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UK PM’s Family Signs $1.5Billion Deal With BP.
Just two months before UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak opened hundreds of new licences for oil and gas extraction in the North Sea, an IT firm founded by his father-in-law signed a $1.5billion deal with energy giant BP.
The Times of India reported in May 2023 that Indian IT giant Infosys – in which Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty also has a reported £400million stake – won a deal from the global energy company thought to be the second-largest in the history of the firm.
Despite the company being partly owned by his wife’s family, Sunak previously said the matter is of “no legitimate public interest”.
Sunak has been criticised over his announcement of around 100 new licences for oil and gas extraction in the North Sea.
( James Walker, 02.08.2023 )  ..

A Surge In Israeli Settler Violence In The Illegally-Occupied West Bank.
A Palestinian has been killed when a group of Israeli settlers attacked the town of Huwara, amid a surge in settler violence across the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Labib Dumaidi, 19, was shot in the heart by an Israeli settler.
More than 200 settlers gathered in the middle of Huwara after midnight, shouting and dancing, some of them with covered faces.
The settlers began throwing stones towards some houses, and then some young Palestinians tried to defend their homes by throwing stones back.
Residents said Israeli soldiers turned a blind eye to the violence.
“It’s clear that the settler militias are protected by the occupation’s soldiers,” Thaer Qawareeq, an employee at a supermarket damaged by the settlers in Huwara said. He added that it was the third time that settlers had assaulted the store.
( Aljazeera, 06.10.2023 )  ..

The UK Government Is Raising More In Tax Revenue Since The 1940s.
At the time of the last general election, UK tax revenues amounted to around 33% of national income.
By the time of the next election in 2024, on current forecasts, taxes will amount to around 37% of national income – a level not sustained in the post-war period.
Compared with a world in which taxes had stayed at 33% of national income, the UK government will be raising upwards of £100billion more in tax revenues next year.
This is equivalent to around £3,500 more per household, though of course the tax rise will not be shared equally.
The government may decide to announce tax cuts in the run-up to the next election.
But there is no world in which this parliament – or indeed the period since Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister – turns out to be anything other than a tax-raising one.
In fact, it is currently on track to be the biggest tax-increasing parliament since comparable records began.
The UK government is currently raising more in tax revenue, as a percentage of national income, than at any time since the 1940s.
( The Institute for Fiscal Studies, 29.09.2023 )  ..

Controlled And Illegally Occupied By Israel, Gaza Is The World’s Biggest Open-Air Prison.
Manipulating the U.S. public into supporting the war by feeding them atrocity propaganda about mutilating babies has a long history.
In 1990, for instance, a girl purporting to be a local nurse was brought before Congress, where she testified that Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein’s men had ripped hundreds of Kuwaiti babies from their incubators and left them to die.
The story helped whip the American public up into a pro-war fervour.
It was later revealed that it was a complete hoax dreamed up by a public relations firm.

Another piece of blatantly fake news is the case of Shani Louk.
Louk attended the Supernova Festival, ambushed by Hamas.
It was widely reported that Hamas murdered her (e.g., Daily Mail, Marca, Yahoo! News, TMZ, Business Insider), stripped her, and paraded her naked body trophy-like through the streets on the back of a truck.
Louk’s case incited global anger and calls for an overwhelming Israeli military response.
There was only one problem: Louk was later confirmed to be alive and in hospital, a fact that suggests the videos of her on the back of a truck were actually images of people saving her life by taking her to seek medical assistance.

Few of the outlets irresponsibly publishing these wildly incendiary stories have printed apologies or even retractions.
The Los Angeles Times was one exception: after publishing a report claiming that Palestinians had raped Israeli civilians, it later informed readers that “such reports have not been substantiated.”
Few readers, however, see these retractions.
Instead, they are left with visceral feelings of anger and disgust towards Hamas, priming them to support Western military action against Palestine or the wider region.

In case their audiences did not get the message, op-eds and editorials in major newspapers hammered home this idea.
The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed entitled “The Moral Duty to Destroy Hamas”, which insisted to readers that “Israel is entitled to do whatever it takes to uproot this evil, depraved culture that resides next to it.”
Thus, the outlet implicitly gave Israel a free pass to carry out whatever war crimes it wished on the civilian population, whether that is using banned chemical weapons, cutting off electricity and water, or targeting ambulances or United Nations officials.

The National Review’s editorial board was of a similar mind, stating that “Israel needs a long leash to destroy Hamas.”
This long leash, they explained, meant giving Israel far more time to carry out the destruction of Gaza.
Western leaders would have to refrain from criticizing Israel or calling for calm and peace.

The message was clear: international unity was paramount at this time.
Mere trifles such as war crimes must be overlooked.
And while Israel and its people were treated with special sympathy (e.g., Washington Post), the other side was written off as bloodthirsty radicals.
While the phrase “Palestinian terrorists” could be found across the media spectrum (e.g., Fox News, New York Post, New York Times), its opposite, “Israeli terrorists” was completely absent from corporate media.
This, despite casualties on the Palestinian side outnumbering Israelis.

Underlining the fact that Israeli lives are deemed more important is the way in which deaths from each side are reported.
The BBC, for example, told its readers that Israelis have been “killed” while people in Gaza merely “died,” removing any agency from its perpetrators and almost suggesting their deaths were natural.

Missing from most of the reporting was the basic factual background of the attack.
Few articles mentioned that Israel was built upon an existing Palestinian state, and that most of the inhabitants of Gaza are descended from refugees ethnically cleansed from southern Israel in order to make way for a Jewish state.
Also left unmentioned was that Israel controls almost every aspect of Gazan’s life.
This includes deciding who can enter or leave the densely populated strip and limiting the import of food, medicine and other crucial goods.

Aid groups have called Gaza “the world’s largest open-air prison.”
The United Nations has declared the conditions in Gaza to be so bad as to be unlivable.
One of the principal reasons that this crucial context is not given is that it could influence Western audiences into sympathising with Palestinians or supporting Palestinian liberation.
Giant media corporations are largely owned by wealthy oligarchs or by transnational corporations, both of whom have a stake in preserving the status quo and neither of whom wish to see national liberation movements succeed.
( Alan Macloud, 13.10.2023 )  ..

UK Foreign Secretary Didn’t Know What The Customs Union Was.
Boris Johnson, the former UK Prime Minister who campaigned for Britain to leave the Customs Union, had to have a Labour MP explain to him what it was after stopping him in the corridor to ask about it.
Labour MP Barry Gardiner revealed that Johnson, when he was Foreign Secretary, and one of the three people who was supposed to be in charge of Brexit, did not know what a Customs Union was.
Gardiner claims that Johnson said to him, “Tell me, tell me what is all this stuff about a Customs Union?”
Gardiner then claims to have asked Johnson what he meant by his question, and Johnson replied: “Well what is a Customs Union?”
( Basit Mahmoud, 13.09.2023 )  ..

Under The Pretext Of Defence, The Military State Of Israel Has Bombed Or Invaded Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan, Syria And Tunisia.
Many western countries that supported the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which gave Israel its birth certificate, claimed that in supporting Israel’s creation, they aimed to avert war and the persecution of Jewish colonists if Palestine’s Arab majority achieved independence in one state.
But in supporting the creation of a settler-colonial state, they inflicted on the Middle East as a whole a state of permanent war and ongoing persecution of Palestinians and other Arabs whose territories Israel conquered.

To legitimise the state of permanent war, Israel sought early on to portray its citizens as actual or potential victims of wars and persecution inflicted by Palestinian resistance and Arab states, which in turn necessitated Israel’s use of permanent war and persecution as “retaliation”.
This was clear to Israel’s western supporters as early as 1948.
The Israeli expulsion of the Palestinian population, along with Israel’s territorial encroachment upon their UN-designated territories.

When Israel conspired with France to invade Egypt in October 1956, it was part of the cycle of permanent war it sought.
The Israelis occupied Gaza and the Sinai and refused to withdraw for four months, despite UN and U.S. condemnation.
Israel finally had no choice but to withdraw and try again a decade later.
In 1967, Israel would claim that it had to invade three Arab countries pre-emptively before they attacked it, deploying the very same arguments as in 1948.

It occupied more lands and persecuted more Palestinians, Syrians, and Egyptians.
This would be followed by its unceasing war against Lebanon, which began in the form of periodic raids in the late 1960s to outright invasions in 1978 and 1982, and more occupation and persecution of the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples.
In 1973, Israel shot down a Libyan civilian airliner over the Sinai, killing all 106 people on board.
Israel’s 1981 attack on a nuclear reactor in Iraq, which was still under construction by France, was also justified with Israel’s claim that “we were therefore forced to defend ourselves”.

Over the decades, in addition to killing tens of thousands of Arab civilians and creating millions of Palestinian refugees, Israel displaced a million Egyptians during the War of Attrition in the late 1960s, and hundreds of thousands of Lebanese people through its invasions of Lebanon since 1978.
Under the pretext of defence, in the last few years, Israel has periodically bombed Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza.
Meanwhile, its killing machine and military persecution, along with its colonial settlers, continue to target Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as Syrians in the Golan Heights.

Israel’s racist police and legal apparatus unceasingly target Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Yet, Israeli propagandists insist that Israel is merely “defending” itself against the aggression of those it oppresses, colonises, and invades.
Since its founding, Israel has invaded Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria; bombed Iraq, Sudan, and Tunisia; taken an aggressive posture towards Iran, Libya, Yemen, Morocco, and Algeria; and is the only country in the region that possesses and threatens to use nuclear weapons.
Yet, Israel continues to claim unabashedly that it is the victim.

( Joseph Massad, 30.12.2021 )

Top Tory Donor Is Handed Lucrative Contracts.
One of the UK Conservatives’ biggest ever donors has profited from £135million of contracts with the Department of Health and Social Care in under four years.
Frank Hester, a healthcare tech entrepreneur whose company supplies computer systems to the NHS, gave PM Rishi Sunak’s party £5million this year.
His company, the Phoenix Partnership (TPP), paid out more than £20million in dividends between 2019 and 2022, with Hester the only shareholder.
Its main operating company, the Phoenix Partnership (Leeds), recorded a turnover of £75million, with profit before tax of £47million in the year to March 2022.
It paid dividends during the year of £10million to its parent company, which is ultimately owned by Hester, and a salary of £515,000 to him, its sole director.
Over a period of four years from 2019 to 2022, the ultimate parent company, TPP Group, paid out £23.5million in dividends, which appear to have gone to Hester as its only shareholder.
Contracts with the Department of Health and Social Care appear to make up a large proportion of TPP’s business.
TPP said it did not wish to comment when asked about its business with the NHS and whether all the dividends were paid to Hester.
The scale of business that Hester and TPP have with the NHS was uncovered by the Good Law Project, which found payments totalling £137million to the company since the start of the Covid pandemic in April 2020.
Jo Maugham, the director of the Good Law Project, said: “Once you see how much Mr Hester gets from an NHS that is desperately starved of money, you can understand why he is so committed to the government that lets him.”
( Rowena Mason, 20.09.2023 )  ..

Judaism Is Not Hereditary, It’s Just A Religion.
After the horrors of the Holocaust, the concept of a Jewish race is still alive and well in the minds of too many.
To be a race, Jews would have to have been isolated from other populations.
However, they never avoided crossbreeding and converted many non-Jews.
In other words, from Day One Jews have married non-Jews, and therefore there is no way to genetically characterise them as a race.
Nevertheless, many people find it difficult to accept the ideas that Judaism is not hereditary, but a religion, and that Jews who abandon the Jewish faith, whether they adopt another religion or none at all, are no longer Jews.
As a trained geneticist, Alain Corcos became convinced that there are not and never were human races.
In the last twenty years, an increasing number of anthropologists and biologists have reached the same conclusion.
They argue that there is no way to genetically characterise race, because no human population has ever been isolated long enough from other populations to avoid “crossbreeding.”
The history of the Jews, in particular, supports this thesis.
From Day One they had children with non-Jews.
Hence, biologically, Jews are not different from non-Jews.
Although many volumes have been written that condemn anti-Semitism and deal with its history, only two treat the myth of the Jewish race.
Oddly, though both maintain that there is no such thing as a Jewish race, their authors write about Jewish blood and Jewish genes, which are misleading concepts as harmful and pernicious as the term race itself.
( Alain Corcos, The Myth of the Jewish Race, 2005 ) ..  Lehigh University Press

The UK Government Is “Cooking The Books” To Reduce Asylum Seeker Backlog.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been accused of “cooking the books” as thousands of asylum claims are removed from the system following his vow to clear a historic backlog by the end of this year.
More than 6,000 people have been wiped off the list without being fully assessed in just three months, for reasons such as failing to attend interviews or appointments, and not filling in new “fast-track” questionnaires.
The figures have quadrupled since the prime minister pledged in December 2022 to clear the pre-June 2022 asylum backlog.
The government is now withdrawing more claims than it decides, sparking accusations the backlog is being cut “by the back door”.
Official guidance states that applications can be withdrawn by the Home Office without the asylum seeker’s consent – even if it has been unable to contact them and does not know where they are, with a notification letter “served to file only”.
Once removed from the system, people are ineligible for the housing and financial support offered to destitute asylum seekers, with a Tory MP warning they can then “disappear without a trace”.
( Lizzie Dearden, 05.08.2023 )  ..

If You Work For The Right-Wing Media And Criticise Israel You May Lose Your Job.
Axel Springer – the enormous German broadcaster that owns Politico – requires its employees to sign its mission statement endorsing “the trans-Atlantic alliance and Israel” and has told any staff members that support Palestine to leave their jobs.
Other outlets are slightly less overt but nonetheless have Israel red lines that employees cannot cross.
CNN fired anchor Marc Lamont Hill for calling for a free Palestine.
Katie Halper was fired from The Hill for (accurately) calling Israel an Apartheid state.
The Associated Press dismissed Emily Wilder after it became known that she had been a pro-Palestine activist during her college years.
And The Guardian sacked Nathan J. Robinson after he made a joke mocking U.S. military aid to Israel.
These cases serve as examples to the rest of the journalistic world.
The message is that one cannot criticise the Israeli government’s violent apartheid system or show solidarity for Palestine without risking losing their livelihoods.
Ultimately, then, corporate media play a key role in maintaining the occupation by manipulating public opinion.
If the American people were aware of the history and the reality of Israel/Palestine, the situation would be untenable.
For those wishing to maintain the unequal state of affairs whereby an apartheid government expels or imprisons its indigenous population, the pen is as important as the sword.
( Alan Macloud, 13.10.2023 )  ..

Indigenous Man Of Borneo Shot Dead Over Palm Oil Land Dispute.
On Saturday, October 7, 2023, an Indigenous man was shot dead and two others were seriously injured at an oil palm plantation in Borneo.
Since September 16, 2023, residents of the village of Bangkal have been protesting land grabbing and injustice at the PT Hamparan Masawit Bangun Persada (HMBP) plantation.
HMBP is owned by Best Agro International, one of Indonesia’s largest palm oil companies and a division of the very wealthy Tjajadi family’s Best Group.
The villagers accuse the plantation company of planting more than 1,000 hectares of oil palm outside the concession area.
Since 2013, they have been demanding that this land, as well as 1,175 hectares of rainforest inside the concession area, be returned to them.
But the company has stalled for ten years.
It has refused to talk, prompting the people of Bangkal to block access roads to the plantation starting in mid-September 2023.
Instead of working to resolve the land conflict, the administration of Seruyan district in the province of Central Kalimantan has sided with the company.
Police units moved in to disperse the protest with tear gas and live ammunition.
Protesters recorded the events on their phones.
The shots hit three men.
One of them died on Saturday and the other two were seriously injured.
Twenty Bangkal villagers were arrested.
They were released on Sunday evening after nationwide protests over police brutality against Indigenous people who are desperately fighting for their rights.
Conflicts over land have become commonplace in Borneo as a result of wholesale deforestation to make way for huge plantations.
With the loss of forest and land, local communities are being deprived of their livelihoods.
Instead, over the past fifteen years, millions of hectares of oil palm plantations have been spreading across Borneo, initially to meet European demand for biofuels.
Communities that stand up for their rights can face a brutal response.
The Indigenous people of Borneo, the Dayak, are victims of palm oil-based economic growth.
( Rainforest Rescue, 09.10.2023 )  ..

UK And U.S. Media Report Lies And Propaganda As The Truth.
After Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, IDF forces responded with airstrikes, leveling Gazan buildings.
The violence so far has claimed the lives of more than 2,500 people.
Western media, however, show far more interest and have much greater sympathy with Israeli dead than Palestinian ones and have played their usual role as unofficial spokespersons for the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).

One case in point is the claim that, during their incursion into southern Israel, Hamas fighters stopped to round up, kill and mutilate 40 Israeli babies, beheading them and leaving their bodies behind.
The extraordinary assertion was originally reported by the Israeli channel i24 News, which based it on anonymous Israeli military sources.
Despite offering no proof whatsoever, this highly inflammatory claim about an enemy made by an active participant in a conflict was picked up and repeated across the world by a host of media (e.g., in the United States by Fox News, CNN, MSN, Business Insider, and The New York Post).

Meanwhile, the front pages of the United Kingdom’s largest newspapers were festooned with the story, the press outraged at the atrocity and inviting their readers to feel the same way.
Extraordinary claims should require extraordinary evidence, and a story like this should have been met with serious skepticism, given who was making the claim.
The first question any reporter should have asked was, “Where is the evidence?”

Given multiple opportunities to stand by it, the IDF continually distanced itself from the claims.
Nevertheless, the story was simply too useful not to publish.
The decapitated baby narrative was so popular that even U.S. President Biden referenced it, claiming to have seen “confirmed” images of Hamas killing children.
This claim, however, was hastily retracted by his handlers at the White House, who noted that Biden was simply referencing the i24 News report.

The story looked even more like a piece of cheap propaganda after it was revealed that the key source for the claim was Israeli soldier David Ben Zion, an extremist settler who had incited race riots against Palestinians earlier this year, describing them as “animals” with no heart who needs to be “wiped out.”
( Alan Macloud, 13.10.2023 )  ..

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