around Brexit.
Those who promised to get Brexit done can’t mention it – because it clearly isn’t.
Their insistence on “third nation” status has meant passport checks and horrendous waiting times.
Labour avoids talking about Brexit because it’s decided – rightly or wrongly – to distance itself from remainer tags.
And large sections of both the BBC and government-supporting newspapers appear to go into an automatic crouch position whenever the Brexit issue looms large.
Many broadcasters fear discussing the obvious economic cause of major change in this country in case they get labelled pessimistic, anti-populist, or worse still, unpatriotic.
And yet every day that we sidestep these issues with glaring omissions feels like a conspiracy against the British people.
We are pushing the public further away.
( Emily Maitlis, former BBC Newsnight presenter, 24.08.2022 )  ..

The Murder Of Environmental Activists.
An environmental activist has been killed every two days on average over the past ten years.
The report from Global Witness says that more than 1,700 people have died while trying to prevent mining, oil drilling or logging on their lands.
Over the 10 years, Brazil and Colombia have recorded the highest numbers of deaths.
Researchers say the figures underestimate the true scale of violence.
Earlier this year, the murders of British journalist Dom Phillips and a local indigenous expert, Bruno Pereira, brought global attention to the lawless conditions prevailing in some parts of the Amazon.
In this latest report from Global Witness, Latin America is very much the frontline when it comes to deadly attacks on environmental campaigners and activists.
The study finds that 68% of the murders took place across this continent, with Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Honduras recording the highest totals.
Many of those who died were indigenous people, often involved in struggles to prevent the exploitation of their lands by mining, oil, logging or hydropower developers.
( Matt McGrath, 29.09.2022 )  ..

Ukraine Uses Russian Invasion To Pass Laws Wrecking Workers’ Rights.
On 17 August 2022, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyi ratified Law 5371, which removes rights for workers at small and medium-sized companies.
It will be effective for as long as the country is under martial law – a qualification added at the last minute, under pressure from trade unions.
Under the new law, people who work for firms with up to 250 employees will now be covered by contracts they negotiate as individuals with their bosses, rather than the national labour code.
In practice, this means that around 70% of workers in Ukraine have been stripped of many labour protections.
Collective agreements negotiated by unions – over salary or holidays, for instance – no longer apply.
The law also removes the legal authority of trade unions to veto workplace dismissals.
The Ukrainian government has claimed it is trying to alleviate the difficulties faced by companies in wartime.
However, it first tried to introduce the new law in 2021.
The policy is opposed by Ukraine’s Federation of Trade Unions and has been criticised by a joint European Union-International Labour Organisation project.
In July 2022, Nataliia Lomonosova of Ukrainian think tank Cedos said that these were long-term policy goals of Zelenskyi’s government, likely aimed at attracting foreign investment.
Law 5371 is not an isolated measure.
In July 2022, two other laws were passed.
One allows employers to stop paying workers who have been called up to fight, while the other legalises zero-hours contracts.
The latter will remain in place even when martial law is lifted.
Another draft bill proposes a drastic overhaul of Ukraine’s labour code itself.
This would introduce a maximum 12-hour work day and allow employers to dismiss workers without justification.

Boris Johnson Accused Of Undermining The Election Watchdog.
A former electoral commissioner has accused Boris Johnson of “partisan interference” over controversial new plans to increase government control over the UK’s election watchdog.
The reforms would prevent the Electoral Commission from bringing its own criminal prosecutions over election fraud and would compel the supposedly independent body to follow the government’s ‘priorities’.
David Howarth, who served on the Electoral Commission’s board from 2010 to 2018, said that the proposals are “precisely the kind of partisan interference with the Commission that we feared”.
Critics had already warned of a “power grab” by the Conservative Party, despite ministers promising that they would not interfere in the workings of the Commission.
New details confirm that Boris Johnson is set on overhauling the Commission, saying it should “support the government’s delivery of legitimate executive priorities”.
The policy announcement comes less than a year after the watchdog issued an £18,000 fine to the Conservatives for “inaccurate reporting” of donations made towards Boris Johnson’s Downing Street refurb.
Now, the government says the Commission should only issue fines as a last resort. Instead it should simply make “requests for improvements” when parties break election rules.
Among those previously fined for breaking electoral law is Vote Leave.
The Brexit campaign which Boris Johnson fronted was fined more than £60,000 for breaking spending limits during the 2016 referendum.
Critics accused Boris Johnson of trying to “neuter” the watchdog after it embarrassed him and his party with investigations into campaign spending.
The Conservatives have been hit with a series of fines by the Electoral Commission for repeatedly breaking financial regulations.
Most recently, it was slapped with a £3,000 penalty just last month for missing a transparency deadline over loans it had received.
( Martin Williams and Seth Thévoz, 24.08.2022 )  ..

Off-Shore Billionaires With A Vested Interest In The Tories Remaining In Power.
On May 5, 2022, much of the country went to the polls – most for local and mayoral elections, and Northern Ireland for the Assembly.
The real battle in the UK is not the traditional competition between parties, but a much more dangerous struggle between a small number of billionaires (not all UK-based) and the bulk of the UK population.
The day after the polls closed, when it was already clear that the Conservatives – a party led by a man convicted of breaking his own COVID laws and with the worst track record of any Prime Minister in modern British history – had lost badly, you might have expected headlines talking of a collapse in support, calls for Johnson to step down and speculation about his successor, but most of the press chose either to declare the results a success, to attack the opposition leader for a supposed breach of the law for which he has already been investigated and acquitted, or to ignore the results altogether.
More than 60% of total readers in the UK are consuming media owned by one of four off-shore, tax-avoiding billionaires with a very strong vested interest in this government remaining in power.
And to a surprising extent, the broadcast media follow the lead set by the press.
As a result, most people have little idea of the risks the government poses to our wealth, our health and our democratic rights.
And while media owners are a key part of the problem in the UK, they do not account for all of it.
Money from wealthy donors increasingly determines government policy – we are moving de facto from a one-person, one-vote system towards a one-dollar, one-vote system.
One third of UK billionaires have donated to the Conservatives.
That is a group of fewer than 50 people who, between them, now have vastly disproportionate influence on government policy.
While they might like to see the UK implement market fundamentalism in the UK, it would be a disaster for most of the population.
( Mark E. Thomas, 09.05.2022 )  ..

Donations For Truss Tory Leadership Bid And Johnson’s Wedding.
Liz Truss raised more than £420,000 in donations for her successful Conservative leadership bid, with the biggest single contribution made by the wife of a former BP executive.
Contributions to the new prime minister’s costly campaign were disclosed just minutes before she revealed details of her long-awaited plan to tackle spiralling energy bills.
Truss registered 21 donations to her campaign, in cash and transport costs.
The largest single sum came from Fitriani Hay – the wife of James Hay, who has a luxury goods empire and is a former BP executive.
She gifted Truss £100,000.
Other supporters included the Tory peer Greville Howard, whose Westminster townhouse was used by her campaign team as a headquarters.
Truss accepted £20,000 from Jon Moynihan, a former prominent member of the pro-Brexit Vote Leave campaign who has called for the Electoral Commission to be abolished, along with £10,000 donated by a smoked salmon firm run by former Brexit party MEP Lance Forman.
Also revealed in the release by parliament was the £23,853 cost for Johnson’s wedding party over the summer, paid for by Anthony and Carole Bamford.
The pair run JCB and footed the bill for catering, waiting staff, portable toilets, the hire of a marquee, flowers, an ice cream van, as well as smoke and braai catering, when Johnson and his wife Carrie celebrated their marriage.
Truss became the heir of their support, being gifted £5,316 worth of transport costs by JCB at the start of August 2022.
( Aubrey Allegretti and Henry Dyer, 08.09.2022 )  ..

Who Profits From Blowing Up Nord Stream Gas Pipelines?
A sophisticated military operation – that required exhaustive planning, possibly involving several actors – blew up four separate sections of the Nord Stream (NS) and Nord Stream 2 (NS2) gas pipelines in the shallow waters of the Danish straits, in the Baltic Sea, near the island of Bornholm.
The pipes are built with steel reinforced concrete, able to withstand impact from aircraft carrier anchors, and are basically indestructible without serious explosive charges.
Every crime implies motive.
The Russian government wanted – at least up to the sabotage – to sell oil and natural gas to the EU.
The notion that Russia would destroy Gazprom pipelines is beyond ludicrous.
All they had to do was to turn off the valves.
NS2 was not even operational, based on a political decision from Berlin.
The gas flow in NS was hampered by western sanctions.
Moreover, such an act would imply Moscow losing key strategic leverage over the EU.
Diplomatic sources confirm that Berlin and Moscow were involved in a secret negotiation to solve both the NS and NS2 issues.
Of course, Moscow already has a pretty good idea of what happened (satellites and electronic monitoring working 24/7), but they won’t make it public.
The hypothesis focuses on the Polish Navy and Special Forces as the physical perpetrators (quite plausible; the report offers very good internal details), American planning and technical support (extra plausible), and aid by the Danish and Swedish militaries (inevitable, considering this was very close to their territorial waters, even if it took place in international waters).
The Russian Foreign Ministry said: “The incident took place in an area controlled by American intelligence.”
In early February 2022 President Biden said: “If Russia invades, then there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”
Reporter: “But how will you do that, exactly, since the project is in Germany’s control?”
Biden: “I promise you, we will be able to do that.”
( Pepe Escobar, 29.09.2022 )  ..

Ukrainian President’s Offshore Network.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky rode to power on pledges to clean up the Eastern European country, but the Pandora Papers reveal he and his close circle were the beneficiaries of a network of offshore companies, including some that owned expensive London property.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his partners in comedy production owned a network of offshore companies related to their business based in the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus, and Belize.
Zelensky’s current chief aide, Serhiy Shefir, as well as the head of the country’s Security Service, were part of the offshore network.
Offshore companies were used by Shefir and another business partner to buy pricey London real estate.
Around the time of his 2019 election, Zelensky handed his shares in a key offshore company over to Shefir, but the two appear to have made an arrangement for Zelensky’s family to continue receiving money from the offshore.
The revelations come from documents in the Pandora Papers.
Two of Zelensky’s associates in the offshore network, who were also part of his TV production company, now hold powerful positions.
Serhiy Shefir is Zelensky’s top presidential aide, while Ivan Bakanov heads the Security Service of Ukraine.

UK Tory MPs Have Accepted Gifts And Hundreds Of Thousands Of Pounds From The States That Are Bombing Yemen.
UK MPs have accepted over £828,000 in the form of all-expenses-paid trips funded by states in a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen’s war since 2015.
The MPs’ register of interests at Westminster found that 96 MPs have had trips paid for by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates(UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait and Egypt over the last eight years.
Politicians have also accepted gifts including a £1,950 watch, a £500 food hamper, tickets for a Burns Supper, and a day out at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
All these trips and gifts were registered by MPs in line with rules at Westminster.
But critics said it was “absolutely shameful” they had accepted donations from states with poor human rights records in a coalition alleged to have committed war crimes in Yemen.
Critics accused the Saudi-led coalition of trying to buy influence at Westminster and said the UK government had “failed to show even the slightest restraint” in the transfer of weapons for use in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, despite “overwhelming evidence of violations of international law”.
The Saudi Arabian government has been the biggest spender on British politicians spending at least £319,000 to facilitate visits to the kingdom since 2015 – 42 MPs had taken up an invitation to visit.
Since the bombing of Yemen began in March 2015, the value of UK arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition amounts to at least £23billion.
( Billy Briggs and Petra Matijevic, 16.09.2022 )  ..

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